Yesterday, they celebrated the 100th “birthday” of Wrigley Field in Chicago. As you might imagine, there was a ton of sentimental falderal for the day but the Cubbies knew the best way to honor their home field for the past century.
They took a 3-run lead into the top of the 9th inning and then gave up 5 runs to the D-Backs to lose the game.
Unlike the vast majority of baseball poets, I am not enamored of Wrigley Field. I do not need luxury amenities at a baseball venue, but it took about 95 years for Wrigley Field to install urinals. I think that is sufficient for me to say that the place needs more than a coat of paint. Of course, Wrigley Field is the place where the Cubs labor under the burden of their “curse”. With regard to their supposed curse, I have always had a question in mind about its origin:
A fan was denied entrance to a Cubs’ game because he wanted to bring his goat with him into the park. He is the one who affixed “the curse” to the team.
Question: What kind of numbskull/social misfit would think that it was even a borderline reasonable idea to bring a goat to a baseball game?
While in the mode of asking questions about the Cubs’ misfortunes over the years, here is another one that has always interested me:
Question #2: Was Steve Bartman in the Federal Witness Protection Program the night he became involved in baseball lore? Given that no one ever heard about him before that night and given how thoroughly out-of-sight he has been since then … Oh, is he really “Steve Bartman”? Perhaps, he is the jumper formerly known as D. B. Cooper? Enquiring minds want to know…
While on the subject of baseball – sort of – I am beginning to wonder when it became de rigueur for players to take offense at the play of other players. Carlos Gomez hit a long ball to centerfield and flipped his bat to stare at it before running to first base. When he arrived at third base with a triple, the pitcher “took offense” at his posturing and a bench clearing brawl ensued. Why?
Babe Ruth pointed to where he was going to hit the next pitch – and then he did it. There was no fight after he went back to the dugout. Jimmy Piersall celebrated his 100th career home run by backpedaling around the bases. [I remember seeing that game on TV as a kid.] There was no brawl. So, just when did the “unwritten rules of the game” change to allow players to be spring-loaded into the pissed-off position with regard to the way opposing players behave during the game? Why is a pitcher offended when a batter hits the ball a long way and looks to track the flight of the ball? Does anyone remember Carlton Fisk with the Red Sox in the World Series and his “demonstrative” behavior? I do – and I also remember there was no fighting after the fact.
One more baseball related item… Recent stories about the way Yasiel Puig arrived in Mexico and then in the US to be able to play MLB are disturbing to say the least. The idea that he was coerced to sign over 20% of his future earnings under threat of torture or losing a bodily appendage is not exactly the best story to tell about a man who left his homeland to start a new life here in the US. What I find offensive is that MLB is at the end of a chain of events – and the end that provides Puig with sufficiently large “future earnings” that it is worth coercing him to sign over a portion of them – that are reprehensible enough to be labeled “human trafficking”. Look, I do not expect Bud Selig and the MLBPA to go riding off on some crusade to end human trafficking worldwide; that is not their job. However, the fact is that they are complicit in that practice to some degree.
In the past, I have been more than critical – some would say less than kind – in my remarks about golfer Michelle Wie. When she was a young prodigy, she was exploited by adults. Because she could beat male golfers in high school, people tried to hold her up as a teenager who might be able to play in The Masters or something equivalent to that. That did not work; her game fell apart and it got to the point where she had difficulty being competitive even on the LPGA Tour. She attended – and graduated from – Stanford University indicating that she is an intelligent young woman and recently she won an LPGA Tour event in Hawaii with a final round of 67. That was her first LPGA Tour win in 4 years.
Earlier this season, Michelle Wie finished second in the Kraft Nabisco Championship and her win last week gives her a total of just over $600K in winnings for this year. Now that she is “merely” a professional golfer and not a promotional show-pony, I hope that she succeeds. My beef was never with her; it was with the adults who exploited her when she was a teenager.
The idea of “separation of church and state” is at the core of US society. However, there is no such separation demanded or expected with regard to sports. Allow me to offer evidence in support of that statement by looking at the world of Internet dating.
JDate.com is an Internet dating site focused on single folks who are Jewish. It has been around for more than 15 years. Clearly, there is a strong religious affiliation/angle to this site.
ChristianMingle.com is an Internet dating site focused on single folks who are Christians. This site says it will assist you to “Find God’s match for you”. Clearly, there is a strong religious affiliation/angle to this site too.
Now comes the sports equivalent… People have figuratively labeled fans of various teams as ones who revere and even worship those teams. And in that spirit, let me advise you that there is a new Internet dating service at www.greenbaypackerslovers.com. The site launched in March 2014; and as of this morning, the site claims to have 2138 members. Religious fervor manifests itself in a wide variety of ways.
Finally, here is a comment from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald with regard to another young winner on the LPGA Tour:
“Coral Springs’ Lexi Thompson, 19, last week became the second-youngest woman to win an LPGA major. When I was 19, I first tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube before stomping on it in frustration.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………