Dominance

James Paxton just sent up a mushroom cloud as a warning to the rest of the league.

 

One of the best bits of the post-game interview was how he immediately deferred to his teammates, talking about how he got lucky and received some great defensive plays.  Paxton & Zunino are an impressive battery, not only for their on-field contributions but also for their team leadership.  The story on Zunino, upon arriving in AA (?), was that it took him something like eight seconds to become the clubhouse leader.  Would love to hear the details on how those eight seconds played out 😉

 

That Paxton gets his first No-No on Canadian soil, being a resident of Canadia (mis-spelling intentional), has got to be pretty cool.  But with his nuclear stuff, it’s inevitable that he does this again.  I never thought that about Felix, for whatever reason, but Paxton’s stuff is so devastating that when he’s on, there’s nothing other teams can do against him.  It’s like Pedro or Johnson in their primes.  You tip your cap and shake off the inevitable 0-4, hoping to get into the juicier part of the rotation tomorrow.

 

In related news, Dee Gordon’s running (of course he is?) a very Ichiro-esque .353 batting average to go with an MLB-leading 15 SB’s, which is 5 more than the AL runner-up Tim Anderson of the ChiSox.  I love seeing my prime offseason target shining so bright in the early going, even if he is playing ‘out of position’ ::grumble-gripe-something about creative thinking-grumble::

 

The M’s are indeed a force to be reckoned with this year.  Bask in the glory of their latest definitive statemenet game.  Every team in the AL just got served notice that Zeus is hurling thunderbolts from the peak of Mt. Olympus.

 

In the words of our beloved Doc, BABVA.

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Pang Tong & The Power of Humility

Anyone who has read my fiction knows that I have a soft spot for the literary masterpiece, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which is counted as one of the Four Classics of Chinese literature.  For those unfamiliar with the novel, or with Chinese culture in general, it’s worth investigating (though there are no official subtitle tracks of acceptable quality for the latest television version, Three Kingdoms (2010), so you’ll have to watch it on YouTube where the Jiang Hu translation was hardsubbed into the video itself).

The clip I’ve linked within this article requires a little backstory to fully understand.  Pang Tong is a hideously ugly man with one of his era’s brightest minds, and is therefore highly sought after by all of the warlords of his day.  To avoid being imprisoned and compelled to work for one of the less high-minded warlords, he spends most of his life wandering under various aliases in search of a worthy lord and master.

His search first brought him to Sun Quan, the lord of the second most powerful kingdom of the day.  But Sun Quan was persuaded by his court (and his mother) to shun Pang Tong due to Pang’s obtuse, drunken belligerence at a state funeral for Sun Quan’s deceased Grand Commander, Zhou Yu.  Pang Tong’s belligerence and drunkenness were considered to be insults of such magnitude that he was rejected from a face-to-face meeting with Sun Quan, at which point Pang Tong sighed and left Sun Quan’s kingdom in search of a worthier lord.

He arrived in Liu Bei’s relatively small, but quickly-growing kingdom and presented himself as a potential clerk or low-level magistrate.  He barely managed to simultaneously avoid detection and also get a job as a magistrate of a small village/township on the outskirts of Liu Bei’s kingdom, and after he got the job he descended into drunkenness and belligerence yet again.  He also refused to do any administrative tasks for his first month (edit to correct: it was actually his first 100 days) on the job, drawing the ire of the feisty Zhang Fei–Liu Bei’s sworn brother–who paid Pang Tong a visit with every intention of cracking his skull for insubordination.

Pang Tong, still drunk and belligerent, dismissed Zhang Fei’s concerns.  He said that the work of a low-level magistrate was beneath him, so why should he bother to work every day when the job could be done much more efficiently?  Zhang Fei commands him to ‘put up or shut up,’ and over the course of the ensuing afternoon Pang Tong completes all of the unaddressed administrative tasks–all while drinking like a sailor–and, after completing these tasks, retires to his room for even more drunkenness.

Zhang Fei, who is far from the sharpest tack in the box, runs back to his brother Liu Bei and pleads with him to come see Pang Tong (who is still operating under an alias) for himself.  Liu Bei drops everything he is doing, rushes off to meet with Pang Tong, and patiently waits outside Pang Tong’s residence until the spud-faced genius finally emerges in a hangover–and naturally he demands someone refill his wine.

Liu Bei recognized the value of such a brilliant and eccentric person, and bent over backwards to try to recruit him.  He ignored his own sick child, he ignored the matter of his noble rank and Pang Tong’s commoner status, he even went so far as to try to give his horse, Hex Mark (which had saved his life) to Pang Tong as a parting gift.

Pang Tong pushed Liu Bei as far as he could in trying to determine whether or not Liu Bei’s ‘eye was on the prize,’ as it were.  A truly worthy leader needs to think of nothing but success for himself and the people who are with him.  Pang Tong’s point is simple: if a leader is willing to pass up the opportunity to pluck a diamond from a pile of manure simply because the act of doing so might somehow sully him, he is unworthy of the diamond.

Humility, as Liu Bei demonstrates time and time again throughout the Romance of the Three Kingdoms tale, is a potent weapon which can often prove decisive in crucial matters.