Play ball! It’s time for my annual baseball pitching and prediction column.
I’m a bit late this year because I got off to a late start. I’m not quite sure why that happened.
I think it had something to do with the early games being the same old same old as the year before. Newcomers to this annual gripe won’t know that I am an old (very old) reconstructed Dodger fan. I am more than that really because I am a National League fan especially after the American League brought in the ridiculous designated hitter rule.
When the Expos and the Blue Jays came to Canada, it didn’t change my allegiance one whit. It was fun to be able to go to games in Montreal and Toronto added to the Mariners.
It never crossed my mind that there was anything unsociable with my baseball allegiances until 1981 when I sat in a bar near where I broadcast and listen happily as Rick Munday hit a homerun for the Dodgers to beat the Expos for the pennant. I was delighted, naturally, but surprised to hear a couple say that I was somehow a traitor.
But Montreal is kind of laid-back about those sorts of things and it wasn’t until the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and again in 1993 and I cheered against them, that I felt I might be really getting some people angry. And fact I admit I rather enjoyed that since I’ve always detested Toronto teams, especially the
Leafs, and the Jays just gave me an extra opportunity to vent my spleen.
Baseball was out of my life mostly for a considerable period of time as I earned my living and was confined to a couple of times a year when Wendy and I could get to Seattle to see the Mariners.Then, quite involuntarily, I found myself retired and at home meaning that television and the baseball were revived.
But things had changed. Unlike my younger days, I could no longer surf TV on American channels to find a game I want to watch which usually was National League team and if possible including the Dodgers. Now I was stuck with whatever Mr. Rogers wanted me to see which was mostly the Blue Jays. I’m told he owned them.
I’m told there are 18 or 19 major league cities closer to Lions Bay than Toronto yet I was supposed to love the Jays. I didn’t, not at all, but since they were the only game in town, I watched. I didn’t much care who won, since I didn’t like the American League, however I did find myself leaning a bit towards the Orioles going back to the days they owned the Vancouver Mounties and we briefly had the great Brooks Robinson on our team.
What started to get me was listening to three announcers babbling at me. It seemed that whenever there was some decent action we switched to a long and tiresome interview with one of the teams managers thus missing the action. Readers will know I got pretty cross with this but I did make it through the season and the American League winning the World Series. I had survived worse.
But somehow the edge was taken off my interest by all that Captain Canada crap I went through last year when the Blue Jays had a brief flutter before choking. I took in an early game and after listening to the inanities that came out of the broadcast booth. I just couldn’t get started. It took three tries to get in a complete game.
I finally have now but I’m afraid to say it’s not the same.
Maybe i could get some variety on satellite. I don’t know. All I know is I hear the same crap coming out of the broadcast both and see the Blue Jays more often than any other team. All this at the time I’m mourning Vin Scully’s final, final, retirement it’s not as much fun.
The ball is excellent, the players in better shape than ever, pitching is unbelievably good – but I just don’t care to watch as much as I once did because that magic formula that makes me occasionally read “Casey at the Bat” or order baseball books online, just doesn’t seem to be there.
It won’t happen of course, but if a game came on, even the Blue Jays, and I could shut off the goddam announcers, the sap would rise again.
Oh yes, the Dodgers over the Red Sox in 6. Bet the ranch.