Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bang the Drum Slowly: An Attempt to Revive a Flat-lined Baseball

For those who know me well, know how much I love the game of baseball.  You also know how frustrated I have become with this game.  With these two acknowledgements, I give you 11 ways to improve Major League Baseball.

1)  Cut salaries by 90%.  I know, I'm crazy.  But just listen.  Let's say instead of Albert Pujols' $30 million contract that he will sign at the end of this year was only for $3 million.  All of sudden, tickets, beer, soda, cable television, baseball cards etc., etc., are all 90% cheaper.  Okay, so I've said this before in my first blog.  I still believe it could be done.  $3 million is still a lot of money. 

2)  Give the seats back to the fans and get the corporations out.  When corporations buy these seats, do the employees get to use them.  Hardly! Over paid CEO's use them to snag their next big deal.  Get them out and let fans watch the game.

3)  Move all teams back to the U.S.  Here are some tax dollars that one lucky city could use.  After looking at the map of the U.S., I say move the Blue Jays to either New Orleans or Las Vegas. Which leads me to next point.

4)  Realign the leagues.  How does this division sound:  The Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates and Nationals?  This would definitely bring some heated passion to the game.  There are geographical difficulties in getting the divisions divided equally, but we could make it work.

Those are the major changes.  The rest are simple changes that could be done today.

5)  Get rid of the designated hitter.  The game is to be played by 9 players against 9 players.  The DH was put in to score more runs.  But baseball isn't about that.  More scoring doesn't mean it will be more exciting.  Take for example soccer.  Millions of fans wait for one goal to go crazy.

6)  Instate a pitch clock.  College baseball has this and games are around 2 hours long.  We don't need 2 minutes between pitches just so 10 guys can scratch themselves. Give them 20 seconds.

7)  All fields should meet certain minimum dimensions.  Stop creating these launching pads and make player earn their homeruns.  However, I like "The Green Monster" in Fenway.  Baseball was created to play anywhere.  Whatever was in your area you incorporated in your game.  Whether it be a giant Oak tree or a big green wall, you played around it.

8)  No more AstroTurf.  Enough players have ruined their knees playing on this crap.

9)  Raise the pitcher's mound back to where it was before Bob Gibson.  If pitchers had an advantage tough, become better hitters.

10)  Give more fan access to the players.  Fans should be able to get autographs of their favorite players without paying $175.  ( Yes, I'm talking about you Albert.)

11)  Forgive the past.  If baseball is to survive we must forgive the past.  From the 1919 "Black Sox", to Pete Rose, to the drug addicts of the 1980's, to the PED user's it is time to forgive them all. 

I love this game.  In my younger years, I knew almost all of the players and what teams they were on or had played for.  I've lost that, just as baseball has lost being "America's Pastime."  It's is time for baseball to take back it crown.  But it won't.  "Why?" you may ask.  Because of good old-fashion American GREED.  That is the reason that none of the above will happen.

This was what was on my mind today.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Retail Cemetery

Driving through the Retail Cemetery,
I can't help but to feel so contrary
Childhood days and money spent
Now tombstones bare the name "For Rent"
Their glory days long past
Elders speak of great times vast
I don't think I will return
Until their cremation with an urn.

This was what was on my mind today

Monday, April 11, 2011

Observations from the past week

A little lighter topic today.

Two McDonald's workers were talking about rap music. One said to the other "Jay-Z can't rap." The other said "Yeah, he's no good."  Better stick to the grill boys.

Just because you wave at me, doesn't mean you are forgiven for almost running me over in the Winn Dixie parking lot.

Attention old lady driver.  I was trying to leave the Albertson's parking lot.  Not steal your parking spot.  So next you don't have to spin your tires and cut in front of me.

Okay, so you put the 4and 5 year old's tee-ball fields farthest from the bathrooms.  How about placing some port-o-potties so that they don't miss any of their game.

