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Soup of This Day #212: When I Wonder What Could Make The Needle Jump The Groove

July 12, 2012

Metlife Snoopy II blimp
The Metlife Snoopy II blimp, soon to be renamed to The Robinson Canó Made My Milk Go Bad blimp. It will be taking flights over Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium. That’s a large obstacle but the blimp is filled with lighter-than-air gases and so should have no trouble getting over it – Photo: Matthew Field, 2008. Neither Matthew Field or Metlife are affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

This post was written in a doctor’s waiting room.

I write a lot of stuff while waiting for medical professionals, in part because I spend a fair bit of time waiting for them but also because the reading material they provide is almost always not stuff that interests me. Lately, some medical rooms have taken to adding in a TV, sort of a natural progression from the magazines but without the having to turn pages or wait for that old guy over there to give up the gift of the 1 National Geographic that there is.

That old guy bugs me. He could have taken the New Idea from 2006. Here’s a heads-up for you all – New Idea does not actually contain new ideas in the sense that they’ve solved riddles that have puzzled scientists down the ages. They are more of the encouraging you to try macramé kind of idea people. In essence they are looking to you to derive new ideas via their frankly ancient suggestions. That level of irony is debilitating.

In spite of my dislike of New Idea the TV solution though is not for me – It kind of dulls my thoughts, which I’d be more comfortable just sitting alone with.

In relative silence.

Possibly though the intention is to dull my thoughts – A sort of visual anaesthesia – That would explain why I’ve seen a TV in a bank – Tuned to a cooking channel. Because nothing softens being rejected for a loan like some winter recipes from Martha Stewart (More irony). I’ve also seen it in a social security office – Rows of bolted down chairs facing a TV, mounted high up on a wall and surrounded by a cage. Placate them, occasionally draw them into a queue and ask them to take a number for another queue, and dull their thoughts.

If dulling Longworth72’s thoughts is the intention then showing me the MLB’s All-Star stuff is probably a better fit for purpose.

I don’t like the All-Star break concept.

The break bit I’m ok with – There’s 162 games and everyone gets a little wearied. It’s a good thing to pause, let everyone go to the bathroom and maybe refill that bowl of chips that has become suspiciously low in the contents department. Then, everyone comes back to the couch recharged and ready to see out the home stretch and if nothing else you’ve had time to mellow and to start to think that maybe Dice-K really isn’t throwing that bad right now.

He is. He really is.

It’s the All-Star bit that doesn’t flow with me. For starters the balloting and selection systems strike me as a little complicated and biased. I watch the Red Sox a lot. I hardly ever get to watch Kansas City, even if they are in the American League (AL). How the hell do I know if Billy Butler is worth a slugging shot for the Home Run Derby?

Apparently he is and Robinson Canó isn’t – Astonishingly I got all of this from a banner being towed behind a plane that overflew Kauffmann Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals and the 2012 All-Star circus.

Ahhhhhh, the Home Run Derby. Which reads like a lot of fun on paper and actually is – For maybe 5 outs. Then it becomes monotonous and you find yourself wishing that everyone would just whiff every ball so that we could get to a real contest that much sooner.

As fun as that tepid slugathon isn’t, the most jarring thing of all about the All-Star week is that home field advantage for the World Series is worked out based on a 1-off exhibition match. There’s a plethora of alternatives which are less random than that – You could: a. Take a head-to-head count from interleague play; Or play rock-paper-scissors – Best of 7.

The former option works best – Even if the potential for Vicente Padilla being called for a hit batter in rock-paper-scissors against Mark Teixeira amuses me – Vicente would be rock, always – And unlike a lot of fans I don’t have a problem with the whole interleague thing. I’d go so far as to say that I kind of enjoy it because it gives me a chance to see National League (NL) teams in the context of my team, the AL’s Red Sox.

Yep, there’s the Designated Hitter (DH) divide and the complicated ballet that is NL pinch-hitting but a little variety is cool. Plus, the interleague games are serious baseball games played for keeps – A true indicator of where strengths and weaknesses lie ahead of the World Series. You just do not get that kind of feedback off of 9 innings of hit and giggle in the All-Star game.

This is meant to be a shortish post – I aimed to get it written down in less than 1 hour and I’m cutting that fine now so I’ll make it fast with 1 last thing…

That social security office example I mentioned above was 1 I got stuck in on a cold and wet day last century. I’d been there for close to an hour, shuffled between queues and finally parked in the 2nd row of the ‘TV lounge’ while I waited for some faceless functionary to stamp a form acknowledging that I was unemployed.

That day, waiting on an uncomfortable plastic chair, a happy future seemed a long way off. I wasn’t alone in that bleak frame of mind either – I shared those rows with around 20 other despondent customers of the State. Some had colds and maybe other ailments too – There was a fair bit of coughing, snuffling and wiping of sleeves. Some were having a whine, listing their grievances to friends, family or just random strangers. 1 young girl had a baby and even the baby had caught the prevailing mood – Grizzling and wailing by turns at everyone and anything.

And as a backdrop, there was some standard daytime TV program, which for the life of me I can’t recall much about. About the only thing I can remember is that it finished just shy of noon. This I know because right after it was the midday movie, pre-empted by a generic intro and then a fade to a plain black screen.

At that moment the watching group fell into silence, each of us waiting to see what the movie would be. Even the baby hushed up, perhaps hopeful of Look Who’s Talking.

Into that suspenseful void intruded 4 neatly lettered words, in white and smack bang in the middle of that black screen…

A Woody Allen film.

From behind me, breaking the silence, came the best line I’ve ever heard in a social security office:

‘A Woody Allen film? Oh great! Now we’re all @#$%ed!’

It could have been worse. Might have been a Home Run Derby.

It’s a day off for me tomorrow, from both work and blogging. Have a great weekend and thanks to everyone who dropped by this week – You’re all lovely people with fantastic sex appeal.

When I Wonder What Could Make The Needle Jump The Groove

  1. Over the years I have drifted away from the All-Star events, mostly because I can’t stand the Home Run Derby and it in some ways appears to be “even” with the game itself. As well, there really doesn’t seem to be much of a break at all…everyone plays on Sunday…the Derby is Monday…the Game is Tuesday. Perhaps if they actually took a day or two off at both ends of the “week” and allowed players to more easily get to the destination, more likely to be able to contribute (that whole when did they pitch last might disappear…)…just have the players be better rested. If the Derby still needs to happen, let it be on a Tuesday…have the game on Wednesday…maybe the Futures game on Thursday…start baseball back up on a Friday. That way, all non-participants would get a real break…and it would cut a break for those who are involved in the Derby and the Game. As for waiting rooms, thank God for the iPhone.

    • Yeah, I think 1 thing the whole concept needs is a re-think. Film franchises are constantly getting ‘rebooted’ these days – Spiderman is currently going through what seems like it’s 2nd reboot in the last few years – Why not reboot the All-Star concept? Get it back to being a celebration of actual baseball – Not some manufactured version.

      And yep, the iPhone is a wonderful tool – That rare piece of technology that actually changes the way we operate in a positive way. Not an Apple fan in general but they surely nailed that 1.

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