Doc: How do you feel?
Me: When I woke up this morning, I felt calm, relaxed, and well-rested.
Doc: How do you feel right now?
Me: Right now, I feel like I want to tear out my hair. I want to throw a chair through a wall. I want to smash my baseball bat through my computer screen and watch the glass fly.
Doc: Why the change? What happened?
Me: I went Sunday’s game against the Royals. It was easily the most frustrating, embarrassing, aggravating loss I have witnessed in a long time.
Doc: What was so frustrating about it?
Me: The A’s could have gained a game on their closest competitors, since the Angels and Yankees both lost, but they wasted a three-run lead.
Doc: Why was it embarrassing?
Me: Coming into this series, the Royals had lost 19 in a row. Then they beat the A’s twice, and the A’s looked like the team that had lost 19 in a row. It was as if the A’s went out of their way today to prove Scott Long’s point: if the A’s are a playoff quality team this year, then this year’s playoffs stink. Playoff caliber teams don’t lose games and series like this to teams like the Royals.
Doc: Why was it aggravating?
Me: They didn’t make the worst team in baseball beat them; instead they beat themselves.
Joe Blanton came out of the game leading 3-0 after 7, having thrown only 99 pitches. He could have easily gotten another out or two, particularly since Ken Macha later demonstrated the willingness to bring in Huston Street in the eighth.
Instead, Jay Witasick came in and walked the first guy on four pitches. Why Witasick and not Justin Duchscherer? How did Witasick earn the eighth inning job over Justin Duchscherer, anyway? What did Duchscherer do to lose that job? I have no idea. Witasick’s been a useful reliever throughout his career, but he’s also been wildly inconsistent; he’s not the guy I’d want as my #1 setup guy.
Then Eric Chavez rushed a double play throw and pulled Marco Scutaro off the bag at second. Should have been two outs, none on; instead there were two on, no outs. Then Witasick hit Mike Sweeney in the helmet. Bases loaded, nobody out, and not a ball hit out of the infield.
Then Matt Stairs hit a fly ball to center that Mark Kotsay lost in the sun, and it became a ground-rule double. The A’s should have been out of this inning at this point, but instead two runs had scored, there were runners on second and third, and there was still nobody out. A couple of productive outs later, and the A’s trailed 4-3.
The A’s tied it up in the eighth, but went on to lose in the 12th. I could go on about that, but it would probably make me barf.
Doc: What would your mother say about how you are reacting to this?
Me: Det är barnsligt att oroa dig över ett spel.
Doc: And how would you feel when your mother said this?
Me: I’d feel like I want to tear out my hair. Like I want to throw a chair through a wall. Like I want to smash my baseball bat through my computer screen and watch the glass fly.
Doc: Are you saying that your feeling about the A’s are really projections about your relationship with your mother?
Me: No, bozo, I’m saying that it doesn’t matter what my mom thinks; it still pisses me off when the A’s lose like this.
Doc: Let’s think positive for a minute. What good things happened today?
Me: Um, we got there in time for my kids to get the free Bobby Crosby backpack. And, uh, I ran into an old co-worker at the game who said he could probably get me a job if I wanted one. Oh, and Joe Blanton pitched really well; I’m really starting to dig his throw-strikes-and-let-’em-hit-it approach.
And I’m still highly optimistic about the future of the team. It wasn’t the young guys on the team who #&(*ed up the game today, it was the veterans.
Doc: Good. Now let’s think back to the last time you didn’t feel frustrated, embarassed, or aggravating. Picture yourself in that place.
Doc: Are you in that place?
Doc: Good. What is in that place?
Me: A lighthouse. And a ship.
Doc: And what are you doing there? Are you steering the ship?
Me: No. I’m just watching the boats go by, waiting for the sunset.
Doc: Just like the lighthouse?
Me: Just like the lighthouse.
Doc: You are the lighthouse.
Me: I am the lighthouse.
Doc: Standing tall, giving support, in even the worst of weather.
Me: Exactly. I am the lighthouse.
Doc: That’s the spirit! That’s how a baseball fan should act, too, don’t you think?
Me: And if the guy steering the boat still drives it aground even though I’m shining my light at the dude, and I’m blowing my #*&@($*ing foghorn like a madman, I’m gonna think, what the heck am I standing out here in this damn weather for, if you’re still gonna drive like an idiot?
Me: I mean, what’s the point? You do your job, and their job depends on you doing your job, but that still doesn’t mean they’re not going to screw it up.
I don’t want to be a lighthouse, Doc! I wanna be a billboard. You can sit there, watching the cars go by, and nobody depends on you to make sure the cars don’t crash. A billboard! Now that’s the life…
Doc: A billboard? Well, OK, good. I think we’ve made some progress here. Perhaps you can try thinking about billboards the next time something makes you feel like throwing a chair. Our time is up.
Me: Ok, thanks Doc. Wow, I feel better already. I don’t know how you do it, Doc, but you’re good. You’re good–a genius!