Baseball Season is unlike Deer Season or Duck Season in that you don’t actually shoot the baseball players with a gun. Do you sometimes WANT to shoot the baseball players with a gun? Yes, maybe not a loaded gun, just enough to slightly alarm them once in a while. Maybe when I pull the trigger a little flag could come out that says, “Why, every time you get a two-strike count, must you then waste two pitches way out of the strike zone and then end up walking the guy?” Can I fit that onto a little flag?

But I still love baseball. I was talking to a gal at a bar who was trying to watch a soccer game. “Don’t you hate soccer,” I asked, to see if she was watching it only to confirm the fact that she hated it.  “No, I love it. I think BASEBALL is boring.” “You think WHAT is WHAT???” Baseball is like a nine-act play, a drama, an epic. It has one-on-one confrontations and team conflict, all of it choreographed to really bad organ music. A game of soccer plays for two hours to a zero-zero tie. They give you a red card, they give you a yellow card. Let’s just play cards, at least I could win something. Let’s use Tarot Cards so we can see what’s really going on. If the ref hands you a Queen of Pentacles AND The Moon card, you’ll probably turn into a newt within the hour anyway. I explained all of this to the back of her hand as she was walking away, and I hope she heard the end of my monologue through the ladies room door.

It’s only a week into the Yankees season and our star pitcher is on the Disabled List because he experienced some tingling in his shoulder. At my age tingling in anything should be cause for celebration, even tingling in somebody else’s shoulder. OMG what if he has rotator cuff? What if the whole rotation gets rotator cuff and can’t rotate anymore? What if he needs “Tommy John” surgery? What if he has Lou Gehrig’s disease? If you play baseball long enough to drop dead right on the field you could have a disease named after you, and possibly go to the Baseball Disease Hall of Fame. By the way you should write your induction speech in advance. 

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I am fighting a sports injury myself from playing tennis, and it could be pretty serious. There’s a bump on my little toe, and my wife looked it up on the internet and said it was a bunionette. Doesn’t that have something to do with your hair, I was going to ask her when she stopped laughing but she never stopped laughing. When I went to the podiatrist to try and get him to diagnose something more serious, he said I could call it a “tailor’s bunion” if I wanted to, and I told him he wasn’t getting his co-payment.

If you’re a Yankee fan you have to get used to the envious critics and the rich-get-richer nay-sayers. Admittedly, the Yankees had Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson working out in spring training, making it possible that the Yankees might secure the quarterback of the future before the New York Giants did.

Baseball is the only sport where you can have a serious and heated discussion about a pitcher’s “stuff,” and still get people to believe that you have any idea what you’re talking about.  “He has great stuff, he just can’t get anyone out.” “Yes he’s always been great stuff-wise but he just doesn’t trust his stuff.” 

The Baseball Commission also has the responsibility of setting an example for the kids, so they would rather not portray ballplayers chewing a big load of tobacco and then spitting it out. Instead, many are chewing bird seeds and spitting the shells out. There is still spitting involved, so there’s no need to worry. I don’t think eating bird seeds sets a great example for children either, because how are we going to grow any new birds if people keep eating the seeds?

Major League Baseball has found out that we now have shorter attention spans, and they want to make the game go faster. So they have been experimenting with a “pitch clock” to keep the game moving in a timely manner.  As it is now, the pitcher shakes his head at the catcher to say, “I’m not comfortable with that pitch right now, and I have a fly in my nose.” The catcher puts down one carefully chosen finger as a signal, to say, “I don’t really care.” Then the batter steps out of the batter’s box so he can tighten his glove and adjust his crotch. It’s unclear what may have changed in the adjustment of his crotch since the last pitch was thrown, but you shouldn’t underestimate the forces at work in a man’s crotch. If you’re still with me at this point in the paragraph, then your attention span is longer than normal and you probably don’t need a pitch clock. All of this is why I still love baseball.

OMG I just learned that another member of the team has been put on the Injured List. What if he has a concussion? If you get a concussion in sports today they take it very seriously, and if you don’t think they should examine your head, you should get your head examined. To get back on the field you need to clear “concussion protocols,” where they check for spine and head injuries, and ask some questions designed to test recall, concentration and orientation. If you can’t remember where you left your wallet, don’t know what the word “ubiquitous” means and lose concentration during a soccer game, you might have a concussion, or you might have Rick Melén’s disease.

Join Rick and the No Options band for some Rock & Roll, Saturday evening, April 13, 9:30 p.m., at PJ’s Restaurant, 84 Route 6 in Baldwin Place.
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