We Make Things In Order To Move On
A few interrelated reactions to seeing baseball's new pitch clock work.
Let’s try something. Fill in the blanks:
Tiredest month of baseball’s regular-season _____________
The plainest pitcher you can think of ____________
A sad baseball team ____________
The plainest hitter you can think of ___________
Least-exciting inning ___________
Tiredest athletic stance ___________
Least-interesting way to spend time ___________
Amount of time that is intolerable to the modern brain __________
Here’s what you came up with:
One August day a few years back, Jordan Zimmermann was pitching for the fourth-place Tigers. Jason Castro was batting against him in the fourth inning. With the count 1-2, Zimmermann considered all the ways he could waste a pitch, or perhaps throw something in the zone that Castro would foul away. As Zimmermann stared in before coming to a set, the baserunner, first baseman and umpire all stood with both hands on their knees, motionless and tired, so tired, waiting.
Okay, sickos, you actually asked for this:
That’s not a screengrab, folks. It’s a 9.9-second GIF with nary a flinch, maybe the least active 9.9 seconds in sports history. Miguel Cabrera made $160 in that GIF, and the only movement around him is a brief rustle in the dugout and about two inches of lean by umpire Ben May. Before this GIF, the baserunner Jorge Polanco actually snuck out to go to a party and left a uniform stuffed with pillows and a tape recorder of himself snoring. Those 9.9 seconds of pre-pitch-clock baseball were, appropriately enough, sponsored by a wall advertisement for Miller Lite, the original boring beer.
I bet you can already guess what the next frame of that video would have been if I’d let it roll, the exciting movement that reanimated those human statues: Zimmermann stepped off the mound, to start the sequence over.
A month before the events of that GIF, I got a t-shirt for my birthday that said Keep Baseball Boring, which I still probably wear more than any other t-shirt I own. (High-quality, very comfortable, 5 out of 5.) People, particular Trader Joe’s cashiers, compliment it (great design, strong recommend) and then they ask me what it means, and I always stumble a bit.
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