I like to live vicariously through other people’s organization, so I sat down with Netflix’s latest “You’re Disgusting Capitalists, America!” program, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. In about 45 minutes she helps families clean their homes by sitting in the middle of their living room, greeting and thanking their house, and then telling them to get their crap together. She gets away with this because she is small and adorable, but should anyone plop down on my couch and announce they’re about to “greet my house,” they would find themselves greeting the sidewalk instead.
Marie suggested piling all your clothes in one place, then winnowing out unwanted items, being sure to hold and thank them first. If you tell anyone on the West Side to politely thank an item before pitching it in the Goodwill bag, you will be politely but firmly asked to leave the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast.
Marie also introduces such radical concepts as throwing away half-eaten food, maybe folding a tee shirt once in a while, and—this positively shocked the California couple who looked with round eyes at the two toddlers running rampant in their home—scolding children when necessary. I was all for this, because I have no children and sometimes my plants get tired of being scolded, so I like seeing someone else affirming the parenting style I have chosen for my non-existent offspring.
This show needs to be required watching for the entire Reds front office. Really all Marie does is ask everyone to think realistically about their assets and how their home functions, which is the same question I have for the Reds: Are you just reorganizing the closet over there, or are you actually making committed changes to how this team functions and thinks? Is this really Operation: Get Joey a Ring or have you merely wiped down the kitchen counters while meat that spoiled in 2002 is still hanging around the fridge?
Being overly clean has its drawbacks. You can ask Votto himself all about this. A while back the entire Reds press corps was hysterical with reports that Votto had been traded when they came upon his barren deluxe set of two lockers in the clubhouse, when, in fact, it was patiently pointed out that Votto just keeps a clutter-absent, tchotchke-free locker. The lack of understanding by journalists of who Votto really is reflects the whole town’s disconnect with this team over the past few seasons—who are we, really? Who are we trying to be? For how long?
These are questions we can’t answer ourselves, especially at this point in the grass-growing cycle. Maybe even the front office and the players themselves can’t answer it at this point. The reply will be slowly revealed pitch by pitch, running decision by running decision. Ideally, the answer of who this club is, with or without clutter, already has a baseline short answer to be fleshed out later with reference notes, supporting paragraphs, and a bibliography.
Being small and adorable and not much else isn’t going to work in the MLB. If it did, I’d have a line as the utility infielder.