From more than a couple of you
What did you think of baseball's opening night?
I thought having a truly great game like the Yanks-Nats with two of the bets pitchers of their generation going at in the high 90s getting rained out was 100 percent 2020.
And before we get to our other thoughts, sweet buckets the next 72 hours about whether Juan Soto, one of the best young sluggers in the game, passed along the Corona to the rest of his Nationals teammates Wednesday could truly derail this thing before we even get started. Fingers crossed.
That said, there was something familiar, no strong than that heartwarming, yes, but again, strong normal, yes, but that's clichéd kind of there was something downright peaceful and completely pre-2020 to be sitting with the family, eating a hot dog (seriously, we had hot dogs for supper) and drinking a CoCola watching a real MLB game last night.
As for the thoughts about the action on the field, well, glad you asked.
I thought that Dr. Anthony Fauci really flattened the curve on his first pitch. Wowser, that was a dreadful first-pitch, like 50 Cents or Carli Rae Jepsen bad. Dude's been busy tough, so I'm not sure how much practice he got beforehand, you know?
I thought the Yankees' line-up looked scary, like 1920s scary.
I already mentioned that the game action was serene, a kind of Norman Rockwellian portrait that baseball has aspired to for generations, when the self-called America's Pastime was in fact America's Pastime.
Baseball is embraced by hard, crusty number crunchers who filter comparisons through the generations as a river of sandblasters erase our histories and rewrite out narratives. Baseball is revered by the romantics who believe that hope springs eternal when the boys of summer report to outposts of the elderly in places like Tucson and Clearwater and several others.
It's passed down through stories of the greats, movies that we love and connections that we make, that remind us that no matter our differences that we all want our closer — regardless of his nationality, your skin color, my political affiliation or what the manager did before the game — to get their clean-up hitter to hit into a 4-6-3 up one in the ninth.That's the value of sports to a society, that we see the color of a cap rather than the face under it. That we embrace the success of our team in a collective jersey, be it UT orange, Kentucky blue or Yankees pinstriped, rather than the conflict of personal agendas.
And baseball, with its uniformity of 60-feet, 6-inches, and .300 being the make of a great hitter and so many other passed-down numbers — Jim Murray's great line of "Man has never been closer to perfection than 90 feet between the bases" remains as true today as it was decades ago; RIP Jim Murray, you sir were a legend — and accepted truths connect generations.
How can we put a value on that, and how can we explain how much we missed it during this time of uncertainty and disconnection?
Which takes us to the pregame:
Before Fauci threw a 30-footer at a 45-degree angle, the players lined the field, socially distanced with a long black cloth-thing in front of them.
The players kneeled and took a moment of silence to support social justice movements — creative and apt phrasing because while we talk a whole bunch, and rightly so, about the Black equality, we need advancement in all sorts of social causes.
To that end, when Gabe Kapler knelt earlier this week during the National Anthem, the discussion of that movement sucked all the attention from the historic moment that the first in-uniform, on-field female coach broke the MLB gender line during that game. And let's not even get started about the barriers around lockers and throughout sports about gay rights these days.
But the BLM protests are easy right now because they are commonly accepted and frequently talked about.
Still, the scene between the Yankees and Nationals — a moment of acknowledgement and kneeling for social injustices — and then the players standing together for the National Anthem was pretty excellent to be honest. It served both missions of calling attention to the conversation and then honoring the flag and country.
But, during the Dodgers-Giants game, several players and Kapler again stayed kneeling during the National Anthem, which now becomes very problematic in some circles.
Because if there is a time for everyone to kneel for social justice reflection and attention and then players choose to also kneel during the anthem, what's the rationalization for kneeling during the anthem?
Mookie Betts was one of those kneeling and two of his new Dodgers teammates put their hands on his shoulder in support. Betts famously said in 2016 that he would never kneel because his father served in the Air Force, but admitted this week that he was uniformed of the cause and Kaepernick's reasoning.
OK. A lot of us fall into that camp and have far more understanding — even if we don't agree entirely with that platform — about doing it during the anthem.But if that was the case then, when players did not have a specific time to kneel or protest, how is it explained now with a specific social justice moment?Was kneeling in the anthem last light a call for personal attention, or worse, a direct shot at Trump and the anti-kneelers, because in either case, it's no longer about the protest as much as it is about the person.
And if that's the case, well the first one is bad, and the second one — weaponizing the anthem to be antagonizing — is, well, some might even call it deplorable.
Welcome back baseball.
From Mike H.
Do the Braves make the playoffs this year, and if we win it all, will you consider it half a title?
Second part first: Whichever team wins the World Series, in a few years it will be just as valid as any previous one and more valid than the Astros' cheating' championship.
In fact, I am open to the conversation that this title could be worth more, considering all the distractions and never-imagined precedents with which teams, players and organizations are dealing.
Granted the expanded playoff field — going from five teams in each league to eight, including the first- and second-place finishers in each division — makes getting into the dance easier, but still. And when the rules are clear and known to everyone, I see no asterisk here whatsoever.
As for specific predictions, well, the aforementioned Dodgers and Yankees are loaded.
