Friday, March 28, 2008

Spring Training

Justin Housman and I just got back from Spring Training and it was a blast. It was 90 degrees, something I am not used to living in the Pacific Northwest. As a nice "welcome back" it was snowing in Seattle yesterday. Oh well. From a fan's perspective, the most enlightening part of the trip was listening in to the banter of the players and the coaches. We came across the Cubs minor league camp and were able to observe play from about as close as one can get. The players sat next to you on the bleachers, they urinated next to you in the bathroom and they talked about the same stupid shit I talked about when I played. It makes me think I could have made it had I just hit the weight room and batting cage a bit more. The minor league games were so intimate that one could hear all the conversation going on. Like when the first base umpire called a runner safe on a close pick-off play and yelled out "he was in." A player from the Giants bench asked "you sure?" The umpire responded, "yes." The major league games were great too, but the feeling of being amongst pure baseball fans begins to diminish at the big parks. Take the conversation we heard during the Angels-Mariners game:

Idiot # 1 "Hey, I bruise easily."
Idiot # 2 "Do you have gout?"
Idiot # 1 "Gout's in you feet."
Idiot # 2 "Gout's in your joints"
Idiot # 1 "Hey, Frank, where do you get the gout?"
Idiot # 3 "In your feet"
Idiot # 2 "You have joints in your feet"
Idiot # 1 "You do?"

Anyway, here are some photos:

One could almost walk onto the field at the Cub's minor league camp

Hall-of-Famer Ryne Sandberg coaches the AAA Peoria Chiefs

Dan Fouts, George Brett and Wayne Gretzky gabbing before the Dodgers-Royals game

There is a lot of Spanish spoken in baseball these days

The J-Ho under the Scottsdale Library having just found out he lost $10 because he didn't know where Carthage was.

the downside of a flat world


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wherein I rant about stuff that has been ranted about many times before

I’m sick and tired of the hypocrisy of the Republican Party. These politicians preach about how government is too big and intrudes too much into the everyday lives of average Americans through taxes, regulations and oppressive laws. They say we need to privatize utility companies, open up all business to the “free market” and allow the “natural order” of the world to take effect. People will be free to live their lives as they see fit and spend their money as they choose and as a result the world will be a better place.

Sounds good, but hold on a second. It’s not so clean cut, because if someone wants to get an abortion after being raped, those same Republicans want a law against that. If a teacher believes creationism is a crock of shit and chooses not to teach it, those Republicans want to step in and remove that teacher. If a journalist thinks she might sell some newspapers in the “free market” by publishing a few pictures of caskets coming off a plane from Iraq, those Republicans think the government needs to stop this in order to “protect Americans.” If two guys living down the street decide to get married, Republicans think we need to outlaw this in the name of morality. Be it stopping people from burning flags or smoking marijuana, the Republican’s idea of “reducing government” is a lie.

Today it’s stopping the American Medical Association from revoking the licenses from physicians who, refusing to perform abortions or dispense emergency contraception to patients, don’t refer those patients to a physician who will. The AMA has a code of ethics that includes referring patients to other physicians when a physician cannot or chooses not to treat a patient. This is not a secret and if you choose to be licensed by the AMA and practice medicine, you must adhere to this code. A vast majority of members of the AMA believe this is a just idea and support it. But, some Republicans don’t like this idea and now think the government needs to step in and bypass what a majority of doctors in American believe. Republicans want to reduce government regulation, but if regulation is needed to impose Christian values, well that’s different story.

I know all of this doesn’t come as news to most of you out there. We argue about the details of policy a lot, but it really comes down to the basic idea of freedom. I wouldn’t have such a problem with Republicans if they stuck to their ideas and became Libertarians. You want freedom. Okay, let’s have freedom. No taxes, no regulations, no trade restrictions. But that also means freedom to have an abortion, freedom to marry whom ever we want, freedom to smoke whatever we want and freedom to fire whom ever we want who doesn’t adhere to the policies of the job they were licensed to do.

Okay, I'm done.