Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Trivial Pursuits: Baseball, Playboy, Politics

I was scheduled to be spending Tuesday night contemplating a royal flush in diamonds, or maybe spades, as part of a monthly poker game. Instead, I will be looking at a diamond flush with Royals of the Kansas City variety. 

I’m a Yankees fan, so I really have no vested interest in the outcome of the World Series which began Tuesday night in Kansas City between the aforementioned Royals and the NY Mets, except that I harbor three eternal memories involving the Royals and Yankees—Chris Chambliss breaking the Royals’ hearts in 1976 by smacking a bottom-of-the-ninth-pennant-winning home run to launch the Yanks into their first World Series in 12 years. Chambliss’ attempt to run around the bases, barreling over jubilant fans, added humor to the excitement (http://m.mlb.com/video/v2685726); 

KC’s George Brett going ballistic after his home run in the old Yankee Stadium in 1983 was invalidated and he was declared out because there was too much pine tar on his bat, a ruling subsequently reversed (https://youtu.be/PrTYdlaqtxE); 

and Willie Randolph being thrown out at home plate by Brett during the 1980 American League Championship Series. Randolph was waved home by third base coach Mike Ferraro. Owner George Steinbrenner wanted to fire Ferraro, but manager Dick Howser refused, leading to his own firing or retirement (depending on your point of view) and his subsequent hiring by the Royals, the team he led five years later to its only World Series title (https://youtu.be/3uRX9Jwqx-I).

Well, enough of Yankee history. This is, after all, a time to celebrate that other New York baseball team, not the one that has won 27 championships to just two for the Mets. I haven’t followed who the oddsmakers have labeled the favorite, but it would be hard to bet against the Mets given their starting pitchers and closer. The four Mets starters are as dominant as the bunch the Atlanta Braves trotted out during the 1990s and early 2000s and the Baltimore Orioles fronted in 1971 when they had four starters win at least 20 games. But keep in mind, The O’s lost the Series that year, and Atlanta won just one championship despite making the playoffs 13 out of 14 years and being in the World Series five times. 

If you detect a slight edge to my analysis it’s because I’m bummed out that the Mets have pre-empted poker. I even volunteered to host as a TV is next to my game table. But nooooo, my Series-starved Mets-fans compatriots are too hepped up to play and watch at the same time. 

Okay, I get it. But I do hope they care more for the future of our country. I hope they place politics above baseball and tune into the Republican Party presidential debate Wednesday night. Is that asking too much?

Barber Shop Blue: When I turned 40 Gilda threw me a surprise birthday party. Among the presents I received that night were a few copies of Playboy. During the party I went upstairs and saw 10-year-old Dan’s bedroom door closed. Curious, I opened it to find him and two friends poring over the Playboys. I discreetly closed the door before rejoining the adults downstairs.

My first exposure to Playboy was at Paul’s Barber Shop on Avenue X between East 21st and 22nd Streets in Brooklyn, a short 5-7 minute walk from our home on Avenue W. Paul’s was an old-fashioned barber shop back in the 1950s and 1960s. During my single digit years I was content to read the comic books supplied (mostly Superman and Archie) and finish off my haircuts with a free wad of Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum. 

But in my teenage years, with Frank joining the barbering staff and doing razor cuts to control my naturally curly hair, Playboys started showing up on the magazine tables. I don’t think I have to tell you, I did not read Playboy for the articles. 

Really? Here’s what ticks me off about Conservative Republicans—a friend of mine emailed photos of George W. Bush interacting with injured servicemen during his presidency with the following caption: “Have you seen any photos like these in the last 6 years? Me neither.” 

“Surely you jest,” I responded. “Please don’t tell me you are extolling the man who put our brave soldiers in harm’s way under false pretenses, the man who is responsible for more American military deaths than any president since Richard Nixon, the man who is responsible for two wars that have mired us in trillions of dollars of debt? 

“Please don’t tell me you applaud him. And please don’t believe that Obama has not interfaced with our troops. And let’s not forget that Obama has comforted too many of our fellow citizens bereft by mass killers that the NRA and its acolytes, including your friend George, refuse to stand up to.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment