Opening Day – FINALLY – is upon us. The MLB and MLBPA did their darndest over the winter to dangle us like stale cotton candy stuck on a wad of freshly chawed chew to delay Opening Day via what seemed to be endless negotiations, but they merely delayed it by a week. Spring training was shortened so we may see some crazy-ass baseball for a few weeks, but it ought to be fun.
I took a swing at the teams and thought about writing a prediction – who will suck, who won’t, who will make the playoffs despite their roster or manager or owner – but said to myself, “no, let’s not do that. Let’s talk about the MLB farm system. – the other 98%,” Personnel volume-wise, it is not 98%, but by player salaries it has to be close. The baseball farm system, in case you do not know, is a place where you get what you want to make everything better for yourself on the cheap. This is also known as MLB owners collectively stating, “we’re going to drag your sorry asses all over the place via bus just for you to get a chance to get to The Show.”
The MLB, Major League Baseball for those who do not know, has consolidated their minor league ranks into the MiLB, or “Minor League Baseball.” The reason why they consolidated is the reason why owners of teams do everything, to save some money. Yeah, you’ll still see minor leagues unaffiliated with MLB, but those players are seriously toast. They are done, have been done for a few seasons, and are just there to tip their hat, strike out or throw a hammy, then limp back to the dugout. That’s more of a sideshow circus than baseball IMO, but people still go to see it. The Schaumburg Boomers, part of the Frontier League which I believe is an MLB “Partner” league (AKA you don’t really exist in their eyes, but it is baseball so whatever now pay us), would be one of those teams.
What you say, there are about 20 games still to play in the regular season and you’re talking playoffs and making a Stanley Cup Final prediction? And? Does it matter? Not really. Get your toe into the ice, push off and glide a bit as we look at the playoff picture by starting with the Eastern Conference.
The NHL in the first ‘half’ (we are beyond the halfway point but the All-Star Break is a reasonable spot to be considered halfway), we saw the league do some good things. One, they pulled their players from participating in the Olympics. Frankly, just preventing the players from being exhausted for the stretch run it would have made sense. Protecting them from possibly being more exposed than they already are to COVID is another. Two, COVID protocols have seemed to work. There have been times when teams have had to take time off because their ranks have been decimated by the virus, but that lay-off doesn’t really seem to affect good teams. And bad teams are, by definition, bad so who fucking cares.
Regarding good teams, let’s slip on some skates and glide around with my favorite team, the Colorado Avalanche. They played Trashville on December 16th and got their ass handed to them, losing 5-2. Due to COVID, they didn’t play again until January 2nd. Basically, they got a public-school Christmas Break. A long layoff ought to make a team pretty rusty, right? Umm, large no on that one. They won their return game, roasting the Ducks 4-2, then proceeded to go 14-1 for January, vaulting themselves into first place in the Western Conference. They’re 8 points above the Trashville Sabre Cats (Yes I know they are the Nashville Predators, but look at their dumb-ass logo) with two games in hand.
What does two games in hand mean? I’ll get to that. Tighten the laces on your skates and let’s continue.
I had a solid 15-hour workday today – minus a half hour taken for lunch, half hour for dinner and the 90-minute break I took to go to the gym. But Bob Saget? He’s got more than a solid 7. A solid 7 minutes of fame? You could look at it that way. He did a lot. But that’s not it. Now kick back your feet and relax a bit as I wind my way to his ‘more than a solid 7.”
So today as I kept working I felt like I was being someone I really am not – someone who keeps working. I like my job, but criminy that’s a lot of time you know? But it got me to thinking. Generally, when someone starts any sentence off with “it got me to thinking” right after that something will spill out of their mouths possibly a tad daft. Strap it down people and slam open your thought cavity because here it comes.
What does one do when they are acting like someone they clearly are not?
BOOM! With crazy-ass Al Davis, getting a great coach and keeping them is pure luck. He rolled 7’s to get John Madden. Madden was first hired as the Raiders Linebacker Coach then two years later moved up to the head coaching position to become – at the time – the youngest head coach ever at 32. He lasted 9 seasons with Al Davis, and took the Raiders to a Super Bowl, winning Super Bowl XI against the hapless Vikings 32-14 (yes the Vikings are hapless. They are the Bills of the NFC: 4 trips and 0 trophies).
Generally during this time of year Major League Baseball fans such as I mull over their favorite team’s impending moves for the upcoming season. We’ll sit around the metaphorical stove and keep ourselves warm with loads of firewood, black coffee and baseball chatter. But right now, it’s quiet… too quiet.
What Alaska lacks is certainly not scenery. You can’t swing an Ulu knife around your head without seeing some sort of spectacular scenery. What it needs is direction, as in signage.
Sign Issue #1 – Directional Signage
Anchorage AK (pronounced by locals as “InkRidge”) is effectively Rockford IL (pronounced by locals as “Rockford”). Rockford has its special places, but so does Anchorage. However, Rockford has highways that actually connect to one another without the ‘aid’ of stoplights and has signage announcing said departure from one highway to another. Anchorage? A single highway rolls into another single highway, both running north-south. Does it make sense? Well, no. AK 1 aka “The Seward Highway” runs from Seward north to Anchorage. It goes from a two-lane 55 MPH road (it’s a coastal highway in an area where earthquakes are a given so this makes sense) to a 6-lane 65 MPH highway to a 4-lane “highway” with stoplights. The “C-word” (they do pronounce it Sue-word but I was calling it C-word because I’m a self-entertaining idiot) then runs its course by veering west to the Glenn Highway. There’s a sign indicating the Glenn Highway is coming up but it’s just labeled as “Glenn Highway” not “Glenn Highway next right” – which it wouldn’t be the next one – or “Glenn Highway exit 6th Avenue” – which in Anchorage it is 6th Avenue, then turns into the Glenn Highway once north of Anchorage. Does this make any sense? No.
A while back, toward the beginning of the baseball season when every team except the Pirates, Rockies, and Orioles thought they might have a chance to make it to the playoffs, I wrote two articles.
Article Uno was the before the season really got underway and I explained how this year might – note the word might – be one of the easiest on record to predict regarding who will make it to the World Series. I said the Yankees and the Dodgers. The Dodgers, were 5 games back as of last week and are now one-and-a-half games back, and are still the NL favorite as well as the only team sitting at a whopping 23% chance to win the whole she-bang. Oh, gross.
Let’s take a long look at that – in spite of the surprising Giants, the Dodgers are catching up quickly. Mostly it’s a strength-of-schedule issue. The Giants simply have a harder schedule down the stretch. The Giants have the desperate Padres 7x in the next month. The Padres have completely drained their ‘sure bet’ playoff appearance by completely sucking in July and August. July they went 11-14 and for August they are sitting at 8-10 with three games against the Dodgers coming up this week. I hope they pound the Dodgers but odds aren’t good. Plus, they have 3 more versus the Dodgers in September and a whopping 7 against the Giants.
They are so bad they picked up Jake Arrieta. That’s a sign things won’t be going well for them for the next 5 weeks. Naturally, Arrieta’s first game may be his only one. We all knew he’d suck, he did, and suddenly got a hamstring issue. I fixed the headline for MLB.
In Loveland, Colorado on July 7, 2021, it ranged from the mid 60’s to the high 80’s with a blue sky sporadically dotted with white clouds. It was a perfectly beautiful day, but not an ordinary one.
Honey my Foxfire Red Lab and I walked that day – a lot. She didn’t want to go back inside. 5AM-5:30AM we saw more than I’d expect from the wild and domesticated kingdom. Baby bunnies played in the grass in front of us. A large raccoon came out of the bushes, sat down and watch us walk. Her current best buddy, Jaxson the cinnamon lab, came strolling by with his human pal Bridgette and did a quick nuzzle. The birds, most of them, came out in force. A great horned owl swooped down right in front of her followed by a white pelican. Mallards swam toward her. Swallows dove in and out, and a lone cardinal played its song.
No geese though. Very unusual for a typical morning, but not so unusual for they knew – she hated geese. What else did she hate? Fireworks but only if she saw them as she seemed to think we were under attack. Cats, but cats hate pretty much everything. People moving without moving their feet – like kids on scooters or skateboards and people coasting on their bikes. She once took a kid right off his scooter. Didn’t hurt him, just knocked him off like a safety taking a wide receiver out from under his feet.