Tag Archives: baseball

Take Me Out…

3 Apr

Yesterday I sat down to watch the opening day baseball game between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees. I have always enjoyed baseball, both watching and playing, but the least interesting thing to me at any baseball game these days is when the home team takes the time before the game to introduce both teams, including bench players and support staff, to the crowd and then makes all of them lineup along the baselines and doff their caps and wave.

Perhaps once upon a time this was okay because the players were regular working men, just like you or your dad, and these guys represented your home team, maybe for years on end and most likely throughout their entire careers, so it was nice to see them introduced and waving to the crowd while you waved back and got ready for the long season of baseball ahead…but now they are mostly all millionaire mercenaries who are just passing through your home town until their contracts expire or they are suspended for drug abuse or some other such extravagance.

Anyway, maybe it’s just a sign of my age, for all things change over time and those ball[players are wealthy because we baseball fans buy merchandise and memorabilia and watch on cable and at the ballpark in numbers and with a disposable income that would boggle any third world mind…and I have to also admit that my team, (like I’m a part owner) The Yankees, has a new pitcher on their staff that is paid more money than the entire Houston Astros team so…there is that bit of first world insanity.

And yet what flabbergasted me most during that interminably long opening ceremony was that one of the last members of the Houston Astros baseball team to be introduced was their Massage Therapist! There’s no massage in baseball!!! At least there never was. But if there now must be, can’t these guys afford their own massages???

I’m sure The Babe, Joe D. and Mickey indulged in some after game therapy of their own on occasion but they probably got the kind of massages that came with happy endings… and they paid for it themselves… at least!

Geez, baseball and full time massage therapy! It can’t get much better than that can it? Three hours of work every day… of which maybe 15 minutes actually involves their running around and performing at top skill proficiency. You wouldn’t think they’d need so many drugs to keep themselves in top shape, let alone massaging at regular intervals.

And then the game started and they all proceeded to play as though it were opening day at the local little league…what with all the tripping and the falling and the overthrowing and the bobbling… not to mention the swinging and the missing! Did you know that last year Major League Baseball players set a new major league record by collectively striking out over 36,000 times?! That’s at least 108,000 swings and misses. Throw in foul balls and pitches out of the strike zone and when you consider all of the nothing that happens at a ballgame, professional ball players make the opening day ceremonies look like a veritable Zumba Fitness Party!

Still with all of that twisting and turning and swinging and missing and falling over and getting up again, I guess it’s no wonder that having a regular massage therapist on board makes a lot of sense for a baseball team. And just to make sure, I even checked the Yankees roster on-line and yep, they have a massage therapist too! And wouldn’t you know it, they have someone on their staff that not even the Houston Astros have thought of employing…not yet anyway….

…and that would be Mr. Chad Bohling…Director of Mental Conditioning!

Maybe the Yankees are on to something. However, when it comes to baseball these days… and professional sports in general…I am beginning to believe that it’s us fans, and not the rich, pampered and adored players, who are really in need of having our heads examined.

 

I’ll Have What He’s Having

31 Oct

As a life long Yankee fan, I’ve been in on more than my fair share of celebrating World Series victories. Even though I’ve never played in one for the Yankees, as a fan, I know that it feels like they were doing it just for me. So congrats to the Red Sox Nation for having your day in Beantown. And I mean that sincerely, although I know that you may not believe me.

And as a partner in previous celebratory crime I have to say…Aren’t PEDs great?! If only we could all afford to take them and be like Giants, real, imagined or the kind that Barry Bonds played for.

Because if he looks like Barry Bonds, large body, larger head and improved physical prowess, all at age 38…Hits like Barry Bonds, 11 for 15 with 2 HRs, 2 Doubles and 6RBI, with a slugging percentage at an unbelievable 1.267 while reaching base 12 times in a row…

and no one wants to pitch to him anymore no matter what the game time, place or situation…like they did with Barry Bonds…

And he is not Barry Bonds.

Then he is definitely using Performance Enhancing Drugs too.

Or have we learned nothing while watching Major League Baseball since the 1990s?

I just hope that when they induct this millennial group of ball players into the Baseball hall of Fame, which they inevitably someday will, they put their plaques in a special wing entitled:

“I’ll have what he’s having.”

Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Pitchers

8 Sep

For some reason that I am not aware of, steroids do not appear to work as effectively on a baseball pitcher as they do on a baseball batter.

I have just watched the New York Yankees score 25 runs in the last 3 games and get clobbered in each game by the Boston Red Sox who scored 34 runs during that same span…not to mention the 20 runs they scored in the game the night before they flew into New York!

