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The Wild Card: Lights Out

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Some musings on the end of the season, and the need to recharge.

Ralph Freso

Three games against the Cardinals from now, the Diamondbacks season will be over. Considering how the season to has gone, it's a merciful end. The Diamondbacks can briefly fade into the ether while the 10 teams good enough to play in the postseason duke it out. There will be trades, free-agent signings, and the like with the new front office structure making their initial mark on the team.

While that happens, a new World Series champ will be crowned, Derek Jeter will be retired (or dead, hard to tell with the way they talk about him.), as will Bud Selig, and it will be four months of FOOTBAW! dominating the sporting zeitgeist in America. At about this time in 2015, we will be entering another playoff race. Probably without the Diamondbacks, but you never know! Derek Jeter will still be deadretired, FOOTBAW will still be the thing in the winter. Lather, rinse, repeat.

There are always hopeful "Can't wait for next year!" cries from all fans of all teams, good and bad, but me? I can wait a little. I exhausted all of my angst about the season sometime in April, but it became a slow, interminable grind towards the finish. There were bright spots, any season will have them. We all remember Randy Johnson's Perfect Game in 2004 fondly, after all. It was fun seeing guys like David Peralta and Ender Inciarte, who were but whispers of my imagination at this time last year, come up and do well enough to deserve some consideration for regular playing time in the future. It was fun, until *that* happened, to see Paul Goldschmidt still tear up National League pitching. Despite all of these, it was still a grim march to the end. And I still watched quite a bit of it.

I've said in a joking matter before that watching a bad team play nightly preferable to staring into oblivion and thinking about your mortality. There is some truth to that. Even the most putrid of teams gives you something to do if you're at home at night with no plans. It's comforting, it's always there. Eventually you take some perverse joy in seeing incompetence (Oh, that's his fifth strikeout in five at-bats tonight? How delightful!) Is it a coping mechanism that you use to justify watching terrible sports being played? Probably, who knows?

Of course, this sort of thinking and behavior isn't what one would expect to be the norm for any sort of fan, so that's one reason why I'm glad there won't be actual Baseball played by the Diamondbacks for awhile. The next five months are needed for me to get my enthusiasm battery recharged.

Obviously, there will be hot stove action (available in that back room at the video store, kids) and wheelings and dealings which will be discussed to death on the comments section of this website, with the usual suspects taking expected opposing viewpoints no matter what happens. You know who you are. However, in that case, those events usually aren't a daily, or even weekly thing, and without actual action, it's easier to disappear into the offseason ether.

Those months without regular Baseball give you time to miss it, even if you aren't actively doing so. With other sports, kinds of entertainment, the various winter holidays, and whatever else is in your world is important to you. While you do all that, the kernel of baseball regrows in your soul/psyche/whatever, and you can be content in life without baseball while still recharging your love of it.

This feeling doesn't last forever. Usually by early February, the battery hits 100%. I and many other die-hard fans are gnashing at the bit to get Spring Training started. But that's okay, the offseason recharging has worked correctly and done it's job. Even if the team decided to trade the entirety of its 25-man roster for Jesus Montero, I'd still be ready for things to go. All of your requisite spring/rebirth cliches apply here, but there is truth to them. For now, we are like the prodigal bear and are hibernating (but with a better chance of a World Series appearance than actual bear-based baseball things.)

I can wait until next year. I can wait awhile. You might not, and that's fine, but that's how I'm wired.

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Thanks for reading The Wild Card next year. Hopefully you enjoyed some of the ramblings and such. If you didn't? Well here's a very small violin. I can't play it for you, because my fingers are too big, but it's still a neat thing, you know?