We Built This City

Why, and how, baseball fans live in the future.
Share |

When Prince Fielder signed with Detroit this week, he reduced an entire city to rubble. That city was constructed from a patchwork of rumors, wild-eyed speculations, semi-informed projections, and whorish desperate lies—all transmitted over every medium known to man. It was a shadowy place, and in Prince’s case poorly constructed and laid out, but we built it. We do that a lot.

Baseball has always been obsessed with its own past. In no other sport are stories and storytelling—and their grandiose cousin mythmaking—so highly valued. No other sport could lay claim, for example, could make a definitive figure of a documentary filmmaker. We attempt feats of time travel just for the sake of comparing players from one era to players from another. We read—or at least I read—kitschy ghost-written memoirs like they are Dead Sea scrolls and expend absurd amounts of energy arguing about a made-up thing called the Hall of Fame.

But baseball is also obsessed with what has yet to happen. As much as any Ken Burns anecdote, the cities we build in advance of major transactions like the Prince Fielder signing are territories in what the poet Donald Hall called “The Country of Baseball.” Rumors, even and perhaps especially false ones, are as much a part of the game as heavyset soon-to-be designated hitters. More and more, when we talk about baseball we are not talking about the sport as it has existed or does exist in the precise moment. We are talking about baseball as it will exist. Future baseball as opposed to present baseball; projection as opposed to analysis.

The offseason, with its dramatic tension and spectacular transactions (think not just Fielder but Darvish, Pujols, Cespedes) is a grandiose feast for Future Baseball types. With no games being played, there is no tangible present in which to immerse ourselves. So we gorge ourselves on empty-calorie speculation. This baseball media was especially gluttonous in the case of Fielder, grasping at every potential clue, heroically stretching their intellects beyond coherence in an attempt to make preemptive sense of what was yet to happen. (The archive of Prince Fielder-tagged posts at MLBTradeRumors.com makes for a fascinating look back through the vortex.) Fans, for our part, were happy to pick up what the baseball media kept on putting down. We even leaped, without looking all that closely, at Twitter rumors put forth by attention-seeking phonies like @JohnHeymanCBS (the real Heyman spells Jon without the h) and @MLBInsideNews.

Then, when Fielder finally signed his nine-year, $214 million contract with Detroit, a team about whom few rumors were mongered, we welcomed the news not by asking why but by  immediately asking what would come next. The end of one speculative cycle only begat more speculation. With Prince Fielder on the Tigers, does Miguel Cabrera move to third base? Will he actually be able to play there? Can Detroit eventually accommodate all three of Fielder, Cabrera, and the injured Victor Martinez? New cities are every day founded.

This is not merely a phenomenon for blogs and social media sites. Sports radio has thrived for as long as it has existed on “Why don’t the Red Sox sign Ted Williams’ head to play left field?” and “The Dodgers really ought to look at trading Juan Uribe for Hanley Ramirez.” Before that, albeit with different acronyms and less knowledge of the lower reaches of the home team’s farm system, fans spoke at barbershops or soda fountains or wherever else people congregated. Trade rumors have been around as long as trades. Speculation, hinged and un-, is a human thing, not just a baseball fan thing. 

But the Future Baseball mindset has become institutionalized enough to become a commodity in its own right. Major League Baseball guards its past like an unusually litigious dragon before a tower full of game footage, old photographs, and radio broadcasts. At the same time, it shills the future on MLB.com where you can find an officially sanctioned rumor blog, extensive prospects coverage, and various fantasy games. You can also read Peter Gammons (when he was at ESPN, Gammons was the first writer I read with anticipation of juicy trade gossip). Or watch MLB Network, where the real, no-H Heyman and any number of reporters in shiny suits speculate on what might happen. MLB sells the future as ferociously as it protects its past.

It makes sense, too, since the two activities feed one another. Our extensive statistical and anecdotal documentation of the past is the basis for how we see the future; then, in an instant, that future-obsession becomes the past. Not just in the sense that time progresses and history swallows up everything before it, but in the sense that our compulsion to look forward changes the way decisions are made in the media, in front offices, even on the field.

The future obsession has broadened the way we consume baseball. The sports within the sport—feeling for the ceilings of highly touted prospects, wondering which second baseman might stumble into 25 home runs for your fantasy team, hanging onto every last detail about which superstar free agent might sign where—take on nearly as much meaning as what happens when the players put their uniforms on. The cities we build and ruin are in some ways strange places. But they sure as hell make for exciting places to live.


Share |

Comments

This is a genuinely decent site post. Not very numerous individuals would really, the way you simply did. I am truly inspired that there is such a great amount of data about this subject have been revealed and you've given a valiant effort, with so much class. On the off chance that needed to know more about green smoke surveys, than by all methods come in and check our stuff. W. Ron Adams Law

Awesome post I might want to thank you for the endeavors you have made in composing this fascinating and learned article. werbegeschenke bedrucken

I high welcome this post. It's elusive the great from the awful now and then, however I think you've nailed it! would you psyche redesigning your online journal with more data? buy fast YouTube views

Incredible review, I am a major adherent to remarking on websites to illuminate the web journal scholars realize that they've added something beneficial to the internet!..click this link

An entrancing dialog is worth remark. I believe that it is best to compose additional on this matter, it won"t be an unthinkable point however by and large individuals are insufficient to chat on such themesclick here for more info

