A Day Late But Not Musings Short

Aug 14, 2020   //   by bwilber   //   Bob's Blog  //  Add a Comment

Yesterday was supposed to be my duly appointed Thursday Blog Day, but the whole thing just got away from me. Too much to do, too many errands, too many phone calls, and too much other writing. Finally, late in the afternoon, I just cried “Uncle” and gave up any hope. Plus, and this is the case with a vast majority of my blogs, I “had nuthin” in terms of subject matter. That last part is common and it is exactly the situation I’m in today, but here we go. I’ve rarely let it stop me before.

I have had some random general thoughts spinning around in my hollow head as of late, so I’m just “plowing forward” (all of you readers of “Bats, Balls, & Burnouts” will get that reference) and I’m relying on my fingers to create some magic on the laptop like they often do if I just set them free and let them go. But seriously, this is likely to be one of the all-time greatest “I have no idea” blogs I’ve ever written. That was your warning to escape now, but if you decide to stay and tough it out, it is required that you click on the “Like” button at the bottom.

So what do I think about the current state of sports in our country?

I actually get asked this a lot via social media or text messages, and my feelings fluctuate on a near daily basis. Basically, I’m thankful for sports being around in any shape or form. We spent a lot of time without them, and a lot of time without a lot of the things we’ve complacently loved, during the quarantine. The trouble is, I wish I could believe we won’t go through that again in the near future but the mindset of too many belligerent people is so self-destructive I don’t have much confidence.

I applaud the NBA and NHL for figuring out the “bubble” theory of completing their seasons in one or two secure places. They are well set-up to do that, and have found “safe havens” for their teams to stay secure and healthy. Yes, it’s odd to watch on TV, at least at first, but it’s kind of amazing how quickly your mind can adapt to it and forget that there are no fans. Other sports are not so fortunate. You can’t put the entire NFL in one city and have five or six secure stadiums to play in. Major League Baseball considered it as an option, but the only places that offer so many multiple playing facilities in a tight geographic area just happen to be Florida and Arizona. Neither of those two options are good, considering the Covid-19 spikes in each place, and the fact that both places are basically ovens this time of year.

I think MLB has a done about as good a job as could be accomplished playing with no fans. I have zero problem with the piped in crowd noises in the ballparks, and actually think many of the cardboard cutouts in the background are quite ingenious and funny. We need funny. Funny is good. I watched a video yesterday of what the ballpark in Buffalo now looks like with the Toronto Blue Jays calling it home from this point forward in 2020. It’s amazing what was done to the place. And frankly, the fact there are no fans contributes greatly to the team’s ability to make a Triple-A ballpark work. They can use the entire stadium to provide the facilities and the safety the players and staffs need. Concourses, service levels (a place fans never see in normal times that are the actual heartbeat of a stadium) and every other square foot of the place. The touches they’ve added to actually make it look like the true home of the Blue Jays are just fantastic. Here’s that great video of the transformation of Sahlen Field.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLggU15vqvM

Geddy, right where he is supposed to be. Keeping score behind home plate. (Click on any image to enlarge)

And sure, I worked for the Blue Jays for four years and still have a very fond attraction to the team and the logo. I love what they’ve done in Buffalo. Plus, and this is a big one, they’ve placed a cardboard cutout of Geddy Lee right behind home plate, where he belongs as a season ticket holder. I wonder if Geddy is keeping a meticulous scorecard at home, like he does at every game he attends.

The NFL really has its hands full, but I’ve addressed that before. Will I be thrilled if we have NFL football this year? Yes. Will I be confident they’ll be able to keep everyone healthy? No. I hope they can figure it out.

As for college sports, it’s an ongoing problem that extends well beyond sports on college campuses. Can college, as we know it, even go on right now? If it’s not safe for the general student population, why should we think it’s anything close to safe for athletes who are not just in close contact but who are also sweating, breathing, and pounding on each other? These questions highlight the convenient truths we all took for granted for all the years pre-Covid. As major college football conferences announce their decisions to play or not to play I applaud those who put the safety of their people before the allure of money. That’s how I feel.

And here’s how I feel about a bunch of other nonsense, because nonsense is funny and as stated above funny is good. We need nonsensical funny stuff.

Favorite burger?

This one seems to elicit enormous amounts of contentious debate all over the interwebs. I mean, we’re not talking about anything serious here, and it’s all just opinions. For cryin’ out loud, some people consider a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder the best burger there is, and more power to them if they do. It’s just a matter of taste and opinion.

