Baseball is a harsh mistress

I think last night’s game broke me. This game is a horrid illusion. Baseball makes you think you know what’s going on. Baseball gives you 162 games filled with easily recordable events between a pitcher and a batter, or a fielder and a batted ball. After a few seasons, you have close to 1,000 games of data on certain players -- how they hit, how they field, how they throw. All we want are some absolutes.

Ha. No. Cody Ross is a good fielder. He has excellent range and a decent arm, and he’s probably overqualified for a corner outfield spot. We know this because of the 608 games he’s played in the majors. Scouts have always liked his defense. Turns out, though, that his UZR is -∞ on broken-bat looping liners hit last night. He’s a full 5 KPORV (Kittens Punched Over Replacement Value) when you factor this in. No one knew. Jose Guillen plays baseball like he’s encased in carbonite, so Ross should play. Just not last night.

Calm, Rational Thought: Look, Cody Ross is still a good player. These things happen.

Pure, Unrestrained Emotion: RELEASE HIM. TIE HIM TO A VOLCANO AS A SACRIFICE.

Calm, Rational Thought: Ross is a good fielder. Even Willie Mays misjudged balls. Even Roberto Clemente had the occasional weak and errant throw. These things happen.

Pure, Unrestrained Emotion:SEND HIM TO FRESNO. NO, SEND HIM TO SAN JOSE. NO, SEND HIM TO THE HIROSHIMA CARP FOR A PLATE OF DELICIOUS UNAGI.

Calm, Rational Thought: Look, it was unfortunate that he misplayed the ball, but we need to look at the bigger picture. It’s a long season, and...

Pure, Unrestrained Emotion: GRIND HIS FINGERS INTO A POWDER THAT CAN BE SOLD ON THE BLACK MARKET AS AN APRHODISIAC. MAKE HIM WATCH "MAD ABOUT YOU" RERUNS WHILE STRAPPED TO AN ANTHILL.

I want to slap both of them, yet they form the magnetic poles that hold my opinions in place. And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of knowing just enough to know that I don’t know anything, but only knowing that I don’t know anything when presented with evidence that almost always hoses the Giants and puts me in one of these weird moods. The hope is that one of these seasons, some weird, unlikely sequence of events leads the Giants to a championship. The Cardinals won the World Series in 2006 because Jeff Weaver was Greg Maddux instead of Jeff Weaver. Every championship run has a player or five who can’t be reconciled with the calm, rational part of your brain. And I’m sick of it because that championship run never involves the Giants, and the pure, unrestrained emotion is always used for evil instead of good. We’re always on the other end of the Scott Speizios, Devon Whites, Neifi Perezes, and Jeff Conines.

Maybe not this year. Hey, the Giants aren’t that far back from either the wild-card or the division to quit. After this game the Giants were in fourth place in the division, and fifth place in the wild-card standings. They looked like a bad team that had no business thinking about the postseason. But they surprised us with a stretch of fantastic play. That could all happen in the next month. And when the Giants get to the playoffs, maybe we have our own Jeff Weaver. Maybe Jose Guillen goes bananas on the rest of the league in October, unlikely as that is. It could alllllll happen.

See, there’s that calm, rational thought again. What a jerk. After last night’s game, I want to pull his underwear up over his shoulders and punch him in the throat. But there will be a time when calm, rational thought will be justified -- I had to lock pure, unrestrained emotion in a broom closet to write this post, for example. Right now, though, I’m burned out. I’m a little sick of baseball and it’s unexpected surprises. I want Tim Lincecum to pitch seven innings with 10 strikeouts every game again. I want Pablo Sandoval to hit doubles on balls that bounce on the plate. I want Brian Wilson to load the bases with one out before striking the next two hitters out. I want Cody Ross to field like Cody Ross, and I want Freddy Sanchez to make relay throws like Freddy Sanchez.

I’m a simple man. Baseball’s getting a little too complicated for me. So I’m giving up. I’m not going to watch any more baseball until at least tonight. It’s a big step, but I’m frazzled. Maybe after the hiatus, I’ll be refreshed. Right now, though, forget it.

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