As I walked through the cafeteria at work, I noticed some Filipino inspired chicken and rice, some fresh fruit, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk (not 52oz like Derrik would have). Half adult, half kid meal for me today. As I sat down at my lunch table to enjoy this delectable treat, I saw some of the usual lunchtime suspects roll in. It being that time of year, I knew we’d definitely be talking baseball. Our conversation didn’t disappoint.
Hi, it’s me, Barnes, and I’m here to tell you that “being a fan isn’t fun” as noted by my co-worker and mentor, Coach Shilts. Coach is an awesome guy, with great insight and perspective on literally every subject. Coach is in his mid 50s. Having spent most of his life in Michigan, he’s a huuuuuggggeee Detroit fan. He loves all things Detroit sports but, first and foremost, he is a baseball fan. He loves the game so much that he has season tickets for the Somerset Patriots, the New York Yankees’ AA minor league affiliate. Side bar: congrats to the Somerset Patriots on being the 2022 Eastern League Champions.
The conversation at the lunch table really got my mind working and ticking through countless people who are “die hard fans” or “so into sports”. For the most part, these people are casual fans that root for teams once playoff time rolls around or their team is making a run. I consider myself to be a really enthusiastic fan of sports in general, as well as a really “good” fan even when the teams I support are struggling. Isn’t that what being a fan is really about? I’d say being a fan is basically like a marriage, in sickness and in health.
So here we are, we are in the winter meetings. Teams are vying to sign players to improve, and fans are either rejoicing that their team successfully brought in a player they want, throwing a tantrum because they brought in a player who is going to bust, or depressed that they are missing out on stars.
At the time of this publication, the New York Yankees have successfully brought back Aaron Judge on a monster deal that should allow him to retire as a Yankee. Also at this time, Xander Bogaerts has left the Boston Red Sox and has signed with the San Diego Padres.
No matter how you feel about the contracts that were signed, one team retained one of their flagship players and the other did not. Fans on both sides are going nuts for the same reasons. The contract is long, it will lock that player into a team for a long time, for better or for worse. Some fans are rejoicing over the signing of Judge or that the Sox didn’t keep Xander, while some fans are damning the team for signing Judge to such a long contract or not re-signing Xander.
Is it only fun when your team wins? Well, it’s certainly fun when your team does win, but do they have to win for it to be fun? Is it fun to complain with your friends about how you guys could run the team better than the suits who are doing it currently? Do we find comfort in coming out of a losing streak? Are we happy with consistent performance but nothing spectacular?
WHERE IS THE FUN PART!?!?!?!
The 2022 Yankees ended their season losing to the Houston Astros…again. You know, like they always have been doing for what seems like forever. Players getting injured happens to everyone, but for some reason it always seems magnified when it’s for the Yankees. Michael King, who was a huge part of the bullpen in 2022, had his season cut short. It feels like Benintendi and Montas got hurt a week after they were added to the roster. DJ, Carpenter, Marinaccio, Effros, and the list goes on of guys who got hurt late in the season when we were gearing up for the playoffs.
Then there is the manager, Aaron Boone, who seems like the most plain manager a team could have, trying to say the right thing and following exactly what the front office wants him to do. Honestly, Boone at times feels like a puppet rather than a manager.
Then there’s John’s favorite person in the Yankees organization, Brian Cashman. Brian Cashman, to me, is the okayest GM a team could have. Doesn’t make outright bad moves, but he doesn’t necessarily make moves that are really going to move the needle. I feel like Cashman was that kid in school who was smart enough to always to get Cs to keep his parents off his back. You know, the kind of guy who wouldn’t really do a lot of homework or pay attention in class, but always tested well enough to maintain his grade.
A moment that really summed up the 2022 Red Sox was Christian Arroyo trying to field a fly ball against the Yankees and yelling “I can’t see the ball” in a very panicked state. My Red Sox friends would tell you that this season was a swift kick to the groin. Before the season started, I don’t think many people really expected a whole lot out of the Sox. Even with a low expectation, and the Red Sox performing……how do I say it politely….absolutely horridly, Red Sox fans could not have a fun time in 2022. They got off to a crap start, they started to turn it around, and then decided to poop in their big boy pants.
The roster was obliterated with injuries and underwhelming performances. At the end of the year, the roster looked like someone just drew names out of a hat. Needless to say the Red Sox fan base is looking for a better 2023 campaign. As Doug said, “the Red Sox can’t even f*&! it up right!”
So if you made it this far, there is probably something that you’re ready to punch a hole in the wall for that your team didn’t do right. All things considered, would you say you had a fun time this season? Is the time, money, and emotion you invest in your team each season worth it to you regardless of the team’s final place in the standings? Or is your sports happiness tied directly to the level of winning your team enjoys? Win or lose, is the juice worth the squeeze to you?
Personally, I found that the 2022 New York Yankees’ season was super fun. It may have been the most fun season I’ve had to date, and yes, that includes the times when they were winning the World Series. We got to see a player have a historic year, I got to talk baseball with a lot of different people and got to be part of the Bleach Brawls crew. Cheers.
Until next time,
Your Boy, Barnes