One of the few redeeming bright spots of my dismal 2004 was baseball. The Twins were young and cute and full of character, and they were good. I mourned the loss of Doug Mientkiewicz (maybe a little too much), but then the team went and ran away with the AL Central, and then I met Batgirl in person, and she introduced me to my Ho, and then the Twins went to the playoffs, Johan Santana won the American League Cy Young award, and it was all good.
After three disappointing trips to the postseason in three years, 2005 was going to be THE YEAR. My own 2005 started out so great in so many ways that by the time the baseball season started in April, I was convinced that the Twins were going all the way. There was no other way it could be. On the day of the home opener, I was even quoted by the StarTribune saying as much. The only question marks were whether Joe Mauer’s knee would hold out, and who would be playing second base.
Oh, innocent times.
Part of the problem is that I am a person who will give the benefit of the doubt, who will cling to any shred of hope, for far longer than is reasonable. It’s the reason I stayed in a ten-year marriage for nine years too many. It’s the reason I will wander around Cub Foods for 30 minutes after the manager has told me that this particular store does not carry the bag of licorice I want, because I am sure that if I search long and hard enough, I can will it to appear. Somewhere.
Even when, deep down in my heart, I know what the reality is, on some level I sincerely believe that somehow, if I just hope hard enough, reality will fall in line. A miracle will happen. And every once in a while, it does.
But mostly, it doesn’t. And those moments when I finally understand that it’s over are brilliant examples of genuine human misery.
This was one of those moments:
Torii Hunter’s face expresses all the heartbreak that was happening on my couch on Friday night, as I sat watching my last fading ember of hope being driven out of Fenway Park on the back of a cart.
There was weeping.