First of all: hey. I'm Scotty J, a 13 year-old A's, Packers and Lakers fan who's half-American, half-Cypriot. I've been an Athletics fan my whole life, and I love my green-collar baseball. I joined AN yesterday and I'm thrilled that I finally have a place to talk A's baseball with other A's fans.
The other day, I was watching an amazing documentary about a British bombing raid during the Falkland Wars. As I watched, I thought "Man, that must be such an exhilarating feeling to be up in the sky piloting a fighter plane or a bomber." My mind drifted and I thought of baseball; it's Spring Training now and the weather is finally getting warm and sunny here in Switzerland, a country with consistently lousy weather. Spring means baseball for me, and every time it's warm I reminded of baseball. For me, it's a game that speaks of family, friends, barbecue, playing catch, chatting and laughter....
It's an awesome game, and I thought just how hard it must be to get drafted, go through the minors and reach The Show. For every major league player, there are tons of players who never pan out or make it anywhere, tons of careers that never get off the ground. That's why I'm always sad when a prospect fails, and why I'm so bummed out about Carter's struggles in the Bigs to start his career. I really want him succeed, and it's more for him than for me to know the team has another good player. I want him to succeed, not to face criticism and slander, not to be the guy who could never make the jump. It sucks to be that guy.
And then I thought "Wow, those guys in the MLB are the elite. The best of the best". Even the lowliest utility infielder is still one of the elite baseball players in the country. Baseball, like all sports, is tough. It's not easy, and you have to possess great skill, determination and grit to make it anywhere; just like in life, really. So is it really fair to constantly put down those elite players. The exposure players have to the media and the public these days is great, but there's a lot more pressure on the players as well. Every move of theirs is scrutinized and analyzed, and many times trashed by some stupid fans.
I understand how it feels; there are many times when I'm just thinking "Boy, you idiot Barton! That was right down the middle!". Or "That sucked! That was a routine play!" It's going to happen, because in the heat of the moment, we lose it and we forget something: these guys have worked their butts off to get where they are now, and still do. Cut them some slack. Think about how tough it is. I mean, baseball players read the papers. They go online. They watch TV. How do they feel when they see themselves being put down from all sides?
A few weeks ago, Scott Sizemore suffered a serious injury and learned he was out for the season. I'm ashamed to admit that my first thought was "Shoot. Who's going to play third now?" But then I paused: if it sucks for me (and other A's fans), imagine how bad it is for him. He probably feels like he's let everyone down. He worked so hard to make a name for himself and find himself a place on the team and a home in Oakland. How terrible must he feel to have lost all that? Think about how his poor wife, Mrs. Brooke Sizemore feels. Both of them are distraught.
Imagine how bad a guy feels when he's in a slump, or when he makes an error or messes up opportunities. They may seem to be on a totally different level from us, but pro athletes are people too. They feel bad. They have doubts. They suffer.
And that brings me to another thing: rivalries. Trust me: I hate the Giants just like any other A's fan. I think they've screwed up San Jose big time. I think many of their fans are stupid. But its crazy to say "I wish Pablo Sandoval was dead" or "All Giants fans are idiots". I don't like the Red Sox, and I think a lot of their fans is jerks and in-your-face. But my brother is a lifelong Boston fan, and he's a great person. Everyone likes him. A stupid fan can spoil someone's opinion of an entire fan base, but there a plenty of friendly, good Giants fans, like with any team.
I'm not pointing any fingers with this - a lot of this stuff are things I need to work on myself - but I'm just saying: baseball is a game, and it's for fun. It's the greatest sport in the world (in my opinion), but it's still a game. Of course comments will come out because in the heat of the moment, everyone loses their cool. Hell, I scream bloody murder when a reliever gives up a game-tying homerun, and there's no love lost between me and some teams, but eventually it's all cool, AND the players who go out on the field have tough times as well. Give 'em a break sometimes (and that's a lesson the media seems to have a problem understanding).
I love baseball. It's the National Pastime, and there's nothing like it. But just enjoy it, know that it's all fun and embrace the feeling that is b-ball.