Here she goes again…
Very few things in life happen suddenly. The sudden moments we remember are tipping points; obvious things that makes us forget about the more subtle things that were there first. They’re the candlelit dinner or the fireman who came into your elementary school or Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter. Predictable, aren’t I?
I was aware, after I moved to Seattle, of Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum rising, of Barry Bonds and J.T. Snow falling. But sports are so much about other fans, and with my dad feeling similarly to me and the local Mariners die hards caring about as much about the NL West as I cared about them when I was in Carson City, my enthusiasm for Giants baseball was in short supply.
Then Jonathan Sanchez did something he wasn’t supposed to do.
While I appreciated the moment as much as the next person, even had a sudden attack of allergies, I also realized that I hadn’t been paying close enough attention to really deserve to be jumping in the air and whooping with the rest of Giants Land. I didn’t like that.
If you’re reading this, you probably already knew that I liked Dirty (see title). You probably also knew that I tend to attach “irrational” to “like”; sometimes because it was true, and sometimes because I was lazy and it kept people off my back. But as this is likely the last time I’ll be writing about him in any depth (unless he goes to a Japan for a few years and comes back to sign a MiL contract with the Phillies), I figure he deserves a little better than that. I have an “irrational love” for Sanchez because he was the tipping point of me loving baseball again. Cain and Timmy and the Panda and the Mariners series earlier in 2009 built things up, but the no-no was at the top. I can’t not love that.
But there’s more than that, too. The thing is, how easy is it to know the person who supposedly had so much potential and didn’t meet it? That’s the guy sitting next to you in class or at work, the guy you pass on the street, and who you order your ice cream from. That’s most people. The parents of my favorite teacher in the world, who’s old enough to be my grandfather, never thought that teaching was good enough. I’m pretty sure that in fifty years, my parents will still be waiting for me to be an astronaut. I don’t know Lincecum’s genius, or Cain’s ability to be so utterly, consistently, good, but I know not meeting expectations.
Except Sanchez did, sometimes. Sometimes he threw no-hitters. Sometimes he clinched the division. And whatever happened in-between, there was still the possibility of another “sometimes”. This sport is a story, and stories need things like that. It turns out you can be a fan of someone for being perfect, and a fan of someone else for not being perfect. I like Jonathan Sanchez because he is sometimes brilliant, and mostly not.
Baseball is so much more fun that way.
And really, I just needed an excuse to post this, while I let people more awake than I am talk about the actual trade: