Tag Archives: funeral

It’s a metaphorical funeral

This post is for me to get something off my chest. We’ve all lost so much in the past year or so that I’ve gotten to the point where the hits just keep coming.

I’ve dreaded this day since 1973. Yes, I’m that old and older. I want to preface this by acknowledging those in power don’t give a damn how I feel. It’s because of my age they don’t care.

This is the loss of a bit of Americana. There was always a sense of Mom, baseball, and apple pie that lingered. Today, it’s more like egg donor, Facebook trolls, and Starbucks.

I’m talking about baseball here. Today, they proudly announced that the National League will adopt the Designated Hitter. (NL & DH for those who aren’t familiar. The American League (AL) adopted this abysmal rule in 1973. I was there. The last AL game I watched involved the Detroit Tigers playing someone. I remember watching it in my uncle’s basement in Utah with a cousin I haven’t seen in decades. I watched the World Series every year, even though some of those games played by AL rules. You can bet I was cheering for the NL.

I’m sure to draw some hateful comments on this post, and I don’t care. I have the right to feel the way I feel about this. I also control the delete button.

Those in favor always cite the boredom of watching pitchers try to hit, but they miss the point. It’s the Americana that matters. Heroes of old faced hardships that effected their lifetime stats. Those in the field risked ankles, knees, core, and shoulder injuries more than a DH who only leaves the dugout to take his swings. Ask a few old school second basemen about being taken out by the runner. (Also illegal now) Modern statistics cannot be the same.

Pitchers who bat face a similar situation. They risk similar injuries that influence their lifetime stats. This means the heroes of old might have spent time on the injured list and didn’t wrack up more strikeouts than could be possible today.

A guy named Rob Manfred is the current Commissioner of Baseball. The difference between he and those who came before is that Manfred seems to hate baseball. He’s been harping about the games taking too long, and how to make them more exciting. Those of us who loved baseball enjoyed the pace and form the way it was. These changes seem to be designed to retire the old fans and bring in a new generation with something designed for them. But it’s not baseball.

It smacks of showing those who love baseball the door, then trying to get new people to like baseball that don’t actually like baseball. You’re just not going to turn them into fans.

Manfred brought us such abysmal decisions as putting a runner on base in extra innings to speed things up. He’s been saying the fans want home runs, and apparently, nothing but home runs.

Some of us enjoyed pitcher’s duels, stolen bases, and double switches. The managers have already been virtually replaced by an app. It’s all about exit velocity, launch angles, and such. No need for a human to make substitutions during the game. Let the computer decide. I’m sure someday soon we won’t even need players. An algorithm can calculate the winner of the game and send the report to the the newsroom.

It became harder to be a baseball fan when it all went behind a paywall. Unless you were the Yankees or Red Sox, your games didn’t get televised. I’ve been known to spend over $400 per year so I could watch the games. They have absurd blackout rules even for the one Fox Sports channel I’m allowed. This applies to the opponent’s ballparks, too. If a Western team travels to pay the Mets in New York, it’s blacked out locally.

I remember when pro boxing was everything to my older relatives. We used to hold parties to watch these fights. Then it all went behind a paywall. Nobody pays any attention these days. Baseball is doing the same thing.

I live in Boise, Idaho. I’m about as far from an MLB ballpark as you can get, but everything from Denver to the West is blacked out in my area. They must think that I could get off work at 5:30 pm, then drive 800 miles to the ballpark and buy a ticket.

I’ve lived through some absurd rule changes, but this is enough for me. I’ve lived through strikes, sat at the casino bar to watch the World Series, and missed a few phone calls because a game was on. I even watched one series from a hotel room when I was working on the road. Skipped dinner for that one. Big Red Machines, We Are Family, the earthquake, and even the AL Rally Monkey are things from my memories. (Cheered for the Giants in that series.) I lived during the era of Superstations, when you could watch your NL team all year in the other ballparks. Even watched a few Expos games in French, because one of my teams was in town.

I’ve flirted with football, both NFL and College over the years, but it doesn’t have the same hold on me. I’m going to miss baseball, but will never watch another game.

Rob Manfred can put extra runners on in late innings, adopt a seven inning mercy rule, bring out the aluminum bats, hell he can put a Luchadore wrestler between first and second as an obstacle for all I care. He’s interested in making the game exciting.

