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New World, Same World

movementI used to have a lot of friends who loved moving. That meant travel for some and outright relocation for others. These were (are) folks for whom movement was a horizon to chase. For whom change itself was a comfort.

I tend to be more of a “stick around and see” type, and I recall countless conversations where my position ended up settling on one variation or another of: you can go, and you can enjoy going, but everything you carry inside will follow you. You can’t outrun your demons anymore than you can outrun your angels. Movement is fine, but you’re just tweaking in the margins.

I said this — and would say it again today or tomorrow — not as an argument for staying or going. Either choice is fine. Rather, I said (and say) it as a reminder of the need to remember that the north star doesn’t hang in the sky. It lives in us.

What we’re talking about here is progress. Not in the “bad to good” sense but in the strict sense of the word itself: one thing to another. “Forward or onward movement toward a destination,” to borrow from one dictionary. “Forward,” of course, being the only direction in which we’re really capable of moving.

Sports is a proxy. There’s nothing happening on any given field that we can perceive and process without the bias of our own lives hanging in the background. If we’re angry, sports will fuel our anger. If we’re happy, we’ll find that. If we’re feeling frustrated or oppressed we’ll find outlets and corollaries. If we’re feeling vivacious and optimistic? Also covered. Winning and losing have little bearing.

These thoughts hung in my cortex as I watched the Orioles over the weekend and realized that Red Sox fans no longer own Camden Yards. Times truly have changed.

I vividly recall — and I’m probably repeating myself — a game at the Yard probably 12 years ago. O’s-Sox. Early in the season. Sox were winning as I sat in left field next to some Boston fans. They were as cool as can be, and I remember telling them that it was OK they were here because they were better than Yankees fans. This was, of course, before Boston really got good.

There are some who chase circumstances and there are some who chase something more.

Those Boston folks I interacted with back in the day probably stayed cool throughout the winning and are probably cool now. They probably aren’t the same fans who filled our stadium with bad behavior in what I’ll call the Youkilis era of Red Sox baseball. Meaning, the “obnoxious winners” era.

You can’t outrun your demons, you can’t outrun your angels. This doesn’t mean you can’t change, it simply means that you carry what you carry at any given moment. Nothing from the outside changes that.

So, listen, don’t chase circumstances. It’s a fool’s game. Chase the core instead. It’s the only way to come out ahead when playing the long game. Which is, after all, the only game.

10 comments to New World, Same World

  • dan the frustrated man

    Maybe (probably) I’m missing the point of this post, but I don’t think anyone here is in danger of becoming an obnoxious Orioles fan. And I hope people didn’t think that’s what I was saying in my overly long comment in the previous post. I don’t want to shove winning in anyone’s face. I just want to be ok with winning and have fun talking about sports and fostering a community here in the comments, because wasn’t that the whole point?

    From TLC’s “About” page:

    The main page posts set the tone, but this is a community. Much of the magic happens in the comments.

    When it comes down to it, the Loss Column is a fact of life for any sports fan. Suffering through the losses helps make the wins more enjoyable. That, in a nutshell, is why we’re here.

    Look, these introspective posts are what makes TLC original, and they were always a really cool aside to the general sports talk that was happening here. But by focusing on these posts and cutting out the sports talk (and a considerable amount of content overall), I can’t help but feel like we’re the band that’s sad about getting big. As a struggling musician, that always frustrated me. There’s no shame in success well-earned.

    But since when has there been any magic in the comments lately? If we’re here because suffering through the losses makes the wins more enjoyable, then shouldn’t we be enjoying them? Not by being a bandwagon asshole fan, but simply by talking about it more to each other? That’s all I was saying.

    There was a call for ideas and I had some – take ’em or leave ’em, it’s all good. I’ll be here tomorrow and the next day because I like what this place is supposed to be about. But it sure seems like we’ve been straying from the “mission statement”, as it were. Neal, I hope you don’t take offense, man – you know I want the best for this corner of the interwebs.

  • neal s

    @ dan the frustrated man: I appreciate that comment, man.

    This post wasn’t directed at you or at anything in particular. Just some thoughts to get out as I continue to figure out what to do with this space. I’m kind of working on it post by post, even though I recognize that this kind of work might be turning some folks off.

    I mean, things have changed. It ain’t the same site it was a couple of years ago. I just want to find a way to turn it into something else that’s also good, if I can.

  • dan the man

    @ neal s:
    I hear you and I respect the process. It’s not really my place to tell you how to run the site – I’m just trying to be a motivating presence if it’s needed (probably not). I guess I feel like at the end of the day, all this needs to be is a Baltimore Sports Blog. It’s not the same site, but I guess I’m not sure why it necessarily can’t be. I get the sense of some fatalism about the whole thing, and in my opinion the feeling that there’s this inevitable change that needs to take place is more perceived than real.

    Anyway, enough of that. You can always shoot me an email if you want to jive about it.

    MEANWHILE, has Zach Britton reinvented himself as a crafty junkballer? I remember when he looked like Jon Lester when he first came up, throwing 94MPH with a nasty breaking ball. It’s been a long road back after that shoulder injury, but I’ll take what he was able to do to Detroit last night. Although I’m not sure if I buy it yet.

  • dan the man

    Taylor Teagarden!

    More like Taylor Trollgarden. There’s no WAY he drives in a run batting like .028, right? 3-run bomb. Hilarious.

  • sci

    Haha. Teagarden. Looks like 2 out of 3 at Detroit. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

    Looking ahead, the three starters for the Blue Jays against us coming up are Dickey, Wang, and Johnson. That is good in so many ways it makes my head hurt. I want a law firm of Dickey, Wang, Johnson LLP.

  • sci

    Good god Chris Davis is ridiculous right now. It’s rare you see a hitter this consistently hot.

  • dan the man

    Chris Davis is doing things that have almost never been done in an Orioles uniform. I mean he’s on the level with Miguel Cabrera except with more home runs. That’s ridiculous.

    Meanwhile sought-after FA sluggers like Prince Fielder, Tex, and Josh Hamilton look laughable now next to Davis. Yeah maybe the O’s got lucky while simultaneously being cheap, but I don’t hear anyone saying they regret not signing those guys. Hell, $2 million McLouth is having a much better year than Josh Hamilton.

  • sci

    Good point about Fielder, Tex, Hamilton. You can put Pujols in there too, not that we had a chance to sign him. I think these mega FA contracts for hitters in their late 20s/early 30s are on the way out for good. It’s just too big a risk. We’ll just continue to see more and more of the young stars in their mid-20s get the mega extensions.

    Love the offense on this team, and the defense. I think Gonzo is ready to be the “ace” of the staff, and Tillman is strong, but we need one more starter to really get going. Really want Hammel to get it together consistently. I think we may settle in with Gonzo, Chen, Tillman, Hammel, Britton for the rest of the year, once Chen returns. Garcia can maybe be the long man out of the pen. Gausman in the wings if someone gets hurt or struggles.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    came to post about dickey, wang, and johnson (of course). and speaking of young star extensions, pretty please, with sugar on top, lock machado up at the first opportunity. that kid can NEVER play “elsewhere” in this division.

  • neal s

    @ Big Ben’s Motorcycle: What’s awesome is that we have this year plus two more before we really have to worry about Machado. Once he’s 3+ years in it’ll make sense to buy out some free agent years and give him a huge financial windfall and some certainty — if it makes sense — that takes him to age, say, 28 or 29.

    Totally agreed on your point, though. If he’s the guy we think he is then there is absolutely no way we can let him leave before at least his late twenties and hopefully not until his mid-thirties, if ever.