Sunday, March 27, 2005

No Easter spirit for Angelos

Well, that might be because it's not his---or my---Easter; nevertheless, he's still a jerk

If the issues are truly as this morning's Balto Sun article frames them, then I have a simple "negotiating strategy" for Bob DuPuy:

HEY PETE: IF YOU THINK YOU'RE PLAYING THE GEORGE BAILEY ROLE, THEN YOU SHOULD SEE US PLAY MR. POTTER. AND DON'T EXPECT CLARENCE THE ANGEL ON YOUR SIDE. OH, AND I'M SURE YOUR WIFE AIN'T NO DONNA REED, EITHER.

---The Post takes a long look at African-Americans and baseball today. I understand; some people care about this issue, and some don't. I'm not sure how much role-modeling really matters; do African-American kids shy away from baseball because Barry Bonds is universally recognized as a jerk, as the article suggests partially contributes to the state of affairs? Well, I'd doubt it. I'm not qualified at all to speak on the subject, but I'll add three thoughts:

1) It's probably helpful not to frame the issue in strict terms of black-and-white; instead, it's probably an issue of densely-populated-areas vs. sprawl areas (a matter of space in which to play) or disposable income vs. not much disposable income. At any rate, if you're a kid a) whose "play areas" are small and b) whose family could more easily afford a single basketball than a bat, a glove, some baseballs, then c) you're probably more inclined to play basketball;

2) Maybe this issue, like most things, is cyclical---and a decade or two from now there will be lots of African-American big league stars (not that there's an absolute dearth of them now)---and, if the role model theories hold water, then there will be a revival of big league proportions in "the African-American community" (I do wonder if that phrase is tremendously reductionistic, by the way---though I'll admit that in most places there is a distinct "Greek community," so I could be wrong); and, to my extraordinary relief,

3) At least the Post has the decency not to accuse---er, strongly imply---that the home-town team is run by racists. (Then again, no one would confuse Jim Bowden's "baseball ideology" with J.P. Ricciardi's, for better or worse.)

---There was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air.

So, I was stuck in the check-out line at the grocery yesterday. And I do mean stuck. The woman in front of me had a full cart of groceries, but I figured, "Hey, it's crowded; there's just this one woman in front of me; why chance it by going to a different line."

Boy, did I bet on the wrong horse. The problem wasn't so much that it took forever to scan and bag all of her items; that only took quite a long time. What took forever were the coupons. Lots of coupons. A Red Sea full of coupons---or at least a dozen Redwoods worth of 'em. You get the picture.

The lady started off at $242.68. I know the exact figure, because I was watching; I was just curious as to what her little endeavor here was going to end up saving her. Fifty cents off of peas and a buck off of toilet paper---buy one Honey Bunches 'o Oats and get one free.

Having lots (and lots and lots) of coupons is one thing; advocating fervently for the inclusion of each and every one of them is another. Man, did the lady fight. She picked up the 16 oz. bottle of so-and-so, and the cashier said, "Actually, that's for the 12 oz."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, ma'am. Says so right here."

"Okay. . . . Can you get a bagger to exchange mine for the right one?"

"Um . . . sure."

After awhile, I became convinced that her goal was to reduce the cost all the way down to zero---all the way. I'm sure one of the laws of thermodynamics foreclosed the possibility, but she was as intent as seeing it through as John Kerry was on election night. That's what it felt like, by the way: it's two in the morning, and there's just not enough votes in Cuyahoga County. Are you going to call it a night, John? Oh no. To quote Ralph Wiggum, when faced with the call to surrender:

NEVER!!!

I became disinterested and engaged in the kind of scan of the grocery store that would, uh, make Dayn Perry kinda proud. That didn't go too well, either.

So I went back to the Coupon Lady's quest. Until . . .

. . . until . . .

I saw the sweatshirt. It was a Nats sweatshirt. Washington Nationals.

A kid, maybe thirteen or so, was wearing it.

I said to myself, "Hmmmnn," and returned to the coupon drama. Then I looked in the other direction, and I saw----that's right: another kid, maybe twelve, wearing a different Nats sweatshirt. And the blue road cap.

This is Atlanta Braves' territory for now---Braves caps win the "hat test" by a clear plurarity, at least. But I stress "for now."

The revolution has begun. Down here in Richmond, we'll be swayin' with our brothers and sisters in the District before long.

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