I love quotes. I love quotes mainly because quotes are an easy way for people to feel like they are contributing something transcendent and original to human discourse without actually trying too hard, relying more on the attribution than the content of whatever was said.
I mean, ok, let's be honest. Quotes are ridiculous. One of my favorites is "Not all who wander are lost," which was written by J.R.R. Tolkien about a pretend person from thousands of years ago who hung out with elves and dragons, except then it got taken up by a particular historical counterculture and is now put on stickers slapped on the back of Honda four-doors blasting like, I don't know, fucking Amanda Palmer or something. It's intended target is imagined as some stuffy exec wearing a three piece suit while looking down on The Youths, but if you've ever come into contact with someone like that you know just as well as I do that they are perfectly happy to let you smoke a joint in your car while reading trade paperback fantasy novels as long as you leave them alone to let them do whatever it is they do.
My other favorite quote is the one that is typically attributed to Einstein, and it goes something along the lines of "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." You've seen this before, I know you have. It's usually photoshopped onto that stupid picture of him sticking his tongue out, and its exaggerated historical grounding in a brilliant mind seems to be confused by many for magnitude. It has neither of those things.
The fact of the matter is that not only did Einstein never say this, it's also completely wrong, and stupid, and dumb. Questions of sanity aside, I would like to challenge this with the simple fact that this morning I turned on my television to watch the Seattle Mariners play baseball, and I knew that they were going to be trotting out the same tired lineup behind the same rookie pitcher that shouldn't be here against the same division rival and I knew they were going to lose. And yet I watched anyway. Fuck it, they knew that was going to happen, and yet they just went out there and sprawled out on top of the train tracks while staring right into the prepubescent eyes of Derek Holland and said LETS GO GET IT OVER WITH BUDDY and then they lost. That's one thousand times worse than "expecting different results."
I mean sure, you can't blame them. Schedule is a schedule. I think it's all but a foregone conclusion that Jack Z is going to be headed back to Wisconsin this winter, and with Dombrowski off the board, there really is no point in making a move now before the market opens up this November. So on they wait, playing meaningless baseball games while trotting out Mike Montgomery and looking on with quiet magnanimity as he gives up six hits and four walks and thinking poor boy, just the victim of such a terrible season, and then they do NOTHING ABOUT IT. Everyone knows he's in need of some work, and yet here he stays, all but expecting a terrible start that is allowed to happen anyway. That's one thousand times worse than "expecting different results."
No, today Montgomery had trouble in the first, giving up three quick runs before finally escaping the inning, and then he watched as the Mariners failed to do just about anything until the fifth inning. In this here fifth inning, with the game down 3-0, the Mariners quickly watched as Mark Trumbo hit a solo dinger on a line drive into left, which was followed up by a double off the bat of Jesus Montero with only a single out in the inning. He was stranded after Mike Zunino popped up and Marte grounded out to end the inning.
But then in the top of the sixth, it looked like something tangible might actually cross that invisible barricade between third and home after Kyle Seager, Nelson Cruz, and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases with no outs against a seemingly tiring Holland. And make no mistakes about it: Holland was gassed, throwing these to the part of the Mariners' order that still, somehow, despite everything, would be uncomfortable for just about anyone in the league to face:
So how did the Mariners take advantage of this here situation? A double play that notched a run before an Austin Jackson groundout to end the inning, with every single pitch hit being in the strike zone, a fastball, and in the low 90's. Not all who wander are lost, but the Mariners are wandering, and they are fucking lost.
After Montgomery went through six, somehow stabilizing a little bit, Lloyd turned the pen over to Joe Beimel, who promptly hit Shin-Soo Choo before giving up three straight dingers to Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli, and Elvis Andrus. With the exception of the ball Mike Napoli hit, Beimel's pitches weren't terrible, but they also weren't good and his fastball was sitting at 85. After the game Shannon Drayer tweeted that Beimel felt something "grab" in his arm after basically admitting that he had been "fried" for at least two weeks, which apparently didn't stop him from trotting on out there every day with the rest of the pen comprised of popsicle sticks and chewed gum. A trip to the DL is likely, and whether they knew he was hurt or not, what I've been saying here is quite simple: It's not that the Mariners were doing the same thing while expecting different results. They were doing the same thing just because they could, and why do anything different, who cares, here we are, etc. Get it over with.
(EDIT 4:01 PM: Drayer clarified to me that Beimel hasn't had any actual injury diagnosed, and that by "fried" she meant he has been running on fumes. But still, results are results.)
The four runs in the seventh blew it open for the Rangers, but even before you could see the resignation and exhaustion on every gray-clad face the ROOT broadcast focused on today. From Lomo giving Donnelly the hurry-up the other night to this,
you have to wonder just what kind of toll 2015 has taken on each of these players, individually. I mean, you know Mark Trumbo has got to be frustrated, but that face isn't a stick with it ol' boy! face, it's a THIS FUCKING SUCKS AND I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL IT'S OVER face.
With that in mind, it doesn't really matter that the Mariners lost 7-2 today. There will be moves to be made during the offseason, hirings and firings to be had, trades and free agents to be scoured and even a few fun September callups to revel in here in a few weeks. I'm not trying to upturn the ship or anything (I'm trying to upturn the ship), but I think it would do us all a bit of good to remember Lloyd's quote at the beginning of the season, stitched up and hung over the front door to these players' job like it were a reminder to punch their timecard before leaving on the day, and then we should remember that quotes can be really stupid, just totally dumb and stupid.
I mean, don't get me wrong or anything. I love quotes. Love, love, love them. I love them because you don't get to pick and choose with quotes. They are dumb and sentimental and they mistake appeal for gravitas, but if you want to use them for some reason, then you have to live with the result. You can't pick and choose.
Now the good thing is that all this may mean something entirely different in 365 days. But for now, we have to live with this, and the meaning of these words isn't going anywhere. Think that's tough for you? Well just imagine looking at this every single day as you march fruitlessly out to a job that you hate, dreaming of the day when that red X on your calendar will finally come to fruition. Enjoy the Journey. We're not lost. Doing the same thing every day. Something, something, something.