“Ain’t Baseball Great?”

The Baltimore Orioles have used the same insipid tagline on their television commercials for years now. (I want to say 60 years, but, well, at least the last couple seasons.)

“Ain’t Baseball Great?”

Today, with the Orioles five games under .500 and in last place in the AL East, every time that stupid, tired, old commercial, with its obnoxiously cheery, “Ain’t Baseball Great?” comes on … even if I’m not paying attention, even if I’m in the other room, even if I’m half asleep, I answer. Because only a shmoo doesn’t answer when someone asks them a question.

“Ain’t Baseball Great?”

“Ain’t it?”

For God’s sake, stop torturing me.

Continue reading

My Experts Predict The 2016 World Series

I’m on to you, Sports Illustrated. You’re picking the Houston Astros over the Chicago Cubs in the World Series just to be quirky. You’re going with hipster picks – just a little off the beaten path, but still kinda making sense. Good for you.

You went quirky last season, too, picking the Cleveland Indians when everyone else was certain it was the Washington Nationals’ year.

You didn’t pick the Royals. No one did.

You all make a living knowing baseball and you still get it wrong.

That’s why, once again, I turn to my own panel of experts – those who admit they have no real knowledge of baseball – to help me pick the 2016 World Series champion.

Sure, go with the ‘Stros if you must. Or, come with my experts.

You want quirky?

Let’s settle this.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

AL East ~ Clinton picks the Red Sox

Clinton is a handyman who does lots of fix-it jobs around the building where I have my massage studio in Madison, Virginia. Last year he replaced all the aging and water-stained ceiling tiles in my studio, which may seem like a small thing to you, except when you realize that the average massage client spends a fair amount of their time looking up at the ceiling.

I’m pretty sure the entire building would fall apart without him.

Clinton was, as always, busy working when I stopped him to help me choose an AL East winner. He’s not a baseball fan, he’s all football and roots for that team from Washington.

Why the Red Sox? Clinton may not know that the Red Sox play in Boston, but he does know that his mother is a Red Sox fan, so he picked them for her. (This is especially sweet, because, if you remember last year’s experts, Andrew chose the Red Sox because they were his mother’s favorite team. Based on this anecdotal evidence, I believe that the Red Sox are the favorite team of every mom in America.)

AL Central ~ Parker picks the Detroit Tigers

I met Parker at the local grocery store where he was feeding the goats.

What? Your local grocery store doesn’t have a barnyard of goats? Well, aren’t you all fancy pants with your city-slicker Smart Water in bottles and 20 kinds of Oreos …

Stevie Drinks Smart Water

“I used to be a dog until I drank SmartWater.”

Parker is in first grade and plays first base and pitches for his local Little League team. When I asked him the name of his team he said he couldn’t remember, but I think he was just afraid I would show up at his game on Saturday if he told me.

Continue reading

Snow Day Checklist: Read. Vote.

There are all sorts of things to do on a Snow Day.

(Even a “Snow Day” that, so far, has no snow in it. Still, all my clients have cancelled, so, unlike postmen who are rarely slowed by sleet and snow — or the promise of sleet and snow — I’m not working.)

Do not suggest that I shovel snow on a Snow Day.

Shoveling is work. I am not working on my Snow Day.

The first acceptable thing one can do on a Snow Day is read.

Like what you’re doing right now.

Congratulations. You may check “Read” off of your Snow Day to-do list.

Today, March 5, happens to be World Book Day. (Happy World Book Day, Blog Reader!)

In 1803 (or so), John Moore wrote that reading is preferable to “horses, hounds, the theatres, cards, and the bottle.”

(Pity about the bottle thing, but, oh well.)

utility of books

Note that Moore specifically did not say that books are preferable to baseball. That baseball did not exist, under the name “baseball” anyway, in 1803 is a smug formality. And, I’m having none of your smugness on my Snow Day.

Reading, Moore tells us, “preserves us from bad company.” This is the polite way of saying that reading protects you from dolts.

Congratulations. We are not dolts.

When Billy [Martin] was a high school junior a teacher asked him to read a book for a report. He admitted that he had never read a book and suggested he never intended to change.

