One of the most common things seen on twitter this post-season is many of the chattering class — myself included — poking fun at The Narrative – the pre-determined storylines which often dominate games in real time.

Without putting words in the mouth of anyone else, I know this infuriates me because it often glosses over what is actually happening on the field. The carefully researched storylines trump the real swings in the game and the real reason for watching in the first place: the game.

Baseball is a game told in long-form story. The long season meant to separate wheat from chaff before a helter skelter post-season rewards drama and chance. The hows and whys are important, both in a 162 game grind and afterwards.

It is the window dressing I can do without. Focussing on Alex Rodriguez’s post-season struggles while glossing over less-convenient stories like “proven playoff performers” falling just as flat. Spilling gallons of virtual ink on the Toronto origins and sober bromance of Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter instead of an incredible matchup of two of the game’s best pitchers. The promise of an incredibly taut and well-pitched game (sorely lacking from this post-season) interests me more than standard definition clips of skinny hurlers on painted green concrete.

Let the game tell the story. Let what matters overtake what seemed likely when it comes time to describe the action. The games are exciting, by and large. The stories feel well-worn and overwrought. The pre-determined stories too often live larger than the actions on the field. A-Rod’s failings are due to A-Rod’s inability to do whatever it is he was supposed to do in that moment, not the quality of the pitches thrown his way.

Take it all in. There are two teams in every game and a million individual interactions which contribute to the fabric of the game, series, season and career. Using our new-found statistical enlightenment shines bright lights into the previously-misunderstood forces at play in the game. With these wide-open eyes we can make up our own minds and celebrate that which we appreciate that most – those that

The tide is turning but it takes time. The more strident voices of the snarky online classes are the growing pains of an industry and business that has made great strides in a very short period of time. Don’t let the widening gulf between what you value and what is presented for your enjoyment detract from the true entertainment this week – exciting playoff baseball between great teams. Watch in beautiful HD and share inside jokes with people you’re yet to meet on Twitter. It is a beautiful time to be a baseball fan.

Enjoy it for what is still is – the best [GETTING BLANKED} game around played at its peak.

Comments (14)

  1. A rough quote about Capenter/Halladay from an american sports network:
    “They both struggled in Toronto system before going on to become Cy Young winners”
    -then a clip is showed of Carpenter winning his twentieth with cardinals
    -halladay throwing his perfect game with phillies
    Craftily made it seem like they both found themselves with their current teams.

    Parkes’ piece on Don Kelly made me feel the same way, but instead of narratives and predetermined story lines it was saber-metrics and predetermined performance attempting to alter my anticipation of the game.

  2. but switch those paragraphs around cause they have nothing to do with each other.

  3. THANK YOU. Living in Windsor and not being a Tigers fan right now SUCKS. The ‘narrative’ drives me crazy, so much so that I actually found myself wanting the Yankees to win last night. I’m not proud of it and I’m not sure I can ever shake it. Now I would love to see a Rangers Phillies WS. Mostly narrative-free!

  4. Each column should be accompanied by a picture of the author so n00bs like me don’t screw it up on Twitter… *hides under rock*

  5. I keep telling people I want a Brewers – Rangers WS and people keep saying “What about Halladay!”

    Honestly, I am over it. I was rooting for him last year and was still nostalgiac. Now, one more year removed, he is just another player (albeit a legendary one) on another team. Don’t get me wrong, I love Halladay for the player and person he is, I just don’t have those Jays strings attached to him anymore.

    I think the Brewers – Rangers match up well. Similar level of pitching talent and both teams mash the ball. Sign me up.

  6. Not everyone is as big a baseball fan as you (or the rest of us here). “Narratives” as you call them help draw in casual fans. No need to get all high and mighty about what a superior fan you are.

    • I don’t know that I agree. The mythical “casual fans” aren’t drawn in by “AROD ISN”T CLUTCH” or “Carp and Halladay are friends!” They’re drawn in my compelling teams and familiar names.

      • I think casual fans are definitely drawn in by anything about ARod (or Jeter for that matter or the kid in Texas throwing out the first pitch, etc.). Think about wives and girlfriends, for example.

        You seem to take exception to my use of the phrase “casual fans”, as if it’s a cliche that’s used but doesn’t exist. Casual fans are not mythical and do exist. They’re the ones who take attendance from 20,000 to sell out for winning teams.

  7. I agree with the article and it’s a great read. But that third last paragraph’s ending really tripped me up.

    With these wide-open eyes we can make up our own minds and celebrate that which we appreciate that most – those that**

    ** Should be something more here?

  8. Ya he does seem a bit snarky…i think thats my problem with uber baseball fans compared to most other sports fans, its there way to enjoy the game or nothing, which in turn, turns the “casual fan” off. So what if I like a human element to my viewing pleasure, and so what if i dont know the difference between a FIP and a WHIP. Does that mean im a mouth breather, or does it mean that I enjoy the game but maybe not to the same degree others do. So yes to the casual fan, maybe they dont realize that Carpenter and Halladay broke in with the same team, and its a new and interesting tidbit for them to enjoy while watching. Maybe that even keeps them watching a bit longer instead of jumping over to desperate housewives or something. Maybe people should just accept that there is a wide variety of baseball fans out there, some love the stats, some love the hustle, some love both, and some love a nice heart string pulling human element to the game. Most importantly who cares why they watch, as long as when they do, there enjoying themselves.

    • It makes you a mouth breather :) I love this blog and Drunk Jays Fans, but at times the writers come off lime they think they’re better than everyone.

      • If you guys are mouth breathers, I’m an original neanderthal. I just think he could’ve summed up his “narrative” on the “narrative” in one sentence: The announcers are full of crap.
        But then, arent they all?

  9. I think sometimes the narrative can lead to one of a kind special moments (ie. JMac’s Fathers Day HR). It’s the broadcasters constantly trying to shove it down our throats that needs to stop. If there is an interesting story connected to the game, tell us once. Don’t waste every moment talking about it.

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