Scored a baseball game yesterday on my Android tablet. Because nothing celebrates the organic, spontaneous joy of watching a sporting event like making little numbers and squiggles in boxes and performing mathematical calculations with decimals.
On an electronic device.
Around this time every year, I post something related to the impending baseball season. I’m not sure why exactly. I haven’t enjoyed a baseball season since before I was born. And the root of the problem is this:
I became a fan of a really bad team.
Now some of you (alright, none of you—but just play along here) are probably saying, “That’s no problem. Just become a fan of a different team—a better team!” To which I reply, “I guess you are not familiar with the rules, are you?”
See, once a person turns 5 years of age (6 years in Canada, I believe. Something about the metric system), you are required to pledge your lifelong allegiance to a single baseball team. Typically, your father or older brother will try to influence your decision, often with threats of abandonment if you do not choose the same team as they.
So you pick your team. And then it is recorded by quill in a large book with parchment pages that is stored in your local church’s underground vault. Once it is transcribed (typically by a monk) it is as if it has been etched in stone. That is, it cannot be changed. In effect, you are chained to your team; in my case, like a trapped animal attempting to chew its own leg off.
What led me to pick this particular baseball club? Well, I liked their uniforms. Yes, even at the tender age of 5, I was a bon vivant. Too bad I was not a knowledgeable sports fan, however, or I would have realized that my team lost a record 175 games in only a single 162 game season.
And apparently, things were only going to go downhill from there.
Some have said my team is cursed. That the owner once made a deal with the devil in order to have a new stadium built. Unfortunately (but not unsurprisingly) the devil floated some bad city bonds and the stadium construction was never completed. For the next two years, my team was forced to play with the Grand Central Parkway as its home field. A good day at the “ballpark” then was when one of my players didn’t get hit by a minivan doing 63 in a 55 zone (to my Canadian friends, that’s miles per hour).
I have to say, there was one season in which my team almost achieved a golden level of mediocrity. Unfortunately, it was during one of those player-strike-shortened seasons. But, still, my team did accumulate a robust 25-32 record, although I admit it was after the players walked out.
And then there was the time I went to see a game in person. I was just a kid and it was so exciting, sitting in the first row of seats right behind home plate. I vividly recall the umpire shouting, “Play Ball!” Unfortunately, it was in the 3rd inning because my team had suddenly forgotten what they were supposed to be doing.
And those childhood memories can never be taken away. Too bad.
First of all, let’s get one thing straight. I have never been ON an imaginary girlfriend, as the title would suggest. That is not to say I haven’t dated a few. It’s just that none would even let me get to second base, let alone get on top of them.
But I digress—and in a particularly disturbing way, I might add. But in any event, it seems that some All-American foosball player from Notre Dame Cook University is involved in a scandal concerning one imaginary girlfriend. Even more amazing is the fact that this kid was a candidate to win the Heisenberg Trophy (for excellence in physics, I imagine). Which begs the question…
Why would someone like this need to invent a girlfriend?
I mean, he obviously has both the jock and nerd categories pretty much locked up.
But do you want to know what is even sadder than that? How about the fact that his imaginary girlfriend was terminally ill? Where does one go to get treatment for THAT, I ask you? And before you say an imaginary oncologist, estimate just how many such programs might exist in the entire U.S. It can’t be more than 2 or 3 at the most. She was a goner from the moment she was first diagnosed, I say.
And so the question remains: How does a physicist-athlete, with more apostrophies in his name than letters, soldier on—both in the lab and over the foosball table—without his make-believe loved one cheering from the sidelines? He’s not, that’s how. No, he will likely leave the fields of science and competitive barroom games and eke out a measly living on the royalties from his autobiography and biopic.
Another American tragedy, that is.
Perhaps it is appropriate that I too weigh in on the Lance Armstrong story. After all, I used to be an avid cyclist. OK, tricyclist. But cut me some slack; I was only 2 at the time.
In any event, my long and storied history with cycling has me taking Armstrong’s admission as a personal affront. He revealed that he took performance enhancing drugs while competing. But only when riding uphill, I imagine (I mean, why would he need it for riding downhill?). Still, this is unforgivable. And now he has the audacity to say that he wants to devote the rest of his life to exposing others who have done the same?
Why, that’s like when the Romans admitted they crucified Jesus and then declared war on Japan. Or something. History is hard.
