Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Redundancies, Platitudes and Bombshells

That Halladay guy, man? That Halladay guy was nothing. Every five days for a decade? More CGs than most of the teams in the American League? Blah. Whatever. He was nothing, man. He was boring. Yeah, a good pitcher. Yeah, a Hall of Famer. But he wasn't that historic. I mean, he's never led the league in ERA, and that means he's never been the best pitcher in his league, right?

Jose Bautista, on the other hand?

This is what historic looks like. Best offensive season in major league history? Leading the world in homers and walks? I mean, don't get me wrong - complete games are cool. But 65 homers? That's a whole nother level, dude!

The other night, while I was getting miserably and illegally shitfaced on a beach with some friends (as I do), I met a beautiful girl. And I use the word "beautiful" here very intentionally - an empty, overwrought adjective, entirely stripped of meaning, can in its purest, most honest application, mean something sensational. I mean, this girl wasn't cute. She was Charlize-Therion-in-her-prime stunning, with just enough of a hint of personality to make it seem real. Now, I'm normally very salty when it comes to evaluating physical appearance; I try to avoid falling into the trap of sickening sycophantry that occurs whenever a particularly attractive member of one sex finds themselves surrounded by members of the opposing gender. But in this particular instance I couldn't help but bask in this girl's presence. There was sexual attraction, sure, but what I was really feeding off of was that movie-star charisma, that radiance - that total self-assurance, the possession of which makes us mere mortals all too aware of our own fallibility.

Now before I make it seem as though I have a personal obsession with this girl, I should clarify that there is a comparison to be made here. (And I should point out that, perhaps unsurprisingly, she tilted toward the ditzy stoner end of the spectrum in actual conversation. Very poor at picking up on irony.) Before the bombshell appeared, I had been flirting with a girl I considered reasonably attractive, someone who had interesting stories to tell about crazy Quebeckers and life in other countries, and a face not riddled with boils or acid burns - really, just your average human female. And normally, I'm okay with that. I've grown past the high school urge to seek out the best-looking girl in school, is what I guess I'm saying. And the French girl was...fine...sparks weren't exactly flying, but she was friendly and interesting and I could have seen myself spending more time with her given that she seemed interested in getting to know me.

Enter valley-girl-superstar - my jaw hits the floor, and Quebecois-hippie stops looking so hot. And not just her - every girl I've met over the past six months, whether I thought them gorgeous or cute at the time, pales next to this being in front of me. She's hot in a way I just haven't seen before, not up this close, not this personal. The closest thing I can think of that pits the absurdity of a beautiful woman against the flawed nature of humanity in general is this classic Between the Ferns interview, but even that doesn't do it justice - it's filtered through a video camera, and Charlize circa 2008 is not quite Charlize circa 1999.

Anyway, I go to excesses because this girl was to other girls what Jose Bautista is to other baseball players. He's simply unbelievable in a way I didn't think was possible. He makes Barry Bonds look human. Barry Bonds. The roid monster that transformed himself into the best player on the face of the planet is being challenged by some 195-lb hacker? A guy that got traded, rule 5ed, or waived SIX times? It's ridiculous - unpossible - mind-bending, absolutely stunning. Jose Bautista walks into a room and other players bow down before him, because he knows something they don't. That they can't. As Alan Ashby said after one of the Target Field jacks, he's a big leaguer playing out of his league. He looks down at the Aaron Hills and Edwin Encarnacions of the world the same way Jon Rauch looks down on Jason Frasor.
I keep telling myself that the slump is coming. No one just gets better and better and better. Baseball is a game played between humans; humans have anxieties and weaknesses, and pitchers the league round have just as much video on Bautista as he does on them, if not more, and still none of them - none of the three hundred humans on the planet who are the very best of the best at throwing a leather-covered object past a man wielding a maple splinter - have figured out a way to beat him. It's not possible. Everything I've ever seen in my baseball-watching life tells me that something will crop up - that susceptibility to breaking balls in the dirt, fastballs at the eyes, or knee-bending sliders. And the more I watch Jose Bautista throttle major league pitching, the more I wonder what I really know of baseball at all.

A couple of weeks ago SBNation recounted how, in the summer of 2011, Jose Bautista broke the game of baseball. It hasn't happened yet but it will - oh, it will. I still wonder when the day will come that we will discover that The Beast is really just a furry retriever named Hercules and all our portensions were overblown, but until then - well, thank God we can finally forget about that Roy guy.

1 comment:

  1. he went hitless today... maybe it is the start of the slump?