Results tagged ‘ Baseball ’

Foreign Policy in Disguise

Tonight’s foreign policy debate promises a healthy dose of the Middle East and what each candidate thinks the other one should do or should have done with respect to places like Libya, Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Romney will hammer Obama on Benghazi, completely ignoring the reality of the situation and the fact that a President should not be micromanaging things like security at a small consulate.  Obama will talk about energy independence while choosing to continue ignoring our infatuation with the Saudis and their oil despite that country’s status as serial human rights abusers and traffickers in persons.

It’s too bad we can’t focus on some of the good things.  Like the baseball diplomacy program that uses MLB players as ambassadors to baseball crazy countries in Latin America and attempted to use the game to thaw relations between the US and Cuba.  Or how about the exchange programs where female American athletes travel all over the world to teach basketball and soccer clinics to young women in other countries?

We aren’t going to hear about any of that tonight.  But we should.

-A

Happy Birthday America!

Technically the United States declared its Independence from Great Britain on July 2nd yet we celebrate the declaration on the 4th.  It doesn’t really make any sense but I’m all right with it.  And maybe that’s why I’m all right with going all patriotic on the 6th instead of the 4th.  Patriotism knows no boundaries, right?

Well, even if you don’t agree with me, here’s something I think we can all agree on:

USA!  USA!  USA!

Not enough for you?  Well this should get your man juices flowing which might then kick start the patriotism:

If you haven’t grabbed a Budweiser, jumped up on a table and started singing the Star-Spangled Banner yet, it’s just possible that you are technically dead.  Or maybe you were just waiting for…..

That’s right.  Ronald Reagan on a velociraptor.  Happy 4th of July!!

-A

Catastrophe in Multiple Forms

Both my co-blogger and I are fond of running.  It’s a great way to stay in shape and clear your mind at the end of a long day or even longer week.  But it has its dangers:

nipple_bleed.jpgRunning, despite it’s bloody nipples and shin splints, is generally safe.  If you want to get really serious about injuries, just look at football, basketball and hockey.  I winced this past Sunday as Austin Collie took a cheap shot to the head and felt a little sick as the play was reviewed multiple times while he was strapped down and carted off the field.  That’s no joke.

In fact, it really seems that baseball has the least amount of catastrophic injuries when it comes to major sports.  Sure, pitchers undergo an unenviable amount of wear and tear but when injuries arise, it’s usually the result of chronic, repetitive motion as opposed to some sort of instantaneous blowout like you see in football or hockey.

Obviously much of this lack of catastrophic injury comes from the fact that there is very little person to person contact in baseball.  When players collide, it’s usually an accident.  Or the Mets attempting to play the outfield.  Football and other sports demand a level of violence that baseball just doesn’t approach.

Maybe this also explains baseball’s unfortunate drop in popularity.  What used to be our national pastime has not only fallen behind NASCAR in viewership, it has also become a sport where we rarely compete for the top place.  Sure, we’ll always play in the World Baseball Classic but that’s mainly because so few countries can even field teams.  Clearly we can’t compete at the same level as the Japanese, the Dominicans or even our own territory, Puerto Rico.

Maybe it says more about us as a country, though, that we prefer sports ruled by mindlessness and brutishness to sports like baseball and running where the mental aspect is almost as important as being able to physically perform.  Or maybe it just illustrates how we feel about bloody nipples.

-A

Teetotalled

teetotaling.jpgIt turns out that being a baseball fan could save your life.  And it’s probably not for the reason you think. 

How many baseball fans do you know who don’t drink?  Exactly.  Almost every single one does.  It’s a good way to pass the time while relievers are warming up or during a rain delay.  On those early spring and late fall days it’s also a good way to keep yourself warm, from the inside out.

Now it turns out that alcohol also makes you live longer.  They aren’t sure why.  They aren’t sure how.  But the study seems pretty stunning when you look at the numbers. 

Here’s what I propose.  Life is short.  Especially if you’re a teetotaler.  There’s no time to waste.  So you need to prepare yourself and gear up to take this challenge on the right way.  And when I say gear, I mean gear:

hops-holster.jpgLook, friends, this is serious business.  In fact, if you really want to avoid wasting time, you might also consider the following for when you absolutely have to break the seal:

bladder_buddy.jpgYes, those are bladder buddies peeking out the bottom of their pant legs.  But don’t judge them.  Really, these men are just doing their part to save their own lives.

Consider this a public safety announcement, RSBS style.  Now get out there and drink!

-A

A Little Thursday Afternoon Theology

Christus_Ravenna_Mosaic.jpgIn life there are two topics one should never discuss in polite company: Politics and religion. Well, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone willing to refer to the blogosphere (god I hate that word) as polite company so it seems kind of odd that this is the first time that RSBS has managed to stray into such contentious territory. Apparently there are quite a few baseball loving Catholics out there.

