As I'm watching this terrible, terrible team called the Pirates get blown out at home for the third straight day by my least favorite team the Brewers (I didn't get to watch much of the series sweep of the Reds, but I've watched most of this series and a lot of the West Coast trip in which they looked pretty terrible as well; all I know is that I am slowly losing any optimism I had for this team to win 60 games. You can't continue to win half your games by two runs or less and lose the other half by 5+ runs; it just doesn't work that way in baseball. As much as I've seen, this team is horrendous in all facets. I'm trying to stay optimistic, if you ask anybody who knows me I am the most optimistic Bucco fan out there; but this team hurts to watch. To loosely quote Bull Durham, how this team has won 7 games... It's a miracle), I've realized what little interest I have in the NFL now-a-days.
The realization has been sneaking up on me for quite some time, but it really bubbled over in a conversation I had with a friend earlier today. He brought up the draft, which I thought was this upcoming weekend as it has always been. Little did I know that the draft is now a three day event starting tonight and ending on Saturday. Not only do I think this is a terrible idea because it ruins one of the best loafing/drinking Saturdays of the year (many a beautiful Saturdays I have spent watching Mel Kiper's hair as opposed to enjoying the great outdoors), but what really shocked me was my complete ignorance to this change.
Maybe you've noticed my lack of links or posts regarding the Steelers off-season even though it's been one of the busiest in memory, but it's quite obvious that I just don't care as much anymore. When I left for college in the far away ass-backwards land of South Carolina, I followed the Steelers religiously, much more so than when I was in High School.
I didn't think about it then, but I look back at it now as one of the only means of keeping some sort of continual connection to the city of Pittsburgh. Every Sunday I would don my Steelers jersey and sit in front of a TV at a sports bar for three and a half hours. Ironically, I think part of the enthusiasm came from the Steelers drafting a QB in the first round for the first time since I started supporting them. I got a Ben Roethlisberger jersey for my birthday on 9/7/04; Ben would make his first start just 19 days later. Plus I was in college, and everybody remembers how much free time we had in college; lot's of procrastination to look at every Steelers blog and article on the internet.
But since I've moved back to Pittsburgh, not only have the Steelers played like garbage (my first weekend back was the beginning of the five-game losing streak), but my enthusiasm has waned considerably. I'd like to think the reason isn't due to the Steelers play; after all, I watched the games just as intensely as ever and even spent my own money to attend the Green Bay game. I do have a few theories though.
I think being around people that are Steelers crazy (and no matter what people tell you, the Steelers still run this town no matter how good the Pens are) has turned me off. It's so irrational, fanatical, and non-stop. All people have been able to talk about the past few days is Ben Roethlisberger despite our defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins playing meaningful playoff games in pursuit of their second straight championship.
Maybe this is why I gravitated towards the Pirates while I was growing up. They were such an afterthought, constantly flying under the radar, and the butt of every joke. Maybe it's the natural inclination of a future yuppie white guy; I can only enjoy things that others don't, I just have to be different.
I know it's definitely because of the Tall Guy, who could give a rats ass about the Steelers for the most part. I think part of that has rubbed off on me.
My final theory doesn't make as much sense because I still think that I enjoy watching football, but maybe I don't. I was watching The Colbert Report yesterday and they had on George Will who was promoting the reissuing of his classic baseball book Men at Work, and he brought up an interesting study that concluded that there is only 11 minutes of real action in an NFL football game. Now he was using this fact as a way to say that baseball is more exciting, which is definitely debatable (for my money, hockey and soccer are the best sports to watch on TV or in person), but I think the fact definitely points towards something I've noticed as I got older. NFL games are boring.
Can you justify spending 3-4 hours a Sunday in order to catch 11 minutes of action? I can't. Yet I still watch the Steelers, and I will continue to watch the Steelers (although I am considering using a DVR more often). But I don't think I will ever be as fanatical as I was for the five years I was in Charleston. I do think that's the reason; a sort of absence makes the heart grow fonder type of thing. My friends, who are still pretty Steelers-crazy, all live fairly far away from Pittsburgh. And who knows, maybe when I move away I'll catch the fever again. But as of right now, I could give a shit what happens tonight on the South Side or on ESPN; my attention is right where it should be for all Pittsburgh sports fans... The Igloo.
(Quick update in the Pirates game. When I started this post, the Brewers were up 4-0 in the second inning and are now up 10-0 in the top of the fifth; I've already told my Milwaukee buddy, "You're my Daddy"; Andrew McCutchen, my only really hope for a Pirate superstar, completely failed to do his job with a runner on third and less than two outs by tapping a meatball of a fastball back to the pitcher; Ryan Church looked at a fastball right down the pipe with two strikes and the bases loaded; and Ryan Braun, the biggest doucher in baseball but an incredibly hitter-- he's the Ovechkin to Pirates baseball, stole third while up six runs... what a douche. It's probably best if I just take a deep breath and stop watching this game, but I probably won't.)