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.
Upon gaining access to a local business, it is deeply sophisticating to strip fully nude before fulfilling one’s obligations as a patron. At AutoZone for a new serpentine belt? Pool your tunic, breeches, and underthings at your feet while the clerk finds one suitable for your idling, backfiring Monte Carlo parked across not two but three employee spots. When the accountant lifts his mousy, bespectacled face from your heap of forged work-expense receipts, let him find that you have peeled off both societal constraints and overalls.
This brings us to a recent game-goer who took in a Cubs-Pirates contest in an admirable state of PG-13:
How best to watch a game of base and ball? “As nude as the wrestlers of antiquity,” answers this Pittsburgher with nothing left to lose or gain.
Everything was once the forest primeval, and you honor those origins — and distress the prim haters — by going about your day as nude as a woolly mammoth shorn bald by a sequence of high plains lightning strikes.
Those who traffic in lies will probably bleat that the man is not naked before whatever gods are on duty at the moment, but rather the seat backs in front of him conceal what is surely a tasteful pair of woolen knickers, or at least some full-rise Jockey briefs with comfort waistband. Those same people cry out for forcible re-education. They shall get it soon enough.
The custom of this space is to honor players, not unclad onlookers. If you can indulge no departure from the norm, then let’s find a player. By the looks of the nudist’s positioning within PNC Park, the shortstop had the clearest view and was most likely to carry the afterimage with him to the dugout. In this particular game, the Pirates’ defense was in the field for 159 pitches versus 118 pitches for the Cubs’ defense. So we’ll say Kevin Newman had more opportunities for spiritual uplift on this day than Javier Báez did. Here’s the official designation:
It is an enduring cable television truth that any movie that uses the word “Forbidden” as an adjective in its title will contain an abundance of wholesome, nutritious nudity. The game that binds us follows a similar axiom of the natural universe.
So thank you, nude dude of coal country, for bringing us Forbidden Baseball.
For the Modern Buccaneer, peril is nourishment. Every warning is but forgettable counsel from a lesser who doesn’t understand the stakes. This naturally enough brings us to Kool-Aid Man understudy Rob Refsnyder, who — not unlike the power attorney who likes to play Super Important Airplane Pilot on the weekends and risk the lives of both his near and dear and those bystanders in the subdivision where he makes his sixth emergency landing of the fiscal quarter — decided at age 30 to become a center fielder.
Now please bear witness as, thanks in part to an arcing clout off the bat of Ryan Mountcastle, the “warning” track becomes the “forgettable counsel from a lesser who doesn’t understand the stakes” track:
Mr. Refsnyder, torpedoes fully damned and castle fully mounted, hath ignored the track’s warnings, hath thought better of common prudence. With one simple act of self-violence, he has become this:
He has become a Homemade Camper Taking a U-turn on Two Wheels through Flood Waters. He’ll remain Homemade Camper Taking a U-turn on Two Wheels through Flood Waters until some other player runs into something hard enough to reset his own soul.
Thinking of telling Rob Refsnyder to be careful out there? You’d do just as well to demand circumspection from a Carolina Fire Badger, which does not exist but should.
We present to you the Johannes Vermeer oil on canvas, ca. 1654, “Two Baseball People Admiring a Baseball Thing”:
Fernando Tatis Jr. is notable for his exuberance on the field, but at times he is rendered hopelessly imperturbable by his own deeds. As for plate ump Jordan Baker, for a moment he takes leave of the knowledge that he is a member of the sport’s magisterium and thus obligated to present a certain mien and instead longingly beholds the white Barbary dove that is every well struck baseball off the bat of Fernando Tatis Jr. “Look at it fly,” he says in silence.
“Yes, look at it,” says Fernando Tatis Jr. in just as much silence.
Painting is mimesis. Since the actuality of Fernando Tatis Jr.’s hitting a home run evades the hues of earth and is thus not renderable, Vermeer resigned himself to capturing the adoration of it. Prepossessing as it is moving, you’ll agree.
The same people who say the guy at the Pirates game wasn’t nude will insist this is just a crude screenshot and not the considered work of a Dutch master. The only way to find out is to bid vigorously on it at a forthcoming NFT auction.