I was really burned out by the Phillies this year. I kind of hoped that the Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and A.J. Burnett rotation would take them farther than it did. When Lee went down, it just let all the air out of the season for me, and I never really got back into it.
Part of the frustration is that watching the dice tumble isn't all that exciting. The fun part is calculating the odds and tossing the dice.
A baseball team is a gigantic set of dice. There are strange dice, like the D&D dice sets I played with as a kid, but they are all dice nonetheless. There are probability ranges for each, and in the aggregate, you have a reasonably good idea of how they will land. With more and more throws, you get more certainty about the likely ranges.
Bud in TN did a nifty fanpost that really captured this for me. Pull out that projected range of fWAR for Cliff Lee and throw in a herniated Burnett, and *pfffft* went any hope for the 2014 season as a whole. We were left with zen-like "moment watching" fandom, where a long home run, or a collective no-hitter would lift the fog for a day or two, but then it was back to being clubbed by math like baby seals on the ice.
I felt like I was watching Charles Minard create his graphic of Napoleon's army, retreating from Moscow.
That burden has been lifted, and we're entering the Dream Time of the hot stove season. We're a year closer to ditching the bad parts of the contracts of Lee, Howard, and Papelbon. We can dream on young players, without the distraction of seeing them fail or get injured.
We're entering the time when "YEAH! Go sign BJ Upton!" sounds like fun, rather than being the reality of waking up next to him on Sunday morning with your mouth tasting like a barn stall with a hangover that is making your ears bleed.
"I did what?" I imagine Frank Wren saying sometimes. Then I smile, till I think of #ryanhowardscontract.
Thank god the season is over. We're back to zero. Anything can happen. Baseball is fun again. Maybe we've spent the kids' college funds, but hey -- we can win it back.