Missing My Baseball

19 08 2013

1971 Topps #598 Wise

I love the sport of baseball.  I just don’t like it lately…

Some of my best memories from growing up in the 60’s and 70’s have to do with baseball.  I played ball from ages 5 to 15 at my local youth organization.  After that I still had some choose-up games with friends, and then played softball into my late twenties. These were great times… Harry Kalas’ silky smooth voice on the radio, sitting behind that pillar at Connie Mack Stadium, watching Rick Wise’s no-hitter in my basement on that small b&w TV… with my Dad.

I’ve said before that one of the worst things about getting older is that you can’t get enough guys for a 9v9 baseball game. Even worse is watching the game that is played today.  I miss the game of my youth, so here’s MY list of some of the things that I think are wrong with baseball… maybe other sports as well.  In no particular order…

Performance Enhancing Drugs – It would be easy for me to point to Alex Rodriguez and make him the poster boy for this issue.  But MLB had a “nod, nod, wink, wink” attitude towards PEDs from the beginning. It’s funny now to see them come down so hard on players when they let it happen for so many years.  Any entry in the baseball record book in the last 30 years has been rendered meaningless. While I’m not suggesting that all players achieved success with a boost, you just never know for certain. And by the way… A-Rod is still a douche bag.

Free Pete – Cut the bullshit, Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.  The absence of one of the top five players in history diminishes the institution.  He’s not O.J. Simpson, who’s still in Canton, by the way…

I’m Pro DH – Bring doubleheaders back. Lots of them. And not the day/night crap either. Screw what the player’s union says… they are getting paid millions of dollars to play a kids game.  Two games in one afternoon won’t kill them.

I’m Anti DH – Lose the designated hitter. Pitchers are ballplayers and should be made to hit. And if you can’t play the field anymore, its time to retire. But why stop there? Let’s have courtesy runners for players who can’t run the bases.  Maybe let them hit off a tee when the hand-eye coordination starts to go. The only thing that the DH rule accomplished was taking a good deal of strategy out of the game. There is nothing more beautiful than a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt… a lost art in the majors.

Jewelry – Oh good God, what is with the jewelry?  Seriously?  I guess those rope things are fashion statement that I am missing.  But wait a doggone minute… I’m reading now that the ropes “stabilize your electric current inside the body” by “allowing the flow of energy.”  Sounds like another performance enhancer to me!!

Crappy Game Giveaways – I’ll never forget leaving Connie Mack Stadium that summer day… so pissed that I got a bat signed by Johnny Briggs, and my cousin got Johnny Callison.  Bat Day was the best ever, but probably gone because of security issues. I know that’s not baseball’s fault. But giveaways and promotions only exist now to court corporate sponsorship… “Modell’s Sporting Goods Kids Run The Bases”, for example.  I’d still like to see a cap, or a ball, or a batting glove adorned only with the logo of my team… not a company.  Crap at it’s finest.

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All-Star Game – It used to be the event of the summer, full of trash talk and hard play.  Now it is a joke, long ago ruined by too many free agents and trades.  There was a sense of pride to play for your league, against the “other” league… with nothing on the line except bragging rights.  Home field advantage in the World Series is just plain stupid, and clearly hasn’t given the players any incentive.  If there is nothing to play for, why play?

Managers In Uniform – This is one of my biggest pet peeves.  In no other sport in the world do managers and coaches wear the same uniform as the players. Picture, if you will, the svelte Andy Reid wearing a white Eagles jersey and silver pants during the game.  I’m still scrubbing my brain to erase the image of 80 year-old Don Zimmer in that form-fitting Red Sox uni…

Bench Clearing Brawls – Mister Batter, if you’re hit by a pitch, shut up and go to first (watch Chase Utley). Mister Pitcher, that’s a warning… do it again and you’re out of the game (you’re a major league pitcher… have some control). Field players, don’t take one step in or you’re out of the game too. Everyone else stay on the bench and in the bullpen, including coaches. No reason to be on the field anyway.  Now all of you… grow up and set a better example for young fans.

Umpires – News flash to all MLB Umpires… not one person in the stadium has plunked down their money to see YOU officiate the game.  Stop getting in players faces when they disagree with a call.  Stop with the flamboyant signalling of outs and strikes.  The fact is… if you have done your job well, no one should even notice you are there.

A LOT of Games – I’m hoping this is the year that the World Series gets cancelled because of snow.  Well… not really… but I’d love to see my point proven.  The boys of summer should not be playing in the winter.  Adding yet another round of playoffs is owner’s greed, pure and simple.  Plus… is it all necessary?  After 162 regular season games, do we not know who is the best team?

That’s my view… please comment below.  And at least give me some props for not mentioning soccer…





B-MUSINGS… Cool August Night Edition

13 08 2013

“B-Musings”… random blurbiage and ping pong balls rattling around my dome.  Why?  Because I can, and I have a blog!

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Beachin’ It – In a previous post, I mentioned my new found longing to be at the beach. It hasn’t waned. Fortunately I was able to get to the shore a couple of weeks ago and quench that thirst. My friends know that I am not one to stay at the beach for more than an hour… two tops. So the 10 hours over two days I spent sitting on the sand was a revelation. Granted, I was blessed with the right mix of great weather and great company… the perfect storm. It also came at the right time, in what has been a very hectic few months.

I’m going back next week, to plop my ass on that chair again. Can’t wait… I seem to be a poster boy for change lately, and I have to say I’m enjoying it.  Look out, fudgy wudgy man…

Culling the Facebook Herd – I like to go into my social media contacts periodically, and “unfriend” some people and places with whom I no longer interact. Recently I cleaned out a bunch of brands, bands, movies and other assorted “Likes”. Alas, I also jettisoned about 10 people who have thus far failed to enrich my social media experience. But as I was going through the exercise I came to four Facebook friends who are deceased. Obviously I was aware of them in my list, and each had very different levels of friendship for me. It’s nice that friends and family still drop comments on their pages for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.

