A long, long time ago, my first romantic relationship ended after 2 years with an incredibly awkward 4-5 month period that started with her dumping me and ended with me figuring out that is what had happened. In my defense, she was not exactly direct when it came to telling me that we were through. In her defense, it took me a while to even cognitively admit the possibility that the relationship could end.
I share this because the 2023 season has felt a lot like that when it comes to the Oakland A's. I end the season feeling very differently about the team than I did when the season began. I check in on the team from time to time, but far less than I normally would, even after a difficult losing season. And when I do check in, I find that it is more "as a friend" hoping they are doing well, than as a devoted passionate fan, deeply invested in cheering on their next success. I know that the team hasn't officially left yet, and there is still a very slim chance they stAy, but even in that unlikely case, this season has still happened. And at its close, I'm starting to realize that it has changed the way I feel about the A's no matter what.
Break ups are, generally, very painful and difficult things. But there are at least a few good parts, most definitely including break up songs. As I've listened to music, and thought about the A's, sometimes the words seem to fit just perfect. Check out the first line to Bruce Springsteen's "Human Touch" and tell me it doesn't ring true to the 2023 A's fan experience:
You and me we were the pretenders,
We let it all slip away.
In the end what you don't surrender
Well the world just strips away.
That just sums it up, doesn't it? It inspired me to make this slideshow processing my own feelings about it all.
But as we know, baseball has a long season, and that's meant lots of time to think about what has happened and feel the mixture of anger and sadness that comes with the threat of losing your baseball team hanging over your head like the sword of Damocles. And that means, another slideshow.
This time, I decided on Billy Joel's "Only the Good Die Young," thinking it was a lament for those who left us too soon, and thinking about all the A's players who left the A's way too soon. But then I listened to the words of the song and realized it wasn't about what I thought. In it, the singer urges a devoutly religious Catholic young woman to sleep with him. The connection to the phrase "only the good die young" wasn't immediately clear to me, but I think he's saying c'mon and live a little, it's not going to kill you.
The more I think about it, this is really a song about devotion and its costs. Billy is asking the song's Virginia character what good she's really gotten for all her religious devotion, and tries to point out what it is costing her. We all devote our lives to things that bring us a sense of connection and purpose. And that could be religion, but it could also be a relationship, work, a community or civic commitment, or just maybe, following a baseball team. And at some point, sometimes, we need to wake up, look around us and ask ourselves if all this devotion has been worth it, and consider what it has cost us. Sometimes, it is worth it to stick with it through the hard times, but other times its not.
I don't really have an answer to this, but I did make a new slideshow.
How about you? How are you coping with the A's pending departure? Are you breaking up with the A's? Is there a song helping get you through?