I think that many of us first learn about broken hearts through baseball.
One of the earliest memories of my childhood was when my team, Almendares lost a game to their fierce rivals, Habana, in the Cuban baseball winter league. I was about 3 at the time, and still remember being very sad and crying.
A friend and colleague from Germany, who knows little about baseball, told me that when he was on assignment in the US a while back, he once saw his then young children crying in front of the TV and asked them what was the matter. The Yankees lost, they said. My friend was baffled.
Baseball and broken hearts? Some might say that this is just my personal mixture of Jewish angst and Latin fatalism at work here. But others, I think most baseball fans, will know exactly what I mean.
Take the three baseball teams I follow most closely. The Mets keep teasing us that perhaps they finally have a good team with the addition of Pedro and Carlos. But just as our hopes go up when they win big games, they lose several games to pitchers recently called up from the minors and continue to hover around mediocrity. They are in last place now and we are all waiting for mediocrity to turn to disaster as it has for the last few years around this time. We are amazed that Pedro has been as good as he has been, and live in fear that the 5'11", 180 lbs Pedro is "fragile" as some have said and will somehow break down later in the season. And, as for Carlos, we nod our heads remembering all the other superstars that were headed for the Hall of Fame until they came to New York and joined the Mets.
The Yankees, on the other hand, are in second place, only 2 1/2 games behind Boston in spite of having a pitching rotation that seems to change every day because its original pitching staff has been decimated by injuries. You would think that every Yankees fan would breath a sigh of relief that in spite of it all, the Yankees are most likely going to once more make the playoffs. And you would think that Yankees fans would appreciate and be happy about the very strong season that A-Rod is having. Now, the Yankees have been in the playoffs every year since 1995, made it to the World Series 6 times in that span, and won the Series 4 times. But, since it seems that it is the human condition to one way or another try to re-live those primal broken heart experiences, all every Yankees fan in New York remembers is that the Yankees have failed them by not having won the World Series since they beat the Mets in 2000.
As for the Red Sox, if ever a set of fans could rightfully lay claim to broken hearts of operatic proportions, it is the so called Red Sox Nation prior to 2004. Red Sox angst and fatalism even had a mythical cause, The Curse of the Bambino until it dissipated when the Red Sox miraculously beat the Yankees on the way to the 2004 World Series. The Red Sox are now in first place, most likely destined for the playoffs again, but I think that people are still not sure what to make of the team now that it is "normal", i.e., not necessarily pre-destined to break their hearts by The Curse.
Finally, some broken hearts never heal. Just ask any Brooklyn Dodgers fan.