In all the decades I’ve used professional baseball as my personal shrink, I’ve never been so relieved to see it start as I am this year. I’ll tell you how relieved. Because I couldn’t wait for the first official game, I spent last Saturday night at Anaheim Stadium watching a dreadful exhibition in which the Angels stomped the San Diego Padres, 11-3, — on a football-weather night against an alleged major league team that committed three errors that were charged and a dozen or so that weren’t. I hope, for the sake of the home folks in San Diego, that wasn’t the Padres’ varsity I saw last Saturday.
I finally gave up in the seventh inning when the Padres inserted a pinch runner who was identified on the scoreboard simply as “unknown.” I took this as a signal to leave.
Driving home, I asked myself why I was more needy than usual for a baseball fix. Even in my benumbed frozen state, the answer came clear. I was facing a record level of stress over the next six months that sorely needed the psychiatric couch of baseball.