With another disappointing 4-1 loss in the books, there aren't many happy fans leaving the park these days. And while the team certainly needs to pick up their game, maybe we as fans need a little perspective...
We here at the blog - and most sports fans in general - tend to be optimists for "their team". Every year your team looks better than it did last year, has the right pieces to go all the way, seems better thought out and stronger than the other guys. Ask anyone with a Canuck's sweater buried at the bottom of their drawer how many times that sounds right vs. how often it actually comes true. Unless your team is the Harlem Globetrotters, you very quickly learn to deal with reality.
And that's what makes baseball such a unique game. Baseball fans are always among the most optimistic fans in sport. While hockey teams and basketball teams will see attendance figures drop, and teams up and move cities, baseball fans hold on to their teams, win or lose. For example, the Red Sox are 8.5 games back, and 8 games under .500 this year, but you still can't buy a seat for a game at Fenway. The Cubs haven't won anything for over 100 years - and are already out of the playoffs this year yet they continue to pack em into Wrigley - and the whole town still eats, sleeps, and breathes The Cubbies. Yes baseball fans are sports true eternal optimist group.
And so we are for our HarbourCats, and so we should be.
There's no denying that our record is not where we would like it to be. At 5-10 and on a seven-game losing streak, the numbers are pretty grim to this point:
- 57 runs scored (12th in league)
- 119 hits (12th in league)
- 166 Total bases (12th in league)
- .231 team batting average (12th in league)
On the defensive side:
- 87 runs given up, 69 earned (7th in league)
- 138 hits given (4th in league)
- 56 walks (3rd in league)
- 93 Strikeouts (10th in the league)
- 4.63 ERA (8th in league)
- 21 errors committed
- -30 run differential
In the stands, we are seeing an average of 1295 fans at each game, good for 3rd in the league. Down a bit from last year mainly due to the way the schedule worked out - not a single Friday night / weekend game until July 11, where we had 4 to this point last year.
And speaking of last year, by comparison, on this exact day last year, the cats sat at 10-4, in first place in the North division. Without digging too far into box scores, some key differences in numbers:
- 80 runs scored
- 62 runs given up
- 19 errors committed
- +18 run differential
Anything is possible, but in the same way the Canucks will win the cup next year, it's not very probable.
So I suggest then, that you become a true baseball fan from this point on. It's not about wins, those are a bonus. It's about being at the ball park enjoying the night. It's about watching Nathan Lukes gun down a man at home with a rocket from the outfield. It's about watching Gabe Clark launch another towering shot onto Pembroke Street. It's about having a burger and a beer, and catching up with friends at the park. It's about jeering on the K batter ("He can't hit, he can't hit, he can't hit, saaaawing batta"). It's about understanding that the events that happen in the game are bigger than the game itself. Watching a Danny Collier 11 pitch at-bat in the ninth, or watching local-ish boy Griffin Andreychuk (who's from Nanaimo BTW, even though he's always announced as a Seattle U guy) score four runs in a game. The list is endless.
It's amazing what you'll see at the park on any given night. Baseball is a learning sport, and you do so with every game you go to. RAP is always full of oddities from balks, to batter interference calls, to sun-assisted doubles. Come learn something new. Pick a favourite player out of the group and cheer louder than anyone else around you. In the process, you'll add some excitement to the game, and become part of something very special - the game of baseball!
If we all bring that attitude to the park, we might just get those 25 wins we need this year...