C.J. Beatty, Brendan Ryan, and why I can't LMBO about baseball players anymore

PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 08: Brendan Ryan #26 of the Seattle Mariners during the spring training baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Peoria Stadium on March 8, 2011 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Farewell #stlcards fans! Thanks for your support and continued support! You all made me into the person i am today...Im still trying! Your44

I have a little more sympathy for Tony La Russa's personnel crushes now than I did at the end of last season. Not enough to justify the Cardinals' strange acquisitions, or to understand what he sees in Aaron Miles and Joe McEwing and Mike Gallego and that ceaseless stream of scrappy middle infielders, but enough to understand how he sees something. 

I was sad about the Cardinals giving up on Brendan Ryan, but that didn't have to just be about Brendan Ryan—there were structural questions about the Cardinals' roster, vision questions about their weird parochiality, value questions about the wisdom of trading Skip Schumaker and Brendan Ryan and Ryan Theriot for Skip Schumaker and Ryan Theriot. 

But now I'm sad about the Cardinals cutting a 22-year-old in the low minors whose seasonal line last year was .257/.341/.437, and there's no way to mask that with statistics—I'm sad about C.J. Beatty being released because I like C.J. Beatty. This is new ground for me. He was by no means a sure cut—slugging even .429 in the dead air of the Florida State League is a fairly big deal—but I can't hide behind that. I'm sad because he gives 900 followers access to his Crash Davis-free, seemingly unfettered thoughts via Twitter. I'm sad because he was so excited, apparently, that "A LITTLE BIRDY TOLD ME THAT MINOR LEAGUERS DONT HAVE TO WEAR THEIR PANTS UP THIS YEAR!!!!!! #stlcards". 

Its that time of the year again!!! GIRL SCOUT COOKIES ARE HERE!!!! heck yeah.....can somebody say Caramel Delights?!?!?

But—but—I like Caramel DeLites!

A lot of the tonal difference between blogs and beat writers comes from the different statistical bases on which we build our baseball worldviews, but I think some of that comes from their contact with the players themselves. Obviously we have different needs from the player-as-human-being. Sportswriters like players who talk to sportswriters, and players who can put a button on the end of their narratives. Bloggers and blog-readers like, it seems, prefer players who talk really loudly on Twitter or are natural vloggers. 

As a blogger, and just as a baseball fan, I've spent most of my personal time with baseball players, such as it is, in really awkwardly mediated forms—the rote postgame interview, the sportswriter's paean to stats I don't care about and intangibles I don't and won't see. It's easy, when the sport's ideal player-representative is, say, alarmingly smug sportswriters'-favorite and slump-buster-buster Mark Grace, to reject the ostensibly perfect clubhouse guy. I think it'll be a while until the average sportswriter's paragon-of-baseball-virtue is anything like mine, seeing as my litany of favorite players is, at this point, an unbroken string of moody Cardinals center fielders who walk too much. But I can't help but notice that Twitter is making me into 16-year-old-danup's worst enemy. 

Baseball is a cruelly analytical game—a perfect meritocracy when people are doing their jobs—and I don't think it's possible or advisable to avoid that fact. I'm hopeful that I'll avoid the necessary creation of a FIRE DAN MOORE blog in the far future, not just because of my continued obscurity but because we're lucky enough, as basement-dwellers, to have come to baseball with the right stats to use in defense of players we really just like for their personalities. We won't have to reach for batting average to defend Sean Casey, or productive outs to defend David Eckstein, and hopefully we'll manage to avoid trying it. 

And I don't think, anyway, that the C.J. Beatty effect will last forever. I'm sure that the first postgame interviews were far more interesting than their descendants, and Albert Pujols's official Twitter account—four tweets, 2000 followers—promises to be considerably less idiosyncratic than I'd like. 

But for now—the Cardinals have cut hundreds of players like C.J. Beatty since I started writing about them, and it hasn't been something I've really considered. I've always been fascinated by baseball players at the turn of the century, because they had Damon Runyon, Ring Lardner, Grantland Rice, and eventually themselves sharing impossibly bright, hilarious, and finally personally compelling versions of their stories. My disinterest in baseball of the sixties and seventies comes, I think, from the Charlie Hustle fascination the writers telling the stories seem to have. 

But baseball players right now can talk right to me. That's not always fascinating, but it's disarming, to say the least. 

To silence the rumors... Yes i was released by the Cardinals...it is NOT over for me...just starting a new chapter in my life... #stlcards

Special thanks to my fans.... And to all that believe in me...i truly believe doors close and open for a reason...heading back to NC....

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