Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.
A Brief Discussion of Happiness
Given that we find ourselves in the tranquil moments between Dan Straily’s fine debut yesterday and Matt Harvey’s future deeds, this is an excellent moment to pause and reflect on our appreciation of the game of baseball. If one is available, I suggest grabbing a croissant or Danish as you begin to contemplate today’s arsenal of baseball activities.
To that end, and with the welfare of our thoughtful and intrepid readership in mind, I’ll paraphrase a few thoughts by Bertrand Russell, as compiled in his 1930 book “The Conquest of Happiness”. Although Russell himself did not follow the game, he supported it in a philosophical sense, including it in the “impersonal interests” which, by distracting us from the crucial and stressful elements of work, marriage and parenthood, provide an invaluable source of happiness. He relates the following mysterious anecdote:
Or consider again the passionate joy of the baseball fan: he turns to his newspaper with avidity, and the radio affords him the keenest thrills. I remember meeting for the first time one of the leading literary men of America, a man whom I had supposed from his books to be filled with melancholy. But it so happened that at that moment the most crucial baseball results were coming through on the radio; he forgot me, literature, and all the other sorrows of our sublunary life, and yelled with joy as his favourites achieved victory. Ever since this incident I have been able to read his books without feeling depressed by the misfortunes of his characters.
The identity of this fan is lost to history, though the names of Eliot (a miserable Red Sox fan) and Hemingway (a content Yankees fan) have been suggested.
More than escape, however, Russell prizes baseball (in theory) for its ability to create “a friendly interest in persons and things.” Specifically, baseball creates a bond of fellowship that connects us to the fan and faceless internet commenter beside us. It allows us to exist alongside others, to feel a sense of community, while maintaining our own individuality.
In summary, the purpose of this unsolicited commentary is to suggest that despite the fact that no GIF file may be created from today’s events, and that for the most part the contending teams are all facing lesser opponents that they are expected to defeat, we can still derive some happiness from today’s games, meaningless as they may appear. Please go and do so.
Seattle at New York | 13:05 ET
Felix Hernandez, who has crept into the American League Cy Young race by doing the same exact things he has been doing for four years, faces off against the equally consistent Hiroki Kuroda. At stake in this game is the fate of at least one annoying internet talking point. Will it be “Ichiro is a cancer because the Mariners have suddenly started winning and the Yankees are now terrible”? Or will we have the last of “Don’t look now, but Seattle is only 7.5 games out of the Wild Card”? Time will tell, as is its wont.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati | 19:10 ET
This game has Playoff Implications, or at least slightly greater playoff implications than other games, so it is of course important if you care about results, particularly such things as success. It is also an excellent opportunity to watch Andrew McCutchen, whose performance can provide happiness regardless of outcome.
Cleveland at Detroit | 19:05 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
Forget the shambling corpse that is Ubaldo Jimenez, and forget momentarily the fact that he’s coughing up more HR/9 playing at Progressive Field than he ever did at Coors. Try even to ignore the fact that Doug Fister is somehow Doug Fister, despite all indications that he should be Paul Maholm. Instead, focus on the fact that today, as every day, you can enjoy a game of baseball, performed ably by paid professionals, free of charge with minimal interference by advertisers. Imagine the poem Walt Whitman would have written given the opportunity you might otherwise have taken for granted.
Today’s Complete Schedule
Rather than calculate the NERD score of each pitcher and each game in the traditional way, i.e. through the use of math, I present today’s games not in relation to each other but in relation to a shadowy world in which there is no baseball. Furthermore, Russell’s advocation of finding happiness from as many sources as possible leads us to the conclusion that beyond being able to appreciate the game itself, we should strive to find it in the toil of Chris Volstad every bit as much as the changeup of one Matt Harvey.
|Felix Hernandez||SEA||10||10||10||10||10||NYY||Hiroki Kuroda||13:05|
|Ricky Romero||TOR||10||10||10||10||10||OAK||A.J. Griffin||16:05|
|Scott Feldman||TEX||10||10||10||10||10||KC||Will Smith||17:10|
|Joe Saunders||ARI||10||10||10||10||10||PHI||Roy Halladay||19:05|
|Mark Buehrle||MIA||10||10||10||10||10||WSH||Jordan Zimmerman||19:05|
|Ubaldo Jimenez||CLE||10||10||10||10||10||DET||Doug Fister||19:05|
|Lucas Harrell||HOU||10||9||10||10||10||ATL||Paul Maholm||19:10|
|Ervin Santana||LAA||10||10||10||10||10||CWS||Gavin Floyd||19:10|
|James McDonald||PIT||10||10||10||10||10||CIN||Mike Leake||19:10|
|Wei-Yin Chen||BAL||10||10||10||10||10||TB||Jeremy Hellickson||19:10|
|Cole De Vries||MIN||10||10||10||10||10||BOS||Clay Buchholz||19:10|
|Mark Rogers||MIL||10||10||10||10||10||STL||Adam Wainwright||19:15|
|Madison Bumgarner||SF||10||10||10||10||10||COL||Jeff Francis||20:10|
|Jeremy Hefner||NYM||10||10||10||10||10||SD||Edinson Volquez||20:35|
|Chris Volstad||CHC||10||10||10||10||10||LAD||Clayton Kershaw||21:10|
To learn more about pitcher and team NERD scores, ask Carson when he gets back.