Baumann: Don’t waste these days, Blue Jays fans

From SABR member Michael J. Baumann at Grantland on August 28, 2015:

For an entertainment venture, baseball really isn’t all that escapist. Baseball is an ordeal. The players spend most of a given game needing to pay strict attention on every single pitch, but only have to react a couple of times per game. The sport requires constant mental focus, the overwhelming majority of which is wasted. And even when a player gets involved, he has relatively little control over what results from his actions. Bloopers turn into triples, while scalded line drives can turn into double plays.

Consider the two great axioms about hitting, both of which are true: “Even the best hitters fail two-thirds of the time” and “The difference between an average hitter and a great hitter is two hits a month.” This is a game for nihilists, and it’s played six days a week.

It’s an endeavor that requires unceasing effort every day, but in which most of that effort goes to waste, and the bit that doesn’t is set adrift in a sea of uncontrollable and often inexplicable factors, ending in failure most of the time. That sounds like real life to me, and this inexorable, beautiful conveyor belt of failure appeals to me the way the novels of Richard Ford and Graham Greene do. Baseball is like having your soul crushed slowly by a steamroller made of platinum and diamonds. (The sunshine and the smell of fresh-cut grass are nice, too.)

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Originally published: August 28, 2015. Last Updated: August 28, 2015.