Having just spent a lot of energy on comparisons between ''Survivor's'' Stephenie and the Boston Red Sox, I'm remembering a conversation I had with a co-worker in late September.
I was talking TV with someone, and this guy said, ''Aren't you a big baseball fan? ... How are you watching everything?''
The answer was, I tried really hard. I caught the regular TV series that I felt were worth catching, and I watched as much baseball as I could. It was a great time to be watching baseball, too, with exciting playoff races (said excitement once again undercutting Bob Costas's complaints about the wild-card system). And, since I have loyalties to both the Red Sox and the Indians, I had a lot of different ways to feel excited and anxious.
Then the regular season was over. Goodbye, Indians. Then the playoffs saw the swift departure of Boston. And not long after the Yankees, watchable because you can root so ardently against them, also cleared the field. So what was left to watch?
Now, under certain conditions, I can be fully engaged in a game or a playoff involving two teams I have no history with or strong feelings about. Sometimes a game just feels important. Or you know a sport is dramatic; I fell briefly in love with NHL hockey based on huge sudden-death overtime games. Or you can work out elaborate rationalizations for watching: The White Sox should get some love because they're from the same division as the Indians, or the Angels are cheerable because they beat the Yankees. Or -- well, there must be some way to root for a National League team, I just can't think what it is.
But maybe I've hit one of my sports walls, because I have only seen bits of playoff games, and not even the best parts of those. (The controversial call in the second Angels-White Sox game is in my visual memory bank only because I saw a dozen or more replays on ESPN.) I may come out of my semi-doze for the World Series, especially if it looks like Chicago's chance to end its long curse. But right now, I'm more like, ''Wake me for spring training.''