I'm pretty sugared up for the World Series, you guys. There is something particularly liberating about having your team end the season an abject disaster, as our Reds did. You can enjoy postseason baseball in a completely uncomplicated way. You can date around with other teams and cultivate wild lusts for other stars and all without the fetters of long-term commitment. This seems doubly true this postseason, as the last two teams standing are pretty much unfamiliar. The Mets and Royals are mostly strangers to me, so I can sit back and just root for good baseball. I can make out with either one (or both) all night long and I don't have to worry about what happens tomorrow.
So I've been perusing the innumerable videos on MLB.com in the run up to tonight's gamening and I came across this banal piece featuring Mets' Captain David Wright. He doesn't say much of substance, just a few platitudes about unselfishness and whatnot. It's never really mentioned in the video (at least, I don't think it is. I didn't pay too close attention), but I got a strong captainy sense from Wright. I always call him "Mets' Captain David Wright" like it's his full legal name, like "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle" or "Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay."
Those of you who follow the Reds likely remember that Barry Larkin was the last Reds' team captain. He served in that august and arbitrary position from 1997 until his retirement in 2004. Before him, only three other men held the office: Davey Concepcion, Pete Rose, and Jake Daubert.
I've never played Major League Baseball, largely due to a valve issue in my teens that stilted my otherwise predestined career. Though I don't have any direct experience in this regard, I feel I'm perfectly qualified to make unsubstantiated guesses about it. And my guess is naming an official captain is a practically irrelevant exercise. It's not like the team captain holds office hours, makes formal declarations, or represents the organization as a delegate to a mysterious League of Captains that meets once a year in Derek Jeter's secluded castle in the European hinterlands to discuss the future of baseball. He just gets a cool patch on his shirt.
But as practically irrelevant as that is, the symbolism is not. When a team names a captain, they are saying "This guy represents the Platonic Ideal of what it means to play for our team." The Captain is an ontological projection of what the team ought to be. As much as a team can have a personality, naming a captain is intended to make the process of determining that much easier. When asking the question "What's the story with the Mets?," we are given the simple answer of "See David Wright." It is unnecessary to expound further.
I want that for Joey Votto. I mean, he already is that for a good number of us. I don't normally go in for that kind of idealist abstraction, but I think it would be bitchingly sweet if the Reds made him the captain. He is going to be around forever as it is, and he would make a terrific face of the franchise. But honestly, the question of whether or not Joey Votto is captain material is largely academic at this point.
I think the more pressing question is whether or not Joey would accept it. Who knows, maybe the Reds have already broached the subject and he politely declined. But in the case that they have yet to offer it, I think right about now would be a good time. The Reds are in the trough phase of the organizational cycle and are starting the long slog back toward respectability. It would be awful nice to have a leader upon whose shoulders they could ride, a leader to look to when the nights are long.
Ahhhhh, at this point I'm just rambling. I don't know, man. I'll watch the Mets and Royals tonight and make goo-goo eyes at Mets' Captain David Wright. I'm gonna spin the bottle with the Royals' infield and love every titillating second of it. But in the end, I'll come home to my boo. He's always gonna be here, you know? We might as well put a ring on it. Or I guess a ring with a bit of a notch taken out of it. 'cause that would look like a "C," you know. "C" is for captain. He should be the team captain is what I'm trying to say.