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Baseball mental health

Bleacher Views

It’s time for a confession. I suffer from a mental health problem called BSOCD, Baseball Standing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Although the initials are the same, this problem is separate from the similar but distinct disorder known as Baseball Statistics Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. That problem is restricted to math people, whereas any of us can suffer from the prior malady.

The most common symptom is the constant desire to check a computer browser to see who is in first and where one of my teams is now standing. Win/loss percentages are agonized over. Results of the last 10 games are ground to a fine dust to determine trends and to forecast the future.

How one feels about the world, how one views the future, and one’s general affect are severely affected by where one’s team name appears in the list of divisions. Constant reassurance in the form of multiple checks a day is usually needed to reassure the sufferer that some calamity has not stolen the team and sent it to the misery of dwelling in the cellar.

I believe I caught this disease as a youngster. Local papers would print not only a description of yesterday’s game but also place a small box in the corner that contained the latest update of the league standings. That little box contained a contagion that has bedeviled me my entire adult life and these days shows no sign of loosening its grip.

Percentages play a central role in this disease. BSOCD sufferers know that a .600 win percentage is essential for getting to the post season in good order. That means your team has to have a .700 win percentage at home and a .500 percentage on the road, Every game, especially a loss, becomes a part of that calculation and so achieves an importance that might otherwise be missed. Those that have the statistics form of this problem make the same calculations but add a bunch of others so complex that only a scientific calculator can perform the operations.

If you want to see fireworks, threaten to take away a stat nerd’s calculator. Monsters of the Midway are mild mannered pushovers by comparison.

I have found by long experience that the only cure for this affliction is cold weather. Since I have no desire to live above the Arctic Circle, my only recourse is to put up with it until November. If any of you out there is similarly cursed, remember, Thanksgiving is coming,


Millerton resident Theodore Kneeland is a former teacher and coach — and athlete.

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