Saturday, April 27, 2013

Peanuts and CrackerJack

  • I really don't know about this whole "planned suckage" things the Cubs have going on.  The strategy seems to be "we're going to be horrible on purpose for 3 years while we develop the farm system, and then, boy, we'll really have something."  
    • My dad says the Royals had the same plan a few years ago and now it's finally coming to fruition this year.  Hmm...
    • Even if it works long-term, how is it motivational to your players?  Wanna play in the big leagues, son?  Your team is probably only going to win 50 games - heck, that's why we're picking you, you're not really that good - but the perks are nice, so come along for the ride!  Seriously, who wants to play for that?
    • Paraphrasing a commenter from another blog: Ok, let's say it works, and we suck for 3, even 5 years, but long-term, we get good.  I'm 31, I've got time.  But the 98-year-olds who have been waiting their whole lives might not appreciate this plan quite so much.
  • The Cubs have won 2 in a row.  Gosh, is that a streak?  
  • Darwin Barney.  Sigh...What can I say? I have a thing for middle-infielders.
  • The National League really, really, really, really, really needs to not adopt the DH rule.  It's for sissies.
  • I don't understand pitching management strategy.  What is it with needing to have a new pitcher for practically every hitter, especially in the late innings?  And why the obsession with right hand vs. left hand pitchers and hitters? I mean, it really is an obsession.  Just listen to anybody call a ballgame these days - it's practically all they can talk about anymore.  That and the nachos.  Did it used to be like this? Were Willie, Mickey, and the Duke having pitchers rearranged just for them?  And how come nobody is allowed to pitch a complete game anymore?  And can someone - anyone - tell me why Carlos Marmol is allowed anywhere near a baseball? 
  • I miss Harry Caray.  Also Ryne Sandberg - who is not dead, but conspicuously absent.  
  • I would love to go back to the Hall of Fame.  A person could spend several days in there, and Cooperstown is just the cutest little town, besides.   
  • I'm not much of a Twins fan.  They're fine, I guess, they're just not my team.  But putting the Twins game on late at night just to hear it in the background reminds me so much of hot summer nights at my grandpa's farm.  I moved around a ton as a kid, and with different places, routines naturally change.  There are very few things - especially non-church related things - that I would identify as "stuff we always did".  Watching/listening to the Twins when we were at Grandpa's is one of them.  
  • "Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for a friend."  I'm entirely certain that taking an errant 90 mph fastball to the shin or the elbow falls into this category.
  • There's just something about baseball.  Football is fine, it's great in the fall - it's perfect for falling asleep in front of.  But it's  There's no romance to football, or even hockey.  The sounds of football are the sounds of a car accident - helmets and pads crashing together, leaving people buried under 1000 pounds of...each other.  But the sounds of baseball...the crack of the bat, the way a hard-hit line drive snaps into the glove...the "whump" of sliding into third base...the infield chatter and the dugout chatter...the lone "I got it" that rises from a group of players all huddling under a popup...
    • You know what?  Times are tough.  Money is tight for everyone, and baseball isn't what it used to be.  There are more statistics than you can shake a stick at (does anyone really care if Alfonso Soriano has an OBP of .162 if there are less than 2 outs in the 4th inning when facing LHPs who were born south of the Mason-Dixon line, and the starting game time temp was between 65° and 84°?), managers change pitchers with the same frequency that I stand up to stretch my hips that are cramping up from sitting in a seat that is smaller than an airplane seat, and beer costs more money than my car, practically. Advertising is ubiquitous, and the unholiness that comes from mind-boggling amounts of money being wrapped in...anything...hasn't left baseball alone.
    • But scrape together the bucks - or heck, find a AAA or AA or even a semi-pro or high school team, and play hooky some afternoon.  Load up on the sunscreen (see, and my mom thinks I don't listen to her), and go take in a game.  Go early, so you can watch batting practice, and maybe even collect an autograph or two.  Don't forget to take your glove!  What if a foul ball or home run comes your way?  Buy a hot dog, for crying out loud.  And keep score!  Always, always keep the score!  Stay late, and watch as the players collect their kiddos from the stands and walk through the outfield with them, just me-'n'-dad, trudging out to touch the ivy at Wrigley. 
  • There is a hope, and an optimism, that comes naturally with baseball.  I think, perhaps, because the opening of the season mirrors the slow warming trends of spring and summer, because the days get longer, and the sun shines brighter, and there's this sense that, yes, the world is still good.  There's the hope that comes from the sheer odds that, over 162 games, somebody is going to get something right, eventually.  Got swept by the Cards?  Well, you'll see them again next week, and everybody gets another shot.  Didn't watch the ball all the way into your glove, and so the routine grounder to third rolled right between your legs?  Embarrassing!  But get your head back in the game, and hey! look! Here comes another one, good, got it this time!    
  • I think this is why they call it America's Pastime. Because we hold these truths to be self-evident- that all men are created equal.  And in baseball, everybody's got a shot.  This is a game where kids barely old enough to drink the overpriced beer at the stadium are going head-to-head with guys who could be their dad.  Grizzly old veterans looking for one more year, one more game, one more shot at greatness are sitting on the same bench as starry-eyed teenagers who can barely believe this is for real.  Preppy white kids who grew up in rich suburbs on competitive teams with participation fees higher than their parents' mortgage payments are up against guys from the poorest countries in the world who have one wooden bat to their name and dreams of a visa to come play in America.  Even the fat old guy in the bleachers and the little kid just learning tee-ball both have a chance at the same foul ball.  And it's anybody's guess how it's all going to turn out.  
  • So this spring, and summer - dig out your old tshirt or jersey from the bottom dresser drawer and put it on.  Go soak up some Vitamin D.  Pay too much for a beer.  Snag a foul ball, and if you're feeling nice, give it to the first-grader sitting in front of you.  High-five a stranger.  Remember that amidst all of the junk this world has to throw at us, life is still good.  (If you're a Cubs fan, memorize Romans 5:3-4 before you go.☺) Put your hand over your heart and look at the flag during the national anthem.  Sing loud during the 7th inning stretch.  And for heaven's sake, buy yourself some peanuts and crackerjack!

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My Comments Policy: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23