May 27, 2022

Make Clury

Petss Got It All

MLB Star Power Index: Victor Robles befriends a mantis; Orioles avoid ‘poisonous’ cat

Welcome to the MLB Star Power Index — a weekly undertaking that determines with awful authority which players are dominating the current zeitgeist of the sport, at least according to the narrow perceptions of this miserable scribe. While one’s presence on this list is often celebratory in nature, it can also be for purposes of lamentation or ridicule. The players listed are in no particular order, just like the phone book.


The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was perhaps the most exalted practitioner of Stoicism and the philosophical principles thereof, depending upon how you feel about Seneca, Epicetus, and or Chrysippus. Lay aside for the moment what manner of hierarchy you would argue for and instead regard the following high-level rumination attributed to Monsieur Aurelius

“It’s unfortunate that this has happened. No. It’s fortunate that this has happened and I’ve remained unharmed.”

Marcus Aurelius also had a son named “Commodus,” which is a very good name in that it evokes the very good word “commode.” Vive la commode, it says here. Please do curry favor with the Rather Very Blessed Commode Scorpion by saying “commode” instead of the manifestly inferior word, “toilet.” 

Circling back to Marcus Aurelius’ spoken elixir above, please admire and learn from the towering example of stoicism authored by Washington Nationals fly-catcher Victor Robles, who has decided that external events shall not disturb this groove: 

Is there is a visage across the sprawl of human history that better conveys the worth of unflappable acceptance of phenomena beyond one’s control? There is not, it says here. 

As a point of distinction, please note the breathless verbiage of the professional onlooker in the Nationals’ broadcast booth: 

“Attacking,” he says of Mr. Robles’ peaceable fellow traveler. Attacking! “Pshaw! Wheretofore are you afraid!” Victor Robles, the mantis, and those who know chant in choral unison. 

Indeed, while lessers would recoil in high-pitched terror followed by a case of the skippity-jippers from what they perceive as the encroachments of a fell beast, Mr. Robles appraises the mantis upon his battle cap to be a small, good friend and swiftly realizes that they — man and mantis — have been hallowed by one another’s presence. It is fortunate that this has happened, you see, and Victor Robles remains unharmed. As for the praying mantis, it prays only that you’ll be disabused of your noxious assumptions. 

Let us further note and learn from the generosity of spirit displayed by Mr. Robles. Rather than shoo away his visitor or present to him a mute resignation, Robles instead initiates him into the traditions of his guild. Here and now, be uplifted: 

Do you know how many outs there are? If not, feel free to ask Víctor Robles or Commodus the praying mantis because they both know. 

You may now be asking whether Commodus to this day and hour still enjoys replenishing sanctuary upon Víctor Robles’ hat. Here is your answer: 

Rudy Gersten (@DCBarno on Twitter)

Víctor Robles, you see, is the Marcus Aurelius of This, Our Baseball. He has no enemies, but if he did then he would triumph over them merely by not being like them. 

It is not custom in this stinking space to hold up major-league managers for acknowledgment, but, in our defense, it’s not often a major-league manager says something like this: 

He’s referring to the recent feline that revealed the Yankee Stadium perimeter to be less than secure. By way of video reminder, this writer has gone to the trouble of embedding a state-of-the-art color television below: 

Some readers will naturally gravitate toward the buoying whimsy of a cat’s interrupting a baseball game, and that’s fine. Before you do that, though, the writer would like to call your attention once again to some of Manager Hyde’s words: 

“I didn’t know if it was a poisonous cat or what, because there wasn’t a whole lot of movement happening when it ran onto the field.”

Emphasis ours, but it’s now yours, too. Let us again examine his words, closer this time in the manner of a jewelry appraiser: 

“I didn’t know if it was a poisonous cat . . .”

And again, this time in the manner of the eyeballs emoji peering through an electron microscope: 

“. . . poisonous cat . . .”

Mr. Hyde could not ascertain whether the cat was poisonous, you see. He surveyed its actions, perhaps widened his eyes when its urgent peregrinations brought it close to his players. He misspoke, yes. As everyone knows, cats are venomous, not poisonous, and there is a difference. 

Manager Hyde’s pulse quickened as he struggled to remember the rhyming device that would reveal, based on its markings, on whether a given cat is capable of flooding your tissues with lethal neurotoxins with the merest bite or scratch or flinty stare. Red touching yellow will kill a fellow, Hyde thought to himself. Or maybe it’s black touching yellow will kill a fellow, Hyde also thought to himself.

The old folk wisdom slipped from his grasp just when he needed it most. He feared for his charges, but he dared not expose himself to what, from his compromised purview, might just be a deadly Eastern Diamondback Rattlecat. How to protect them? How to stop this bone-deep harrowing? How to harness the fears that smothered him? Multiple Wikipedia entries would surely chronicle his grave tactical failings on this night. Forevermore as a reminder of his shame he would wear it and when not wearing it he would roll it up and flagellate himself with it . . . 

But thank all available gods, the cat was not poisonous. 

And Víctor Robles? Even a poisonous cat is welcome upon the swaddling warmth of his head and hat.