Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Oh yeah, I was livid when I heard the news that the rich bastards who own the Nationals wanting to put a roof on the ballpark. Not only that, but they wanted to use $300 million in TAXPAYER money. I don't think that's going to happen; the council members who voted to use taxpayer money to fund the building of the ballpark were voted out of office the next election. Approving a $300 million roof would be political suicide, and we're due for a mayoral election next year.

But the roof could happen anyway, if they come up with some alternate source of funding.

What a crime.

Baseball is an outdoor game. It is the essence of summer, invoking memories of carefree days of childhood, when we were free from the confines of school for a few months each year. Mine was the first generation to grow up in the new indoors-focused world. We still played outside. We still went to camp. But we longed to be inside watching television or playing video games until we were forced to go out and let our imaginations keep us occupied. It was the time right before parents became paranoid that a boogeyman lurked in every corner waiting to snatch their precious snowflakes. The internet was not yet public, computers were too expensive for many families, and the cordless telephone was a device to marvel.

The transition to an indoors-only society is nearly complete. The only time many people go outside is to get into their cars. Much has been made about how children spend all their time in front of screens, but it's the same for adults. We as a society have completely lost touch with the natural world, and it's affecting not only our physical health, but our mental health as well. Now we have something called "Nature Deficit Disorder." Medical costs associated with obesity and inactivity are nearly $150 billion a year. Depression and anxiety are common. Mental illness is on the rise.

Americans are terrified of being outside. They demand a controlled environment at all times. It's too hot. It's too cold. I might get wet. I might get sunburnt. I might sweat. Despite our impending energy crisis, people turn on their ACs when the temperature gets above 70 degrees, and their bodies can no longer acclimate to elevated temperatures. Some people want a roof because they don't like being "uncomfortable." Last season, I heard time and time again, "It's too hot to go to the ballgame." Too hot. Why? Because they sit in a refrigerator all day so their bodies can't adjust to the heat. They're afraid of sweat, their body's natural way to cool itself. Natural. Nature. It terrifies them. Bunch of whiners. Superficial bullshit.

Washington, DC does not have an excessively rainy climate. Last season was a bit rainier than usual, and the Nationals had four rainouts and several more rain delays. That hardly justifies spending $300 million to put a roof on a ballpark. But these are wealthy businessmen, so they know that. DC doesn't get excessively hot or cold, either, not like Arizona or Milwaukee. So what is their motive? Some have suggested they want to hold off-season concerts, which would require installing new grass annually. (Have you seen the state of the outfield after the concerts they do have?) Others have said they want to move the team a la the assholes in Barves country. That doesn't seem plausible, either, given that they've invested in developing the area around the ballpark.

Could it be they're just bad at baseball?

Let's examine the evidence.

  • They screwed up the new ballpark. Instead of having iconic views of the Capitol Building in the outfield, they turned the field the wrong way and built ugly parking garages that block what views you could have had. [Check out Deadspin's, "Why Your Stadium Sucks: Nationals Park.]
  • They forced local businesses to pay for that ballpark, not only by taxing them directly but also taxing the utilities they use. With interest, the cost of the ballpark comes close to one BILLION dollars, but the Nationals pay none of that, except for a marginal rent of $5 million. Yeah, million.
  • They shut down their best pitcher instead of figuring out a way to reduce innings during the season, which kept him from pitching in the playoffs, arrogantly assuming they'd be back in the playoffs the next season.
  • They want to spend $300 million on an unnecessary roof but won't pay to keep Metro open past midnight, forcing fans to leave games early or take cabs, of which there are never enough for 15K+ who need transportation. People are sometimes stranded. Again, the rich bastards tried to get the city to pay to keep Metro open for Nats games. It's an ongoing issue that has never been resolved.
  • They cater to fellow rich elites and the Washington powerful. Us peons are merely cash machines. Beers are $9. Try finding a t-shirt for less than $40 in the team shop.

They're not just bad at baseball, they're bad people. It's called corporate welfare. The Lerners take, take, take and what do they provide for the city? A team that breaks your heart more often than not.

