Spleen Venting…

I know that we are not supposed to focus on the need to “give thanks” until the fourth Thursday of November; nevertheless, I am very thankful for something that will happen as soon as this day prepares to turn into night.  At 4:00PM EDT, the MLB trade deadline will pass, and I can stop having to read about trade rumors and can stop and look at the reality of what happened as teams made whatever trades they actually wanted to make.

Along that line, it will put to merciful rest one of the many genres of a new form of sports writing that has already irritated every nerve in my body.  I refer here to any column or “listicle” that has this form of a headline:

  • X-Number of Bold Predictions For The “Fill In Sports Event/Deadline”

Let me translate that headline and give you the substance of whatever lurks below that headline:

  • A “Bold Prediction” is less tangible than a rumor.  It could be a flight of fancy or it could be a hallucination or it could be pure phantasmagoria.
  • The article below such a headline means there was a need for content on a website somewhere but there are no facts to report or analyze – – so what we need to do here is make up some “stuff” and then pretend to justify why it was made up in the first place.

Please tell me I am not the only person who has had enough of those space-wasters…

Since I am on the subject of things that have worn out their welcome, allow me to mention one more.  I don’t know about you, but I have heard too many owners, athletic directors, coaches and players announce that they have embarked on a course to “change the culture” of some organization somewhere.  Enough already.  Here is what you mean, so why not say it?

  • We have been sorry-assed losers for a while now and we are going to try something different in the hopes that we can stop being sorry-assed losers and win more games.

With those two things off my mind, I can confidently echo the frequent statement of Gomez Addams from the old TV show, The Addams Family:

  • I’m feeling MUCH better now…

Tomorrow will bring the world its first look at the 2019 iteration of Hard Knocks.  Normally, I do not watch much of that program because it is obvious to me that the coaches and players see the cameras and production crews as an interruption.  I just never get the feeling that this is what would be happening if I were indeed a “fly on the wall”.  Having said that, I might give this year’s incarnation a glimpse.  Here are 4 reasons why:

  1. This year’s episode will feature the Oakland Raiders giving me the potential to see/hear some sort of pronunciamento from Mark Davis.  That could be fun – – unless he talks about “changing the culture” …
  2. This year’s coach, Jon Gruden, may not resent the cameras; he may have been planning on ways to maximize his “airtime” for the past several weeks.  No one can think that Jon Gruden is camera-averse…
  3. I can’t wait to hear how Coach Gruden – the QB guru and developer – coaches up the likes of Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman.  The post-production folks may have to make liberal use of the “bleep-button” for that segment.
  4. Antonio Brown, Vontaze Burfict and Richie Incognito will be in camp.  Who knows what any of them might do next – on the field or off the field?

Scott Ostler had this observation about the upcoming Hard Knocks series in the SF Chronicle recently:

“That damn ‘Hard Knocks’ will be a distraction, says the football team that has sucked for decades, was homeless for months before sulking back to the Oakland Coliseum, and recently signed one player who arrived in a hot-air balloon, and another who will sit out two games because, according to a police report, he allegedly threatened to kill mortuary workers when they wouldn’t let him cut off his dead father’s head for research.”

Now that I have Professor Ostler’s perspective in mind, maybe this year’s Hard Knocks will be the best TV series since Cheers closed its doors…

There is a bit of good news out there in the sports cosmos this morning.  Reports say that David Ortiz has been released from the hospital after about 7 weeks in there and 3 surgeries to undo/minimize damage done when he was shot in the back in a fracas in the Dominican Republic.  The last announcement from the authorities there is that Ortiz was not the target of the shooting; nevertheless, he is the one who spent 7 weeks in the hospital and time in the ICU recovering from the effects of the shooting.

Finally, Brad Rock had this comment in the Deseret News recently regarding a baseball happening in the Dominican Republic:

“A Yankees Dominican Summer League team beat a Twins team 38-2.

“The biggest question among spectators: ‘How did the Twins score a safety?’”

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