Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's a glorious late summer day here.

It's a glorious late summer day here. I was crosstown at shrink's clinic & so much wanted to walk home, through downtown Elizabeth, stopping off for library & Radio Shack browses, & up Morris Ave. past the Colombian cafes, but I knew I'd pay for it later in  catheter irritation, so regrettably took a taxi, the driver already annoyed by all the local detours for street work. He did have an amusing story about delivering a bummed out Jets player this morning from a hotel by the airport to his apt in Union, & trying not to talk about the game, which the "Superbowl-bound" team lost 10-9. Me, I don't care if they go 0-16. & if forced to choose sides yesterday of course I'd have to root for a Baltimore team named for an Edgar Allen Poe poem, it would be my literary duty. But I do not  try to understand the game of football,   which is marketed to make stupid fans feel smart (though I think most pro players are pretty darned intelligent), & watch some college games only because the insane enthusiasm & sloppy play results nearly every week in some David taking down a Goliath.

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"...marketed to make stupid fans feel smart..." you say? I beg your pardon sir, but as a fan, I can guarantee you I am not stupid about the game of football.
The smart fans are still smart. But the game seems awfully dumbed down by all those TV analysts who sit at desks on ridiculously over-designed sets. I think the average pro football player is smarter than the average pro baseball player.
Yeah, the color commentator of most sports bothers me. Enough with the trivial talk, really. As for the assertion that pro football players are probably smarter than pro baseball players, I would surmise that might be attributed to the fact that regardless of what they take out of it, most pro football players go to college for four years, while they try to pluck baseball players at the age of 16 (same with hockey - with a lot of hockey players being really, really stupid!).
Because there are no organized high school sports in the Dominican Republic, those guys have to drop out of school & attend "baseball academies" run by MLB. Since few of them make to the USA, those who aren't signed by scouts are left with no education. The college draftees cut during NFL camp are generally really talented athletes who were bigshots all through high school & college, but many of them simply have poor study habits, can't learn & execute the massive play books. They don't have the "professional IQ." Baseball players, on the other hand, pick up the many situational subtleties of the game over the course of several years in the minor leagues. A smart player like 35 year R.A. Dickey was a mediocre pitcher who mastered a knuckleball & now, at his advanced baseball age, will at last get to sign a multi million dollar contract & with his vaste experience (great defensive position player & fearless - he's seen it all), can move on to coaching or the broadcast booth if he wants. Ron Darling, one of the hellraisers on the arrogant '86 Mets, was one semester short of a dual major in French & Asian History at Yale when he was drafted, & can speak Chinese. He is a terrific analyst for Mets games. As is Keith Hernandez, who used to prepare himself for games by doing New York Times crosswords with a ballpoint pen. Yogi Berra is of course famous for his "Yogi-isms," but when the man talks pure baseball, he's a genius.
At one of my jobs, we all did the NYT crossword puzzle every day. It was like a contest to see who could finish it at all, and who could finish it first. I never did mine in pen, but I could finish it. One of the lawyers I worked for after I left that place was completely obsessed by the fact that I could not only do my work but have time to do the NYT crossword puzzle! It's not that hard once you do them enough to understand the "how" process of those puzzles. It's like thinking really outside the box.
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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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