Saturday, July 8, 2017

Major League All-Star Game is rapidly becoming irrelevant

Baseball's annual All-Star Game is losing both interest and significance. Why is this happening?
Bob Dylan wrote “The Times They Are A Changin’” and that certainly applies to the annual major league All-Star Game. At one point in sports history, the AS Game was a major event that was second only to the World Series. First devised as a promotion to complement the Chisago World’s Fair of 1933 the idea had value – value meaning the fans loved it.
The idea was formulated by sportswriter Arch Ward and that started a process that has been refined or diluted over the years. Rosters have expanded and the importance of the game has been tinkered with. Most notably of tinkering was the winning league would get a home-field advantage during the World Series.
Voting requirements have changed and the opportunistic 1957 promotion by a Cincinnati radio station cost the fans their vote thanks to ballot box stuffing. That ill-advised decision has since gone by the wayside. To generate fan interest there have been various subsidiary events with the Home Run Derby being the most recognized and successful.
So why is the All-Star Game dying on the vine?
A dramatic decline in the all-important television viewership. The game just does not generate the excitement it once did and now is getting as stale for viewers as the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association All-Star Games. This goes deeper than just grilling hot dogs taking precedent over the game.
Baseball now has interleague play so that fans can occasionally see up front, close and personal their favorites from the other league. Before the explosion of mass media and various baseball expansions, the AS Game often became the only time you could see a Willie Mays of Stan Musial unless you lived in a two-team city.
Free agency and the proliferation of salaries have made player movement far more industrious than in the old pre-collective bargaining agreement days. Players staying with one team their entire career is unusual as the shifting fiscal landscape allows far more player leverage.
The previously mentioned media explosion is certainly appropriate since in the “Back in the day” players were often seen on newsreels in theaters. Before the rapid development of television and not the proliferation of electronic media, every play is readily available. No longer is it necessary to have information acquired via a reporter in another city. Every play of every game is there.
When the All-Star game originated and quite possibly for the next 30 years it was the only game in town. Baseball was America’s Sport and certainly the National Pastime. Teams – professional and amateur – dotted the landscape of America. Football was consigned to colleges as the professional ranks were an afterthought.
That afterthought applied to hockey – the domain of Canadians and basketball. Professionally basketball didn’t “take off” until the 1970s. Other sports started to get far more attention and our recreational options have changed exponentially. Competition – some of it emotional – has diminished baseball and the All-Star Game.
This year the game will get deserved attention since it represents that one segment of the yearly sports calender where nothing else is taking place, but nowhere like the glory days of baseball and the All-Star Game.
The times they are a changin’.

Monday, February 20, 2017


The idea is to strike a balance when attempting to disseminate information that may support your opinion. I have long posted information that is actually contrary- a smorgasbord so the reader can see the different slants and attempt to make an informed opinion. Imagine not being stuck into a philosophical loop?
Memes are just idiotic and those that post them? Well- connect the dots. The appeal is simply too low information people since the meme is usually slanted, based on innuendo, is a purveyor of fake news, is taking information out of context and those are the positives. The whole concept is intrinsically offensive to anyone with an IQ higher that a warthog.
Then again – they are perfect for Facebook – the proverbial “Chewing gum for the eyes” that use to be said about TV. And TV? Does anyone take their newscastsseriously
Is Russia a threat to the United States? The Cold War as less about expansion and more about ideology and the flawed concept of monolithic Communist - that did not exist. The brand practiced in Russia was different from China and elsewhere.
The expansionism in Europe was simply a result of WW II. Russia paid a steep price in their dealings with the Germans and certainly looked for a European buffer. Both France and later Germany were in the suburbs of Moscow.
The Communists were the most active resistance against the Nazi’s in Europe. They had an organization, support, and even governmental structure in place as the Russians moved towards Germany. The end result was Churchill’s “Iron Curtain.”
Napoleon once said “Scratch a Russian and you find a Mongol.” That summarizes Russian history in Asia with numerous incursions from that area. Tension has always existed on that border and the two Communist giants - China and Russia - almost went to war in the 1970s. Monolithic? No - the primary concern that outweighs that is security.
The Crimea was once a noted war zone with Britain. Britain also created their own buffer in Afghanistan as a block to India. The post-WW II power vacuum offered an opportunity for Russian expansion for a buffer to the south. How did that work out
In the client states of Europe, Russian involvement was doomed from the start. Nationalism and a burgeoning rejection of Communism coupled with repressive Russian tactics made the eventual collapse inevitable. Even some ancillary provinces would be best considered like the United States south-north division prior to the Civil War.
The basic reality is the United States has more in common with Russia than we realize. I find it incredible that the left-liberals-progressives do not want rapprochement with Russia, but expect it with Israel and her hostile neighbors. The obvious is it is all about Trump and nothing else.
The Trump obsession with Twitter is now at my personal breaking point. Trump is certainly no great intellectual so maybe the short blurbs are actually suitable to his intellect?
Trump’s administration is having some adjustment “yips” to use a baseball term. This, however, has been magnified thanks to his precarious relationship with the media. I believe Bill Clinton had three or was it four attempts at an AG?
What is appalling with Trump is he actually doesn’t care what he says. The only thing it does accomplish is to unify those who would never have voted for him with some that did vote for him. 2018 will be interesting.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

