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My quarantined brain is turning to mush
Monday Morning Cubbin' Down
For me, it’s now day 15 of the stay at home/shelter in place/commute from the bedroom to the spare bedroom/pandemic olympics, and am I getting a little punchy? Well, just the other day I saw an inexplicable Maggie Haberman retweet of the news that Bill Buckner had died and I retweeted that.
He’s been dead for more than a year, AND I WROTE ABOUT IT when it actually happened.
I even included this photo of Bill and me from photo day in 1981 or 1982 in that column on The Athletic.
(Photo credit: Mike Dolan)
I can’t explain it, just like I can’t explain the pants the guy behind Bill is wearing.
At this point, I’m going to have to be careful not to retweet news of Joe Tinker’s passing like it’s just happened. I mean, Joe’s only been dead for 72 years.
How starved are we for entertainment? Marquee is simulating the season on MLB The Show 20 and showing the games on Facebook, and I actually watched some of the opener.
I spent a good 15 minutes on Sunday trying to find a NASCAR iRace on TV.
And the worst thing I did this weekend was I watched a solid 10 minutes of “The Lombardi Line” on Marquee. If you’ve never seen, or heard, this show it’s on Brent Musberger’s VSiN and the Lombardi in question is former NFL front office meathead Mike Lombardi. He used to have a podcast on The Ringer and still, inexplicably, has a column on The Athletic. Am I bitter? Yeah. You bet I am.
Mike Lombardi hasn’t had an original thought since Al Davis asked him to help Mark pick out a haircut.
Lombardi is best known for “winning” Super Bowls by getting jobs from Bill Walsh and Bill Belichick and then sitting very still in meeting rooms. The most amazing thing about him is that he has somehow carved out a second career as a motivational business speaker. I can only imagine the gigs he’s been getting.
“Merle, we’ve got all the regional managers coming in for a big meeting next week. Who do you think we could get for a speaker?”
”Well, it’s short notice and we can only pay in car wash tokens. So I would think it’s between Johnny Wockenfuss and Mike Lombardi.”
”Wockenfuss just did my niece’s best friend’s quinceanera. So get the other guy.”
Illinois’ shelter-in-place order is set to expire a week from Tuesday, which will mean a return to normalcy for me. I’ll be able to order at Taco Bell again just by blowing past the speaker and pulling up to the first window and yelling, “It’s me!” I’ve been trying to do that by yelling into the app, but Siri is having none of it. I’ll also be able to go back to the Y and listen to the two particularly charming octogenarian racists resume their daily routine of really loudly telling the rest of us how wonderful the president is. Then, I’ll go to Woodman’s to buy 80 pounds of water softener salt, take it to the self checkout, search for it on the screen, ring it up and then stand there looking annoyed until the one harried employee trying to keep track of the eight checkout lanes hits the button to turn off “place item on the conveyor belt” so I can pay and get out of there. Man, that’s living.
Wait, what? The order is likely to get extended until the end of April? At least? Well, this is no good. I mean, I understand, and there are worse ways to spend five more weeks, but if this thing keeps getting extended it’s going to make it really hard for me to keep putting off writing the book I’ve supposedly been working on since 2003.
People keep talking about how another baby boom will result from weeks of having to stay at home. I think divorce attorneys are going to be pretty busy when this thing ends, too. But what we’re really going to see is a flood of terrible self-published books. I really think that every person has at least one idea for a book. Most of them are really awful. What saves us is that few people have the time to actually write them. Well, most of us have plenty of time now.
Somewhere, probably in Utah, somebody is working on a book about a bunch of sexy teenage vampires forced to hole up in an abandoned castle to protect themselves from a deadly airborne werewolf virus.
Actually, that’s not a terrible idea. I should write that one down. I mean, it beats the hell out of my idea. Mine was going to be about a minor league baseball mascot who falls in love with one of the on-field in-game hostesses but is too shy to talk to her. He mimes his way into a date with her but then convinces a suave beer vendor to go on the date for him, in the costume, and tells him what to say to her through a bluetooth headset. I was going to call it Cyrano de BatRack. I could still do it, I’ll just work in a sub-plot where the mascot costume gives the guy a terrible staph infection that goes airborne and everybody who works for the team is quarantined together in the home clubhouse for six weeks. I might change the title to “Just MRSA!” I’ll see if I can get Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson and Jamie Foxx to star in the movie version.
(Honestly, that Cyrano de BatRack idea isn’t all that terrible…)
There was a lot of baseball news last week. None of it particularly good. The players and owners came to an agreement that means even if no games are played this year (and let’s just ignore that possibility altogether) that players will earn the same service time they earned last year. Meaning Kris Bryant and Javy Baez will be a year closer to free agency even if they don’t play an inning this year. The Players’ Association sold minor leaguers and would-be 2020 draftees up the river at every turn. But they always do that. Players aren’t in the union until they’re big leaguers, and current players don’t feel much compelled to look out for non-members’ interests.
Players agreed that as many games should be played as possible, which would likely mean games at the beginning of the season played with no fans (the Cardinals will still claim every game’s a sell-out), expanded playoffs that could be played at neutral sites (warm weather cities and domes), and maybe even seven-inning doubleheaders like those played in the low minors. At this point, I’m already ambivalent to these kinds of changes, I just want to see baseball. Especially since Bovada stopped letting us bet on the weather.
I have an unexpected streaming recommendation for you. Unexpected because I had no idea they were going to do a second season. It’s even sports related. There’s a soccer documentary on Netflix called “Sunderland ‘Til I Die” that’s a couple years old. It follows a season with Sunderland AFC after they’ve been relegated from the English Premier League. You don’t need to follow the Premier League or even be that into soccer to enjoy it. It’s just really well done and compelling. And the fans they profile are basically just (even more) hilariously accented pre-2015 Cubs’ fans. Well, on Wednesday, a second season debuts on Netflix. I won’t give anything away about their quest for promotion. I’ll just say that it’s good stuff.
Here’s the season one trailer:
And the song they use in the intro to every episode is so good, and I spent a whopping 99 cents on it.