Alissa Wilkinson, the film critic and culture reporter for Vox, on why baseball gave her a different narrative to follow and why she needed it:
Coming back to watching it this season feels like reinserting myself into a glorious story. I needed a reminder of where I’ve come from, and who I am, and how far I’ve gone.
Watching baseball, right now, I’m reminded of two things. This part of my life is part of a bigger story I’ve been living for a long time. And as much as I love narrative media and great stories, life is a lot more like an open-ended game where the end isn’t written yet. That’s frightening, but it’s also invigorating. A win is just as likely as a loss, and nobody loses forever.
This story resonated with me because it mirrors what I’ve been going through the past few weeks. Since I’ve found myself with a bit more time than I’m used to, I’ve decided to start following my hometown baseball team again, the San Diego Padres.
When I was a kid, all I ever did was follow the Padres. I remember I would steal every copy of the San Diego Union Tribune just so I can nab the Sports section and cut out the box score and the story to whatever game the Padres played the day before. I remember how this was one of the first uses of a notebook for me, and I loved it. I remember Tony Gwynn and Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley and Greg Vaughn and Wally Joyner and Bruce Bochy and whoever else played for them when I was a kid. I remember the 1998 season and the heartbreaking World Series sweep by the Yankees. I remember tuning into every game I could while in high school, and I remember tuning out once I got to college. Thank goodness because the mid-2000 Padres were awful.
Over the past few weeks, I started to watch game highlights on the MLB YouTube channel and feeling that spark of interest return. I love seeing the Slam Diego Padres again, win or lose, and I even started to read Kevin Acee in the Tribune again. This all feels familiar, like I’m dipping back into a narrative of my life that never ended. I haven’t subscribed to MLB.tv like Alissa did, but goddammit, I’ve felt like it over the past week. I, too, am feeling a bit apathetic to TV and movies, and maybe what I need is sports. Hell, I even tuned into the Indy 500 for a bit yesterday because I needed something that wasn’t TV or movies, a story to follow1 that I wanted to see through.
Part of the reason why I had stopped following sports, though, was the painful heartbreak of being a sports fan from San Diego. The Padres haven’t been to the World Series since 1998, and don’t even get me started on the Chargers. But maybe I need that heartbreak again, the feelings of ups and downs that sports gives people. Who knows, maybe the Padres have a shot this year.
The story of Paretta Autosport, the all-woman crew, sparked that interest. What a good story! ↩︎