Hey, VEB. Recent member and reader of several months here. I felt like exercising my Fink-given rights tonight and posting some kind of singular, inspiring post about how we should be more than satisfied with this team and this season, and that we have a lot to be proud of, and that we couldn't have expected much more, and that we'll bounce back next year, and yada yada yada.
I could have written such a fanpost, and I would have hated it.
One thing that I've noticed in my first full season of sportsball watching is that there is too much trite blathering written and rephrased and reanalyzed, all substantially equal and superfluous. You can find a baker's dozen of articles strewn throughout cyberspace regurgitating the same stats, the same story lines, the same caveats, the same quotations, the same yada yada yada.
Sometimes you just wish every article would be written by Grant Brisbee, dammit! Sometimes you just want good, clear, nuanced, insightful analysis of the most fascinating, beguiling sport on God's green earth, and sometimes you get Harold Reynolds. Sometimes you want a walk from your backup catcher, and sometimes you get a home run. Sometimes you want to write a cohesive fanpost that has to do with its title, and sometimes you wander off because it's 2:42 in the morning and you're really just not good at this kind of stuff. Yada yada yada.
That's baseball, and I love it.
To get to the point, I just want to touch on something that will undoubtedly be discussed and anaylzed and written about by many in the coming days. Adam Wainwright pitched today, and it was amazing to watch. In my diminutive common room in my oversized dorm I watched this giant of a man hurl a minuscule orb for seven brilliant innings, and I sat back after every one just a little bit more as I realized what I was witnessing. I was seeing a man fight for his season, for his teammates, for his life, it felt like. This was execution at the horizon of desperation, and it was sacrifice, too. Everyone knew that Adam Wainwright had been struggling. Everyone knew that he was subjecting himself to pain with every pitch, every effort to push his team across that horizon and on to the day beyond. It was a battle, a struggle, an act of heroism. It was yada yada yada.
That's baseball, and we love it.
Well screw that. I say screw that. We shouldn't be listening to grown men gushing over the gut and grit of another grown man fighting through his pain in a grown-up way. We shouldn't be hearing them tell us why we should respect Adam Wainwright, who "wills himself to be better than he is right now." We shouldn't be glassy-eyed with blind bliss at the engrossing tale of a wounded warrior standing up for his comrades in battle, brothers in birds-on-the-bat. To do so is to smear an unfair and incomplete coating of mass-produced fairy dust on this game that we play.
Away with the yada yada yada. It is unfair to Adam Wainwright, and I hate it.
I love baseball because it starts in the spring. I love baseball because it burns in the summer. I love baseball because it flourishes in the fall, that predetermined and cyclical end to things that laces the air with chill finality. Fall in Saint Louis is intoxicating to me. It's a mishmash of sensations, tickling my lungs with its brisk fingers and beckoning me to enjoy the last gifts nature has to offer, at least for a few months. And then she'll be back, and with her will come this goofy game for another half-year. And with that goofy game will come Adam Wainwright, a return as cyclical as the rest, and as comforting.
Our season ended on a night Wainwright pitched, on a night when fall decided to leave and take him with her. I don't know what I'll do for these next 5 months, but damn I'm glad we got to see Adam Wainwright pitch one last time and send us off.
And I love him for it.