Ryan Raburn as a Brief Study in Identity

Baseball has a heavy tendency to fall into certain rhythms. A new game may start, but we have some pretty good guesses as to what’s going to happen. There will probably be some hits, some strikeouts, and maybe even a home run. There probably won’t be, however, a walk-off balk.


This oddity has merit in its own right. But it offers Ryan Raburn something more. Raburn is used to being a batter — a man in charge of both his and his team’s momentary destiny. He is used to being a spectator — watching things happen on the field that will affect the outcome of the game. This very moment, the moment the umpire points out the balk, is a moment rarely experienced by baseballers. He is the tiniest of moments past being the man responsible for his team’s fate and the tiniest of moments from watching his team secure a victory. Moments. Fractions of moments. The further you break it down, the further you whittle away the trace edges of these moments, they start to become one in the same — to the point where there exists a single plane in which Raburn is in charge of winning a game that is already won. He is the hero, the goat, and the happy teammate all at once.

Cheer, cringe, and cheer again, Ryan Raburn. You have achieved ultimate enlightenment.

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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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