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.

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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Free Bryan LaHair
10 years ago

that, my friend, is a Balk-Off

9 years ago

Your boy Zoolander is rolling…it’s a balk-off.

Where is David Bowe when you need him