Monday, August 18, 2008

Lookout! Archetypes Everywhere!

Paul Byrd is 37 years old. Manny Ramirez, 36. Brian Giles, 37. Three ballplayers, each in the, ahem, autumn of his career, and during this year's trading season, three different archetypal responses to the inevitable.

Giles, on a last-place ballclub, vetoed a trade to the pennant contending Sox, citing his wish to remain near to his family in temperate San Diego. Giles' is the bourgeois response; seeking not to improve but to maintain, content with mediocrity, domesticity, and a steady paycheck as an everyday player.

Manny, it has become increasingly clear, is exclusively focused on maximizing his earnings. His is the capitalist denial of death response; just because we end doesn't mean profits have to, get whatever you can while you can because you can. So even though you can't take it with you, accumulation gets you a bigger tombstone.

And then there's Byrd. Remy, talking on Thursday about Byrd's excitement at being dealt to a winner, noted that though winning is always important for a ballplayer, first establishing oneself as a deserving big leaguer, and then getting a long-term contract, are priorities in the early years of a career. But when a player reaches a certain age, Remy waxed, and "those years pile up, and there aren't many left for you," the "more important winning becomes". This is the religious response; in old age, as the years draw to a close, Byrd eschews further personal gain, and discovers meaning and completion in a collective seeking something larger than themselves.

Remy quickly transitioned to discussing underage female Chinese gymnasts.

The cycle of life continues.

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