Fantasy Baseball Existentialism: Buster Posey Struggling

My father has long suggested that I should begin studying the philosophy of absurdism by taking in Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger. Once I found out it was only 123 pages, I jumped in. Heck, I gave up on Infinite Jest after 123 pages. I can read 123 pages.

The Stranger was terrific. Like The Great Gatsby, it gets to the point quickly, which is important because we’ve all got jobs and fantasy baseball teams to get to. Camus has a very matter-of-fact way of describing the world which gave me the brief inspiration to write a novel of my own. Unfortunately, they’ve been making me work at work, so I can’t write that novel just yet. Capitalism, man.

Despite being an excellent novel, The Stranger can be a little grim and dark. For instance, Camus writes, “But everybody knows life isn’t worth living. Deep down I knew perfectly well that it doesn’t much matter whether you die at thirty or at seventy…” Whoa there, I didn’t get the memo that life wasn’t worth living!

Then I noticed my No. 1 pick and favorite human on the planet Buster Posey was slumping, and all of a sudden I wondered whether life was indeed worth living. Then some minor inconvenience happened at work and I was ready to just give up on it altogether. Why bother? We’re all condemned according to Camus, and he won the Nobel Prize in Literature and I haven’t won anything in a long time.

Will Posey snap out of this rut? My fantasy team and my Giants are kind of counting on him. That .244/.333/.310 second-half slash-line last year seemed like a small sample size fluke which we could just chalk up to bad luck, fatigue, and a finger injury. Posey was just saving it for when it mattered again. After adding bulk in the offseason, Posey got off to a hot start in 2014. On April 10, his slash line was .351/.400/.622. MVP Buster was back in business, it was an even year so the Giants were going to win it all again, and my fantasy team was doing damage.

Two weeks and a 3-for-33 slump later, Posey is down to .229/.316/.414 on the year. Again, we’re dealing with a very small sample size. However, what is baseball if not an endless series of the sample size of each singular pitch? How can we just ignore evidence by chalking everything up to SSS?

Digging deeper, the good news is that Posey’s walk rate, strikeout rate, and isolated slugging percentage are right in line with his career averages through 79 plate appearances this season. His early season struggles appear to be a case of the baseball gods creating adversity through BABIP: his batting average on balls in play is just .218 compared to .326 for his career. That’s despite a 27.6 percent line drive rate.

Thank the baseball gods for the glimmers of optimism! My life can at least continue in the belief that Buster Posey saves all. I’ve built a fantasy team—and Brian Sabean has built a real team—on the premise that Posey is a superstar who can continue to be the foundation of championship baseball teams. Actually, I’ve built my entire belief system on that premise. There is no god but Buster in my warped worldview.

In other words, I’ve got a lot riding on Buster. If that OPS isn’t back in the .800’s soon, I’m going to have to give up reading dark literature that borders on nihilism. Even if his balls in play to start falling in, I probably don’t have the psyche to be reading those kinds of things anymore anyway. I’m too weak-willed and petulant to live through a Buster Posey slump, much less to handle something like the inevitable and inescapable fact of death.

No thanks on that front—Buster and I would rather choose eternity.




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Mark Reynolds graduated from Dominican University of California in 2008 with a degree in Political Science. Since graduating, he's been "blogging" about baseball and other topics.


32 Responses to “Fantasy Baseball Existentialism: Buster Posey Struggling”

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  1. Josue says:

    Don’t draft catchers in the first round

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  2. quinceleather says:

    “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

    And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”

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    • Urban Shocker says:

      “Don’t despair, not even over the fact that you don’t despair.”

      This post is delightful. I’ll raise you a Kafka and a Chris Davis, who is contributing to my own ongoing despair. Davis, that is.

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      • Thank you. Top recommendation of Kafka’s works?

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      • SS Cabathia says:

        “They were given the choice between becoming kings or the couriers of kings. In the manner of children, they all wanted to be couriers. As a result, there are only couriers. They gallop through the world shouting to each other messages that, since there are no kings, have become meaningless. Gladly would they put an end to their miserable existence, but they dare not, because of their oaths of service.”

        Couriers, Franz Kafka

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    • aascd says:

      “The Trial” is excellent.

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      • Urban Shocker says:

        ‘The Trial’ as well. However, given that you enjoyed ‘The Stranger’, you might consider reading ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ by Camus; a philosophical essay where he considers absurdity and Kafka.

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      • I enjoyed The Myth of Sisyphus, though not as much as The Stranger.

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  3. Formula Juan says:

    Not everyone can be like you and hit 30+ homers while setting strikeout records each year, Mr. Reynolds.

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  4. Jeff says:

    A bunch of pretty sweet turns of phrase in here. Nice work.
    And somebody has to say it: Infinite Jest gets really good around page 200.

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  5. Mike says:

    Loving your work on here, Mark. Great writing and analysis.

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  6. Shawn Young says:

    Hell, it’s other Catchers.

    (I drafted Wilson Ramos.)

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  7. Atari says:

    Fangraphs – combining Camus and fantasy baseball.

    Is there anything MORE absurd?

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  8. SeattleSlew says:

    “But everybody knows life isn’t worth living. Deep down I knew perfectly well that it doesn’t much matter whether you die at thirty or at seventy…”

    If one considers the goal of life accumulating possessions on earth life will indeed not be worth living but whoever dedicates their life to serving God and serving others will never regret it.

    What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:26

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  9. I Like Baseball Sports says:

    Gyorko’s struggles… Petco’s sandboxes… should I avoid reading ‘The Woman in the Dunes’?

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  10. Brazen Reader says:

    Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus is even shorter and makes its point without the extra 100 pages of literary devices. (I mean I liked The Stranger, but if you want the distilled existentialism of Camus, there you go)

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  11. CYNTHIA AGIUS says:

    not blocked now babe!!!

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  12. CYNTHIA AGIUS says:

    enjoyed your article

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