In yet another stroke of self-aggrandizement, we editors of Walkoff Walk have asked our most devoted readers and commenters to contribute short essays about how much they love us. Some responded positively. Others, not so much. Today, we'll highlight some of the positive reflections. We now give you a real, live Nationals fan, an international star of stage and screen, Mr. Matt DeTura, aka MDT:
"What I should be writing here is a thank you note for the PR firm of Iracane and Liakos, LLP, who have done more for my career as an intermittent Internet famewhore than just about any other. I'm pretty sure the human condition they're referring to isn't my unchecked ego. Regardless! I have another personal story.
My baseball life has been marked by failure and cynicism. I grew up a Phillies fan, worshiping Wild Thing and Nails and Dutch and Krukker - only to get my young heart shattered in 1993 in Toronto. A messy divorce from the game followed as I concentrated on playing the game rather than following it while the players were on strike, but even that stopped in high school when I couldn't catch up to the fastball, let alone the curve. Every time I stepped onto the track to sprint, I envisioned I was going the most exciting 90 feet in sports: the steal of second base. (This irked my coach, who became livid when I'd drop into a figure-four slide one-third of the way through the 100 meter dash.)
I drifted further in college, embracing my other sporting loves: football, hockey, fighting. Even Durham Bulls games were a lark for me, a way to spend a few hours drinking someplace that wasn't a dorm room.
When I moved to DC in 2005 I was just about ready to love again, and for one magical summer it was just that as Your Washington Nationals packed the wobbly rafters of RFK Stadium and had an amazing July run. I kept score and drank stale beer and refined my sunflower spitting technique, and for the first time in a long time, the thrill was back.
Well, in spite of a nice new (if a bit antiseptic stadium), the beer goggles wore off. The Nats are, uh homely. And untalented. And unlucky. (At least they're not the cocktease the Phillies were, always getting justthisclose before finally I'd had enough and bam - WFC. My fan karma, there.) But in spite of it, they've gotten me into the ballpark on Opening Day the past three years, and every year now I get to celebrate that one little dawning bit of hope, that beautiful spring rebirth that makes every year just a little bit brighter.
Right up until every pitcher on the roster's elbow simultaneously explodes.
But it wasn't a new town or a new stadium or the occasional bobble-head night that got me really excited about baseball again. It was hanging out on Walkoff Walk with like-minded snarksters who'd rather watch shrimp run than scream about steroids or quibble over SABR-rattling. For Deadspin refugees like me, it was a safe place to repopulate our delightful sports-related idiocy, the neighborhood bar online for 364 days a year (and one annual, crazy one in Pennsylvania where I've gotten to put some faces to names and make a lot of great, lasting friends).
Blogging on the internet has become Balkanized in a lot of ways. People would rather talk about their team, or their player, or their tiny niche meme (ocelotswearingmonocles.tumblr.com) than just sit around and talk shop about the game itself. And by "talk shop" I mean "make fun of Chipper Jones". Knowing it was a labor of love for the Street Team (although I don't know, Liakos' ad revenues may exceed what's in his hobo bindle) made it all the better.
Walkoff Walk got me really excited about baseball season for the first time since I had baseball cards in the spokes of my bike tires, and I needed that for the long, cruel summer between Duke winning championships and Miami shitting the gridiron. Thanks guys, for that."
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