**disclaimer: I like baseball. I enjoy watching it at the stadium and on TV. Just not every day … **
The Hubbs says goodbye to me every spring, about a week before he asks me to vacate the house for a couple hours on a random weekend so he can focus on his fantasy baseball draft. I know its coming weeks in advance: The Amazon shipment of the annual Baseball Prospectus heralds the beginning of the end. When it arrives, he tears into the packaging and reverently picks up the book, running his thumb down the spine, caressing its crisp corners, cupping its weight against his body.
From that moment on, that book haunts me. It absorbs him at the dinner table, making small talk impossible. It sits beside him, open-faced, on the couch — regaling me to the recliner. It sits beside him in the office, graces his bedside table. For all I know, its in the shower with him each morning.
He’s reunited with his lover — and I take turns at being amused and annoyed with the two of them.
That being said, Hubbs has turned down his love affair these past few years. At one point, he was in no less than six fantasy baseball leagues. Team management took up all of his free time. I barely saw him. When I had prepared a beautiful dinner one night of steak with red wine and shallot sauce with smashed roasted garlic potatoes and broccoli, he brought the laptop to the table and ignored me, absorbed in his stats. That’s when I lost it. I continued to “lose it” during the baseball season — which seems to last 75% of each year. After that, he vowed to cut down on the teams. When I got pregnant with the Monkey, I made him promise — to swear — that he’d cut down on the teams again. Because I wasn’t going to be a single parent. To his credit, he did.
This year, he’s down to two leagues. He only picks up the book or goes online when I have the Monkey or after the baby’s in bed. Even then, he still makes an effort to spend time with me, which I appreciate. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not nervous.
Baseball sings a siren song.
Last night, opening night, he sat glued to the TV flipping between two games before and after dinner. When something loud happened during the meal, he was up in a flash, leaning around me to see the action. After putting the baby to bed and talking to my parents, I joined him on the couch for the eighth inning. I did my usual — who’s that, how did we get him, what position does he play? — bit for the new team members. Usually he’ll be amused, but take pride in telling me their stats, their strengths, whether he thought they were a good trade/deal on the free agent market.
But last night, those questions were annoying. My voice was annoying. My presence was annoying. Last night he was focused on his lover. And since she was away for so long, I’m assuming he didn’t want his wife intruding on their quality time.
I’ll be honest: It’s really hard not to be bitter about it sometimes. Its hard to be understanding. It’s a world that I’m shut out of — not that I have the time or inclination to delve into it.
In the end, once the honeymoon period is over, we’ll get him back. (Well, mostly.) In the meantime, I’ll be mourning.
I’ve just been baseball widowed.