It’s not that dissimilar to real life.
It’s the family member you once thought of fondly before realizing they were a grifter who just didn’t offer anything beneficial to anyone else. You encouraged them to reconsider their path. You spoke about it with other family members. You were still for some reason sympathetic toward them but you just didn’t want them around anymore. Even at significant family events like weddings and funerals you hoped they wouldn’t show up. They posed no threat to anyone; you just simply couldn’t deal with them anymore.
Or perhaps it’s that friend you grew up with and have fond memories of but whose actions continued to become more and more unjustifiable as you got older. You’d mention to them how uncomfortable they made other people. You’d start being more and more selective in terms of which other friends you’d invite them to hang out with. You didn’t want to abandon a lifetime of pleasant memories. Inevitably you just stopped talking to them unless they reached out to you.
The comparison I’m making here is of course to Orioles ex-slugger Chris Davis. That’s ex-slugger, not ex-Oriole. You misreading that right now was an example of what we’d call “wishful thinking.”
I loathe the idea of writing another Chris Davis column in 2020. I loathe the idea of the next one I’ll inevitably have to write. I loathe discussing the topic on Glenn Clark Radio. I loathe discussions with friends and family members about Chris Davis. I loathe tweeting about Chris Davis. I would rather listen to every conservative male pundit on the internet read the lyrics to “WAP” than spend any more time talking about Chris Davis.
We all know the basics. First, Chris Davis is a terrible baseball player who was once pretty good. We still have some fond memories of the time when Davis was a pretty good baseball player. He’s a highly compensated baseball player to boot, making him a far less sympathetic figure as he’s become such a terrible baseball player. We don’t want to hate Chris Davis because we still have some pleasant memories and because he largely seems like a decent person.
Second, the Orioles have been expected to be terrible for the last couple of seasons, making it easier to stomach the notion of the team holding on to Davis because it doesn’t want to pay such a massive amount of money to someone it doesn’t employ. While watching Davis might still be painful, it’s far less infuriating when so little is expected. So what if one player is particularly bad? The majority of them are! It’s all part of a bigger plan.
Third, the 2020 Orioles are … not nearly as terrible as we expected them to be. Everything is bizarre, and if this were a real 162-game baseball season, we’d have to relentlessly remind everyone that even 21 games is a staggeringly small sample size. But they’re simply not that terrible. And hoo boy, has that completely freshened the Chris Davis wound.
But we still don’t really want to talk about it.
The takes are so obvious they’re hardly worth offering. Should the team cut ties with Davis? Yeah. Sure. Of course. While I wouldn’t be in favor of the team trading away prospects to acquire players at the deadline this year because I don’t think anything about this season is worth messing with “the plan,” this just doesn’t compare. It both improves the baseball team and does nothing at all to impact “the plan.” It potentially opens a spot in the lineup for an upcoming prospect like Ryan Mountcastle.
And should Davis be willing to simply step away from his money and retire altogether? It would certainly be nice. It would go a long way to him ever being able to have a pleasant relationship with the city down the road. But he, of course, has every right to collect every single penny left on his deal and has shown no inclination to walk away at any point (in fact he’s argued openly against it). What reason is there to think it’s going to change now?
In the meantime, there’s absolutely no way to justify allowing him to pinch hit in the ninth inning of a one-run game when you think so little of him you literally allowed an unaccomplished major-league player to insanely attempt to steal home with two outs and him at the plate Aug. 11.
This is why we simply end up quietly excommunicating that family member. This is why we just fall out of touch with that childhood friend.
We don’t want to talk about this. We just want to enjoy the pleasant distraction that baseball has been for the last few weeks. We’re desperate for this to just go away.
But we’re almost certainly going to have to keep dealing with it while just trying to pretend like it isn’t happening.
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox