As I was thinking of how I wanted to be a writer, I alternated between wanting to write in one of two distinct styles. First, there was the analytical approach, where I used stats and facts to construct a narrative of these Milwaukee Brewers. Then, there’s the holistic approach, where I use thoughts and feelings to irrationally describe why I get so upset when RRR (Runnin’ Ron Roenicke, for those that don’t follow Adam McCalvy and Tom Haudricourt on Twitter) doesn’t bunt someone over, even though he made the right call. I went with the latter, and for good reason.
The statistical revolution in baseball is one reason why I love this sport so much. It revolutionized the game, for players, coaches, writers and fans alike. It’s something that basketball has started to do and football has avoided doing, although in each case it gets progressively harder due quantify success due to the increased importance of the “team.” But I think we might reach a point in the next few years where the stories get away from us as fans, where the narrative loses its value.
Now, as I say that, there are likely a few of you that are thinking about how the narrative is worn and is rehashed year-in and year-out, and how the old tropes and stereotypes of teams should really be retired for good. And I agree with that point, but I think there’s value in offering opinions. Sports are ultimately about the personal connections we as fans make with our teams, our players, our coaches, etc. If I’m part of a world that only cares about the stats, then that’s no fun at all. I want to be able to yell at the TV when Corey Hart swings at a breaking ball low and away that we all knew was coming. I want to go ecstatic when Carlos Gomez makes the most wonderful plays this side of the Mississippi. I want to cry when Ryan Braun hits a ball so well that PED allegations arise again (I had to, sorry).
On Monday morning, we recently got word that Mat Gamel is out for the year, after aggravating that surgically-repaired knee. I’m torn over this fact. I look at this and think about how we lost him early last year and the Crew still didn’t completely suck, and that team can survive for a month without his talents at first again. On the other hand, I think about how I could just as easily write off this team after Gamel just loses it, Hart manages to go an entire winter without testing his body hard enough to see if he needed to get surgery and all this Braun PED stuff. Maybe it just isn’t meant to be.
Side tangent here: how incredibly stupid was it that Corey never tested his knee hard enough to see if he needed to repair something. I mean, you know that it was bothering you, and you had hoped it would go away. Why can’t you just stress it to see if you actually need it to get operated on, rather than play a game of chicken with it and hope you don’t? And I’m a total hypocrite here because I avoid the doctor at all costs, but come on. That just really frustrates me but whatever, I’m over it.
Those previous two paragraphs are a sampling of what this column is going to look like: a lot of thoughts and internal conflicts written out so that all of you readers can criticize me for being a total hack. But that’s what brings us together as fans, a united front around a common goal (or enemy) where for three hours every night, we escape reality and launch ourselves into the greatest game ever played. I love sports because of the highs and lows, the joys and agonies, the victories and defeats. If I can’t share this with you, then what’s the point?