Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The state of posterity

It struck me today, when I heard the news that not a single player was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on this year's ballot, that I no longer care about the Hall of Fame, its members, or the fate and legacy of baseball players.

I could present a whole range of tired, mostly untrue arguments, the kind that are already being rolled out across the Internet: "Back in my day, ballplayers were clean!" or "Ballplayers have always been dirty; steroids are no worse than amphetamines." "Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and all the others are getting what they deserved!" Conversely, "Baseball writers are out of their minds from keeping these guys out of the Hall of Fame!"

It's just exhausting.

As a baseball fan, ballplayers don't care about me. I am merely their employer; I pay for tickets, merchandise and cable TV to watch their games, and that money filters down to the players, who become millionaires from it. And that's fine. But conversely, I'm going to choose not to care about the players outside of their role on the diamond. They serve their purpose: they entertain me, give me a team to root for during the season, give me something to hope for in the long cold winter.

Why should I care about them after they retire? I'm too old to idolize ballplayers, retired or otherwise. The juicers will get into the Hall of Fame someday or they won't.

I'll continue to root, root, root for the home team. I'll even be hopeful that my hometown Royals will be good this year. When they win I will pump my fist; when they lose I will curse.  And when they leave the game I will forget about them, just as they forget about us.

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