Now, I don’t think that either Jeff or myself have attempted to hide our obvious political and religious leanings. Even our nonstop chatter during last year’s election season didn’t bring about quite the same amount of vehement commentary as did my friend’s entry yesterday.

But, despite the risk involved with wading back into that fray, I have to say that I think he hit it right on the head. Why should the Tigers not play their home opener on Good Friday at 1:05? As one commenter noted, there’s basketball on Christmas Day and some sort of sporting event pretty much every other day of the year. Why not Good Friday, too?

Here’s how it breaks down. I used to live in New York City and on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, half the city didn’t show up for work. But you know what, they all took personal days. The hundreds of thousands of Muslims who live in this country receive no preferential treatment during Ramadan when they are fasting from sun-up to sun-down. Have you gone 12 hours without eating or drinking while trying to work a full day? For a month? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Why should it matter if the Tigers play their game at noon or 7PM? If you want to go to church, do like the millions of people in this country who aren’t Christian and make that choice and the accompanying sacrifice.

Here’s the theology part of it. The Jesus of the Bible took almost sinful delight in ridiculing the Pharisees and their incredibly strict interpretation of Abrahamic law. At every possible opportunity he poked holes in their ostentatious piety and continuously pointed out that he had come to show a new way to god. It was no longer about rigid doctrine and observance of the law. Instead, Jesus focused on a personal relationship that also prescribed personal choice. It wasn’t about showing up for services. It was about showing who you were in your daily life. The freedom from orthodoxy meant that religion became a personal choice and free will took over from blind observance of laws and traditions.

And that leads us right back to the decision that Tigers fans will have to make in a little over a week. Do they go to Good Friday services or go to the game? For some people, that might be a really tough choice. But you know what, you’re going to have to make that decision for yourself. And that probably also means you’re going to have to make a sacrifice. But when you think about it, that should sound kind of familiar.

-A

An Indictment

arod_god.jpgWe focus on the weaknesses of our heroes and leaders because, whether we admit it or not, we need them to be human like us. Transcending mortality cannot be allowed because there must be a clear line between god and mortal. Zeus punished Prometheus for aspiring to be like the gods, not for trying to bring fire to humanity. And as Prometheus learned the hard way, punishment is meted out as atonement for abstract ideals, not specific offenses.

The fall of the House of A-Rod can be described as a modern day illustration of this idea. Here is a man who seeks to be god-like, a player without equal who can singlehandedly take a team on his back and drag them along with him. But like all who covet godhood, a tragic flaw bars the way. We don’t crucify him for his actions. We crucify him for his aspirations and our expectations.

So, despite my general dislike of Mr. Rodriguez and my general contempt for both him and his actions, I also can’t help but feel sorry that once again another of our heroes has been dragged in front of the gods and found wanting. And as sportswriters, bloggers and fans alike pick at A-Rod the way the gryphon picked at Prometheus’ liver, perhaps we should take a step back and rethink this lesson. After all, this is not so much a story of human frailty as it is an indictment of the gods and their impotence.

-A

Being There (Part I)

inauguration ticket.jpg

Yes, I was. Yes, he did. Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!

As my friend, Mr. Lung, mentioned yesterday, I was indeed present at the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. And honestly, the only way I can describe the event is by comparing it to an early (or possibly late, although I have no experience with that) season baseball game. You know the kind of game I’m talking about, where you think you’re wearing plenty of layers but you figure out 30 minutes into it that you will never be warm again. But at the same time, you don’t care about a couple of numb fingers and toes because moments like this don’t come along every day.

Even now, I’m trying to sort through all the emotions that come along with an occasion like this. Of course there’s pride in knowing that for all our faults as a nation we always find a way to overcome them. And there’s hope, echoed in the words of the inaugural address, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.” There’s also a little bit of uncertainty because, let’s face it, these are not easy times in which we live and, as the President said, we all share in a “collective failure to make hard choices.”

Silver Gate.jpg

But I guess what I feel most of all right now is relief. Relief that the unwashed hordes will soon leave my city. Relief that almost all disasters were averted. And relief that the stewardship of the country has passed into the hands of President Obama and his team.

At the same time, there were also events that left me conflicted. I freely admit that I am no fan of former President Bush and I’m sure I’ve written many scathing criticisms of him in these pages. But, the man was still our democratically elected President and because of that he deserves respect. Perhaps his opinions and his decisions don’t always deserve respect but the man and the office do. That’s why it left me a little unsettled today to hear people booing whenever President Bush’s face was shown on the screens. I understand the atmosphere and I understand the strong feelings. But, even if the inauguration felt like a sporting event and even if President Obama is the Michael Jordan of politics, there’s no excuse for booing his competition.

So, there you have my initial, unvarnished thoughts. And I’ll bring you more along with a roundup of the absolutely ridiculous coronation, uh, I mean concert I attended on Sunday.

-A

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