Rationally Irrational

As I write this Tuesday evening, the Mariners are one game over .500 and trying to make it two. So, naturally, the newsosphere is full of caution. “The season is only a third over.” “A lot could change quickly.” “This is no time for irrational optimism.”

Talk about radical misperception.

Baseball is all about irrational optimism.

Think about it: At least 50 times in each game, somebody voluntarily confines himself to a small box while another guy throws rocks at him. Blunt force trauma is no less dangerous to life and limb than holes-poked-in-you trauma is. Yet these people are optimistic that those rocks won’t hit them–and that they can use a piece of wood to defend themselves against the rock-thrower.

That’s pretty darn irrational.

Every year fans decide, on no evidence whatsoever, that this will be their team’s year.

Ridiculously irrationally optimistic.

The commissioner forces through strange new rules in the hope of making games shorter, yet never addresses any of the delaying tactics players use to control the pace of the game.

Incredibly, stupidly, irrationally optimistic.

So don’t talk to me about keeping my hopes realistic.

Bigger picture: America is full of irrational optimists right now. Justifiably so in many ways.

Removing mask mandates and distancing rules even though vaccination rates are still hovering around 50%. Trusting the unvaccinated to not claim to be vaccinated. Expecting Republican lawmakers to respond favorably to appeals to patriotism, honor, and justice.

It’s been a very long year and a half. Nobody is going to dial it back and settle for rational optimism.

Not that rational optimism is even being offered. This is a confrontational, contrary age. Irrational optimism not your bag? Your only alternative today is irrational pessimism. “Earth is going to be destroyed by an asteroid.” “COVID-19 is the first stage of the zombie apocalypse.” “The Mariners won’t win another game this season.

I don’t know about you, but if I have to make that choice, I’m not going to pick looming disaster. We’ve been there and done that for quite long enough, thank you.

While I was writing the previous two paragraphs, the Mariners gave up six runs in one inning. I’m choosing irrational optimism. Maybe they’ll come back in the last three innings to win. If not, there’s going to be another game tomorrow. After all, the season is only a third over and a lot could change quickly.

4 thoughts on “Rationally Irrational

  1. I’m trying, very hard, not to get caught up in, or deluded by, the fact that the Giants are in first place, NL West. They did get clobbered by the Angels yesterday- this, after beating the Dodgers three in a row- so I’m not counting on even a post-season for them. After all, the season’s only a third over.

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    • Oh, go ahead and give in to the irrational. I am. In fact, despite the Giants getting clobbered yesterday and the Mariners getting swamped, I’m calling it a Giants/Mariners world series.

      Unless, of course, the Orioles take flight. They could, you know. There are almost twice as many games left as have already been played. Plenty of time.

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      • The Orioles? Okay, sure. Why not? Hey, they were first in the league for the first week (or the first few days) of the season. I would love to see them in the World Series- all that orange on the field would be so cheerful!
        Another person who would love it is Jackie, aka: The Baseball Blogess. I hope you read her blog. I know you’d enjoy it, Here’s a link:https://thebaseballbloggess.com/

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        • Heh. Jackie is the main reason I root for the Orioles (after the Mariners and Giants, of course).

          I’m sure she’ll appreciate the promotion–anyone reading this who isn’t already reading her blog, go take a look. It is more baseball-focused than this one, but she’s got a very human slant on the subject; no (or very little) stat-head stuff.

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