Perhaps the most self-centered activity I engage in is my volunteer work. I spent a wonderful decade coaching football to (mostly) under 13 kids. Currently, I fill the void as a member of Kiwanis International, where my peers and I are solely committed to serving the youth of the world. I say self-absorbed, because there are few visions more pleasing to the eyes, ears, and heart, then a group of happy and engaged children. As an example, the Macomb Kiwanis chapter, of which I am a member, is now in the process of completing a major project; the financing and building of a new playground for our little town’s central park.
This has been a project long in the pipeline, debated and fretted over for two years before I arrived on the scene. My only substantive contributions would be in the actual building of the site, a project scheduled to take less than 12 hours over two days. After 12 hours on Friday (that I was not present for), 12 hours on Saturday, 8 hours on Sunday, and 8 hours today, the playground is now almost complete. Where my hands were roughened from power-lifting, the callouses have split; where my hands were still soft from my decidedly non-physical life of managing and writing, blisters have formed and popped. As with everyone else, my joints are sore and my nerves are frayed.
It could be argued that baseball is no longer our nation’s pastime. It could be argued that our nation has become so fractured, that it no longer has a pastime to call its own. Football may have become the nation’s sport of preference, but the gridiron has never come close to capturing the spirit of Americana in the manner of baseball. The sport is, as all of our major sports are, a sport for the young. But in baseball, youth is preserved. In baseball, where the glorious diversity of the sport is uncovered by helmets and body armor, our favorite players earn a kind of immortality.
It is through that lens that I read the bittersweet news of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ release of Garret Anderson. Anderson, you see, is one month older than I. He is a Los Angeles native; I grew up 240 miles up the road in Las Vegas. I have watched his career since we were both, in the parlance of baseball, kids.He came up to the show in 1994 with the California Angels when they were owned by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. He remained with the franchise when they were called the Anaheim Angels and owned by the Walt Disney Company. His career with the team continued long enough to carry him to the Los Angeles Angels and the first Hispanic owner in baseball, Arte Moreno. Many players play for three different teams in 15 years, the classy Anderson managed the feet without moving off of the left field grass on Katella Avenue in Anaheim.
As you have no doubt heard by now, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 80. His death, while sudden in nature, was by no means a huge surprise, as Steinbrenner was thought to have been in failing health for some time. And yet, while “the Boss” is now gone, his legacy as a professional sports owner is one that will not disappear for a long time.
I’m too young to have been direct witness to most of Steinbrenner’s most famous antics. The items on the following list are merely memories from print and documentaries, but they are vivid nonetheless:
- His frequent criticisms of Yankee Dave Winfield (or “Mr. May” as Steinbrenner dubbed him)
- His repeated run-ins (and subsequent firings) of his team’s managers
- His repeated run-ins with AL and MLB authority figures
- And, most infamously of all, his desire to get “dirt” on the aforementioned Dave Winfield
You know what the funny thing is, though? I feel like I’ve seen it before, over and over again, just from watching Steinbrenner during the last 15 or so years of his long and illustrious life. I can easily imagine him calling one of his players “Mr. May” – I have a feeling A-Rod would have earned that honor a few years ago if the Boss hadn’t finally started to mellow in his age. I’ve seen the run-ins he’s had with a manager (Joe Torre) that won him 4 World Championships, confrontations which ultimately led to Torre’s eventual departure from the Bronx.
I am a Chicago Cubs fan, although it’s hard to admit sometimes. By association, I’m lumped in with the Cubs “fans” that throw garbage onto the field from the bleachers, and the “fans” that pour a perfectly good beer (okay, it’s Old Style, but I digress) onto an opposing team’s center fielder. And no, this isn’t a cry for pity.
I still love this team though. Because I love this team, you can probably figure out how much I hate seeing the team under-perform, and for lack of a better word, suck so much. I don’t want to pretend to be some visionary, but the fall of this team was pretty easy to see coming; I just thought it would happen a year later. This is a season that is quickly going the way of 2006, when the Cubs went 66-96. It probably won’t end up that bad on paper, but in the eyes and mind of this Cubs fan, it’s going to end up even worse.
Somewhat unbelievably, to me at least, the 2010 Major League Baseball season is one-third over. I say unbelievably because, as a Cubs fan (and considering their performance), I would have expected these past two months to go a lot slower, . As unremarkable as the Cubs have been, however, this season as a whole has been a rather interesting one; at least from my point of view. With that said (and in the absence of anything else for me to intelligently write about – it’s times like this that I wish I knew more about soccer), here are 8 of my observations on the still-young 2010 MLB season.
Now, this probably isn’t going to be your typical sports blog. In fact, this will probably at least somewhat venture into the area for which this blog was originally created (i.e., politics.) And I’ll tell you right now – my view probably won’t be “politically correct” by any stretch of the imagination. Now if that isn’t incentive for you to read on, I don’t know what is.
For those of you who are still unfamiliar with the story or haven’t seen the video, this is what happened: a 17 year-old Phillies fan (whose name I will not print just so the idiot doesn’t get one more hit in a Google search) thought it would be a good idea to jump over the fencing and run around in the field of play. And as it was reported today, he thought it was such a good idea that he would call his dad to double-check the awesomeness of the idea. His dad’s succinct reply was: “I don’t think you should, son.” Well, Boy Wonder did it anyway. After eluding an increasingly winded cop for a few seconds, the cop went to his last resort (well, second-t0-last resort if you count the gun he was almost assuredly carrying) and pulled out his taser. He shot it, or did whatever you do with tasers, and the kid went face-first into the outfield turf.