Saturday, April 20, 2013


1. The "Twi-Night" Doubleheader

Growing up, this would show up every now and then on the regular schedule - the "twi-night" doubleheader.  First game would start about 4 or 5 PM, second game shortly after, usually about 7 or 8 PM.  It was like going to the cinema and watching a double feature, except you would go to the ballpark and watch a doubleheader.  Now you never see a doubleheader in the regular schedule, and if a game has to be made up, it's part of a "day-night" doubleheader (exactly that - one game at 1 PM, another at 7 PM), and it's two separate admissions.  Plus, what the hell are you going to do for three hours between games?
2. The singing of the National Anthem
I'm sure that still happens before every professional game.  However, unless it's some diva pulling a Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey out of his/her butt, it doesn't get aired on TV or radio.  It just goes right to a commercial.  Often times there wasn't even a singer, except for a special occasion.  It was just the ballpark organist playing it, and the crowd in the stands would stand and sing it.  Truthfully, I'd rather listen to the crowd in the stands sing the anthem.  Even the tone-deaf section can sing it better than that diva that will change the time signature, add melisma after melisma, and even change to a lower key when she realizes that the next line is high (I've heard THAT, too!).  As an added bonus (for our Canadian readers), if the Blue Jays or the then-Expos were on, you'd hear both anthems - Canadian and American.
3. Letting the pitcher finish
It's great that most teams can rely on a decent closer.  But one pet peeve of mine is that managers just don't let their pitchers finish their games anymore.  I'm not talking about the bum that can't get out of the third without falling behind 10-0.  I'm talking about the guy that's gone through seven strong innings, is holding a 4-0 lead, but gets yanked from the game because he's already thrown a wholesome grand total of 100 pitches.  His seventh inning was stronger than his first four.  Are you kidding me?  Let him finish!  Complete games are a premium these days.  When I was a young lad, there was at least one complete game pitched a day in the major league.  Now the manager wimps out after 100 pitches.  WTF?  It would be different if he was in a jam (back then, known as "running out of gas"), then you have to throw in your fireman (saves leaders in my day were known as "leading firemen") to get out of the inning.  Otherwise, he's fine.  Let him get his 130-pitch complete game for cripes sakes!
4. Almost-balanced schedules
Growing up, a ball club would play maybe 15 games against teams in their own divisions, and maybe 10-12 games against teams in the other division.  Now it's 18-19 games against their own division, and 6-8 games against the other divisions.  I can see your own division getting more exposure, but playing a whole month against the same damn teams can be overkill.  Makes me happy that there's now interleague play, and a little more of it this year.  I like the idea of the Red Sox playing the Cubs, the Rockies, and the Phillies every now and then.  I most certainly like to watch the Yankees play the Cubs and the White Sox play the Mets.  Why?  Because they're oddball games you don't see often enough.  And I have no problem watching the Cubs play any American League team because, until interleague play began, the Cubs did not play against an American League team since 1945 --- the last time they played in a World Series!
In the words of Archie and Edith, Those were the days!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Well, there may be no hope in the White House, but things are really looking hopeful for the 2013 Boston Red Sox.  I look at the Red Sox transitions between 2011 and 2013 like I do a parish changing hymnals.  It goes like this:
1) Under Terry Francona, the Red Sox had eight seasons, all winning seasons (that is, more wins than losses).  His Red Sox teams won two World Series crowns (2004 and 2007, both times on 4-0 sweeps).  That's two more than all the Red Sox teams from 1919 to 2003.  They made the playoffs three additional times as well under Francona.  Even in 2011, where the Sox pretty much gave up in September (7-20 record for the month), they still finished with a .556 win percentage.  Even Alfredo Aceves went 10-2 for 2011.
PARISH LIKENESS:  Your parish has been using Worship II (yes, the 1975 edition) for the past eight years.  You're singing the Gelineau Psalms along with the readings, and you're singing good solid non-altered hymn texts such as "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty", "In Heavenly Love Abiding", and "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken".  You manage to ignore the few goofy titles ("Said Judas to Mary", "No Use Knocking", and "I Danced in the Morning").  You're even singing some of the music of the late greats Alexander Peloquin and Richard Proulx.  All is going (overall) very well.
2) After 2011, Terry Francona is canned, and Bobby Valentine is the manager for the Red Sox.  Team posts the worst record since 1966.  Alfredo Aceves, who went 10-2 in 2011, went 2-10 in 2012 and blew more saves than you could shake a stick at.  While they might have had one small hump where they hit .500, they landed up finishing 69-93 (a .426 win percentage, good for last place).  During the season, the Sox lost big names Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis (now a Yankee - TRAITOR!), and Adrian Gonzalez via trades for low-budget names.
PARISH LIKENESS: Your parish has a new pastor who quickly tosses the Worship II hymnals into the dumpster, in favor of the latest version of Gather.  A few radical leftists start a band and replace the traditional choir that sang your principal Mass.  Your weekly Extraordinary Form Mass has also been scrapped, and your schola moved to some remote parish 25 miles away.  Congregational singing has been replaced by entertainment.  While more radical leftists move into the parish, the same number of reverent worshippers left - some for that remote parish 25 miles away, some to follow the pastor you worked for last year, and some to the parish down the street (just for spite).
3) Here we are in 2013.  Bobby Valentine is canned and replaced with the guy the Sox REALLY wanted to work with last year, but couldn't... John Farrell.  In 2011, Farrell took over as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.  However, this year, the Red Sox made a deal with the Blue Jays to bring Farrell to the Sox.  So far, a much better start than the last two seasons (7-4 as of today, April 14, 2013).  John Lester and Clay Buchholz have been stellar so far, pitching like the aces they are capable of being.  Alfredo Aceves, while still sucking as a reliever, may have found his mark as a starter.  While he can't enter a ballgame in the ninth inning without blowing a save, he's been able to make some good starts.  He's had one start in the regular season, where he pitched five good innings, and some respectable starts in spring training.  Will Middlebrooks is back (YAY!)  We have a bunch of new and old faces back this season.  We started out by taking two out of three in New York against the Skankees.  None of our losses have been blowouts... yet.  I really think there is hope.  Will we make the playoffs?  Too early to tell.  Will we finish in the upper .500's?  I think so!
PARISH LIKENESS: Turns out that pastor that scrapped Worship for Gather has now been removed due to certain "credible allegations" (go to if you haven't figured out the definition of "credible allegations").  You get a new pastor once again who, like the pastor you worked with for eight years, gets it!  He gets rid of Gather, fires the rock band, and has you start a new schola for that principal Mass again.  To quote the great Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S., the few frustrated leftists "ask when they're going to get their parish back", while the many that stuck it out in hope have "thanked the new pastor for giving them their parish back".  The new boss rejects Worship IV, the latest edition of Worship, published in 2011.  "Too many goofy texts," he says.  He's so right!  Instead, he gets the Fourth Edition Saint Michael Hymnal.  Singing and prayer in your parish has been restored once again, and that Extraordinary Form Mass you lost last year is back, and its attendance is slowly flourishing to its original glory.
Keep your fingers crossed!