The chatter on this very site the last few days, and probably all around the wigwam, is about whether the Cleveland Indians should call up top prospect Francisco Lindor. Andrew Schmid says don’t do it yet. Kyle Downing says do it, but just as a part-time role. And surely someone recently said to just call the guy up. Unless the orginal argument came from Lucifer himself, then I must protest. I will not condone blaspheming.
Both have their merits. The kid needs more seasoning and Jose Ramirez is comporting himself quite well at short. Having him on the team and playing sparingly might be good for him to get used to the world of Major League Baseball so when he takes the job full-time he’s not overwhelmed by the other stuff, not to mention the injection of defensive prowess he’d bring. But I say do neither. I say for the good of all of us, to secure a future for the human race, give Francisco Lindor to NASA. Send him to Mars.
A bold decision you say? You’re right, it’s right out of left field, barely even considered by the finer baseball minds. Or the finest space minds, for that matter. But I think it would work out great for us, even if it does cost the top prospect in the Cleveland system. Let’s face it, Mars is the next frontier. If Earth’s population continues to grow at this rate we’ll run out of land. We’re not going to be able to survive in undersea bases, the pressure is too high and we don’t breathe water. Yet. Plus with all the methane hydrate being released from the arctic and other seabed pockets, the temperature is rising and soon the oceans will be too acidic for anything but jellyfish. Have you ever touched a jellyfish? They’re gross. They’re nasty to eat too, especially without peanut butter, which climate change will surely wipe out. Not to mention all the plastic we’re pumping into the oceans. Sooner or later it will be just a shifting morass of artificial quicksand. I’d love for us to explore the ocean and understand it as we do the air, but it’s just not feasible, and soon not livable. And we’ve got rovers on Mars already. It’s like a baby Earth if we do things right. We should send our best and brightest there to begin the process. Lindor is literally the best the Indians have to offer. Plus, with his build he wouldn’t be a good candidate for under the sea living, he’s too svelte. The pressure is so great, you want a stout man, like Roberto Perez or Carlos Santana. Someone with that catcher build. Shortstops are for space.
Logistically, it makes sense. Shooting a rocket to Mars costs a lot of money and fuel, and the calculations are madness. Ever play Kerbal Space Program? I have, I never even breached the atmosphere. Keeping weight down is necessary – it costs more than $1000 per pound just to get something into orbit, and that’s being conservative. Every pound counts and at 175 pounds Lindor is a great candidate. Ideally we’d go with Jose Altuve, but he has other issues Lindor doesn’t that we’ll get to in a minute. Lindor also probably eats less than the average astronaut, so that’s less Tang and dehydrated water that needs sending, less MRE’s that all taste faintly of Salisbury steak even if it says chicken cacciatore on the label. Until the federal government gives NASA the type of money they give the defense department we need to squeeze these pennies.
Then of course we come to the most important part of this whole trip – actually being on Mars. The real reason I want to send Lindor is that he’s a supreme athlete in incredible shape. We’re going to need someone like that to battle the beings we find on the planet. I know, we saw nothing from Curiosity, Opportunity or Spirit, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Perhaps they live in a subtly different wavelength that our cameras can’t quite pick up. Perhaps they move in a way that takes them out of the frame rate the rovers’ cameras see with. Perhaps they just stand behind the damn thing because it’s slow as molasses, and it takes 13 minutes for a command to reach it. Lindor has baseball vision- generally around 20/15 if not better, baseball players have better than perfect vision. We’ll need that to fight in case these beings are hostile.
Along with that, he’s surely strong as he’s an athlete, but he’s also very quick, as befits someone who profiles to be a superb defensive shortstop. If you’ve seen the movie John Carter or read the book A Princess of Mars, you know that the character that came from Earth found that he suddenly had seeming super powers. The lessened gravity on the planet made him able to leap a far distance, punch like a freight train and basically outmatch the greatest of warriors on physicality alone. So we know Lindor will be strong enough, one of the few question marks on his resume here on Earth. But that quickness and lateral movement, not to mention a laser rocket throwing arm, he’d put John Carter to shame. Where Carter was simply a soldier who thought in a straight ahead fashion and fought like it, Lindor could use wits, speed and agility to defeat his enemies, deliver the knockout blow in a leaping, twirling uppercut, or just nail the guy with a rock from three hundred feet away. I mentioned that Altuve might be a good choice for weight issues, but I don’t trust his arm as much, that’s why he’s at second and not short. Plus he’s got short arms. In a fight, I don’t care how powerful you are, you’d rather have long arms. Keep your distance from that beast with 1000 teeth and razor claws.
Scientists have long theorized that if we were to populate Mars, the lessened gravity of the planet would lead to a race of people that are skinny, long-limbed and oddly angular. Whenever we imagine aliens, what do we see? Long legs and arms, a big head because we assume their brain has evolved to a tremendous size, and not a lot of muscle mass. It’s likely to happen to us in a lower gravity environment. Guess what – Lindor is already there. He won’t have to go through the transition, he’s made it this far in life just being a rail of a kid. Not only that, he’s so young, he’s still developing genetically. The way the current astronaut track looks it takes until you’re in your mid-30’s at least to even make it to the waiting room to space. We can leapfrog that so we don’t just have big military types that don’t have the room or genetic capability to change in the queue, and use this young gun that can be shaped by his environment. He’s half way there already.
Scouts rave about pretty much everything that Lindor does, one of his finest attributes being his makeup. The kid is just ebullient. He loves life. It’s helpful in a major league clubhouse, but even more so when you’re all by yourself for months on the Red Planet. Perhaps we could send a robot with him that makes wry quips, but he’d effectively be the only human on the entire planet. That could break a negative man, but I feel confident Lindor would be able to gut it out until we got him reinforcements in the form of Andrelton Simmons. He’ll also be a good ambassador should he cross paths with a Martian or other traveler. I can’t call them aliens, since Lindor himself would be an alien. If the first person you met was Francisco Lindor you’d love humanity unconditionally. If it were Corey Kluber you might think we’re just a race of automatons.
Obviously, one has to wonder what the Indians would get back in a trade like this. One option would be to do it for straight up cash. NASA has a ton of money- their budget is $18.4 billion, more than twice the total revenues of all of Major League Baseball. If they want the perfect subject for a trip to Mars, you’d think they would be able to pay 1% of their budget. That’s $184 million, or twice the current payroll of the Indians. That’s a nice nest egg for the front office to be able to sit on and be able to make moves with, and I’m lowballing NASA on that one. If they don’t want money, perhaps some rocket scientist talent. Trajectories, exit velocities and parabolic arcs are the lifeblood of rocket science as well as baseball. Perhaps having the best minds in rocketry will revolutionize how players swing the bat so every hit goes 10% further or whatever. In this current era of moribund offense that’s a massive bump. It’d be a massive bump in any era, more than steroids ever allegedly did. We’ve seen the last decade or so that innovative minds in the front office can reshape the entire game of baseball, wouldn’t the loss of the amazing Lindor be worth that?
The human race must look to the stars for its future, it’s simple as that. Mother Earth has been good to us even as we’ve neglected her in the recent decades and centuries, giving us all we need to rise to our best. But we must grow, and she can’t be there all the time. We must look to our solar system and make Sol our home, not just Earth. What better ambassador/beachhead for the human race on Mars than Francisco Lindor? He’s the complete package for the most perfect of games, it stands to reason he’d be perfect for this mission. He would be a legend not of just Cleveland and the Indians but all of us, on the level of Churchill, Einstein, or Galileo. I’ll miss him, the whole of Indiansdom will. But for the greater good, the sacrifice must be made.