I believe in the bet, the gentleman’s wager. I believe in throwing down your money as a symbolic means of making a statement when your rhetoric has failed to persuade.
In other words, when you’re convinced that someone’s opinion or prediction will be statistically invalidated, you need to willingly risk parting with your wallet. You need to place the bet.
In Anton Chekhov’s 1889 short story “The Bet”, while arguing about capital punishment versus solitary confinement, a wealthy banker bets a young, headstrong lawyer two-million rubles at a cocktail party that he couldn’t stay in solitary confinement for 15 years, that death was more humane. The banker put his money where his mouth was. The bet was on.
Spoiler: there’s a twist at the end of the story.
As a kid, I witnessed more than a few douche bags at restaurants in Rhode Island, fancying themselves witty, write on the back of tab in lieu of a monetary tip, Don’t bet on the Red Sox.
[Again, these are astounding a-holes, a kind born and bred solely in Rhode Island.]
This year, however, I’ve ignored the sage-like napkin advice—which, if you’re not being a dick to waitresses, is pretty sound advice—and bet a Dirty Water Media associate what I consider to be “money in the bank.”
I bet said associate that by July 1 Clay Buchholz will be on the disabled list, and quite honestly, it’s about as close to a sure-thing as you get when betting.
I realize there’s something sadistic about betting, at least in the abstract, on someone’s physical health. Mark Twain examines the topic of betting on a person’s well-being in “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calveras County”. However, upon a closer examination, my bet—“The Buchholz Bet”—is based in probability and statistics.
In his nine year major-league career, Buchholz has never completed 30 starts nor has he ever logged-in 200 innings. Each season, you can set your watches to the date Buchholz will begin his summer vacation. He strains his neck sleeping, pulls a groin pumping gas, or he has his feelings hurt, an ingrown hair, an unshakable case of sniffles—Buchholz always seems to find a way out of the rotation.
In his first start against Cleveland, Buchholz, currently the team’s second starter, blew up in the first inning, staring at his hand and blaming the deleterious 12-minute game delay, commissioned by the evil Cleveland and God alone (despite the fact that he was the visiting pitcher) for his inability to command any of his pitches in an abysmal first outing.
Buchholz, however, speaks to a larger issue, the proverbial elephant in the room for 2016 Red Sox. After David Price, the sidewalk ends. With Eduardo Rodriguez injured until May, the Red Sox are sporting a host of overpaid back-of-the-rotation starters that seems to spell trouble.
After the first two series of the season, with the team coming home tomorrow, there is more to be encouraged by with the 2016 Red Sox than not. Until Sunday, when they were blanked by the Jays, they were hitting well. They’ve played solid defense. Hanley Ramirez has been unconscious and hustling, and the bullpen—minus a Tazawa meatball to Mike Napoli—has been outstanding.
But I have this bet, a bet about Clay Buchholz, who seems systematic of a larger problem with the starting pitching. And, sadly, I’m certain that I will win this bet.
Twain wrote, describing his character, an incorrigible gambler, “If there were two birds on the fence, he’d bet you which one would fly first.”
Hey, S.J., Clay has taken flight.