They said the world needed Angela Merkel. As 2016 increasingly began to resemble a drift, mid-Atlantic in a life raft made of soap, hers was the hefty siding, the bulwark and the port of understandability, rationality and groundedness.
This week, as Italy voted to de-facto snub the single European currency, as the Russian backed Syrian regime re-established a stranglehold in riven Aleppo and an Austrian fascist came worryingly close to capping off this year’s mystifying global far-right surge two other things happened.
The one brought a face-slapping yawn of despair, the other a dose of much needed karmic balance.
Just as Merkel was announcing her support for a ban on the Islamic burqa – a tactic to ward off the electoral charge of Germany’s own alt-right insurgents, the AfD which called her own liberal credentials to question – some 4000 plus miles away in National Harbour, Maryland Dave Dombrowski was doing what he does.
Not content with coughing up a haul of prospects for Brewers relief stud Tyler Thornburg, Dombrowski – aping his namesakes Copperfield and Blaine – conjured a stunning ‘prestige’, snatching White Sox lefty ace Chris Sale in a deal headlined by baseball’s number one prospect, Yoan Moncada.
Ken Rosenthal had it first.
It says everything, both of this year’s ability to outrage and the Red Sox GM’s capacity for the unexpected, that this behaviour feels totemic, almost comforting.
2016 marks modern history’s high-water mark of unpredictability, the year the punditocracy lost the plot.
And yet, here’s Trader Dave, eyes ablaze pulling another unpredicted fast one as an entire sport looks the other way.
And there at the heart of that tumult, relief.
In the year crazy became normal, it’s important to remember how crazy used to look.
The Donald might well have nodded approvingly as his infamous Twitter timeline filled with exasperated reaction to the day’s big breaking news; thumbed his desktop copy of The Art of the Deal, pouted and purred – ‘get me Dombrowski on the phone’.
But Dave was busy. As the world turned from Merkel, he turned to Mitch Moreland.
And we should all be glad. Glad of this chaotic, whirlwind corner of continuity, of normalcy.
Glad that for all this, Dave’s still Dave.