Pure Hedonism…

In the month of October, the batteries powering my TV remote get quite a workout. I flip back and forth between football games and MLB Playoff games more than just once in a while. Playoff baseball is different from regular season baseball just as regular season baseball is different from Spring Training. Playoff baseball is compelling to a much greater degree than any individual game in a 162-game season.

The great thing is that both football and baseball allow time for such channel commuting. When the football teams are not playing hurry-up offense, it is even possible to reach a state of synchronization where pitches and plays happen in real time such that you do not miss anything in either game. My long-suffering wife likes to characterize me as a Luddite and often reminds me that I can record one game and watch the other and not miss anything. I have tried to explain that there is something “delicious” about being able to catch it all in real time as opposed to catching it on replay.

I bring this up because I have a rooting interest in both the ALCS and the NLCS this year. It is not the typical rooting interest because I really do not care which team wins either series. I have said I wanted the Blue Jays to win in the AL only to see if a World Series Game might have to be postponed because of snow – as a way to tell MLB that even Mother Nature thinks baseball should not stretch into November. But that is not my rooting interest …

I want both the ALCS and the NLCS to stretch to at least 6 games and preferably to 7 games. The reason for that is purely hedonistic. This week is the annual Autumnal Pilgrimage to Las Vegas with “the regulars” and if those playoff series go to their final games, we will get to see them there on the big screen, in a sportsbook, amongst an energized environment – and with “a little something” on the game to root for. There will be other things going on in the sportsbooks while the games are on – but there will be no need to flip from channel to channel because there will be at least 2 dozen screens to cover all the action all the time. Like I said, pure hedonism…

About a week ago, there were reports that Browns’ QB, Johnny Manziel had been pulled over for driving at a high rate of speed on a road shoulder in Ohio and that he and his girlfriend had been involved in a roadside altercation which escalated to something physical. If those reports were accurate, it is difficult to see how this might be construed as a “good thing”…

Added to that sort of reporting, it appeared that Manziel had been drinking – although not to the point of impairment while driving – and given his long stint in rehab earlier this year for alcohol abuse, that was also disquieting…

Both of these aspects to the reports of this incident are important and bothersome. Domestic violence/abuse is abhorrent; let there be no cloud of uncertainty around or nuance associated with that statement. Drinking as a recovering alcoholic is tragic because it is a testament to the fact that the recovery is not real. I have several friends and former colleagues who are recovering alcoholics. Two of them that I know of have had to go through the start-up to recovery several times before recovery became central to their lives. Both of them said that as soon as they took “that first drink” they realized that their recovery had gone all the way back to square one.

Johnny Manziel has not been an endearing figure or an inspirational figure for his short time on the sporting scene. For much of that time he seemed to be the incarnation of the entitled spoiled brat to whom the rules that apply to others do not apply to him. It was easy to imagine a year or so ago him being confronted by any sort of authority figure and hearing him say, “Do you know who I am?”

Manziel brought out all of the euphemisms that reporters use to avoid negative commentary.

    He “made bad decisions”; he “showed immaturity”; he “refused to take accountability”.

What he was doing then was being an antisocial “starts-with-A-and-rhymes-with-glass-bowl”. Based on his need for rehab – and the length of his stay in rehab – we can at least consider that some of his antisocial behavior was directly tied to his alcohol consumption. If that consideration is closer to correct than to incorrect, the reports that he had been drinking proximal to the time of the traffic incident and the confrontation with his girlfriend are saddening and worrisome.

Since the police have not filed any charges in the matter and the girlfriend seems not to be interested in anything along the lines of a lawsuit or a protective order, the idea that the Browns and/or the NFL might punish Manziel is tenuous. None of the circumstances involved in the incident a week ago are laudable but I do have to wonder what good might come from a punishment. This is not over; stay tuned…

The Miami Dolphins spent two weeks acclimating to an interim coach and his new ways. Buried in the agate type was an announcement that the team also “promoted” special teams coach Darren Rizzi to the position of “Assistant Head Coach”. To be honest, I have no idea about Darren Rizzi’s coaching career or his credentials within that profession; so, please do not take the following comment as any kind of a swipe at him.

    What does it mean to be the Assistant Head Coach to a guy who is the Interim Head Coach?

    Should scribes refer to him as the Assistant-Interim Head Coach?

    If the Interim Head Coach goes down in flames, do you become the Neo-Interim Head Coach and inherit a new assistant?

    If the Interim Head Coach is a wild success and gets the job permanently, do you get to keep your “Assistantship” permanently too?

Finally, here is a comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald that is relevant to my channel commuting from baseball games to football games at this time of the year:

“The Iranian women’s soccer team must undergo gender testing after allegations that eight players are men. It’s low-budget gender testing. The players are handed a TV remote and if they haven’t lost it in five minutes, they are considered to be women.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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