"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." Bart Giamatti
I'm not sure if I've shared this quote before. If you've found your way to this blog, chances are you've read the Giamatti quote. It really gets to the heart of the matter, what inevitably draws me to the game. The trend these days is more analytical, more precise, colder. I'm on board with that in most cases. Not accepting out dated concepts and ideas on face value is a good thing. Bunts are, by and large, bad. I completely understand if analytics are the way some people not only enjoy the game, but it's how they got into the game. We all take different paths. Mine had a lot less to do with numbers and more to do with romantic ideas about baseball.
Just enjoying the game was the best way to take in the 2017 White Sox season. Some of the individual numbers (hello Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia!) were great, but overall this team will be as anonymous as any other also-ran. As I watched the last home game of the 2017 season, I am pretty sure that the lineup for opening day 2018 will look quite different from the one on Thursday night.
But that's ok. I still got to watch baseball, live baseball, cheap, with a slightly smallish crowd. It was kind of cool and I needed a jacket. It was pretty much the perfect way to say goodbye to team, the park and baseball for another year. I remember when I worked at Wrigley, there was a group of folks with season tickets in the bleachers who insisted on being the last ones out of the park after the last home game. We would clear everyone else out and walk down the ramp together, one last day in the sun. It wasn't mourning or regret, but it was a little grief, a sadness at a passing.
That's what the end of most baseball seasons in my life have felt like, including Thursday, a time of reflection and a bit of a broken heart.