With summer comes many potentially heartbreaking breakups with our favorite players during free agency season in the NBA, the upcoming MLB trade deadline, and the hockey offseason. Last summer was a particularly devastating one for me.
At least in terms of baseball.
While I was working last week, I audibly cheered for JD Martinez as he came up to bat during the latest installment of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry. Immediately, as I did that one of the guys at my bar (basically) gasped.
“Are you a Red Sox fan?” He asked. To which I replied, “No way! I am however a giant JD Martinez fan.” This also launched a conversation about how that happened to come about. Even though he was from upstate NY and was a Yankees fan, he had worked in Michigan and its surrounding states for a good amount of time, so he was familiar with many areas I know and love.
I’ve kept up with JD’s success since he was traded away from the Tigers last year, as they started their re-build. There’s another former tiger who has had massive success since being dealt away. It breaks my heart to think Justin Verlander is headed towards what will likely be his most recognizable achievement (2017 world series winner) as a Houston Astro. No shade towards the Astros, it’s just that my JV love goes back over 10 years. I’m happy that he got the World Series win he so desperately wanted and deserved nonetheless.
During the world series last year I was, and could be actively caught, rooting for the Astros during the playoffs. Even though he wasn’t mine anymore nothing made me happier (and simultaneously sadder) than watching him win. I got a lot of crap about it. Mostly because I live in NYC and the ALCS was against the Yankees. But honestly screw the Yankees.
Much like a breakup where no one made a huge mistake and you were just in different places at different times, It made me think…..Why is it so weird that I want to root for players who I felt a deep connection to and did nothing wrong except want something or be wanted for something that was no longer serving my team?
Was I Hurt??……………YES.
Does it still hurt??…………….YES.
I kills me a little that they are still succeeding despite the fact that the team who gave them their starts is no longer blossoming. But I also want the best for them. It’s kind of like when I was still actively playing sports and my parents, coaches, and teammates would always ask… Would you rather see the team that beat you win it all? Or would you rather they get knocked out right away? It’s a mix of spite and knowing you lost to the best. It might be the biggest oxymoron of life.
Both JD and JV are headed for historic seasons in 2018. JD is leading the league in homers and the Sox are in what will be a down to the wire race for the AL East. JV is likely cruising towards a 2nd Cy Young award and even though he’s struggled recently his overall stats have never been better.
I’ve gone through it with many previous players, but those are the most notable of late. I will never not root for JD and JV to have the most success possible. Even if they aren’t mine to root for (at least in a team sense). I can’t fault them for going and getting what they want. However, I can fault my parents for not setting me up with either one of them while they were still Tigers.