The silent treatment is a grand tradition in Major League Baseball. On the occasion of a rookie’s first homer, his veteran teammates will often all agree to collectively ignore the player and deny him his first moment in the sun in a big league dugout. Instead of being congratulated and back-slapped, the player is left to consider his own existence and the relative meaningless of hitting a ball really hard. Why does this matter? Why should I be happy? Maybe they’re right. Maybe I am alone. And then the spell breaks, and everyone hugs and high fives, and the rookie is forced to once again repress those existential questions that nip at the back of the head of every pro athlete at some point.
Tampa Bay Rays rookie Richie Shaffer got his first Major League hit last night, and it turned out to be a home run! With his family in the stadium, to boot! Neat for Rickie, who had no such ennui to ponder when his teammates gave him the cold shoulder. He doesn’t need you, flesh-and-blood teammates. He’s got more than enough imaginary teammates who are proud of him and give him all the dap and hugs he could ask for, thank you very much.
Of course, the Rays broke their huddle of jerks and mobbed him. It’s all in good fun, and no one’s fun was as good as Shaffer’s. May his imaginary friends forgive him for being so easily wooed back by his “real” friends.