Welcome to the MLB Star Power Index — a weekly undertaking that determines with awful authority which players are dominating the current zeitgeist of the sport, at least according to the narrow perceptions of this miserable scribe. While one’s presence on this list is often celebratory in nature, it can also be for purposes of lamentation or ridicule. The players listed are in no particular order, just like the phone book. To this week’s honorees …
Achtung: Cardinals rookie Nolan Gorman skipped church on Sunday. Here’s how we know:
And now a color-television sampling:
That, people, is a ringing double in lieu of a ringing cathedral bell.
St. Louis on Sunday applied to the Pirates every punishment found in the book of Leviticus, and over the course of the ritual beating Gorman tallied three hits, four total bases, three runs scored, and zero sermons passively absorbed. While Gorman took care of the baseball side of things, the schedule provided the means for church avoidance.
You see, Peacock, which is the over-the-top streaming network that will inspire Americans to take the cords they have cut and solder them back together, airs This, Our Baseball at 11:30 a.m. ET on Sundays, when everyone who’s not playing in their broadcast game is either at church, asleep, or asleep in church.
The Cotton and Increase Mathers among us might see this as a grave affront – i.e., Nolan Gorman’s skipping church – but no one likes a Puritan minister, least of all the Puritan minister himself. Besides, Gorman is young, and church of any creed is not for the young.
Why do so many holy texts have maps in the appendices? This is not in the service of advancing hermeneutics and gnosis. Rather, the maps are there so scamps attending services under duress can retrieve a pencil intended for use on tithe envelopes and draw ass-kicking battle scenes. How else can a burdened youth tolerate 35 minutes of thundering from the pulpit and another 40 of death-affirming hymns sung in every key at once? Yes, once a driver’s license is in play the afflicted can feign attendance by smoking cigs while idling the used Buick coupe (the one on which the driver’s-side door won’t open) in a cul-de-sac, showing up in time for the last verse of the recessional hymn, and then pretending to have been in the balcony the entire time. However, such weekly artifice can be exhausting. Much better to have gainful employment as an excuse, as Nolan Gorman does.
“You may not do this,” Cotton Mather would say to him in the on-deck circle. “This is darkest iniquity.”
“Get thee behind me,” Nolan Gorman replies. “Now observe the baseball hat and the baseball itself. Do they not resemble the cupola atop the Sacré-Cœur?”
“Yes, but what is your point.”
“My point is that baseball is church. Now it’s time to smoke some Sabbath ribbies.”
“I am unconsoled,” says Cotton Mather.
“Here,” says Nolan Gorman. “Console yourself with one of my rookie cards.”
He hands Cotton Mather this:
Coors Field, home of the weirdest team in baseball, has struck an uneasy armistice with the natural world. Nature wants to reclaim what once belonged to it, which is all that Gaia surveys. One day it shall, but Coors Field has ensured it shall survive longer than most human-forged spaces by ceding territory to the natural world beyond the outfield fences and thereby appeasing the Ents who are marshaling forces just beyond the ridge line. This brings us to Mets reliever Joely Rodríguez, who is MLB’s Decision Maker of the Week. Please regard:
Fernando Rodney first taught us that it’s possible to commune with nature in the distant reaches of Coors Field. Rodney opted for leisured ambling; Monsieur Rodríguez, however, has upgraded himself from sitting in the bullpen to sitting among the quaking aspens, cottonwoods, and Douglas firs. We can not verify, but we are compelled to assume the campfire is crackling, and the long pulls from an Old Milwaukee tall boy housed in a koozie that reads, “Josh’s Bachelor Party” are as replenishing as any afternoon nap in hotel air conditioning.
Sure, he’ll pitch if called upon — especially if Pete Coors and his trekking poles show up answering questions that no one is asking — but preferably Joely Rodríguez and the Chinook winds that herald him won’t be summoned to the mound until the trout stop biting.
Better set up the tent before the sun goes down, he reckons. Ah, Charlie Blackmon’s out here, too.
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