Zapping The Silly Sports
Someone once wrote the only uncomfortable thing that lasts longer than the National Basketball Association season was pregnancy.
One could say the same for that silly sport of hockey. They puck it up and down the ice for what seems like an entire year until a bunch of guys with names out of a Victor Hugo novel and no teeth skate around with Stanley’s Cup.
They play pro basketball for six months in order to eliminate Sacramento and then they start over and play until the Fourth of July. With no Michael Jordan in the league anymore, they might as well call the whole thing off anyway.
Wouldn’t bother me. The last time anybody was able to get me to a pro basketball game, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a tall guy named Lew.
But now they’re doing the same thing to the baseball season. I love baseball. I’ve always loved baseball.
And baseball used to make absolutely perfect sense. There were two leagues, the National and the American. At the end of a 154-game season, the winners of the two leagues played in the World Series. In the daytime. On real grass. Under the sky, not a roof named for it.
And each team in each league could use only nine players at a time. Then somebody said in the American League there could be something called a designated hitter.
The pitcher on each team – pitchers are notoriously poor hitters for some reason – could stay in the dugout when it came his time to bat and somebody else could go up there and hit for him.
Why God hasn’t intervened for that transgression is still a mystery. God got even with North Carolina for putting slaw on barbecue. He (or She; excuse, please) did. He or She sent North Carolina good ol’ Jesse Helms.
But they still weren’t through messing with baseball. They also split each league into two divisions. Gave away franchises in foreign countries, allowed artificial grass, put roofs on stadiums and started playing the World Series in the middle of the night on the brink of November.
They still weren’t finished. Beginning next season, each league will be split into three divisions and there will be another round of playoffs.
You play 162 games from April until October and the issue of the best team in each league still isn’t settled without two rounds of playoffs.
The federal government couldn’t screw up baseball any worse than baseball has screwed up baseball, and I mean that as the insult that it most certainly is.
Baseball is a pure game, an orderly game. The reason the uneducated think it’s a dull, slow game is they don’t realize the intricacies involved on every pitch.
“A lot of stuff goes on out there” is how it was described in George Will’s b aseball book, “Men at Work.”
But now there is an obvious move afoot to junk-up baseball.
“We’re modernizing it is all,” say those behind the changes. Money- izing is what they’re doing. More playoff games mean more money.
Can’t there be a few things left in this world that isn’t given power steering, an automatic timer, doesn’t do your thinking for you, or isn’t diluted for quick cash?
I liked hotels better when they had big brass keys, not a plastic card to get inside your room.
I liked country music better before there were guitars you plugged in. I liked bacon better when I could hear it sizzling in a pan and smell it frying. That was before you could zap it in a microwave.
Now, baseball will be like basketball and hockey. It will last much too long, give too many also-rans a second, undeserved chance and Port-au- Prince will probably get a team and somebody will shoot Jeff Blauser of the Braves, my favorite baseball player, one night.
The Nightmare Before Christmas. Soon, that might describe the baseball season.