The Voyage of Captain Obvious

Grading is satanic

Thursday, April 06, 2006


First, after his magnificent display this first series, I can't believe that noone, anywhere in the Cardinals blogosphere isn't talking about Albert Pujols and his quest for 100 HR. He is totally on pace to hit 162 this year, so I don't see why this much more modest goal isn't possible.

Second, it is always good to open the season with a sweep, particularly against the one team that inexplicibly owned the Cardinals last year. First place is yours to lose, guys. It's great to have baseball back.

I've always hated most sports and loved baseball (as far as following goes--I love to try, unsucessfully, to do stuff with my body--if anyone reading this wants to try to get some people together to play cricket, I'd TOTALLY be up for it). I could never really explain why, but I think I've figured it out, and it realates how annoyed I was, and am, at a lot of the steroids superstars of the current age (even Cardinals--the second McGwire hit his 70th HR, I was screaming that the Cards should trade him away for some ace pitcher while his value was sky-high. Alas, noone could hear me).

The thing is, most sports are a SHOW. I'ts about coming to the field and performing, and showing off and having those around you gawk. Football, especially, fits this mold--focus on the marquee players, and build up a ton of excitement on a couplea key matchups that won't happen again. It makes for drama, but seems pretty artificial.

Baseball, by contrast (and to plagarize a bit from someone I used to hang out with), is your lazy buddy that sits next to you on the roof of your house downing Dr. Peppers. It's a part of life in a way that these other sports can't be--each outcome isn't as exciting and soul-wrenching, but, at the same time, familiarity gives you a much deeper connexion with 'your guys.' The stars are fun, but the non-stars are, in a bizarre way, even more exciting--they're the scrappy little guys that couldn't quite make it, out there proving that they DID deserve a shot.

Also, the sport is egalitarian and built upon a bunch of little things coming together--the best guys out there succeed a third of the time, and the worst guys succeed a fifth of the time. The margin of error in the game is so tiny, and it regularly leaves guys going from boom to bust in the blink of an eye (remember when Frank Thomas was a sure first ballot HOF lock?). The fleeting nature of the players' talent, and the odd coincidences of success are what makes the game great, and why it is so special to see teams build a record and to see players build a career. And why the wild card sucks so much--it tampers with this delicate balance.

Anwyay, I've rambled too much. The summary is, the games are on, the Cards are winning, and my buddy is back, a thousand miles away or no.

UPDATE: Oh, and what the scratcher said. Crush the cubbies!


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