Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ashes to Dumbness

So here's a lovely story in the NY Times over the preparations in place for the upcoming 3,000th hit of Derek Jeter's career. And I know that you don't care, and should not care, and yet... they are going to be scooping up the dirt from the field, and selling it.

No, seriously.

Now, I get, on some level, the desire for artifacts. It's hard-wired into humanity, and it's not even all that new. The origins of modern tourism are based in religious pilgrimages, which were the only defensible reason to leave your hometown back in the day. There's a lovely bit in the Sarah Vowell book "Assassination Vacation", which I started reading on a plane the other day, of how a ruinous king of Spain was forced to share the bed with the rotting corpse of Saint Francis in the misguided hope that close proximity to the recently deified would have to revive the dying king. (There's something really wonderful, I think, over the idea of a pampered king being made to bunk with a corpse. But I digress.)

But, um... Derek Jeter isn't the baseball equivalent of a saint. Those people back then didn't have television, or the Internet, or the data that told them that any number of diseases could be better treated by cleanliness ad diet, rather than prayer, leeches and praying with leeches. There is no baseball equivalent of a saint, if only because saints do not come with OPS ratings, and defensive statistics that look awful on their face.

And even if he were... y'all do realize that you are buying dirt here, don't you? Dirt? The stuff that sane people spend their time trying to get out of their lives and houses, rather than seal up and imbue with Significance?

But on some level, I'm deeply thankful for this, if only because it's the ultimate counter for when Yankee Fan talks about how knowledgeable they are, at least in comparison with the people who root for other laundry. Yankee Fan, you buy dirt. You put your hard-earned money in the hands of people who will scoop up dirt, then ladle it out like it were a precious metal, rather than, say, dirt. The emperor has no clothes, the shortstop is a .260 hitter with no power or range, you pay to watch baseball in the most expensive stadium ever, your team isn't as good as you think it is, and some of you are paying for the dirt beneath The Holy Jeet's cleats. So knock it off with the smarter than thou and more cynical / jaded / urbane than thou routine.

You buy dirt. Own it.

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