What Do You Do When It’s Over?

As you know, I have never shied away from my personal problems on this blog. I know this is a baseball blog first and foremost, but over the years I have come to think of you all as my extended family. Many of you are closer to me than my own actual family. You’ve been there for me in good times and in bad. You’ve been with me through my divorce, through moving to a new area where I knew virtually no one, through my bouts of depression and anxiety.

As you also know, the lack of a baseball season has basically destroyed what little stability I have. The stress of my job coupled with the lack of baseball has turned me inside out. The worst part, though, is the loneliness, and the feeling of loss.

I don’t date much. I don’t get out much. Being in isolation is actually pretty normal for me. But the thing that bothers me is that I don’t have that someone special in my life. I’ve gone on a few dates here and there, and have dated a few people during extended periods of time, but it never really fits. What I want is so hard to find – someone that I can have intelligent conversations with, someone who is funny and clever, someone who is mildly affectionate at the very least, and most importantly, someone who knows and loves baseball.

The love of baseball is something that I want to share with the person I’m with. I want to share the thing I love the most with someone that I can grow to love, too.

Recently, I had met someone. This person was attractive, interesting, extremely bright, but most importantly knew as much as baseball as I did. To say there was an instant attraction is to minimize it. It was like this gentleman was made for me. I had only felt this type of warmth inside maybe twice before in my life, and here it was again, but literally stronger and brighter than I had ever felt it before. It was magical.

Much like Spring Training, however, it was cut short before it could even get to a game that mattered. I still don’t understand exactly what happened. I doubt I ever will. But the connection is gone. It’s basically the Appalachian League at this point – it will never come back. It’s dead.

This is the cruelest cut of all. To be so close to something I had wanted literally my entire life, and to watch it slip away… I feel like Brad Lidge after he gave up that bomb to Albert Pujols in the NLCS. I feel like Bill Buckner. I’m Grady Little and life is Pedro Martinez. I’m Rick Ankiel after his battle with the yips.

What do you do when it’s over?

I look at the minor league towns who are going to lose everything after this is all over. The livelihoods, the togetherness. The connection to baseball, to life, to a source of joy. It will be gone, and it will not come back. How do they survive? What do they do?

What do you do when it’s over?

I think of news regarding retired players, how they suffer after they leave the game. The toll paid on their bodies. How they ache, how they are addicted to medication, how they struggle with even living a normal life. I think about Ryan Freel a lot, the desperation he must have felt. The sadness. The loneliness.

What do you do when it’s over?

When it hurts to breathe. When it eats at your sleep. When you can’t escape the darkness. When air turns to ashes in your mouth. When you lose the thing that made everything make sense. When the way you cope is gone. When your hope is gone.

What do you do when it’s over?

You have to keep going, right? Right? You do. You harden yourself a little more. Lose a little more of what makes you hurt inside, so you will not hurt anymore. You play through the pain. Like Joe Mauer after his concussions, you adapt. You move. You just keep going.

Baseball will keep going. It’s survived world wars, labor strikes, insane rule changes. God willing it will survive Rob Manfred. But it will never die – it will evolve, it will live. It may not be the thing it used to be, but it will keep going.

And so will I. And so will you.

Because what do you do when it’s over? You have to move to the next thing.

28 thoughts on “What Do You Do When It’s Over?

  1. Chin up Prof. Remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you bitter… 🙂

    We just have to channel our inner Rogers Hornsby and stare out the window just a bit longer… waiting for spring… but it will get here.

    Hugs from north of the border.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I waited 13 years for Paper. I was alone a long time and didn’t date or anything. I figured I was okay on my own and I didn’t want to be with anyone just to be with someone. If I met someone with a similar interest in the course of living my life, that would be it. And it did happen, eventually.

    And I like to remind Paper that we would’ve had more years together if he’d emailed me sooner. 😉

    Hang in there, Prof. It’s an empty time and I know it’s worse for you now. But, this isn’t forever.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Tomorrow is our second wedding anniversary. We were going to go on a second honeymoon, but that got scrapped.

        I’d rather have no baseball than crap baseball — runners starting on 2nd, 7-inning games, a season of empty stadiums (but continued commitment of public funds) and crowded playoffs, forcing staff and players into situations that put their health at risk so the owners make money…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m going to second Beltran’s niece. I was divorced for 5 years before I started dating again. It took me that long to be happy by myself and then to happy to share myself with someone again. Then there were a few misfires, but ultimately I met my wife…and we’ve been together for 18 years.

    …and baseball is coming

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rays… It’s just been a lot lately. This last year has been the worst year of my life and I wanted to get back to what made everything right. The routine and comfort of baseball, the thing that made my life normal since I was seven years old. It was the only thing I could rely on in my life and it’s not here. And then this happened, and they are going to kill all of these minor league teams, and it just feels like nothing is good anymore.

      But at least I know that I have friends who care. Some people don’t even have that. Maybe I should just be thankful for that.

      Like

  4. Waiting can sometimes be worth it… my wife and I were very late starters, I was 32 and she was 34 when we first met. That is now 26 years ago and we have been married for 24 of those, with two wonderful kids to show for it.

    Keep your chin up and it will happen when you least expect it. Neither of us was actively looking for anyone when we met, it just happened.

    And she’s even a baseball fan, although she likes the Mariners as she grew up on Vancouver Island. No one’s perfect I guess…

    Like

  5. “What I want is so hard to find – someone that I can have intelligent conversations with, someone who is funny and clever, someone who is mildly affectionate at the very least, and most importantly, someone who knows and loves baseball.”

    Prof, I’m no Dear Abby, but if you can fill the first 3 on this list you hit the jackpot. My wife doesn’t know jack squat about baseball and I know nothing about her passion of crafting. But we have joint interests in live theater, music, and travel. I wish you all the luck in the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sparty, I have tried to make things work with people who don’t like baseball and I just can’t. 😦 I must be broken.

      Like

  6. If things didn’t work out it is because he is not good enough for you, because he does not know like you do know that with out pain there cannot be wisdom.

    Liked by 2 people

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