Blindingly Awful

This is going to be tough to write, what with the blood and all. The pain too, so intense and unrelenting, it’s not easy to string together cohesive thoughts through it. Not to mention I’m still getting acclimated to my new monocular vision. Typing is iffy, at best.

Still, the ER is jamming and the hospital beams public wifi so I may as well write about the article so bad my left eye exploded while reading it.

Ponder this headline while I grab a new towel for my face, this one has completely soaked through.

Pujols’ struggles will disappear in sweat

…..

….

Back. How awesome is that headline? If it didn’t clue you in that this is going to be one of those poetic sport journalism pieces, well, it is. The problem with poetic sports journalism, of course, is not simply the overwrought prose, it’s that authors of poetic crap refuse to call spade-spades and instead make up new ways to describe home-runs, touchdowns, strike-outs and other sports terms that may be somewhat boring to use over and over again but are in fact actual names of actual things that occur in sports. It’d be as if a White House correspondent tried to describe walking up to the podium in flowery prose every time. He hit a home-run. Just say it.

LOS ANGELES – Fifteen pitches into his night, on a sinker that had come in unreasonably high and inside, Albert Pujols buried the baseball into the second row of the bleachers, over the lowest fence in left field, to the shortest distance from home plate to home run at Dodger Stadium.

What’s the sign for an unreasonably high slider? If they get crossed up does the pitcher mistakenly huck a reasonably high slider in to his unprepared catcher?

See how clever the word play is? High, inside, over, lowest, shortest. Clever though it may be it’s tortured like an Abu Ghraib prisoner chatting with a guard about his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, and how he hasn’t seen or heard much about the Cubs, what with all the jihad, and the guard tells him all about Steve Bartmen and Prior and Wood and Lou and how Carlos Lee seems to be hurt all the time and how Mark Grace was gay and at that point the prisoner freaks out and rips all his clothes off.

Into, over, to…The construction works, think “Into the forest, over the bridge, to Grandma’s house we go” but how does “Into the forest, over the bridge, to the place farthest from our mother to us at Grandma’s house” work for you? Yeah, me neither.

And for those who learned chronological order in second grade you may be asking how the first row is farther from home plate than the second. I’ll tell you: Those fans got gypped.

Once convinced of the outcome, he lowered his head and plunged into his heavy-legged trot, returned and dabbed at the plate, pointed to the sky and clapped his gloved hands.

That’s a verb party right there. Look out nouns verbs are getting down. I bet Albert used to be bullied on account of his heavy-legs. “Albey, Albey, legs like an Oak tree!”

Two weeks into the season, he’d hit his second home run, bagged his seventh RBI, bumped up his batting average to .235.

Small sample size. How about a career comparison? Is this an unprecedented slow start? Does Pujols usually come out the spring gates mashing? Those stats would be good things to insert right here.

When he arrived in the dugout, he showed teammate Lance Berkman the swing that did it at the end of a nine-pitch at-bat against Hiroki Kuroda, pantomiming the bat skipping over the strike zone, his fists close to his chest, his eyes following the ball’s flight.

“Good grief, man,” Berkman half-shouted. “That was a great swing, an unbelievable pitch to hit out.”

Up and in, 92 mph, almost nobody puts that pitch – “A Hall of Fame pitch,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa called it – into fair territory. And almost nobody minimizes the top spin so that it carries that far.

“Not many,” Berkman said. “There’s a couple. Robinson Cano keeps that ball fair. That might be it.”

I guess this is an interesting anecdote. I guess. Still, “almost nobody hits that pitch” has no factual basis whatsoever. Those three paragraphs could have been better spent explaining, with actual facts, why Pujols’ two week slow start is issue enough to devote my reading attention to.

It’s the split-second genius of Pujols, borne of a single-minded journey, a devotion to the process, and a grudging willingness to live with the result. Not always happily, of course. He suffers fools and distractions with the same low-browed, dark-eyed stare, and having begun his contract year in what counts for him as a slump, there’d be plenty of both.

This is where it happened. My left-eye blew up. I felt some pressure behind it, closer to the center of head really, and what came first the pain or the bursting of my eyeball we’ll never know, but it went. Kershhloop. That’s the sound it made.

