I’d like to voice a few opinions about sports, but in no way should that Brett Favre-looking sports reporter, Dan Hoehne, feel threatened. Dan obviously knows his stuff, and I too had Major League baseball dreams since age 9. In fact, I wore a No. 9 T-shirt, mimicking my Pittsburgh Pirate hero, Bill Mazeroski.
I merely wish to submit for Dan’s approval, a few heartfelt observances, yet I don’t wish to alienate one of my key demographics: women ages 49-90, who traditionally aren’t rabid sports fans. With those fair maidens in mind, I’ll be alternating female-relevant, strongly-held beliefs. I’m nothing if not sensitive to women’s issues.
• I firmly believe relief pitchers are the most overrated, overpaid athletes on the planet. Case in point: In a recent game with one of my favorite pitchers, Tom Koehler on the mound for the Marlins, he went six sterling innings, giving up one run and striking out seven.
Enter middle reliever, Kyle Barraclaugh (cool name, huh?) for one inning, striking out two of three. But the manager, in his stat-sheet wisdom, sent him packing and called on a batter-specific “specialist” for an inning. After giving up two hits, a walk and a run, cue “ace reliever” Ramos. His 2/3 inning produced three walks and three runs; Cubs win, 5-4. Cubs reliever Joe Smith (boring name, huh?) also gave up a run and three hits in his 1/3 inning, but on this day, Miami’s relievers clearly stunk worse.
I used that example because of “Wager rage,” but it’s just one of many typical box scores on any given day. A few days ago, the Rockies stole a win when three Texas relievers gave up a combined six runs in a single inning. Luckily, two Rockies relievers only gave up four runs in two innings.
The Astros nipped the Twins when their two relievers only gave up two runs in two innings, while Twins fireballers gave up nine in 1 1/3. Mets reliever Jonathan Niese welcomed six runners across home plate in his one inning. All that in one evening.
In my day, a good starter either pitched nine full innings or gave way to one rested reliever for an inning. Today’s recipe is: “Pre-heat plate with a hot starter for six innings. Add equally-spicy reliever and allow to simmer; remove and replace with a sardine and two cold lemons. Stir until burned, then toss burned mess into dumpster.”
Managers search the bullpen until finding that special, $20 million a year loser, a peewee-leaguer could hit that particular night.
• Why do no pro teams wear pink uniforms? Why should a legitimate color be prejudicially excluded from the wonderful world of sports? Back in my weightlifting days, I wore a favorite, pink muscle shirt often. No, ladies, I love pink and I’m not threatened by my sexuality.
• Take umpires, please! At my great-nephew Trey’s 21st birthday party, he debated with local ump, Lincoln Reese (no relation to Pee Wee), claiming umpires love ejecting players from the game. Lincoln, always the antagonist on the wrong side of an issue, claims ejections are an ump’s least favorite call. To Reese I say, “Wrong again, pine tar breath!”
Case in point: My man Andrew McCutcheon recently took a fourth ball well below his knees. But the umpire, Chris Conroy, called it a strike, as he had an earlier pitch around Andrew’s shins. “Cutch” is having an off year — in large part due to uncharacteristically chasing low pitches — so naturally didn’t react well, slamming his bat in frustration. It was all the visually-impaired Conroy needed to beckon an ump’s favorite posture — thumb in the air with a grossly-exaggerated arm thrust.
I have to agree with young Trey on this one. Just like first base umps overruling an obvious check swing, too many seek spotlight validation of their relevance.
• How about that sexy fighter, Rhonda Rousey — a million-dollar smile and legs that won’t quit? And let’s not forget hot skier Lindsey Vonn. Wish I had a swing like that in my back yard. All I can say is “Hubba, hubba hubba!”
Finally, as if I’ve not shown enough respect for the female population, I would also be giddy to vote for our first female president … IF it wasn’t Hillary Clinton. As Meatloaf sang, “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that!”