Alex Rodriguez broke my brain this weekend
Alex Rodriguez, I would like to tell you a few things up front: I am extremely jealous of you. You blasted more home runs in your big league career than I can even fathom. You have a World Series ring. Your fiancee is one of the coolest people in the world and your family is enviable.
So, know that I say this with all due respect: You broke my brain this weekend. It's been nearly two days since you dropped this on me and my brain still spins into high gear and then spins, and spins and spins. It's now a computer that needs a hard reboot.
For some context, the Phillies were leading the Mets on Sunday, 2-1, with a runner on second in the bottom of the seventh. With these two teams battling each other for a postseason spot, every run matters. So A-Rod, broadcasting the game on ESPN, noted that he was in favor of the bunt in this situation to hopefully help push an insurance run across the board. It's not a bad take: Some may disagree with him, opting instead to save an out in hopes of putting up a big inning, but hey, different strokes.
But then, A-Rod kept talking and started playing some serious Numberwang.
"You always want even leads versus odd leads," Rodriguez said. "Why? The solo home run doesn't tie it and the grand slam doesn't beat you. Keep it simple."
Yes, you read that right -- this is A-Rod keeping it simple. You can tell how simple it was by the fact that there was an extremely long pause as the rest of the booth figured out how to respond.
Let's break this down as charitably as possible. To win a baseball game, you need more runs than the opposition. That's the goal. That's all you need to do. And more runs means it's harder for the other team to come back. But ... A-Rod prefers even leads to odd ones?
Is this something baseball players talk about? Can I not understand this as an outsider? If we polled a group of big leaguers, would they say they prefer a four-run lead to a five-run lead? Is this like in chess when you let a pawn die to trap a much better piece?
That's where my brain keeps getting caught. There is some little nugget that seems like logic buried in here -- like when you're told that you can upgrade your soda for just a quarter more -- but then your brain snaps back into place and says, "No. This is insanity."
Is this a code? Did A-Rod have to say even runs were good so the CIA could proceed in some top secret mission? Is this "The Secret"? If I pay just $49.99 a month, will I find out?
Unfortunately, the answer is we'll never know. It's how the world works in A-Rod's brain and we'll have to just know that he's operating on a different plane from us, playing a version of chess in the fifth dimension where the pawns are the real valuable pieces and the kings are actually a distraction.
All I know is I'll be over here, drawing numbers on the wall and trying to figure this riddle out.
Michael Clair writes about baseball for Cut4. He believes stirrup socks are an integral part of every formal outfit and Adam Dunn's pitching performance was baseball's greatest moment.