More on the silly season on post election nonsense

The idea of loyal opposition is utterly pass̩ in the now rapidly evolving political climate. The opposition has been supplanted by enemy Рyou have the demarcation lines drawn with no conciliation even possible at this point. A Cold War mentality has seeped into our politics.
The reaction from the Democrats and all their various sub-sets certainly surprised me. The outbursts have been rather volatile both physically and verbally – a die has been cast for future elections and disappointments.
In 2020 you may again have a change in administrations where Booker, Clinton, Sanders or other is elected – another close election. This time it will not be overturned cars, street blockage, insufferable dialogue on social media and media, but armed resistance. I fully expect the process to totally break down and it will be welcome to central/South American politics.
My view on gun control is probably well known on this site. I would be restrictive to the nth degree. Total disarmament, but now the recent upheavals have caused me to reflect out of survival. I may actually seek out instruction and a permit for my own self-protection as I can be sinister enough to expect a political apocalypse.
“Have you no sense of decency?” Those were the famous words utter by Joseph Welsh and directed towards one of the most despicable politicians ever to hold office – Joseph McCarthy. The quote was during the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954 and sounded the beginning of the end for “Tailgunner Joe.”
McCarthy was the end result of a series of witch hunts directed towards Communist infiltration of our government and social structure. The excesses were profound and much of it was in the wheelhouse of Republicans who offered themselves up as all things American. Richard Nixon made a career out of it.
One thing stood out from the ten-year post-WWII era and that was blacklists – entertainers, writers, and various others who were the bastions of culture. Some had left leanings and some had dabbled into the politics of the fractionalize 1930s. They eventually suffered disastrous consequences during the witch hunt era. Many never recovered professionally or emotionally.
Opposition to Trump is understandable if you find his politics appalling, but placing pressure on performers to withdraw from the inauguration is reminiscent of two items – the first is an obvious resurrection of the witch hunt. The message is quite clear that support of Trump can have professional consequences even for those who just wish to enjoy the honor of performing at such a noted event.
The second is a resurfacing of the casino issue that plagued our community for several years. As with the politics of today the lines were clearly drawn – pro or anti. One item that surfaced was an effort by some – on both sides – to restrict doing business with those who were known to hold an opposing view. The witch hunt mentality.
I write baseball and the special emphasis is on the Red Sox – a noted Boston team. Baseball is a game – as most are – of failure. Even the most successful of batters fail two out of three attempts. The competitive nature of sports can be furious and I will diverge into hockey.
Playoffs are often brutal and careers have been ended by plays that border on assault. The game has a streak of viciousness that reminds one of the Jets and Sharks in West Side Story. What is of interest is when the playoff series is over. Both teams line up and shake hands.
When I coached and taught I always lecture on the ability to accept defeat. There are times when the opponent is better in talent, luck, and even coaching or instruction. I have always found the issue of no scores or participation trophies and out of touch with reality and human nature.
When you lose you examine why. When you fail a test or subject you examine why? You look internal and not for forces outside that have somehow caused your failure. I really don’t care for the famous “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” line. Defeat and especially a hard fought and won success are leaning lessons.If I had “Coached” team Democrat I would be ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated by the collective actions that are currently displayed.
I have posted many articles by Jack Marshall on the ethics being displayed. Many or some I know tend to reject Marshall’s observations since it is an examination of a truth of those who have become ethically bankrupt. The usual bland and foolish dismissal is of a political nature: "I don't agree so he must be a right-wing hack." No cure for stupid.
The culprit is the Democratic Party – that is a clear fact. The behavior demonstrated not only by rank and file but by the leadership and their media supporters far exceeds what I expected from the Trump supporters after they lost. Maybe I should not be shocked? Maybe far too many of those now in grief counseling never faced adversity?
I may be excessively harsh on the Democrats and in clear conscious feel it is well deserved. For the last eight years, I have enjoyed deflating the right or Republicans for their collective behaviors that had little or nothing to do with issues at hand.