EYE OF THE TIGER, Dept.
Bill James, at age 65 or 73 or whatever he is, continues to come up with the freshest, most interesting baseball thought on the internet. Week in, week out. That in itself is a topic that would reward serious study: how does a man become more productive as he gets older?
Put another way: how do you avoid becoming a cranky old guy yelling Get Off My Lawn. How do you retain your gratitude, your enjoyment, and therefore your happiness?, as it applies to a subsector of life such as sports.
It's a big problem. Me myself and I, at age 54 the juice just ain't there. We :- ) mean it in a good way. Grandmaster Reuben Fine, also a top psychologist, pointed this out; according to him even Albert Einstein after the big 1912 season ... later in life he puttered around Princeton mostly philosophizing. In chess it's an axiom, that after age 35 or so, a player is running in quicksand.
Fine's paradigm for explaining this? was only one of many. But he pointed out that there is a psychology to the Son Tackling the Father. Ambition is right there, all the time, for a 17-year-old and maybe even a 27-year-old. But being a Father, Tackled By the Son, that's a very very different experience. And a different mentality. Bobby Fischer was a vicious lion until -- and including -- his match against Boris Spassky at age 29.
He never really played again, as Fine predicted he would not. Dr. Fine the psychologist flatly stated that Fischer probably did not have the makeup to win the Father scenario.
In the NBA this is known as "championship hangover." They explain it by offseason partying. But you also have the above issue. In the NFL, they think a lot about how players will handle the brutality and pain AFTER getting their big paydays.
So it's an interesting list, all the guys who -- as Sons Tackling Fathers -- won huge championships. Michael Jordan handled the Father role pretty well, didn't he ... Tom Brady. It's an even more interesting list, the old men who found the motivation. Strength belongeth to the young man, but wisdom to the old man. A few old men retain their strength (their ambition) also.
In baseball it's a little different, since no one guy controls the game.
WHERE WERE WE
Bill James was once asked about his two genres, Baseball and True Crime. He said that he dreams about baseball almost every single night, but has never had a single dream about crime. Every single night!
I don't remember ever having a dream about baseball, do you? Or do you - would love to hear that a few Denizens do live and breathe it. Dr. Detecto is a baseball obsessive but Jeff Clarke most decidedly is not. Jeff enjoys these:
- Logical and analytical aspect to baseball; it's uniquely sabermetric and chess-like (25 pieces instead of 16)
- Enjoys you friends, watching on TV to justify the family gathering, etc
- Idea exchange, learning something (from the Think Tank, e.g.) that is stimulating
- Enjoys a nice night at the park, the relaxation; watching baseball is sort of like playing golf, a walk without cell phones
- RELISHES competition as such. Unable to play much basketball any more, he funnels competitive energy through an M's game
- Rather likes the ballet and aiki sports motions of the game
- Is emotionally committed to his Mariner investment, wired in since the Langston/Davis days and before
- Hope is one of the most powerful human emotion; POSSIBILITY is intoxicating
- It is Americana, familiar, comforting like an old flannel shirt
He loves many things that CIRCLE baseball. But in no way, shape or form does Jeff love baseball itself. He wishes he did; James' life must be easy. Now, you guys, Jeff is quite fond of. ;- )
There is no need to regret your unrequited love of the Mariners. (Did I say that right?!) Perhaps it is the things peripheral to the local MLB game that you actually love?