“What will you do with your life?” the teacher asked.

“I’m going to be a baseball player,” he said. “Baseball players don’t have to read books.”

The teacher reached into a shelf and pulled out a book. “Here,” she said, “Read this.”

The book was Lou Gehrig: Quiet Hero by Frank Graham.

“I read it from cover to cover in one sitting,” Martin said years later. “It had a strong influence on my life.”

~ All Roads Lead To October, by Maury Allen, 2010

Billy_Martin_1952_World_Series

Billy Martin, Yankee. 1952 World Series. Baseball Digest. Public Domain

See. Even Yankees know the value of reading.

Books, Moore writes, “can be enjoyed in the worst weather.”

So, should the snow actually arrive, I’m set.

read war and peace

Another thing one can do on a Snow Day …

Vote.

Once again, I trot out my rusty political science degree to promote our democracy’s voting tradition. A proud tradition that allows and encourages anyone to vote, except children, felons, and people who disagree with the party in power. Women and people of color will note that our voting tradition has not been a particularly long one.

Let’s vote!

Voting for Presidents and Members of Congress and marijuana and county bonds is fun, but voting for baseball team names is even funner. (“Funner” is not a word, no matter what an 8-year-old says, but it should be.)

Hartford, Connecticut is seeking a name for its Double A minor league team – a Colorado Rockies affiliate – which is moving from New Britain this season.

They need our help. They want us to vote.

top 10 team names

Sure the Hartford Praying Mantis is hipster-cute. But, what can you do with a name like that? The Praying Manti? Mantises? Mantes?

That’s a mess.

Honey Badger is stupid.

So are Whirlybirds (let’s go, Turbine Ventilators!), Choppers (popular with dentists), and River Hogs (which are native to Africa, not Hartford).

whirlybird turbine ventilator

 Helicopters are not as fun as turbine ventilators.

River_Hog

By Jason Pratt, permission: CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 River hogs, no stick. (Might be ok fielding bunts.)

I like Screech Owls.

pignoliPignoli, Screech Owl at the Wildlife Center of Virginia 

They are adorable in a Pharrell-in-a-big-hat-singing-“Happy”-before-it-got-played-out-and-people-started-posting-annoying-singalongs-on-YouTube sort of way.

(The Milwaukee Brewers version will always be sweet because … Hank the Dog!)

Editor/Husband likes the Hartford Yard Goats.

Which I thought was stupid, because who knew that people in Hartford had goats in their yard and that it was a thing?

I clearly do not read enough, because had I read a book about trains I would know that a Yard Goat is a squat, little locomotive that lives in a rail yard and shuffles the cars around.

yard goat train

By Lexcie, permission: CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 Yard Goat. Never runs out of the base paths.

Now that’s adorable.

Editor/Husband wins.

Vote Yard Goats. Vote here.

(Or Screech Owls.)

(Just not Honey Badgers. For the love of God, no.)

Postscript: This conversation just happened.

Baseball Bloggess: My headline is boring. Can you fix it?

Editor/Husband: Do you want to put a colon in?

BB: Yup. That sexy-ed it up.

 

Fauxetry In Motion

“To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” ~ Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion

Friday, I wrote about poetry, and the poetry of a perfect play in baseball … a motion that is beautiful and effortless and just-so.

But, for every bit of perfect poetry, there must be an equal and opposite reaction.

Mustn’t there?

Fauxetry.

And so, to even things up this week, there was this.

brewers rockies

Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies. Saturday, June 21, 2014

Of course, players somewhere will try to straddle the line between poetry and fauxetry.

If you put your team in throwback 1970s-era Houston Astros jerseys, don’t be surprised when this happens.

astros

Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays. Saturday, June 21, 2014

Poetry? Fauxetry?

You decide.

No, wait. I’ll decide. My blog, my decision.

Houston Astros wearing hideous, yet strangely kind of cool 1970s jerseys grooving in the dugout?

Even AL batting leader Jose Altuve (.336) can’t not dance as he walks by.

The baseball “law of motion” is this:

If it makes you dance … Poetry.