(Side note: Have we turned on A-Rod? First, his attempt to be part of the group that buys the Mets has diverted his opinions to very pro-Ownership place, including supporting a salary cap. Second, he now officially has reached "Ben Wallace is underrated" levels in some ways. You remember Ben Wallace right, the former Pistons star who was Defensive player of the year and led the league in rebounding and was doing it on a very reasonable contract which made him the most underrated player in the league and one of the best values. Well, when he hit free agency and got a monster contract, he was still the same defender and rebounder, but the fact that he could not throw a basketball into the Ocean from a sandbar made him overpaid and overrated in two games. A-Rod has been the toast of baseball announcing, but now, center stage, his analysis last night outside of in-game discussion included this: With the Vegas odds on the screen and the Dodgers and Yankees each at 7-2 to win it all, A-Rod was asked who he liked to win the Series. He said Yankees over Dodgers in 6. His sidekick heckled him about picking the favorites and asked him for an outside the box pick. His answer was the Astros, which had the third-best odds at 11-to-1.)
I believe Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger will crush for the Dodgers, who are supremely deep, even to the point that losing Clayton Kershaw to a back ailment and David Price, who opted out because of the Corona, will be minor speed bumps. (Side note: And while we are here, and because we love the Opening Day tradition of prorating the stats after one game for a full season. At this pace, Kiki Hernandez, the Dodgers versatile right-handed hitter will finish the 60-game season with 240 hits, 300 RBIs, 60 homers and an .800 batting average. Any asterisks for that season line?)
The depth of line-ups for the Yankees and Dodgers is staggering. Overwhelming in fact. (Maybe A-Rod was right.)
As for the Braves, let's weigh strengths and weaknesses:
> Strength — young and talented order that should generate a ton of runs when it's clicking;
> Strength — pitching depth that will be at a premium in a short season, especially from a bullpen that will be called on frequently because every game is worth 2.7 games of a normal 162-game season;
> Weakness — No front-line ace and limited experience from its rotation, which I believe has been the biggest single mistake GM Alex Anthropoulus has made in his uber-successful time running these Braves. Yes, no one could have imagined the scenarios or that the Corona would cause Felix Hernandez to opt out or that Cole Hamels was going to be a useless addition unless he makes a miraculous September comeback, but still;
> Weakness — Being in the NL East, which means those 60 games are against five other very good-to-elite teams — Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Rays, Nationals and Mets — a pretty strong Phillies bunch and an above average Blue Jays team and two of the worst teams in the league in the Marlins and Orioles.
I think the Braves make the playoffs — especially in an expanded field — but, stop if you've heard this one before, the lack of a front-line ace will stop them from being a serious championship contender.
Have you been an (bleep)hole all your life or are you just playing one on TV?
Well, I know a lot of folks who think I have been a Bleep hole all my life. I did have a personalized "Jay 22" tag plate on my car in high school.
Still, I have a lot of platforms, TV is not one of them.
And in the words of erstwhile former Braves play-by-play guy Skip Carey near the end of another 10-2 drubbing the mid-1980 Braves endured, "As long as you promise to patronize our sponsors, you have my permission to change the channel."
(Side note: Carey, in the footsteps of his father, also famously said in the late innings of another Braves' tail-whipping, "The bases are loaded and so am I.")
Phillip Seymour Hoffman Rushmore — Almost Famous, Boogie Nights, Capote, Charlie Wilson's War (the movie was not as good as Moneyball, but PSH was excellent in his role).
Rushmore of monkeys — Monkey Business, Flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz, The Greg Maddux of poop throwing monkeys (video here), and The Monkeys. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_ulKdFxfRM
Rushmore of Great — The Great One (Wayne Gretzky), The Great Gatsby, The Great Escape and Tony the Tiger yelling, "Theeyyyyyy'rrreeeeee GUR-reat."
Rushmore of Mom (titles) in pop culture — Mommas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, Mommie Dearest, Momma Tried, Mommas and the Papas "All the leaves brown (leaves are brown), and the sky is gray."
Overdue hate mail
(Side note: A lot of this comes from A2 stuff, and considering it's been a minute since we've shared, emptying this file may leave some lost. But so it goes.)
Do you realize the racist lies you tell? I bet your neighbors LOVE your Confederate Flag hanging from your porch, (Bleep) hole!
You are a lying communist. How dare you attack the President and defend that traitor Chris Wallace. If he was half the man his father was, we all would be better off.
I thought you were different. But you are Fake News like all the rest.
Bleep you and Shufords. There food sucks anyway. Anyone who supports the sheriff will never get a dollar from me ever again!!!
Of course you don't want two anthems because white (bleep)holes like you and your family have lived a good life under the status quo. Your time of racial control and hatred and making your living off the Black man is over!!! Hope you read for a fight, Bleeper.
What do you mean by "the far-right, Trump supporting Loeffler is a questionable messenger?" Proves your worthless bias against the President and those fighting to defend your worthless (bleep). I'm done with all you liberal media liars.
I could give a (bleep) about pro anything. (Bleep) them and you - you are not telling me how to vote either.
(Editor's note: I thought these were ironic, considering they came in about 30 minutes apart after a Press Row rant): You wish you were Clay Travis. AND You could only pray to be as big a media star as Jemele Hill. (Good times.)
But hey, what's a few million lives when American business tycoons can be free to do what they do best -- make money. This is the very system you wholeheartedly support today, Jay. It's called crony capitalism and it's even more entrenched in our government and culture than it was in WW2. And THAT is the religion, the constitution, the essence, the very core of what makes America "great." It's all about the green. Not people, not hearts and souls, not doing the right thing. Money and the never-ending pursuit of it.
I don't care if you stand or not but don't disrespect our country by kneeling and think I'm gonna like it. The NFL gonna learn a hard lesson.
Keep your racist viewpoints to yourself. Bleep You!
Yep, been too long. Have a great weekend friends.