Nothing is promised to Chris Coghlan. He has already had a good run as a Major League player, as these things go, but it has never been anything but an uneasy one. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2009, but he has never quite been an everyday player since then. He won a historically significant World Series ring with the Chicago Cubs last year, but was cut loose days later and was waived by the Philadelphia Phillies at the end of spring training this year. He is a roughly normal-sized adult whose objectively superhuman hand-eye skills are not quite superhuman enough to guarantee him a big league job every season. He signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays in early April, after Daniel Nava beat him out for that roster spot in Philadelphia. He turns 32 in June.
All of which is to say, again, that nothing is promised to Chris Coghlan. Heading into Tuesday night's action, Coghlan had seven strikeouts and three hits in 22 plate appearances for the Blue Jays, which is the sort of showing that tends to remind a member of baseball's precariat just how precarious his existence is. Coghlan is the sort of player who does not need this sort of motivation; you need only witness how vigorously he does things like straightening his jock to apprehend that Coghlan cannot do anything in a chilled-out way. Whether this is because he knows he cannot afford to do it or because he does not understand how to do it is academic. Here is a man who simply has no lollygag in his being.
So think of what happened in the seventh inning of Tuesday night's game against the Cardinals as a perfect storm of highly caffeinated ridiculousness. Kevin Pillar lofted a ball to deep right; Stephen Piscotty could not catch it and the ball rolled back towards the infield; your man Cogz was on first base, and busted ass around the bases with a righteous fury and decided that he would score on this play; Piscotty's throw home was up the line but ahead of schedule. And in that last moment there was a time of choosing, an instant in which Coghlan could have slid into home and taken his chance or quite literally put his life at risk by wildly committing his body to the air in hope that he could give his team a seventh-inning lead in a late April game. If you have read this far, you know how this went.
Nothing is promised to Chris Coghlan, from this moment forward and in all the moments before. But when the end comes, we can all know that it will be because he just can't do his impossible job well enough anymore. It's either that or him bursting into flames while attempting to jump over a tag. That moment will come, one way or another, but it will never be because he pulled up or opted out. It's up to you whether this is to his credit or not. But it's a fact, captured on video in an early April game of no great import, that Chris Coghlan will absolutely die for this shit.
In our excitement to discuss Chris Coghlan's crazy play we, um, jumped the gun and thought this was an inside-the-park home run. We regret the error, but not the enthusiasm.