In the past few days the movement of two former Cincinnati Reds– Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier– surfaced. One retired. The other, it seemed, had been retired. Although Jay is probably even now lifting in preparation for the 2022 MLB.com analyst combine, Todd was clinging to a minor league contract with the Pirates.
Both of their trades from Cincinnati were at the time demoralizing. Both were integral in the baseball memory formation of Gen Z fans. For those of us who were around for the 1990 and 1999 runs, these two represent rare skyrockets of definable, specific moments when we didn’t have our head buried in our hands.
It is a testament to the comparatively low-impact nature of baseball that they were still around to retire and sink to the level of sub-Pirate. I was surprised to hear both were still playing. When the news came through, I paused for a moment to remember that yes, these were fine men to send unto the Home Run Derby. Then, impressed, I also remembered that Joey Votto has outlasted both of them and at this point he probably has his own barstool at The Grail, bless his extended contract heart.
But Frazier’s career was only mostly dead. On Thursday, the Pirates selected him to their active roster. If you like to play baseball, I suppose that’s good. If you like to play baseball for a franchise in which all the fans– including your own–actively hate you, it’s probably not the most heartening development.
This particular turn in Frazier’s life has settled into his social media activity. In this era, instead of yelling at rookies to get off their lawn, advanced-age players digitally yell at press pass holders about “miserable tweets.”
Perhaps it’s best that we’re learning not to over-attach to individual players. You thank them for their service and send them on their way down or up the payroll. Maybe they’ll come back through town someday.
In this way, baseball has become a study in mindfulness. Who’s this kid in Louisville? Is he any good? Trade him before he trades himself. And that’s fine. It makes spring training more interesting– with bullpens like ours, placing bets on how much of the roster will remain intact by October promises more money than wagering on the outcome of the games themselves.
And so if you love your player, love him now. Embrace the batting stance and the bend of the ball from the mound, because you might not see it in person very long.
Sometimes it’s enough to be grateful for players who made that ball sail over the fence at just the right time. They were here when we needed them.
Josh The Pilot’s Kilt UPDATE: The tactical kilt made its first journey unto the sea, and was tactical by means of acting as an oddly-shaped beach blanket.
More updates as kilt-related activities warrant.