I am not a rational sports fan. In fact I know my relationship with sports is very unhealthy. I am an addict. I can't walk away. I understand that most people can causally watch sports. They can take joy in playoff win without watching every regular season game. They can get to the ballpark in the third inning and leave in the eighth no matter what the score is.
A few years ago I was in San Francisco on the second to last day of the regular season. Both the Giants and A's were in the playoff chase and faced must wins. My cousin and I watched both games in a sports bar. Both teams lost in Cleveland-like fashion. The Giants blew a huge lead to their arch-rivals in the ninth. The A's also lost late.
But when we left the sports bar and wandered into downtown San Francisco. No one had any idea. Their was no gloom or doom. People had too many other interests to be devastated. The next day we went to see the Browns-49ers play. And as we traveled to the game on public transportation there was no sign that there was even an NFL game scheduled. When we got there the 49er fans were polite and nice to us. The Browns played horrible but won the game late with a bunch of field goals. 49er fan didn't fight. They didn't smash things. They went home and did whatever they do on a Sunday.
And frankly I was jealous.
I watched the Cavs game alone last night. Plans fell through and I just had a sense of doom. And as the game went on, it just seemed like the Magic were the better team. I thought if we lose this series, someone will try to name it. But there will be no name. The Magic are just playing better. They look like the more complete team. The series may have started with the Cavs as the favorites but the games have clearly showed the Magic are in control.
So I started watching the Indians game with my dad today. It was 7-0 and we decided to give up and watch the Breaking Bad episode that was saved on the DVR. When it ended the score was 10-2. My mom wanted to watch Bride Wars. It was hard to argue that a 10-2 game played by a last place team was important so put the movie in.
As the end credits started, I asked my mom if she thought the Indians had made a remarkable comeback. And in her ever positive manner she said yes. The game returned just as Martinez took a called strike two that was way out of the zone.
I gasped. My mom now in the other room said well what is the score. It was 10-9. Bases loaded. Two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth.
I said aloud, "I turned it back on too soon."
I felt like I had been kicked in the liver. Not the reaction most people would have. Instead of amazement, instead of joy. I thought I just jinxed them.
My thoughts told me that if Victor Martinez would strike out, I could never watch an Indians game ever again. I know that makes no sense. I know that way of thinking is insane. But in that moment I was convinced if I had just let the full credits roll, the Indians would have won. But now I had returned-- I who had quit on them and watched some stupid movie about brides instead-- I would ruin their moment.
Victor fouled off the next pitch. I felt sick to my stomach. I just knew bad was about to happen. And then Victor singled up the middle and the Indians won the game. We hit rewind on the remote and watched the entire comeback.
I felt not joy but relief. That lasted about a minute before I started thinking well maybe things can be different. Maybe this is the spark they needed. Forget the starting pitcher couldn't through strikes. Forget they are 10 games below .500. Forget how painful this season has been. Maybe they can get back into this thing.
Again completely illogical.
A few minutes later. I started thinking about how maybe LeBron can find a way to beat the Magic. The sense of dreading tomorrow's game four started to drift away. Maybe LeBron is so good, he can alter history.
And somewhere else, someone else will open their paper tomorrow and say, "Hey the Indians won last night-- nice!" Then go to work where they will see someone wearing a Cavs shirt and say, "So when do they play next?"
And when they get the answer they will reply, "It would be so nice if they won, don't you think?"
Yes it would.