29 July 2009

The Forest

You can't see the forest for the trees, they say, when the details become everything and the whole is ignored. But take this cliche further, all the way down to the roots, to where the forest and the trees are imagined as real. You can observe the forest from a distance, see it on the horizon, a jagged ribbon of dark green. That is the forest, observed whole, as if under glass. To be in the forest is something else entirely. Then you can't see the forest, not because you are focused on the trees, but because you are inside of it. The forest is happening all around you. There is no sky, no direction. Distances close in. The light is diffuse, scattered, entering at strange angles, as if from a thousand tiny suns. To be lost is one's natural state in a forest. It takes effort to remember north, to measure the miles, to trace one's steps back to the pathways of the world.

In my pursuit of the Dodgers I have entered the forest. I have lost perspective. What is Billingsley? What kind of pitcher is he, really? I can't answer this question. I cannot see far enough. I cannot even begin. I cannot stand and face north. I cannot orient myself. Five innings of brilliance, and then an inning of disaster. Even in one start he contradicts, confuses. The wind blows, swaying the branches, shifting and confusing the light ahead. Was it the rain? Was he tired? Was there a moment when a ground ball was hit that might have ended an inning with a double play, but it went up the middle instead? I do not know. Six walks. Six runs. Not even six innings. Can I remember a time when Billingsley was a great pitcher? Can I? It happened, yeah? It was happening? Maybe it still is, except for a bobble, a detour, something, some reassuring metaphor for a man lost who can be found again? But none of that seems real in the forest. This is a different world.

I have heard that cheering is not allowed in the press box. I wonder, too, if there should be no cheering in the General Manager's box. To cheer is to lose one's perspective, to immerse oneself in the game, forget the sterile rules of observation, plunge into joy or despair. Why in the name of reason should the actions of these men on the field compel emotion? If you were to evaluate Chad Billingsley, decide if he were to be traded or not, would you let passion guide your choice? Anger, or disappointment? I do not think Billingsley will be traded. Even the rumors have produced barely a whisper of his name. But I wonder if minds were mind up about what Billingsley is, based on this game. Or were they made up long ago? I don't know. I cannot, cannot even speculate on what is in Ned Colletti's mind. I just hope his perspective is clear. I hope he sees it all, the forest, and the trees. And those around him, too.

I am still lost, still imprisoned by the quiet green and dark of the forest. Where is the offense? Where are the runs driven in? Where is the hit that inspires? Where is the home run? Are they pressing? Which perspective do I call correct? Is there some deeper sickness, some flaw running up through the earth, and only now exposed after 100 games? Too many questions. If there are no answers, why do I ask? When you are lost, it is useless to ask why you are lost. To fret over the unknowns is to indulge in despair. Patience is a compass that gives direction to the lost. That's all I know.

Game 100 Unfair Loss Shares ( Dodgers )

Billingsley -- 2
Blake -- 1

Game 100 Unfair Win Shares ( Cardinals )

Wainwright -- 2
Ludwick -- 1

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