From a breakup to the Blue Jays

By Leah Scheitel
@leah_schei

It’s scoreless at the bottom of the second.

Last year, these words held a completely different meaning to me – most likely, there was no chance for meeting a good dude at the second bar I ventured to that night. But right now, it’s all about baseball.

I’m writing this white knuckled as I watch game four of the ALCS, between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland (really behind the times) Indians. The Blue Jays are majorly losing this series and if they lose this game, their season is over. And while it might break my heart, my love for the sport is flourishing.

While I grew up watching baseball, I never really cared about the sport. In my 20s, I gave it the same regard I gave to all professional sports: generally a waste of time. But I dated a guy last year whose one true love is the Toronto Blue Jays and baseball, and got a personal education on the sport. He told me of the games legends, why certain ball fields are better than others and the important long-standing rivalries in the game. He spewed out anecdotes of nearly everyone on the Blue Jays roster such as, Josh Donaldson, who plays third base. He’s originally from Florida and had a convict for a father. His father spent 15 years in prison and was released in 2007, the same year Donaldson was a rookie in the major leagues. And the catcher, Russell Martin, who is the human version of a teddy bear, is one of the two Canadian players on the Jays’ team. His father was a musician and used to busk outside of metro stations in Montreal to fund Martin’s passion for baseball.

Week after week, the ex and I would combat hangovers by watching baseball and drinking coffee. At first, I thought of it as a slight chore – something that I would have to endure to be a good girlfriend. But by the end, it became a comfort, like a weekly three-hour story time. And when we broke up in August, baseball is the one thing I kept from our relationship.

And now, baseball has seeped its way into my daily life. While in Chicago, I dragged my mom to two White Sox games, where we sat in $10 seats, drank $10 beers and ate hot dogs. I also went to the iconic Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play, just to see it. There wasn’t even a game being played there that week, but I just wanted to be around it. We both admitted the pair of baseball games was our favourite part of our trip. Also, I’m currently looking for regular work, and am hoping to end up in a town with a professional baseball team. This game is altering my life.

What baseball has when compared to other professional sports, in my twisted opinion, is a bit more personality. One of the facets of the game I enjoy the most is the ability to see the player’s faces, as they are not covered by helmets or full-face masks, a la hockey and football. Because of this, the joy the players feel when they hit a double, steal a base or make a double play, can be seen and celebrated to a different degree. Seeing professionals excel at what they do best is addictive to watch in any profession.

So now I’m invested. Some of my emotional happiness will depend on the outcome of this game, and any games the Blue Jays play thereafter. It will depend on who they trade and the emotion on their players’ faces. It will hinge on next season and the season after that.

Sports writer Stacey May Fowles’ Twitter feed sums up my feelings perfectly, and I appreciate her for that.

14800713_10157543344020375_513713642_nLeah loves a stiff drink, is obsessed with Saturday Night Live, and lives for her cats. She’s the most articulate date you’ll ever have. Voting turns her on.