Monday, May 8, 2017

The Worst Thing I Saw This Weekend

I attended a minor league baseball game this past weekend. Towards the end of the game something truly terrible happened. This terrible thing was totally avoidable, an unforced error, and illustrates what is wrong with not only baseball, but indeed...the world.

Because this was a minor league baseball game, the names don't matter, which is a good thing since I don't know any of them. This was single A, and the only player on either team anyone had ever heard of was Tim Tebow. Nevertheless, there were 6,600 people in the stands on a chilly, rainy night. Most of the players not named Tebow were kids, 19-21 years of age. The starting pitcher for the visiting team was a skinny left-hander and he was dealing. He was cutting through the Columbia Fireflies lineup like a knife through hot butter. Although I only saw one pitch from him all night that broke into the 90's on the radar gun, he was mowing them down with an array of offspeed stuff. Then, something terrible happened. In the bottom of the ninth inning, with two men out and this skinny kid one out away from a no-hitter, his manager inexplicably walks out to the mound and takes the ball from him in favor of a relief pitcher. That's heard me correctly. This twenty year old kid is about to pitch the first no-hitter of his professional career and his manager removes him from the game. The reason? Apparently, the suits in the front office had put him on a pitch limit of 110 pitches. He had thrown...113.

I could go on for hours listing all of the things desperately wrong about this thing. Even if you're not a baseball fan, you can sense the raging stupidity on display. It is this sort of micromanaging, too clever by half nitwittery that is killing the world. Let some analytics guy a thousand miles away from the action literally rip the drama out of actual human achievement at the absolute worst possible time, and then call it progress. 

Sandy Koufax. Don Drysdale. Nolan Ryan. Steve Carlton. Tom Seaver. Greg Maddox. None of these guys had a pitch limit. Trying to imagine Walter Alston attempting to take the ball out of Koufax's hand, one out away from a no hitter, is truly hilarious, and unfathomable. But now a bunch of businessmen have decided that protecting their "investments" is more important than competition. This timid, bean-counting is the sort of thing that drains the life out of everything it touches. The trouble is, the bean-counters are taking over the world.

Heading back to the office this morning to check back in to my real life to see how it's been going while I've been away. Hope nothing terrible has happened in my absence....