As Eno Sarris pointed out a few weeks ago, hugs are on the rise among MLB players this year.
Yesterday, during the Phillies-Brewers matchup at Miller Park, there was an exciting new development in #MLBHugs:
You see, normally #MLBHugs happen between current teammates — when something dramatic happens — or, as per the very existence of the twitter entity MLB_HugRumors, between recently ex’d teammates — when freshly traded players were being hugged goodbye in dugouts, midgame.
But this new sub-species of #MLBHug is between opponents. While they are competing.
My dad never enjoyed sports because he said he couldn’t help think about what the losing party felt like after the contest: it wasn’t Christian to beat somebody. (For the record, he hasn’t voted in an election at least since Reagan was president, either — sort of for the same reasons.) I haven’t talked to my dad in almost two years now, but I wonder what he would think about this latest development in baseball, this brazen camaraderie, even between opponents. Someone still loses, yes, but perhaps underneath the results exists more compassion than before, a mutual understanding of the collective doom that awaits us all, that the results of a single contest don’t mean anything compared to what the struggle of the contest represents: an endless — and this hopeless — battle against a looming eternity of nothing.
When Nyjer Morgan‘s eyes met Kyle Kendrick‘s in this rundown-turned-hugdown, it was perhaps in the same manner in which the eyes of two medieval warriors might have met when one was about to vanquish the other with broadsword, the to-be-vanquished already having soiled his groinal chainmail, the “victor” thinking, I slay you now, brother, but my own Nothing is also nigh, I know.
Morgan was out; Kendrick applied the tag — but as he did, Morgan collapsed into his arms, and for a moment they were each comforted.