I'm not an audible gasper. Occasionally when I see something viscerally beautiful (a brilliant defensive play, a Chris Thile mandolin solo, a particularly devastating debate victory) I will instead laugh. I can't help it.
But when Adam Jones leapt over the wall to catch Manny Machado's home run late Saturday night, it was so unbelievable, so unexpected, and so perfect that I gasped. I woke my wife up. I mean, look at this thing:
But in the slow-mo replay, it soon became evident to me: if Jones' catch was a knockout blow or a buzzer-beater (happening in an impossible instant, taking a moment to register), the replay that showed the crowd's face was a slow-developing work of art that would make the entire Renaissance envious. It was a snapshot of humanity. Let's break it down.
First, here's the entire shot.
Take that in for a minute. Just let it sink in. This is George Washington, Abe Lincoln, and Chuck Norris in a Ford, discussing skyscrapers while they fly over the Grand Canyon. This is a Bald Eagle eating a bear.
Now, let's break down the participants:
1. Matt, Probably
I don't know why I think this guy's name is Matt, other than I have never seen a more obvious Matt in my life. Matt is the guy at the party who is appropriately impressed at your tricks without making a big embarrassing deal out of it. "Bro, you executed a perfect reverse pike into the jello pool? Nice!"
2. The Nihilist
Your man has seen the utter banality of all of mankind's desires and the ultimate meaninglessness of their fulfillment. He has seen the darkness in the heart of man, and has come to accept the idea that his fate is ultimately no different than that of the most craven and vicious among us.
Either that, or he is currently being choked out. That's also a possibility.
4. The Bourgeois Struggle
This man is attempting to hold a beer, catch a baseball, experience the beauty in front of him, wear that particular headband, and all the while keep waving that American flag. I feel you, pal.
5. The Guy Who Also Laughs at Beauty
I know exactly what is going on with this big dumb dopey face, because I already described in the intro a few things that bring this precise look to my face. This guy is just enjoying the moment. Good for him.
6. The Guy Who Gets It.
This guy gets it. He absolutely understands what is happening in front of him, and the full weight of the moment has caused his jaw to go slack, his eyebrows attempting to pull the drawstrings back up.
7. The Yankees Fan Who Almost Wrecked It.
Man, Zack Hample looks like crap now.