People, don't let them put a roof on the ballpark. Get outside. Get some fresh air. Learn that raindrops won't make you melt and sweat won't ruin your life.

I'm tired of writing this, so "The End."

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's All Relativity

It's 35 degrees outside and that's being kind. On days like this you wish your entire city was built underground - I envision everyone having a basement with a door that leads to tunnels to get you where you need to go. Even the weak sunlight is depressing. Artificial lighting seems less oppressive under these conditions. I envy bears who hibernate during these months. This seems impossible:

Swimming youth in Beirut, taken by me April 2010
It's in Beirut, if you're wondering.
One day I found myself on that beach, far away from the United States and the baseball season. I'm not sure that an ocean isn't the same as four months as far as separation goes. Space and time are kind of the same thing, if you know anything about space and time. Physicists have actually combined the terms to form "spacetime" as a singular concept. Well, if not a concept, at least a relationship, sort of like a marriage, as space exists in three dimensions and time is a fourth dimension. In terms of relativity, time can't be separated from the three dimensions of space, because "the observed rate at which time passes for an object depends on the object's velocity relative to the observer and also on the strength of gravitational fields, which can slow the passage of time."

I wonder what a baseball game would be like on the moon. It only has 1/6th of Earth's gravity, so does that mean you can hit it six times further? Maybe if you made the baseball six times heavier you could simulate an Earth game? You probably couldn't throw anything but straight fastballs. The real fun would be trying to field the ball. Ha! And just think, the fastest runner would probably run like Prince Fielder.

And how long would that game take. If gravitational fields slow the passage of time, does that mean you're gonna play a baseball game that is six times as long as an Earth game? Will it take you an average of 18 hours to finish? How long would a game pitched by Clay Buchholz or C.C. Sabathia take? A year?

Baseball on the moon. What a concept.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Time to Fix the Choo Choo

So this is the off-season. Some of you have probably gone into hibernation. It's not a bad decision, really. I envy bears. I mean, think about it, they get to sleep through the entire winter AND wake up skinny? Of all creatures on Earth, bears must be at the very top of the evolutionary chart.

The Reds, on the other hand, feel like amoebas sometimes. They have this awesome ability to develop into a higher life-form, and they just don't. They might evolve into an insect of some sort, but a lowly kind of insect, not bees or butterflies or any kind of useful bug like that. And just when they're about to evolve again, they lose a leg. Sure, they can still walk, but it's an awkward walk, limping along with desperate hopes that spring will regenerate that leg.

The firing of Dusty Baker was a massive step in the right direction. Here you have a guy who couldn't light a fire in the team if he was carrying a blow torch. Turned on. And everyone was doused in lighter fluid. That Wild Card You'd think they didn't even care. They should have been jumping up and down in the dugout. They should have been shouting. But it was like they had given up since they dropped all of those games at the end of the season and didn't win the division.

I hope watching Taint Louis in the World Series hurt them.

In recent years, we've had some decent off seasons. Getting Chapman certainly felt like a coup, and the Latos for Steroid Kids deal with the Padres was a good one. Signing Votto, Bruce, and Phillips for multiple years at hefty price tags was good news, too, and then there was the trade for Choo.


Look, when was the last time you can remember the Reds having a leadoff hitter who, you know, got on base? I don't remember one. Stick him in leftfield and let Hamilton cover center. How could you ask for a better outfield? Ludwick would be a great bat off the bench, albeit one with a bigger price tag than what Walt seems willing to pay to decorate the pine. It hasn't worked, Walt. The Izturuses and um...I can't even think of the others because they're all the same...they don't work. Nothing like rallying only to have the Izturuses come up to bat and kill it all. They're like deer hunters on a deer farm. Easy targets!

I sure hope the Reds can evolve over the winter. Sure, getting to the playoffs is nice, but losing in this manner year after year is beyond disappointing. To quote our eminent Reds fan Charlie Sheen, that Wildcard game was "a shameful train wreck filled with blind cuddly puppies."