Last week’s winner was I Want Straily to Pitch Every Night, and Most Every Day Game. I guess people like KISS, though I can never imagine why. Or maybe you all just like puns.
This week’s theme is No Words. Many of them have been written in recent months about one Donald Trump, and yet I think we all still struggle to linguistically wrap our heads around just what exactly is happening. His travelling circus is swarming with sword swallowers and one-eyed midgets, and something is clearly happening here, but you don’t know what it is. And I think I know why.
In our collective political lexicon, hyperbole has been normalized. Maybe it has always kinda been that way and nothing has really changed, but whatever the case may be, it strips us of our ability to accurately describe this. Our political discourse has always been peppered with superlatives and outlandish remarks, mostly used for effect rather than accuracy. If you disagree with someone’s political beliefs, you can call them a tyrant or a fascist or a radical or a dangerous psychopath, but in reality, there is a set of codes underlying the whole thing. Kinda like baseball, right? Don’t slide into second base with your spikes up. Don’t go throwing fastballs at people’s heads. You gotta run in the baselines. Stuff like that. Sure, we might compare Dick Cheney to Darth Vader, but those in the know never took it literally. He was never really supernaturally evil. It was just a verbally florid way of saying, "this guy, he’s not my kinda guy." Yadi Molina isn’t actually in-real-life a toilet. He just plays for the other team.
And this is now a really big problem. You see, Donald Trump isn’t just not my kinda guy. He is superseding all of these codes. He is taking the bat with him down the baseline and cracking the first baseman on the shins. He is chucking the ball up into the stands and insisting it is a strike, the whole time shouting, "THIS GAME IS DUMB!" And this is what makes him appealing, right? Some folks think politics is broken and he is working to demolish the entire stadium. And to be quite honest, I really admire him for this. It takes a truly extraordinary person to bend the American political and media apparatuses to his will. That’s not nothing. It is awesome. And I mean awesome in the standard definition of the word, not the normalized hyperbole that it has become.
It is a problem, though. It’s a problem because we have used up all of those hyperbolic statements already. Say what you want about Hillary Clinton and her politics, but if she becomes president, she isn’t going to ruin the country. The country has survived the likes of George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Franklin Roosevelt, Warren Harding, and Andrew Jackson. They were all called war criminals, communists, and tyrants in their own turn. And yet, here we are.
But now, to call Donald Trump a tyrant and a sociopath doesn’t land. The language we are using exists in the same linguistic framework that hurled the same insults at past politicians. "But no seriously look, this guy actually is a tyrant." Well, yeah. We said the same thing about literally every other politician ever. "But you don’t get it. This guy will ruin the country." Well, yeah. We said the same thing about literally every other politician ever.
And so we have no words to really accurately express this whole thing.
On to the JPEGs.
Votto’s Awe-Inspiring Hands
Tuesday was kind of a fun game. The Reds got up pretty good on the Cardinals and (sigh) Mike Leake, but then the bullpen bulllblew it. No matter, though. The Reds have Joey Votto. He hit a walk-off dingeroony to left-center and trotted home staring speechless at his hands.
Alfredo Simon is Not a Good Pitcher Anymore
He has thrown over 50 innings and his ERA is 9.11. I don’t even know what to say about him anymore. Just awful.
Welcome to Cincy
With the second pick in the amateur draft, the Reds selected Nick Senzel, a really nice third baseman out of the University of Tennessee. I can only imagine what it must be like for him. It’s a big moment, you know? Like millions of us, I’m sure he dreamed as a kid of playing in the big leagues, and here he is seen as one of the best amateur talents in the country. That has to be a pretty good feeling.
Of course, the flip side of that is that when you get drafted so high, it is because the team that selects you is in a pretty bad place. Welcome to Cincinnati, youngblood.