clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

About Last Night: In praise of those who give a sh*t

Thanks for caring

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve ever worked at a failing business, you know the general numbness that overtakes you after a while. Working in a continuously underperforming school district, every school year that wound down had not the satisfying tick of a checkbox completed, but the grim rasp of another notch in the belt: another year down, another summer of escape, another year closer to retirement. At least with businesses that are closing up shop you get the thrill of a going-out-of-business sale, everything must go, make us a deal on the fixtures.

The Mariners haven’t treated fans to a going-out-of-business sale for the past few years, instead choosing to remain stubbornly non-mathematically-eliminated deep into the calendar turning to September. So instead, fans are left to scratch another hash-mark on the wall, another year of a fandom endured, choked down like a bitter pill.

It’s fashionable, in some circles, to show how much you don’t care. Caring is creepy, after all, reeking of tribalism, try-too-hard-ism, a devastating lack of objectivity. And in these Troubled Times, what safer haven is there than objectivity, the aegis of facts, a way to distance oneself from the real and lived pain unfolding in front of us every day?

The thing about caring is that it’s hard work, and often thankless, although that’s the point: loving for the sake of loving something, without expecting anything in return, is a generous and joyful love. Trying hard, giving something your best effort, even when—especially when—it probably won’t make a difference is a pure and selfless act.

Giving up is easy. Cynicism is easy. Caring is hard, and painful, and often a more laborious, excruciating way to get to the same place that giving up will. But it’s a very different person who gets there in the end.

Most fans have given up on the Mariners this season. Judging from some of their actions lately, some members of the team have given up, too. But some of them have not; some of them are out there every day, still giving their all. Shawn Armstrong waited all season to get called up to the majors; you can see him in the bullpen, intently focused on his stretching routine, locked in on his goal of earning a regular role in the later innings. Ben Gamel made two spectacular diving catches and had an amazing outfield assist the other night. Mitch Haniger, reliable as a Swiss watch, is quietly putting up the longest hitting streak in the majors. Denard Span continues to wage his one-man war against every pitcher he faces, refusing them rest or comfort. And Nelson Cruz, who, at age 38, is certainly entitled to some rest, has instead strapped the 2018 Mariners to his broad shoulders, and even, where necessary, pulled the cart of offense behind him:

Going above and beyond is easy when things are going well, when it’s clear there’s a reward on the other side of that door you’re knocking down. It’s much harder when the payoff is far in the future, or nonexistent: doing a job well just for the sake of doing it well. Often these actions can go unseen or unappreciated, but trust me: we see it. We appreciate it.