Saturday, November 05, 2016


After the World Series 2016

There are pockets of euphoria around here respecting the victory of the Chicago Cubs. There are a few die-hard White Sox fans who cheered, listlessly mind you, for the Cubs. For the most part, most South West Florida baseball fans cheer for the Red Sox. A few for the Minnesota Twins. That is perfectly natural, as those two teams hold their training camps here in Fort Myers. There are fans who winter here solely because they come from those northern areas.

The baseball tournament known as the Roy Hobbs World Series is well underway in this area. It is an enormous undertaking with hundreds of teams. If you went to JETBLUE Stadium today, on field #6, at 2:00pm, you would find a thrower of some distinction on the mound. Mind you, he is better known as a football hurler: Doug Flutie. Flutie, of course was MVP of everything when he played for the Argos in the Canadian Football League. I stood on the field in Buffalo when he drop kicked the ball through the uprights for a convert against the Bills. He was with the Patriots at the time. As reported to my friend Glenn Miller, “A big reason I play is it's just fun to be around the guys, your buddies, people you know and played with. It doesn't get much better than that.”

Perhaps it is a male thing, this hatred of commercials. That is why we need remote channel changers. They are critical on Sunday afternoons during football telecasts. I was never without mine during the World Series. One commercial that I saw eighty-two thousand times had to deal with a car that had won more awards “than you can shake a stick at”. Another kept me grinding my teeth for hours.

Bryce Harper is a fine baseball player, one of the best nowadays. Perhaps his team should have been in the World Series, perhaps not. When all of the playoffs were finished for the pennants, the Washington Nationals, formerly known as the Montreal Expos, had been eliminated. One television sponsor elected to use Bryce in a commercial. He is shown in a laundry facility with a young lad, discussing some type of television reception via phone. To his credit, Bryce helps the young lad fold his laundry, including a delightful pair of underwear, green, and adorned with baseballs.

At the end of the commercial, when discussing the potential of the product to show live baseball on a cell phone, Bryant says: “What if I just hit a walk-off bomb?” The implication is that the kid would have missed it. The fact is that Bryant was at home, trying to figure out why the Nationals were not in the World Series. No one cared about Bryce at that point. Great hitter, bad timing.

I read a spot of criticism this morning about John Smoltz. John was a fine pitcher, good enough to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He shared the microphone with Joe Buck during the World Series. More times than not, he could not keep his mouth shut. He is one of those irritating analysts who feels it necessary to predict every pitch. Those types also like to manage the entire game. You hear things like, “I would send the runner on this next pitch”, or, “This is certainly a bunting situation”. When a ball is hit over an outfielder's head, he was playing too shallow, according to Smoltz. What really irritates me is that Smoltz should know better.

The pre-game and post-game analysts were poorly chosen. Pete Rose? An admitted cheater who bet on the game and is banned for life from the game. Alex Rodriguez? An admitted user of performance enhancing drugs, quietly retired this year, likely ineligible to the Hall. There are perhaps hundreds of other options, and the Fox network chose those two! I really giggled at one of Rose's gaffes.

Kyle Schwarber did not get a hit the entire season for the Cubbies. He blew out his knee the first game of the season. He struck out his first time at bat. Rose questioned his even being in the lineup He predicted that Schwarber would strike out three times in the game. Schwarber had two solid base hits in his next two times at bat. I would have taken Rose's bet on that one!

That leaves us with just a few days before the elections in America. For those of us living in the southern areas of Canada, we have seen our share of commercials and news broadcasts about this election. To put it mildly, November 8 cannot come soon enough for all of us. Most of our friends here in the south are fed up with it as well.

Thank goodness for football and hockey seasons. I will hold the remote, thank you.

James Hurst
November 5, 2016.

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