Baseball a Reoccurring Love Affair

Taken last season

From the 2013 Season

Today was opening day for the new Major League Baseball season. Well, it wasn’t really opening day, because the Dodgers played the Padres last night, and last week in Australia. Let’s pretend it really was opening day, because it was. Recently the occasion has brought about mixed feelings of joy and resentment, unfortunately. I hate the way that, in the eyes of the nation, baseball exists on the periphery, somewhere between the NFL Combine and Training Camp, a forgotten older sibling. I hate it because baseball is romantic and captivating in a way that football only aspires to. Football is popular because it only happens once a week, and in that way it is no different from any other popular TV show, because that is what it is, a TV show. Football is a fine sport but its success lies in the idea that you are an outsider if you do not pray at the same altar as everyone else, once a week, for only 3 hours.

Now baseball is a love affair. It is a challenging relationship, but one full of reward. It’s first day, today, marks the end of winter bitterness and holds the prospects of a magical summer. A summer full of sticky skin pressed against an equally sweaty beer bottle. A summer full of staying at the ball park through a rain delay, because what you feel runs deeper than the price of your $8 bleacher seat. That’s right, in baseball you can actually attend games, plural.

But, like I said, it is challenging. There are crushing defeats, and episodes of inexplicable joy, and that’s just Tuesday and Wednesday night. To be a fan requires attention and patience. There will be times when you want to give up, and read an NFL Mock draft two seasons in the future, but then when the next game comes, you watch it just like nothing happened. Baseball fans are drawn back in by the intimacy that they feel with the team, like they know this person after spending 162 days with them. And in the end, whether you win 100 games or 60, you miss your guys. You are thankful for that summer, because then the leaves are changing, and that hope you felt in early spring didn’t materialize, or maybe it did, but regardless it was a hell of a ride.

I watched today, from my office, thousands of Pittsburghians shuffle across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to pack PNC Park as a defending playoff team. The emotion was palpable, and it was beautiful, and I just don’t think anything, at least in a sports sense, can replicate that. Like a someone leaning in for a kiss that they knew would probably be denied, the city was all in. I hope that the Orioles, Pirates, and the rest of the league can withstand the onslaught from what sells and provide what can be felt.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Career Tips You Can Get From Ginuwine’s “Pony”

When it comes to career advice, everyone has something to say: Sheryl Sandberg says lean in, Fat Joe says lean back, it can all be very confusing. Well you know what, it’s time to stop leaning and start riding. Riding what, you ask? A pony. Who’s pony? Ginuwine’s.

Although it’s been almost two decades since we first hopped up in the saddle, Mr. Elgin’s words still ring true in the trials of the young working professional. Let’s examine some of his choicest sage advice:

1.

I’m just a bachelor
I’m looking for a partner
Someone who knows how to ride
Without even falling off

Who you choose as your life partner is one of the biggest decisions of your life, and not one to be made flippantly. Ginuwine urges us to make sure that we know that our loved one can ride, and ride proficiently, before pulling the trigger. Too many young people rush in, and, when someone falls off, have their hearts and careers broken.

2.

Gotta be compatible
Takes me to my limits
Girl when I break you off
I promise that you won’t want to get off

People who love their jobs perform better at their jobs. I think that is what the words are getting at here; you have to find a profession that fits your lifestyle, but still takes you to your limits. Also, it is important to make yourself essential in the eyes of your employer; so important that when you want to break off your relationship with the firm, they won’t want you to get off.

3.

Sitting here flossing
Peeping your steelo

For those unfamiliar with Ginuwine’s terminology here, “steelo” is another word for the way in which you carry yourself. So, it is important to dress and conduct yourself in a manner that is indicative of the job you want. You have no idea who may be peeping your steelo when you’re flossing in the board room.

4.

If we’re gonna get nasty, Baby
First we’ll show & tell
Till I reach your ponytail
Lurk all over and through you baby
Until I reach your stream
You’ll be on my jockey team

We’ve heard it before, “your network is your net-worth,” blah blah blah. Well, as cynical as we may want to be, it’s an undeniable truth that those who you surround yourself with in your career dictate its direction; Ginuwine knew this. When assembling your own jockey team, some vetting is required. There will be some show and tell, particularly in nasty situations, that will present the qualities and characteristics of your peers. Once you feel that you have done enough analysis, bring him/her on to your team! And remember, don’t go around pulling ponytails because you never know when paths may cross again.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Requiem for a Schefter

Adam Schefter woke this morning covered in blood, baby pacifier in his mouth, right over the Massachusetts border. Why did this happen, you ask? Well, yesterday was the first day of NFL free agency aka Schefter’s Super Bowl/first kiss/reason for living and he had to celebrate! There were so many scoops flying out of his Blackberry, Ruben Studdard poured hot fudge on it.

