After the events of last night, I felt it was important that we explore the stages of baseball grief together. (All four stages were stolen from the five stages of grief.) Of course, different people will have different reactions while going through baseball grief. Some baseball fans tend to wear their baseball emotions on their sleeves, while others tend to grief over baseball in private. But most of us will experience all four of these stages at some point, and I wanted to let you know that you are not alone, and that we can all get through this rough time together. Stage 1: Denial and Isolation
The first most common reaction to your team not being able to pass the team ahead of them in the standings is usually denial. A lot of Yankee fans are going through denial right now. I even witnessed it last night when I was looking at my Twitter feed and seeing the reactions to how David Price was performing against the Yankees. Last night's outcome should not be a surprise to anyone and if you actually believed the Yankees had a chance against Price - especially with the way he's been pitching since being traded to Toronto - you're a bit delusional. And while your denying what's happening right before your eyes, you also tend to isolate yourself. You log off Twitter, you avoid Facebook, you lock yourself in your room and curse for a while. It's okay. It's all a part of the process.
Stage 2: Anger
The second most common reaction to a tough loss to a division rival is anger. Once you're done denying what happened and isolating yourself, you tend to get mad. And a lot of us were mad after the game last night. What made it even worse was that the Yankees actually fought back a little bit in the later innings once Price had left the game but they just couldn't get the job done. And you know what? It happens. And the sooner all of us accept it (see stage 4), the better off we will be.
Stage 3: Depression
The third most common reaction to your team not quite living up to your expectations is depression. Once you pass the denial/isolation and anger stages, you feel a wave of sadness come over you because watching your team fall short against the first place team in the division can make you feel awful after the game ends. The key here is to realize that it's just sports and that your real life is much more important than anything you watch on TV. So buck up, little campers and let's move on to the final stage of baseball grief.
Stage 4: Acceptance
The last stage of baseball grief is acceptance. Once you accept the fact that your Yankees will not be winning the division, the better you will feel. I promise. And it's okay for them to not win the division. This isn't the 80's and early 90's pre-Wild Card days when losing the division meant missing the playoffs altogether. They can still win the Wild Card! They can still get into the playoffs! And once you realize this and accept it, it will make watching baseball fun again!
And you know what? Things could be worse for us. We could be Rays and Red Sox fans. Their teams were eliminated from playoff contention last night thanks to the Jays winning. So get out there and enjoy your Tuesday! Things are still okay!