World Series: What has happened to my lifelong devotion to baseball?

There was a time as a kid when I ran home from grade school to watch my Yankees close out another World Series with a win over some unfortunate challenger like the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 when I was nine.

The next year, the Yankees were not in the World Series, yet my interest was still intense. I followed the games as the Cleveland Indians surprised the Boston Braves to win the Series.

Later my friend Larry Doby told me how special that series had been because he hit the deciding home run for the Indians, and then was photographed being kissed on the top of the head by the winning pitcher Steve Gromek in one of the first nationally displayed sports pictures of a white man embracing a black teammate.


There is the famous admonition of the good St. Paul who reminded us to put away childish things and so I wonder if that explains what has happened to my life long devotion to baseball.

This World Series finds me barely watching. I have seen the opening innings of several games but within a short time, I have surrendered and gone to sleep. I simply cannot stay awake the three or four hours for the games to end as midnight looms.

Some part of me is shamed by this betrayal but it just one of many such acts that seem forced on me by age.  Yet the blunt fact is the outcome of the games has not meant that much to me.  I am a fan of the game and not of any team.

My love for baseball is real. I find the game endlessly fascinating. But I have never been a rabidly partisan fan.

I did not lose sleep when my Yankees lost. I survived because I quickly learned there was always the next year over the horizon.

So, even today, I separate my interest in baseball from my declining focus on the World Series.

I would be glued to my television if the games were on in the late afternoon. But I do not care enough today to stay awake to see who wins the game Wednesday night. I will read about the outcome.

I will miss the drama of Madison Bumgartner trying to achieve three wins, but in some sense the lesson of all those great games I have enjoyed over the years is that there is always another great game.

The drama of the final game of the World Series has been, to me, a source of joy but I have been there and seen it all. I will be content to miss Wednesday night’s game. With age often comes perspective.

I am not alone. The television ratings for this World Series will be the lowest ever. In the best years for the Series, some 30 million people tuned in. The highest number this year will be about 10 to 12 million. The national television market has moved away from baseball as football has taken over. I do not remain awake for football either.

I see these sports games now as entertainment and not as the passion it is for some fans. My passions tend now things of the past.

Remember too, this World Series game will begin Wednesday night in California at about 5:30 in the evening. Few old men in San Francisco will be turning it off at 9 local time because the game will be over at about that time.

The old fans of the West will come out ahead of me Wednesday night. But I will be unaware of their triumph.