I’m not sure how many of you watch the Comedy Central show South Park, but on one episode they created a superhero character named Captain Hindsight. As you can imagine, his power was an “uncanny” ability to diagnose what should have been done in a given situation. The masses thanked him profusely, completely disregarding the fact that the hindsight clearly didn’t help them in their current plight.
It’s satire at its finest of course, but it made an excellent point about society in general. We love saying we were right, you were wrong. If you’re not careful you quickly slip into a whole new territory of neutral, a virtual standstill of stutter starts and baby steps that often themselves often lead to failure.
We do it in sports too don’t we? I often hear how terrible the Archer deal was and boy it sure has turned out that way. Watching Glasnow blossom and Meadows continue the path he started, and Hurdle stunted here in Pittsburgh is painful. I won’t even touch Baz but I’m sure in 3 or 4 years we’ll have a new reason to gripe. What I never hear about anymore are the litany of fans that were incredibly pumped to see their Buccos actually try to go get help for now instead of overvaluing their prospects.
It’s fine to have seen the actual results of the move and change your feelings, but it’s intellectually dishonest to pretend you were on this from day one. Surely some were on the button from the time this was announced, and social media provides a record nowadays. Good for them, honestly, good for Neal Huntington that his decisions just harmed his franchise rather than cost human lives.
Today MLB faces one of these decisions that very much so has those dire consequences. Nobody truly knows what constitutes right or wrong as we simply don’t have all the facts, Dr. Fauci himself can give you advice and it will be based on all the best information he has at the time, but he’d also tell you he can’t be 100% percent sure.
Many say, well, better safe than sorry. There is merit to that thinking of course, charging right into the unknown is typically a fool’s errand. At the same time, I could argue many of our greatest accomplishments as a species have profited from a leap of faith.
Now, this is bringing a game back as we start to emerge from a pandemic, not quite the same as storming the beaches of Normandy, nor as necessary. That said, the solvency of a major American business is potentially at stake. I know, I know, they’re all billionaires and will be just fine if a season is missed. Personally, yes, all those owners will not go belly up financially, you don’t become that wealthy by sitting around waiting to be separated from your money. Nor does it tend to happen without having taken a major risk or two.
If indeed the elimination of risk is expected entirely, team sports of any kind are very well and truly dead. No matter what any business decides as we navigate this there will be decisions that turn out to have been mistakes and there will be choices panned as reckless that turn out to be fine examples of success. When you make choices such as those faced my all the Pro Sports leagues, it must be done with the knowledge that not everyone is going to agree with you or your handling of each twist and turn. If you rely on the outraged masses on either side of a given decision the chances of falling prey to paralysis by analysis.
When baseball resumes, whether that be this year or next, the second guess community will be there to tell you your decisions were wrong. Even if baseball figures it out and comes back to action in July as has been proposed and make it through the shortened season without much incident, full battalions of Captain Hindsights will be there to tell you they knew all along it would be ok and you should have never even paused the season. If someone gets sick during week 2, many will remind us all how fervently they supported a longer quarantine time.
For every decision with any magnitude at all there will be room for second guessing, and I’m as guilty as anyone. Sure, I write my opinion so of course I’m going to have to come down on one side or another for given situations, but that doesn’t preclude me from using the benefit of hindsight to grade the decisions of others. For instance, just last week I wrote that Rob Manfred had taken another misstep as the commissioner of MLB by putting forth and ultimately signing an agreement he ultimately wants to renege.
I could lie to you and tell you I always felt it was a stupid decision, but alas, reality is I didn’t think twice about it when the agreement was inked. I saw it as a nice compromise with an eye toward bringing back the game I love.
I believe baseball will get played this year, and as far apart as the two sides seem right now, I feel they’ll get there. Could I be wrong? Of course, I could, I’m basing this on nothing more than my gut and observation of the willingness of wealthy people to stay that way.
The best thing I can really say as we move forward is to remain patient and take a moment to allow the news cycle to evolve before deciding who the winners and losers are. If we assume the worst about people relentlessly, it becomes difficult to expect the best. Time will tell, but rest assured the worst thing that could be done quite possibly is to freeze and stand still.