In the winter, there’s going to be a rainy day. You’ll stare out your window and see 43 shades of gray, each more dull than the last. It’ll be drafty inside your house. You’ll look at the forecast and see six more days of rain ahead. There’ll be a bowl game on -- the Steak-umm Bowl with North Texas against East Carolina -- and you’ll watch it because you feel like you have to watch some sort of sporting event. North Texas is up by 30. Or maybe East Carolina is. Or maybe you’re watching East Texas. Whatever. The telecast will get back from a commercial, there’ll be a kickoff and a touchback, and then they’ll cut to commercial again.
And your mind will drift. You’ll start thinking about spring. You’ll daydream about the smell of freshly cut grass. You’ll think about what it’s like to sit down the third-base line on a sunny day, listening to the thwap of the catcher’s mitt as a pitcher warms up. You’ll think about a breeze that would blow in with the perfect amount of wind -- just enough to cool you down, not enough to make you reach for long sleeves.
Your heart will ache. The melancholy will sting. You’ll take an old, broken clock and spin the big hand around with your index finger for an hour, half-hoping that you’ll finish and find that you’ve magically advanced the calendar to May. You will do anything for baseball at that point. You’ll feel your system shutting down.
Right around this point, I’m going to show up at your door with a recording of this game. I’ll make you watch. You’ll see empty seats and rain. You’ll see the Giants looking like a miserable version of their former selves against a team that isn’t very good. You’ll watch a game that comes in at under three hours but feels like six. There will be no beauty, no mythology in this game. Shoeless Joe isn’t going to come out of the corn field. You aren’t going to play catch with your dad. You’ll watch Freddy Sanchez swing at a breaking ball to get to an 0-1 count, then you’ll fall asleep for two hours, wake up, and watch Sanchez foul a pitch off to get to an 0-2 count.
After the game ends, we’ll make a list of the things you could have done instead of watch baseball. We’ll go through Time’s 100 Greatest Novels list. We’ll look up how people get those little ships in the bottles. We’ll call old friends and laugh.
And when I leave, you’ll thank me. You’ll forget all about the game of baseball. You’ll realize it isn’t going to make things better. It isn’t a way of life. It isn’t a soulful pastime that defines you. You’ll realize that it’s an overrated, horrible sham of a hobby. And when you remember my visit in July, you’ll try to log on to McCovey Chronicles to see how I’m doing, but it won’t be here. This site will have never existed. You’ll find no record of it. You’ll wonder if I ever showed up at your door at all, and then you’ll convince yourself that I was never there. Maybe I wasn’t. But you’ll be a better person.
Because screw that game, that’s why.