It is May 28 and you are about to go 17 days without watching a Yankees game. First you are going to move across town and not have cable hooked up in your new apartment. Then you are going to have an unscheduled, last minute trip out of town as soon as your move is done. You’ll return to New York for one night, and go on a scheduled vacation for 8 days. You are going to have a great time.
This will be easy. You’ve done this before. Baseball has been a part of your life for as long as you could walk, but you have the winter every year, don’t you? Yes, you do. You go months and months without having baseball in your life every winter and you have not died. Not even once. Sure, you have your blogs and you have mlbtraderumors.com and you’re still connected, but there’s no first pitch in December. There’s no game after work in February. This will be easy, right?
For the first week, you still have your iPhone. Your iPhone is your gateway to baseball information and you run the battery down a few times a day. You are in the United States and you have 3G. This is almost as good as watching a game. You’re feeling fine, and then you board the plane, turn off data roaming and land in another country. You can make and receive calls. You can send and receive texts. That is all. You twitch(?) Was that a twitch?
After being connected to the Yankees, to every score, every game, every roster move and machination, to the news cycle, to blogs and to Twitter, you have nothing and you are feeling just a bit disoriented. You would have to pay the equivalent of a month’s rent to AT&T if you wanted to turn on data and check out TweetDeck and the MLB app and your fantasy team on your iPhone, and while you’re pretty sure it would be worth it, you’re more certain your wife would kill you and dump your body in the ocean. You will settle for CNN International on the hotel room’s television, hoping and praying for a box score on the bottom line to find out if the team won. You’re drinking data through a coffee stirrer and you’re used to a Big Gulp. Forget checking WPA graphs on Fangraphs after the game; forget looking at all 15 box scores of each game; forget reading the postgame comments and previewing the next day’s game. No, you will settle for a final score and be happy if the Yankees won. You are bargaining with CNN International like you’re in the third stage of grief.
CNN International will not have the box scores for Major League Baseball. For the first time in as long as you can remember you go to bed not knowing if the team won or lost, forgetting all those interminable West Coast games that you skipped. You will feel sorry for yourself.
In a few days something weird will happen to you. You’ll discover a New Normal. You will start to feel, just a bit, like Bubs in the opening lede from that episode of The Wire, the one where he comes down from his heroin high and is finally clean. He starts to hear the birds chirp and the trees rustle and realizes that there’s a beautiful world out there. You will feel guilty and very weird for likening your baseball information addiction to a hardcore drug addiction, but you will not feel that it is entirely misplaced.
You will get five minutes on the hotel lobby’s computer one morning and you will split your time between glancing over your email and looking at the box score from last night’s game. You will wonder about the K/BB ratios of the Yankees’ starters. This will be all the Yankees you will have for 24 hours. You will feel OK, and you will be happy the team is winning. You won’t check Twitter once. One morning you will find out about last night’s game from the USA Today, which is an actual newspaper. You will recall that this is what you used to do when you were six years old.
You will come to dread returning. Like getting sunburned, you will wear the vacationers’ badge of honor when you wax nostalgic about the simple life, about “unplugging”, about getting disconnected and reorienting your brain and reading books and feeling the sun. You will be typical. You will think that you would be OK without your iPhone. You will not be so stupid as to say the same about the Yankees, and you will wonder if they are going to manage a sweep of the Astros and wonder whether they can finally close that gap on the Rays. When you land at JFK Airport, you won’t turn your phone on right away. You will feel proud of yourself. You will wonder if you’ve actually missed anything after all.
The next day you won’t have an answer and you will not know what to write about. You will have 1000+ unread items in Google Reader. You will feel like an amateur. You will have half a dozen false starts about the team’s progress while you’re gone, and you will feel stilted and forced. You will say what’s on your heart and hope that it is good enough.