Happy Holidays

Carlos Rodon wants a seven year contract after having two consecutive pretty good, healthy seasons. Aaron Judge effectively pantsed the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants on his way to a very fat contract with the team he has already been playing for after having a great season. Those are not examples of corruption Those are examples of what the George Clooney character in the movie Intolerable Cruelty called “negotiating”. No, corruption is more like major league baseball umpires wearing patches for all to see that say FTX, the now out of favor crypto whatever company. Now MLB has a chance to agree to never ever put advertising on umpires’ uniforms again, but what do you think the odds are that they won’t? Speaking of odds, corruption is MLB selling advertising space and time to parasites that encourage people to bet their money on games and any number of other sports events while banning Pete Rose for associating with such parasites while he was playing and managing. They like to call it gambling, but it’s only a gamble if you have a chance to win.

It’s not, of course, just baseball. During the gloomy days when baseball lies dormant, hard core addicts like myself have to pacify ourselves with Strat-O-Matic , the board game, reading books, physical exercise like walking the dogs, household chores and what not. However, this off season has been different. This year, thanks to corruption, we have the World Cup. F.I.F.A, which I believe stands for Fatcat International Futbol Association, holds this event every four years. Kind of like the Olympics, which is another corrupt organization. Usually, the World Cup is held during the Summer. Here in 2022, FIFA is holding the event, which is rightfully touted as the most popular sporting event in the world, in Qatar. Qatar is an uninhabitable , wretched piece of desert where 2.6 million people “live” with the highest per capita income in the world. The piles of money come from natural gas and oil reserves. The people live under Sharia law. Alcohol consumption and illicit sexual relations are punishable by flogging. Persons found guilty of adultery get 100 lashes. Apostasy, which means renunciation of Islam, and homosexuality are crimes and they are both punishable by death. Grant Wahl, a fine journalist and a person of honor and compassion is now dead. Wahl went to the World Cup in Qatar. He was denied entry to a stadium because he was wearing a t-shirt with a rainbow that espoused support for homosexual, bisexual and transgender people and his cell phone was confiscated. He fell ill with what he thought was probably bronchitis, sought medical treatment and received what he described as a strong cough syrup and antibiotics. Then, a healthy man of 48 who was fine before arriving in Qatar suddenly collapsed and died at a soccer match. His brother believes he was murdered, and I really hope that an independent autopsy is performed because otherwise I would agree with his brother. The World Cup is being held in December because the temperatures in Summer would make it unbearable to play or watch in person. There have also been many deaths to migrant laborers from other hapless places on Earth who worked on the various sites for the games to be played and the players, coaches, and spectators to be temporarily housed. Billions of dollars were spent on that and who knows how much was spent to convince the FIFA folks to make such a stupid mistake.

Despite all of the wickedness, there I have been, following the whole thing and hoping that the beautiful game would somehow help me overcome the revulsion. I was doing all right, just feeling a bit hypocritical, until the match between Argentina and the Netherlands on Friday. After all, it’s a bit unfair to be all upset about the murderous or unhealthy practices of rulers of other countries when you live in a place that became an empire based on the ancient traditions of slavery and genocide. Who are we to talk?And what is the real working religion all over the world? More than Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or anything it seems to be money is God universally.

Anyway, the quarter final game between the Dutch and Argentina was evenly matched. However, thanks to very poor refereeing, the game got ugly toward the end and yellow cards that should have been given much earlier in the game dominated the final 15 minutes or so. I’d been rooting for Argentina for most of the game but gave that up after many incidents of poor sportsmanship and downright dirty tactics. Argentina eventually won on penalty kicks after extra time ended with a 2-2 draw. Then, Lionel Messi, considered by many to be the best player in the world, showed himself to be a sore winner. Not satisfied with the victory, the Argentine who plays very well but with no apparent joy, proceeded to taunt the losing team and prove himself to be a whiny loser. He complained that the Dutch coach, who is widely respected, “disrespected him” before the match. It was already difficult to respect Messi after learning he had made some sort of business deal with folks in Saudi Arabia, the home of Prince Dismember, who authorized the disappearance of a journalist he didn’t like a while back.

So it is not a pretty world and I guess that’s not news.You can play for the Cleveland Browns after sexually assaulting about 20 women but not if you take a knee during The Star Spangled Banner, an anthem that celebrates bombs bursting in air. Because protesting police brutality is more of a crime to some people, apparently.

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