We Stood There Like a House on the Side of the Road


Back in the 90’s I got a baseball game I really enjoyed playing.  There was no high end graphics.  It was all text.  And audio.  It was a statistical simulation which I really enjoyed.

I plugged my PC’s audio to my stereo and I would listen to my games being played out.

Ernie Harwell had the call on APBA’s Baseball.  It was pretty cool for its time.  It included a Markov calculation for the best lineup.

So.

Damn.

Cool.

One of Harwell’s calls came when a batter stuck out looking.

He stood there like a house on the side of the road and watched it go by.

Great line from a Hall of Fame announcer.  Take the bat off your shoulders.  You can’t ever succeed if you don’t even swing the bat.

Ernie Harwell is gone from this world, but I still appreciate the announcing style he presented.  I wish there were more announcers like those of his era.

I rushed home today and listened to the calls of the local Major League Baseball team as it was the first Spring Training game.  I had the news on with the sound down as I streamed the baseball game through my Sonos speaker over MLB At Bat app.

Times have changed over the last 20 years.

In many ways.

Baseball, as I’ve preached over the years, reminds me of my childhood.  Of being young.  I enjoy the game, but it’s not like I’m as passionate about it as others.  I’m not as passionate about it as, say, the fans of the local National Football League team.  I have no flags or decals on my car and there no day which is dedicated to the sport weekly.  I catch it when I can.

Baseball is a daily thing that allows me to enjoy it at my leisure.  And I do.

As I listened to the announcers of today tell me about every statistic they can muster up, I watch as Trump tweets are thrown up on the screen.  I’m sorry, today is not the day for a full baseball post.  It’s just not.

Sorry if I just lost you.

But I wish Ernie Harwell would have called this past year.  Not that he was political.  To my knowledge.

America, you stood there like a house on the side of the road and watched this happen.

America had a crazy great uncle who was always inviting himself to gatherings, but nobody had the guts to kick him out.  And he would say all kinds of crazy things to people.  He would offend the hell out of them.  But nobody had the decency to tell him he was wrong or he needed to stop saying things.

Political correctness really has a place.

And I have a grandmother who does these things.  She does not know when not to say things.  Or when NOT to say things.  I can’t help what people think, but you should be ashamed if comes out your mouth.

And then one day a member of the family started dating a black guy.  Well, many people liked this guy except for the crazy great uncle who kept inviting himself to the gatherings.

And crazy great uncle Donald started telling others that the one black boyfriend does not belong in the house.  He started convincing others that he was doing bad things outside the home.  He got really mad.  He gained momentum and eventually shifted the family gatherings to his house.

Nobody challenged him.  They just let it happen.  The problem is that not enough people said no.

Trump threw shade on the DNC nomination of Perez today.  He’s like a mean girl with old, orange skin.  Crazy great uncle Donald should have never been given a phone or taught how to sign up for Twitter.

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We have to accept that, as a country, we just stood there watching strike three.  We just stood there and accepted what could possibly happen.  And it may be because crazy great aunt Hillary was trying to get the gatherings at her stinky house.

The anger is coming out.

Nobody is all that comfortable with it.

This house is already smelling like Ben Gay and gun powder.

Crazy Great Uncle Donald recently dismissed that he was Anti-Semitic by telling the world that he was the least Anti-Semitic person in the world.

So I remind you of a tweet (one of many) he posted regarding Jon Stewart.  “Overrated” is a go to line.  Trump is racist.  His footprints follow him

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And, remember, he followed up his comments regarding Jews by telling the world his is the least racist person in the world.

If only he didn’t hate the black guy dating a member of the family simply by rounding up all the people who hate black people he could find.

If you’re not following, Obama was born in America.

It seems we’ve lost the power to tell crazy great uncle Donald he’s wrong now.  He can’t hear you.  He won’t hear you.  He thinks he’s in charge.  And like a 12 year old girl who has been dumped by his boyfriend of two months, he has tweeted out hatred toward the media.  Because that’s how he deals.

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He also announced he won’t be going to the Spring Fling dance.  Take that boyfriend.  If you won’t love him, he won’t go at all.  And the White House Correspondents’ Dinner may be great again.

Nobody loves you, crazy great uncle Donald.  Your support is fake support.  You need to realize this.

You’re so unwilling to accept what people have to say of you, that your only defense is that of third grade “rubber and glue” defense.  Congratulations.

I’m not amazed that we got to this point.  I actually thought it would happen.

But as I start listening to more and more Spring games on my Sonos, I must be reminded of that famous Ernie Harwell call above.

Crazy great uncle Donald won the game because, in a game of 27 outs, 14 refused to swing the bat at all.

They just stood there like a house on the side of the road and watched it happen.

Curses


I am a baseball fan.

I live in a part of the world where people only care about football.  The local National Football League team has been pretty good for a few years and has actually won a championship.  One bad call away from another.

I’m not going to tell you where I live.

Our Major League Baseball team, by contrast, has not been so successful.  After a short run in the late 90’s ending in 2001, the team has not even returned to the playoffs.  I believe this is now the longest drought.

But I still love baseball.  I love the tempo and the energy and the strategy and the fact that everything is not a euphemism for war like football.

