Though I Know It’s Not Possible, Please Close Your Mouth John Lackey

I knew it would happen. We all did. And I guess I’m glad it happened early enough in the season before I could sort of drift into deluding myself into faking liking the guy because he wears blue pinstripes. So thanks for that. There he was, Mr. Charming himself, screaming at Christian Bethancourt for having the audacity to be pretty impressed with himself for turning a baseball Lackey threw into silly putty as it hurled onto Waveland avenue (and turned into a nice ad for Nuveen).

So here we are again, having the discussion of whether crusty old baseball rules still apply and whether we really have patience for the random arbiters that asshats like Lackey are or whether Bethancourt is the one who is wrong. We already know the answer to that (it’s the mouth breathing hilljack on the mound), but that’s not why you called.

Lackey’s misplaced righteousness is especially wrong on this team at this time. If there’s one reason that people like me love this Cubs team in an irrational way, it’s because they’re not afraid to celebrate the right here and now. As one of Jim Deshaies’s favorite quotes goes, “Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come.” That’s why Joe Maddon lets them, and encourages them, to celebrate every win, even if only for a little bit. It’s fun to win a baseball game. It’s fun to hit a homer that far. It’s fun to drive in two runs with a double in the 7th. And the Cubs revel in all of it. They never pass up the opportunity to acknowledge how much fun they’re having. They don’t know what’s coming next, neither do we, so they enjoy what they have right here and now.

Goddamn, isn’t that something we can apply to our lives? Because mostly, life sucks. It can be hard to enjoy the right now, where you are presently (and seeing as how it’s Thursday morning, you’re probably somewhere you don’t want to be). Something is always off in the distance. But dammit, even if it’s just a good cup of coffee or a really tasty fucking donut, it’s worth enjoying and celebrating.

I doubt Maddon or anyone else is going to try and change who Lackey is, even if it looks more and more stupid as our attitudes change about the Cubs and baseball. Maddon certainly isn’t the type to hang anyone on his team out to dry publicly, so if anything happens it’ll be behind closed doors. And as Lackey, or the collection of roaches that comprise Lackey, are now in their late 30s, he’s not changing his ways anytime soon. So we’ll just live with it.

He’ll be the outlier. The exception that makes us enjoy the rule of this team even more. I guess I can live with that.

As for baseball itself, this is changing, just not at a pace we would like. Those who try and instill the “unwritten rules,” get more and more mocked with each passing year. This isn’t how we enjoy sports anymore. And mostly we’ve come to realize it’s a bunch of crotchety white dudes who complain about this crap, and we as a society are doing our best to move away from what crotchety white dudes like (though a large portion are still kicking and screaming about it and thus nomination an illiterate, rejected Muppet for president). Maybe not in policy, or certainly have a long way to go with that, but certainly in our entertainment. Hip hop is king, Beyonce the ruler, we point out in movies and TVs when things are too whitewashed. And though those things are still changing too slowly, at least we’ve gotten to the point where we call it out. Progress is slow but it is constant.

Fuck, would the Warriors and Steph Curry be so much fun to watch if we didn’t see how much they’re enjoying simply stuffing a foot in the world’s ass every night? We would not.

And eventually, it’ll steamroll people like Lackey. And we’ll all be better off for it.

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