Rowley: On work and being found wanting

From SABR member Meg Rowley at FanGraphs on October 31, 2019:

We talk about work as a cohesive, coherent thing — I am a writer, your dad is a plumber, these are our jobs — but it isn’t really. Jobs are a bunch of tasks and to-do lists and calendar reminders, wholes made up of discrete parts that add up to our work. Part of the work of covering the Astros involves an honest accounting of Roberto Osuna: The pitches he throws and how they play, and also how he came to be in Houston. It means considering the cost of his acquisition, not just in so many Gileses, and Paulinos, and Perezes, but also in the bits of humanity it denied and disregarded. It involves recognizing that the Astros got to the World Series in part by commodifying one of the worst moments of a human being’s life, and putting that chilly awfulness into the context of a game somehow.

That was and is the work of the three female sportswriters who were in the Astros’ locker room on the evening of Houston’s pennant-winning triumph. Only that night, a new task emerged. Part of their work became now-former assistant general manager Brandon Taubman and his venom, the drumbeat of “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—— glad we got Osuna!” delivered with cigar in hand. It became locating that venom alongside the purple domestic violence awareness bracelet one of the reporters was wearing, and Taubman’s prior frustration at her practice of tweeting out resources for victims and survivors when Osuna would pitch. These new bits of work added to the queue, one of those reporters, Stephanie Apstein, went about her business, detailing the incident and its context for Sports Illustrated.

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Originally published: October 31, 2019. Last Updated: October 31, 2019.