Where Facts Still Matter

Among the many sad events that have befallen the world in recent weeks – Prince, Brexit, Trump, the woman from Dance Moms having to go to jail – one of the greatest losses surely has to be the death of facts. Or, rather, the death of a large segment of the population caring about facts.

Donald Trump became the Republican presidential nominee even though an overwhelming majority of what comes out of his mouth is lies. Brexit won the day even though ‘Leave’ campaigners have already had to walk back their voting season propaganda. And terrorists continue to use misinformation, misinterpretation, and outright lies as vindication for committing heinous acts.

Ignoring reason and common sense eventually leads to chaos, and that might just be where we’re heading if a large portion of the world’s population doesn’t get their heads out of their own asses. However, there is still at least one place where facts, reliable statistics, and making judgments based on keen observation still matter: Baseball.

When the walls of mendacity feel like they’re closing in around you, turn to a place where the only things that people are defined by are the numbers they put up and the collective understanding gleaned from expert witnesses.

We know Francisco Lindor is an elite defensive shortstop not because he declared it on Twitter or in a music video, but because there are numbers and an overwhelming amount of reports from qualified experts that attest to his prowess.

We know Mike Trout is not just great, but historically great, because we can compare his statistics to almost every other baseball player who’s ever lived. Not because he has the most polished PR team.

This baseball season, maybe more than any other, I’ve found myself taking a great deal of solace in baseball’s numbers. I like seeing something I know to be true and earned and real. I like knowing that, even if, say, Ryan Howard decided to claim he was still a good player, no one would believe him.

Sadly, the same standard to which we hold ballplayers no longer seems to apply to our public figures or much of the general population. Every day, people all around the world seem to take a sadistic glee in discarding obvious reality in order to further their own ends, usually manipulating the weak-minded to help them in their greedy exploits.

I’m not sure what to do about that. Pointing out falsehoods only seems to get the fact-haters to retreat further into their corners, unaffected by the truth or unwilling to listen to it.

With little to no recourse left, I’ve decided to retreat into my own corner. And that corner is filled with verifiable information, Miguel Cabrera, hot dogs, guys legging out triples in the summer sun, and advertisers using my favorite pastime to sell me their bullshit.

Oh well, nothing’s perfect. But at least I can choose not to buy their products. The downfall of western civilization on the other hand? It looks like we might be stuck with that one.

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