I remember hiding under the covers and listening to the Angels on a hand-held transistor radio while I was supposed to be asleep. The lights were out and the volume was down and that radio was very close to my ear. My dad was in the next room, his den, almost always listening to the game just as I was. Once in a while he’d walk over to my room, open the door and say, “we should have been there to see that play,” or “we might actually win this game.”
There are many explanations for why people follow professional sports teams, everything from suppressed survival drives (including sex) to a desire to be accepted into social circles. To me it’s nice to have something outside of myself that gives a buffer to my personal angst. Sometimes it’s easier to experience ups and down at a distance. The teams and the players allow for a release of energy that goes safely aside, but parallel to my life.
The season is more real to the players. One hundred sixty two games spread over six, or seven in a successful year, months. So for the better part of a year, things can happen in that span. Life does not go on hold during that time, it grinds forward with bad hops and glare in your eyes. Ask Tori Hunter or think of Nick Adenhart.
Or consider Jerome Williams, still a feel good story at 6-5, 4.46 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Add in a very solid stretch at the end of last year and he’s been an excellent #5 for the better part of a season combined. On Monday night Williams did not have his best stuff while he was in the game, giving up four earned runs while getting 10 outs on 75 pitches, but things just got worse after he was taken out of the game when he apparently passed out in the clubhouse.
Williams, who has a history of asthma, was hospitalized with shortness of breath. About 8% of the US population suffers or has a history of suffering from asthma. Those that have experienced an asthma attack, as I have, would tell you that there’s nothing like fighting for breath. Talk about competing, with the game on the line. Of course, Williams has experienced some adversity in his career as well, coming up as a top prospect and then seeing success going, going, gone.
After being released from the hospital, Williams tweeted that he was ok, resting up, getting ready to get back out there on the mound and pitch. He may do that from the bullpen, since I’m guessing that Garrett Richards has made Mr. Scioscia a bit breathless and Mr. Weaver has returned.