Chris Carpenter touched first base and the Cardinals exploded in a firestorm, springing around the field like children at a party on a hot summer’s day. Ryan Howard crumpled on the first base line. One swing ended all his hopes of restoring himself as the player he once was.
I wondered if anyone noticed. My friend Terry was in St. Louis and emailed to tell me that the hotel bar went wild. I wanted someone to honor Howard. I wanted someone to care. All the cameras were on Carpenter and the team mobbing him, jumping and screaming in pure elation. Somewhere, those masters of sight and sound made an executive decision to show us the joy, not the young man in a heap on the ground. The gods in the headsets control how we make sense of things by manipulating what we see and hear.
I never took my eyes from the screen, tried to peer past the tangle of bodies. I kept hoping one camera would check in. Our backs to the Phillies dugout, eyes politely averted, we watched whoops and cheers. We never got a look at Howard, never saw if a trainer came. Did an umpire bend over to put an understanding hand on his shoulder?
Maybe help came, but what could be done? Down and out, was he afraid?
It was too late to be great again.
Down and out, was he afraid? Maybe help came, but what could be done?
Did an umpire bend over to put an understanding hand on his shoulder? We never got a look at Howard, never saw if a trainer came. Our backs to the Phillies dugout, eyes politely averted, we watched whoops and cheers. I kept hoping one camera would check in. I never took my eyes from the screen, tried to peer past the tangle of bodies.
The gods in the headsets control how we make sense of things by manipulating what we see and hear. Somewhere, those masters of sight and sound made an executive decision to show us the joy, not the young man in a heap on the ground. All the cameras were on Carpenter and the team mobbing him, jumping and screaming in pure elation. I wanted someone to care. I wanted someone to honor Howard. My friend Terry was in St. Louis and emailed to tell me that the hotel bar went wild. I wondered if anyone noticed.
One swing ended all his hopes of restoring himself as the player he once was. Ryan Howard crumpled on the first base line. Chris Carpenter touched first base and the Cardinals exploded in a firestorm, springing around the field like children at a party on a hot summer’s day.
David Wright is a likable Tom Brady with much worse luck. His 50.4 bWAR career was the lone constant in the modern Met universe that would not put you in therapy. He is nice, and charitable. He takes his captaincy and The Game seriously in an entertaining and not obnoxious manner – the time he took the tall drink of water’s lunch meat and threw it in the trash comes to mind. For the most part he is best described as “charmingly boring.”
David got the spinal stenosis news in 2015. He needed three extra hours of preparation, daily, just to play the final two months of that pennant-winning season, where thank goodness he positively contributed. Despite the aforementioned flaxen-tressed giant’s not-so-whoopsy-doodle wild pitch to open game 3 of the 2015 World Series, the Mets were down 1-0 in the bottom of the first when Wright became the first Met to homer at Citi Field in a World Series. He hit the first home run by any Met at Citi Field too, six years earlier. Both were pretty neat moments.
Wright hasn’t played a major league game in over two years. He has undergone surgeries on his neck, shoulder, and back. It is a virtual guarantee he will wake up hurting somewhere tomorrow morning. The Mets aren’t making no postseason; there is zero common sense (and for the Wilpons, negative actual cents) in Wright returning. But he really wants to. It’s a sport that has provided him with a lifetime of financial security. It was his whole world. Wanting athletes to retire on top of their game is selfish. They don’t care about the end of the natural bell curve. They just want to keep going until they can no longer. You don’t get it, but you can kind of understand it, right? The kid genuinely might have a heart as big as the great outdoors, so if he wants to scamper abound it, let him be.
So here is my humble proposal: Frankensteining.
There have been too many problematic ballplayers lately. Josh Hader might not be the racist now his old resurfaced tweets made him out to be, but that doubt will be there for some fans for the rest of his life. He’s 24 years old, so would he truly miss his spine?
Great almost no-hitter Sean Newcomb; your left shoulder will remember it fondly elsewhere I’m sure.
Ciao Trea Turner! We will take uno spalla. Grazie.
The Astros really stuck their neck out for Roberto Osuna, so Osuna will appreciate the irony of swapping necks with someone else.
JD Martinez can stand to lose a few fingers. Less temptation to hit the ‘gram that way.
The knees of Sonny Gray should keep a man around past May.
The hair from Michael Kopech would be copacetic.
And oh dear, Daniel Murphy. He’s a special case. If we all just said David Wright was the one who hit a home run in six consecutive postseason games, can’t we all agree to not disagree?
Ask your best friend from kindergarten or your local team announcer and they’ll tell you: the sport of baseball is almost irretrievably broken. It’s been a point of discussion for a very long time. And Major League Baseball and the Commissioner’s Office have heard you: baseball games are too short. It’s a crisis, really. But what is to be done?
Balls and strikes are reviewable. Why please just the fans—throw managers a bone and let them challenge balls and strikes! We need to get the calls right, and they need to have a reason to kick dirt on an umpire’s shoes. Sure to add 20 minutes to every game, minimum.
The rules must be read in their entirety during every challenge. Speaking of challenges, it seems downright cruel to fans to not keep them abreast of the quibbling and interpretation being done on the field when a play is reviewed. Employ a town crier to read the Official Rules, cover to cover, as the umps in New York take a look at that video. You come to the ballpark for entertainment, you leave with an education.
Everyone must use a bullpen cart, but it can only go 2 mph.
Pitchers may only be changed via direct democracy. All 25 players, plus the on-field coaching staff, vote on the next reliever to pry the ball from the skipper’s sweaty claw. Imagine the possibilities! Relievers jockeying for position by glad handing their teammates. Survivor-style voting “off the island” of Triple-A relievers. Position Player Majority Whip. Plus, when the Mets play a man down, there’s a chance for some exciting tie votes.
And when that takes off, it’s time to expand the franchise: buy a ticket, vote on the pitching change. It’s worked before.
Every walkup song is “Hotel California,” played in its entirety.
Teams swap dugouts after the third and sixth innings. It’s unfair for home clubhouses to be so roomy and visitors clubhouses to be cramped and musty—ahem, hello Ricketts family—so why not strive for better parity? Twice a game, teams must haul all of their equipment, sunflower seeds, Gatorade coolers, etc. across the field as fans cheer the egalitarian spirit of this great game.
Umpires do cup checks before every at-bat.
Replay requires reenactment… in Colonial American attire.
Gotta chug that beer on second base before you can go to third.
Abolish foul territory. Look, we know, as strident fans of The Game of Baseball, that you can’t get enough foul balls. When a batter swats away a half-dozen offerings on the way to a 4-3 groundout? Oh man, that’s the good stuff.
But imagine it: foul territory, a thing of the past. Oh, but this will shave precious minutes off of our beloved pastime! What are you talking about! If all of those foul balls were fair, though… no, no. That’s much too radical. There’s no way the world would watch such a sport. Carry on.
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