I am not a baseball general manager, which remains on my life’s most egregious miscarriages of justice. I say that based mostly on one drunken rant I unloaded onto my best friend Jason on July 4th, 2005. I knew how to fix the Rockies, dammit, and they wouldn’t be any good until they took my advice by installing a speedy centerfielder who could cover the cow pasture that is Coors Field’s outfield, hitters that could use the entire field (allowing them to hit both at home and on the road), and focus on groundball pitchers who could change speeds effectively.
Lo and behold, the trade of Jason Jennings for Willy Taveras and two groundball pitchers, the ascension of Matt Holliday, Garret Atkins, Tulo and Brad Hawpe, and a bevy of fresh arms means the Rockies are in the World Series of 2007. I remain convinced Dan O’Dowd was hiding out in the apartment next to Kristin’s scribbling down notes as I belched out my plan between Parliament Lights and Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserves.
Alas, I still have no GM job for myself. But I am currently in the middle of the one life process that makes you feel most like a baseball GM. I’m buying a new house.
When you’re seeking your new prize acquisition, you are a general manager at the start of Hot Stove Season, except you’re shopping for actual hot stoves (with houses around them) instead of people. Please forgive that tortured bit of wordplay that I just couldn’t resist, but the two processes are really no different.
You figure what qualities you really want – we want a strong arm, high OBP, and good baserunning / at least 3 bedrooms, location in the city, 2-car garage; who/what’s available that fits that profile, and finally, and this is the biggest one, what you can afford.
And that’s the fun part – the shopping. The world is at your fingertips, and anything is possible. There are approximately 9 billion homes in any given metro area, and they’re basically all available to you in the abstract. So have fun looking. What’s even better, and the only aspect where home buying is superior to baseball GM (aside from the fact that you’ll never be a baseball GM) is that your best available option changes frequently.
In baseball, let’s say Buster Posey, Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp are all coming on the market at the end of the season. They’ll be there until they’re gone. In the middle of the negotiation and courtship process, it’s not like Troy Tulowitzki is going to suddenly come available too. Yet that’s exactly what happens when you buy a home.
Awesome houses you’d love to see come and go without mercy, but what’s amazing is there’s a whole slew of new ones coming right behind them. So don’t fall in love and keep your eye wandering because there’s lots of eye candy out there.
Once you decide on one, you’re reminded that you’re not just doing this on some fantasy larf, but that you’re an actual adult who is taking on decades of debt, so you’d better fucking act like it. There are inspections, negotiations stemming from those inspections about who’s going to fix what and who gets stuck with the bill for that. There’s preparing an ungodly slate of documents that you send to some poor underling in a mortgage office who gets to review your entire financial history, and whom you’re begging not to steal your identity. There’s the signing of your name – oh God, the signing of your name. At the end of this process, your name looks like symbols from some ancient alien text, you’ve signed it so many times. And then the moving, which is probably the worst thing you’ll ever get to do.
I imagine the process of acquiring a new ballplayer has its own pains in the ass – contract negotiations, ensuring he passes a physical, dealing with an intransigent Art Howe if you’re Billy Beane in Moneyball and seriously why did they need the great Philip Seymour Hoffman to play Art freaking Howe? That’s like killing a fly with by unleashing Dexter Morgan on it – but at the end of the day, you can’t live inside your ballplayer, like you can a house. I clearly cannot remember the original point I wanted to make when I started writing this, so let’s wrap up.
I like buying a house because not only do you get to live inside something you spent a shitload of time and effort acquiring, you get for a few fleeting moments to feel like a general manager shopping for a high-priced free agent.
And that’s what’s really important here, isn’t it? Feeling like a bigshot. Yep, look at me shopping for top talent.
By the way, I’m getting my furnace inspected on Wednesday, hiring a plumber for Friday, shelling out another $500 or so for an appraisal, digging up more bank statements, packing up my whole house, and have to do all this while I work a demanding day job.
The bigshot feeling is important. Let me bask in it while I can.