It’s the split-second genius of Pujols

I’ll give this a pass if only because ‘genius’ is frequently used by soccer fans to describe a great play. I’m not happy about it though.

borne of a single-minded journey

You’re sure his split-second genius is the product of a single-minded journey and not, say, awesome athleticism?

a devotion to the process

He swung and hit a pitch. What process are you talking about? What does this have to do with the origins of his split-second genius? What the hell is split-second genius? ??!?!#

and a grudging willingness to live with the result. Not always happily, of course.

Not only does this have nothing to do with his split-second genius but every baseball player lives with results because there are no other options. Also, ‘grudging’ means reluctant, which implies he’s never happy with the results but is willing to live with them.

He suffers fools and distractions with the same low-browed, dark-eyed stare, and having begun his contract year in what counts for him as a slump, there’d be plenty of both.

Kershhloop. There went the eye. I can’t risk my right-eye breaking this steamy pile of crap paragraph down anymore so I’m moving on. Reread it, ponder it, take it to open mic night and read it slowly over a bongo beat, but do so at your own risk. I’m not touching it.

Concepts introduced before this paragraph: Pujols slumping, Pujols possessing a hitting ability unlikely almost nobody, save for Robinson Cano.

Concepts introduced in this paragraph: Puljos woking hard, Pujols’ devotion to process, Pujols having a poker face when faced with fools and distractions, Pujols currently surrounded by many fools and distractions, these fools and distractions are related to his contract year.

All these have been introduced, none have been explained/explored/related/justified. None. I explained this to the 911 operator and she said, just be patient, they’re coming. And I perked up and said “Really, you read this article?” and she said, “No, the paramedics. They’re on the way.”

Spring training opened without a contract extension for Pujols, by consensus the best hitter in baseball, who perhaps had outgrown the middle-market Cardinals. And the season opened with Pujols 100 points below his career batting average, delivering four hits in 19 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and having acquired an unusual affinity for double-play grounders.

Affinity means ‘like’, Tim. Is that what you meant to say, that Pujols has learned to like grounding into double plays? If so, that’s insane.

All temporary inconveniences, to be sure, but it is news when Albert Pujols does not hit – for a day, for a series, for two weeks. This is the product of 10 years of split-second genius, piled end to end, forming the image of Pujols – knees bent, quads engaged, hands at the shoulder, head slightly tilted and stock still. There is no beating Pujols, not for very long anyway, and on a night he otherwise grounded to shortstop twice, grounded to the pitcher once, popped to right-center field and left a runner at third base with less than two out, a moment arrives that for its brilliance could only be Pujols’.

Wait, so nothing you wrote up there mattered? I gave you my left eye for you to say Pujols is in a temporary slump that won’t last long?!!!

“It’s nature,” Berkman said. “Hitting is as much an athletic skill as speed and arm strength. You can’t teach somebody to hit. You can’t make a great hitter.”

No, Lance, hitting is a product of a single-minded journey, a devotion to the process, and a grudging willingness to live with the result. Duh, everyone knows that.

As of lunch time Thursday in Pasadena, where Pujols awoke after a late flight from Phoenix the night before and dined with long-time agent Dan Lozano, 73 regular position players possessed a lower batting average than he did.

Dozens had driven in fewer runs, scored fewer runs, batted worse with men on base.

Not many, however, carried it all so ferociously. He is obsessed by routine. By mid-afternoon, with the clubhouse television locked on a mid-game no-hit attempt by Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann, Pujols is sitting on a folding chair away from everyone. He’s pulled the chair to a red trunk, placed a laptop computer atop the trunk, and with his left hand is toggling through recent at-bats.

Nothing you described sounds ferocious, it sounds like a professional baseball player being a professional. Also, how do you know no one else gives a fuck about their slow season start?

“It’s all about the process,” La Russa said. “He’s relentless. He’s never going to stop.”

Except for when he dines with long-time agent Dan Lozano. Has to stop for that, of course.

Tim told us nothing in this article except Pujols will start hitting again because he is really good at baseball.

This is digital sports journalism in a jar with my largest found chunk of formaldehyde supported left eyeball. Fast deadline, requirement to churn out tons of content (Tim Brown just wrote 17 articles, BTW) and therefore no research whatsoever. Just plop it down as it comes.

Let’s rehash the concepts introduced: Pujols slumping, Pujols possessing a hitting ability unlikely almost nobody, Puljos woking hard, Pujols’ devotion to process, Pujols having a poker face when faced with fools and distractions, Pujols currently surrounded by many fools and distractions, these fools and distractions are related to his contract year.

Let’s rehash the evidence backing up those concepts:

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