A debt of gratitude is in order for setting aside an ideal opportunity to examine this, I feel firmly that adoration and read more on this point. In the event that conceivable, for example, pick up learning, would you brain redesigning your web journal with extra data? It is extremely valuable for me. afro shop düsseldorf

If it"s not too much trouble share more like that. high TF Blog comments

pleasant post, stay aware of this fascinating work. It truly regards realize that this subject is being secured likewise on this site so cheers for setting aside time to talk about this! Domain into IP

Buy backlinks I was searching the blogs for a long time and that is good to know that I have found such blogs here. Great working! Keep it up! visit this site hurry !!! Dofollow Blog Comments

Simply a grinning visitant here to share the affection (:, btw remarkable ladenbau

A debt of gratitude is in order for setting aside an ideal opportunity to examine this, I feel firmly that adoration and read more on this point. In the event that conceivable, for example, pick up learning, would you brain redesigning your web journal with extra data? It is extremely valuable for me. tattoo supplies

A debt of gratitude is in order for setting aside an ideal opportunity to examine this, I feel firmly that adoration and read more on this point. In the event that conceivable, for example, pick up learning, would you brain redesigning your web journal with extra data? It is extremely valuable for me. gold buyer

Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts CoC Hack

A debt of gratitude is in order for the pleasant web journal. It was extremely valuable for me. I'm upbeat I discovered this site. Much obliged to you for offering to us,I too dependably discover some new information from your post. werbemittel duesseldorf

I can see that you are a specialist at your field! I am dispatching a site soon, and your data will be extremely helpful for me.. Much obliged for all your help and wishing all of you the accomplishment in your business.click here for more info

This is an incredible post. I like this topic.This site has heaps of advantage.I discovered numerous fascinating things from this site. It helps me in numerous ways.Thanks for posting this once more. cccam server

niche relevant backlinks Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has importations your hard work and experience you have got in This field. Brilliant reading .I love it. high trust flow backlinks dofollow

Much obliged to you for some other enlightening online journal. Where else might I be able to understand that kind of data written in such a perfect means? I have a mission that I'm a few seconds ago taking a shot at, and I have been at the post for such data. browse this site

Keep doing awesome read few posts on this site and I imagine that your online journal is exceptionally fascinating and has sets of phenomenal data. view

A debt of gratitude is in order for this article extremely supportive. much obliged. vitamins and supplements

I discovered your this post while looking for data about web journal related exploration ... It's a decent post .. continue posting and upgrading dat you can look here

I felt exceptionally glad while perusing this site. This was truly exceptionally enlightening site for me. I truly preferred it. This was truly a sincere post. Much obliged!. nouvalift instant wrinkle reducer

history swallows up everything before it, but in the sense that our compulsion to look forward changes the way decisions are made in the media, in front offices, even on the field.
jeux de minecraft gratuit |
free psn codes generator

I have always found your work interesting and you've made it more interesting with this article submission. I seriously believe you are one of the best writers out there and if you keep this up, you'll be the best of them all. stamped concrete patio massachusetts

I just like the valuable info you provide for your articles.I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more right here regularly. I am reasonably certain I’ll learn a lot of new stuff proper here drain cleaning companies

I just like the valuable info you provide for your articles.I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more right here regularly. I am reasonably certain I’ll learn a lot of new stuff proper here amazon for business

Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you known Boom Beach Cheats

I just found this blog and have high hopes for it to continue. Keep up the great work. its hard to find good ones. I have added to my favorites. Thank You MPT Corporate Events

You have a real ability for writing unique content. I like how you think and the way you represent your views in this article. I agree with your way of thinking full article

You have a real ability for writing unique content. I like how you think and the way you represent your views in this article. I agree with your way of thinking resources

A debt of gratitude is in order for the significant data and bits of knowledge you have so given here... escort in lebanon

If the particular buying method causes disappointment, confusion or perhaps insecurity, the user probably will abandon the shopping cart application, never to go back again http://fakeidboss.net

Your Voice is the app for you if you have ever wished to craft and create successful music on your own. kit tattoo

What we should believed might be best suited, appreciate you'll want to destroy typically the join relating to latest asphalt not to mention latest.beirut escort

It just takes a bit of effort to be able to learn how to make some nice dishes. The more shows you watch and cookbooks you read will definitely help you ed miracle

The schedule keeps changing, and with the rain, we believe it’s been put off even more. So we don’t want to promise you anything.”cost for private detective

This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. מהיתרו ללונדון

This is very interesting content! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your points and have come to the conclusion that you are right about many of them. You are great 0800 call forwarding

I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. private investigators

I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work private investigator Singapore

Good work on this post! I really like the way you delivered your qualitative facts and how you made this fascinating and effortless to realize Private investigation in singapore

Really great post, Thank you for sharing This knowledge.Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up! high trust flow

This is really of enthusiasm to me. I'd love to thank somebody for taking the time to share this post Miami To Key West

I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fab to look at new information in your site http://equalucf.org

I just found this blog and have high hopes for it to continue. Keep up the great work, its hard to find good ones. I have added to my favorites. Thank You. cheat csr racing

I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained about credit monitoring

I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. clash of clans hack tool

We should always be careful of anyone who has dual national loyalty, since loyalty to any country other than our own usually means that the interests of our own country come second, if at all boom beach glitch

Good site! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post has been made trust flow blog comments

I actually spend my little time to read the websites but this blog is quite different from others, this has helped me a lot in my work. Thanks High Domain Authority Backlinks