- NotGraphs Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/not -

Sox-Sox: Emotional Multitudes

I wanted to follow up on Kevin Youkilis’s return to Boston, so I was looking at pictures from the Red Sox-White Sox series. Yesterday, the [White] Sox got pummeled by the [Red] Sox, 10-1. I happened upon this picture, which, at first glance was exactly the sort of thing I had hoped to find.

There Youk sits, fully aware of the camera, disgusted with the eminent outcome of the game, with the outcome of the series so far (Chicago outscored 20-8, and down two games to one), perhaps longing for the comforts of an eggy frappe, perhaps bubbling with a hatred that even he doesn’t understand, perhaps ready to kill. His neck itches; his groin is a little sweaty.

But Youk is just one figure in this picture, which might very well represent the full gamut of human emotion and experience.

Consider Adam Dunn, just to the left of Youkilis. His surprise isn’t just surprise. It’s terror-surprise. Does Adam Dunn’s mother troll these photos as diligently as I do? Perhaps she will discover that he chews chewing tobacco. Perhaps that is what Adam fears. Perhaps he fears the camera panned in his direction because he just farted. Maybe he surprised himself with said tootage.

Or consider this man, who himself seems presently relieved of burdensome gas, a relief that is unique from other types of relief, perhaps entirely unique to the human experience.

Or this young man: like Youk and Dunn, he is aware of the camera’s presence. He seems aware of his potential, aware of the potential of the moment – but what to do with it? What to make of himself in this world? He doesn’t yet know.

Or these guys, reveling in friendly conversation.

Or this young woman, confused by boredom.

Or this child, who is so hungry and hapless that he must open his mouth and hope for insects to unwittingly wander into it.

Or Devin Mesoraco, displaying smug and calm confidence having been discovered as a fan at a game that has nothing to do with his team.

Or, finally, these bros, who appear transfixed by the same object/occurrence, but who each have their own response to said: the bro on the left smells the object/occurrence from afar, and it reminds him of his uncles after holiday fruit cake; the bro on the right sees the twinkling of the object/occurrence and is reminded, to his joy, of his kitten at home.

In the intermittent minutes between innings, the seconds between pitches, during the final meaningless at-bats of a blowout, the baseball fan takes time to reflect on his or her own life, her world, his worth. The baseball fan looks around and notices things s/he has never noticed before at the ballpark or anywhere. For many of us, our “best thinking” – our deepest moments of self-awareness – happens on the toilet, in the shower, in the dead of night. For these fans, and for these players, some such moments seem to have happened at Fenway Park, last night.