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This Season’s Baseball Thoughts

Close friends know I’ve only recently become a serious baseball fan. I haven’t said much about the sport this year because I’m an avid Cubs fan and I don’t wanna do anything to upset the karmic applecart. So this is just a few comments about baseball in general.

If you have an interest in baseball at all you know that the last couple of years they’ve instituted the play review. It give a team a chance, up to a point, to question the umpire’s call. With the use of video replay, watched by a group of officials in New York, they can check out a play using frame by frame video to see exactly what happened. Its very cool and as many times as not its proven the umpire’s original call accurate.

One of the type of plays not eligible for review is the balls and strikes call at the plate. Now this to me would be a logical limitation dues to time constraints, etc. if it wasn’t for a little thing usually called Pitchtrax. There’s a few other copyrighted or sponsored names for them but they all come down to the technology that shows the exact position of the ball as it passes over home plate. It can tell to a high degree of accuracy if the pitch was thrown as a ball or a strike.

If you watch baseball for any length of time and keep an eye on the Pitchtrax you will see quite a few missed calls at the plate. I’ve seen missed calls that, at least in the long term, changed the final outcome of the game. Don’t get me wrong, I know umpiring is a tough job right up there with dog catching. I wouldn’t want to make split second decisions like that with literally thousands of opinionated sports fans watching. But thats the point! Let the machine make the call whether the ball passed over the plate, or not. The ump still has to determine if the batter swings at it, or if the ball hits the batter, or if its fair or foul or any number of other possibilities.

And while I’m at it I’d like to place my vote about intentional walks. That’s what its called when the defending team elects to walk a batter on purpose. They do it often when a very good hitter is at the plate. Currently its done by the catcher standing up and setting a target several feet outside so the batter cannot hit the ball.

There is discussion is about changing the rules so that an intentional walk can be done without the obligatory outside pitches and they just give a pass to the runner to first. I don’t like this one bit. The reason for the change is mostly to speed up the game but the game is also about ball handling. Even if this is usually a simple play, something weird could happen like it often does in baseball. As long as the pitcher has to throw the ball to the catcher they are using skill and ball handling. If one of them were to drop or miss the ball the offense could take advantage. With the simple pass to first, opportunities for both teams are lost.

Ok I probably won’t bore you non-sports types with talk about baseball anymore this season. But I have to warn you that football season is coming and am not a fan of that sport so I will be curmudgeony about it.

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A Slight Misunderstanding

Do-it-yourself is getting more popular all the time. The really ambitious DIY people take on huge projects with no thought about what kind of help they might need or find.

My daughter lives in the suburbs north of Dallas and works in the banking industry there. The man she married is a great guy but he’s a bit of a good-ole-boy and what I call a tinkerer. He’s very handy at house maintenance and has no fear of failure in any type of construction project.

Recently, he and my daughter found a piece of land just south of the Oklahoma border outside a small town and decided that’s the place to build their getaway cabin. My son-in-law decided he and my grandson were gonna try to do most the work themselves.

Construction has gone well and the cabin is almost finished. Last week the only thing left was some of the final painting. Things slowed down a bit however when my son-in-law brought up a TV to watch March madness and my grandson was busy with school and his day job. The pressure was still on though because my daughter was threatening to come up for a wifely inspection of the work.

That weekend all of the painting supplies were sitting outside ready to get started on the porch. But the basketball games were about to begin. Luckily about that time one of the young kids from the nearby town came by. She said she was looking for a way to earn some extra cash. She saw the painting equipment and asked my son-in-law if there was any painting she could do.

Well, he jumped at the chance to get the painting done and still watch the game. He tells her he’d give her thirty bucks to paint the porch on the side of the house. She says, “Deal” and takes the paint, rollers and brushes around the side of the house while my son-in-law settles down to watch the game.

Before the game gets to halftime there’s a knock at the door. The girl is standing there. “I’m all finished”, she says. My son-in-law is still reaching for his wallet when she continues, “But it’s not a Porsche, its a Lexus”

Gotcha!! Have a great April Fool’s Day everyone.

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Once They Were Role Models

No one should be surprised that NFL football players have deflated balls. (Sorry, you know I had to go there.) But that is only where it starts. Alleged spouse abuse, alleged murder, deflated ball controversy-it all adds up to a culture of violence and win-at-all-cost.

But this report from ABC News just put me over the edge. Continue reading Once They Were Role Models