Monthly Archives: August 2007

RELEGATION, BASEBALL STYLE (or, stick a baseball in a blender)

Well, the event we put on with the Mariners and Safeco Insurance was overwhelming, to say the least.  First off, we didn’t have to worry if anyone was going to show up (per our trepidation from the Savvy Girls’ previous blog). Blendtec_logo_1 Women were lined up outside along first avenue an hour before the doors were supposed to open!  I was still on the phone with news organizations, Jackie was still putting flowers in vases and the buffet table was yet to be arranged. By the end of the night, we were treated to a poem that rhymed Jackie with Wacky, met some fine people, signed a couple autographs and took pictures with the Mariner Moose. As the event drew to a close, we went to get our first glass of wine only to find the guy closing up shop. Oh well.

But, on to more pressing matters, say I.  Like this whacked-out baseball season where Craig Biggio has yet to get enough whacks on the back to get into the record books and Bonds whacked his way into infamy. And I just trolled across some video of a guy who put a baseball into a blender. Now, that’s… messy. Talk about juicing. Heh. I’ll be here through Sunday, folks. But aside from learning not to try blending six Bic lighters, I learned this week that as long at teams like the Seattle Mariners don’t have to play any really good teams, they can still fool a lot of the fans some of the time into thinking that the playoffs are a reality. Hey, and I drank the Kool-aid! Indeed, hope springs eternal in this house where I just placed my order for post-season tickets. Sometimes I wonder how is it that everyone can get all excited in the American League when the National League is where it’s at, these days. The top three teams in each division are in playoff contention. The worst of those, the third placed Dodgers, are only four games behind the NL West leading Diamondbacks, and two behind the second place Padres.

All of this makes me think again of relegation, just like we see in European soccer. Er, football. If baseball took a page from the relegation book, the worst Eu_flag_2place teams in each league would get sent “down” – or relegated – to the minors.  The best teams in the minors get sent to the majors.  Now, there’s incentive! They could even swap stadiums. Look, you have the Devil Rays 26 games behind the AL East best Red Sox.  I love Tampa, the city, the people and the conch fritters. I would definitely pay $5 to see them play in a 3,000 capacity stadium in Podunk.  Of course, it’s just not that simple, which is a shame.  But I think I’m going to write a letter to someone about this. It’ll probably end up being addressed to my dad, who humors me and my various pet projects.

photo credits: Marine Protected Areas as a Tool for Ecosystem Conservation and Fisheries Management (hey, I had my pick of sites, why not have a little fun with it?) and www.WillitBlend.com

ETUDE del DEVIL IN DISGUISE

I was listening to randomly shuffled music on my iTunes tonight. (Music disclaimer: calling my music taste “eclectic” is far too much praise. It is also the overuse of an uninspired five dollar word when what this world really needs is a good five cent cigar.)  OK, got that off my chest. Tonight’s music started with some old REM song from college. I guess I was inadvertently setting myself up for Beethoven a nostalgic night. Oh, and it’s late and I’ve had a glass of wine. Hold on.

I was nine when I heard the news. My big brother and I were riding in the back of my grandparents’ car as we navigated heavy traffic through the main corridor of Hampton Beach, NH. Now, I can’t tell you where I was when the Berlin wall fell or when the Pope was shot, but when it comes to Elvis, I’ve got you covered. That’s right, I wouldn’t have known Elvis had I hid him with a bus, but when I heard his name on the radio – and that’d he’d died – I knew it was something a lot of people would care about. Tomorrow marks the 30th Anniversary of that drive down Ocean Blvd. I wonder if my grandparents remember hearing the news. After all, it was also my grandmother’s 42nd birthday (or so she had us think…) They are both alive, so I’ll ask when I call her tomorrow to wish her a happy 72nd birthday. Huh… Nah, not worth pushing  it.

As Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” played though my grainy computer speakers, I realize that the tragedy of Elvis’ death at age 42 didn’t really occur to me until many years later. Now, there are many who hated Elvis Presley for his music, gyrating and for masquerading as a white man. But he was past his prime. Plenty of pathos there to feed a drug habit. But couldn’t something have been done to rein in his noted self-destructive behavior?

And why hasn’t anything changed with many of our biggest celebrities? From nubile Hollywood princesses to bloated sports stars – or just bratty ones – there is evidence that they feel entitled to do whatever they want and no one has the ability to persuade them otherwise. They cheat the law, their fans and, with regard to athletes, their sport. What’s there to celebrate?

My party shuffle shuffles to the “Bare Necessities” from the Jungle Book (hey, I could say that I’ve got kids, but that song really is a fine jam.). Thankfully, I’m brought back to the age of innocence. The days long before I cared what I looked like in a swimsuit or knew of celebrity drug overdoses or Grand Jury indictments. To make sure the happy feeling sticks, I hear the opening lines of a Bill Cosby comedy skit rotate into my party mix. Junior Barnes, anyone?

BREAKING INTO SPORTS

This week’s edition of ESPN The Magazine had a semi-interesting feature about some unorthodox ways of breaking into the sports industry. It covered working as a choreographer to being a team financial executive. Only one of the seven people profiled was a woman. The problem to me really was that Sari Mellman, a nutritionist to about 150 professional athletes, looked crazy in the photo. Speed_jackie_2 Maybe that’s how she always looks but, please, even the mental conditioning guy making the soccer pro Eddie Johnson wear 3-D video goggles looked professional. Many of the rest of the men profiled donned business attire, not muumuus, as Mellman seemed to, and even sat in offices. Wow! These guys probably have voice mail and Blackberries. It looked like Sari carried around her crystal ball. Not to bust on Sari – the world needs everyone and she clearly does a good  job – but, really, is this the only women ESPN could find? I suppose if they’d found some button-down woman-type I’d be ******** about something else. Her hair was messy. Too much makeup (can’t she look natural?). Or it would be her skirt was too short or her blouse showed too much cleavage. Sorry about that last one. Lord knows, I don’t want to open court on a Hilary Clinton debate. Jackie would never forgive me.

That aside, all of this reminded me about how Jackie broke into car racing. Talk about coming at the sport from the outside! She didn’t take the easy path. No, that wouldn’t have been Jackie’s style. In fact, she took the most difficult path any one could have taken. She worked in various industries, got her master’s degree in Non Profit management and, then!, waited until she was 41 to circle down on the racing world. She did this by attending race car driving school in California. That’s right, while I was basking in the North Carolina sun last week, Jackie was plotting her secret attack on the Formula One racing circuit. That’s my girl.  It would have been too easy for someone to discover you talent had you done this before. They would have come clamoring. My friend, you could write the book. Too bad you’re already booked for a while.

photo credit: brother-in-law, Ray