In all of my years watching baseball I have never seen anything like it…except in the little league minor leagues of my home town back in the 60’s when the Bisons defeated the Cubs 34-25 in one 6 inning game.

The Red Sox must be taking better drugs than the Yankees or perhaps they have been adding Abilify to their daily drug regimen for that extra oomph!

Whatever it is, I know I shouldn’t complain because my team has A-Roid but seriously, have you seen the Boston Red Sox lately? They all look and act like angry Viking Lumberjacks and I swear that when one guy runs into their dugout he soon runs out again sporting a full beard! It has to be drugs!

Even the announcers noted that one of the Sox players trained during the off season with the Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, who no longer looks at all like himself but rather more like the Hulk as compared to his former self, Dr. Bruce Banner after exposure to gamma radiation…

Come to think of it, the only pitchers who could get anybody out so far this weekend were all from Japan where perhaps Japan’s recent radiation woes and the Godzilla effect has come into play enhancing their arm strength and pitching abilities…?

Anyway, what has happened to baseball? Teams are not supposed to score 54 runs in 4 games. Besides the games are now all 8 hours long!

It has to be drugs of some kind or another because here in America we are responsible for taking 80% of all of the drugs that people take in the world…so it just kinda makes sense that it would be drugs, right?

And in a side note, J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks basketball team was just suspended for 5 games for smoking marijuana!

That’s so 50 years ago! I mean really…smoking marijuana? Today Guys in professional sports are sticking needles in their asses filled with chemicals that weren’t even invented yet back during the days of potheads and ponytails and we’re still suspending them for smoking weed?! In NYC they are stopping and frisking teenagers just to catch and incarcerate someone with a joint or two, while over in Yankee Stadium there must be whole pharmacies of modern day, mind bending and body enhancing drugs to catch people with!…and that’s probably just what’s in the pockets of the guys in the “cheap” seats let alone the locker rooms.

What I’d like to see is mandatory pot smoking in the major leagues just to slow today’s roid-ragers down long enough for me to keep score and follow the action.

But I digress…my real message to parents everywhere is, don’t let your children grow up to be pitchers! There’s no future in it…They’ll just meet up with a lot of disappointment, heartache, sore elbows, angry batsmen, apoplectic managers, disgruntled fans and loads of drugs…namely in the form of anti-depressants.

Better they just stick with the bat and the ball and hopefully lots of southern exposure to some good old fashion gamma rays… because if they want to become America’s future professional athletes then believe me, they’re probably going to need it.

Bizzarro Ball

20 Aug

Yesterday I may have witnessed the most entertaining baseball game in history.

It was already sure to be a barn burner because it featured that classic and age old rivalry of The mighty Yankees vs. the dreaded Red Sox when up to the plate stepped the Yankees third baseman, the most vilified baseball player of the modern era, A-Rod the Steroidable, while on the mound stood the home team’s hopeful and champion for goodness, Ryan the incorruptible Red Sock , Dempster.

It was a classic face off…good vs. evil…When low and behold the clouds darkened and The force for Goodness proceeded to throw 4 straight pitches at the evil Dr. of baseball, finally plunking him on the shoulder with his last pitch! The Red Sox hurler couldn’t have been more obvious about his evil intentions if he had strolled up to the plate, grabbed the bat from the Yankee batsman’s hands and whacked him upside the head with it… And all while the entire baseball world watched on TV!

Good assaulting evil? With malice aforethought? Why, that’s unheard of! It’s supposed to be the other way around. Even the umpire was so confused that he refused to throw the assaulting pitcher out of the game. One can’t punish good for doing wrong to evil can one?

Even the players of both teams were perplexed as they stormed from their opposing dugouts onto the field where, rather than engaging in angry fisticuffs, they began to mill around in confusion not knowing who to defend…or hit: The aggressive good guy who did a bad thing or the defenseless bad guy who was now the good guy just minding his own business at home?

Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, nearly died in a fit of apoplexy while cavorting about in front of the umpire trying to make sense of it all. “You should throw the bum out!” He appeared to be yelling while the umpire was trying to figure out which bum he meant.

And then from there the game simply,  evolved… or did it devolve…into a reverse…or was it perverse… form of hero saga as the Red Sox jumped into the lead by virtue of their righteous anger and mission to  show these once mighty Yankees and the world that cheating through the use of performance enhancing drugs would no longer and could never again be tolerated on such a stage!

