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MLB Star Power Index: Imagining an alternate Aaron Judge-fan exchange; Phillies defy the odds

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Welcome to the MLB Star Power Index — a weekly undertaking that determines with awful authority which players are dominating the current zeitgeist of the sport, at least according to the narrow perceptions of this miserable scribe. While one’s presence on this list is often celebratory in nature, it can also be for purposes of lamentation or ridicule. The players listed are in no particular order, just like the phone book. To this week’s honorees …

Aaron Judge, Yankees

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In the course of your weekly indignities, you may have happened upon a bit of putatively uplifting viral content involving a Blue Jays fan, a stripling Yankees rooter, and New York cloutsman Aaron Judge. We shall summarize in spite of the actively harmful nature of it all: The Blue Jays fan caught a ball and gave it to the stripling Yankees rooter, and then Judge, possibly on pain of cultural ridicule, met with them both, said things one prays he didn’t mean, and then possibly presented them with an assortment of dry goods that forevermore will serve as totems of human enfeeblement. 

This is a most unfortunate end to what could’ve been a story of education and example-setting for the youth of today. Thankfully, though, the deep-fake video is here to take us where reality should have but would not. Please admire this particular rendering of reality and implicit declaration of How Things Ought To Be. 

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First, though, the genuine and morally inferior version of events: 

 And now, the dreamscape appreciated by the flinty and steely eyed among us who also hope for a better future: 

It scarcely needs to be said that the principals would emerge from the second encounter better equipped to withstand the stinking parade of randomly assigned suffering and malady that is the human condition. The young man of our story? He would not be gifted the cherished baseball of note. Instead, it would be ripped from his desperate clutches by a more tenured earth-dweller who himself was deprived of such a thing when he was young. Now, he looks back upon the deprivation as what gave him the mettle to stare down a flooded basement, to place four calls in a week to his cellular provider’s customer-claims department, and to survey his holdings and determine that working deep into his seventies is as inexorable as the nightly rise of the moon. 

Let us imagine a world in which this Blue Jays game-goer seized the ball, raised his hands in barely felt triumph, locked eyes with the kid while he lit a cig, and then climbed the steps of the 400 section to deposit the ball in a lidded trash can that defies retrieval. Let us further imagine this scene: 

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Judge upon seeing the Toronto fan rob the young fan of that baseball summons the young fan to the dugout pre-game. He presents him with a baseball. Then Judge tells him that he’s about to take the baseball back from him and have him arrested for trespassing. The moment after he utters this solemn promise — and the purifying tears it inspires — is the instant of this photograph. 

Judge takes the baseball from him, lights a cig, and walks with unhurried purpose to the 400 section where he deposits the ball in a lidded trash can that defies retrieval. He then returns to the dugout. “What have you learned?” he asks the kid. 

“To believe in nothing and keep your powder dry,” the kid says.

“Yes,” says Judge and then turns to those assembled behind him. “Now arrest him.”  

A violently aggrieved fan, Phillies

The Phillies of Philly recently endured a psychically punishing loss to the rival New York Mets — one that saw them, against all available odds, blow a 7-1 lead in the ninth inning. Mere incompetence can of course not fully explain such a pratfall. Only a conspiring nexus of incompetence and cosmic disfavor can lead to a thing such as this. Happen it did, though, and one particular Phillies rooter was apparently moved to social awkwardness and violence toward inanimate objects as a consequence. Please regard with hands up and chin tucked: 

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The deepest hope in this space is that the above chronicle of sports-rage decisions is entirely accurate and utterly devoid of hyperbole. Why? Because it’s a reminder that when this doesn’t happen to you as a child … 

… Then you make decisions that cost you things — things like a marriage and, more importantly, beautiful color television. 

The anti-hero of our story will of course uby a new TV, at which point the Jays fan will show up and take it from him while smoking, at which point Aaron Judge will have him arrested. The Phillies fan, that is, not the Jays fan, who’s merely doing his part to lift us up and doing so in full compliance with local ordinances. 

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