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Thoughts on a 6-4 Rangers loss

A’s 6, Rangers 4

MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

A’s 6, Rangers 4

  • The Year of the Coronavirus has, amongst its various impacts and warping of the world we thought we knew, provided a vivid illustration of the subjective nature of time. A months worth of experiences and events and episodes happen in just a couple of days, we recall something that seemed to happen weeks ago and realize it’s been less than 72 hours, days of the week blur together, reality seems to fade and shimmer as our internal clocks go haywire.
  • The MLB season as just started and the playoffs are less than two months away. The Rangers have played ten games but it feels like it has been several months, particularly given the Groundhog Day nature of both how these games have played out, and of 2020 in general. When I think about this game today, it feels like an echo of dozens of games past, even though we are not even two weeks into the season. How quickly can something become old, seem repetitive, feel like, as the Barenaked Ladies sing, It’s All Been Done?
  • Tonight was the same pattern, the same archetype, that we have seen too often this year...a solid performance by the starting pitching, an underwhelming performance by the offense, and a key breakdown by the bullpen. Kyle Gibson, as in his first start, gave up multiple runs in the first inning. He settled down after that, went 6, the only run in the final five coming on a solo shot, and turned the game over to the bullpen with a 4-3 lead.
  • Ian Gibaut...he was strong in summer camp, which is a faded memory. He didn’t allow a base runner in his first two outings of the year, was throwing smoke and commanding his pitches just well enough, and there was a thought that, hey, something is there! Then he got knocked around in his previous outing, gave up a two run homer that coughed up the lead today, and Gibautrella has turned back into a pumpkin.
  • In the year of the 28 man roster and the endless pitching injuries Gibaut isn’t likely going anywhere, and he’s going to most likely keep getting opportunities, because the stuff is legit, but he’s also an illustration of the fickleness of command, and why the excitement of seeing a step forward in command has to be tempered by the fact that the step forward has to be maintained...that as time moves forward that improvement has to be carried forward as well, and an inability to maintain consistency will leave us with an aftertaste of acid and regret.
  • Luke Farrell gave up a run in an inning of work. He’s someone who, no matter how much he pitches, seems destined to slip away from the memory banks, the guy you always forget on the Sporcle quiz down the road. The thing that you remember about him is that he broke his jaw in a spring training game in 2019 and spent most of the year on the injured list. But if you close your eyes and try to summon up a mental image of him...can you? What do you see in your mind’s eye? Someone specific, or just the general form of a righthanded pitcher?
  • Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a home run, to the opposite field. Todd Frazier and Elvis Andrus each had a pair of hits. The team as a whole had 7 hits and 1 walk, and at the risk of repeating myself, you aren’t going to win many games like that.
  • Repeating myself...I probably am, but simply because it feels like we are stuck on repeat. The repetition combines with the empty stands and the ad hoc rule changes and the ongoing adjustments to reinforcement the alien nature of this season, fundamental strangeness of our current lives. Baseball returning was pitched as a return to normalcy, but it seems like we are instead careening into the uncanny valley.
  • Not that the uncanny valley is necessarily a bad thing. Weird baseball in a weird 2020 seems fitting, and experiencing the bizarre nature of this season may act as a slap in the face, shake us out of the ennui of the baseball routine and make us appreciate it more when we return to a full season.
  • Though when will that full season be? The perils of playing now are occupying all our attention, and in the back of our minds it is like we are assuming that next year MLB will be back to normal...but is there really much reason to think that when pitchers and catchers are schedule to report in just over six months, things will be back to normal? Or will be preparing for another year of a truncated schedule, of player pools, of COVID lists and taxi squads and playing games only against the West?
  • That seems like a lifetime from now. Which brings us back to the subjectivity of time, and if it truly does flow and have an arrow, or if it instead is as static as the three dimensions of space, is simply a field that matter exists in, and we perceive time as moving in one direction because we don’t have the capability of perceiving it as a whole.
  • Folks talk about premonitions, bad feelings, hearing the phone ring and knowing that something is wrong. And that may simply be the unreliability of memory, of us attributing thoughts and feelings generated after an event to ourselves before the event. But I do sometimes wonder if certain events do cause ripples in time, create in us feelings and emotional reactions before a significant event takes place because the event itself is impactful enough that it causes reverberations through time, waves that can be perceived as they flow backward, creating an emotional reaction or mental disturbance over an event you have not yet experienced.