Ongoing Attempts, March 7, 2024: Where to start

An introduction to this baseball newsletter.

It was the summer of 2020. I'm not sure about the month. What I am sure about is that baseball's version of the COVID season had begun. Teams were competing in full-size ballparks with no fans. What alternative did they have? In order to hold games on fields appropriate for Major League Baseball, they needed to play in those parks.

I flipped on a Colorado Rockies game immediately after impulse-buying a yearlong subscription to MLB.TV. I was seeking normalcy. I was seeking the familiar, the rhythms of the game I loved, the comfort of the game I had watched my entire life. I was scared. Each day was uncomfortable. I was hoping baseball would help, and I know I wasn't alone in that.

Baseball didn't help. Instead, I found it eerie and a constant reminder of everything that was different at that point in time. The only detail I can recall is that David Dahl was up for the Rockies. I think I was struck by how hollow the sounds of the game felt, but I'm not even sure if I noticed it with the pitch hitting the glove or the ball hitting the bat or something else.

It took years for me to work and grow and develop the tools to emerge from the anxious and uncomfortable place I found myself that summer. I'm still working on it. That process is ongoing. I know I'm not alone in that.

It also took me years to fully come back to baseball. I tried. I faked my way through blogging about the Rockies for a few of those years. I managed a fantasy baseball team. I watched games and I listened to games on the radio. But there was something missing, and I think that something has to do with the shared experience and the shared memories and the stories that make baseball special.

The journey away from baseball was complicated and driven by a number of factors that have nothing to do with the game itself. The journey back was simple. It ended up being a matter of time, the time I needed to heal, figure some things out, understand the things that I haven't figured out yet, and make peace with the ongoing nature of figuring those things out.

So, I'm back. Or maybe baseball is back. Whatever the case, I want to blog about baseball again.

I even had a name and logo ready. I came up with this name many years ago, and it was mostly a matter of struggling to find a name that fit and wasn't already taken. I didn't like it at the time. But I think it's fitting now. I'm glad I have it.

On we go with these ongoing attempts. This version will be a blog that is available on the site and in the form of a newsletter, published each Thursday morning.

Why Thursdays? Way back on my very first blog about the Colorado Rockies, some 14 years ago, I would run a weekly "Thursday Tidbits" post. I want to bring that back in the form of a section in each weekly blog, so that made my decision for which day to publish. This introductory blog has no tidbits, but the future blogs will, published each Thursday.

The night before publishing this intro post, my longtime friend Ryan sent me a YouTube video that contained every pitch of a Greg Maddux complete game. Specifically, it contained all 78 pitches of a complete game he threw against the Chicago Cubs.

That short video captures so much about my life as a baseball fan. I was introduced to baseball watching those Cubs teams with my mom. I started buzzing my hair because of Mark Grace. Greg Maddux was our favorite pitcher. Years later, Ryan and I bonded because we both liked baseball and because we both loved Greg Maddux. We marveled at his pitching and laughed at the fact that he was always the first one on the field if the benches cleared.

Those are the kinds of memories and shared stories that make baseball fun. The rhythms of each game and each season offer new opportunities to witness these stories, notice little quirks, hold tight to obscure details, and then talk about it and laugh about it. That's what we'll be doing here at Ongoing Attempts.