Thursday, December 31, 2009

Green Fields of the Mind

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. - A. Bartlett Giamatti, from 'The Green Fields of the Mind'.
It does break your heart, doesn't it? Most of the time, it seems. We named this blog 'Misery Loves Company' in recognition of the game's unique grasp on those of us addicted to its love/hate rhythms. And, at the time, because of a shared recent (and not-so-recent in one case) history of dismal returns.

We probably didn't know what we were getting into when we started this blog in the spring of 2003. We knew we loved baseball, knew that we had time on our hands, and maybe that we could write a little bit. But I don't think either of us expected that the simple act of writing it down would serve to enhance our passion for the game as much as it did. MLC helped us think about the game differently, to work for new angles and ideas about our teams. Didn't make us any saner - in fact, at certain moments, it probably contributed to a fair sight of irrationality. Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, anyone? Or the 2005 NLCS?

In other moments, the game proved transcendent. Moreso for one of us (and then two others, after we expanded the masthead in 2008), to be sure. When my time here on Earth comes and I'm making the top 10 list to end all top 10 lists, that 11-day period in October 2004 will command one of the very top spots. Even today, rereading our posts from that time brings back smiles, the memories of that impossible run still vivid. Impossible is not nearly descriptive enough.

That this is a eulogy of sorts is probably obvious by now. That such a post is necessary has been obvious for some time. We're shuttering MLC not because we don't love the game. In a great many ways, MLC has helped us really understand how much we do love it. No, we're shuttering MLC because we haven't been able to put in the effort necessary to do it the way we want to for too long. MLC was never about pageviews or making money (good thing, too) or getting exposure. It was about two (then four) guys watching baseball.

Those guys will still watch baseball (maybe even write about it at Gheorghe: The Blog). But they both know when a good thing has come to an end. So long, and thanks for reading.

May the game continue to break your heart.