Friday, April 19, 2013


The poor Photoshop work notwithstanding, 'tis a
classic...a kind of "Your Bimbo Here" moment.
Today brings two pieces of news that just might force us into faux-Joe P. mode, slapping phonemes around in that odd back-and-forth, ox-bow style of his, fixated as he is on the abjection of joy and the commodification of loss, a genial variant of manic depression with a surfeit of dependent clauses.

Joe (and a small army of others) will be of two minds about our first piece of news: Derek Jeter won't be playing until at least the All-Star Break. (We--being "we," of course--have a sneaking suspicion that this might well turn into a completely lost season for the King of the Gift Basket.)

Either way, this will be mind-splitting for many, who are used to having Jeter in their gun sites, and whose lives (if not some actual portion of their livelihood) are dependent on having such a overweening symbol of scorn (obviously not a problem around THESE parts, of course...) available on a daily basis. In a world so saturated by negativity that its spirit is of necessity twisted inside out to become some sphinx-like symptom of affirmation, the sudden absence of a hate-object can lead to bizarre behavior (the sudden obsession with the number 2, for example, or--ripped straight from the pages of the Law&Order playbook--the construction of a weird, totemic shrine to the former lightning rod of derision).

Silence, while golden, is hardly ever an option at a time like this, but we can hope that our little rumination, with a little of that Joe P. maundering meander built into its chassis, will function as a kind of literary angioplasty for those who find themselves fibrillating at the idea of being without The Man They Love To Hate. (Or, as Joe would say: "Don't Just Hate--Jeterate!")

Rest assured that we will be monitoring the sales of Teddy Bears, which we expect will be spiking over the next several weeks as the ramifications of this news item become fully evident.

Item two is, as is our wont, a good bit more obscure--but it actually has more resonance than the absence of one overhyped, over-talked about ballplayer. Today, April 19th, 2013, is the first day of this baseball season where there will not be a single game of baseball played during the day. All of the games on today's schedule will be night games.

That fact always produces a slight pang of regret, a twinge of remorse, a stab of pain, and possibly a crock-pot of overwrought nostalgia-mongering. It seems that the further away from an old, outmoded, but still somehow attractive social practice we get, the greater the yearning for it becomes. So even though we all know that the economics of the game has long since dictated the decline of day baseball and the near-extinction of the doubleheader, even though our heads accept this idea, somehow our hearts are not quite able to comply, and we long for what is no longer there. Sounds like a time to cue up William Bell, don't it? And why the hell not??

Here's what our "compromise" would be for the BGOB (Business Gods of Baseball). Have all the night games you gotta have, but with one provision that tips its cap to the GOD (Good Old Days). On every day of the season, schedule at least one day game somewhere. Keep that connection to the past alive by making it an ongoing--and unwavering--feature of the baseball schedule on a daily basis.

Hell, you can do this by starting a game at three or four in the afternoon...we don't have to be slavish about it. If starting a little later in the afternoon on a Friday or a Monday (the days of the week that are almost always 100% night games) will mollify the players, then do it. (The players will probably like it: it gives them another evening in their lives, most of which wind up being spent at the ballpark.)

Lord, don't have to...heck, even
John preferred May Pang...
(Day baseball is quirkier than its nocturnal counterpart. We'd challenge our research-minded colleagues at Retrosheet to determine if there are more fly balls that drop in for hits during the day...we're figuring that it's at least a 3:1 ratio. Does anyone out there have the data??)

It's a very little thing, to be sure...not something to get manic-depressive about (either for real, or via some variant of a passive-aggressive literary style). Most people aren't going to notice, fewer may care: but for those who connect with the qualitative differences between the two types of baseball, this tiny piece of symbolism has a higher meaning that's worth fighting for.

All we are saying least one day game every day. (And, no, you don't have to get into bed with Yoko Ono to be part of this "protest movement". Today, we have T-shirts. You know, someone could clean up with a "Don't Just Hate... Jeterate!" T-shirt...but don't hesitate, all you entrepreneurs out there, otherwise that balky ankle might just make it too late. Operators are waiting for your calls, right NOW!!)