The older I've gotten the more I realize that I'm not a fan of watching most sports on TV. I like playing football and basketball, but I don't really like to follow them. I guess I can say that I don't like professional (or even college) football and basketball for a number of reasons:
#1 They are too expensive. The ticket prices are worse than concerts and the theatre.
#2 I think the athletes are assholes. I live next to thugs; I don't want to glorify their lifestyle by watching their sports heroes act like misogynistic pubescent brigands.
#3 I don't like games that have clocks. If football had 12 possessions per team, that would be awesome. If after 12 each, you played one extra like extra innings in baseball, that would be awesome. Basketball should play first one to 100 points.
#4 Baseball is more diverse than any other professional sport. I like a game where anyone with good eyesight, strong arms, and in reasonably good shape can be a star. Being really tall or really strong isn't as big an advantage in baseball.
#5 It's a gentleman's game (usually).
#6 It is the hardest game to play professionally and I think it takes the most skill. I cannot play baseball well and I like to watch others do what I can't do.
One of my favorite parts of the internet is the ease with which rotissierre baseball can be accomplished. I have been in a fantasy league with my brothers-in-law ever since I got married. We held our league draft last week, and among the ten teams (My team is The New Orleans Levee Tweakers) here is my 25 man roster:
C B McCann
C M Piazza
1B R Sexson
1B K Morales
2B C Biggio
3B C Jones
SS D Eckstein
SS N Garciaparra
OF K Griffey
OF J J. Gomes
OF B B. Wilkerson
OF P Wilson
DH F Thomas
DH J Lopez
SP Cliff Lee
SP J Marquis
SP M Mussina
SP G Chacin
SP A Pettitte
SP B Colon
SP R Oswalt
RP Chris Ray
RP T Jones
SP J Sosa
RP B Lidge
I am pleased with my team, though I do hope to find a sleeper bat on the waiver wire this season as I spent all of my early draft picks on starting pitching. My bro-in-law Cody pointed out that I have a large number of Astros. This was unintentional.
I have always hoped to get enough people together to do a what if? sports league. It's not expensive and could be a blast.
My favorite players of all time:
Dale Murphy, Tom Glavine, Brooks Robinson, Darrell Evans, Phil Niekro, Stan Musial, and Pete Smith....otherwise known as the baseball players that treated me like true gentlemen when I met them. Dale Murphy visited my grandmother at home once a month as her Mormon home teacher. Tom Glavine called me from my dad's cell phone from the lobby of a hotel where my dad was staying in Arizona. He thanked me for being a fan. Brooks Robinson, stood up and shook my hand when I got his autograph--a total class act. I went to Six Flags over Georgia in 1991 one day during the Summer. My friend and I (I think it was Shawn Markshausen) recognized Darrell Evans in the gift shop near the sky buckets and went up to him to talk to him. He said, "Boys, I'm honored you recognized me. I'm here with my family and would like to avoid a crowd, so could you please leave us alone today?" He asked very nicely and we agreed. I knew that he would be at a baseball card show I was going to in the next couple of months. When I got in line to get his autograph, he asked, "Do I know you?" I recounted the story of Six Flags and he stood up and shook my hand and said thank you for letting his kids have a nice time. I asked if I could see his 1984 Detroit Tigers World Series Championship ring....he took it off and handed it to me. WOW! Phil Niekro talked to me for about 15 minutes once at a lull in a baseball card show. He was so nice to my stupid questions. Stan Musial is just as nice as Brooks Robinson, he also hit five homers in one day once. Top that! Pete Smith wasn't that remarkable of a player, but when I had season tickets to the Braves he actually began to recognize me (because I always wore a Red Sox hat) and talked to me all of 1988 and 1989. He always signed autographs and was a nice guy.
Baseball players I do not like: John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, Pete Rose, Jose Canseco, Nolan Ryan, Orel Hershiser, Bo Jackson, Oil Can Boyd, Barry Bonds, Darryl Strawberry, and Roberto Alomar.
