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I know that no one cares that I still play baseball on Sunday, and that’s cool. I Twitter about my team from time to time, mostly in a joking fashion, but when Sundays roll around it’s serious business. You here the phrase, “For the love of the game” all the time. Well, in the Sunday leagues, the love of the game isn’t just shown when you are between the lines playing. It’s also shown two hours before game time when you are not only baseball players, but the grounds crew. It doesn’t happen every week, but when Mother Nature decides to display her anger from time to time, and with the crappy baseball fields we play on, it’s necessary to work on them before first pitch. It amazes me that football fields from coast to coast are meticulously maintained, while baseball fields are left to rot in the summer. It’s a travesty and something should be done about it, but I digress.
So 6 a.m. this morning e-mails and text messages started flying back and forth with the team. Fritz brought his tractor, Chris brought the attachment for the tractor to smooth out the infield. There were about six metal rakes in action, I was wielding one of those, a tamper, a couple of shovels, and two leaf blowers. This morning was Sunday playoff baseball in the MSBL over 28 Connecticut league, however, you would think by looking at us, we were a professional grounds crew, not the team that was to take the field in less than two hours.
We don’t get paid to play. We pay to play in these leagues. When Sunday’s roll into Monday’s we get back to the grind. Whatever are normal lives entail. Bumps and bruises don’t ache, they feel good. Making a running catch, feeling a ball come off a wooden bat, diving and snagging a ball up the middle, getting the game winning hit in the bottom of the ninth, these are the reasons we play. Not because we are in a contract year and we need to get a raise, not because we have to, but because we love the game.
Love in this sense is defined as taking a strong liking for something or taking great pleasure in something. Waking up at 7a.m. and tending to a field that looks like a hurricane hit it, all before playing nine innings in 90-degree weather? That’s my definition of love.
Final score: Stamford Mets 4, Wilton Red Sox 3. Shearn: 2-2 GW RBI bottom of the ninth.
That doesn’t hurt either.
In case you haven’t come across it yet, Joe Auriemma (The Godfather of YESNetwork.com) and I, hosted our first foray into the podcastophere (pretty sure I just made that word up). You can call in with your questions or comments (646-487-3668) and we will use the best every week, but I was thinking earlier this morning — there’s no place for you to vent back at us.
We have to be fair. I have to admit — I was hard on you insatiable Yankees fans in my monologue. So every week, if you want to fire back at us for that — so be it — I will put a blog up so you can empty all your frustrations on me. l can take it just as well as I can dish it out. If you want to get on my case — just leave a comment underneath here and I will get back to you.
We will have a brand new podcast up next Thursday and we are working towards doing this more than once a week. Also, Joe and I will be visiting three Minor League parks in 24 hours starting 7 p.m. this Monday in Trenton, followed by 11 a.m. the following day in Staten Island and wrapping up our trip in Scranton Tuesday at 7 p.m. Single-A, Double-A and Triple A in one day. We are documenting the entire trip and it should be a lot of fun to watch, and we will be discussing said trip in our podcast next week.
No, not through the quad Snoop-a-loop, through the Blue Jays, Twins and Orioles. It’s nine and counting and the defending champion Phillies stand in the way of the streak continuing. It should be a fun weekend of baseball in the Boogie Down. It’s the Phillies’ first trip back to the Bronx since 2000. They are 1-5 against the Yankees in New York and 8-10 overall.
Let’s get back to this current nine-game winning streak. You are all probably sick of me bringing this up. Probably even to the point of regurgitation. But even during a winning streak, something positive, people are still out on a ledge with this team in this area. You just can’t make it up. Janet Jackson Disease is still in the air. I don’t get it. Do the Yankees have to go 162-0 for everyone to just remain calm? Somehow I have a feeling if they did, someone, somewhere, would find a way to pooh pooh the perfection and nitpick about how they only won by a run in 50 of their games.
Believe it or not boys and girls, callers on radio shows in the greater New York area were calling up during the Twins series, and moaning and complaining because the Yankees were only winning the games by a run. Let me get this straight: Instead of just sitting back and enjoying a five-game winning streak at the time, you are going to sit on hold for at least an hour, finally get on the air, and this is what you’re bringing to the table? Is there any joy in any of your lives? Seriously. This area has a fever, and the only prescription isn’t more cowbell, it’s winning.
Well at least I thought it was. Now even though they are winning and getting good pitching and timely hitting, people still aren’t satisfied. Enough with the Debbie Downer attitudes, people. When times are good, you have to take your half empty glass, and make it half full. You have to turn the frown upside down or you will be taken in by a new strain. Oh yeah. A new one. I’m putting JJD on the backburner.
We all know swine flu is scaring the bejesus out of people, but I have discovered something far worse. Billy Joel Disease – “I Go to Extremes.” Here’s a refresher if you need it:
Coming apart at the seams
Eager to please, ready to fight
Why do I go to extremes?
Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes
Too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens
And if I stand or I fall
It’s all or nothing at all
You can’t get too high or too low with this team. Just stay at an even keel and everything will be fine. However, if you can’t, the doctor is always in discovering new afflictions and trying to come up with a cure.
I feel like I am back in grammar school and was just given an assignment to write a theme. However, these assignments will never be a burden. I kind of feel like that kid Ralph from A Christmas Story. He was so stoked to write about getting a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas, and now I’m stoked that no one is safe from my soapbox capabilities here in “Off the Wall” land. Unlike Ralph, I get to write every day about a variety of topics, not just what I want for Christmas.
Since I brought Christmas up, though, and there are 282 days left until the one day of presents instead of eight crazy nights, I would like to put out there that I would love to know what it feels like to make $1.5 million and average 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. That is my Christmas wish.
I’m talking about Sean Williams. This guy is 22-years old. He just returned from his demotion to the D-League and he has worked himself back into the good graces of Lawrence Frank and back into the rotation for the New Jersey Nets. What does he do after all his struggles? He gets arrested in suburban Denver.
The Nets were in the Mile High City to wrap up the West Coast portion of a five-game road trip, and Williams allegedly went into a cell phone store, got into a fight with a clerk, and threw a computer monitor. Damages were estimated to be between $1,200 and $1,300.
What are you doing, Sean?! Sooner or later, you have to grow up. You have to realize that your life is pretty damn good. You’re playing a game and making seven figures.
Is it hard to be a finely tuned and trained athlete? Um, yeah! Is it difficult to be on a plane every other day on a road trip? Sure! Every job has its drawbacks. The difference, however, between a professional athlete and John Q. Public (unless you’re an executive for AIG) is the finely tuned specimens could relax every time the check clears.
Williams gets all the credit in the world from me for taking his demotion, working hard and getting back to the big club and getting valuable minutes. However, it’s time to look in the mirror and realize you are 22, and not five. You have a responsibility to your teammates, your coach, and your organization. I don’t know what was said or what transpired, but see the previous sentence. Stop acting like a child take on your responsibilities and be a man.