My Fellow Naquinheads,
Our union suffered an unprecedented struggle in the year 2020. We battled through injuries. We persevered through a pandemic. We spit through gritted teeth on high fastballs. Those efforts to bring glory to this great cause cannot be maligned, yet they produced outcomes with which we must reckon.
For too long our eyes lingered on the illusion cast in 2016 by a .296/.372/.514; that it might serve as a beacon for future progress. We cannot fool ourselves and say that our gaze did anything but blind us to as we wandered into this year of darkness. Tyler Naquin slashed a paltry .218/.248./383 while struggling defensively, and a bipartisan council of metrics websites converged in their analysis that his production and value plummeted to an all-time low.
Were I to rouse you back to passion and fervent belief, I might make a tight fist, thumb slightly extended, and say with a reassuring southern drawl that it is always darkest before the dawn. That regression to the mean would be the tide that raises the boats of all Naquinheads. That the long, nightmarish inconsistency was over, and our faith in the emergence of tools would be rewarded.
As the self-appointed titular leader of Naquinheads everywhere, I could not hold this office with any dignity after misleading you with such fantasies.
Our union is at a crossroads. One fork leads into a haunted wood where fastballs scream by letter-high and breaking balls dip the moment we’re convinced that we can barrel them up; the other plummets into DFA hell.
Throughout history great leaders inspire their people to rally against the tides of history when the ocean of current events swells against them; that through strokes of sacrifice and conviction, we can come together and sail to the shore of success. We might strive against these waves, but their insurmountable force would shatter the oars of our ambitions. I cannot send my fellow Naquinheads to drown in this storm that batters our dreams on all sides, tears the sails of our resolve, off-kilters the keel of our passions.
There is no safe harbor to which we can sail. We boarded a Clipper, believing it to be a battleship fit for the Major League seas. Is it any wonder that we’ve thrashed upon the shoals of reality?
All Naquinheads now face a choice as the buoyancy of our union fails. We may clamor for the lifeboats, rowing with haste toward the USS Jones or Johnson, those new but untested crafts fresh from the shipyard. Or, we may stay aboard our vessel and face the uncertain perils that await us with grim determination and loyalty.
You may notice that I am addressing your today while wearing a life vest. I, fellow Naquinheads, have made my decision. I stand by it. It has been a pleasure to serve with you these long, torturous years, and I hold dear the delusions we shared.
Should the union survive this existential threat, I will salute it without irony or remorse. To those who accuse me of abandoning my post, I simply say, “Yep”.
God bless you, and may god save the Union of the Naquinheads from the eternal damnation of the depths.