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Gotta Know, Gotta Know!

By: Emma Baccellieri

I recently finished reading a Chinese science-fiction trilogy called Remembrance of Earth’s Past, which features an alien species with no need for any sort of spoken or written communication: The contents of their minds are simply there for everyone around them, able to be processed and understood. The need for translation that governs person-to-person communication on Earth—that fraught journey from impulse to thought to spoken word—is gone. They are too advanced for all this clumsy stuff, all this stuff that is so very human, with its endless capacity for error and malice and heartbreak. There is no space for confusion or misinterpretation. (There’s also no space for art or love or culture, but, you know, whatever—the efficiency of it all!) Nobody is ever stuck analyzing the nuances of someone’s tone or the potential opportunities for double meanings. And certainly no one is ever left to make a mistake with, or waste time on, the most frightening and most basic of all the possible questions here: Did you even hear them right in the first place?

There are plenty of features that make a communication system like this undesirable. Yet those same features, in a different light, can make it seem incredible appealing. The concept of unambiguity has all those sharp edges, sure, but think of the perfectly smooth lines that lead there.

In the eighth inning of Sunday’s game, Chris Taylor was on third base. He stayed there until the inning ended, primarily because he incorrectly heard third-base coach Chris Woodward’s instruction on a would-be sacrifice fly as “no” instead of “gotta go.” Very different! Completely opposite, even! And yet very, very, very easy to misunderstand—something made so simple, whittled down to the most basic monosyllabic components, that it’s lost everything that makes it sound like it what means to sound like.

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Maybe in a universe where Taylor understands Woodward, that run somehow scores. Maybe it’s the difference, maybe it twists the narrative framework of the entire rest of the game and the series. Maybe understanding wouldn’t have changed anything at all. Maybe Woodward was actually saying “gotta show,” as in “gotta show the world your reasoning skills and make this decision for yourself, buddy” or maybe it was “lotta slow,” as in “there are a lot of slow people in the world, please run faster than they would right now.” Maybe it’s all the difference in the world or maybe it’s nothing at all, but it’s kind of nice to have the space in between to imagine.

The Spirit of the Season

By: Jason Wojciechowski

Yesterday was Halloween, and yesterday was also Game Six of the 2017 World Series. It’s an unfortunate reality that any time major-league baseball is played on Halloween, it is an important game, something deep into a World Series. For now, and for the foreseeable future, Halloween will not host a Quad-A Special of two expanded-roster 76-game winners going at it. What is lost is the frivolous fun, the kind of stupid gimmicks and trickery that occasionally rear their heads to disrupt the steady hum of summer baseball. Let this stand, then, as a set of ideas for an unimagined future when the majors play from September through May in order to avoid the 158-degree days of what used to be called summer and now has no name at all, because why name the part of the year we don’t experience, the part we all spend in cryosuspension?

Here is the Halloween Name that graces each team’s jersey on October 31:

Arizona Diamond Tipped Saws
Atlanta Graves
Baltimore Ooooooorioles
Boston Blood Sox
Chicago Gelatinous Cubes
Chicago Wight Sox
Cincinnati Masques of the Red Death
Cleveland Spiders
Colorado Wrackspawn
Detroit Draugar
Houston There Are A Lot Of Ways To Die In Outer Space
Kansas City Royalists
Los Angeles Angelus
Los Angeles Tax Dodgers
Miami Marley And Me’s
Milwaukee Booers
Minnesota Creepy Twins In The Hotel Hallway
New York Mists
New York Jiangshis
Oakland Aahhhhhhh!’s
Philadelphia Fillings
Pittsburgh Actual Pirates
San Diego Monkey’s Pawdres
San Francisco Giant Jellyfish
Seattle Murderers
St. Louis Scaredinals
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Texas Roarngers
Toronto Boo Jays
Washington White Nationalists

Thank you for reading

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Los Angeles Runaway Trolley Dodgers?
Waaaaaay back in the day, I went out trick-or-treating as a Pittsburgh Pirate. I had a plastic pirate mask, complete with molded-on eyepatch, then wore my Roberto Clemente shirsey (long before shirsey was a word) and carried a bat and glove.