On a more serious note let’s address highlight some of the big storylines from yesterday:

  • The Broncos signed everyone except for my dad. They could have signed my dad; actually, I should give him a call. Anyway, we are in full DREAM TEAM mode in Denver which will be awesome dumpster fire to watch in 2 years when these contracts have to be honored.
  • Jairus Byrd got paid AND left Buffalo, which is the biggest upgrade since Mila Kunis dumped McCauley Culkin for Ashton.
  • Jonathan Martin was traded to the 49ers for a 6th round pick and Richie Incognito was traded to Russia for Edward Snowden. “I like that guy,” Putin said.
  • Blaine Gabbert was mercifully traded to the 49ers before the citizens of Jacksonville sacrificed him to their vengeful god, Nancy Grace.
  •  The Browns signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, or at least I hope they did.
  • The Patriots signed a white guy who everyone says will be a great fit.

Congratulations to all of those young men who signed the deal of a lifetime! I hope you have some money left when you are cut in 2 years because your player’s union is too spineless to guarantee contract tenure!

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

A quick thought on grandparents

I traveled out to Chicago this past weekend to bid farewell to a wonderful father, patient mentor, and brilliant businessman. He was my final grandparent to pass, and his absence ushered in a new phase of my life and the lives of my family members. Gone is the never-ending font of experience and wisdom; decades upon decades of watching history repeat itself. As these things typically go, I found myself grasping for more time, furious to have so flippantly spent my youth more preoccupied with just about anything but Grandma and Grandpa.

But, such fury is misspent and I have decided to propose to all willing to hear me, a bit of sage advice: It is never too late to explore what could possibly be the largest untapped frontier of your life. If your grandma, nanny, grandpop, or pappy is still around do not hesitate to dive into their lives and soak everything up. If you’re looking for a good place to start, find a photo album. See someone through a whole new lens. See them in their youth, full of vitality, not too different from yourself. Realize that you share their trials, their uncertainties, frights, and triumphs. See your grandma as a portrait of elegance and your grandpa as a naive young man.

Bridge the gap and leave no stone unturned. Learn their history. Hear stories that will make your sides split and ones that will force you to cherish your wealth of opportunities. I, for one, was always curious to ask my father’s dad, a man who sadly left us while I was still a boy, about his Chinchillas. You see, my paternal grandpa was a farmer, a veteran, a postman, and willing to try a promising venture; one of which happened to be raising Chinchillas to skin and sell to coat makers. Unfortunately, Chinchillas are adorable, and he found himself unable to kill them at their maturity. I wish he were sitting here to tell me, through tears of laughter, what he decided to do with all of those balls of fluff.

Such are my remorses, and the kind I beg you to avoid. Just remember, the cruelty of mortality is that it has no respect to your schedule and will act with impunity. Please make time for those in your life whose days are fleeting. Thanks to those who have read this far, my message is sincere and your attention is appreciated.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pray 4 Sochi

Let’s all say a short prayer for the brave men and women of the U.S. media that are entrenched within the wretched confines of Sochi, Russia. The world does not fully understand their trials yet, but they soon will. Let’s review what we do know: the dogs – stray, the water – yellow, the manholes – without cover. What started innocently as a bunch of journalists taking the trip of a lifetime to a Russian resort town has cruelly turned into a bunch of journalists taking the trip of a lifetime to a Russian resort town.

To some, the description of these conditions may be met with skepticism, especially considering that many people would be beyond thrilled to attend the premier winter sport spectacle in the world. Well here is what they don’t understand: in America, we don’t have issues with stray animals, water quality, or manhole safety. So, to these terrified Twitter warriors, not only is their comfort under siege, but also their core American values.

I look to you, Barack Obama, to leverage your executive powers and rescue these unwilling captives before one of their asses chaps under the indescribable coarseness of the Russian toilet paper. While they would tell you, “Do not worry, Mr. President, this is my job to document atrocities, like Mathew Brady before me,” do not heed their downplaying; the threat is real, and it is imminent.

