Warm weather, cherry blossoms, green grass and baseball

Ah, February in Washington – the weather is warm, the interns are ready and the cherry blossoms are imminent. Spring is sprung, the grass is risen. I wonder where the ballpark is.

With the generous assistance of El Ni?o, we’ve been enjoying an Indian spring, which gets me itchy for the thing that I itch for every spring: baseball. (What did you expect? Get your mind out of the gutter!)

trygThe last couple of years, I’ve been participating in a rotisserie baseball league. (I learned very quickly not to call it “fantasy” baseball.) I ran a league in high school, so I thought it might be fun in college.

A rotisserie league is essentially like real baseball, except it’s played by more fanatical people. You draft real players, and you get points when they excel in certain statistical categories. For example, you’d get a point when Ken Griffey Jr. gets a home run.

Boy, did I make a mistake joining a college league. Talk about fanatical. Instead of a normal, reasonably healthy way to hang out with friends and talk baseball, my league has gone absolutely batty (excuse the pun) with baseball.

My friend Dan, (whose team is the Tampa Bay Bandits) called me, the owner of the Minnesota Argyle Sox, to talk baseball. What follows is the actual conversation.

Me: “So what do you think of Tony Clark?”Dan: “Oh, I don’t know. He’s okay, but…”Me: “But what? He hit 30 home runs last year.”Dan: “Yeah, but he’s got a big problem. He’s 6-6.”Me: “What do you mean?”Dan: “Do you know how hard it is to keep your elbows in to hit for average when you’re that tall?” (It should be noted that Dan is 5-9 in heels.)Me: “No, I guess I don’t. So why don’t you trade him to me, then?”Dan: “Absolutely not. He hit 30 home runs for me last year!”And this kind of thing happens to me all the time. My friend Steve wrote me an e-mail asking if I thought Orlando Merced would revert to his 1995 form. For those of you scratching your heads, Merced is a first baseman for the Twins. And no, I don’t know if he’ll revert to his 1995 form.

On a sadder note, most everyone knows Harry Caray died last week. Harry, the idol of fraternity boys everywhere, will be missed by all Cub fans.

I was never a Cub fan, but during my childhood summers, I could twist the dials of my AM radio and hear Harry call a National League game. I think everyone would like to be like him – someone who did anything he wanted all of the time. He loved every minute of life, even in the later years when everybody hates baseball.

For some unknown reason, I still love baseball. It just seems natural that as the season changes to springtime, baseball follows. And as the summer winds into cold, bleak winter, baseball hibernates.

Well, except for the owners, that is. I just can’t stand greedy, millionaire owners trying to gouge fans and taxpayers for the ever-increasing dollar like Bud Seilg (Brewers) or Carl Pohlad (Twins).

Someone asked Ted Turner why he didn’t make Georgia pay for Turner Field. He said, “What, are you crazy? I’ve got seven billion dollars. People need that state money to eat.”

I don’t really like the players all that much either. If you make eight million dollars a year, you should be expected to throw a slider for a strike on a three and one count. And you really shouldn’t beat your wife either, or throw firecrackers at little kids, or try to run people down with your car.

I really can’t stand the whole attitude of baseball these days, the whole money-grubbing, thumb your nose at the world kind of attitude. So, anybody for softball?

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