Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

We can start playing baseball in April, but let’s moving ‘Opening Day’ to July

What I am about to propose is an idea that some might consider off-the-wall, weird or merely out of character from one as reliable, staid and conventional as I.

It has never been brought up before. Perhaps never again will it surface.

You will note that I did not term my idea as radical, or even progressive, because any suggestion of such inclinations in me is totally alien, if not abhorrent

Radical and progressive conduct is much easier to detect in those who are involved in such enterprises as Occupy Wall Street, nitwit protests and certain college insanity, for example, trying to shout down speakers who have an opposing point of view.

I do not approve of such nonsense, and I do not vote with those who do. Radical and progressive I am not.

So take note, Al Franken. You may have pals in the U.S. Senate who think you are sane, but I think you are a jerk. I even got an email the other day from a senator from Ohio (no names included here) who asked me to send a contribution to Al.

I did not, needless to say. (In college, our great KSU journalism prof Bill Taylor taught us that if something is needless to say, don’t say it. So I shouldn’t have said it. And by the way, if you think KSU stands for Kansas State University, you would be wrong.)

But I digress.

I know you are waiting patiently to hear what my unusual idea is. I hope you haven’t been standing on one leg waiting for it.

It is this. For Opening Day in baseball, have it on the Fourth of July.

Why? Because by then the weather is often decent. At the Indians opener this year, the weather was rotten.

It might have been a nice day for a Browns game. And believe me, I have been to many a Browns game played under worse conditions than the Tribe opener.

You expect that in football season. But here is a news bulletin – this is not football season, it is baseball season. And you don’t want to go to a baseball game and freeze.

So let’s open baseball season on July Fourth (but still start playing in April!) when the games are not played before 42,000 people not all of whom are sitting in the comfort of heated loges that have all the amenities of home, including all the food you can eat, all the Diet Pepsi you can drink plus indoor plumbing.

From where I was sitting with my three companions it was a long walk to the nearest facility. I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more I appreciate the propinquity of the facility.

Our grandstand club seats were fine. And we were able to avail ourselves of all the food and beverage we could handle – free.

I had only three hot dogs and two bags of peanuts, but I stopped counting the hot dogs that ex-police chief, fire chief and Chief Deputy Sheriff Bill Crosier consumed, as well as the hamburgers, onion rings and pop, which some people call soda but which is actually pop.

A soda, if you didn’t know, has a scoop of ice cream in it. The Pepsi had no ice cream in it, so it was not soda, it was pop. I didn’t count the hot dogs devoured by Gary Robinson and Greg Sanders, two top-ranking and highly competent officials of the Lake Health System. But they didn’t appear to be ill or overfed.

A couple of years ago I wrote about the tasty and nourishing food served by the hospital system. I realize that Gary and Greg are not patients, they only work there. But I’ll bet they don’t sit around all day eating hot dogs. They have better things to do.

At one point, Josh Willingham of Minnesota came up to bat and Greg and I recalled that the Indians once coveted him when he played somewhere else.

We couldn’t remember where that other team was. But Greg has one of those all-knowing phones that I wrote about last week.

“Greg,” I said, “why don’t you whisper into your phone ‘Where did Josh Willingham used to play?’”

Quick as a wink the phone replied that he played for the Washington Nationals and a few other teams.

Amazing! Absolutely amazing!!

How would you like to be a school teacher and have some kid in the back of the room with one of those phones, asking it questions about solid geometry or frog anatomy?

I’d tell the kid’s mother, that’s what I would do.

Well, we stayed at the game until we started to turn blue, then we left along with about 41,000 other fans and headed home.

When I got there, the lady of the house was watching the game in the comfort of our living room. I joined her. Now, that’s the way to watch a ball game.

She hadn’t prepared any hot dogs or peanuts, and I didn’t want to cheat her out of a repast. So I took her up to the Manhattan Deli.

They have better food than Progressive Field. They only thing is, it isn’t free. Oh well, that’s America. But if all the food in the country were free, we’d all be going to Giovanni’s every night, and there isn’t room for all of us.

Editor's note: The headline on this column was edited April 16, 2014 to read We can, not can't, start playing baseball in April...


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