Every Tuesday and Thursday, Too Far From Town shined a light on the 42 (really 43) minor league baseball teams in danger of losing their major league baseball affiliations, effectively leaving them for dead. Today we say goodbye. You could take in the previous installments here.
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer.
Robert Frost, “Birches”
Thích Nhất Hạnh wrote in his book No Death, No Fear of interconnectedness and impermanence. Impermanence is non-self seen from the angle of time. Non-self is impermanence seen from the angle of space. The Buddhist term Śūnyatā translates in English to “emptiness”. That is misleading. “Emptiness” is an absence of the separate self.
It means we are all connected. Some terminal cancer patients are given psychedelics and find this out without reading a single word of Hạnh. Most felt a calmness before their passing, knowing the world will continue after their bodies moved on, knowing they will live on, just in a different capacity.
The clouds turn to rain. The rain makes the grass grow. The cows eat the grass. The cows are the milk. The milk is your ice cream. Hanh suggests saying “Hello, cloud! I recognize you” to the ice cream. I don’t know if Pete Crow-Armstrong does this. I do know he will play Minor League Baseball next season, somewhere. If he ever read this series, he would know he was the next phase, the next version, of Abner, Jackie Mitchell, Snappy D. Turtle, Ryan Dunne, “Rocket” Ron Necciai, Dancin’ Bobby, Bob Cobb, Rowdy, Bingo, Dave Schermerhorn, Shelldon and Shelly, Miss Jane 1, Miss Jane 2, Nick Mariana, Virginia Raunig, Keith Comstock, Lou Lucas, Ed Olsen, KaBoom, Reed Rohlman, Emma Tiedemann, Percival Sumner “Pop” Rising, Peg Johnston, the osprey of Missoula, Joey Zanaboni, Dorothy Wulf, Toasty, The Millionaires Club, Rai Henniger, Nookie Monster, Charlie Petersen, Miguel Marte, Aqualung, The Toastman, Dave Bresnahan, et al. If he hasn’t read the series, that’s okay. He knows he has joined a special ecosystem, a wonderfully strange subculture. He just doesn’t know the names of those who came before him. But he understands he’s a part of a whole. He understands he is a continuation.
Major League Baseball has said the list of 42 (really 43) teams we have profiled for Too Far From Town is inaccurate, and when asked the obvious follow-up question of how so, exactly, would not respond. To some degree it doesn’t matter which teams will be stripped of their affiliations. All over the United States, people will hurt over this. The names are just different in each town. The names are of people. There will be human cost. There will be a reckoning of the spirit. Because a handful of wealthy people envision a slight further increase in monetary gain in the very short term.
We are a part of a whole here at Baseball Prospectus. Craig Goldstein green-lit this crazy thing and allowed it to run until we finished what we set out to do. Ginny Searle, Patrick Dubuque, Steven Goldman, Jen Mac Ramos and others provided encouragement and guidance along the way. Authors Eric Nusbaum and Skylar Browning were very generous with their words regarding this endeavor on social media. We discovered Benjamin Hill of MiLB.com had literally traveled to every home stadium of the teams we covered — we happily volunteer as your designated eater anytime, anywhere. We also acknowledge all of the journalists who helped us uncover and sort out some of the mysteries of the long, winding, usually murky past of the minor leagues in their contemporary reporting.
The clouds turn to rain. The rain turns to grass. The grass is eaten by cows. The cows turn into milk. The milk turns into ice cream. The ice cream turns into waste. The waste goes to the river. The river becomes a cloud. A circle. No death. No fear. Always baseball.
Art (Too Far From Town Śūnyatā collage): Sarah R. Ingber, featuring work from Davy Andrews and Renee Andrews
Music (“Too Far From Town”): Davy Andrews, featuring vocals from Sarah R. Ingber and Roger Cormier
Prose: Roger Cormier
Thank you for reading
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