Two fun things to come from baseball’s owners meetings in Presque Isle, Maine (no, we’re lying; it was held at a warm-weather resort like they always are). One was expanded replay plans with a three-challenge system for managers, pushed sufficiently by other owners to convince commissioner Bud Selig to follow the crowd of the people who pay his salary.
[RELATED: MLB to expand instant replay in 2014]
The other is Selig’s plan for baseball to get personally involved in the impasse over stalled stadium plans in . . . wait for it . . . Tampa St. Petersburg. He didn’t say anything about loaning out his floating blue ribbon panel to study the problem, as it is still diligently working in the 53rd month of the conundrum that is Oakland/San Francisco/San Jose. Blue ribbon chair Hello Kitty said progress is being made toward picking the right font and stationery for the report, which is still scheduled for OH SHUT UP THERE IS NO BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE DOING ANY WORK ON THIS.
But Tampa will be fine. A little public official bribery, a little arm-twisting, and before you know it, a new hideous stadium that will be obsolete in 10 years will be built at taxpayer expense. You see, some blue ribbons are built better than others.
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But back to replay. Unlike most people, I want the same number of calls missed because I embrace chaos. But what I don’t want is umpires with quick trigger fingers. I want Earl Weaver with his hat backwards conjugating the F-bomb in the face of Ken Kaiser, with his own hat backwards and conjugating the F-bomb right back. I want good old-fashioned screaming matches that reduce the dignity of both managers and umpires. I want dirt kicked on legs, and I want fans to tell their children, “This is why I am ashamed for our species.”
And I’m not a worshiper of old-time baseball verities either. I just hate both sides of the replay argument, and most of the people who incessantly shout about it, because:
(A) They never stop arguing about it, or for that matter about the Hall of Fame, or performance enhancing drugs, or postseason awards, or statistical analysis, or even stirrups vs. socks, and (B) because they argue the way managers and umpires used to, loudly, profanely and without any desire to reach a sensible accommodation. They not only want to be right, they want their enemies to be wrong, and they want them to feel lousy about it along the way.
And damn it, if it’s good enough for people we don’t care about arguing about numbers and trophies and plaques and footwear, it surely must be good enough for the ones we do on a play at the games you pay to see. And you know what we like to say – what’s good for the cop is good for the informant.
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I think the phrase here is, “It’s on now.”
The World Track and Field Championships in Moscow have become the training site for the gay rights debate at next year’s Sochi Olympics, with a few athletes delicately making their feelings clear on gay rights, and at least one, Russian pole vault champion Yelena Isinbaeva, making hers known out loud after winning the event for the third time.
“If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people," she said in English (so no mocking her syntax, as it is not her native language). “We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys. Everything must be fine. It comes from history. We never had any problems, these problems in Russia, and we don't want to have any in the future.”
She was unhappy that Swedes Emma Green Tregaro and Moa Hjelmer had pained their fingernails in rainbow colors to show their solidarity for gay rights and to quietly oppose Russia’s anti-gay laws.
“It's unrespectful to our country. It's unrespectful to our citizens, because we are Russians. Maybe we are different from European people and other people from different lands. We have our home and everyone has to respect (it). When we arrive to different countries, we try to follow their rules.”
Oh yeah. This is definitely on.
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And finally, the Arena League just took some of Gene Simmons’ and Paul Stanley’s money and created the newest franchise, the L.A. Kiss. Honest. The Kiss.
Makes me wish the Wu-Tang Clan had bought a team while Ol' Dirty Bastard was still alive.