For me, and I bet most of you know this in advance, it’s In-N-Out with a Double-Double. Period. I’m not saying it’s the best, I’m just saying it’s my favorite and the rarity of my chances to have access to In-N-Out and thereby enjoy a Double-Double makes it even more special. That’s my opinion and personal preference. Five Guys, Whataburger, Steak ‘n Shake, Culver’s? All great. But In-N-Out is my fave and the thought of a Double-Double makes me salivate all the way up here in Minnesota.

The rock band I originally thought was going to be an elite superstar group but it never happened?

Collective Soul. When I first heard their work, I was completely intrigued and amazed. I figured they’d be playing huge arenas and stadiums in no time. Their music never really faltered, and I still crank it up anytime their stuff comes on SiriusXM, but the gigantic fame never happened. I still don’t know why.

Pizza or Calzone?

Pizza, but with that being stated there are such a wide variety of specialties. I’m thin-crust. I have to be. I was born and raised in St. Louis. Yeah, I know Chicagoans can’t understand that, just like I can’t understand why I would want a pizza that is at least 50% dough. It’s personal preference. Like I said, I’m from St. Louis. You be you, and I’ll be me.

Favorite car I’ve ever owned?

Not my actual 900 Turbo, but just like it. What a dream car.

I gotta go with the Saab 900 Turbo I bought just after taking my original job with Converse. It was probably a 1984 model and I bought it new and then took delivery of it in London. As in England. It was my dream car. I thought a Saab 900 Turbo would never be possible, but the Converse job came with a company car (a wonderfully useful Plymouth Voyager minivan that allowed me to haul cases of basketball shoes around) so I was able to sell two personal cars and use that money to buy the Saab. I loved that car. It was as quirky as quirky can be, with the ignition on the center console, the crazy “wrap around” windshield, and the fact you had to put it in reverse in order to turn it off and remove the key. Man, I loved it. Why I impulsively traded it in, just a few years later, on a Volvo 750 is a mystery. I wish I still had it, but it would be 35 years old now and the maroon velour bucket seats probably wouldn’t look so good.

I ended up owning three different Saabs through the years, and loved them all. But that black 900 Turbo still holds a very special place in my car-loving heart. And the demise of the Saab brand is one of the saddest things to have ever happened in the auto industry, to me.

To binge watch or not to binge watch?

Maybe I still have A.D.D. like I did as a kid, but the binge watching thing is something I’m rarely capable of. You just have to “invest” so much time and interest, so much focus and attention, and I just can’t seem to do it. Don’t judge.

Most innovative sports logo ever?

Pure genius. Long live the memory of the Hartford Whalers and their perfect logo.

To me, it’s nearly a three-way tie, and two of the teams no longer exist. The Milwaukee Brewers logo is epic. It’s a baseball glove with a ball in the pocket of the glove, but it’s also an M and a B. It’s ingenious and fun. The Montreal Expos logo was one step better. It’s an E and a B, for Expos Baseball, but it’s all in the form of a big M for Montreal. This is another reason why Montreal needs a new team. And they have to be the Expos. The logo and the uniforms were perfect. Finally, the Hartford Whalers. This is my winner by a narrow margin. It’s a stylized whale tail, and a big W, but the white space between the whale tail and the W forms an H you might not even notice. Once you see it, you’ll always see it first. It’s brilliance on display.

Why do I continue to write this blog?

That’s what we call an existential question, and I’m not sure of a definitive answer. At first, way back 15 years ago on NHRA.com, it was just a challenge. I like challenges that require a need to get outside the comfort zone and take chances. I felt the odds were about 100 to 1 that I would fail to connect with anyone because I was just a worker bee, not a star driver, but it worked. And I loved it. I still love it, but the reason for most of that is because I love the interaction and the appreciation. It’s good to be appreciated. Writers need that. By nature, most of us are disbelievers in the concept that what we do is worthwhile. So I thank every single one of you for sticking with me on this long crazy ride.

What’s for dinner tonight?

Salmon! Our local grocery store just got in some wild-caught Alaskan Coho and tonight Chef Robert will be baking and broiling citrus salmon filets, on a bed of sliced lemons and topped with a honey and brown sugar glaze. Oh yeah. Last night was tacos. They rocked, too.

Favorite TV series ever?

It’s a tie. Seinfeld and The Simpsons. World Class stuff.

How’s the weather?

Right now, it’s getting overcast and a little dark. Rain must be coming.

So that’s it. Wasn’t this fun? That’s a rhetorical question that does not need an answer.

Don’t forget to click on the “Like” button. If you don’t, I may be flogged.

See you next week. I’ll have tales of a road trip we’re planning on taking. By this time next week I should have a better idea if we’re actually going to do it or just stay home.

Bob Wilber, at your service and still admiring that Hartford Whalers logo.

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