Sports Is Life, Dept.
what is there that could possibly reward M's fandom?



Bill James, at age 65 or 73 or whatever he is, continues to come up with the freshest, most interesting baseball thought on the internet.  Week in, week out.  That in itself is a topic that would reward serious study:  how does a man become more productive as he gets older?

Put another way:  how do you avoid becoming a cranky old guy yelling Get Off My Lawn.  How do you retain your gratitude, your enjoyment, and therefore your happiness?, as it applies to a subsector of life such as sports.


It's a big problem.  Me myself and I, at age 54 the juice just ain't there.  We :- ) mean it in a good way.  Grandmaster Reuben Fine, also a top psychologist, pointed this out; according to him even Albert Einstein after the big 1912 season ... later in life he puttered around Princeton mostly philosophizing.  In chess it's an axiom, that after age 35 or so, a player is running in quicksand.

Fine's paradigm for explaining this? was only one of many.  But he pointed out that there is a psychology to the Son Tackling the Father.  Ambition is right there, all the time, for a 17-year-old and maybe even a 27-year-old.  But being a Father, Tackled By the Son, that's a very very different experience.  And a different mentality.  Bobby Fischer was a vicious lion until -- and including -- his match against Boris Spassky at age 29.

He never really played again, as Fine predicted he would not.  Dr. Fine the psychologist flatly stated that Fischer probably did not have the makeup to win the Father scenario.

In the NBA this is known as "championship hangover."  They explain it by offseason partying.  But you also have the above issue.  In the NFL, they think a lot about how players will handle the brutality and pain AFTER getting their big paydays.



So it's an interesting list, all the guys who -- as Sons Tackling Fathers -- won huge championships.  Michael Jordan handled the Father role pretty well, didn't he ... Tom Brady.  It's an even more interesting list, the old men who found the motivation.  Strength belongeth to the young man, but wisdom to the old man.  A few old men retain their strength (their ambition) also.

In baseball it's a little different, since no one guy controls the game.



Bill James was once asked about his two genres, Baseball and True Crime.  He said that he dreams about baseball almost every single night, but has never had a single dream about crime.  Every single night!  

I don't remember ever having a dream about baseball, do you?  Or do you - would love to hear that a few Denizens do live and breathe it.  Dr. Detecto is a baseball obsessive but Jeff Clarke most decidedly is not.  Jeff enjoys these:

  • Logical and analytical aspect to baseball; it's uniquely sabermetric and chess-like (25 pieces instead of 16)
  • Enjoys you friends, watching on TV to justify the family gathering, etc
  • Idea exchange, learning something (from the Think Tank, e.g.) that is stimulating
  • Enjoys a nice night at the park, the relaxation; watching baseball is sort of like playing golf, a walk without cell phones
  • RELISHES competition as such.  Unable to play much basketball any more, he funnels competitive energy through an M's game
  • Rather likes the ballet and aiki sports motions of the game
  • Is emotionally committed to his Mariner investment, wired in since the Langston/Davis days and before
  • Hope is one of the most powerful human emotion; POSSIBILITY is intoxicating
  • It is Americana, familiar, comforting like an old flannel shirt

He loves many things that CIRCLE baseball.  But in no way, shape or form does Jeff love baseball itself.  He wishes he did; James' life must be easy.  Now, you guys, Jeff is quite fond of.  ;- )

There is no need to regret your unrequited love of the Mariners.  (Did I say that right?!)  Perhaps it is the things peripheral to the local MLB game that you actually love?






if not for this community.  Even in 2001, when we got reinvigorated for M's baseball, it was mostly the aspect of spending time with my family, eating home-grilled hot dogs and burgers, swigging Jarriitos sodas by the gallon, and marveling at the Two Outs, So What nature of that magical season.  It was mostly community then, and it's mostly community now (though obviously different communities).

In that respect, gotta say a big, hearty 'thank you!' to everyone who makes this community the special place it is.

Bravo, team (chief among you our Captain, the half-crazed Dr. Detecto himself ;-) )

tjm's picture

. . .  the kind you deserve!

I for one have dreamed about baseball well over a thousand nights, but about playing not being a fan.

As to the community: I started a new intense project in August so pretty much quit watching the M's. I did however, read SSI every day, even when I had no time. Thanks to all.


And you have dreamed about playing baseball despite the fact that you never covered baseball specifically for the papers, I assume? ... very nice to know you still read.  Every time you comment is appreciated.




That a marginally successful (by sales and income, not quality) short story and screenwriter who had only finished 5 shorter novels completed his first in his new series.  The Song of Ice and Fire began with that book; Game of Thrones.  Even that took years to become a bestseller but the point is in how late in life he started it.  Er, late in middle age?  At the time of the most recent release in the series he was 2 months shy of 63, in 2011.  

