Archive for October, 2009

Schadenfreude

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Schadenfreude: glee at another’s misfortune

I expected to be watching postseason baseball to enjoy the game I love being played the way it was meant to be played.

Instead, I find myself deriving pleasure from blown saves, fielding errors (double play ball tossed from third base into right field; double play relay thrown from second base into the first base dugout), and watching the shivering “Boys Of Summer” dressed to mush dog sleds at the Iditarod.

So far, the best played postseason game was the last game of the regular season.

I actually saw a beach ball being bounced around behind home plate at Dodger Stadium. Say what?

Baseball playoff games postponed due to “snow”?

Play by play and color guys babbling incoherently? What’s that saying about: ”Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool,…”?

An entire weekend of Yankee Stadium games facing postponement due to rain/sleet/ winter weather?

Ball games going into the wee hours of the morning in the home time zone??

Pitchers whose curve balls won’t curve due to the weather?

Outfielders losing routine fly balls in the “lights/towels/hankies”?

Freezing fans huddled for warmth in the stands?

Empty seats at Chavez Ravine?

I was expecting the Cardinals to go to the World Series. Oops! They gone.

The eighth inning meltdown of the Phillies bullpen?

ARod coming to a rolling stop before attempting to “barrel” into the catcher at home plate? He didn’t look too athletic on that one!

Idiotic fans being told when to cheer: “Duh-Duh-Luh- Dut- Duh-Duh……CHARGE!!”

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

I shouldn’t be enjoying this, but I am.

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Cinderella Story

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

***CubbieDude Note: I realize that this book isn’t about the Cubs, or even about baseball, but since this is the offseason, and since the author, Bill Murray, is a Chicago area native and a humongous Cubs fan, I was hoping to get a free pass.***

The full title of this one is “Cinderella Story – My Life In Golf”. It’s written by Bill Murray with George Peper, and was published in 1999.

Bill, of course, is the local boy who figured big in the movie “Caddyshack”, playing groundskeeper Carl Spackler. That movie is based on his experiences as a caddy. As Bill says:

– “I caddied to make enough money to pay my tuition to Loyola Academy, a Jesuit high school. This was a tradition among the hardworking Murray boys – a tradition that did not include Andy and John, who were gifted and lazy and attended public school with the heathens. It was those two who kept caddying from becoming the family business.”

Caddyshack is a very funny movie, which I haven’t seen in years. I’ll have to watch it again, soon.

It turns out this book is largely about golf. And about the golfing in Bill’s life. Which should come as no surprise, given the book’s title.

**FULL DISCLOSURE** I am not now, nor have I ever been, a golfer. Or a caddy. Some guys in “the new neighborhood” (we moved while I was in 8th grade) caddied on a regular basis. Tried to get me interested. Didn’t work. But I can appreciate the comedic possibilities which Murray mines to great effect.

The book opens in The Lodge at Pebble Beach. I have been to Pebble Beach. And Spyglass. I’ve dined at The Inn At Spanish Bay. Heard the bagpipes. I’ve even camped on the fairway at Monterey Pines Golf Course. I’ve driven the Seventeen Mile Drive (“No Motorcycles Allowed”). Let me tell you, the Monterey Peninsula is spectacular. In many ways. But I’ve never golfed there. Never even thought of it. Does that make me a mutant? I prefer to think of it as “unique”. In any event I thoroughly enjoyed Bill Murray’s descriptions of that area.

Mr. Murray refers to our (his and my) home state of Illinois as “perhaps our nation’s greatest state”. That’s a good way to start off, regardless of how deeply his tongue might be planted in his cheek.

Then he riffs on the “actually” virus, which is, actually, very funny.

The author describes himself as: “a sore loser, but incredibly gracious in victory.”

He details the sensual assault that is breakfast at Paul Bunyan’s in Woodruff, Wisconsin, which I, too, have experienced.

Later, we spend time in Gilson Park and at the Bahai Temple in Wilmette, Illinois.

Here’s a quote from the book: “But once again, the French have an expression – better remorse than regret.”

Here’s another quote: “Life just becomes complicated, and in order to do some things well, like parenting or spousing, certain things have to fall by the wayside. For me it was hockey. No tears. No regrets. Hockey is out of my life now. Eliminating all televised sports is still on the docket.”

In my case, I had to let golf fall by the wayside. No regrets. Golf is out of my life. Fortunately, reading about golf, particularly humorous books like this one, is still on the docket.

I enjoyed reading “Cinderella Story – My Life In Golf”, and I recommend it very highly.

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GirlieView (10/16/2009)

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Pretty dry week for baseball. I suppose that will be the case now for the next month or two. So I’ll have to find another way to amuse myself, particularly while writing this column. So I’ve got a game for you.

You need to figure out the wording that goes with the numbers.
Example: 12 M in a Y (you have to figure out what the M stands for and what the Y stands for).
Answer: 12 months in a year

So here’s some for you. They are all sports related. More or less. Not all baseball related. You can google the answers but then please don’t post. I’ll update every now and then as people guess.

  • 100 Y to a T D
  • 18 H on a G C
  • 9 B P in the L U
  • 15 M in a F Q
  • 6 P on a P T (hint: “sports” related might be pushing it on this one)
  • 15 F from the F T L to the B
  • 25 P on the A R
  • 3 S Y O at the O B G

Good luck!