And I love math and statistics.  Baseball fans are crazy about their math.  But don’t hold that against me.  It’s only numbers and they don’t mean a thing.

Right now is the World Series.

The Chicago Cubs are the favorite and have not actually won the World Series since 1908.  That was a good team.  Tinkers to Evers to Chance.  Mordecai “Three Fingers” Brown.  I mean, it was a pretty good team.

And that goat kicked over the lantern that set the barn on fire and the team hasn’t won since.  Unless I have my curses confused.

The Curse of the Billy Goat.  I don’t know anymore.

The Indians, by the way, haven’t won since it was acceptable to be called the Indians.  They should really change that name.  As should the Braves and Redskins.  None of your players are Native Americans, so why…?

The real answer is that the Indians haven’t won the World Series since 1948.  You know, back when the Negro Leagues still existed.

The Indians, by the way, should have won in 1997.  I remember this because my youngest daughter was born and I watched the World Series from the hospital.  It was an ugly series.  I was hoping Cleveland would win.  Not the Marlins.

The General Manager of the Cubs is Theo Epstein.  He was the GM when the Red Sox broke their curse in 2004.  They had the Curse of the Bambino.  I wish it still existed.

There’s something about the mythology of baseball.  That curses exist.  That a team can be so poor and we make up excuses like the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth and that caused them to never win a Series again.  Until Theo Epstein.

If you are a fan like me, you have seen the near misses.  The close games.  The times that it seemed they just couldn’t break the curse.

My epiphany into baseball came in 1986 when Bill Buckner let that ball go through his legs.  That was the curse.  The Red Sox had this won.  And a simple play went bad at the wrong time

I watched it on a tiny black and white television I received for my birthday that year.  It had rabbit ears and I only received four channels.

It was still a great game.

I was 14 and that game.  That play.  It changed my view of baseball permanently.

Listen, we can run Markov calculations until the end of time, but what makes the game of baseball so great is the lore.  The stories.  I think of them like the stories of your religion.

Shoeless Joe was written when I was a child and there was a film based on it created not long after.  It was called Field of Dreams.  MLB Network still has players coming out of the corn.

The character that did not make the film version was the oldest living Cub.  He didn’t make it into the version people would remember.  He wasn’t actually the oldest living Cub.  He had never played.  Instead, his role in the book was to deliver the sermons of all sermons.  It was actually a nice moment.

The Cub fans are some of the most unfortunate fans in the world.  They really are.

But so are the Cleveland fans who had a gone over a half century without winning anything until this past basketball season.  At least Chicago had Michael Jordan and that 1985 Bears team.

Cleveland had nothing.  And they won’t have the Browns.

I hope the Curse of whatever goat tipping over lanterns continues.  I need it.

I hate to believe that one guy can break two curses in his career.

And I need to revisit Shoeless Joe.  It really was a good book.

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That was a picture I took at AT&T Park last year when we went for a visit.

Baseball has that kind of aspect to it.

I’m rooting for the poorly named Indians and I hope they win.  I then hope they change their mascot, because it is representative of poor decisions this country has made.

I then hope the one last curse continues.

I at least hope that the local Major League Baseball team can do something before that curse is broken.

We need a win.

And hope is crack for the brain.

But curses…

 

Because… Opening Day


Only two things can get me close to a religious experience.

One of which is somewhat forced.

Music.

Baseball.

Something about the hope of baseball season.  The equinox.  Spring and greater weather and the loss of the cold, cold winters.  Something about all of that hope resonates with me so clearly.

Baseball reminds me of being a child and getting excited.  It takes me back to my youth and how simple life was.  People go out and throw the ball and play the game full of statistical analysis and statcast and anything else.  I love the numbers.  The aura.  The feel and tone of the game.

Right handed splits and ground ball percentages and home and away and turf and day stats and on and on.

So today was something special.  My team didn’t play yet.  Not until the tomorrow.  All my teams play tomorrow.  There are 162 games in a season.  Nineteen against each division rival.

It’s a long, long season and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Baseball is dying as the sport of America.  There’s not enough war.  Not enough violence.  Not enough bitterness.  America’s pastime: Not violent enough.  Not like football.  Not enough concussions and bombs, blitzes, and earth shattering hits.

Anyway, I went to the store.  Stuffed manicotti and tossed some shrimp and mushroom in a sauce.

I sat down to enjoy the hope that the season brings.

dinnerMy little buddy popped his head up.  He is 14 weeks now.  He wanted some shrimp.  He got nothing.

He has this incredible skill of looking away from the camera as I try to take his picture.

I may never get a good one again.

Regardless, I have leftovers for tomorrow.  Whole goal of making dinner sometimes.

I have opening day.

I have a Sonos speaker next to my chair.

With all the Occupy CNN stuff that is going on.

With Clinton accusing Sanders of lying and all saying the kids are stupid for falling for it.

With all the misogyny on the GOP side of things.

With all of it.

I needed to post something light.

I need a few light days.

Fuck CNN, MSNBC, and FOXOpinion.  Forget it.  It can all wait.  They all try, but none of them will get me to change my mind anyway.  None of them will ever report on the corruption.

Caps on.

Opening Day should be a holiday.  Job or no job.