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:
Running, 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.
Wow. Baseball is really over. I’m feeling a little lost here. Should I
turn to football, alcohol or the annual Victoria’s Secret holiday
special for comfort?
For serious though, anyone who knows me knows to be very, very cautious this time of year… for the sudden drop of the best baseball teams on the planet playing for a title to absolutely no baseball games at all can be beyond devastating.
I ain’t gonna tell on myself, but if you refer to the sheer number of world catastrophes that have taken place during the month of November over the last several years, you’ll understand exactly what I’m trying to say.
So. How do we cope?
Football helps. But not if you’re a Bears fan. So, yeah. I’m screwed there.
Hockey helps. No. That’s a lie. Hockey doesn’t help. At all.
My pal Johanna (from the RSBS podcasts) is trying to get me into the NBA… he’s been quizzing me on my basketball knowledge. My only problem is that the last time I paid any attention to the NBA, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal were in their primes (and half their current sizes!) so I’ve got a lot to catch up on. Apparently Dwight Howard and Juwan Howard are not the same person.
And beer. Yes. Beer will help. A lot. Especially if you mix beer and vodka and gin with Johnnie Walker… and a few bottles of Ambien. After that cocktail you won’t even remember to watch the Victoria Secret Holiday Special, let alone care about it.
And if everything goes according to the above plan, you can eliminate most of the doldrums tha traditionally take place between Thanksgiving and President’s Day. By then, Cliff Lee will be in pinstripes, Jayson Werth will be in pinstripes, and Carl Crawford will be in pinstripes!!!
So join me, Ben… join me, dear readers galore… and let us ride off into that fabled sunset known as off-season delirium. It won’t hurt. I promise.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
As is tradition here at RSBS, The Filibuster will now go on hiatus until pitchers and catchers report in the spring, leaving more room for the avant-garde ridiculousness you’ve come to expect from us over the years. Of course, come February we’ll announce its return; in the meantime, we would like to heartily thank all the strangers, friends, relatives, morons, geniuses and fellow bloggers who have sent in Filibuster questions during the 2010 season. Without y’all, it’d just be Al and I talkin’ to ourselves (BORING!)… so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!
When people mention the Pittsburgh Pirates, you assume that nothing good can follow. But there are exceptions to that rule, at least if you believe Time magazine. Two weeks ago Time not only said the Pirates are doing something right, they also said the organization is an example to be followed.
It’s no secret that MLB spends a lot of money looking for fresh talent overseas. Many of the greatest players in the game today and in the past are products of that search. MLB has harvested the fertile fields of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Curacao (just to name a few) to give us players like Big Papi, Johan Santana and Andruw Jones. That is not going to stop.
But Time raises the alarmist cry, decrying the conditions in the DR and castigating teams for not providing the same level of living standards the writer claims exist for young players in the US. At the same time, the article gets a little schizophrenic, insinuating that the DR will go the way of PR if baseball decides to treat them the same way it now deals with the territory. The article claims, “After the U.S. commonwealth became subject to the draft in the (sic) 1989, the
number of Puerto Rican signees remained flat, while those in the D.R.
What I read in that, though, is that despite Puerto Rican players now going through the draft, the number entering MLB each year stayed constant. If anything, that seems to imply that the system worked. Puerto Ricans still made it to the majors, they just followed a route that ensured they got their fair share. And if you can play, you’re going to get paid.
Look, it’s no secret that many kids see sports as a way out of a bad situation. That’s just as true in the US as it is in the DR. But do we crucify Nike for running basketball tournaments in the inner city where they can then get their hooks into promising young talent? Do you think Coach K runs a basketball camp each year out of the kindness of his heart? Both Nike and Krzyzewski realize that most of those kids are never going to make it, even at the collegiate level. And it’s not like they’re taking care of them when the inevitable happens and the dream of an NBA career shatters.
This is how sports operate. They offer the hope of a better future but that future is only available to a very select group. What happens in the DR is sad and most of these kids will never end up making it. But it’s even more sad that the government of the DR can’t provide basic services to its citizens and MLB is supposed to step in and fill the gap. At least baseball offers them a dream. That’s a lot more than the Pirates offer their fans.
Special thanks to L for the article
Players across the sports spectrum seem to be feeling their oats the
past couple weeks. The Lakers-Rockets NBA series has turned into a
brawl and baseball has seen several ejections and suspensions handed
down over the last several days. Are we seeing the effects of over (or
under) officiating or are players really more on edge these days?
Suspensions, brawls, warnings, headhunters, beanballs, ejections… these are all integral tenets of the sports we love. Without them, the stakes would be as dramatic as an afternoon pinochle tournament at your local retirement home (and even those can turn violent without proper supervision).
Personally, I could care less about what the Los Angeles Lakers of Los Angeles are fighting about with the Houston Rockets (those are basketball teams, right?). But perennial crybaby and major league fire-starter Milton Bradley? Foot-in-mouth Bobby Jenks? Two-packs-a-day Jimmy Leyland?
Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!
Indeed, the cast of characters may change from year to year, but the subtle game of intimidating your opponent and firing up your team with guts, fists and butt-busting fastballs hasn’t. Ty Cobb anyone?
No matter what the era, baseball players have always found a harmonious balance of edge and competitiveness. When your livelihood is on the line, you bet you’re gonna go out and stand up for yourself. Those who don’t… well, they end up like Mr. Krause, pushing pencils and checking email forty times a day.
Now I don’t propose an increase to the level of violence on the field; but hell, don’t peel it back. I need that respite of poorly timed right hooks (see Shields v. Crisp, 2008), knee-buckling vengeance (see Bradley v. The World, 2007) and knuckles-to-skull contact (see Ryan v. Ventura, 1993). Anyone who says he/she doesn’t is a liar.
Baseball does not suffer from under or over officiating. It’s doing just fine the way it is. Fights, ejections, suspensions… they’re all just a part of the game. When it becomes bedlam…
… well, then we might have to reevaluate.
Until then, just keep on hating me. But don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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