Since the Dodgers heartbreaking loss in game 5 to the Nationals, I’ve felt a complete numbness. I am sure many Dodger fans are feeling a lot of these types of emotions. Then my idealist love for the Dodgers, my romance about baseball, has slowly brought me to the place of acceptance.
I started thinking about my love for the game of baseball. As I tried to put this into coherent thought, very familiar song lyric popped into my head that said it for me. It felt better than the words I would have contrived. The song it came from, reminded me of Alex Verdugo.
This tweet about him has haunted me for days.
Alex Verdugo was the last man left in the Dodgers’ dugout. He sat on the top bench, hoodie on, watching the Nationals celebrate.
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) October 10, 2019
It’s a crushing thing to read. Alex Verdugo was injured and unable to contribute in the playoffs for his team. What he did contribute in 2019 though, was more than numbers. Alex Verdugo’s choice of walk-up song was not just clever. It was a calculated choice, and it was brilliant. See how why he decided on it here. Vicente Fernandez is a mythic figure in Mexican culture. Upon hearing the opening organ, horns, and ‘Chente’s’ distinct mariachi grito, Dodger Stadium would erupt into a frenzy. I have not witnessed such a frenzied response to a song at Dodger Stadium. Ever.
This Impassioned Love…
Baseball can make you feel such joy and pain. It’s a game that entices us at the break of winter and the opening of spring. The heartbreak we may or may not have felt the year before has washed away. As Michael Scott from ‘The Office’ once said, we are “ready to get hurt again.” The relationship Dodger fans have with baseball is not unlike the feeling of love–a thing so powerful we can’t quit, but hurts us time and time again.
“Volver, Volver” is obviously about the pain and yet the power of love, as are many Mexican classics. The beauty of words doesn’t always translate from one language to another. I found a translation of the lyrics that I thought matched the poetry of the original as best as possible.
A Conversation With Ourselves and Baseball
“You had every reason; I heed my heart and I’m dying to return.”
As I read this phrase over and over again, it felt like baseball was telling me I had every reason to shut it out. I’ve spoken with Dodger fans over the past few days and noted the social media attitude. Some of us dove right into watching the NLCS and ALCS, and others like me have just been unable to watch baseball. I’ve kept up with the scores, but I just have been unable to watch. I’ve had every reason because I heed my heart. I heed my heart and know that in March and April, I’ll be dying to return.
I know how to lose. I’ve seen 7 consecutive years of winning our division and subsequent postseason heartbreak. I know how to lose. The 2017 world series crushed me, the 2018 world series saddened me, and the 2019 playoffs betrayed me. I know how to lose, but I can take it. I’ll be begging to return. I’ll be begging to volver…
Being A Dodger Fan Is To Know Loss
I’m now convinced that in the 31 years time since the last Dodgers won the world series, Dodger fans are in an era of grief and loss. There is a burden that this generation of Dodger fans carry. While this can all seem like a descent into over-exaggerated melancholy, there’s no denying the frustration of seeing your beloved team be very good, but not good enough. Seeing this happen year after year has put many Dodger fan on the road to madness. It is still pretty raw for me, but I have no doubt I will be ready and in fact eager for the 2020 Dodger season, despite the loss I feel. Is this not similar to how most of us feel about love and relationships?
Catharsis And Acceptance
I had a wordy paragraph I was trying to end this with, as a conversation with any and all who read it. I decided a more sincere thing to do was to share how I’ve been slowly moving on.
If you have a few minutes in your October day, watch this video. It’s Vicente Fernandez himself performing “Volver, Volver” live. If you understand the lyrics already, really listen to them. If you don’t, pull up the translation. Think about this song not like a song about a lover, but a song about baseball. I find myself feeling a sense of truth. I’ll be right back ready for the 2020 season soon enough, because I can’t see any other way. There’s no way I couldn’t love baseball. There’s no way I couldn’t feel pride and love for the Dodgers. I’ll be begging to return, very soon.