As feelings of mortality and transience plague the average NotGraphs reader’s psyche, allow me to provide the following examination on the dying flame that is baseball. When last we convened we examined some of baseball’s smaller deaths, like the loss of some of its dear follicles. Today we engage in the pre-post-mortem itself, and look at when major league baseball, in its current (and, for comedic purposes, unchangeable) state of being, expires.
The cause of death for baseball might surprise you: it is not steroids, or zombies, or steroid-ridden zombies. Instead, it’s a far more subtle disease, almost a tooth decay, wrought by our own vainglory that brings down the sport. The horrible, unspoken truth is this: someday, because of our love for pomp, circumstance, and the archaic need to identify players from 500 feet away using only opera glasses and programs, we will run out of numbers. Teams are retiring numbers constantly, as if one-to-two-digit numerals were some sort of renewable resource. In time, each team will run out, and without the necessary digits to compose a roster, will have to disband and forfeit immediately.