I regularly get the question asking either how I find time to write the Newberg Report or why I do it, sometimes accompanied by a pop diagnosis of clinical insanity.
My response is generally the same: The profession I've chosen, the practice of law (and particularly litigation), is adversarial in nature, and the way I'm wired, if I didn't have a substantial outlet to take the edge off what I do during the day, I don't think I'd be a very likable person to be around when I'm away from the office.
All the time and energy I throw into writing about baseball is, I think, pretty healthy for me. It reduces my stress level, or maybe a better way to say it is that it distracts me from certain stress points that I can leave at work.
I count on sports as a distraction. Do the games get stressful? Sure. But only momentarily.
Especially in baseball, where there's usually another game to turn your attention to the next day.
But man, I've battled over the last few days.
I'm upset about how we play against bad teams.
I'm annoyed by Adam Kennedy. He's no Frosty Rivera, no Flip Boone, but he's irritating.
I'm frustrated that this epic, uninspired crash has come while the Angels have lost three straight.
I'm aware of my over-angst after yet another Ian Kinsler pop-up or another lousy Kevin Millwood start or another crummy Nelson Cruz defensive route or a bad loss. I know it's not healthy.
I'm cognizant of a sense that maybe I care too much. (Though I'm quick to dismiss the notion.)
I know I give too much time to those few emailers whose dependency on the team (which they profess to care about) to fuel the negativity that appears to drive them confuses me.
And, yes, I'm demoralized by the depressing, swaggerless lack of energy in the ballpark the last few nights - on the field and in the seats.
I understand that early-week school nights are difficult. That the weather has been ridiculous (Saturday was the rainiest September 12 in the Metroplex since rainfall measurements were first kept 109 years ago . . . and in the 14 years of data I was able to track down, this has been the rainiest Arlington September on record, and we were only halfway through the month when I checked). That the Seattle series was a huge letdown.
But I was in the park three of the last five nights, and the lethargy has been overwhelming. Or underwhelming. Whatever.
Understandable, maybe. Still disappointing.
Are the sparse, lifeless crowds to blame for an offense that has scored one time in the last 37 innings (against Jason Vargas, Felix Hernandez, Mark Lowe, David Aardsma, Brett Tomko, Edgar Gonzalez, Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler, Jerry Blevins, Michael Wuertz, Andrew Bailey, and Trevor Cahill), facing teams playing out the string - the lowest run total in a four-game span in Rangers history?
Of course not.
But an empty stadium, with the club in a race, kicks me right in the malaise.
Still, it's not as depressing as watching a club that's been full of character and resilience and focus and fight all year show absolutely none of it over this last week.
I've made the drive to Rangers Ballpark more times in 2009 than I've ever made it. I'm not done. There are six more regular season home games to go, and I'll be at two of them, at least.
As hard as I have to work right now to do it, I refuse to let these very difficult last few days spoil what has been a sensational season.
I'm going to keep counting on baseball. Can't turn my back on this season yet, not with everything it's already given me.
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(c) Jamey Newberg
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