We live in the Information Age. The fact that you're reading this at all is a testament to just how easy it is to find facts, quotes, stats, pictures, opinions, Thai menus, funny t-shirts, midget-on-llama porn, cheap airfare, crossword puzzles, and literally anything else your twisted little mind can imagine, all by tapping on a keyboard.
As if that's not enough, we can now do all this on our phones. Wherever there's a strong enough signal we can look up the name of that guy in that one movie, or Juan Pierre's career caught stealing numbers. In the car you can listen to some blowhard and Mike from Queens debate Joe Girardi's use of the bullpen. And if we happen to be at home, we have hundreds of channels filled with scrolling tickers, pop-up graphics, and exquisitely coifed talking heads all pumping us full of juicy, gravy-covered tidbits of knowledge.
We are swimming in a sea of data, and we are drowning.
Exhibit A: Adrian Gonzalez is 5th in the All-Star balloting for National League first basemen.
That's right ... fifth. Fif!
Aside from being a little thing called, oh, the major league's leading home-run hitter, Gonzo has gone gonzo and put up these numbers, just a tad over two months into the year:
.289 avg, 22 HR, 43 RBI, 39 R, .412 OBP, .663 SLG, 1.075 OPS.
Here are the same numbers for the 3 guys immediately ahead of him in the balloting.
Prince Fielder: .276 avg, 12 HR, 49 RBI, 30 R, .412 OBP, .530 SLG, .942 OPS.
Ryan Howard: .266 avg, 16 HR, 45 RBI, 36 R, .348 OBP, .591 SLG, .939 OPS.
Joey Votto (recently placed on the DL): .357 avg, 8 HR, 33 RBI, 23 R, .464 OBP, .627 SLG, 1.091 OPS.
Albert Pujols leads the balloting by a wide margin, and rightly so. Even if the game wasn't in his home city, Pujols is having yet another monster year and is the best all-around player in his sport, let alone his position.
But while all 3 of those guys are having very good years, they: A) all play in hitter's parks; B) all have very good hitters both in front of and behind them; and C) are not in Gonzalez's class in the field.
Already this season he's had a stretch where he's homered 6 times in 5 days and 5 times in 6 days. The poor guy has slugged 39% of the Padres' ding-dongs. Think about that: if the Padres go deep, there's a 4 out of 10 chance Gonzalez stroked it. That is fucking insane.
Every game Padres pitchers pray that Gonzo will bail them out and, more times than not, he does. He did it last year, and he's doing an even better job of it this year.
And the fact that many baseball "fans" - either via TV, the internet, sports talk radio, or the papers - don't recognize it, just because he plays for a shitty team in a small market, is a sad, sad state of affairs.