(Have you ever stood in line in the rain for the opening of a new Olive Garden? Neither have I. Yet, it happened where I live. I was dying to go up to each person and ask them why they were there. Here is to "thinking things through." This is Cardboard Appreciation. It's the 111th in a series):
As a major league baseball fan, I am done "wishing."
Here is what I mean by that:
The Dodgers have this guy in their bullpen named Jonathan Broxton. He's a big guy from Georgia. He's an ox. How can you not like the fact that an ox plays for your team? We've got an ox in our bullpen. He's gigantic and throws close to 100 and can obliterate the hitter. He's ours and not yours.
He seems like a likable guy, too. I like him anyway. And because I like him, I really want him to do well. He should do well because I like him.
But it doesn't work that way. I've known that for some time now. When I was a kid, I liked players for no reason at all. I'd attach my feelings to them and hoped they'd sense those feelings and do well on the ballfield. Usually the object of my affection was some scrappy infielder or a base stealer. Larry Bowa, Omar Moreno. Guys like that. There was no reason for me to like them. They didn't even play on my favorite team. But there was no logic to this equation. I just liked them because I liked them.
Then along came Dave Hollins. He was from Buffalo, N.Y., which was reason enough to like him. Not a lot of major leaguers came from Buffalo. He went to Orchard Park High School, which was a baseball power. I knew that from covering high school baseball in the area.
Hollins made in the majors. He played for the Phillies, one of the teams I liked. He played third base, one of my favorite positions. He was a power hitter. I liked that. Soon, he was a cornerstone of my fantasy baseball team. Hollins and Dante Bichette formed the middle of my order.
But then Hollins began to suffer a series of injuries. He learned he had diabetes. But I kept him on my team. When he came off the disabled list, I'd put him in the lineup, because I liked him. Then he'd go on the disabled list again and I'd wait for him to come back, because I liked him.
You know what happened with me and fantasy baseball. I stunk at it, I grew disillusioned, and I stopped playing. A small part of the reason was because I let my feelings -- no matter how inexplicable they were -- get in the way of running my team. I should have replaced Hollins. He would never have another season like his '92 and '93 seasons. I should have given him the ax. But I "wished" that he would do well instead.
So this is why I don't want to see Broxton in any closing situation anymore. I know he has the talent. But he doesn't appear to have the mentality for it. I may wish that his talent will overcome whatever mental issue he's having on the mound. But wishing has no place in baseball. Not if you hope to win. Dave Hollins taught me that.
Sorry, Jonathan. If I ran a fantasy team now and you were on it, you'd be done. No more wishing.
You hear that Dodgers? No more wishing. It doesn't win games.