]Fun and Games

Where can we turn in these days of turmoil, pestilence, angry mobs, quick triggers, and pepper shortages? For me, it’s the old reliable, that which used to be known as the national pastime (Statcast now has it ranked number seven, just below whining about the price of gasoline and just above shopping for underwear). Yes, I mean baseball. It doesn’t have to be going in person to one of our many major league ballparks. You don’t have to go to Omaha for the College World Series. You don’t need to buy a ticket to attend a game in one of our fourteen remaining minor league parks or sit on the bleachers at your local American Legion baseball yards. Goodness no, just get out there in your backyard and have a session of Whiffleball with the family. Oh. It’s too hot. Ah, well, just turn on the tube. Remember when we called it the tube?

Now, a quick word from Uber: Now that you can order anything from Uber Eats, can you eat anything you get from Uber Eats? Well, if you’re as smart as Uber apparently thinks you are, you might try. I don’t know.

Seriously, things are tough all over and getting tougher. It’s like we’ve become permanent teenagers: one apocalypse after another. To make matters worse, the Yankees are winning every blooming game they play and Aaron Judge is the new Roger Maris. We’re kind of back in the 60s. Heavens to Murgatroyd. Like the 60s, change is in the air. Manfred Mann and the other bosses are stirring the pot. Here come larger bases. Maury Wills and Lou Brock are old, old news. Here come robotic balls and strikes. Do you enjoy arguing with a robot? About as much as dialing customer service at any insurance company, I bet.

Now, a quick word from Geico: Having a gecko for a spokesperson means that you could save hundreds on car insurance without ever having to think at all. Call now and I guarantee you won’t hear from me because I only talk on TV. I’ve got a contract, and you don’t.

Here come pitch clocks and banning defensive shifts. Where’s Mike Hargrove when you need him? I’m in favor of players learning how to bunt and how to go the other way but that, like teaching pitchers how to pace themselves, would take far too much time in this day and age of instant gratification/mortification. So grin and bear it .

It’s being an unusual season but unusual is the new usual. One thing that no one seems to be talking about is the high number of injuries that just about every team has been dealing with. Back in March, the word was that spring training was really not necessary because these well to do athletes of the 21st century keep themselves in good shape between seasons with personal trainers etc, etc. Uh huh. Also, now that no one is stupid enough to let any pitcher exceed 100 pitches for starters or pitch at all more than three or four times a week for relievers, they don’t get hurt. Right. Might want to try letting them rest more often when they are growing up. No, the lockout was not good for the game. But when fans say good for the game they mean the game. For owners, it seems good for the game means dollars.

Now, a quick word from Budweiser: Freedom. Red, White and Blue. Clydesdales. We make the best American beer from France that you can buy. Slurp it up.

As we head toward mid season, there are many things to be thankful for amid all the stress and struggle. The Atlanta Braves are looking like the best team in ball again. The Pittsburgh Pirates are not winning a lot, but it finally is looking like they want to try again. Bob Melvin has the San Diego Padres looking like the top notch team that all of the pundits thought they were last year. Buck Showalter continues to show that integrity can be contagious. And how about those Cleveland Guardians? Bravo, Terry Francona. We are all hoping for a happy and healthy continuation of this season. Because it sure as hell isn’t happening most other places.

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