Our country is pretty messed up. The middle class is being squeezed out of existence, home ownership is becoming a pipe dream for many, job security is a thing of the past and the cost of higher education is spiraling out of control. Meanwhile, we have Donald Trump leading the polls in one of the major parties and neither party seems to be listening to the very real and often desperate needs of the overlooked and invisible in our society.
We, as a nation, can likely overcome these obstacles, but we don’t need anything else weighing us down at this point. We don’t need any more oppression from The Man, curtailing our freedoms and squelching the few bits of beauty and wonder which manage to break through the dark, gnarly boughs of the hostile forest that is 21st Century society.
Simply put, we don’t need bad news like this:
Yesterday we had a dream of Yasiel Puig, swooping into Dodger Stadium in a chopper. Probably late anyway because that’s just what he does, but swooping all the same! Now even that dream is gone.
I’m moving to Canada. Or, if Trump promises that he’ll let Puig fly the chopper, I may take another look at him. I’m in a delicate vulnerable place right now, open to the power of suggestion.
I’m on record as saying that a lot of memorabilia is lame and that autograph collecting is weird. I realize people have varying opinions about this, but in my mind it’s the memories which last forever. The totems seem less important to me.
There are degrees to this, however. And after seeing what MLB is selling, I will never criticize your game-used jersey or autographed ball ever again. What are they auctioning? Dirt. Like, actual infield dirt. For $25 a pop. It comes in a jar. It’s “authenticated” too because the last thing you want is fake dirt.
“Wow, dad! Is that REAL dirt from the 2009 All-Star Game?”
“Yes, son. It sure is!”
“Were you there?!”
“No, son. I watched it on television. Then, seven years later, I purchased this jar of dirt from Major League Baseball.”
“You’re my hero, dad!”
[hugs his father forever]
Scott Merkin reports that White Sox pitcher Chris Sale won’t make his Cactus League debut until March 19. There is nothing wrong with him — Sale is perfectly healthy — but the White Sox are wanting to keep from working him too hard. He’ll throw simulated games and bullpen sessions over the next couple weeks rather than appear in game action.
I wouldn’t be shocked if we saw more of this as time goes on. While teams are using more sophisticated means of monitoring and limiting workloads than pure innings limits and pitch counts, it’s still the case, I suspect, that the less work the better, at least early on.
All of which leads into a discussion of why spring training is as long as it is and why there are as many scheduled games as there are. Long ago spring training used to be far more informal — working out as opposed to properly-scheduled league action — but as spring training became more of a tourist draw it became more of a business and now there are a lot of financial reasons for the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues to schedule as many games as possible.
I can’t see that changing much, but if the consensus of thought in Major League Baseball settles on the idea that too rigorous a spring training schedule is a bad thing, I wonder what happens?