This was originally posted – JULY 2016
Between Breakfast & Baseball… I manage to cope with Life. These be “trying times”. Whether your personal short list of daily concerns are (1) How UNCCH’s Great Unpleasantness will be resolved…. if it ever is …. (2) How, out of 350,000,000 possibilities did it come down to either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton …. (3) Will the ACC Network awaken your favorite “sleeping giant” ….. (4) Will your or a friend or family member’s biopsy come back positive ?? We all wake up each morning with some concerns weighing on our mind.
I’m not saying my strategy for getting through a day will work for you. It is a simple two-pronged approach:
Breakfast /… “Life” … / Baseball
I usually get up around 5:00 / 5:30. My Keurig is set for 5:10. I pour my one cuppa coffee with a splash of Amaretto flavored creamer. I fire up the Mac. I delete the dozen or so junk notices from “that Nigerian banker” (you know the one) and checkout all the folks who decided overnight they want to be my Facebook friend. I am really popular lately with real estate agents in Charlotte and Wilmington… and some galoot in Uzbekistan named Omar.
I delete requests from girls named for herbs or constellations and anyone whose Facebook picture is obviously “a mug shot”.
I check 2-3 sports websites to see if UFC has gone away yet. I keep hoping. Research keeps proving if I don’t check sports websites for a six weeks period, I will have missed absolutely nothing. ESPN will have gotten noticeably more aggressive in its overt politicial partisanship. ….. High profile athletes will have said something incredibly stupid on social media then said something even stupider when nitwit fans responded to their first stupid comment. Like I said…. nothing.
I get Blondie her cuppa coffee around 6:30 / 7:00 depending on how dire the world situation became overnight. How many are depending on her to talk them off the ledge. That number seems to be increasing daily.
About 8:00 I go out for Breakfast. I employ a four-restaurant rotation all within two miles of BobLee World HQ. I am immediately recognized and greeted warmly by the staff. We exchange sincere smiles but, unlike Cheers, Nobody Knows My Name. I’m that tall man with the beard and the baseball cap. There is that one place I am greeted with “Good Morning Mr (Sean) Connery”. I order from my 2-3 usuals, and left alone to observe humanity personified by my fellow diners…. and to listen to my current audiobook. I would not change a thing about How I Do Breakfast.
No. I do NOT meet 3-4 other guys at “our booth” to continue complaining about whatever they complained about the day before.
Between Breakfast w/ my books in the AM and 7:00 PM at night I am either composing an incredibly insighful commentary or coming up with a flimsy excuse not to. I go thru spurts where I go to the gym every day…. also with my audiobooks. Maybe I do lunch with A Somebody or just with somebody. Odds are whoever, they are, they are at least “half a bubble out of plumb”.
I noted Blondie talking folks “off the ledge”. Who talks the talker off the ledge? That be me – Blondie’s Safety Net.
Too often I surf the net or destroy braincells exposing myself to social media. Hard-core porn is less dangerous to one’s psychological wellbeing than a standard Facebook or Twitter thread. If Bread & Circus did in the Romans…. Social Media may do in America.
I rarely comment on social media other than to post one of these columns. Five minutes on Facebook gets me contemplating “going off the grid” or reconsidering my personal policy on hallucinogenic drugs.
Then it’s 7 / 8:00 PM and Time for Cardinals Baseball. For the next three hours I will be totally removed from all the crap. I wear noise-cancelling headphones to insure I’m “in the zone”.
I have followed baseball for over half a century but never game-by-game over an entire MLB season. I am not sure what I would do without that escape in these trying times. I watched less than 15 minutes TOTAL of the two political conventions.
I subscribe to MLB.tv Premium. I get the telecast of every Cardinals game except when they play The Nats…. with the team’s play-by-play team. That service runs $120/season and is wonderful. You have to have Apple-tv or Hulu or similar receiving device.
The pure delight is not that it is The Cardinals; but simply it is a team which I closely follow and am familiar with the personnel and personalities. Watching “just any baseball game” would not be the same. A connection to the team is a factor for me. I watch EVERY game regardless of who they are playing. A recent four-game series against the totally anonymous Padres…. I watched every inning.
Baseball is an exercise in accepting the inevitability of failure. Over a 162 game season, the best teams will lose 60 games. Probably 70-75. The best players will “fail” 7 out of 10 times. Even in this “off year” by Cardinals’ standards, they are on track to win 85-90 games and go into each game with a legitimate chance to win. A sweep of The Cubs in Wrigley last month proved that.
My joy is each game is a pleasure all by itself. Win or Lose it’s “one game”. Tomorrow is another one. I like that. The ones you win in April, you don’t have to win in September. Baseball is also the only team sport without a clock. “Not over until the last man is out” is always true ever how daunting the comeback might be. I rarely turn off a game…. until that 27th out. I prefer “my team” win; but the ebb / flow drama of the game is what I enjoy.
In politics I don’t “like” either side; but I do strongly dislike one side. In Baseball I don’t dislike any team; I just really like one team. Maybe it’s “the birds on the bat” and The Arch out beyond centerfield?
Following “my team” over 162 games I endure the slumps of each player… and their hot streaks. I get to know the personalities. “My Cardinals” will probably miss the playoffs this season. The team’s “core” is about two years too old athletically versus their direct competitors. Some retooling is coming in the off-season. I totally trust GM “Moz” and “Manager Mike”
They talk about changing Baseball to broaden its appeal to upcoming generations. I hope they don’t to any noticeable degree. What I love about Baseball is exactly what millennial focus groups complain about…. the pace of the game…. the traditions.
I have never (1) played a video game; or (2) watched a Game of Thrones episode. I can’t name any song by Katy Perry, Justin Beiber or any “rapper”. I am a pop culture outlier. Not as much as “Albert” but closer to “Albert” than I ever want him to know.
At each game’s end – win or lose – I give Blondie the good/bad news. She doesn’t deal with Ls very well. Two straights Ls back in mid April and she wrote off the season.
Ready for bed, I ponder: “Where do I want to have breakfast tomorrow morning?
Last Tuesday morning (After Breakfast) I got a phone call from some fella named “Danny”. He asked for my permission to ask Kid to marry him. Both times Kid brought him home over the past two years, he sent us HAND-WRITTEN Thank You notes. WHOA! That was enough Due Diligence for me. Permission granted. …. Now I have three months to memorize “Her Mother & I”.