There comes a point in all of our baseball observing lives when we are no longer the young, dreamy eyed fans gawking at our favorite players ply their trade. We transition from that little autograph seeking boy or girl to a full fledged adult, complaining about high salaries, overpriced beverages that cause us to stay home from the ballpark, and worrying whether the game we are watching will go into extra innings and prevent us from going to bed at a decent hour. We don’t always see that transition, as it happens slowly, gradually, without us being able to feel it.
Well folks, I am here to tell you - that moment has arrived.
You are old. Specifically, you are an old baseball fan.
How do I know? Check this story out about Mickey Moniak’s first professional injury. No, he’s not going down to Tommy John, a pulled oblique, or any of a myriad of other injuries have caused stunted growth in a young prospect, so come back from the ledge. It’s an injury far more scarring to us as fans.
Growing pains. He has GROWING PAINS. From the story:
Moniak, whom the Phillies drafted last June with the No. 1 pick, missed the end of the 2016 Gulf Coast League season because of a hip injury. The team said then that it was a minor sprain of his hip flexor. “It turned out that it was growing pain. I grew about an inch,” said Moniak, who reported to spring training, which begins Friday for Phillies minor leaguers, fully healthy. “That’s all taken care of. I’m excited to move forward.”
Judging from whatever list you go off of, Moniak is the second best prospect in the Phillies’ system. He is an integral part of the future, someone who could move quickly and arrive in Philadelphia before anyone is ready for it. Yet the fact that he is still “suffering” from a malady that we personally haven’t had to worry about in years means that we as fans have crossed the divide that separates those who are still dreamers, believers that these players are superhuman heroes capable of amazing feats from the older, more cynical fan knowing the crushing despair of being a Phillies fan.
We’ve always thought how sad the lives must be of those who would just sit, grousing at the simple pleasures of the game and its environment. When we were young and carefree, it was nothing to go to a July game at Citizens Bank Park and plunk down $50 in beer without the ramifications of that expenditure. Back then, the biggest problem with spending that much was missing the moleskin sale at the local Barnes and Noble. Now, with more years added to our ledger, we know what those real consequences are. The excuses for not being able to justify that reckless spending pile up higher and higher. And they truly are pesky things, too. Electric bills, child care, gas for your car. It’s just annoying.
However, it’s not all bad! This injury signals your newfound ability to not only subscribe to the pleasure of complaining about things that annoy the older folks, but to embrace it.
Peanuts are $4 a bag at the ballpark? OUTRAGEOUS!
Beer is $9 a bottle? PREPOSTEROUS!
Now, I know that it can be a little depressing to think that a professional baseball player is young enough to have growing pains, but don’t let it get you down! With this transition comes the newer, easier pleasures of being a baseball fan.
Feel like napping at a game? Think nothing of it. Your team’s best position prospect was just allowed to legally purchase cigarettes last year.
Want to leave a game at the ballpark early to beat traffic? No problem! Your team’s (arguably) best pitching prospect won’t be 19 until a few weeks after Independence Day.
These are just a few of the ways you can justify to yourself that growing old with the game is ok. It’s nature’s order. It was bound to happen. Instead of fretting about how time is fleeting by, hike up your pants to your belly button, invest in stark white Nikes and just enjoy the ride that comes along with it.