There’s this hamburger place in the heart of Compton. It’s called Hawkins House of Burgers and those burgers are divine. However, the house that gives Hawkins its name is the back of a convenience store. Malt liquor, bulletproof glass, lots of side-eye and more than a couple of limps of unknown provenance—the best way to describe the ambiance is “murdery.”
Nonetheless, I’ve taken no fewer than three dates to Hawkins House of Burgers. Each of those dates loved the experience. Two of those dates became serious girlfriends. This didn’t happen because I was some kind of dating genius. It happened because a long time ago, in my youth, I thought the best approach to dating was to give my date options. I’d ask what she wanted to do, what she liked to eat, where she wanted to go. I thought, by doing this, I was respecting my date’s intellect—her “agency.”
And then one of these dates said:
“Could you just come up with a plan already?”
So that’s what I did. I told my dates we’d go hither and yon and sometimes to the Hawkins House of Burgers. The dates loved it. I had taken some stress out of their lives. I hadn’t given them 72 options, victimizing them by way of the Paradox of Choice.
I became the Dayton Moore of dating. The Datin’ Moore, if you will.
The Kansas City Royals will probably not be very good over the course of the 2019 season. But I’m watching all the same. One reason I’m onboard is The Plan. According to myriad sources inside the clubhouse and out, the Royals are going to run and play defense and scrap their way through the season like so many Arya Starks. There’s Whit Merrifield and all those stolen bases last year; Adalberto Mondesi and all those stolen bases last summer, and Billy Hamilton and all those stolen bases over all of his career. There’s Alex Gordon’s arm and Chris Owings’s versatility and Lucas Duda’s uhhh and Ryan O’Hearn’s hmmm and Hunter Dozier’s what in the world and Martín Maldonado’s wow he’s corpulent and hey I didn’t know we were going to Compton!
You have to do some creative accounting to actually think the Royals’ Plan for 2019 is going to work. To steal bases, you need to get on the first one. Speed doesn’t mean much if you get stuck at third. And stellar defense is only stellar if you’re ahead. (And your bullpen can keep it that way.)
But who cares! At least there is a plan. Or rather, at least someone is telling us there’s a plan. Because that was the real secret to the success of my trips to Hawkins House. Most of the time, people just want to sit back, relax, and decide whether we like the guy in the driver’s seat.
And hope we don’t get murdered (by the rest of the American League) along the way.