I ATE TOO MANY JOLLY RANCHERS… The waning days of baseball

Terrible gastrointestinal pain is what I get for stress-eating hard candies while watching my baseball team implode against their divisional rival. Now I know why I avoided sports as a shy and sheltered child. Stress! To quote Cathy: Ack! But I should have indoctrinated myself to the wide world of sports earlier in life, because then I would have at least felt more prepared as an adult for the trappings of being a fan of teams who fall apart at the opportune moments. Christ God! How does it happen? Every swear word in every language at once is coming out of my mouth.

Now look here. I’m going through all seven stages of grief at the same time. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, rinse, repeat. My team has made me again an ouroboros of suffering. You know that Hilary Duff song “Come Clean”? Imagine that song playing in your head ad nauseam. That’s me. Now I tell you this, I had a big thing for Hilary when that song and music video dropped, but didn’t every 12-year-old boy who watched VH1 religiously? Yes. The answer is yes. But why that song? Why now? Is it because while that song is decidedly pop by every definition of the word, it could also fall into the early-Aughts emo camp and therefore make sense to haunt folks born between the years 1985 and 1992 who are going through moments of deep emotional turmoil? Again, yes.

Great God, this baseball season has damned me. Riding high for so long only means you crash harder when you fall. I congratulate the Braves for not suffering the post-World Series dip that most teams take. My only hope now is that my Mets pick it up at the tail end and win the Wild Card, eke out wins in the Divisional Series, and make it to the Championship. If they can’t, I hope the NL champion is not the Dodgers and the AL champ is not the Astros. If I have to watch those two teams in the World Series again – in any way, separate or playing each other – I will put a six-foot scimitar through all the furniture in Rob Manfred’s office before tying his shoelaces together and rolling him down the fire exit stairs of MLB’s New York offices.

Despite everything, I’m proud of these 2022 Mets. We won more games than we have in the last several years. We got some star players to have banner years. We broke some records. We had fun! It seems like it’s been a while since we had fun. But the suffering continues. Sports is all fun and suffering. Pleasure and pain. Life! Death. Sports.

So there are 500 words on the current feelings. I’ve gotta get to bed before these Jolly Ranchers wreak havoc on my digestive system. If I can get myself powered down now, chances are I can trick myself into forgetting about the Mets’ losses as well as the awful amounts of sugar, artificial flavoring, and dangerous additives swimming around in my gullet at the moment. Something tells me it ain’t gonna be so easy. Good God.

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