Welcome to THIS WEEK IN GIFs, friends. This one's all-baseball, and it's ugly. Most of these GIFs aren't just a matter of players playing poorly, they're about human beings struggling to do human things.
If you missed it, I launched the GIF ORACLE this week. It's a giant, living, browsable database containing 200 or so of my favorite sports GIFs on the Internet. Occasionally, I'll be taking a GIF from THIS WEEK IN GIFs and adding it to the Oracle. You can see the whole deal here:
Anyway: voting will remain open until Sunday at 11 p.m. Enjoy, kind of!
(Via Bless You Boys, SB Nation's Tigers blog)
This is the most dignified GIF on this page. Everything that follows is just failure upon failure. I've stared at all those for quite a while, and I'm gonna tell y'all, it's refreshing to see someone just acknowledge his fate and quit of his own accord.
I really enjoy Prince Fielder nodding and gesturing with his glove with all the charity of a general of a fascist army, sliding a pistol across the table to a reporting officer who failed to secure the refinery. Even better, though, would have been a rundown between home and first. I'm gonna set the odds of Starlin Castro doing that one day at about 3/2.
Raul. This is a problem, Raul. Please see the GIF Oracle's collection of terrible throws for a Raul Ibanez GIF that looks almost exactly like this one.
Raul is a treasure, but more than anything, he really makes me wish Lonnie Smith had been playing in the age of GIFs. Dude fell down all the time for no reason, and he would lose grip of the ball and actually manage to throw it backwards. And he did that many times. He would have been a GIF god.
Baseball fields have been completely flat except for a tiny hill and three little bags, and those bags have been there for over 150 years, and baseball players still just cannot deal with it. For real:
Y'all! When our ancestors hoisted our destinies o'er their shoulders and trudged into the future, they did so over hills and though forests and into hazards of marsh and stone. For much of our history, perfectly flat terrain did not exist. Now we have a perfectly flat field and three tenderly- and predictably-placed little canvas pillows, and we can't even deal with that. God knows how we got here.
Friend and Grantlander Holly Anderson once told me that while at a Braves game, she helped convince a guy that Melky Cabrera's full first name was Melkworth. He's been Melkworth to me ever since.
Consider how small a baseball is, and how friendly its size is to the human hand. It isn't huge like a basketball. It isn't fat and oblong like a football. Now consider how often we see spectacles like this one, in which the baseball doesn't just miss its mark, but the throw is aborted entirely. Baseball even has an entire institution of lesser teams through which it has every opportunity to filter out dudes who do shit like this. You are out of excuses, pastime.
I don't really expect anyone to vote for this, but I feel compelled to include any GIF of a player falling down for no reason.
greg or blanco, why must i choose
Of all the follies on display on this page, this one is the most understandable. The sun's bright, and the ball's small, and it might be anywhere. But the spirit of this GIF is right at home here. Mr. Saunders' movements are reduced to those of an insect, arms extended haplessly like little vestigial antennae.
As I look back on this week's GIFs, I wonder: was it always like this? If GIFs were around in the 1960s, would we have seen this kind of incompetence everywhere, or were they all Brooks Robinson? There are reasons to love this sport and to study it seriously, but I'll say this: if you choose to experience baseball only through its GIFs, you are not doing anything wrong, and no one should tell you otherwise.