SOME THINGS I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT
The offseason is long and mercifully, we’re about halfway through it. I can’t wait to step off the plane in Fort Myers in March and feel the sun wash over me. Get in the rental car and head toward the 2010 season. It’s a great time of year. A time when every team has a chance to do something special. (By every team, I mean the Red Sox, Yankees and the other “haves”- sorry “have nots”). While the foundations have been laid for the storied franchises, this is the time of the year when you do your fine tuning or overhauling, whatever the case may require. I know we are all eager for news from Indianapolis, where they are having the Winter Meetings. Who will become the next savior of Red Sox Nation? Who is going to be the next prospect we’re bludgeoned over the head with as we become familiar with him, months or even years before we actually meet him? We talk about Jose Iglesias as if he’s our next door neighbor. Ryan Westmoreland might already be more familiar to us than some of our own relatives (you know, the ones we dread seeing over the holidays). Casey Kelly and Ryan Kalish are faceless names to us, but when a co-worker mentions one of them around the water cooler, we animatedly nod and say- “Oh yeah, he’s gonna be good, real good!!!” The point is we all have the fever. More contagious than H1N1, and almost as dangerous. There used to be an offseason. Not anymore. Players work out 12 months a year. The media sniffs out stories all winter long. Fans scour the internet for any little tidbit of data that might make them a tad smarter than the next guy. Is there such a thing as a “healthy obsession?” That’s what we’ve become as a society. We want it all, then we want more, and we want it yesterday. Whether it’s baseball, money, being famous, rich or thin, we are obsessed. Obsessed with news about the Tiger Woods scandal. “Hey did you hear? It’s up to ten women!” Obsessed with Jon and Kate and their eight- “I can’t believe they’re splitting up.” The Heisman, Who’ll be the new coach at Notre Dame, should LeBron be dancing? On and on it goes. I can’t wait for March. The PawSox will have an exhibition game at their minor league complex, undoubtedly against Rochester. I will sit there, taking notes, joking with friends and watching baseball. My kind of baseball. All will be right with the world.
Remember when instant replay was used primarily to give you a second or third look at a great play? Now it seems to be used mostly to show you what a crummy job the game officials are doing. I’m getting really tired of the “coaches challenges” in the NFL. Baseball should leave it up to the umpires and let the chips fall where they may.
I like football. I watch a lot of it. I must admit that I was fairly disinterested in the Tim Tebow era as it unfolded in Gainsville, Florida. A Heisman and a couple of National Championships for #15 were on my radar, but I honestly didn’t care. Saturday, Tebow and the Gators lost for the first time in 23 games, knocking them out of the Title picture. That also was the day I became a Tebow fan. Obviously devastated, the quarterback stood tall, gained his composure and congratulated Alabama on national TV. He handled himself with dignity and class and has made me a fan for life. In this day of “Me, me, me!” Tebow is a terrific example of what I hope my kids turn out to be. Postgame interviews with the losing side are never easy, but what grace this young man displayed. He should be why we love sports.