I recently became aware of a menace much greater than Skynet becoming sentient. Try not to get scared but it appears that both the young and old have decided to gang up on the rest of us. Don’t believe me? Check out these two articles.
Last week ESPN broke the news about USC getting a commitment from a 13 year old. 13? That’s seventh grade, people. In seventh grade I grew six inches, lost my ability to sing tenor and tried to cope with all the inevitable impracticalities associated with these changes. Even if I had any sort of athletic talent, there’s no way you could have seriously evaluated it at that point. It’s great for the kid and I’m sure Lane Kiffin is all about the headlines. But 13?
If that isn’t enough to scare you, just look at what David Brooks says grandma and grandpa are doing to you. Apparently they aren’t content with the never-adjusted-for-inflation birthday present of a $10 check or forcing you to join them at a 4PM dinner and a 7AM line-dancing class. No, that’s not enough. Now, according to Brooks, they’re taking our money, our freedom and our opportunity. This is the thanks I get for all those painstakingly handmade gifts in elementary school? Maybe I should have kept my macaroni painting for myself.
Before you go ending it all, though, there is good news. It’s now the middle of February and football season has ended. That means we only have to put up with hockey, basketball and the Olympics for a little while longer before baseball rouses itself from hibernation and takes its first stumbling steps out into the open. Let’s see grandma try to take that away.
It still remains to be seen what the ultimate consequences of the steroid excesses in baseball will be. There are the obvious effects when guys like Pudge get smaller overnight and guys like Jason Giambi no longer put up the same numbers. And in fact, an early result seems to be a bit of an overall downward trend in ballplayer size these days, with smaller guys like Pedroia winning awards and huge contracts. The NY Times, in its continuing series “Why the mainstream media is barely relevant: Stating the obvious three years after the fact,” points out this very same fact.
However, there are more important questions that need to be answered and I am not satisfied with their coverage. For instance, we all know about Derek Jeter’s romantic entanglements with women like Mariah Carey and Jessica Biel. I applaud that. But why is he now dating a 22 year old? I mean, this guy is five years older than me and I’m pretty sure if I was dating someone barely old enough to legally drink, my family and friends would wonder what was going on. Pudge may have hit the Slimfast but at least he isn’t robbing the cradle.
All I know is that it’s hard to feel bad for a guy like Jeter who is so cavalier in his profligacy. But even that is better than A-Rod with his she-males and Joba with his strippers. And it definitely beats talking about PED’s. Thank god New York has a family man like CC around now. Perhaps it will make up for the loss of the one guy who always kept things real by wearing his emotions on his shirt sleeve. Where are your tears when we really need them, Farnsworth?
The NY Times has a great piece today about guys playing in the majors now who grew up admiring Ken Griffey, Jr. I have to admit, even though there was never any danger of me making it to the majors, I feel the same way about the guy. I still have his Topps rookie card somewhere at my parents’ house and I remember going to see him play at old Tiger Stadium when he was with the Mariners. Actually, even though I was (and always will be) a huge Tigers fan, I was almost more excited about watching Griffey patrol center field that day than I was about seeing the Tigers’ cast of has-beens and never-weres. This was the 90’s after all, and there wasn’t much good happening at the corner of Kaline and Trumbull. And even though I know he’ll probably go down with some sort of injury part way through the season, I’d love to see the Tigers pick him up and unload Sheffield. Griffey at DH sporting an old English “D” on his ballcap? Yes, please!
Christmas is a time for giving. And that’s why I want to thank Jane Heller over at Confessions of a She-Fan for giving me one of the greatest gifts ever. It doesn’t seem like much, just a little article from the NY Times but it provided the one thing we can’t live without: Hope. Now, I still don’t think that Mr. Trammell is going to make it into the Hall but if the Times says he belongs there, who am I to argue? I mean, I can’t think of a single thing they’ve been wrong about. Well, maybe just one thing but really, it’s so minor as to be insignificant.
But, maybe if Jane and the Times can give me hope here, someone can come forward and give me hope in a couple other places. For instance, since we all know that the night is darkest right before the dawn, does that mean that the Lions are about to turn the corner? At the very least, Millen is finally gone. And is it possible that the Tigers will be competitive in the AL Central this year despite their complete failure to make any significant moves so far this offseason? At least Farnsworth is gone.
I don’t know, though. It’s hard to base your hopes for the future on subtraction instead of addition. But as a native Michigander, I can only go with what I know. I mean, this is a state that has single-handedly destroyed its signature industry (granted, with a lot of help from the industry itself) and now sports an impressively gaudy 9.6% unemployment rate. The Lions, industrial contraction and negative job creation? Well, at least we still have the Red Wings.