I've been operating in a haze the last week or so, barely able to find joy in the pleasantries of everyday life. Conversation is difficult. Food isn't as interesting. Heck, I even have to boot myself in the butt to get blogging.
I can only compare the feeling to the moments that follow heartbreak or some other emotional upheaval in life. That will seem over-dramatic when I say why I feel this way, but it's unmistakable -- that is just what it feels like.
The Dodgers are in the middle of an all-out, beat-your-head-against-the-wall struggle with the Rays in the final stage of these very long -- longer than ever -- baseball playoffs. I've begun to think that this is just too much baseball for one postseason. It's OK for fans of postseason teams who didn't make it this far, but the Dodgers and Rays have been playing seemingly forever this October and I'm starting to wish it would stop.
The agony and the worrying and all of Dave Roberts' pitching decisions have me in a fret-filled stupor. The game is the only thing on my mind and it should be a pleasant thing. It's baseball, right? But it's not.
I know I'm being very Jimmie Schaffer about this.
Who is Jimmie Schaffer?
Well, Jimmie Schaffer was a catcher for several teams during the 1960s. He played baseball at the very top level for seven years and, according to his baseball cards, was rather miserable about it.
Let's have a look:
It's Jim Schaffer's rookie card, but he does not look delighted. In fact, I'd say he's mildly annoyed with having kids manhandle his photograph.
Year two. Jimmie has lost his hat and quite concerned. Look at that furrowed brow. It was just on his hat in that little inset photo and now it's gone! This major league gig is a drag.
Year number three and Schaffer is no less displeased. Look at the scowl he's giving the photographer.
1965 now and Schaffer has moved on to a third team. He's found his hat but I think he's going to cry about something else. There's no pleasing this guy who plays baseball for a living.
Topps took a two-year break from showing Schaffer on cards -- possibly so he could get his head on straight -- but when he came back for the 1968 set, nothing had changed. Yet another new team, but the same, old grim Jimmie.
I first became aware of Schaffer a couple of months ago when I landed a bunch of TCMA's The 1960's set. Schaffer is included in that set not once, not twice but three times. I didn't spot that the first time I ran through the cards. I know there are several players with two cards in the set, but Schaffer is the only one I've seen three times.
He's just as tickled about appearing on baseball cards on TCMA cards as Topps cards as he glums it up in his White Sox uniform.
Hey! Jimmie is almost cracking a grin in his Mets TCMA card. I don't know what the photographer did to get that reaction out of him. Maybe he told him the team had released him.
And here is Schaffer's Cardinals TCMA card. Why I think that he's finally figured out how to enjoy this big league life.
Schaeffer went on to become a coach and manager during the 1970s and 1980s and he's much more delighted on those cards than during his playing days.
I don't think young Schaffer would recognize this older, giddy version of himself.
Maybe it's one of those deals where when you're in the middle of something, it's difficult to enjoy it because you're so busy trying to make it work.
I'm in the middle of rooting on the Dodgers to a World Series title they haven't seen in three decades. I don't have any control over it, but yet I feel very invested, and it's difficult to enjoy and it sure does feel like work. After last night's disaster? I'm exhausted.
I know there are fans of other teams who would love to be where I am right now -- Mariners and Padres fans who barely know what a World Series experience is.
But they have no idea.
I should be enjoying it. But I look exactly like Jimmie Schaeffer when I'm watching it on TV.
Grim and holding on for dear life.