Posts Tagged ‘Minor league baseball’

It’s been quite a while since we did one of these posts, so here ’tis — the best of the Internet: the sick, the perverse, and the marginally useful. (We’ll cover the sickest, most perverse, and utterly useless very shortly in yet another Religion Roundup.) Anyway, here goes:

  • First the useful. The destructive parasites known as patent trolls have become a plague in recent years. Now, someone is finally doing something about them. The crowdfunding platform Unpatent describes its mission as being to “eliminate bad patents.” We wish them luck.
  • The Intercept has a great article on how anyone, including those with virtually no computer knowledge, can easily enhance their online security.
  • In a study that should surprise no one, Cambridge University researchers report that, based on a study of 4,000 police shifts in California and the UK, police with body cameras receive 93% fewer complaints than police without them.  The reason? The researchers surmise that both cops and those they stop are on their best behavior when they know they’re being recorded.
  • In an incident that should surprise no one, police in Connecticut accidentally recorded themselves conspiring to frame a First and Fourth Amendment activist they were harassing. They had seized the victim’s camera, thrown it to the ground, and were unaware that it was still working and in recording mode. The victim, upon recovering his camera and discovering the video, posted it to the Internet and contacted the ACLU. As almost anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave or an all-white suburb can tell you, this sort of police misconduct is routine.
  • In a development that should surprise almost everyone, Priceonomics reports that Sorrento, Louisiana and a number of other small towns have had to disband their police departments in recent years. The Washington Post reports that these towns include Irwindale, California, Lincoln Heights, Ohio, and Waukegan, Illinois.  Why have they done this? Citizen protests? No. They’ve done it because their police departments operated in such a reckless manner that insurance companies refused to issue the cities liability insurance.
  • The major league baseball teams, the vast majority of which are major beneficiaries of public largesse (most notably taxpayer-funded stadiums costing well up into the hundreds of millions of dollars), are cheapskates taking public money but refusing to pay minor league players even the minimum wage. Of late, these corporate jerks and profiteers have found lackeys in Congress who have introduced legislation (the grotesquely named Save America’s Pastime Act) to allow the teams to pay minor leaguers a sub-minimum wage. Doug Buzzone, on our favorite baseball blog, McCovey Chronicles, has an admirably clear and short financial analysis showing that “every team in baseball could afford to [pay minor leaguers minimum wage]. They just don’t want to.”
  • Finally, need we do any more with this final item than reproduce the headline? “Clown porn has had massive boost thanks to killer clown craze.” (No, I don’t think we need to say anything more, either.)

Watch for the upcoming Religion Roundup. We’ve found some really choice items.

“Baseball was, is, and always will be to me the best game in the world.”

–Babe Ruth

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with baseball, since I was a kid and played it. The only thing I could do was hit; every year I played, I led the league in hitting. But I had no power, was “deceptively slow” (long torso, short legs), had a weak arm, and was a terrible fielder. I was out of it by the time I was in my teens.

It was a bitter pill to swallow. When I was nine or ten, I desperately wanted to be a professional baseball player. But it wasn’t to be.

I gave up on the game and didn’t follow it at all until I was in my mid-20s, and sat around drinking and smoking dope with my then-GF’s babysitter, Lucy (the first-ever female graduate of the University of Idaho, in 1917), a really nice, funny, old lady, watching the 1975 World Series. The highlight was not, as commonly believed, Carlton Fisk’s home run. Rather, there were two of them: Bernie Carbo’s  two pinch hitting appearances and two home runs. (Yep, 2 AB’s, 2 HR’s) (Lucy shortly killed herself with tobacco; I was there in her hospital room when she died in convulsions from emphysema.)

Later in the ’70s, when I was still living in Boise, there was a Rookie League team playing at one of the local high school fields. Due to insane, restrictive laws (what else is new?), they couldn’t sell alcohol, but you could bring it in and drink it in the right field stands. I often went with three or four other reprobates, and we’d usually bring one or two ice chests filled with anywhere from two to four cases of beer. (Yes, your math is right.)

The best part was that the owner and the manager, Gene Craft, were both born-again Christians, and Craft publicly announced that he received his field directions from God.

Of course, we had huge fun with this: “Hey Craft! Jesus wants a sacrifice!” etc., etc.

After I moved to San Francisco and quit drinking, I went out to Candlestick Park on a regular basis. It was great. $2.50 for a bleachers seat, and they let you bring in food and drink. My favorite memory is of a dozen or so fish-belly-pale Stanford frat boys in the front row trying to start a “wave” (a definite violation of protocol at the Stick). A guy in the row behind me screamed at ear-splitting volume, “Go back to your fucking tanning booths, you goddamn faggots!” (Yes, that was what the Stick was like in the pre-PC era.)

Since I left SF a quarter of a century ago, I’ve been in Tucson. Due to an incredible (rather, all too credible) series of idiotic decisions by the local powers that be, we’re stuck with a $40+ million white elephant stadium down on the surface of the moon on Ajo Way, and no team — not even a single-A team in a city with a million people. There’s no point in going into it further; suffice it to say, the city and county governments have completely dicked over the local entrepreneur who’s been trying to keep baseball in Tucson, and would have done so without their interference.

But at least I have the Giants announcers, Kruk & Kuip (Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper),  on They’re insightful, funny, and it’s really nice to see two guys who work well off each other and obviously like each other. It’s almost enough to restore my faith in humanity. Almost.

Once in a while a non-fan asks me, “How on earth can you take baseball seriously?”

My answer is always the same:  “I don’t.”

But it’s so much fun.