This weekend the Pirates swept the Brewers at PNC Park. It seems like such normal reaction that Pirate ‘fans’ would be happy about that, right? Well, of course it’s normal, as with just about everything else on social media, someone is waiting there to make sure you’re significantly put in your place.
Look, three wins, that drag your record all the way up to 7-17 is nothing to crow about. Neither does it make them playoff bound. That said, it was a nice respite from losing every series. A chance to enjoy a few games on a Summer weekend and knock down a rival in the process.
I didn’t really get the impression too many people took it too far, in fact it seemed to me most people forced some qualifiers into their celebratory tweets or posts. Like ‘they still stink but…’ or something similar, almost bracing for the crowd of people who want to remind everyone to stay miserable.
Again, this doesn’t really change anything for the franchise. It doesn’t move them out of the seller mode they find themselves in, and because they need to make some changes moving forward, that’s a good thing. Teams that are floating close to .500 might be inclined to stand pat, seeking the appearance of success a playoff berth could mean in 2020.
I’ll be honest, go ahead and be happy.
When life throws you an opportunity to smile, take it and run with it. Sure, be realistic, keep your eyes open and understand exactly what it means, but don’t deprive yourself of joy, it serves no purpose but to keep you feeling melancholy.
Be happy for Gregory Polanco, that was a really nice series for him. And be happy for whatever that means to you, trade value, helping the team win, making a baseball series fun for you, who cares why. Being excited about that and happy for the guy doesn’t mean you think he’s the Dominican Babe Ruth. It means he did well and sometimes that’s enough.
About a year back my father in-law bought a new truck, he’s always wanted one, it was one of the first things I learned about him when I started dating his daughter, so to see him finally get it, well it was nice to see. Now imagine as he pulled it into his parking lot for the first time a group of strangers were standing there holding signs about gas mileage and the resale value. “Next week it’ll just be another vehicle you dumb a**” I can hear it now.
Clearly that would never happen, because when you take away the social media muscles the reality is people don’t talk like that to each other.
If you’re at a ballgame, remember that place we used to be able to go watch a game, and you cheer for a homerun from Polanco, nobody is going to turn to you and tell you to shut up because you’re being a moron. Nobody will make sure you see a chart they had at their fingertips to show you how many times he failed this season. You’re allowed to enjoy that moment, for what it is.
You’re allowed to finish watching that game, feel the happiness of knowing your team just flipped the script on the Brewers who were getting Hader ready to come in, then allowed themselves to miss the opportunity. You get the rest of the game and probably the drive home to enjoy this one outcome. Maybe an hour later you get to social media and see all the stuff I’m referring to.
Fans are in a unique position this season. Many of those people are now watching and commenting along with fellow fans on social media. Subject to the real time takes that come with it for the first time. They didn’t mean to make a deeper point than ‘what a great swing by Polanco’ but were met with detailed explanations of their false hope and stupid yinzer fandom.
Are there people who think this sweep has the Pirates poised to go on a 10-2 run back to contention? Of course, but even in that case, what harm does it cause to let them have the optimism? It’s not like Cherington is asking their opinion as to what the team should do at the deadline. It’s not like most of the players go out and seek what the fans had to say about that game. Even if they did, what harm comes from seeing some fans amped up about a win? Now if you ask me directly to help back up your feelings, I won’t most likely enhance your belief, but I certainly won’t try to make you feel like you are paid by Nutting.
If there is one thing, I don’t understand about the world today, it’s the near constant attempt to make sure everyone remains at least a little miserable. Last year I talked about a clean up project in a local park and how much trash we removed. I was genuinely happy that a small group was able to make such an impact. It was met with conversation about how disgusting it was we had that much to clean in the first place. Then what an insignificant amount that was in the greater scheme of things and spiraled into an overall discussion about how we’ve failed the environment.
See, you go from a group of people doing something positive, no matter the significance, and turn it into a reason to feel like you failed or were stupid for being happy at all.
Baseball isn’t life for fans, it’s just part of it. Ingest it as you like. Maybe for you that’s analyzing advanced stats literally as the game is going on. Maybe it means understanding the long-range picture and focusing on trade value, and playing GM. Maybe you just can’t see victory with Nutting, period. Whatever.
Try to allow yourself to experience joy, in whatever form that takes, because it really is what life is about.