More than any other professional sport, there's a certain romanticism about baseball and the season it's played in. While football's first few weekends signify #hoodieszn and the relief that comes with no longer drowning in sweat the moment you step out of the shower, soon enough your windows are shut and you're watching the NFL with the heat on. The NBA begins on Halloween, but by the time it's over it's paged through Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, and all the sudden it's warm again.
But baseball is summer. The majority of the MLB's obnoxiously long 162 game season takes place from May to September, when you're adorned in shorts, guzzling beers that have warmed by the time you've finished and participating in the constant murmur that makes a ballpark on a summer night feel like a living thing.
It's only right, then, with all these feelings being stirred and whipped around like batter, to have an object of your affection. Mine just so happens to be Andrew Miller.
Very few players in baseball make for appointment viewing. A plate appearance by Bryce Harper fits the bill, as does a fastball from Aroldis Chapman. The murderer's row of Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista work too. Those guys' presence feels like an event inside a sport that's nine inning format makes for good background fodder, or the alternate screen in our second screen society.
Andrew Miller, though, is a different sort of "must-see." Watching the 6-foot-7 southpaw reliever pitch is like achieving nirvana. It's like combing the sand in your zen garden. It's like watering your bonsai tree. Watching Andrew Miller pitch is like watching perfection in human form.
Let's start with his face. Andrew Miller's face is a mask, covering the rage and destruction that lurks behind it. It looks nice enough, cordial and welcoming, covered in a patchwork beard that makes you say "aw, good try." Only after a strikeout does Miller reveal his true self, a quick look at the demon with in. Then it's gone, and Miller goes back to being the person you'd strike up a conversation with at a cocktail party.
Let's talk about his windup. The way he hides the ball in his left hand until the second it's released, like a comet hurdling toward Earth, unseen until it's turned your house to dust. The leg kick that's half Michael Jackson, half Jackie Chan. The praying mantis body that works in perfect concert, each limb doing its part, no more and no less.
Let's talk about the pitches themselves, the beautiful crescendo of Miller's pitching opera. If you're a right-hander, Miller's pitch come bearing in on you with the same ferocity of a yellow jacket who wants a taste of your open Coke. If you're a left-hander, why bother even coming out of the dugout? 'Cause if you do that baseball will run away from you like a corrupt congresswoman on Purge night.
So yeah, watching Andrew Miller pitch is like listening to Frank Ocean for the very first time. Because Andrew Miller is perfect.