A Curmudgeon’s Consideration As the “New” (Lord, Lord, i do hope so) Nears

This part of is spur of the moment, i have retreated to my office as Maureen finishes up on another meal to delight. Healthy too. i love them but confess i miss more meat and bread. She takes care of me. Now, i will never get tired of her salads. Why?

Well, my father was a meat and potatoes guy. For almost ninety-nine years, breakfast was bacon or sausage and eggs with toast including a slathering of butter and a one-third jar of jelly, grits occasionally, a glass of orange juice, and a couple of cups of black coffee. Lunch was  a bologna sandwich with cheese slices and a slathering of mayonnaise with chips and a coke. Supper was something fried or grilled or a special from his wife with beans and a tomato with coffee or iced tea depending on the season. i shall not go into desserts except to say a coconut cream pie from Sunset Restaurant was close to his favorite.

i think you get the picture. Well, one of the greatest things about Mother and Daddy coming out to the Southwest corner for most of January and February is my mother would cook dinner. Maureen loved coming home to my mother’s meals after a long day of work, but they both agreed Maureen would make the salad.

One evening when we sat down the supper table, and began to eat, Daddy said, “Maureen, you know, i think i could be a vegetarian if i could eat your salads every meal.”

Holy moly!

Yeh, her salads are that good. And i don’t think i’ve had a store bought dressing at any meal she has prepared.

So i’m sitting here in my home office bordering the “family room,” which used to be called a den, except you can’t call them that any longer because some yahoo protested that dens were the property of  bears, bobcats, cougars, wolves, tigers, and pregnant lionesses, so we went with “family room” to be politically correct — gotta tell you i sure liked spending time in the den, and i really don’t think it would upset those wild animals, even the pregnant lioness.

But tonight, i’m here in the office and Maureen is in the kitchen listening to the news on that screen that used to be a television while fixin’ (man, i love that verb) supper, which she calls dinner (gotta understand she IS from the Southwest corner) and listening to the news.

i can hear it. Can’t make the words out. Not sure which network it is. So this is not some rabid left or right complaint about news media. It’s not about content. i’m just wondering who the hell picked these people to read the news. They are grating. Their voices hurt, hurt my ears. They talk so fast that even if i could understand the words, it would be pretty damn close to gibberish except for all of the captions on the screen. Which i’m not watching and glad of it. If i were, i would be forced to watch some guy or gal (is this still okay for the politically correct police?) waving their hands to support all  those words i can’t understand like they were being attacked by a swarm of bees.

Where the hell is John Cameron Swayze, Walter Cronkite, et al?

So 2021, i ain’t watching any of the news programs except maybe local weather because they have these weather experts who never get it quite right. Why? i don’t know. He’s on second.

But now that i’ve rankled a bunch of folks, i confess i am in a quandary. i am in danger of being hoisted on my own petard (thank you, Willie, Shakespeare not Mays.

You see, i have been a Padre fan for years. In the beginning, there was no real thought about much of anything except i loved baseball. i played it along with football and basketball from my first recorded memory until…well until, i quit football of any substance in the fraternity league at Vanderbilt my sophomore year (and it remains the roughest sort  of football i ever played). i left basketball games after a pickup game in a Navy gym when i was in my early thirties. But baseball remained a dream i could pursue. And did all the way to 46 (Bill Hammond, i owe you for convincing me to join your ADABA team). And Jim Hileman and i, watching Orel Hershiser set the straight scoreless inning record but losing to Andy Hawkins and the Padres in Jack Murphy Stadium, 1-0 in sixteen innings, discovering we both were near fanatic fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates from the 1950’s on, talked ourselves into becoming Padre season ticket holders for about twenty years. And i went bananas when they won and into the pits when they lost, and i took Maureen and she became a fan, a knowledgeable baseball lady, and we watched them every night during the season, but at home on television now with only rare trips down to the bay.

And being an old sports writer/codger, i have railed about how ridiculous the sport has become beginning with the Yankees of long ago lore and then the Yankees of today, the Red Sox, the Dodgers, the Cubs: owners making an absurd amount of money, paying players insane salaries on stupid deals with long term contracts, driven by agents and the players’ union, and taking away from the season with extending it to 162 games, and a bizarre playoff system extending to November, but mostly i railed against the evil empire dynasties, buying pennants from temp help and trades with poorer market teams giving away star players to dump salary and making it more about money than the sport.

And oops.

Now it may be my turn. The Padres have gone evil empire. They are rated by some as the best team in the MLB for the upcoming season ,and the statistically boring prognosticators may be right.

But i’m a dinosaur. i like a 154 game season, followed by the World Series. Period. Expansion has made it good sense to have a short play off for the league championship, but please, no wild cards (this ain’t canasta), no designated hitter (baseball players should play baseball, and a big reason it’s there is the players want old hitters to make more money by not playing the tough part of the game, aka defense; of course, the fans who wish to be entertained rather than watch a pure SPORTS contest have bought in big time). Nor do i like paying for tickets approaching the worth of the national debt, paying twelve dollars for a beer or five dollars for a hot dog and peanuts, each. And then, the price for a playoff or series game can break a millionaire (where, oh  where do those attendees get that kind of money?). And i don’t like the shift, nor the new hitting approach created by statistics, which i also don’t like because it has changed the game from what i knew.

But i gotta admit, in spite of dislike, i’m getting pretty excited. i love to watch the best baseball. i am a Padre fan. i would like to see them win a World Series even though i argued the Cubs and the Red Sox lost their mojo, their karma, when they won the World Series.

And i remember, as i have noted here before, Bill Veeck, the Barnum and Bailey marketeer of baseball was right when he said, “Show me a team who caters to baseball purists, and i will show you a team that will go bankrupt in May.”

So i am excited and i’m sad together. And it’s a little crazy. Greg Garcia was the last San Diego native on the team. He is off the 40-player roster. i would like at least some small contact with the real world for the Friars.

i won’t draw any lines in the sand and turn them off and not because Maureen would shoot me, but as i said, i love watching baseball, and watching the best baseball possible is a thrill.

As a bona fide curmudgeon, i just wanted to rain on my own parade into what i hope is one hell of a lot better 2021 than this past 366 days of ridiculousness.

i hope you have a good one, the Padres beat the Braves in the National League Championship Series, and then the Friars take the World Series over the Red Sox or the Yankees in a four-game sweep.

But i ain’t betting on it.

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