Yesterday morning waiting for the gym to open, I smiled watching another patron duck behind the windbreak and light up a cigarette. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll point out twenty minutes later I saw him tearing it up on one of the rowing machines. Actually I smiled thinking about today and which, fifteen years ago, was the last time I smoked a cigarette.
I went from three packs a day to mass murderer (kidding of course; not all the victims were Roman Catholics) but I can remember, as a full fledged nicotine junkie enlisted guy in the Air Force, lapping my Detachment Commanding Officer, a distance runner, on the annual physical fitness test. He was stunned and became more so when, in answer to the inevitable 'how did you do that?' I explained "I hate to lose." Cigarettes cost less than five dollars a carton in the commissary back in the day-saw a sign at a service station yesterday that put a pack at over eight bucks. Didn't save any money but at least I have my healt---moving right along.
Speaking of moving right along, as a Yankees fan, I'm looking forward to tonight and hope my team gets off to a good start in the second season, the playoffs. And kudos, by the way, to Major League Baseball, for doing the best impersonation of the NHL, since, well, since the NHL. Play started in March and ends, eventually ("Good Lord Willing and the Creeks Don't Rise") moments before November and nearly all the teams who started the season get to make the playoffs. And soon, there will be even more. You can't accidentally do that, you have to work at it.
The second season will have a ways to go to top the opening act, "So You Think You Can Wildcard." I'd have been even more impressed if I liked the idea of a wildcard team in the first place. I think the bar can't get any lower for making the playoffs, so it must be time to make it different. Instead of the team with the fourth best record getting in, how about the team not in first that hit the most home runs, or whose pitchers threw the most strikes, or infield committed the fewest errors. Announce on the last day of spring training what the criterion will be-have a Fan Fest where die hard fans can Grab Some Buds and spin a wheel to decide what random one-dimensional obscurity will determine fame and fortune. Hell, we're Americans we love this $hit!
Speaking of one dimensional, how much of a class act are the Baltimore Orioles, especially after their restrained reaction Wednesday night in beating the Boston Red Sox (love the comments of the youtubers)? Considering they nurtured their own dreams of playoff contention almost into the second week of April this season, I can only imagine how sweet that triumph tasted. The Orioles partied like it was 1969 which was about the last time they were actual contenders instead of perpetual pretenders.
Projected by some sports writers at the start of the year to be in the thick of it all season, they managed to lose 93 games and finish with the third worst winning percentage in the majors. With the genius of Buck Showalter at the helm, they lost a whole three fewer games than last season, though Buck, with his years of Yankees success bookending his projected O's laurels, couldn't help but rip his old players to start the season and then manufacture a tempest in a teapot near the end.
Class act, that Mr. Showalter. As we all know, the root word of class I'll let you guess what rhymes with Buck. Nope, but you were so close.