music, sports, life, and the little lines that hold everything together.
Pro ballplayers always play catch in empty stadiums. Whether it’s the big leagues or it’s rookie ball, it’s an empty stadium. If someone’s up in the booth, we’ll have music too — it’s nice to hear the local radio station until they begin playing music, it’s nice to hear them mention that our game will be taking place later if anyone might be interested. I’m pretty sure it’s then, as we’re loosening our noodles in abbreviated uniforms, that I’m struck by the randomness and narrowness of the profession.
It’s also the most informal part of the day — lots of shooting the breeze sometimes rehashing what we’ve missed in each others’ personal lives, often reiterating how funny, how brilliant or how unjust some part of yesterday’s game was. Occasionally there’s talk of a Matt Moore or a Julio Teheran tabbed to throw against us tonight.
Playing catch is often the first professional act of the day, it’s a transition from personal life to team business. Lastly, as all position players think they can pitch, at least half of us are working on our off-speed stuff likely at the detriment of our elbows and shoulders, but we can’t help it. It’s too much fun. My changeup has come a long way since high school. Fernando Perez (Buffalo Bisons)
Unsolicited Advice for Conan
I think I have a solution that suits everybody involved with the Conan/Leno fiasco:
Conan goes to FOX, and goes back to writing for The Simpsons, where he worked for several seasons. Heck, maybe they’d even let him take over as Executive Producer, the position from which Al Jean has watched the show spiral into the ground since 2001. Thus, everybody wins: Conan gets a viable creative outlet where he’s pretty much immune from getting jerked around; Leno and his stupid show go back to late night where he can blissfully fiddle away as NBC burns; and Our Favorite Family regains cultural relevance after 10 achingly unfunny years.
Really, no need to thank me - just send checks to Ruminations & Hyphenations Headquarters.