For me, the tragedy of 9/11 cannot be separated from the baseball that eventually helped ease the grief. The few moments of distraction it provided during a time when nothing else really made sense cannot be overstated. For a bonafide baseball nerd like myself, the game is always the best medicine.
In the fall of 2001, the prescription was Mike Piazza, Derek Jeter and one of the most dramatic World Series ever played.
Last night, during my first visit to New York’s gorgeous and amenity laden Citi Field, I was surrounded by people who felt exactly the same as me. And that, my friends, is a very powerful thing.
And despite the acidic aftertaste of all-things ESPN, I do have to admit that Sunday Night Baseball has been refreshingly awesome in 2011. Thank you, Dan. Thank you, Orel. Thank you, Bobby.
Tomorrow night, however, will be an extra special affair: Sunday Night Baseball on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th tragedy, live from New York’s Citi Field.
And I will be there.
My healthy ears are eager to pair up with my attentive eyes, to take it all in, to remember with humility, to join in the communitas and the powerful emotional connection we all share with this truly remarkable pastime.
It’s gonna be a special night.
Despite their usual relegation to fodder for debates on controversial testing and (disputed) lack of souls, animals have recently clawed themselves into the news for other reasons. For instance, you had to have been living under a rock to have missed the news about the new dog in the White House. Economic meltdown and Limbaugh inspired populism be damned! There’s much more important news to be discussed.
But it seems that our quadrupedal mammalian friends take an interest in more than just politics. Various baseball curses have been blamed on various animals over the years and considering the superstitious lot that seems drawn to baseball, it should come as no surprise. And recently these curse carrying vehicles of diabolical providence have once again reared their frightening and yet oh so soft and fluffy heads.
On opening night at Citi Field, a cat stole the show as the Mets fell to defeat and fans wondered if perhaps this was a sign.
But even more disturbing for lovers of felines and haters of curses was the way a similar situation was handled at Wrigley Field this past week. Of course the video is no longer available as MLB, in its infinite wisdom, forced it off of YouTube but the controversy has continued as some objected to the handling of the animal by Wrigley Field security.
No matter what your thoughts might be on the rash of streaking cat incidents, it seems clear that these are not isolated events. Perhaps Douglas Adams had it wrong and it’s not the mice who are in charge, but rather the cats and they are trying to give us a sign. Either way, we here at RSBS will keep you posted on all important cat-based developments in baseball over the course of the season.
During the past week we watched the opening of two new multi-million
dollar stadiums in New York City and during this time MLB and the major
sports channels more or less ignored everything else going on around
the league. Was the opening of the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field
really such important news or was Heath Bell accurate in saying that
ESPN and other providers are completely focused on a few teams to the
detriment of the rest of the league?
Pardon me for being a-holishly frank, dear readers, but I think it is pretty damn sad that it took Heath Bell (of all reinvented people) to bring the media’s obvious love affair with New York and Boston into the public domain. Nothing against, Heath, who has now become my own personal savior for his ESPN remarks, but we here at RSBS as well as myriad Joe Six-Packs in sports bars galore all across Anytowns, US America, have been harping on this oh-so-blatant injustice for years now.
Heath Bell said:
“I truly believe ESPN only cares about promoting the Red Sox and
Yankees and Mets – and nobody else. That’s why I like the MLB Network, because they promote everybody. I’m
really turned off by ESPN and ‘Baseball Tonight.’ When Jake Peavy threw
8 1/3 innings on Saturday, they showed one pitch in the third inning
and that was it. It’s all about the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.”
True story, Heath. True story.
Just for the record, regarding the two new ballparks in New York (one of which cost $1.5 billion) let me just say that I don’t remember there being such a fuss over the new Busch Stadium or PNC Park or even Nationals Park for that matter.
Yet all week long I have been bombarded with information I could care less about:
- The first homerun in new Yankee Stadium.
- The first multi-RBI game at CITI Field.
- The first blab-hole jerkazoid kicked out of new Yankee Stadium for using foul language and fists to explain his innermost self-loathing while watching the Indians score 14 runs in one inning.
I don’t care.
And I ain’t alone.
The good news is, Heath Bell’s voice was heard and ESPN reacted quickly by having him on Baseball Tonight. Shortly after that, the once monopolizing baseball program introduced it’s 30 Team Ticker, which offers tidbits of information on all 30 teams at the bottom of the screen while the analysts blab on about how much they love the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.
But just like the leaderless GOP of 2008 desperately trying to reinvent its image after devastating the public by dropping the ball in New Orleans and Iraq while allowing the economy to collapse over and over again… it was just too little, too late.
Folks, we have a choice. Join Al and I; heed Heath Bell’s call.
Switch to the MLB Network. Enjoy equal coverage. Play the RSBS Harold Reynolds drinking game.
Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.