Hopeless Joe’s Final NotGraphs Post

This isn’t how I figured I’d go out.

Nope, I figured the crushing responsibilities of adult life would simply overcome me one day, and I’d perish while sitting in the front of the computer and suddenly remembering I’d forgotten to pay my estimated taxes, or I was three years overdue for a dental cleaning, or I’d never canceled that auto-billed subscription to the Anti-Depressant of the Month Club (October was chocolate-covered Paxil).

For me to have outlasted this website, well, it’s almost unbelievable. (And super-frustrating to the bank that sold me that variable life annuity a few years ago under the assumption that there’s no way I’d make it this long. Suck it, Farmer John’s Savings & Loan! Betting on my death is no way to run a lending institution!)

Baseball has been part of almost all of the highs and lows of my life. It was there when I proposed to my girlfriend up on the big scoreboard, and it was there when she shook her head and told me she preferred to be alone rather than spend our lives together. It was there when I caught that home run ball, and it was there when the force of catching that home run ball carried me over the railing and into the visitor’s bullpen. And it was there, on the hospital television set, when I tried to wake up from the emergency surgery but was frozen in my own body. And it was there, on the gravedigger’s radio, when I was buried alive. And it was there, under second base, when I finally dug my way out, clawing a tunnel from the cemetery over to downtown Boston and up into Fenway Park, before, as my head emerged from the dirt, I was spiked by Dustin Pedroia and ended up back in the hospital once more.

It was there for me this past August, when I renounced my years of Royals fandom, admitting to the world that I finally understood that they would never again make it to a World Series, at least not in my lifetime.

And it was there for me this past Yom Kippur, when I broke the fast with a Shake Shack hot dog at Citi Field, that I found in a dumpster, left over from the season’s last homestand. Okay, that was a mistake. I shouldn’t have eaten that.

Even without NotGraphs, baseball will continue. I assume. I mean, maybe it won’t. Maybe the powers that be will realize that the game can’t survive without folks like me writing about it. But probably not. And so, I’m sure, even without NotGraphs, baseball will continue to be there for the ups and downs of my life, like the up of when the elevator takes me to my meeting with Not Just a Bit Outside, and the down of when the elevator doesn’t come to retrieve me and I tumble down the shaft.

Indeed, together, we have tumbled down shafts, and flipped our bats every which way. We will continue to do so. And although we may or may not all succumb to Ebola, we will eventually succumb to something, and in that moment of succumbunce, we will look to baseball to help guide us home. I think that’s probably an appropriately Hopeless thought to end on, don’t you? Have a particularly hopeless end of the World Series, fine readers. A particularly hopeless end.

[This may also be Jeremy Blachman’s last NotGraphs post, depending on whether the Series extends past this weekend. If it does not, he’d like to say thanks to the readers and commenters for making this a fun place to write, and to Carson for giving him the chance. He will probably write again about baseball, somewhere, at some point, so follow him on Twitter @jeremyblachman for more about that. Or, if the series goes to 6, he’ll see you on Monday. And Tuesday. And maybe Wednesday. If anyone wants to send a final Ask NotGraphs question, now would probably be your chance!]



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Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer, a satirical novel that should make people who didn't go to law school feel good about their life choices. Read more at McSweeney's or elsewhere. He likes e-mail.

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John Paschal
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We will miss you, Hopeless Joe.

One way or another, you always made us feel better about life.