OK, football is over (and not a day too soon) so it’s time to turn our attention to hardball, the national game, America’s pastime. Baseball.
First up for 2014 is I’m sick of hearing people criticize the Twins recent signings of older, ex-Twins Jason Kubel, Jason Bartlett and Matt Guerrier. These guys were signed to minor league deals with invitations to Spring Training. The odds of the first two making the team (and helping them win my projected 87 games), or playing a role other than a bench player or injury call-up is, in my opinion, very slim. I could be wrong because both players provide experience and leadership which has been harder to find than victories in the Twins clubhouse the last few years. And considering how bad Pedro Florimon is, it might be easier than I think for Bartlett to land a spot. And in Guerrier’s case, while I think he’ll make the team if his hand is healed up, he has the option of opting out of the contract on June 1 if he didn’t make the major league roster.
I personally don’t see any downside to these three signings. The prices were right and the potential is there. The Twins AAA team is in shambles, and should Bartlett and Kubel not make the major league club, they’ll provide a lot of help down there while the level builds back up. And to prove that the Twins front office isn’t simply interested in bringing back low-cost, familiar faces to please the fans, they passed on pursuing free agent starter, and another aging, post-surgery, ex-Twin, Scott Baker, which was a decision I will be eternally grateful for.
You never know where you’re going to run into another Twins fan. Go Twins!
Walking to Work in the Cold
Hat pulled down low and scarf pulled up high. Glasses cover my eyes. Cool lenses thick with hot breath fog so vision is limited to a hazy slit. I’m still cold and now I can’t see.
The first addition to my 2014 list of banished words is “polar vortex”. The phrase was added not because I dislike the cold so much, but because I don’t like hearing the words “polar vortex” dozens of times a day.
Back when I was younger (I guess this is where I’m supposed to say, “Back in the day”?) – and actually until quite recently – whenever we had a mid-winter invasion of cold weather that lasted for a couple three days it was simply called a “cold snap”. Or an “arctic blast”. So what’s suddenly the deal now with (ominous voice) “THE POLAR VORTEX”? We don’t need it. Not when we have the perfectly acceptable, cold snap and arctic blast available for use.
I like the weather. I would call myself a weather nerd but I’m of the age when being called a nerd was not a particularly pleasant reference. While being a nerd is sort of a badge of honor now, walking down those cold high school hallways and being called a nerd used to be the last thing someone wanted. Anyway, like I said, I like the weather and I just wish I could get the weather nowadays quick and dirty and without weather forecasters who feel the need to dramatize cold snaps into polar vortexes, or who try and make us believe a few snow showers, or an Alberta clipper, carry the possibility of becoming the next Armistice Day blizzard.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the weather forecasters and the jobs they do. Weather forecasting is a necessity, and a lifesaver, when it comes to giving us information on hurricanes and tornadoes, but put the extremes aside and just look at those day-to-day, five/seven-day extended forecasts. I believe those to be totally unnecessary and a waste of real news time and no more valid, or accurate, than the daily horoscope. OK, you’re a weather nerd and you think that’s a bit harsh. I understand there’s science involved in trying to predict the weather future when data from multiple sources around and above the earth is gathered and assimilated and analyzed, but the reality is that even the best and most expensive computer simulators get it wrong on occasion. So extremes aside, I’m going to stick with weather forecasting as important as, and less interesting than, the daily horoscope until I see weather forecasters step up and share their forecasting accuracy percentages, something along the same lines as the graphic that shows us a baseball player’s batting average and on base percentage whenever he comes up to the plate. Or until the forecasters tell us exactly how they measure their forecasting accuracy, or until they develop forecasting terms that are a bit less vague than “A 40% chance of rain tomorrow”, or provide slightly more concrete predictions to take the place of ‘partly cloudy’ and ‘partly sunny’. Until then I’m going to lean more toward meteorology as a pseudoscience (yeah, I know, that’s a bit harsh again) and go on believing that the nightly weather forecasts have less to do with the weather than television ratings and advertising revenue, and that meteorologists are hired, and continue to remain employed, not because of any meteorological efficiency, but because of physical looks and charisma and good hand/eye coordination.
The Friday Fictioneers challenge: Based on the weekly photo prompt, write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end.
It was a simple recon mission: enter the gate, grab the balls; a simple in and out affair, but when her brother Ethan got cold feet and ran home to mommy and a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese dinner – and let the gate lock behind him – Jenny was alone and lost. Stuck on the wrong side of the fence she heard the familiar bark and turned to see Poppy climbing up from a small hole under the fence. “Don’t worry, Jen,” Poppy ruffed, pausing for a quick face lick, and then ran up the tree and pointed the way to safety.
I’m only 96 hours late…
It’s Friday Fictioneers time! Friday Fictioneers is a group of talented writers who gather weekly (yes, on Friday) at Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog where we find her photo prompt. Then, armed with a photograph, we scatter back to our respective corners of the world to write a 100-word flash fiction response to the weekly prompt.
If you’re someone who likes to write, feel free to join in the fun. Just click on the link above for the (very simple) rules and the photo.
That’s it, here’s my story. And Happy New Year to you!
The Lighthouse Keeper
Years ago the Gods left earth. The Elders say the Gods left without warning; one day their ships were anchored above Atlanta, Kinshasa and Guangzhou, the next day: gone. The technology they shared eliminated war, famine and disease. Greed was a memory. Eventually the Corporations rose and through an apathetic populace more interested in comfort and personal diversions, they gained power. Greed and suffering returned.
I’m the lighthouse keeper. I light the fire that sends rays of hope to the heavens. Tonight I use the last of the fuel leaving us with no way to reach the Gods but prayer.
I give up. It’s only been six days of winter, but between the snow and the cold (bitter or brutal depending on what station you’re watching) and the snow-covered roads and the spinning tires and the frosted windows and the dry skin and the dry nose and the chapped hands and lips and the foggy glasses and the nitwit meteorologists who have to go outside to give us the forecast and then tell us how cold it is and the. . . and the . . . and. . . I can’t go on anymore. I quit. Six days and I bow to you. You win, winter.
Are you happy, winter, now that you got what you wanted? Now will you please moderate or something and bring back some normal temperatures and dewpoints you bastard?