Lizzies

  • I took a whole lot of pleasure watching the Cardinals get booted in front of their home crowd.
  • Interesting to wonder how the NL Central rearranges if St. Louis loses the best manager and the best pitching coach in baseball today, and even moreso if the duo goes to a Central competitor.
  • Now we get on with showering as well as taking a look at news and notes I found.
  • Nonperformance will not be rewarded.

Lizard

  • I mean, he’s no Doc Raker, but he’s not too shabby…

Have a great weekend! :-)

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Who should own sports franchises?

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

First of all let me state that the purpose of this thread is not to pontificate and hurl fireballs back and forth about Rush Limbaugh, Al Sharpton, Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck et al. I am not going to convince people of the opposite political persuasion to my point of view and they certainly aren’t going to transform me. Rather I want to engage some of you in a colloquy about whether or not a person’s character or past statements should prohibit them from being an owner in a pro sports franchise.

In the current case the issue has been somewhat simplified because the ownership group is the one who dropped the controversial figure. My sense is that the decision was made largely because the prospective owners knew that this individual would make it awful hard to sign free agents and perhaps even high draft picks. In other words, the chemistry wasn’t right. But let us suppose that they had not made this decision – would the NFL owners have the right to vote down this ownership group on the basis of a controversial owner? This situation is a bit more murky than the situation that occurred in baseball with DiBartolo and the White Sox; Major League Baseball has a bonafide anti-trust exemption and is overseen by the US Congress.

The NFL on the other hand has an anti-trust exemption with respect to broadcasting – the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 allows the league an exemption that specifically applies to the right to negotiate multimedia contracts and does not cover the other aspects of how the league operates. This has been proven in the courts in cases such as USFL v. NFL in which the jury found that that the NFL was a “duly adjudicated illegal monopoly,” and further found that the NFL had willfully acquired and maintained monopoly status through predatory tactics. There is also speculation that the owners will challenge McNeil v. National Football League, a move that could cause the players association to challenge the league on anti-trust grounds.

My sense is that the owners of major sports leagues should be allowed to set rules as to whom they will allow and who they will not allow to become owners so long as those decisions don’t violate other laws with respect to discrimination on the basis of race, gender, creed or (increasingly) personal lifestyle preferences. With respect to the baseball instance, nothing was proven about Mr. DiBartolo to make him an “unsavory” character although most everybody knows how the DiBartolos made their money prior to the 49ers. Baseball, however has a specific anti-trust exemption and they are more or less free to use it as they choose.

And again, no soapbox speeches about Mr. Limbaugh and other political commentators, puh-leeze!  The question is about whether or not what individuals say or have said can preclude them from ownership, as well as other considerations.  And if no one else wishes to comment that is fine too.

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Welcome To My World

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Greetings! Let me take this opportunity to introduce myself. There are many Major League Baseball Team owners, but today, I’m yours.

I’m the guy who just paid 845 million dollars for a bankrupt franchise. Some might characterize this as “not the shrewdest move”, financially speaking. But to me, it’s a bargain.

I thank every member of The Cubs Worldwide Family for your support. My heartfelt thanks go out to the fans, the players, and all the behind the scenes people who make it happen every day.

I intend to lead this team into the future by selecting the right people. Then I intend to stand aside and let them do their jobs. I do not intend to micromanage my people as some owners have done. I have the utmost confidence in the people I choose.

There is, however, one situation which demands my immediate, hands-on intervention, so here we go: Milton Bradley has worn the uniform of the Chicago Cubs for the last time. Let me say that again. Milton Bradley will never again wear the uniform of the Chicago Cubs.

I have instructed our General Manager to determine what we can receive, on the open market, in return for the remainder of Mr. Bradley’s contract. If we can get something we want, be it dollars or players or both, we will move forward. But, however, if we can not get exactly what we want in return, Mr. Bradley will remain on paid suspension for the next two years. Do I make myself clear?

In general, my operating philosophy is: “Hire Slow, Fire Fast.” So, with the exception of the situation I just addressed, there is no present member of the Cubs organization who will automatically not be invited back next year. I value our people. They are our greatest asset.

However, there is only one member of the Chicago Cubs organization who is guaranteed to still be here one year from today (God willing), and that is yours truly.

The Chicago Cubs meet their commitments, and I expect our people to meet theirs. Nonperformance will not be rewarded. Some of our most valued people underperformed during the 2009 season. They will be given every opportunity to return to expectations next season. They will not, however, enjoy a 162 game grace period.

Changing the subject, I have no doubt that ticket prices will, eventually, be rising. However, as of today, 10% of all Wrigley Field tickets (10% of Bleachers, 10% of Grandstands, and 10% of Box Seats) will be reduced in price by 50% for all 2010 home games. Those reduced price tickets will be made available on game day only, and will be honored for the individual purchasers only (ie, no scalpers).

The food and beverage menus will be expanded to reflect my epicurean tastes, as prices remain unchanged.

I intend to improve every aspect of the Wrigley Field experience, with input and timely feedback from our valued Chicago Cubs fans.

Once again I want to thank our Cubs fans. It all starts with you. I ask for your support, and I guarantee you this: your support will not go unrewarded.

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