A Spiritual Exercise Concerning Corey Kluber

In his Discourses, noted Roman Stoic Epictetus proclaims that, to live a life free from anxiety, that each of us must become like a “spiritual athlete.” To that end, NotGraphs presents this exercise, with a view towards helping to tighten and tone the spirits of the readership.

That these bears are feasting on these children’s entrails oughtn’t be regarded as objectively unfortunate.

In his season debut this past Wednesday, Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber — in celebration of whom an eponymous Society exists, not for nothing — was decidedly ineffective, producing the highest single-game FIP among his 40-plus major-league appearances. Said performance created a pall of melancholy over those who derive some pleasure in Kluber and his success.

One might be compelled to ask, with regard to Kluber’s poor start, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Such a query assumes two conditions, however, neither of which are conducive to freedom from anxiety — namely, that (a) there either exists or, at least, ought to exist something akin to a moral justice in the universe, and also that (b) exposure to good fortune exclusively is necessarily of the greatest benefit to those who are regarded as morally virtuous.

Indeed, one’s pursuit of equanimity is most immediately aided by the conviction that, as Hamlet announces in the tragedy that bears his name, that “[T]here is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” It is of greatest benefit to the spiritual athlete to construct a mythology or narrative that is flexible enough to allow for such circumstances as might otherwise be regarded as objectively bad — but, really, are only bad insofar as thinking has made them that way.

During Kluber’s next start, attempt to extract useful lessons not only from his successes, but also his failures.

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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

18 Responses to “A Spiritual Exercise Concerning Corey Kluber”

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  1. Mr. Observant says:

    Holy YHWH, but that line drawing has to be depicting the rending of the bold children of ישראל who mocked the prophet אֱלִישָׁע and who then cursed them to be rent asunder by bears. מלכים 2-22, I think. I’m so pleased to read some good virtuous material in NotGraphs instead of the usual smut and filth fit only for the worst sort of whoredom and iniquity.

    Also, hasn’t Kluber taught us to move beyond the narrow, dualistic confines of traditional morality and cast off the shackles of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. The true, eternal form of a Kluber, much like a Marcus Stroman, exists in the world of forms and the sad, flickering shadow to which we captives are subjected is all we can hope to glimpse. Back to my 3L box of Sant Evasio Barbera ‘red’ wine…

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  2. abarnold2 says:

    Words to live by.

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  3. James says:

    @first photo: Define “Objectively unfortunate”.

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  4. Wayne says:

    …bite me…

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  5. Wally says:

    Can it be said that the 14 and under members of the Society be known as the “Kid’s Klub?” (pronounced with the long ū)

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  6. tylersnotes says:

    who is defining Kluber’s performance as success or failure? Barthes might argue that to give a Kluber outing an author is to impose a limit on that outing. A post-structuralist interpretation of Kluber’s last game would allow room for the hitters and audience as equal authors of the performance. Thus, to judge a performance as a “failure” or “success” based solely on Kluber’s line is to wholly misconstrue the very nature of who is performing and what is being performed.

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  7. cass says:

    As a Strasburg fan, this is well-timed for me as well.

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  8. The Stranger says:

    For every child that is eaten, a bear is fed. For every home run Corey Kluber gives up, a batter hits a home run. There is no evil which is not also good, and no good which is not also evil. Look, therefore, upon the pitching of Corey Kluber, and see the evil of his strikeouts, and the good of his gopher balls. For each pitch inevitably brings both joy and sorrow. The true love of Kluber is the love of the pitch itself, and the love of the result is naught but crass fetishism of vulgar things.

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    • Chris Colabello Society says:

      Can’t stop laughing at this. Early leader for Notgraphs post of the year.

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  9. Ayrahvon says:

    The Kluber that can be told is not the eternal Kluber.

    The Kluber is like a bellows,
    it is empty yet infinitely capable.

    When pitching coaches interfere with the Kluber,
    the at bat becomes filthy,
    the pitch becomes depleted,
    equilibrium crumbles,
    creatures become extinct.

    Be like the Kluber.
    The Kluber cannot be approached or withdrawn from,
    benefited or harmed,
    honored or brought into disgrace.
    The Kluber gives himself up continually.
    That is why he endures.

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  10. Gerry says:

    F Kluber

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  11. tropicalmug says:

    “Vote YES on Issue 7 – NOT a Tax Increase” is the worst possible slogan for anything ever.

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  12. RSF says:

    George A. Lindbeck would note that referring to Kluber’s performance as “bad” is not an objective declaration, but simply an example of us following our own grammatical rules as they pertain to baseball. Kluber did not do anything objectively bad. Rather, we deem his performance to be bad because, when interpreted through the basic premises advanced by the rules of baseball, we find reason to speak of his performance in a negative light.

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  13. Chris Colabello Society says:

    If only I could re-embiggen the embiggened picture.

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