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Pete Alonso Emo Chat, With Lindsey Adler

Pete Alonso high-fives his teammates in the Mets dugout after hitting a two-run homer against the Cubs on August 9, 2023.
Al Bello/Getty Images

On Wednesday night, I watched the single worst reliever on the stripped-down New York Mets close out a 4-3 win. I did this because I was already at the ballpark and my personal values/defects do not permit me to leave under those circumstances; I imagine it's clear by now that I am not "bragging" about this. But, packed onto the subway on the way home, I had one of those August Feelings that you might have if you care about baseball. Do I really need to be doing this? I thought, as the crush of people around me turned the train's internal climate into what I can only describe as "an air-conditioned mouth." Is this really something a person should be doing? On this week's episode, I put that question, pretty much in those terms, to co-host Tom Ley and returning champion guest Lindsey Adler of The Wall Street Journal.

To be clear, these are rhetorical questions where I am concerned. Even if I didn't think I should be doing this sort of thing—I am of the opinion that life is for the living and that sometimes dumb things are fine—I know very well that I would hate having to stop even if I wanted to. But August is the time to think about this. It's when the baseball season feels longest and most inconsequential, and all those humid and insignificant longueurs will naturally make a person wonder whether they maybe should try caring about something else, and this is true even before the dreary realities of nighttime subway service come into play. I will not pretend that the Mets don't have something to do with this existential conundrum, but I believe this feeling to be universal enough to talk about it.

And, as it turned out, we talked about all of it. We talked about August—how hard it is on dogs and also on people, and the ways it can derange or delight a baseball fan depending upon their perspective—and we also talked about baseball. Kind of a lot about baseball, actually, which is a reflection both of it being August and me being in charge of the podcast with Drew still on vacation. If I want to talk about which team had the most infuriating trade deadline, we're going to damn well do it! And if I want Lindsey to explain just how weird relief pitchers are or to tell the story of how Pete Alonso and his former high school classmate, who is now the lead singer of the emo act Pool Kids, came back into each others' lives ... well, I asked politely, and she did. I was polite, as I was the host. The "we're going to damn well do it" bit is just for effect. I try to be nice.

The episode is a little loose and a little long, but I think that fits both the season and the subject, and also it was probably inevitable given that I was driving. But also Tom and Lindsey, low-key though they both are as conversationalists, are very pleasant to talk to, and after a losing a week to quarantining I was mostly just enjoying myself too much to stop. By the time we got to the back end, we had come to something like a full answer of the questions that gently tormented me on the 7 train. By then we had talked about baseball, the holy fourth starters of our youths, and also about our specific goofy versions of self-care and the priorities they reflect, and how a person is supposed to be in August. Also Lindsey described a guy she saw reading The Body Keeps The Score at a Boygenius concert. That's about as complete a response to August-scented doubt/dread as I could ask for.

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