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Op-ed: Ruminations on baseball and retaliation

The following was written by JKWard for Royals Review on April 20. It is republished here with permission.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man's mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others."

I've been thinking about what to write today, and I've been struggling to come up with much in terms of topical quantity that might be worth considering. I thought about writing around the struggles that Danny Duffy has faced to begin the 2015 season, but I don't see much to be overly concerned with. Aside from the results, most of his peripherals are about what you would expect. It would be fair to say that he has simply been unlucky.

I also thought about concerning my time with Yordano Ventura, but I am not sure what else needs to be mulled over. Both of them have struggled, but considering we are just now through three starts for each (or one-tenth of their respective seasons), I don't really see much in terms of pattern or problem to really get into.

The obvious choice would be to address the weekend series with the Oakland Athletics, with the hulabaloo and foofaraw surrounding a bevy of kerfuffles that occurred from Friday to Sunday. And I guess that's where we'll start.

I don't advocate retaliation. I understand it, and I understand that it is different, as a spectator, than it is as a player on a team. But considering that sports teams are arbitrarily-opposed groups chasing a spheroid around a park, I find it difficult to ascribe to the battle lines narrative that is vigorously inserted into any conversation regarding sports teams. Aside from the Battle for Grass Creek, which is steeped in social, cultural, and dare I say, even religious traditions, dating back to the days of the Pilots, when the Royals and Seattle were newly-crowned expansion teams.

That being said, I won't really defend the Royals. I will say that I get it. And I would agree with the prevailing sentiment that Brett Lawrie is, for lack of a better term, a dick. From chucking helmets at umpires to who (or what) he follows on Twitter to embarrassing photos and arm sleeve tattoos, there was a lot to dislike about Brett Lawrie, and that was before spiking Alcides Escobar.

But even though Lawrie sucks as a person, what good has getting wrapped up in his sociopathic world of "What, who me? I wouldn't hurt anyone," gotten the Royals? Aside from making themselves feel better, their actions resulted in Lorenzo Cain getting hit, three coaches getting ejected, Escobar getting ejected, and Kelvin Herrera getting ejected and staring down a likely suspension. Was that worth it?

Short answer is: Maybe.

The long answer is: We will have to see.

There's a story about Bill Russell:

In the early stages of Russell's NBA career, Coach Auerbach recognized the unlimited potential that Russell possessed. Auerbach also saw that Bill Russell would compromise his ultimate potential if Russell continued to allow players to physically punish and push him around on the court. Russell was a rookie and the veterans were taking full advantage of that fact.

The story goes that Auerbach convinced Russell to throw an elbow - just once - in a nationally televised game, just to show that he could. Maybe this was the Royals' elbow. Which I presume is a lot like the People's Elbow, only I don't know. Blue, I guess. Well, the Royals have, and though I'm still not sure it will have the desired effect, everybody has seen them do it.

I'm not going to make any ridiculous proclamations. No one is, as some would have you believe, a disgrace to baseball, or humanity, or anything. However, nobody comes out looking great in this thing either. It is part and parcel to who we are as people, and as a society. The natural impulse of human aggression blights us all. Lawrie sucks. At least for the weekend, Ventura sucked. Kazmir sucked. Herrera sucked. The Athletics sucked. The Royals sucked. It was a bad weekend that resulted in a series victory for Kansas City and a national message of dubious persuasion.

Minnesota is coming. Let us turn our eyes to port, and new beginnings.

Ed. note: Thank you to JKWard and Royals Review for their permission to run this piece that ran at their site Monday morning. Please note that it was not initially written as an op-ed piece, but for the audience at Royals Review.