Remembering Why I Left Baseball

Published: October 21, 2011

In the long long ago I was a die-hard baseball fan. From my earliest memories until the age of 10 or so, the Mets were my true love. I was so intense that I remember shooting the television with my BB gun during a particularly trying game against the Braves. At one point I decided to have symptoms  OCD just because I thought the luck would help the team. At no other point in my life can I think of a time when I was doing things in triplicate. During Mets games, though, that was my thing.

Then one day (I believe it was sometime in 2001) my love started fading. The Mets, who had long been filled with players who I knew, started acting like my least favorite team in the world– The Yankees. They paid big bucks to get Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Roger Cedeno, and there was even talk of them acquiring Juan Gonzales.

One might think that I would be thrilled that my favorite team was taking such drastic steps to improve, but they weren’t doing it in a way that was suitable to me. For example, I knew the Royals couldn’t do what the Mets were doing. I realized that immediately and it disgusted me. In baseball, teams that I admired were built through farm systems, not through a checkbook. That way I knew the players and I could watch them grow. It made me form an attachment to certain guys, and that made me care about the team.

For a few years after the Mets tried their luck at being the Yankees, I switched to my second favorite team, the A’s. They were young, built from the ground up, and representative of everything I liked about baseball. When Moneyball came out I liked them that much more, and I thought, for a little, that I had found my new obsession.

But then of course the financial realities set in. Beane lost nearly all of his young talented players, who he couldn’t afford to retain in free agency, and the homegrown team that I thought I could fall in love with– Tejada, Chavez, Moulder, Zito, and Hudson– was no more.

It was then that I stopped liking baseball. I stuck around for a few years as a casual observer since I had already invested so much time learning about the game, but my heart just wasn’t in it.

Last night I saw the World Series on for the first time in a while. It was tie ball game with the bases loaded in the 7th. I didn’t even stick around to see what would happen. That’s how little I care now. The only thing that keeps me paying attention at all is Yankees. I still hate them as much as I ever did.

My point is that no matter how much you love a sport or a game, there is always a breaking point in which you just no longer love the way you once did. After that line is crossed, it’s hard to ever come back and a lot easier to continue losing interest.

Oddly enough I’m not really talking about the lockout per se. The one issue that I see standing in the way of me having a lifetime love affair with the NBA is the ability for certain teams to completely outspend other teams while remaining profitable. If that issue gets settled in a way which means Carmelo Anthony(who has quickly become my least favorite player in the league in the past year) and the other stars can’t form another big three of near max salary players capable of being complimented by anything other than minimum salaried players, then the NBA won’t be in danger of losing me anytime in the future.

It’s upsetting to me that Players overwhelmingly support an uncapped system that will not only allow, but practically encourage super-teams to form.

So for that reason I continue to side with the league in regard to a harder cap, even if it means missing the entire year to make it a reality.


  1. Seattle Needle

    October 21, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Good points Joe. While I won’t link you to my long winded journal entry, I will say that there are still a lot of good things about the NBA system that definitely put it above the MLB. Keep in mind that the NBA is who invented the concept of cost certainty as their sport was the first to implement a cap.

    I think or at least hope that the super team “fad” will go away. Dallas beating Miami was a good first step. What we need to remember is that you still need cap space to sign big time players. Yeah, Miami signed the big 3 but they had almost nobody on the roster accept Mario Chalmers and three 2nd round picks when that happened. While the soft cap is imperfect, it serves it’s purpose by keeping stars, for the most part, at home.

    People forget that there is a reason why we never heard the Lakers as a possible destination for any of the big FA’s last summer. It’s because they were way above the cap. For every summer of Lebron, there are 5 offseasons where we see no FA movement and teams are able to build around their own star players.

    IMO, revenue sharing is the key to this cba mess. With more revenue sharing, there is less incentive to do one sided deals that send Gasol to the Lakers for expiring contracts and future prospects like his brother Marc. Take away those deals and it gives the strong markets less of a talent base to start with and they will be forced to do what the A’s do and less of what the Yankees do.

  2. paul

    October 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I was a Cubs season ticket holder.
    The last seats were right behind home plate looking straight down the first base line.
    Everything was good, well…except for the fact we never won!!!!

    But we loved our team and our players.
    We had Mark Grace meeting the fans after the games for drinks.
    We had a quiet, but smooth fan loving second baseman in Sandberg.
    We had just great guys!
    Win or lose, they likes us and we liked them.

    Then hell broke loose. We signed a drugged up outfielder who was hitting home runs to a ridiculous salary and I quit!
    Mark Grace gets traded t Texas because we needed money.

    No more season tickets for me.

    I like a sport for the sport.
    NOT just winning, but the playing of the game.
    And I worship players who recognize I, a fan, am as important to the game as they are.

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