Last month, after the Twins lost a tough series in Texas, against what was then one of the worst teams in baseball, I posted the following Taoist parable about the difficulty of understanding just what is "good" or "bad" about any given outcome:
A man who lived on northern frontier of China was skilled at interpreting events. One day, for no reason, his horse ran away to the nomads across the border. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said: "What makes you so sure this isn't a blessing?"
Some months later his horse returned, bringing a splendid nomad stallion in tow. Everyone congratulated him, but his father said: "What makes you so sure this isn't a disaster?"
Their household was richer by a fine horse, which the son loved to ride. One day he fell and broke his hip. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said: "What makes you so sure this isn't a blessing?"
A year later the nomads came in force across the border, and every able-bodied man took his bow and went into battle. The Chinese frontiersmen lost nine of every ten who fought. Only because the son was lame did the father and son survive to take care of each other.
Truly, blessing turns to disaster, and disaster to blessing: the changes have no end, nor can the mystery be fathomed.
I bring this up today in regards to Delmon Young and the disastrous play he made in the game Tuesday.
Apparently, in the clubhouse after the game, Twins players walked around in shock, even though they had won the game, feeling bad for Blackburn (who got a no-decision despite pitching well) and Nathan (charged with his first blown save on a harmless looking slicing flyball to left).
Even Gardy started his post-game presser with a halting, dispirited comment to the effect of "Well, we won, but this is basically unacceptable..."
So, fast-forward to Wednesday. Twins down five runs and two outs in the ninth. KC on the verge of breaking a long losing streak. Unfortunately for them, because the game on Tuesday went 12 innings--because of Delmon's ill-advised play--they now do not have access to their closer, Soria, and both lefties, Mahay and Gobble each pitched two innings as well and were unavailable.
So, KC has to go with the best pitchers available, bringing in Peralta as the ninth got out of control, and the Twins come back to tie and eventually win in 10 innings.
The point: like the twists and turns of life itself, at the heart of baseball is a kind of inscrutability. Delmon screws up and seems like he has brought a serious negative aura to the clubhouse, yet as a direct result of the extra three innings of pitching his play caused, the Twins find a way to win the next night, against KC's B-team relievers.
Blessings become curses, curses blessings. The changing circumstances of baseball has no end; nor can its mysteries be fathomed.
But, Delmon, catch the ball anyway next time. Will 'ya? Or, as the Twins "See ball, hit ball" commercial suggests--maybe Delmon really is an enlightened being capable of making these things turn out in the end.