My Year with the Houston Astros: Part 3 – Singularity


Elimination Number: 118

It is not lost on the present author that a visitor to this hamlet of the Internet might either have a small amount of knowledge about a large swath of subjects, or perhaps the exact opposite. Either way, it seems like possessing one of the other (perhaps the latter more so) causes society to label one as a nerd or geek. I would add dweeb but I don’t hear people say that any more. I might research why that is. But not right now.

Right now I want to talk to you about singularity. For those who know, I apologize both for the redundancy as well as my surely-lacking description.  The general idea of singularity is that some time in the future (the consensus of when differs), technology will advance so much that humans will reach a place of super-intelligence. No one can tell you about what this future world will look like due to the anchoring theory of singularity — our puny stupid brains have no way of conceiving this world. The craziest, most futuristic thing we can think of will pale in comparison to what will actually exist, where we will actually be. We simply are not equipped to visualize this future. The only thing that will allow us to understand it is to advance technologically as a species to the point in which it actually happens, at which point thinking about it will be irrelevant. Science is weird.

As a blossoming Astros supporter, I’m doing my best to read up on the team. There are some very good blogs with good analysis, but for day-to-day stuff, I tend to turn to bigger media — newspapers, cable networks, etc. I’m trying hard not to get left behind in the daily news, moves, and general scuttlebutt. The reporting is generally between OK and good, but the comments sections are … well, I’ll just say it … filled with some real sad sacks. There is anger and confusion and sadness and disappointment and bleakness there. And that’s understandable. I’m new to this. I don’t have the luxury of having the past few seasons to weigh on me even more. Nevertheless, it’s still discouraging. I maintain my stance of rarely commenting, but I want to reach out to these people. I want to tell them it will be OK.

I came into this at the bottom, with eyes on the top. A lot of people got a view from the top in the mid-2000s and late 90s. Their fall is tremendously longer than any climb they have coming. They’ve done the Wil E Coyote fall and the anvil and the safe have already landed on them. I’m looking for an Acme rocket to strap to my ass.

We readers of FanGraphs consider ourselves to be sophisticated observers. We may be vile and unlovable creatures as a whole, but we feel our appreciation of the game is a deep and meaningful one. We may poke fun at the Astros, but we understand what they’re trying to do. No one knows if it’s going to work for sure, but the process, the way they go about their business, is noteworthy at least. This is what drew me to this team — this season-long logic problem — in the first place.

But for some, for those who have been at this for decades or more, a successful Astros team might seem just as approachable as the singularity. Even though they’ve seen and smelled success, accessing it in the future might seem incomprehensible. Even when things are looking up, one might be adverse to buying into it, for fear of letdown. Trustworthiness of success won’t come easily. Many fans won’t know when it’s happened until it’s happened.

Right now, they are staring down a baseball singularity. The plus side of this is that after that tipping point, things have a chance to be spectacular. Unless the machines rise up. That would suck. But Astros fans might be willing to take that risk.

David G. Temple is the Managing Editor of TechGraphs and a contributor to FanGraphs, NotGraphs and The Hardball Times. He hosts the award-eligible podcast Stealing Home. Dayn Perry once called him a "Bible Made of Lasers." Follow him on Twitter @davidgtemple.

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10 years ago

I enjoy reading this series. Keep it up.

Dave (UK)
10 years ago
Reply to  Michael

I concur!