Reverb12 Day Twelve: Unexpected Passion

From DailyAngst today…

What new hobby or interest piqued your passion this year?  Or did you think about an old passion in a new way?

What was old was new again for me in 2012. I’m talking about baseball.

I hadn’t watched baseball with any regularity since I was 13 until the 2012 season. Local teams historically have been terrible, or masters of the choke or bad luck. It’s not like the Cubs around here, (Baltimore/Washington) but it’s pretty bad.

Yet early this year I got the idea to manage a small fantasy baseball league among a few friends. I’d done fantasy football the previous few seasons, and though I knew much more about football, and the players involved than I did baseball, I wanted to try something new. So I started the league.

As I engaged in practice drafts in the weeks leading up to the real thing I realized I had no clue who 98% of professional baseball players were. It was a total clean slate. A few names stuck out for having been in the regular news for their exploits over the previous few years, but that was it.

Once the league and my team (Which I dubbed The Maryland Curtain Calls) were set, I started paying some casual attention to spring training games here and there. (It turns out, I get the MLB Network. Who knew?)

As I followed some of the story lines during spring training, I began to follow up here and there during the first few weeks of the regular season, as I wanted to enjoy seeing my players do something. Nothing is more fun in fantasy sports than actually witnessing one of your players score for you. So I watched a game here and there.

I had at the start of the season one local player. Stephen Strawsburg of the Washington Nationals, so I would tune in when he pitched specifically.

Then something interesting happened. Once I had a tiny personal interest in games, I found myself interested in the sport again. Perhaps not in the same way as I am for football, but certainly a rekindled interest in watching what is a much slower, somewhat archaic game. (Reasons that kept me away from the game for years.) The new found interest developed into a near-daily watching of Nationals games. (Not Baltimore as when I was a child, because I owned no fantasy players from the Birds.)

The game watching was fueled, as I said by fantasy interests. But also by the fact that, to the shock of everyone in sport, both Baltimore and Washington were, out of nowhere, two of the best teams in all of baseball. Throw in Washington’s own rookie sensation Bryce Harper and suddenly I’m invested in local baseball again. Which in turn led to some investment in other televised games. (At least when my fantasy team was involved.) I even started to recognize which teams were in what division. (Though I still haven’t memorized all of them.)

If you know anything about baseball, you know the Nationals choked in major way in the playoffs this year. So much so that I threw away my Nationals t-shirt, and vowed I wouldn’t be wasting anymore time with them in the future. I can’t swear I didn’t mean it, because I think that I did, and I think there is a decent chance I still won’t watch them next season in wake of that disaster. But now that there is an investment in player personas, local broadcasting personalities with their quirks, and even the Presidents Race, I’d be lying if I said there was zero chance of me tuning in at least a few times a month.

And who knows? Maybe I could switch to watching Baltimore all the time. Maybe I will go back and forth each year? I was surprised to find myself with a passion for baseball at all this year, so I figure now, anything could happen with it.



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