Winter is a double tragedy.
One: there is no baseball.
Two: the long, dark, cold winter nights would be much more tolerable with baseball to keep us company.
It is simply not to be, unless you want to watch replays from the 2001 ALDS on MLB Network or three guys regurgitating the same six trade rumors.
One of the major rumors this offseason is that the Indians may trade away star shortstop Francisco Lindor. That’s not an easy idea to stomach. There are few players in all of professional sports that play with the same joy; there are fewer who match that exuberance with elite talent. Any trade that involves Lindor is going to hurt, even if Cleveland receives a massive amount of talent in return. Frustration. Anger.
These are all emotions that any long-term Indians fan are familiar with, but the loss of Lindor will be a new addition; a deep puncture in an already-wounded psyche. I think it might be enough to break some fans, honestly. The kind of fan that records a parody of a Weezer B-side because of how much they like Lindor.
Is there anything we can do about it? Kind of.
Just accept it.
When I say “accept it”, I don’t mean acceptance in the usual sense. I’m specifically invoking the idea of radical acceptance. In short, you accept the reality, whatever it happens to be. This doesn’t mean you like it, agree with it, or want it at all. By accepting something that causes you discomfort or grief, allowing it to simply be — even allowing yourself to examine how it makes your feel with curiosity, free from the need to “do anything about it” — it becomes easier to avoid suffering and even move on. That doesn’t mean you ever really forget about what happened or agree with it, but over time it loses its hooks.
No, I don’t want to lose Francisco Lindor. I prefer that the Indians extend him for 10 years at whatever cost it takes, but acknowledge the reality that the current ownership of the team likely feels it cannot afford to do so. If I’m going to remain an Indians fan in a post-Lindor world, I need to embrace a radical acceptance of how awful it is. I may even have to accept a Francisco Lindor in pinstripes, ultimately entering Cooperstown as a Yankee.
I’m twitching now, to be honest.
If it comes to pass, then it comes to pass. I won’t be happy. I will feel anger at the structure of the league and the front office of the team. Ultimately, I will accept it, allow myself to feel the emotions it creates without engaging or “doing something” about them, and nod silently as his replacement boots a dribbler.
We can acknowledge that it sucks. We can allow for the thought that we hope it doesn’t happen. What we must ultimately do is accept things as they are, or as they will be. When we stop fighting or grappling with the emotions that it creates within us, they start to lose some of their power over us.
If it feels weird to apply a therapy tool to fandom, that’s fine. I’d rather feel awkward about using and sharing tools I learned when coping with anxiety than be furious about losing a shortstop for the rest of my life.
A great, once-in-a-generation shortstop. With a premium bat and elite defense. Whose loss may be insurmountable.
I can accept it. I think. But I would much rather “radically accept” his extension.