By Eric

The Major League Baseball playoffs started yesterday. I’m not unrealistic; I know this is completely meaningless to the majority of people in the world. I, however, am not one of those people.

As a rabid, irrational and, some may say, overly obsessive Twins fan, I revel in this time of year. Between intensely meaningful Twins games, cooler but not cold weather, and Vikings games to fill the time between intensely meaningful Twins games, October is one of the best months of the year.

(Did I mention the intensely meaningful Twins games?)

Anyone who doesn’t really follow sports is probably rolling their eyes right now. (Admit it, you are.) How can a silly game be “intensely meaningful?” You’re watching grown men in silly little matching outfits, try and hit a little ball with a bat. Where’s the meaning in that?

In every imaginable technical sense, this is correct. It’s just a game. Nothing else.

The reality, however, is that to so many people baseball is so much more than a game. Maybe not to the majority of people, but to a certain group it is. Just like how to some people football is more than a game. Or a certain band is more than a band. Or pieces of literature aren’t just words on a page.

This is the part where I unleash a diatribe about the cosmic significance of baseball. And the importance of each little strike, ball, out, hit, error, run, etc. Or this is the part where this post takes a decisive turn for the worst, because I wrote the first 200 words before the Twins lost last night, and the next 600 after they lost. And, as you can tell from looking back on my, um, “colorful” tweets from last night; the game was an emotional roller coaster.

While I sit here finishing this post, I am pissed. Plain and simple. My team just lost. In no uncertain terms, this makes me angry, frustrated, sad, etc. The fact is, however, now I will regroup for the next game, because there are at least two more. (Round one of the playoffs is a best of five series.)

And, really, that is the point I am trying to make. The first thing I ever wrote on this site was, “I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to find the metaphorical significance in mundane things lately.” And the fact is, because baseball has played such a large role in my life, I have always tried to figure out the metaphorical significance in the game.

And that’s because it’s not just a game.

What baseball provides for me can take on so many different forms. Sometimes it’s an escape. Sometimes it’s so much a part of my life that it feels like it represents everything around me. And sometimes (like tonight) it spends about four hours kicking me in the groin and I sit here wondering “why?”

So I spend some time cursing the wrong-doers, nitpicking what went wrong and why, and placing blame upon anyone I can think of.

The fact is, however, tomorrow I will be back rooting on the Twins again. They’re my team, and I would never walk away from that. In fact, every year once the Twins season ends, someone will ask me, “who are you rooting for now?” And my answer is always the same, “nobody.”

Most people find this strange, which is a fact that I find strange. Why, after 162 regular season, and however many postseason, games would I suddenly switch my allegiance? For a phony high? To pretend I am connected to something? Why?

I am a baseball fan, but the Twins are my team. Once they are done, I no longer cheer for a team. I cheer for a moment or a story. To proactively root for someone else would be dishonest. Disloyal. Untrustworthy.

Maybe that’s overblown. Maybe I care too much. Maybe I get a little too worked up during games.

Sometimes, however, a game isn’t just a game. Sometimes it means more. To me at least. And while I can’t make you understand that, and some of you may still be rolling your eyes, it’s true. It’s part of my life. Just like there is some seemingly insignificant something in your life that means a little bit more to you. Whatever that something may be.

On the same night that my team lost, Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies pitched a no-hitter. To many of you, that means nothing. And, in terms of the Phillies winning, it means about the same to me. But the no-hitter itself, something that has only happened twice in postseason baseball history, meant something. It was special. It was a moment.

You might not understand why this is important, and I probably can’t explain it, but to me it makes perfect sense.

And that’s exactly why it’s not just a game.

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