Baseball Should Distract But Not Trump

Jared Wickerham

I come to Royals Review today feeling extremely conflicted about Boston and baseball and life in general. At times today, and on Monday, I felt irrationally annoyed any time I read a post or tweet from someone who had the nerve not to mention Boston, and even angry any time someone actually posted something joyful or boastful. Why? Not because I hate joy and happiness. But because those posts all felt so "ignorance is bliss," so "these people are in denial," so insensitively oblivious to the world and to tragedy and to people's pain.

On the other hand, there was a pull inside myself - especially after spending my entire morning glued to a live Boston news feed - to escape, to find joy, to laugh, to hear a story, tell a joke, share an accomplishment, anything to forget momentarily that this world is going to hell in a handbasket faster than I can even type that stupid phrase. And, of course, the ultimate distraction - for many Royals Review writers and readers, anyway - is baseball.

On Monday, the first day I felt the need to escape with baseball, the Royals left town, so there was no home game to attend. And Monday was an off day, so there was no away game to listen to or watch. I ended up turning on the Dodgers game later that night, for the sole purpose of using Vin Scully as my escape route. And, wouldn't you know it, ol' Vin understood. Not long after I turned on the game, Vin mentioned the Boston bombing and said something about baseball still being played because sometimes it just helps to - and I quote - "hear a familiar voice." That actually brought tears to my eyes. Leave it up to Vin to articulate perfectly my (and probably many other fans') need for normalcy and familiarity.

On Tuesday we played a very hot Braves team and lost in a pretty depressing way. On Wednesday we played them again and ended their winning streak by the skin of our teeth, which was great. But then on Thursday we had another off day. For some inexplicable reason, we have more off days in April than any other month of the season if we don't count the All-Star Break (and any other team in MLB, it seems like, though I haven't verified that). The start of the MLB season - for Royals fans - has been very slow with all these off days. It seems like every time we get hot, we have to take a break. Every time we get any sort of streak going, we have to take a break. Every time we win, we have a break. It's been tough.

So today, perhaps more than usual, I was excited about baseball. Even though I knew we had slim chance of winning. Not only is Boston hot right now; tonight would've been their first home game since the bombing. It was going to be emotionally charged, it was going to be loud, it almost certainly would've been sold out. Speaking strictly baseball, it probably would've been a carnival in which the Royals starred as the clowns. (If that makes sense. Does that make sense? I'm trying to say we would've played bad baseball and looked stupid. Or maybe we wouldn't have.) But it also would've been cool. Witnessing the emotions of the Bostonians, watching a city rally behind its baseball team, and feeling like we were all coming together over a common grief, lessened in part by the common bond of baseball... It would've been great to be part of that.

But the longer the morning went on, the more it became clear that no baseball would be played tonight. Because having a baseball game means they have to get all the players, coaches, VIP, media, stadium workers, and fans to the ballpark. And in a city that's been on lockdown for the better part of the day, that's just not going to get a green light. Disappointing? Yes. But can I support the reasoning? Absolutely.

So then I heard that some people were suggesting the Royals and Red Sox pack it up and fly to KC to play the series here, and my anger flared up again. Nobody in my Twitter feed suggested this, but I saw waves of responses in my feed to the alleged suggestion. Without having any context, I was irritated that baseball fans - and Royals fans, nonetheless - would have the gall to publicly disregard a situation that has the nation's attention - likely the world's attention - just because they wanted to see some baseball. I want to see a baseball game as much as the next guy, but not that bad. Not bad enough to suggest we make Boston leave town again (notwithstanding all the numerous problems with getting both teams safely to the airport to begin with), and focus on playing a stupid game, in another city, pretending like their friends, families, and communities were not sitting back at home, their entire lives suspended and on pause, waiting to resume normal life again. Such a suggestion is the height of self-absorbed idiocy, right?

And then, I got some more information on the reasoning behind the idea, which was some halfcocked (but assuredly well-meaning) notion that we could somehow turn it into a fundraiser and show of support and solidarity with Boston. So then I wasn't pissed anymore. I do still think the suggestion is a bit misguided, but insensitive? Debatable at this point.

Anyway, what a week. What a day. A few ups but far more downs, and certainly not enough opportunities to distract myself with Royals baseball. But maybe that's good. Maybe I distract myself and escape from the world's pain too often. Who knows. As I wrote this, I had the news on in the background, and all the "they found him hiding in a boat" developments unfolded. Lord have mercy. Maybe we should all just have a drink together.

I hope the rest of you can find a better way than I have so far to manage and balance your emotions this weekend as all of this comes to a head and, hopefully, a conclusion (of sorts).

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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