A long time ago, a wise old coot schooled me, “Son,” – no, he was not my father – “Son, watch out what you wish for, it might come true.” The old coot was actually two years older than me and my Little League coach. He also said, “I’m walking here, goddammit!” He was a true, line-stealing shmuck. What is it, then, that I wished for – let’s say, this month – which actually, regrettably, came true? The All Star Baseball game in Miami, that’s what. What, should I have not asked for it?
The annual Baseball All-Star game has always been, for me, a sublime moment. Hey, it’s in the middle of summer which – when you’re a kid – means you’re not in school, unless of course you were one of those who can’t do; those who couldn’t figure out the self-control required to make it so you would be let loose for summer break, as in NO SCHOOL! Instead, the unfocused, detached souls among us were destined to a summer of MORE SCHOOL and a label of mediocrity, or worse. Poor shmucks. God bless the ADHD children…and Adderall. Divert.
So, as a lover of all things baseball, the All-Star game meant you were watching the game to end all games, at least until the fall; a clash of the true titans of the game…in Midsummer. True, it has most always been a meaningless game, but one that was meant to inspire, and generally promote fun. Up until this year, and only for the past decade or so, the game was afforded a bit of meaning as the winning league was granted the honor of home-field advantage for the upcoming World Series (more on feelings about that sporting fortnight in the future). But, no more. We are back to the past where nothing matters about the game – except the fun part – and that’s as it should be. Right?
So what went wrong? Oh, we don’t have time for this, but it must be said. Baseball – at least this game - has become the boring game everybody I have known and loved has always mocked me about. “You’re such a shmuck,” they would say. I know. I know. Jesus, I’m starting to talk like our shmuck-in-chief, repeating myself when I am struggling for the next sentence. Note to self: Stop! He’s right though, when you have no thoughts or you are stumbling around in the dark cellar that is your mind…just repeat the last thing you said; it is actually very effective. So, this annual game of splendor and FUN finally comes to the ‘305.’ Where is that anyway? Who the fuck talks about geography in terms of an area code? Oh, come on man, it’s only a couple of area codes and 2/3 of this megalopolis’ population away. Why should they make it easy, setting up camp and doing business somewhere convenient to the entire fucking baseball-loving population? Not going to answer that question today. All you need to know is the game came; it was seen; and… it sucked. That’s right I said it. It sucked. One of the oldest dudes playing had to make a special guest appearance in the 10th inning and solve what was as lackluster, unglamorous, boring and unspectacular an event as FS has ever been privy too. Not since Fox sports attached colored laser beams to a hockey puck back in the day in a misguided attempt to sex-up hockey – basically to get people to give a shit and watch the damned game – has there been anything in the sporting world as stupid as putting a mic on a player as he roamed the outfield during the game and was asked insipid questions.
Are you wearing a shirt under your shirt?
Are you kidding? What the fuck? At least the colored laser-tracking hockey puck was somewhat hallucinatory, if not inspired, especially if you were already hallucinating. “Oh, look at the pretty lights;” good for the ADHD crowd. This mic thing was the ultimate in debasing a game that has seen a rapid descent based on too many factors to mention here. Bottom line: the game hasn’t just passed me by…it’s passed us all by. National pastime my ass. More like a time of the nation’s past. Like so many other things. As another national institution once opined: “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” And, I have no fucking idea what that even means. Key change.