Sunday, July 31, 2011

Today's fortune: July 31, 2011

Today's fortune: Every person is the architect of his or her own fortune.

Today I wanna write about baseball. I'm sorry if you don't like baseball; I'll try to make this as jargon-free as possible. But something happened in a baseball game last night, something that relates to this very fortune. Something that, by seeing it happen live on television, shook me to my core.

I was watching my favorite team, the Kansas City Royals, play the Cleveland Indians on the road last night. During the bottom of the sixth inning, with Indians baserunner Matt Laporta standing on third base and no outs, batter Michael Brantley hit a soft fly ball to Royals left fielder Alex Gordon. When Gordon caught the ball, LaPorta ran toward home plate, but Gordon's throw beat him, and Royals catcher Matt Treanor was waiting for Laporta in front of the plate.

LaPorta lowered his shoulder and ran through Treanor, knocking the catcher down - and out. Matt Treanor was literally knocked out by the collision.

For me, it was soul-shaking to see a guy go down like that. Treanor fell to the ground face-first and squirmed for a seconds, then as if the lights were turned off, he slumped flat.

He was out for a few seconds before waking up and trying to stand. He struggled, but under his own power he stood on his own two feet. But still, you could tell, nobody was home. Treanor's face was covered in mud and blood, and his eyes were wide and glazed over.

"He didn't know what world he was on, what planet he was on, when he got up," Royals manager Ned Yost said after the game.

Treanor left the game and was taken to the hospital. He suffered a concussion. If you have the stomach to watch the play, here's a link to the video.

Home plate collisions have been a hot topic this year, especially since San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey was barreled over during a collision that resulted in a broken leg. Posey is out for the entire year. Of course, collisions are controversial. Baseball purists say they should continue to be legal because that's the way the game has been played for over a century: if the runner is coming home, the catcher can stand in front of the plate - if he has the ball - to stop the runner. But since the runner is blocked, he has the right to run full-tilt into the catcher. Others say collisions are barbaric and dangerous, and don't have any business on a baseball field, which is a game of finesse and strategy, not a game of blunt force trauma.

Before yesterday, I tended to fall in line with the pro-collision crowd. Collisions make the game exciting, I thought; catchers are tough and they wear body armor, so they should be able to take a collision. But after watching last night's play, something changed in me. I didn't like seeing that, but I don't think I'll ever forget it. I love baseball, and I'm sure I always will, but last night made me realize... it's just a game, for crying out loud.

But all that is beside the point. The real point is this: earlier in the year, Treanor was asked his opinion on home plate collisions. Like most catchers, Treanor was blunt about it. Essentially, he said "Bring it on." He said collisions at home plate are a vital part of the game, and nobody should do anything to take them away. I'm sure if you asked Treanor his opinion today, if he's able to form a logical sentence, it would be exactly the same.

Treanor is on board with collisions. He has signed off on them. He made his bed, and now he's sleeping in it.

In other words - every person is the architect of his or her own fortune.

I'm not sure I agree with Treanor's opinion anymore. But I absolutely respect the fact that he stood by his opinion. When Matt LaPorta was barreling down the baseline, he stood there and waited. He knew the collision was coming. He knew he could step out of the way, maybe slap a tag on LaPorta as he ran past. But he held his ground. That's admirable.

I just hope, when the time comes, I'm brave enough to stand by mine. I hope I'm brave enough to hold fast.