I generally have a huge distaste for the month of October.
It’s typically the beginning of Jack Frost’s six month reign over my life. It includes grown adults dressing up as anything from Harry Potter to Michelangelo’s David. Parents turn cute three-month-old babies into flowers, clowns and any array of Disney characters.
By now, my fantasy football team has suffered through five weeks of “come on Larry Johnson."
My favorite college football team, by October, has usually hit a roadblock on its quest to its first national championship since 1984, and the only NBA highlights on ESPN involve LeBron’s entrance into an arena and one of 25,000 former NBA D-Leaguers who are “on their way to the show.”
But there is one thing about October that I simply can’t live without: October baseball.
Most of baseball’s regular season is spent with my wife asking why I have a game on the TV, plus games on both of our computers.
But in October, it’s her idea.
In October, my April-through-September non-baseball-interested wife suddenly becomes as excited as an all-you-can-eat buffet owner when Phillies manager Charlie Manuel comes to town.
I grab her hand. We each grab a Diet Coke, make our way to our torn up, 15-year-old couch, and partake of nine innings of pure wedded bliss.
A single tear finds its way down my cheek.
As a life-long fan of the Atlanta Braves, I haven’t had anything to go crazy about in October since a David Justice solo home run in 1995 lifted Tom Glavine and the Braves to a 1-0 win over the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the World Series—a win that quickly prompted a victory lap around my neighborhood.
In 1991, my mother consoled me after a heartbreaking loss to the Minnesota Twins in the World Series. The next year my dad celebrated with me when Sid Bream slid across home plate in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLCS—he then joined me in sorrow as we watched the Toronto Blue Jays celebrate World Series glory.
In 1994, I cried myself to sleep after Dan Patrick officially announced the MLB strike—I cried because I knew there would be no October baseball.
My family waited on the lawn for me to finish my victory lap in 1995 and we all died a little inside in 1996, ‘97, ‘98 and ‘99. From 2000-04, I felt the pain of October losses.
I got married in 2005, the last year the Braves played in October. My wife sat on the edge of her seat next to me that year as the Braves and the Houston Astros battled it out in an 18-inning marathon Game Five—only to see Chris Burke leave the yard and give the Astros the win.
But despite my team’s recent failure to take the field in October, I still return to an adolescent state of mind while watching October baseball.
I momentarily forgot of my general disliking of Alex Rodriguez while watching him hit .455 with two home runs and six RBI in the New York Yankees’ three-game sweep of the Twins.
I forgot about the twitch I get when thinking of L.A. fans when I saw the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate with legendary manager Joe Torre following their sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals.
I smile each time I see 50,000-plus fans waving the same colored towel in hopes of generating enough momentum and energy to propel their team to victory. My eyes water when a catcher throws his glove in the air and rushes the mound to celebrate with a pitcher.
In a world of cubicles, spreadsheets, meetings, presentations, and deadlines, it’s nice to take a trip back to childhood during October.
With so much uncertainty in my life, one thing is always for sure:
Come month 10, my inner 12-year-old gets to meet my Mrs. October.
*This story originally appeared on www.howtowatchsports.com
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