When it comes down to it, I still can’t figure out why.

I mean, I know why.

In the end, I know why I pour my emotions into a game that, when you break it down, is just geometry and probability. Why I worry about strangers I haven’t met performing a game at a level I never could.

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But I can’t figure out why.

When Alex Guerrero hit a 9th inning grand slam to give the Dodgers a 9-8 lead over the Colorado Rockies last night, it hurt just like the first time.

When I was eight years old, in October 1997, I watched the Florida Marlins win the World Series in extra innings. It’s one of the all-time great games and for eight year old me, for that little boy in Greeley, Colorado praying his mom doesn’t come down to tell him to go to bed, it became the foundation for this lifetime of pain and misery. The foundation of investment into something he’ll never have any control over.

Craig Counsell jogs home after an Edgar Renteria single, the Marlins dugout clears, and a thousand miles away a kid with no rooting interest in either team sees why people love sports so much.

Eight year old Connor is an idiot.

This sport is ruthless, cold, unforgiving, and deserves none of our affections.

But this is why we’re here isn’t it? We’re not here to watch our team win every day, are we? No, that’s too easy, too predictable, too boring. That’s a relationship with no conflict, with no torture in it. We are here to have our hearts broken.

Every sports fan has a story where they got their hearts ripped out. We all gather and tell them like old veterans discussing the worst days at war. Our stomachs will turn while we reminisce on these moments that crushed our spirits and left us staring at the ceiling until three in the morning wondering what the point of any of this was. Beer won’t be enough the longer we go, even the women we say broke our heart don’t have this effect on us, and they shouldn’t. Why should they? They left us behind, broke us and left, they had the decency to rid themselves of our lives after hurting us so. But not sports, no sports wake up every morning next to us, make us breakfast, and promise us that there will be a day we won’t feel like this.

It’s why we’re here though. Because of those nights where we stared at the wall, because of those nights we wondered why we even bother, because of the nights we suddenly realized what all those pop songs were talking about.

Because without these nights, the good nights wouldn’t feel so…cleansing…they wouldn’t feel so pure and honest, without the pain we could never feel the raw emotion of watching a team win.

Without darkness, there is no light.

In a way, the pain is more romantic than the joy. It proves to you that this game, this stupid little game that you follow in your spare time, means something to you. It’s a part of you and you of it.

It’s not an abusive relationship, it’s not a relationship at all, there’s no control. You’ve given your feelings to something that is based in numbers and math, it has no cares for your feelings, it doesn’t even care if you watch.

That’s the beauty of it, how stupid it all is. How grown men can feel like eight year old boys every night, how a 26 year old can still feel misery over a baseball team full of people that haven’t even heard of him.

This stupid, beautiful, heart breaking game.

“And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; but there is no joy in Mudville-Mighty Casey has struck out.”