Monday, September 1, 2008

CC Sabathia: Laboring Under False Hope

Earlier today, I was waiting in line at a buffet breakfast when I happened to overhear an unfortunate conversation. In my experience, whenever you overhear a conversation, particularly at a breakfast buffet, it is usually unfortunate. The exchange took place between two women who were clearly strangers. One was shamelessly eyeing the pregnant belly of the other. When the first woman eventually got caught, she said, “I’m so sorry to stare. I was just wondering when you were due.” With the weariness and wariness of someone who was due in two weeks, the second woman responded, “Two weeks.” The other woman just about came unhinged, responding with complete and unbridled enthusiasm, “What fun! Oh my GOSH. WHAT FUN!” (Have I mentioned I am currently in Texas?) OK. First of all, there is the fact that, from what I understand, all a baby does for the first few months of his or her infancy is renteria, keep you up all night, and make you feel incompetent. This is not to say we do not love our children; it’s just that that they are not all that much fun right off the bat. However, that is beside the point because I am pretty sure that every expecting mother is a little too focused on another more imminent, more painful event to be thinking much about that. I know I would be.

I have no personal experience with labor, but I have seen enough movies and listened to enough stories to have a pretty good sense that the miracle of childbirth can be described using just about any word but fun. As I mentioned yesterday, I also don’t think it’s fun to deal with the court system. Yet, according to Ocho Cinco, it apparently is. So maybe I am just really out of touch. Maybe I don’t get what fun really is. Or maybe people just throw the word fun around a little too willy nilly.

It isn’t that I don’t think anything is fun. I spend so much time talking about things that I don’t think are fun—court, labor, mascots, Halloween—I fear you may all begin to think I am something of a curmudgeon. So just to prove that isn’t true, I am going to give you an example of something that I think is really fun. Parachuting into the wrong football field before a game. That, in my humble opinion, is the absolute pinnacle of fun. And that is exactly what happened yesterday when the two jumpers scheduled to land in Chapel Hill before the North Carolina game landed eight miles down the road in Duke’s Wallace Wade’s Stadium about an hour before the Blue Devils were scheduled to kickoff. Leslie Nielsen style. So much fun. For the record, if the parachutists had landed where they were supposed to, that wouldn’t have been particularly fun. UNC associate athletics director Rick Steinbacher was deeply embarrassed and apologetic about the gaff. He commented, in response, “In about five years, maybe this will be funny. Right now, I'm just glad no one was hurt.” And, you see, that is just incorrect. We don’t have to wait five years for it to be funny because it’s funny now. Having said that, these parachutists are probably not the guys to hire for a landing at Yankee Stadium. It’s just a little too close to the Bronx Zoo for comfort. And the result of an error like that would probably have ended up being not so fun.

In other news, as reported by the AP, “To the Milwaukee Brewers, CC Sabathia pitched the no-hitter that wasn't.” I bet I can guess what you’re thinking: Why is Melanie writing a blog no one reads when people who can’t write sentences that make sense are writing for the AP? The point, however, was that Sabathia all but made it through yesterday’s outing with a no-hitter but for a controversial call that has everyone on the Brewers all up in arms. Sabathia bobbled a soft grounder hit by Andy LaRoche in the fifth, and the official scorer called it a hit. The Brewers felt it was an error, and are enraged that Sabathia should be robbed of a no-hitter on account of a botched call. Sabathia, on the other hand, seems to be taking it in stride. Shrugging his shoulders and saying, “What are you going to do?” I guess the nice thing about having a team that has your back is that you can do that because you know that there is someone out there who is willing to fight your battles for you. It’s a hell of a lot better than raising a stink yourself. When you do, you just sort of look like a jerk. Like James Blake in the Olympics. (Not to say that Fernando Gonzalez didn’t also come out of that one looking like a jerk.) In any event, the Brewers plan to take their grievance all the way to the MLB top brass. They have compiled a DVD of replays. You have to watch it while listening to Dan Hill’s “Sometimes When We Touch” if you really want to capture the mood. We continue down the slippery slope. Today, the replay is only used to dispute REALLY important calls, the instant replay specifically home runs. But I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Where do we draw the line?

To return to the original topic of this post, today is Labor Day. Not that kind of labor. It is rather a tribute to the labor movement. A tribute in which we gladly partake, despite the fact that most of us don’t know or care what it’s about. We know enough, which is that we get a three-day weekend out of it. However, the real purpose of this holiday is to celebrate the contribution that workers and the labor movement have made to our great nation. A nation in which ANYONE—a woman, a black man, even just a simple, down home, gun-slinging, oil-rigging, hockey mom—can rise to the top. It is to the labor movement that we owe the two-day weekend, the eight-hour workday, the fair wage. So, let us take a moment to contemplate the real reason we get to stay home from work today. And, in doing so, you need not feel sorry for the players on your favorite teams because they, unlike you, did not get the day off. Despite the fact that they are part of a union, they are not entitled the same privileges as the rest of us. You see, they, unlike you, are earning a really, really unfair wage. So, they are obligated to work today in order to even begin to earn it. The only reason I sort of wish that the Yankees had a day off was that, when they don’t play, they can’t ruin my day by losing.

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