But then, in a most bizarre twist of events, the Darth Vader of hardball, the man they now derisively called A-Roid, returned to the scene of the crime to once again stand at that fateful plate and face off against his Luke Sky-walker of a foe only to this time meet the mighty mounds-man’s  most righteous lightning bolt of a fastball with the mighty tha-whack! of a lecherous long-ball into the deepest depths of centerfield…

It was an A-bomb for A-Rod!

A shot heard round the house of he who has not sinned and far into the dark night of strange redemption… for what followed was a Yankees stampede of hits and runs that brought the forces of Red Sox goodness to their knees while elevating this cheating cheater (for it has been foretold that he hath cheated more than once!) and his cohorts to victory!

Have the Baseball Gods gone mad?

Has all hell broken loose?

For only in Bizarro World could such things happen!

And what does this portend for the future of our national pastime? Will A-Rod lead the forces of darkness through to the playoff wilderness and out into the light of the World Series, there to prevail in a bizarre and dark victory of un-justice???

Can you even imagine such a bizarre and twisted ending??? The accused and presumed guilty criminal achieving ultimate victory over his captors while out on bail and before his inevitable death sentence is served?

Why It’s unthinkable! Unheard of! Unheroic!

But in Bizarro world anything is possible!

That’s why from here on in my money’s on the Cubs!

Damn Senators!?

2 Apr

It’s only been 1 game but already my beloved Yankees are in last place. Many are predicting that this is the beginning of the end for this great sports dynasty in fact even the New York Yankees opened their 2013 Television season with the motto “It’s the beginning of the end!”

They were referring to  this being the farewell season of relief pitcher Mariano Rivera but seriously what were they thinking? Oh the irony!

But of course it is still early and not yet time to throw in the entire towel but I have a solution as to how the Yankees can guarantee victory for this season and for all seasons to come…and the answer is Congress!

What the Yankees need to do is stop wasting money on player development and free agent contracts and begin working on umpire development. If the Yankees can put all of their money (and they can do that now thanks to the U.S Supreme Court) behind one umpire of their choosing and get that umpire elected to the Congress of the United States they can then begin moving all of their money out of player development and salaries and into legal contributions to their umpire Congressman now turned lifelong friend.

This Congressman can then begin using all of the money that the Yankees can spare to contribute to his future campaigns by enhancing the lives and well being of other umpires (who are not congressmen but still just umpires) by adding earmarks to various congressional bills that will steer money into…oh let’s say… the World Umpires Association’s pension fund or whatever it is that umpires like. (And thanks to Congress these earmarks can be secret!…Shhhhh)

All the umpires would then have to do for the Yankees is…

Now some might say that this would be bribery in its most base and disgusting form and also illegal.

But in Congress it’s called Congressional Lobbying and it would be perfectly legal and extremely above board if perhaps not exactly cricket (but we’re talking about baseball here and not cricket)

And it wouldn’t be as though the Yankees’ manager would walk right up to the umpires at the beginning of each game with the lineup card and a bag full of money. My way would be much more subtle, refined and deserving of the dignity the New York Yankees command and deserve. After all they’re the Yankees. What better team than the namesake of our country to pioneer such sports innovation?

And they’d better hurry because what if some other team thinks of it first? Like…god forbid…The Pirates!

* Has anyone noticed how well the Washington Senators have been doing these days?!

How Charter Schools Can Teach Us to Make Baseball More Profitable, Baseball Players More Productive, and Baseball Fans Better Entertained At Cheaper Prices

31 Mar

 

It’s opening day of the Major League Baseball Season and the game is simply getting out of hand.  Poor and deteriorating cities are spending taxpayer money that they don’t have, to maintain giant stadiums where these baseball teams play. And in most cases the teams do not even sport winning records.

In fact most of these so called “professional” teams sport winning percentages commonly at 50% or lower and if one team ever wins even 60% of the games it plays it is declared a champion of its division and then sent on to compete for an even grander championship with other so called “high performing” teams.

And although the players on these teams have been trained and educated in their craft for years and often practice on a daily basis most of these players can’t even perform their hitting skills at 30%  proficiency. That’s a 70% or worse failure rate and yet these players are often considered “stars” by their teams and owners and entrenched union supporters and are paid exorbitant salaries that are often passed on to the customers or fans by way of overpriced ticketing, beverage and merchandising costs.

The pitchers on these teams often fail at an even greater rate than the hitters do and yet they are often applauded for their efforts after failing to complete even 60% of their allotted time on the mound while often appearing exhausted and drained after doing so.

This is outrageous! And here is what should be done about it!

