Every once in a while someone will ask me: "If you could go back to any point in history, what time and place would you go?" And first you have to eliminate that "go back to the eighties and buy Microsoft stock" garbage that is basically the same as wishing for more wishes. But even then, I wouldn't go back anywhere. I like the present. I like having toilet paper and vaccinations and laptops.
It's true of baseball. We live in an era of baseball enlightenment, a time of openness and freethinking and tolerance, outside of major cable sports networks. And yet there are times when I feel the tiniest sense of regret at where we've come. Today's game was one of those times.
First of all, Joe Saunders. What the hell, Joe Saunders? Every time I write a recap, that hopeless, blank stare and starchy beard burn themselves on my retinas. Everyone has that one guy who always seems to be pitching the day you head to the park; for me, it used to be Aaron Sele. But enough is enough, Joe Saunders. I am tired of making fun of you.
In the Olde Tyme era of baseball writing, this game would have been fraught with narrative and tension: a crimson-faced, downcast Eric Wedge justifying the failure of his subordinates, a wounded Michael Saunders struggling against both his demons and the sinews in his shoulder, a Brandon Bantz emblematic of the failures of the organization. It's rank hyperbole, talk-show spittle, and it's so very much easier to write than thoughtful, long-term, factual analysis.
But ignorance also just made it easier to care about games like this, lost games in lost seasons, starring soon-to-be lost players. The Internet Baseball Collective is disdainful of the narrative because narratives are really terrible for predicting the results of baseball games. They cloud our vision. But there are times like today where our vision could use some clouding. Not about the future - our eyes and hearts are clear about the future - but about that recent, recent past.
We're told to be patient. And we are. But there's a tension in that patience, a feeling that we should feel, at least feel a little. That if the team can't make us feel, we have to do it ourselves. Today's game has to mean something. But what?
- We actually got the Good Joe Saunders today, such as it is. The ball continually seemed to be a few inches out of place on every line drive and grounder hit by the Yankees. It's hard enough to watch Saunders without watching him get BABIPed to death.
- Tomorrow night ROOT Sports is replaying Game 4 of the ALDS at 9 PM. Starting that game for the Yankees, somehow, was Scott Kamienecki. However, today's game made me remember Game 2, where I saw Andy Pettitte pitch for the first time. Andy Pettitte's pickoff move actually angered me, in a infantile sense of unfairness. It was a damn good pickoff throw.
- There's really not much else to say about this game. The better and luckier team won. Felix tomorrow.