(09 May 2018) – History is something that goes on while we’re looking at something else. It happened again last night. I settled onto the couch and turned on the Blue Jays game. Seattle’s in town for a three game series and the Jays need to pick themselves up. They’ve cooled down since April turned to May.
Marcus Stroman was pitching. He’s been having trouble all season, or what we’ve seen of it so far. He said this morning that something’s off. He lasted five innings last night, which was two more than I did. In the third inning, he walked the first batter. That seldom turns out well, and it didn’t this time. The Mariners quickly went up 2 – 0 and the Jays didn’t do anything in the home half.
Here we go, I thought, and there I went. I switched over to Crave TV where I’ve been watching a cliché-ridden cop show. While I was looking at Harry Bosch behave like an arsehole, James Paxton made history in the ball park. It’s no wonder the Jays didn’t do anything in the bottom of the third inning. They didn’t do anything in any of the other eight either. When Josh Donaldson grounded out to third to end the game, Paxton became the second Canadian-born player to pitch a no-hitter in the major leagues, and the first to do it in Canada. All while I was looking away.
A no-hitter epitomizes everything that makes baseball an intellectually satisfying sport. Paxton will always be remembered as the guy who did it, but nothing would have happened without some remarkable defensive plays behind him. Baseball shows, better than any other game, how individual accomplishments are impossible without the support and contributions of a community.
If Kyle Seager hadn’t fielded Donaldson’s ground ball, if Ryon Healy hadn’t caught Seager’s throw to first base, Paxton would not have succeeded the way he did. That’s the way it is outside the ball park as well. For every successful person you see, there is a community in the background. School teachers, nurses, fire fighters, city workers, construction workers, tax collectors. All these and more contribute to every individual’s achievement.
It’s worth remembering this as we move towards two elections this year. There are candidates looking for your vote who dwell on how much community costs, rather than how much it brings. Take Doug Ford, for one. He thinks everyone suffers from the same problem: too much tax. Instead of raising the minimum wage for the working poor, he proposes cutting their taxes and support services.
If Doug Ford were the commissioner of baseball, he would implement efficiencies to reduce the player roster. If he were managing the Seattle Mariners, he would accomplish this by trimming the number of on-field players to 8. You don’t need four infielders. Short stop can cover third base. A 10 per cent layoff of front line workers would let Donaldson’s ground ball slip through to the outfield. Paxton’s achievement would not have happened.
While I looked away, a community worked together and made an individual stand tall.