Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In Praise of John McDonald

This post is in no way about music, unless I decide to reel off some purple prose about the rhythm and musicality of a baseball player’s defensive prowess, which I won’t do. It is rather a sincere appreciation for Toronto shortstop John McDonald, who routinely makes the impossible (or the highly unlikely) appear routine.

He’s not to be confused with the scores of other John M(a)cDonalds out there. Not Sir John A. MacDonald, reputed lush and first prime minister of Canada, and not John D. MacDonald, author of such colourful classics as Dress her in Indigo and The Turquoise Lament (which, by the way, would make a wonderful/terrible band name).

He’s John J. McDonald, a much-journeyed infielder who finally seems to have found a place on the left side of the Rogers Centre turf. Granted he doesn’t swing much of a stick, but he probably saves a run or two a game (maybe baseball needs the equivalent of hockey’s plus/minus stat?). And he’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

Diving stops, throws from his knees, short flips to Aaron Hill at second, an effortless grace while racing to cover the bag, and all of it with an air of humility, a sort of blue collar, put-your-head-down-and-do-it work ethic. No flash, no boastfulness, no trash. Just good baseball.

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