You may not have noticed, but I’ve been away. I’ve missed some things in Jays Land — Bautista going oppo, Cito’s departure, E5 flashing his power again — and while it would have been nice to see all those things, I can’t say I missed them.
When confronted by someone who makes a claim like “I don’t care about the Jays and I won’t until they play meaningful baseball in September,” I’ve often responded with something along the lines of “there is no such thing as meaningless baseball,” and I still believe that. But having spent a few days in San Francisco while the Giants were fighting for a division title, my perspective’s changed.
I grew up on the East Coast, far from any professional sports teams. When the Jays won the World Series it was exciting, but I didn’t get to experience the buzz that I’m sure existed in Toronto. Until last week, I had never attended an MLB game anywhere except the Dome. What I’m trying to say is that my first-hand experience with pro ball is pretty limited.
Being in San Fran, seeing Giants gear everywhere, seeing the Giants on TV through every window at almost all hours, having strangers walk up and talk baseball in bars, having a man who runs an ice cream shop in a small town hours outside of San Fran start a conversation about the Giants — the city, and a big chunk of the state, almost seemed to be living and breathing Giants baseball.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Los Gigantes and, since the Expos left, they’ve been my go-to National League team. It was easy for me to get swept up in the excitement. What surprised me is that my girlfriend, who normally doesn’t care about baseball in the least, got swept up in it, too.
And then I finally got it. I was not wrong, but I was wrong. There is no such thing as meaningless baseball, but there is such a thing as meaningful baseball.