My father has long suggested that I should begin studying the philosophy of absurdism by taking in Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger. Once I found out it was only 123 pages, I jumped in. Heck, I gave up on Infinite Jest after 123 pages. I can read 123 pages.
The Stranger was terrific. Like The Great Gatsby, it gets to the point quickly, which is important because we’ve all got jobs and fantasy baseball teams to get to. Camus has a very matter-of-fact way of describing the world which gave me the brief inspiration to write a novel of my own. Unfortunately, they’ve been making me work at work, so I can’t write that novel just yet. Capitalism, man.
Despite being an excellent novel, The Stranger can be a little grim and dark. For instance, Camus writes, “But everybody knows life isn’t worth living. Deep down I knew perfectly well that it doesn’t much matter whether you die at thirty or at seventy…” Whoa there, I didn’t get the memo that life wasn’t worth living!
Then I noticed my No. 1 pick and favorite human on the planet Buster Posey was slumping, and all of a sudden I wondered whether life was indeed worth living. Then some minor inconvenience happened at work and I was ready to just give up on it altogether. Why bother? We’re all condemned according to Camus, and he won the Nobel Prize in Literature and I haven’t won anything in a long time.
Will Posey snap out of this rut? My fantasy team and my Giants are kind of counting on him. That .244/.333/.310 second-half slash-line last year seemed like a small sample size fluke which we could just chalk up to bad luck, fatigue, and a finger injury. Posey was just saving it for when it mattered again. After adding bulk in the offseason, Posey got off to a hot start in 2014. On April 10, his slash line was .351/.400/.622. MVP Buster was back in business, it was an even year so the Giants were going to win it all again, and my fantasy team was doing damage.
Two weeks and a 3-for-33 slump later, Posey is down to .229/.316/.414 on the year. Again, we’re dealing with a very small sample size. However, what is baseball if not an endless series of the sample size of each singular pitch? How can we just ignore evidence by chalking everything up to SSS?
Digging deeper, the good news is that Posey’s walk rate, strikeout rate, and isolated slugging percentage are right in line with his career averages through 79 plate appearances this season. His early season struggles appear to be a case of the baseball gods creating adversity through BABIP: his batting average on balls in play is just .218 compared to .326 for his career. That’s despite a 27.6 percent line drive rate.
Thank the baseball gods for the glimmers of optimism! My life can at least continue in the belief that Buster Posey saves all. I’ve built a fantasy team—and Brian Sabean has built a real team—on the premise that Posey is a superstar who can continue to be the foundation of championship baseball teams. Actually, I’ve built my entire belief system on that premise. There is no god but Buster in my warped worldview.
In other words, I’ve got a lot riding on Buster. If that OPS isn’t back in the .800’s soon, I’m going to have to give up reading dark literature that borders on nihilism. Even if his balls in play to start falling in, I probably don’t have the psyche to be reading those kinds of things anymore anyway. I’m too weak-willed and petulant to live through a Buster Posey slump, much less to handle something like the inevitable and inescapable fact of death.
No thanks on that front—Buster and I would rather choose eternity.
Mark Reynolds graduated from Dominican University of California in 2008 with a degree in Political Science. Since graduating, he's been "blogging" about baseball and other topics.