In college, I listened to a lot of indie music. I enjoyed it, and I enjoy a lot of it now--I don't mean to present myself to you, the viewers, as some kind of fraud. Columbia is really a lot like the Greenwich Village of Central Missouri, so I had every opportunity to go to sweaty, dancy rock shows and watch documentaries about kinds of cheese and stand around while other people drank beers with twee labels.
I regret none of that horizon-expanding. It's good to try new things, and a lot of the relatively out-there culture I ingested then is part of my routine now. Do not misunderstand me: I am still very cool. I know all about bands. I loved the right Lupe Fiasco albums. But every band at Mojo's that was a little too dissonant, every movie at the Missouri Theatre that was a little too into postmodernism made me aware of something primitive and unmovable inside me.
I'd walk out of the Ragtag with my friends and remember, as we went to do some other cool thing, that I was a twentysomething white male who'd spent his formative years playing videogames and writing plangent fanfiction on message boards and not talking to girls. My last semester, the classes in my anthropology minor were about evolutionary psychology, which seemed like a lot of anecdotes strung along a central theme: I and everybody else was doomed to a certain fate that had been imprinted on me way before I decided to be the kind of person who walked into and out of the Ragtag and minored in anthropology.
As bad as things have gone, I honestly can't complain about the strategy the Cardinals have employed with their bullpen so far. If the results were different, we'd be able to find little airport-business-book lessons embedded within their actions so far.
Just the ones I know I've complained about before: The Cardinals have stuck with good pitchers through rough patches; they've dumped mediocre relievers with the understanding that there's nothing but small sample sizes in the bullpen; they've tried to catch lightning in bottles both veteran and rookie-shaped. They understand that the best way to find one good LOOGY is to find four bad ones. Malcolm Gladwell could write a chapter about any one of those principles.
In Maikel Cleto's appearances, especially, I feel a straining against the bit. Mike Matheny is trying, finally, to be the kind of manager who discovers Maikel Cleto and rides him to the postseason. Cleto and Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn--they're the stuff a dream pitching staff is made of, young and cheap and interesting and not dependent, for that interest, on some pretty-good season four years ago and the assumption that Dave Duncan will fix something age has broken.
Eventually I graduated--on time, even--and found myself, with grad school on the horizon, the owner of even more free time than I'd had in college, mostly because my parents were less likely to play Smash Brothers with me than my roommates had been.
From the moment I got home everything pointed toward that platonic uncoolness inside me. I reread the Harry Potter books--that is, I reread the first five Harry Potter books, and then got into heated arguments about why the last two were ultimately a betrayal. I gained two or three pounds and stopped wearing American Apparel. For a while I wasn't sure whether The Hold Steady had a new album coming out. Finally, that July, the transformation was complete.
Reader, I listened to Weezer.
Not even acceptable Weezer--mostly the Green Album, over and over. It's been three years since then, and by way of an update I'll say that I bought Raditude, Hurley, and Death to False Metal on release day. I'm not sure it's been good for me, to discover I am a Guy Who Loves Weezer, but it was inevitable; on an undeniable cultural level, I just am "Hash Pipe," no matter what else I study, what other beneficial habits I cultivate. I could learn everything there is to know about music, and art, and what makes a great song, but none of it, ultimately, would be able to keep me from eventually breaking down and singing "Crab" in my car.
Yesterday Jon Heyman reported the Cardinals were probably going to sign Brian Fuentes.