No Hits, No Runs, No Errors
Finally. We had a long winter this year, one that’s still bringing chilly temperatures and snowfall in parts of the USA as spring begins. The Weather Channel should have a sister: THE WINTER CHANNEL.
The mainstream media makes a big deal out of an old wives tale* whereby fat, gray rodents emerge from their holes, spy their shadows and retreat to their cozy lairs. Thus reconvened, the United States Congress argues and preens and poses, wastes a lot of time and money and then goes on vacation.
I take comfort in the fact that scientists generally agree a groundhog** actually has little effect on planetary movements, but their emissions are partially responsible for global warming.
I’m so excited to report that, with the aid of modern technology, we now know the only force capable of hastening earth’s sluggish march toward brighter days: It’s the major league baseball season.***
I’ve always seen myself as a career minor leaguer. There are many reasons. I’m a Chicago Cubs fan, a special kind of torture that exceeds even waterboarding in its devastating mental effect. Yet again my beloved Cubbies are off to a rough start. Our “closer” just lost his job six games into the campaign! We’re already looking to the minors for possible players who can be called up to help the big leaguers!
My favorite minor league baseball team names: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes; The now defunct Atlantic City Surf (played their home games in a stadium called “The Sand Castle” about a mile from the ocean); and The Montgomery Biscuits, named in a contest by their fans, featuring cheers like “Hey, butter-butter-butter!”
Favorite Major League Baseball moniker: Houston Astros – a team named for George Jetson’s dog! And I love the fact that Tampa Bay used to be “The Devil Rays,” but dropped the word “Devil” and went to a World Series, a prophesy ordained by a lot of east Florida Baptist ministers.
The knuckleball pitcher is my single favorite “specialist” in a game of specialists (ex: middle reliever; closer; base stealer; Designated Hitter; “glove man”; pinch hitter; etc). It’s a unique pitch that demands a commitment from the player, the coach and the team. It requires a mindset and a lot of support. It’s funky. It’s a little weird. It doesn’t scale. Kind of like a ventriloquist-musician-comedian....
I love the fact that baseball players wear their hats the right way, not backwards, like so many skateboard wannabes, hoping the image will free them from adult responsibility. Which is what three hours at the ballpark is, now that I think about it.
My childhood heroes are made up of ballplayers from another era: Ernie Banks; Ferguson Jenkins; Henry Aaron; Roberto Clemente; Ron Santo, Don Kessinger, Glenn Beckert, Billy Williams, and Al “Spanky” Spangler. I named my oldest son for Aaron. (We call him Hank!)
The tilt of the earth’s axis away from the sun caused those cold days and long nights, but looking at a picture of the universe and the planets, it is apparent that we’re entering the next part of the cycle. The symmetry is perfect: we hit the perfect orbit, the universe runs in synchronicity, and the result is error-free perfection.
Got a favorite team name? Player? Stadium? Please feel free to email me or tell me!
* Old Wives Tale is now “Aged Female Spouse”
** Groundhog is now referred to as “Road Kill”
*** I totally made this up – but I love to use the asterisk as pro baseball does. E.g., Barry Bonds home run record is accompanied by an *