Wednesday, April 20, 2016

There's no nap time in baseball

I'm a stay at home dad. Part of the daily routine for me and my young daughter is to sit down and set my fantasy line-up for the day. It's a low-pressure pool with some friends and family. We do it every year. I always run it, and I never win.

So we sit down in the early afternoon, just after she's had lunch, and we make our choices. Today, I first head over to the probable starters list for the week. Sensing an opportunity, I decide to run a little experiment.

I hoist the little one onto my lap, hit the probables for Wednesday and point to the screen. "Pick a winner!" I say. She points to Dickey. She's 18 months old. She really ought to know better. 

I distract her, scroll around a bit and then have her pick again. And again she points to Dickey. For fuck's sake, kid. I said pick a 'winner.'  He does have long hair. Maybe she's mistaking him for Noah Syndergaard? 

Worry begins to gnaw at the edge of my brain.

I need more evidence. I scroll and see The A's Kendall Graveman against the Yanks and Nathan Eovaldi. This one will test both her baseball acumen and her fandom as Graveman has better numbers, and also because: fuck the Yankees, right? 

Dammit. She picked Eovaldi.

I'm starting to feel ill. This isn't looking good. The mental framework in which I exist as a good father in my own mind is beginning to falter. 

Marvel at my charting skills
In search of one more data point, I try again. 

Thursday holds the match-up of Kershaw v. Someone From Atlanta. This is a proper test. I haul her back up on my lap (she had run off to chase the cat.)

I guide her to the screen and she selects... the white gap between the photos. A draw? No, her coordination sucks, and only the All Star game has ties.

I try again. She slams the screen shut. An indication that this one is maddeningly simple? No, she does this all the time. It drives me nuts. I try again. She slams her finger into the screen. Squarely atop Someone From Atlanta.


Sure, The Braves beat the Dodgers the other night, but who ever bets on not-Kershaw?

Thoughts of my daughter growing up to know nothing of baseball, or interfering with fair balls when a date takes her to a game, or thinking baseball is boring and slow run amok in my head.

These thoughts weighing heavily upon me, I put her down for a nap and begin to ponder my failures.

Empty ceiling space above her crib WOULD have been a great place for some posters explaining advanced stats, defensive shifts, and pitching metrics. This past off-season WOULD have been a great time to teach her about prospects and 40-man rosters. Spring training WOULD have been a perfect chance to get her into the groove ahead of opening day.

Following her nap I make one more stab.

I make up an image featuring the logos of each team in the AL East and I ask her to choose. I'm almost afraid to look.

She stares at the screen, takes a moment to mimic the dog barking across the street, plays peekaboo with the couch.

She tentatively reaches out a finger. Indecision. Then a smile, her eyes lighting up—a choice has been made. She stabs at the screen.


The Orioles.

Defeated, I sit her down and begin to weep.
Daddies, don't let your babies grow up to be shitbirds.