Why did you take me from the waiting room into the small room and make me wait twice as long?  Why not wait until when you are ready for me to bring me back?

What went through your mind when I stop for the light and your behind me in the lane beside me and you run through the light?  And yes, that was me passing you at the next green light, while you waited on the line of cars in front of you.

Occasionally when I walk into the daycare, the smell is like getting hit in the face with a Louisville Slugger.

Just because I haven't mowed in 2 weeks, doesn't mean I need your "Grass Assassin" flyer stuck on my door.

No, my yard is not your dog's personal toilet.  If I find where you live, I will return the favor.

This was what was on my mind today.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Race - My Prospective

By Langston Hughes

My old man's a white old man
And my old mother's black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.

If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I'm sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well.

My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I'm gonna die,
Being neither white nor black?

In early 1992, me and two friends drove from Charleston to Champaign to go see Spike Lee's "Malcolm X".  We got there early because we didn't want to drive there for nothing. We bought our tickets and went in.  What happened during the next hour is both interesting and very telling of our society.  Since we were the first ones in the theater, we took the center seats in the middle of the room.  As others came in, we sat and waited.  I know "nothing interesting there".  Okay here it is.  As the theater filled, the patrons had formed a "white island" in the middle of the room.  I don't know why but the other white patrons had gravitated to where we were.  The audience was predominately black.  We found it amusing at the time.  There were no problems during our time there, even when Malcolm X said "the white man is the devil" and someone in the back yelled out "YUP! There it is!".  This was the first time I had been a minority anywhere.  It was a rather odd feeling but at 19 I didn't think too much about. 

Growing up, I was lucky my parents didn't teach us to hate other races.  I idolized Tony Dorsett, Sugar Ray Leonard, Doctor J,  Kirby Puckett, and Tommy Herr.  Herr was the only white in that bunch.  Later I would date inter-racially and quickly found out that not everyone was as open minded as I thought, including some, whom I thought of as friends.  I have to say I was a bit shocked at what others had to say.

During college, I was told by whites from northern Illinois that I talked black and acted black . I thought that was strange because I was just being me.  Once we were talking about hot chicks and I said "What about Halle Berry?" who has been my Hollywood crush for a very long time, and the guy gave me the weirdest look and "Dude she's black."  From then on, I knew things must be a little different in white suburbia Chicago.  But on the other side of the coin, I can remember going to the rec center to play basketball and getting picked last because nobody wanted the short white guy.  But I always got the last laugh when I lit 'em up.

Later in life I had to go to training in New Haven, Ct.  I met managers from all over the country.  One, that I had became friends with, was from New Hampshire. He actually said "We could tell that you weren't completely white."  I was floored.  First, I don't know why he said it.  Second, he was right.  Third, SO!?!   I'm not "completely white,"  I am very proud of my Iroquois, Blackfoot, and Cherokee heritage.  (although I can't claim to be bi-racial because I am not registered with a tribe.  More on this later) .  Since I have been in Louisiana have been told that it was apparent that I wasn't completely white, this time by a black man. 

When Gretchen and I had the chance to go out with some people she worked with last summer, we jumped at the chance.  A night without the kids... oh yeah.  The people she worked with were mostly black and during the conversation it was said "Oh Gretchen, yeah she's black" and everyone got a good laugh when they found out she had used straightener on her hair.  I, too, work with a mostly black staff.  They have said I'm black as well.  And have even gone as far as telling a customer.  The customer looked at me and "You're black?"  I responded, " That's what they tell me."  The black female customer reached over the counter to shake my my hand.  Recently, we went to a party where there were about 50 people.  8 were white ( Gretchen, our kids and me were 5 of them).  The people at the party were gracious and we had a good time (even with a fight breaking out). Gretchen and I are not black in our race but we take pride in the fact the we are accepted for who we are, good trustworthy people that are considered friends by others.  I by no means know what it is like being black nor would I ever want act like I do know.  I can only be me. Throughout my life, I've had conversations with people and customers who have used racial slurs.  I have corrected a few, others I just roll my eyes in my head and think "what idiots."  I am really tired of people speaking to me like that.  Just because our skin color is the same doesn't mean that I use those terms, think like you or consider you a friend.  My friendship is something you earn, no matter your color.

