Life is full of interesting choices. Some of those choices are made at our own instigation and discretion, like what shirt to wear or whether I take a PBJ to work or a tuna sandwich. No one forces my hand: I’m free to choose. Other choices in life, however, are brought about by external influences. Unbeknownst to me my boss can’t stand the smell of my tuna fish sandwiches but says my production’s down. All of a sudden I’m looking for another job.
We find these types of choices every day in every aspect of life.
Baseball has these kinds of situations, too. Do I swing at the first pitch or make the pitcher throw a few more? Should I throw him a fastball high and tight, or a slider down and away? When a player hits free agency the choices become greater, and there are different variables to consider. This team’s offering more money, but they aren’t very good. The other team’s offering less, but they have a history of success. Should I play close to home? What about my family? I guess that a realistic option would be poor team/less money, but we rarely—if ever—see players make that choice. Anyways, I expect you get what I mean. Choices, lots of ’em and belonging to different categories.
I suppose in the course of a 24-hour period we make dozens, if not hundreds, of decisions. Not only do they belong in different categories, but they are also each of a different magnitude and have various long- and short-term implications that we consider in the blink of an eye. My choice of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs (shout out to Calvin & Hobbes) over Cheerios will affect my short-term health (sugar rush) and my long-term health (diabetes). This isn’t as important as my choice to pass the 18-wheeler on a blind curve, however.
Such is the mind set that Brennan Boesch inspired in me today. Here’s a guy who’s a decent #3 outfielder at the ML level who was released by the Detroit Tigers. They’d picked up Old Man River (Torii Hunter), which made Boesch expendable. So the Tigers expended him. The Yankees have suffered innumerable injuries and defections, so they signed Boesch to a one-year deal.
Two days after a low-point in his Major League career, he finds himself under contract to one of the most decorated franchises in North American professional sports. If asked, he probably wouldn’t have left the Tigers in the first place but the decision was made by others. When he was in professional limbo for those two days, he was as free as he’d ever been as a professional baseball player. All he needed to do was answer the call when it came (which, of course, constitutes a serious limitation on that freedom…).
Now we see him in game 4 of a series between the Yankees and the Blue Jays. The Yankees are going for the sweep; the Jays are trying to salvage a modicum of self-respect by avoiding the sweep. Brennan Boesch, the proximal reason for our metaphysical and philosophical gymnastics today, homered in the second inning against RA Dickey. Fate? Chance? Luck? A Supreme Being? The Force? Perhaps a malevolent force or being? Or are we masters and mistresses of our own destiny, with no outside forces having a ‘say’?
One might say that the Detroit Tigers took a chance, bid Brennan good luck and directed him toward MLB’s Supreme Being, whom Torontonians definitely consider to be malevolent. He was briefly the master of his own destiny but now finds himself and his freedom subjugated to the Evil Empire.
Let’s get back to reality: the Jays were swept by the Evil Empire. The surprisingly-hot Boston Red Sox are next on the agenda. Mercifully, the Jays have a day off on Monday.