So… those four will remain. Until I see them again.

The Soccer Supporter Mentality – I spend a decent amount of time explaining this concept to my non-soccer friends, so I thought I would throw it out for some comments. I fully expect Philadelphia Union striker and rising star Jack McInerney to be playing somewhere else next year, and I’m okay with it. If he moves to Europe, he will develop faster and better than in MLS. And that is good for U.S. Soccer, the priority.

Unlike any other sport, the true fan places country over club.  I think it is the best way to go, we support our national team first, then we have favorite domestic and/or overseas club teams… and we are rabid about all of them!!!  For me… USMNT, then Union, then Manchester United. The goal is always to fortify the national squad. Nuff said…

photo1Wedding of the Century – I often call Joe O’Hagan my faux cousin, when in fact he is my oldest and dearest friend. Our Moms were best friends growing up in Belfast, and travelled to America together on the Mayflower (well… that’s what they led us to believe).  So Joe, myself, his and my sisters grew up as cousins. He’s been a swinging bachelor for all these years until the fair Jennifer finally lassoed him to the ground. When I got news of their pending nuptials I expected an epic event, and was not disappointed.

It was a grand day, epic in its tradition and simplicity. I was honored to be asked to do a reading at the traditional Catholic ceremony, and I delivered it with my usual panache. The reception was held at the same classic venue that hosted my Senior Prom 35 years ago, and the place hasn’t changed one bit! The flashback feeling was aided by a great DJ who played Sinatra and other standards during dinner, and pulled out all the classic wedding reception dance hits… “Celebrate good times, come on!!” Joe’s nephew gave what might have been the greatest best man toast ever, and the newly married couple danced to an absolutely perfect song choice – the beautiful “At Last” by Etta James.

It truly was an epic event. All that was missing was a whiskey sour fountain and the garter / bouquet tossing, omitted I assume because of the groom – throwing anything is dangerous at his advanced age. But there were four other things missing… Joe and Marie, and Bunty and James. No doubt they would have been delighted that after a half century we are all still together.  Real family… no faux, mofo.

Good times, good people, good craic.

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Meet Herb… Official “Face” of the B-Musing Blog Post.  Are you B-Mused now? A-Mused? Both?

Let me know by commenting below… Herb needs to know!!!





Glance Links – August 2013

8 08 2013

social-media-stats

Just some stuff that caught my eye recently, and might help you in your marketing efforts!  If you have any that you would like to pass on to me… hit me up!

CTA-Guide-CoverCall To Action Guide For EMail Marketing – Great stuff from the beautiful people at AWeber. Make your “call to action” eye-grabbing and attention-snatching, and position it perfectly… then sit back and watch the responses roll in!  PDF Download…

Social Media Image Sizing Cheat Sheet – Recent changes to Facebook pages, Twitter headers, YouTube channels and other social sites has made it difficult to get the size of your images just right. Bookmark this page, and the next time you’re about to post a picture or change your profile image, refer to this handy cheat sheet.

26 Social Stats From 2013 You Should Know –  I find myself explaining why social marketing is important to a business. I do this a lot. Here are some great, current tidbits to make your argument… or your next presentation!

3 Copywriting Mistakes Hurting Your Business (and How to Fix Them) – Make your website work harder by correcting these three common copywriting mistakes. If you are like me, writing doesn’t come without a certain amount of agita… so anything helps! This article will certainly correct some mistakes.

One more thing… does anyone else find it interesting that the word “copywriting” gets flagged in some SpellCheck programs?  Anyway… I hope these items are helpful!  Love to discuss…  JL





Tier Drops

5 08 2013

Broken

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you.  You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley

There are thousands of songs, poems, stories, TV shows and movies about friendship. Add this blog post to the list if you like… just my thoughts on the subject.

I consider myself to be a good friend. I love all of my peeps. Some more than others and that is only fair. To be honest, I have several tiers of friends… a Friend Pyramid, if you will. You have one, though you may hesitate to admit it. The besties are at the top, followed by good friends, then acquaintances and friends of friends, and so on…  Levels are determined by the amount of intimacy, honesty and/or truth you offer them, and what they return to you. Most days you don’t make clear distinctions, but the levels are always there. I like the pyramid metaphor because of the size… and filling that space is satisfying to me.

Even the strongest friendships are amazingly fragile. In my life, friends have come and gone. And some have moved up and down the pyramid.  I’ve learned that over the years, and was reminded of it during my high school reunion a couple of weeks ago. Most of my top-tier friends were there, and many others. I saw and talked to some great people that weekend. Many, many “Remember the time…?”, and “Do you ever see…?” conversations. And lots of talk about careers and family… great stuff! It’s gratifying to realize that although many years (decades, in some cases) have passed, a very comfortable symmetry is still there. While we have changed so much as individuals, our connection together has not.

Friendships are like that. My best friend today is also my oldest friend, but we spent about ten years estranged from each other. It’s interesting that a person you may have felt so close to back in the day is not at all present now. And it happens faster than that… here today and gone tomorrow.

I recently saw this quote on Facebook… “If someone actually wanted you in their life, they’d actually put some effort into showing it. So don’t bother reserving a space in your heart for someone who doesn’t make an effort to stay.” At a glance it made some sense, but further reading gave me pause. Yes, I do expect the same love that I am so happy to give. That will determine your position in my heart. But there is no need reserve a space there… it’s a big place. I always have vacancies.

Like a pyramid. It’s friggin’ huge!

“Broken Glass” photo courtesy of Hermin Abramovitc.  Find his work at http://ahermin.deviantart.com/.