For too long the uninspired owners and bloated baseball unions have demanded that 9 players be employed for 9 baseball positions on the field during each game. By eliminating even one of these positions we will be able to save money on baseball salaries thereby decreasing costs in wages while increasing productivity by forcing each remaining player to work harder to cover the 9 positions on the field.

However,  since the baseball field is organized into two distinct areas of play we can eliminate 1 infielder and 1 outfielder per team and reduce the number of players to 7.  Productivity will then double since  the 2 remaining outfielders and 3 remaining infielders will have more area to cover. This will force the players to work and practice harder guaranteeing them a greater percentage of success.

The fans of the game will become happier because the increased activity of the players on the field will be more entertaining to watch and as the players work harder their skills will become more pronounced and greatly improved which will also bring more joy to the fans as they watch their local heroes succeed. The reduced costs in wages to the players can also be passed along to the fans in reduced ticket prices and stadium costs, creating a greater feeling of pride among all of the people of the represented city.

It should also be noted that because of the baseball player’s overbearing, influential and wealthy union many “non-playing” baseball players are forced upon the owners who must then pay for these “non-players” and potential substitutes to sit around all day in air-conditioned dugouts and bullpens just waiting for a chance to get in the game when they aren’t even needed in the first place!

And Amazingly, these substitutes, who do not even possess the skills necessary to “begin” a baseball game and who  are not even expected by the owners, fans, players and union officials to perform at a level anywhere near commensurate with their peers, are paid a full salary also!… to sit and do nothing until called upon!…and often even laughing and cavorting about while their teammates perform miserably on these fields of their fans’ all too often broken dreams!

Imagine having a “team of professionals” where most of the members of the team are not rated as above excellent, excellent or even above average?! These unions must be eliminated so that all of these subpar, ill trained and poor performing workers can be terminated by the new and innovating owners thereby saving untold millions in wasted wages.

The immense savings that will be realized by reducing labor costs, increasing worker productivity and gained in profits for these new non-unionized public “charter teams” can then be passed on to the fans, citizens and city coffers thus creating a national pastime that we all can not only finally afford but also be proud of!

*It should be noted that when these “Charter teams” were given a chance to operate and perform on a limited basis on a real baseball diamond  in a test city the hitters’ skills immediately improved and averages increased among all 7 players per team. Substitutes were never used and every pitcher’s productivity also increased to 100% and in fact each pitcher eventually completed every game that he started.

It should also be noted however, that “burnout” among players was high but this condition did coincide with greater job opportunities for more players and although initial savings to the teams and cities and fans were quite palpable increased compensation to the new owners in the form of bonuses and stipends for management, oversight, intense player development and “other” compensation has eroded initial profit projections and unfortunately we expect to operate at a loss until new expansion opportunities through government partnerships take place.

Now Play Ball!

 

Déjà Vu All Over Again?

25 Mar

Well it’s Spring! Although here on the east coast Spring has apparently been lionized for the entire month of March! But no matter what the weatherman says baseball and opening day shall spring eternal on the 31st.

And speaking of America’s favorite pastime, I have been a New York Yankee fan long enough to remember their 1965 collapse into mediocrity after a 1964 season that saw them finish one game away from the World Championship…for in 1965 as the great Yogi Berra might have phrased it, “The Yankees suddenly got old early out there.”

And now 48 years later the Yankees stand on the precipice of doing that very same thing again…but with a twist.

With aging heroes Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira,  Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter all on the disabled list the NY Yankees will owe players who will not be playing on opening day more money than 13 other major league teams will pay their entire roster to actually pitch, catch, hit, field and run when the games begin and the umpires declare “Play ball!”

This sobering fact is leading many fans, executives and experts to predict a last place finish this year for the mighty Yankees… Joltin’ Joe, say it ain’t so…

But still even without the afore mentioned players the 2013 NY Yankees will field a team with a combined payroll greater than all but 7 other teams in the major leagues and Yankee fans can expect to pay more money for season tickets and parking than most Yankees’ players were paid to play during the entire 1965 season.

Who knows what this means but it sure will be interesting to watch and see what happens to a team and its fans in the house that “tax exempt financing” built. Yankee Stadium is the most expensive baseball stadium ever constructed and although the Yankees paid for it (sort of)…They get to use their taxes to pay off their debt which would be like you getting to use your property taxes to pay off your mortgage… (sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?)

Will there be joy in Mudville this year? All I can say is “Stay tuned!” Because when this happened in 1965 the Yankees had to wait until free agency was invented before they could put themselves back together again.

But If it happens again this time, as a Yankee fan rooting for a team with seemingly unlimited resources,  in a city that can’t seem to wait to pick up the tab,  I’m hoping for the next best thing…

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