Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Flexibility Versus Predictabiliy"

I don’t know. *

(* I can pretty much start every blog post I write in that fashion.  It’s not a pose.  I really don’t know a sadly astonishing number of things.  Including, with any degree of certainty, the following.)

In an effort the mine miniscule statistically-grounded advantages the current fashion in baseball is to require ballplayers to be more flexible in their responsibilities than ever before in the National Pastime’s long and tradition-bound history.

This is baseball, a game known for hewing to longstanding procedure, where, if, for example, you found another ballplayer occupying “Your spot” on the bench, you could shoot them and nobody would call the police.

“He was sitting in my spot.”

“Well okay then.  The man was playing with fire.”

That’s only a minor exaggeration.  Ballplayers – and likely players in all sports – cling to their habitual behaviors – including, it’s been reported, their underwear; I mean, you’re on a personal hot or team winning-streak, you leave them on till they totally shred.  (Or the “ju-ju” demonstrably wears off.)

Now, however – and this won’t be entirely about baseball, as, to a degree, we all, I believe, have deeply entrenched habits – stop here a moment and imagine some of your own, including “Oh, no, not me.”  Reflecting a deeply entrenched habit of denial.   

Today, the emerging sabermetrical “Whiz Kids” of baseball require fielders to play numerous positions from game to game rather than one, hitters to be prepared to bat in different slots in the batting order, and infielders to occupy unfamiliar locations, playing the “shift.” 

These “rules”-busting innovators also require – especially in the “post-season” – pitchers to take the mound after fewer days of rest than they have been regularly conditioned to, and – with the relief pitchers – to pitch longer and be brought into the game earlier than they once unwaveringly anticipated.

“Everyone comes to the ballpark, knowing exactly what role we’re expected to play”?


THE TEAM “CLOSER“:  “I used to only come in in the ninth when we were protecting a lead and there is nobody on base.  Now I don’t know when I come in.  Well I do.  I come in whenever they tell me to.  And I really don’t mind that.  Even though I have never done it before in my entire career.”


In a game steeped in formerly rigorous routine, how is this suddenly okay?

I know it is definitely not okay for me.

(Here’s where I “universalize” this chronicled exercise, using myself as a “Guinea Pig” example.)

And by the way, I imagine some ballplayers are fine with this strategic upheaval.  Though the game’s “Big Names” are likely left to their comfortable regimens, even there, there are individual preferential differences.  Confirming my tried-and-true dictum, “Some does, and some duzzn’t.”  For me personally in this regard,

I duzzn’t.

A Recent Case History:

We went to Disneyland during “Spring Break.”  (My medal for “Grace Under Stupidity” is currently in the mail.)  We stayed at the aforementioned “Disneyland Replica Hotel”, where everything was a duplicate of something actually real, a motif extended into the theme park itself.  We had ice cream that tasted close but not quite like actual ice cream.

One advertised advantage to hoteling on the Disneyland premises is that, for an hour after seven in the morning, registered guests get a head start on access to all the rides, the gates not opening to “Day Visitors” until eight.

What that meant was, we had to get up at six, go downstairs and line up – there were, amazingly, already hundreds of people ahead of us – for our seven o’clock “Advance Entry” into the park.

Which we did, enjoying – if you exclude the incipient nausea – five rides before the “Gates Opening” waits for them became agonizingly prohibitive. 

The thing is,

I always eat breakfast at seven.  Or very close to thereabouts.

And at “very close to thereabouts” that day, I was a captive visitor to the hurtling Cars ride, screaming, “I want to get off!”

At least most of me was.  Another part of me, wired to “Nutritional Expectations”, was whining,

“What happened to breakfast?

In our exuberance – or at least the exuberance of the younger members of our party – we took full advantage of the “Early Start”, enjoying – for noteworthy exceptions, See:  Above, or yesterday’s post – five rides before – some time after ten – we found a place open, offering something to eat. 

It was not a restaurant; it was a theme-painted “Convenience Store.”  And the best available dining alternative was



Not only had I missed my habitual “Eating Time” by more than three hours,

I was having pretzels for breakfast.

For the sake of propriety, I shall eschew the alimentary consequences of this “flexible” behavior.  Suffice it to say…

There were some.

And they endured for some time.

Perhaps the thing about flexibility is,

It is a good idea to be flexible about everything.

Including flexibility itself.

Sometimes it’s more advisable to follow your regular routine.

With an unsubtle emphasis on “Regular.”

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