There are those who believe the significance of sports lies in their entertainment value, and there are those who believe the significance of sports lies in the escapism they encourage. The truly sage understand that both can be true -- sports are valuable when they entertain, and they're valuable when they provide a distraction. So it is on two distinct fronts that a sporting experience might be considered worthwhile. In this particular instance, we focus exclusively on the second, for there is no entertainment to be had.
In reading this Seattle Mariners blog post, you are consumed not by thoughts of that which might be causing you stress in real life, but by thoughts pertaining to the Seattle Mariners. In real life, anxieties lie in hiding around every corner, just waiting to be encountered. Just as a to-do list can never be completed, a life can never be entirely rid of stress. Am I doing all right on money this month? Does this particular person of interest like me? Does this particular person of interest like me too much? Am I going to be able to get everything done before the deadline? Does my life have direction? Does my life have the direction I want it to have? Do I have brain cancer, sometimes there aren't symptoms of brain cancer
In real life, there is always something to worry about. Sometimes you might blow it out of proportion, but you're always worrying, even when you don't think that you are. Sports serve as a temporary escape from the concern, wherein you might concern yourself with other, trivial things, such as whether this pitch wound up within an invisible rectangle, or whether this group of complete and privileged strangers scored more points than this other group of complete and privileged strangers wearing different-colored clothes. Sports allow us to satisfy our compulsion to worry without those worries concerning anything of actual consequence. It's sort of like a trick that we play on ourselves. You convince yourself that you're worrying about something worth worrying about; you are not. It is upon this very trick that professionals like myself can make a living.
You might be reading this post for any number of immediate, surface reasons. At the very core, you are reading this post because you seek the distraction, you crave the distraction, you need the distraction. You don't want to think about life, and its many dark alleyways. Life is overwhelming and impossible to figure out. You want to think about this post, and the words within, and the significance of the words. There is no significance to the words -- following will be words about baseball -- but there is the illusion of significance, which in a weird way ends up being legitimate significance. These words mean nothing, which means they mean ever so much.
What is this post about? Here's what this post is about:
Interesting note from #Mariners' @jeffevans .... Hector Noesi qualified for a fourth minor league option year.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) October 8, 2012
Previously I had given no thought to the possibility that Hector Noesi might be out of options. I operated under the assumption that he still had one year left. Turns out some people figured he didn't, and, in the end, turns out he does after all. Noesi has already been optioned to the minors in three separate years, but he doesn't yet have five full years of experience as a professional, which qualifies him for option the fourth. Basically, for me, nothing has changed. I figured Noesi would begin 2013 with Tacoma, and Noesi will presumably begin 2013 with Tacoma. He'll just be doing so because of one rule, instead of because of another, related rule. So. Hector Noesi is not out of options. He will remain in the Mariners' system, and he will eventually turn into a starter, or a reliever, or a hitter, or almost literally anything.
Noesi, of course, showed very little promise this year as a starter, but he's still young and fairly inexperienced. He was given plenty of opportunities to learn valuable lessons. He showed more promise as a reliever in a handful of innings. It would be easy to say "his secondary stuff was better in the bullpen," but a true statement would be "he threw some quality secondary pitches out of the bullpen." We don't know if that was a fluke, or real. Most pitchers are better out of the bullpen than out of the rotation. Noesi could end up a reliever, instead of terrible.
So there are a bunch of words about Hector Noesi on October 8, a night during which Ichiro did this in Baltimore:
You don't really care that much about Hector Noesi, especially now. When you woke up this morning, you didn't bolt out of bed, thinking "I need to read about Hector Noesi today." This isn't even important news within the Hector Noesi universe. He qualifies for a fourth-year option. He has a ton of question marks. The Mariners don't intend to build their team around him.
To you, to all of us, Hector Noesi doesn't really matter. It's the act of writing about Hector Noesi, and the act of reading about him, that is what matters. For these minutes and maybe some more, your mind will be occupied with what makes little difference, instead of with what makes all of the difference. All of us need that escape, and all of us have successfully escaped. As far as this blog post is concerned, I declare: mission accomplished, and I wonder if this entry might under some definitions qualify as a drug. What drives some people to drugs and what drives some people to alcohol is what drives some people to the blogosphere. Some might argue this is healthier. Some might argue all are equivalently healthy.