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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Returning to the Diamond(backs)

As an Anglo-Saxon American, I love watching basketball. I emphasize “watching,? as my athletic ability limits me to just that. I watched my NCAA bracket become a living nightmare (thank you very much Gonzaga and Ohio State); I listened to Bowling Green lose to another team that could have easily been in the NCAA tournament (Butler) and I watched my alma mater (St. John’s in Toledo) lose a heartbreaker to St. Edward’s in Cleveland at the buzzer in the high school state regional finals. Enough with basketball; bring on baseball.

The national pastime served me well this past summer. It was a haven for me during the World Trade Center tragedies. Not only that, but my beloved Arizona Diamondbacks’ stunning win over those money happy New York Yankees helped me battle mono. Spring training is upon us, and although I really don’t follow it very much, I consider the alternative sports entertainment: watching Duke win yet another title.

The baseball off-season hasn’t been so pleasant. Days after the D-Backs come from behind victory in game seven, baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced plans to contract the number of teams down from 30 to 28, with the Minnesota Twins and the Montreal Expos being the unlucky franchises. I can understand jettisoning Montreal, but how in the world can you let go of the team on which the movie “Little Big League” was based? What’s more, the Twins actually have a realistic shot to make the playoffs this year.

Another story I heard on Sports Center was quite amusing. Since Sept. 11, our country has been very careful with, well, pretty much everything. After sorting through vital statistics of some foreign-born baseball players, it was discovered that about a hundred major and minor league ballplayers have had their official date of birth changed. Twelve of these players are on major league rosters, including Indians’ pitcher Bartolo Colon. He was found to be 28, two years older than previously thought. Rickey Henderson’s age did not change; he is still 81 years young, However, Bud Selig tried to contract his age down to 41.

One thing I am looking forward to this summer is the baseball fights. Hockey fights do have their charm, but good ones are few and far between, plus they’re all bullies. When “base-brawls” occur, everyone gets in the scrum, from the 16-year-old bat boys to the 50-year-old bench coaches. Pretty much every fight starts with a batter being hit (or almost hit) by a pitch. The batter could then do one of several things: automatically rush the mound, pretend to walk to first base then charge the mound or, as one ballplayer once did (Izzy Alcantara), karate kick the catcher so he couldn’t be restrained, then run toward the pitcher. The strategy of baseball fights alone is intriguing and complex enough to fill an entire college class curriculum.

When I think back on last year’s season, I think of the Diamondbacks’ triumph, the departure of Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn, and “Ichiro-mania.” I don’t really think about Barry Bonds’ home run record. Everyone was so excited when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were trying to break the record of 61 homers back in 1998, and they were both successful. When Bonds eclipsed 70 dingers, he was the only one. No one else was close. Although the record stands at 73, Selig tried to contract it back down to 70 so it’d be a nice round number. By the way, did you even know that Mark McGwire retired in the off-season? I have never seen a quieter retirement by a future Hall-of-Famer.

So maybe I’m the only one ready for baseball. To the rest of you the game is probably meaningless and boring, with games dragging on for three or four hours. That’s your opinion, but don’t be a hypocrite and enjoy the Academy Awards this Sunday.

Matt can be reached at [email protected]

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