11 August 2013

It's My Fault

I feel the need to issue to formal apology to my friends, my family, my readers, the city of Atlanta, and, in fact, the nation. Last night, to celebrate my birthday, Wisdoc and I chose to have an early dinner date and go to a double feature at the movies. Saw Blackfish, a talky, but effective documentary about the politics and perils of keeping Orcas for entertainment, and Europa Report, a low-budget, futuristic sci-fi thriller that shows how good a movie can be without resorting to mega-stars and explosions and car chases and ridiculous CGI. A good, taut story told with innovative narrative technique. [btw: We paid for both movies, didn't sneak between theaters. That's not why I'm apologizing. Besides, we're not 17 anymore.]

But all that's beside the point. In selfishly choosing to have a celebratory night out, I made the conscious decision to neglect a sacred duty. To wit: the Atlanta Braves baseball club has been on a near-historic tear. The team had won 14 games in a row before last night. (The Atlanta record is 15; the pro record is, I believe, 20) And I had watched nearly every minute of every one of those games sitting in my favorite chair in the family room drinking unsweetened ice tea and eating unsalted pistachios.

So, last night, for whatever reason, I opted not to watch the game. And what happened? The Braves lost, 1-0, to the lowly Miami Marlins on a wild pitch in the ninth inning.

As Crash Davis says in Bull Durham, "you don't fuck with a streak." It doesn't matter what you're doing, but if you believe what you're doing has anything to do with keeping the streak alive, it does, and you don't change it. Whether it's parting your hair on the right instead of the left or wearing your underwear inside out or eating a tomato and mayonnaise sandwich before the game, you don't fuck with a streak. And I fucked with a streak.

By that logic, the loss was my fault. All my fault. I made a conscious choice. I did not watch a single inning of the game, and the team lost. I let the boys—and Braves nation—down. I'm sorry.

And the thing is, I could've done something about it. The first feature ended at 8:30, and we had 40 minutes before the start of the next one. I checked the score on my iPhone and saw that the game was in a rain delay and still in the 2nd inning. I could've driven home, about 15 minutes away, poured myself a glass of tea, opened a bag of nuts, settled into my chair, and watched the rest of the game. And the outcome would've been different. I'm sure of that. But, instead, I chose to catch the second flick on a lovely night with the love of my life (who, for the record, is not a baseball fan).

I was selfish. I was weak. The only possible conclusion you, dear readers, can draw from my choices and my actions is that I wanted the team to lose. I hate the team, and I want nothing more than to see them fail.

And for that, I'm truly sorry. Braves nation: please forgive me. I've been a fan since the team moved to Atlanta in the 60s. Growing up in North Carolina I listened to games late at night, under the covers of my bed, through the earphone of my staticky transistor AM radio. I put up with nearly 20 years of Yankees and Mets fans in the '90s in NY and Phillies fans in the '80s in PA, all the while remaining true. But last night's was a historic lapse. I let them—and myself—down.

My only hope is that my actions don't initiate a long, steady, incremental decline. The Braves currently have a 15+ game lead on the Phillies and a 17 game lead on the Washington Nationals, who, by the way, were the pre-season favorites to win the World Series. If that happens, I don't know what I'll do. I'll have to live with the guilt of letting EVERYONE down on this one night by my selfish choices.

But I am taking steps to try and rectify the situation: I'm going to one, possibly two games this week in penance. Monday night, against the Phils (probably alone so I can contemplate my transgressions), and Saturday, against the hated Nats, with a HS friend whom I haven't seen in like 30 years (who, unbeknownst to me until about 6 months ago, lives about 5 miles away). I can only hope my actions will be able to turn things around, as, by all indications, they have certainly taken a turn for the worse.

Keep hope alive!


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

1) Happy B-DAY!

2) I knew it was your fault.

Abonilox said...

I will second the birthday greetings, but sadly cannot share your enthusiasm for your team. Too many bad memories of Ted Turner make it impossible for me to support the Braves. So from my point of view, you did the nation a favor. No apology necessary!

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

may you have many more happy birthdays

you might've included john lennon's "new york city" in your "what's going on" song list there - not from an enthusiasm for the yankees or the mets, but simply because of the refrain -

"que pasa, new york?
que pasa, new york?"


Randal Graves said...

I second Abonilox on all counts! But since it's a crime to root for anyone else in the NL East, go no one! Exclamation!