John Kruk swore f-bombs at me for asking for his autograpg. Lenny Dykstra was an attention whore who I suppose holds the player record for most season and career ejections. Pete Rose wouldn't sign "to Mac" when I paid him for his autograph (Note: He has been my favorite baseball player previous to my meeting him). I asked him to date it, he said, "I don't know the date." He was engrossed in a Bengals game on TV while he was signing. That was January of 1988. Asshole, may you never enter the Hall. Jose Canseco was rude and wouldn't look you in the eyes or say hello when you paid him for his autograph. Nolan Ryan wouldn't even acknowledge my existence. I can forgive Orel Hershiser for the Beckett Monthly 'I AM NOT A MORMON" full page ad, but I can't forgive him saying "get the f--K out of my way" to a group of kids at Spring Training 1988 who wanted his autograph. They weren't even in his way. Bo Jackson did finish his education, which is noteworthy. He was a jerk in Spring Training, taunting fans. Not cool. Oil Can Boyd swearing at kids in Spring Training--bad form from a bad pitcher. Barry Bonds, do I have to explain this one? Darryl Strawberry I don't like because he wasted his amazing Hall of Fame talent on drugs and fast living. Poor role model. Roberto Alomar spit on an umpire and then refused to apologize. He belongs alongside Pete Rose.
Most amazing talent I've ever seen: 1) Darryl Strawberry could turn any pitch into a homerun. 2) Ron Gant had one stance and when I watched him on TV, you could see his body line up just right. Every time he did it, I would say "home run" and he would hit one for sure. I wasn't the only one to notice this.
3) Greg Maddux can put the ball wherever he wants.
4) Barry Bonds in 1988. He hit a homerun to center in Fulton County that took maybe 2 seconds to clear the wall.
5) John Olerud, holy crap he was a patient hitter when I saw him in 1990 at SkyDome
6) Julio Franco once fouled off 13 consecutive pitches.
7) Mariano Rivera in the 1996 World Series. DAMNIT ALL TO HELL he was good.
The coolest baseball things I've ever seen:
1) The Cardinals' Terry Pendleton crawling home after tearing his hamstring rounding third on May 24, 1989 against the Braves. The Braves sucked so bad he was still safe. Seriously. He would win the MVP for them 2 years later.
2) Jeff Treadway getting someone out at first with the hidden ball trick. He put it in his left armpit and waited for them to get a big lead and then tagged them out. Dummy the pitcher wasn't even on the mound.
3) Sid Bream 1992 NLCS
4) Otis Nixon climbing the wall
5) In 1989 the Braves ran off the field after only getting two outs. No one noticed until the umpire looked at the scoreboard as the first batter was heading towards the box. Man the Braves stunk that year.
6) Tom Glavine being put in as a pinch runner when he was a rookie.
7) Fernando Tatis hitting two grand slams in one inning. This will never be repeated.
8) Kirk Gibson's homerun in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series
9) Craig Biggio as a rookie, holy crap!
10) Dante Bichette's throwing arm.
11) Pascual Perez picking someone off first by throwing between his legs to the firstbaseman.
Things I don't like about baseball:
1) There are two too many teams.
2) The Braves belong in the NLWest
3) Wild cards
4) Interleague play
5) That someone who played the vast majority of their career as a designated hitter could be eligible for the hall of fame
6) Dale Murphy isn't in the Hall of Fame but Kirby Puckett is
7) A save should be 2 or more innnings and if you give up ANY runs it shouldn't count.
8) Contracts should have guaranteed minimum performances and if you're supposed to hit 30 homers, but you only hit 25, you get less money. If you hit more, you get a bonus. Pitchers should get paid by the win or the save (under my revised criteria)
9) Millionaires do not need collective bargaining
10) A baseball ticket should cost the same as a movie ticket. There are 162 games in a season.
11) Paying $6 dollars for a hot dog. No coolers allowed into the stadiums due to "homeland security"
12) Owners should not be baseball commissioner
13) Pete Rose once won the Roberto Clemente Award....it should be expunged.