clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Deep breath

Enjoy the journey, they said. There might actually be something to that.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

(Ed's note: This article is tangentially related to baseball and very personal. Know this going forward and don't feel obligated to read.)

To my untrained eye nothing in baseball ever looked more enjoyable than being Ken Griffey Jr. and hitting a home run. It seemed as though whenever the DNA and genes were codified for Junior the goal was to find the aesthetic peak of the sport of baseball. Nothing that Griffey ever did looked unnatural or forced. I doubt I will ever see anything like that again.

Robinson Cano gets as close as anyone has to Griffey. The contract is ballast that's about to start rapidly taking on water, the defense is waning, and for two months this year he hit like Felix Fermin. But that swing, man. There's a moment after he hits the above home run off of poor Yohan Flande; "This is what I am for. This is my gift. I am here. Watch it go." Real concerns aside, it's a moment, and it's a damn fine one.


There are times when the fact that I am "The" Editor at Lookout Landing still seems immensely surreal to me. I struggle with insecurities and feelings of inadequacy regularly. If you've been around for awhile you know that the 1.0 regime of this site built this place into one of great renown. By your mid-30's you learn yourself, your greats and not-so-greats, fairly well. I am not the analyst, the comedian, the writer that those who came before me am.

My ability to do this job/hobby/passion project or whatever weird task it is has largely been to work, and work hard. It's a common line of thinking for small business types, managers, self-employed people to advertise themselves as "always available". That has been my goal on this site.

Last Wednesday I was watching the Mariner game at a friend's house when Kyle Seager redefined the way that we will always look at him going forward. I laughed, tweeted, and reveled in it, just like everyone else. But I also panicked a bit, away from my computer. As soon as the game ended I hopped in my car for the 15 minute drive home. During the drive, like a fool, I attempted to "stay available" by coordinating things with my staff on my phone.

Then I felt a gigantic, horrifying, bump, and I was in the air.


My car careened through the intersection I ran, which was 100% my fault for being a reckless driver (which I have been duly cited for, very justly), hit a bump on a grassy knoll, sailed through the air, rolled onto its right side, and buried itself 50-75 yards into some bushes and trees. The first thing I noticed after the car stopped was my blood on the steering wheel. Somehow I extricated myself from my car and staggered to the waiting ambulance, which arrived with amazing speed. Before I relay my injuries here is my car, as I found it the next day in the tow lot:


I had a bump on my head, some very minor lower back pain which is now almost gone, and a laceration on my left wrist that required 9 stitches. As I type this, 5 days later, I am almost completely healthy.


My first thought, after I got back from the ER at 4 in the morning, tried to go to the bathroom and passed out due to shock and exhaustion, was that I needed to quit. Everything. No logic, no plan, nothing. I wanted to do nothing but stay in my house with my family, hold them, raise a farm and be self-subsisting for the rest of my life. I am sure that response is in no way unique to people who don't feel as though they have the right to be alive.

Life has a creep to it. One yes, another decision to be available compounds. Adulthood can be buried in pace, one thing after the other, day after day of real and imaginary "to-do" lists being checked off; one thing is nothing but a bridge to the next thing, which becomes another bridge to the next, and so on. It never ends, and it can be suffocating. The modern world can turn us into an algorithm seemingly in the blink of an eye, the click of a mouse, or the unlocking of a phone.


"Enjoy the Journey" is a dumb, vapid platitude; designed for a group of millionaires to put on t-shirts as they traipse across the country in private jets playing a game in front of millions of adoring fans, complete with 5 star hotels, mansions, world-class food, etc. all things that don't seem like they would require a whole lot of sloganeering to be able to enjoy.

But, in the quiet moments, we know the truth, and so do they. The things beyond family, life, health, safety, food, warmth, breath are mere decoration; the shiny, meaningless baubles we all wear with pride as we all, inevitably, continue our march onward. We all of us are on the same road, and it can wear us out, even the very, very wealthy.


Cano Donger

That moment after Flande's pitch is hit 107 MPH in the opposite direction by Robinson Cano he slows. I don't think there's the slightest moment where Cano thinks about showing up the opposing pitcher. He hit the hell out of a baseball, so he paused, just for a moment, to watch. I wouldn't begin to speculate on what goes through Cano's mind in that moment, but I hope it involves satisfaction, contentment, and joy.

This morning I was running late getting out of the house to work. As I wrapped up some work from home (the phone stays in pocket now when driving, no exceptions) and threw my shoes on getting ready to leave, my wife and daughter came back from dropping my son off at school.

"Look a rolly-polly!" my wife exclaimed to my four year old daughter. That little girl, who's life is very much in my hands, and were it for a twig, rock, or tree oriented slightly differently might be without a father today, ran off to her room to get a "bug house". She carefully put the pill bug in the enclosure, gently snapped it closed, and immediately proclaimed it her pet. It's name is "Flower". Rushed as I was I just stopped and watched.

Baseball, life, home runs, strikeouts, professional triumphs, and near death experiences. I am grateful to have enjoyed many of these, and survived the others. Tomorrow the Mariners start the last two weeks of their season, before they pause for the Winter, gather again in February of 2016, and play on. By good fortune and a whole lot of great engineering I get to do the same. The to-do list is going to be a bit more neglected, and the view from those bridges enjoyed a bit more. I'll enjoy the journey, as long as I walk it.