I admit, however, that I used to look up to Lance Armstrong. A cancer survivor who spent countless hours single-handedly manufacturing about a billion, yellow rubber bracelets. And yet, somehow, he found time to write a couple of books. I spent weeks reading them. Now I will have spend twice as long trying to unread them.
That is time I will never get back, Lance Armstrong!
And what will become of the disgraced, former Tour de France winner? Well, first he will be forced to return all of his championship jerseys. I do hope he washed them, though. Because otherwise, he can just keep them.
Then, he will be barred from participating in any and all competitive sports. Cycling, running, spelling bees, jacks…none of it. He MIGHT be able to participate in paper-folded-in-a-triangle tabletop football. But just not on the professional level.
And lastly, Lance likely will be sentenced to some form of community service. Like feeding the poor or babysitting Snooki’s kid. Or perhaps obtaining Human Growth Hormones (HGH) for underprivileged kids in inner-city high schools who cannot afford them.
But it doesn’t matter which of those worthwhile endeavors Lance undertakes. Because to me, he will forever be known as the Jose Canseco of cycling, although sadly, without the unintentionally hilarious Twitter feed.
Yes folks, it’s that time again…the end of yet another baseball season. And while many fans begin to anticipate the playoffs—and perhaps—the World Series, I breathe a deep sigh of relief that MY team’s woeful season is over.
Yes, it’s mercifully over. Like the time when Ol’ Shep was finally put down. Except that my team didn’t have the “good run” that Shep did. No, their season was similar to a comedy of errors in that it only lacked the comedy.
Looking back, I can easily pinpoint when things began to go south: It was when the team bus pulled into the stadium parking lot on Opening Day. It’s amazing that in the time it takes a baseball to leave the pitcher’s hand, hit an opposing player’s bat and head over the wall for a home run, a fan’s interest in the sport can disappear like a grass stain in a bucket of OxyClean®.
Believe me, I try to remember that the players on the team are only human. That is, human millionaires who play a children’s game for half a year. But for some reason, this does not make me feel any better. I want my baseball team to beat other baseball teams. I want them to score more points. Slide into more bases without first being touched with the ball. Star in highlight films on the Sports Network WITHOUT “Yakety Sax” playing in the background.
I realize that I ask a lot. I mean, who am I to make such demands when I only pay $60 for a stadium seat so far away from the action that longitudinal time difference comes into play? Add to that the $10 dollar beers I need to drink to forget about how my team is doing at the moment and the souvenirs I buy because I somehow think that the carnage taking place on the field hasn’t been permanently etched into the gray matter of my cerebral cortex.
In fact, I seriously believe that following my team has given me post-traumatic stress disorder. What else would explain the fact that I typically wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat after dreaming about one of their more egregious misplays? And then there is the involuntary flinching and twitches I experience when I hear those terrifying words…
“Only 30 days until Spring Training!”
My team is losing 9-1. And I think I just pulled something during the 7th inning stretch.
I suppose I should explain first that I have not watched even 15 seconds of this year’s Summer Olympics. BUT, I have paid attention what everybody has written and said about it, which is the same in my book (and that reminds me, that book is overdue at the library).
Now some would say that the lack of first-hand knowledge limits my ability to comment, but remember, I have practically built a cottage industry out of it. Albeit, one that has never made me any money. But why waste valuable blog space and reader attention span on such matters? Why not just get to the forgettable commentary, shall we? We shall.
First, are these going to be the first Olympics that are going to be held forever? I probably asked the same thing during the last Olympics. This is why they hold them only every 13 years or so. So that no one remembers how interminable they are. Case in point, one of the women who won the gold in Beach Volleyball gave birth to a child after the medal ceremony, who in turn will become eligible to compete after the next commercial break.
Second, did the Ancient Greeks really hold events such as badminton, water polo, handball or Greco-Roman wrestling? I think not. I’m not even sure what country Grecos come from. These pseudosports need to be eliminated and replaced with traditional, bonified events that Ancient Greeks actually did hold. Like sacrificing, orgying and cowering in fear at natural occurrences. I would probably win the gold in the last-named, but alas, the Olympics are a young person’s game.
Lastly, what would we ever do without the backstories and scintillating commentary throughout the Olympics. I dunno, maybe focus more on the events themselves? This is exactly what the IOC and the networks DON’T want. Because if we did, we would discover that badminton has no rules, volleyball is just an excuse for hugging every 10 seconds, water polo is merely treading water and ping pong—excuse me—TABLE TENNIS—is just a silly game played with equipment that doubles as light S&M gear.
Hmmm. That gives me an idea for another Olympic event. BRB.