His writing has always been incredible but not quite on this level.  He had previously won 17 literary awards.  One story, based on 1979 HUGO and Nebula winning short story Sandkings, was the first 2 episodes of the 90's reboot of the Outer Limits starring both Lloyd and Beau Bridges.  It was also made into a graphic novel by DC comics.  In the early 80's he had publishing houses tell him repeatedly that his partially written story of 3 reporters in NYC circa 1890s following Jack the Rippers continued murders would never sell.  How many times has similar stories sold since then?  Armageddon Rag was optioned and never produced.  The Lonely song of Laren Dor was in production as "Doors" when the timing of the Oliver Stone movie "the Doors" and a lineup shift on the station the series was to air combined to finish it off.  I haven't read any of the independent comics that he wrote in the 60's (that sell for thousands now) or watched the episodes of the 80's Twilight Zone that he wrote after knowing who he was or ever watched the 90's Beauty and the Beast show that he worked up to being lead writer for.  I have scoured book stores and ebay for his written works because I've not enjoyed any other authors as much since discovering his voice.  But his life's biggest masterpiece started when he left Hollywood again in his late 40's and brought him back to Hollywood as a huge success in his late 50's.

Something I love and an example of great work later in life.  There are other examples out there. 

tjm's picture

You poor wrteched soul. You poor beautiful creature. Who would ever had thought that meterologists had such painful storms raging within?


Don't remember ever dreaming about baseball. (Of course, this is not the same as insisting it never happened!)

Funny, but any more, I love baseball even when I don't actually love baseball. It's part of my identity as a person, it's a key to my youth. I'll look forward eagerly to watching a game, especially with the playoffs getting ready to start, only to lose interest a couple of innings into the game. If I had to guess, I think what I love about baseball is the playing out of it's dramatic stories, whether it be over the course of a game, of a season, or of a franchise. When there's drama, I'm riveted. When there's not, I'm not. Didn't used to be the case when I was younger, I could watch baseball just to watch it. 

Oh, and I appreciate the family gatherings much more now than I did as a younger man. Back then, I just wanted to watch the game without external distraction. I was totally fine watching games all by myself. If I was watching with friends and they caused me to miss a play, I didn't show it, but I was really frustrated. Ah, but give me a wife, some kids, and now some grandkids, and it's a much different thing. 


Tremendous point.  I can see the sandlot games as 10-year-olds.  It's a connection that way.

I'm with you:  I'll build up hopefully to a game and then sometimes get let down by a dreary first two innings.  But it's the 21st century and I have fast forward mode!  Problem solved.


Hey Doc,

If you DVR the Mariners, how do you keep yourself from peeking ahead to the final score?


On the DVR itself you'd have to intentionally scan fwd 90 seconds... you mean like channel-surfing thru ESPN?

I am famous around our church group for saying "Don't talk Seahawks to me!" when they're on the E. Coast so when it comes to the M's I actively avoid walking through sports restaurants with the audio on and so forth.  Will go so far as to stick my fingers in my ears, "la la la" and that kinda thing :- )

But late in the year, last two weeks, if the M's went down 3-0 and I didn't like the way things were going then I would check the score via the "C" button on my remote, to determine whether to keep watching - 


That's hilarious.  Your system would drive me nuts with the temptation to know the final score.  I didn't know people watched it that way.


How about James Herriot books?  All creatures great and small etc.  I think Herriot started when he was fifty and they're still some of my faves.  Lord of the Rings wasn't published until JRR Tolkein was pushing sixty.   Moses, Daniel and John didn't write substantial portions of the Bible until they were very old.  

In the case of Tolkein and Herriot, their lives were upended by WW2.  Maybe WW2 gave them ideas to write about, or maybe they would have written their books earlier if it wasn't for wartime problems. 


My wife and I used to read the Both the Tolkien and Herriot books aloud.  I'm really quite good at a dwarvish accent -- which seems remarkably similar to someone from Darrowby.  When I read Moses, Daniel and John I tend to forego the accents.  *grins*  Seriously, it's encouraging to think of the greater accomplishments that may lay before us middle-agers.  If the Lord is willing -- who knows what may be ahead?

Lakay's picture

I dreamt that Felix threw a no-no, but not a perfect game, evening before that eventual Felix start.

In that evening (we are 15 hours ahead) before I went to sleep,  I believe I willed myself to expect some great Mariners news will come out of the game when I wake up. In that game (dream), there was a BB and it was Montero who caught Felix and they won 5-0. I really expected that the no-no happened. Just imagine my surprise when I checked my phone for the game's result during my commute to work. Thank you Felix and M's for that wonderful feeling!


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