I mentioned earlier that while I am bi-racial ( white and native) I can't put that on any type of applications because I'm not registered with a tribe.  I don't even know where to start  to do that.  Anyhow, no other race has that problem.  In the end I don't understand racism or bigotry.  I, also, don't like some of the terms used today.  Take for instance African- American.  Let's say you are black but are from England and now live here, are you now African-European-American.  And why is the black race grouped all as African, while whites are divided into Italian, French, German etc, and Asians are Japanese,Chinese, etc.  Then we come to Native American. Ugh!  How could there be "Native Americans"?  America was named after an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci.  Natives of the land were here long before he was born.

Maybe I'm just being too picky.  I don't know.   The fact is I'm ready for 1 race, that being the human race.

I decided to repost this because today I was told I was the "farthest thing from being white."  Thanks.  I take that as a compliment with great pride.  But really, from the beginning to the end, I'm just Shane.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A day in the morning life

A good friend of mine when ask "How are you doing?", always responds "Just livin' the dream".   Thanks Sam.

Gretchen wakes me up at 6.  She's been up since 5.  I got to make sure Noah gets up and around.  I get out of bed at 6 after 6. Ugh.  He needs to be at the bus top at 25 after.  16 after "Dad can you get me a bowl of cereal?"  "Yes"  Not making the bus today.  With ADD/ADHD kids you have to make concessions.  I take
Noah to school.  I about get hit from behind buy giant suv lady in a hurry to get out of the parking lot.  She drives on the wrong side and passes 15 cars to turn left.  I was heading there but opted to stay in my lane.

I get home and go through Jonah's folder. Sign here sign there and clean it out.  "No, dad that's my homework!"  "What's it doing with all of these other papers?"  "I don't know."  He starts outside.  "Oh, almost forgot my lunch."  He has a field trip today.  He gets on his bike and rides to school.  If you know Jonah very well you know he has grown up a lot this year.  Riding a bike to school 3 months ago would have been unheard of.

Check Facebook.  Check email.  Check blogger.  Check Espn.

Okay, time to get Gracie up.   The fight is on. She began daycare this week.  It's been over a year since she last went back in Illinois.  "Gracie, time to get up."  "I'm not going to daycare."  "Remember Mom said she would take you to Kane's for dinner tonight if you were good today."  A smile appears and she shakes her head yes.  I turn to get clothes and she wraps herself in her blankets.  I get her dressed and she clings to my neck.  " I don't wanna go!"  She starts sobbing.   We go to the car and she runs behind the other car.  I chase her down.  Off we go.  It's more of same.  "Hey, how about I put in Katy Perry?" "Yeah!"  "You're hot and you're cold you're yes and you're..."nothing the cd goes silent.  I try it again.  Nope. I take it out and clean it. Nope  Skip to next song. Phew.  We arrive at daycare.  I go to open the door to the building and she's already wrapped herself around my leg.  I pick her up and carry her in.  She precedes to grab the string on my sweat jacket and wrap her hand in it.  I get that unwrapped and place her in a chair the teacher takes her and I skip out as fast as I can, with her screams of "Daddy!" playing in the background.  Yeah, that sucks. But what can you do?

I get home and check my work schedule.  10:30 to 7:30 with a sigh. I'm in the middle of a seven day work stretch.  It's the end of the month and beginning a new month so all of the idiots will be out. One bright spot is I'm working on a business deal so that's something to look forward to.  I sit down.  Check Facebook.  Check Espn.  Yup, Cardinals still lost.  Start blogging.  Gotta start getting ready for work.  End Blogging.

This was what was on my mind today.