Monday, June 22, 2015

Numbers Devoid of Meaning

Woo, I Say, Woo
In my fantasy league, I happen to own Mark Teixeira. This wasn't a stroke of any great genius; more, it was just a matter of having a much worse draft pick, Teix being undrafted, and getting to him earlier than anyone else on the waiver wire. Sometimes you just get lucky that way, and Teix's unexpected return to health and relevance has helped my previously power-deficient team of clods and buffoons struggle up to fourth. There's still hope that they might slug their way into some money, so go me, I guess.

Anyway, the point of all of that is that I watch more Yankee baseball than I might otherwise. Well, that and the fact that the Phillies may be the most unwatchable team in recent memory, and I have no Mets of note. Mostly when I have baseball on, it's because there's nothing else on, or I'm watching for opponents. And Teix hits behind Voldemort Alex Rodriguez.

Which is how I found myself watching the final two games of Rodriguez's chase to 3,000 hits, which thankfully ended with nearly as much speed as possible, so it can pass under the waves of apathy for which it belongs.

(Side note: Kudos to Rodriguez for seemingly knowing his place as least appealing superstar ever, and for not saying anything noteworthy when this counting point was passed. It still won't get him any new fans, but when scum behaves tolerably, it should be given its due.)

Theoretically, these numbers should Mean Something, because of the absurd historical rarity that is being achieved here. The club of men with 3,000 hits and 600 HRs is limited to Rodriguez, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, AKA two of the best and most admired superstars to ever play the game, and the most notorious steroid/PED fraud of the most notorious era in MLB history. So the less time spent thinking about this, the better.

This is, of course, the ultimate problem with Rodriguez. It's not that he has had a renaissance and helped keep the Yankees relevant, or himself. It's that his records, and before him, Barry Bonds, make all records meaningless.

I used to know things like who was in the 3K/600 club without checking, stared down the career prediction methods that Bill James published, kept track of things like who might make it 300 wins or 500 home runs, and so on, and so on.

Not any more.

Baseball to me now is whether my real team is good, whether my fake team is good, and then a far slide down to rooting against a few players and teams. Everything else is presumed to be suspect, and not worth caring about.

Who's going to play in the All-Star Game? Well, as I'm expecting the voting to be rigged, the game to be the thin meat in the fecal sammich that is the Home Run Derby and whatever else, well, I'm not likely to watch.

Who's going to get into Cooperstown? Well, there's no reason to think that corrupt institute will get things right, either through complete abolition of everyone in the PED Era, or some middle ground of some cheaters, but not all cheaters, or whatever.

I'm not going back to the museum. It's irrevocably broken. It doesn't really matter to me who's in it.

And so, finally, the numbers. There's no magic to any of this any more, because the ground shifted and then was shown to be fraudulent. And maybe I would have always gotten here, given the glacial pace of the game, and the simple fact that age takes away the time you need to care about such things. Sports rise and fall over the course of your life, and maybe this is just the A's bad year talking, but baseball is at its lowest ebb for me in 15+ years.

Even when I do watch, there isn't enough hitting to make it fun. I fall asleep to it. Max Scherzer nearly had a perfect game today, and my only reaction was, well, of course he did. The hitting PEDs are gone, but the pitching PEDs are not, and yes, I have no evidence to back that accusation up, but honestly, would it surprise you? Why should things be on the level now?

So slug away, A-Rod. The people who care will care, and everyone else will use it as one more, perfectly valid, reason to not watch the games.

Ten more weeks to football, right?

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