I went to lunch with a friend today. Well, "went" is an inaccuracy. We went and picked up some Five Guys and went to a church event where they were watching Elf. It's a decent enough Christmas movie. I enjoy it on the occasion, although I don't quite understand the mega-love it gets from the community-at-large. But then again, I'm a cynic by nature. Something about unabashed joy and childlike merriment strikes me false. This world, as delightful as we can perceive it to be at times, is generally bleak, cold, distant, lonesome, and unforgiving. I watched bemusedly as Will Ferrell went about his cloying shtick, doing his best to impersonate a nine year-old in a thirty year-old's body, pounding away at the granite and disaffected stoicism of James Caan's Walter Hobbs, whose frustration and malcontent bravado more closely reflects who I am, who we are, as people. Is it our fault? Are we lost because the world is lost, or are we losing the world because we have been unable to find ourselves? If we could flip our perspectives, perhaps the grey tones of the world would start to look more colorful.
In the end, everything worked out for everyone. Isn't that the way things are supposed to happen? Where the positive outlook overwhelms the cynicism, where joy and faith and humor and exuberance outclass the modal drudgery of the everyday. I left with one prevailing thought: "We find our joys where we can, and pray that they see us through to tomorrow."
And then I came home.
Words can't adequately describe the feeling. Imagine, if you will, that you are standing on the edge of a teeter totter, gazing out at the rest of the playground, looking down at all of the elation of your fellow students running around, laughing, playing; unabashedly expressing the joy of youth and ignorance. And as the joy is lifted upon the air, it wafts towards you, and you can feel it envelop you, enrapture you. You want to breathe it in, to hold it in your lungs and let it become a part of you. As you begin to take it into yourself, the person on the other end of the balance leaves, moving on to consume the next joy. As he leaves, you catch your breath, as the floor drops out from under you. As you fall, you try to cling to the joy that you had so recently lived in. But as you grasp, all you find is the emptiness of a bitter wind. Joy has turned to despair. Warmth to cold. The truth, like the ground rushing up in a torrent, crashes into you, leaving you hurt, broken, alone. The fantasy of happiness is replaced with the reality of the world as it is; Listless. Solemn. Chilling.
This morning, I would have told you that I had great faith that the Royals organization was headed in a productive direction. A week from now, I will probably tell you the same thing, assuming between now and then they don't trade for Raul Ibanez, Alex Rios, or a myriad of other players that provide absolutely no value to the club.
The re-signing of Yuniesky Betancourt makes absolutely no sense. None. There is absolutely no way to justify it. He was not the best option available. He was not the only player available. He provides absolutely no value whatsoever. Zero.
Can we even rationalize that? Could you, as the manager of a company, justify paying someone to do nothing? To provide nothing of value, no tangible contribution to the output of production? Could you justify paying a man to nod and smile in the conference room during staff meetings? To give high fives as other members of your organization complete their projects, meet their quotas and provide growth? If you can, I have a resume and at least two years of relevant work experience.
We are prone to overreaction. It is an aspect of the human condition that I am all too familiar with. But this......I don't know. I don't get it. And what's worse is, there is nothing we can do about it. What manner of psychosis is this that causes me to put so much energy into a team, an organization that has given me literally nothing in return other than a few quaint evenings of conversation with friends and family? Would not my time be better spent studying literature, or philosophy, or science? Something, anything that would help this solemn and broken world become a more suitable place for others and for the generations to come?
I won't. I can't. The Royals are sewn into the fabric of my being. What started as a quilt of pristine quality has been tattered, torn, and ripped asunder, only to be mended, patched, and pieced back together again. Too much of me is apart of the Royals, and as tragic and warped as that existence may be, it is who I am. This is another tug at the seams.
No. Re-signing Betancourt is not a tug. It is a tear. It has split me open. But I'm sure, in time, I'll pull out the needle and thread and start sewing myself back together. Because that is the ineffable quality of the teams we root for. As much as this hurts, and as much as I believe those responsible should be held to account, it doesn't change much, in the long run. I am a Royals fan. I will continue to be a Royals fan.
But the dream is shattered. The veil is gone. The life we thought we knew and the life we have been presented with are so vastly different that it will cause us to react strongly; emotionally. And perhaps we need the catharsis. But it is in vain. It is all in vain.