All donations and words of encouragement for the journalists can be sent to:

Scruff McGruff

Chicago, IL 60652

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

And my Friday confession is…

I hate the show Entourage, and inevitably the upcoming movie as well. As a young man deprived of HBO during my culturally formative years I missed out on the first couple seasons of the show (which I hear make the angels cry and doves fly). It was not until college that I was exposed to the final two seasons, and I have to say it kindaaa sucked. For starters, each episode is about 16 minutes long; any sort of prolonged urination and you may miss the whole thing. Within that short time period you are guaranteed to see the following:

1. Boobs. Oh that is what they look like?

2. A CLASSIC Johnny Drama/Ari freakout. If I was that amused by guys cursing and being flustered I would just get a job at Comcast customer service.

3. Sloane. Ohmigawd Sloane is da hottest so much hotter than any other girl ugh I’m just gonna yell at the screen because I can’t see her without releasing baritone groans from deep in my loins.

4. Confirmation that movie stars have sex a lot. You learn something new every day.

For some reason, during the mid 2000′s, every guy decided that the ultimate form of entertainment was to live vicariously through a fictitious movie star for half an hour every week. It became part of some unwritten Guy Code to not only watch the show, but furiously endorse it in the presence of other men. “Hell yeah I watch Entourage, I ain’t no vegan.”

Well you know what, I am here to denounce this farce as mediocre programming once and for all. It isn’t funny, the plot twists suck, and no one even dies. There is more quality packed into the final 10 minutes of the second to last episode of Game of Thrones Season One. Oh Vince got busted for coke and his movie did bad? :( Well, in a shock decision the boy king Joffrey decided to lop Ed Stark’s head off in front of his pre pubescent daughter. BOOM.

And also, while I am here, I love the song Stay by Rihanna. Absolute fire jam.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Open Letter to Bill O’Brien

Dear Bill O’Brien,

How was your New Years Eve? Oh, you became coach of the Texans? I drank my parents’ cache of wine and fell asleep in a recliner. Thank you for asking. Regardless of these surprising similarities between us, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for, for those things you did. Let’s recap:

- No bowl losses! Given the current state of the Big Ten, your ability to escape the last two postseasons without a blemish was huge for the program and the conference.

- Adopting my Madden 4th down strategy. Listen, I don’t punt the ball like some sort of Democrat either.

- Setting up a game in Ireland. Probably not going, because it is across an ocean, but cool idea.

- Coaching Tom Brady. Did you know you coached Tom Brady? I had not heard you coached Tom Brady until every sportscaster ever told me you coached Tom Brady. Tom Brady.

- You quasi-cussed on TV once and I liked it. It was raw.

- Passing the ball a lot was cool.

I am sure there are other accomplishments that I missed there because my mom always has said that I am not interested in the details. Anyway, a lot of Penn State fans are mad at you, calling you are a liar/traitor/person who likes QDoba but I think otherwise.

When you arrived in State College the football program was some kind of conspiracy theory pressure cooker under attack from central PA Paterno loyalists (I know they are insane!). I think you understood what was gong on though; a monster had ruined the lives of 20+ men and your job was to coach a child’s game for a king’s ransom. I don’t think you ever lost this view, and I can understand how the unforeseen public relations burden probably weighed on your patience like a stone.

The NCAA did you dirty. Nothing else to say about that. As soon as Premier Emmert slapped you with that, the writing was on the wall. You were out. That’s okay too, the team, relatively speaking, is in a good spot. Aside from the recruits who placed their absolute trust in you, life will go on for everyone at the school. The Phryst will still sell fantastically priced Car Bombs and students will still receive degrees.

I wish you luck with the Texans, and I hope that you remember your strange, surreal vacation in central PA fondly and don’t draft Johnny Manziel. I hope that your son is comfortable in his new home and enjoyed the past two years. In reality you were like a rebound after a bad break up who was a little too hot for us. Now Penn State can go back to Match.com and find someone homely, but with a salaried job (medical benefits too!). Have a good 2014, LYLAB.

LF

P.S. Did you know John Urschel was good at math? Like really good? Just found out when I heard you coached Tom Brady. Tom Brady.

Posted in Blog, Sports | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment