Vibe Check: It’s Just A Game, Bro

Stretch out, light some incense, and let’s check the vibes.  

Hello! Welcome to Vibe Check, a weekly roundup article where we just sit back, take a deep breath, maybe brew a cup of tea (oolong if you have it) and just kind of take the temperature on what’s going on around Major League Baseball. So stretch out, light some incense, and let’s check the vibes.  

This week around the league, there were reminders everywhere that baseball is just a game. That’s not to sound reductive or dismissive, it’s something integral to the good vibes of the whole MLB. Players having fun, weird stuff happening, all of it comes from the silly place we all keep in the back of our heads when we watch baseball, that little voice that tells you: it’s just a game, bro. If it weren’t for that voice, the vibes of the league would be all out of whack. It’s like watching a Will Smith RomCom (fine I’ll just say Hitch) except Will Smith thinks he’s in Concussion. Or if you just put Will Smith from the Atlanta Braves in Hitch. All credit to him, he’s a fine pitcher, I just don’t think he’d hack it as Kevin James’ dating coach in mid-2000’s New York. The vibes would be askew, you know? 





I have incredible news. The 2021 Boston Red Sox have impeccable, unassailable vibes. 

Entering May with the best record in baseball, it’s hard to believe this is the same time that’s just a year removed from a last place divisional finish and a .400 record. The biggest change, aside from the whole winning games thing, is how much fun they’re having. They’re just Vibe Titans, out there winning baseball games and loving every second of it. A lot of that credit goes to Rafael Devers, a perennial middle schooler who hits moonshots and loves life. 

Watch this clip. 

And tell me there’s someone out there right now living a better life than Rafi. There simply isn’t. And you know why? Rafi cracked the code. He knows he’s a millionaire from hitting a ball with a stick and you just can’t teach that kind of energy. 




One of the greatest joys of baseball is a position player pitching. It’s all the more fun when the position player owns the mound when he’s up there. 

The sheer joy with which Anthony Rizzo showboats after striking out Freddie Freeman, and the gigantic smile Freeman has as he walks out of the box? No notes. More of this, please. In fact, this is objectively better than the man on second rule in extra innings, right? Can we do this? Each team sends a position player to pitch in extras. It’s probably a terrible change to our beloved game, but it’s entertaining and really can’t be worse. 





On the other side of it, I really wish the umps knew this was just a game sometimes because they take it way too seriously. 


Say what you will about Marty Foster making this call – it’s a Bad Vibe call all the way. Real quick explanation if it’s not clear, but Foster calls the runner safe because their path was obstructed when Zack Godley entered the base path to field the ball. 

Look, baseball doesn’t have to be governed by only good vibes (or else Aroldis Chapman wouldn’t be in the league, classic Bad Vibes guy) but maybe the umps need to take the temperature real quick on plays like this. 





Last Sunday, Madison Bumgarner threw a no-hitter. Unfortunately, it was only a 7-inning game. It’s not a Greinke clip, but it’s powerful Greinke vibes and that’s what we’re really here for. 

The way that Bumgarner seems to want no part of the celebration, and even seems a little confused as soon as the game ends is peak Greinke. There’s been some chatter that this isn’t a no-hitter, because it wasn’t a full 9-inning game. To that, I ask a simple question: did Bumgarner give up a hit before the game ended? No? Sounds like a no-hitter. 

Also, not sure if I mentioned this before, but Madison Bumgarner once dated a girl named Madison Bumgarner. It doesn’t really factor into the no-hitter vs. not a no-hitter debate, but I don’t know if I’m capable of writing about Madison Bumgarner without relaying this information.

Just let him have it. 


Championship Vibes

How are the Mariners?


Who is José Marmolejos and why is he on this title-contending team?

Ben Ellenberg

Ben lives in Los Angeles and is almost always thinking about Tony Gwynn stuff.

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