As I type this article the entire baseball loving world is anxiously awaiting the word on whether the weather will cooperate and allow the first game of the World Series of Baseball between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies to go forward tonight.
Will the storm that has been dumping rain on the northeast United States since yesterday move out before nightfall or will Game 1 be rained out?
I have one question. Who the hell cares?
Do is not bother anyone else that the third game of the World Series is scheduled for Halloween? Are the players going to don costumes, and carry little bags for their tricks and treats? Will they shower the fans in the stands with miniature chocolate bars and popcorn balls?
If the series goes seven games and we get some early snow, which by the way, we already have had here in the northeast, nearly a month ago, will they play in snowshoes? Or perhaps skis? Or toboggans? Can you put pinstripes on parkas or would that be a fashion disaster?
If one player turns in an especially good performance over the length of the series will the media name him Mr. November? Or Mr. Thanksgiving? Will a home run be labelled The Turkey Trot? Does anyone really care? Other than the residents of New York and Philadelphia?
Let's get this right up front.
IT IS FOOTBALL SEASON. BASEBALL ENDED IN SEPTEMBER - OR SHOULD HAVE!
There is no viable reason to play baseball in late fall. No matter what happens, even if one team sweeps the series, at least one game will be played in November. Why?
The fourth games of the series will be played Sunday, in Philadelphia beginning at 8:20 p.m. when the temperature will be headed straight for the cellar. Do you know why it isn't advisable to play baseball in the cold? Let's start with snapped muscles, torn rotator cuffs, especially with pitchers, pulled hamstrings and torn ligaments for starters.
Baseball players do way too much standing around to play in cold weather. Football players on the other hand, get lined up, squat, stand up, bend over, roll, tumble and run all over the field throughout the game. If it seems like their muscles may be getting tight, they get on a stationary bike on the sidelines and pedal to keep things warmed up.
But even in the best weather baseball players can stand around like statues for inning after inning if the pitching is going well. But do all that standing around in the cold, and their hamstrings will freeze like Popsicles.
Suddenly, the cold gets into the pitchers' shoulders and arms, the hits start coming and guys who had looked like Greek art forms for six innings are supposed to come to life with the utmost in speed and flexibility, literally in an instant. Good luck on that one.
I have to admit I WILL be watching New York at Philly on Sunday. But it will be the Giants at the Eagles at 1 p.m., not the Yankees at the Phillies at night. Sorry FOX, if there is a good football game on Sunday night it will take precedence over the b'ball broadcast. At least on my TV.
This is, after all, the mid-point in the football season. Week 8. The Giants got off to a great start 5 - 0, but now have lost two in a row. They need their number one fan to be there for them and I can't be distracted.
How did this happen anyway? The World Series I mean, not the Giants stall-out. I'll admit I have not been all that interested in baseball ever since the strike. Yes, I do understand that many of the current fans weren't even born then, but I also am a former baseball fan who once watched Mickey Mantle hit a home run off the monuments in Center Field of Yankee Stadium in 1961. I have my memories and they aren't about spoiled coddled millionaires who get dressed in opulent clubhouses, not old-time locker rooms.
Did you know that there were games in Mickey Mantle's career where he hit home runs from both sides of the plate and the Yankees still lost the game? But did he pout, and run to the media, and go on strike for higher wages? NO, he went out and played the next game.
So I don't know, nor do I care, when we went from the team with the most wins in the National League playing the team with the most wins in the American League. Now we have divisional playoffs, and round robins and odd-man-outs, or so it seems, and somehow, halfway through the football season, the sports channels are dividing their time between football and a World Series that should have been over a month ago.
I'll admit, I'm not really a fan of the pre-season exhibition games in the NFL either. It's bad enough to have training camp in August, what with the heat and all the equipment that football players wear. I think there is too much of a risk of injury to the players before the season even begins.
It seems that one way or another money is the driving factor in all these decisions and if there is a way to get the fans in the stands or in front of their TVs, then possible injuries either pre- or post-season will just have to become part of the scene.
Maybe I'm just not willing to accept all these changes that are made not for the sport, but for the money they generate.
I grew up playing baseball in the spring and summer, and football in the fall and winter. When the weather gets really cold you play hockey outside and basketball inside. That should be a law.
I admit that some of the most fun I ever had in the winter was playing football on frozen lakes in upstate New York. It was a blast and was probably more fun than playing football in the rain and the mud which also has its moments.
But baseball on Halloween? Baseball in November?
Baseball when there is a better than even chance of snow? I'm sorry there are just some things in life that go together - like meat and potatoes, beef stew and cold beer, or popcorn and movies. But baseball and November?
Man that sends chills up my spine. And not in a good way.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009