Existentialism on Game Night: Searching for an escape from this reality
Existentialism on Game Night: September edition
Life is mitigated chaos. It's mostly disjointed noise and arbitrary action to which we fruitlessly ascribe meaning. But there are salves for the existential burning; structures we employ to navigate the static. Baseball, with its rules and order, is one of the good ones. It makes sense.
And then on Sept. 7, Gerrit Cole picks up a rosin bag that promptly explodes. It is the final straw. A season spent questioning the very meaning of existence within a reality filled with chaos, within a universe that's dying, is a season too long.
These are the moments of lapse in our carefully curated baseball, the moments when baseball players reject the very circumstances of their world. This is existentialism on game night.
In the instant immediately after Jeff Francoeur hits a single, he revolts. Instead of sprinting to first base, he searches for a way out. He searches for a tear in the fabric of our universe, a window that will lead him to a new dimension. "There has to be more," he says. And so he goes looking for it.
Francoeur is not alone. All of MLB wants an exit from this season-long existential wondering. Some players scramble around, searching in their immediate vicinity:
Others explore the depths of wilderness:
Dee Gordon, who has apparently found such an exit, skips away from this reality:
Others are not so lucky. Trevor Cahill believes he has found a way, until the 90 feet to first expands to 9,000 and he is caught in the middle of a never-ending path to nowhere. He is running in place.
Henry Owens is literally tied to a pole to keep him in this world.
Carlos Correa decides to craft his own exit. Perhaps if he hits a baseball hard enough, it will rip the air we breathe right in two. Instead, it gets stuck inside a fielder's glove:
But soon, these players realize that there is no escape. This is the world we have, the world we must accept. Brian Dozier knows this.
Perhaps it is time to embrace it. To cease our existential burning and merely live in a universe where even the strongest of men can be toppled with nothing more than a breeze.
That will always be true, even if we go to Mars.