Back in 1922 the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion that rendered Major League Baseball as the only legal monopoly in the United States. There’s a lot more to it, but this tantrum has gotten long enough as it is.

My point about the antitrust decision is that it was for a game that no longer exists. I really hope some slick lawyer picks up on that and represents a group that would like to play real baseball. It seems to me that MLB abandoned the game that was protected by the decision.

Rest In Peace, baseball. I enjoyed the sixty years we spent together.


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The Idea Mill #25

The articles have piled up once more, and it's time to visit the old Idea Mill again. There are a lot of new followers of Entertaining Stories, and for you these are intended to inspire your imagination. Maybe you'll see something to include in your next speculative story, maybe it will inspire a whole series. Again for the new folks, there is a category in the sidebar if you'd like to check any previous posts.

Our first article involves monkeys and evolution once again. We had one where the theory was that a species of baboon had trained a species of wolf to help them in foraging.

This time capuchin monkeys are banging rocks together. Probably not huge news in itself. They use the rocks like tools to get minerals or food. The interesting part is the monkeys create concoidal flakes from the process of striking the rocks together. Archaeologists are questioning some of their evidence of early humans, because monkeys are creating something that had been attributed as being solely human activity. You can read the article here.

That's interesting, and calls into question the source of some early flaking activity, but this is a speculative fiction blog. It isn't a huge leap of the imagination to have one monkey start using the sharp flakes he creates. Before too long, monkeys enter the stone age. Sounds like a good basis for a lost world type story to me. Imagine exploring a place where arboreal monkeys rain down spears tipped with flint heads upon you.

Maybe it doesn't fuel an entire story. Maybe scientists spend the summer documenting this unusual activity only to encounter something worse. Maybe they find other signs of early human activity, like using the flint to make fires. It might make a great story similar to a mashup of Watership Downs and Lord of the Flies, where the monkeys make teams and fight for dominance.

The second article involves a sunken German submarine from World War One. This thing is on the bottom of the ocean, just off the coast of Scotland. There really isn't too much remarkable, but it's pretty interesting. The interesting part is that some of the crew survived. The captain said they lost the ship when they were attacked by a sea monster. Read about the discovery here.

Now I'm reasonably sure the guy is full of crap, but why not make it part of a story? You could take it as is, or make the statement into the catalyst for an adventure to look for evidence of a sea monster. Heck, it's close enough to Scotland to make the Loch Ness Monster part of your story.

Finally, this article was sent to Lisa Burton, my assistant, by Planetary Defense Command. The Commander is friends with Lisa on Facebook, and he thought we would like this article. It's about a dedicated train line to carry the dead, and their mourners, to the cemetery. (And back, you know, for the mourners at least.) It seems that London, like most old world cities, was running out of places to inter the dead. The line was met with some resistance, because horse drawn hearses were the preferred method of the day.

They acquired a massive amount of land outside the city, but it was too far for funeral processions and horses to deal with. Thus, the train line. The article is full of good period specific information about storing and shipping the bodies too. Even the photographs are wonderful. It would make a good setting in your Victorian crime novel. Characters who work along the project would also be very interesting. I can see detectives from Scotland Yard riding along to catch a Jack-the-Ripper type character. Maybe your character is one of the caterers who work at the cemetery to feed the mourners. It seems like the perfect setting for a ghost story too. Ghost trains, haunted stations, modern apartments built in the old buildings that still have ghosts in them. Maybe a grave robber ring. There are so many possibilities.

It's a great article without any fiction. It includes the Nazi bombing that put it under, and how automobile hearses replaced it. Thank you Commander for this great article. Do yourself a favor and read it here.

This is the place where I outline a corny story that includes all the elements. Submarines and sea monsters I can weave into a lost world with stone age monkeys. German subs and sea monsters, can work into the haunted railroad with sailors trying to escape by stealing the train. I just don't see how I can get stone age monkeys and a haunted railroad into the same story. Maybe I can borrow the London zoo, but I'm not feeling it. I'm running up the white flag on this one.

Tell me in the comments if you can figure out how to do it.

What kind of stories would you use these elements in. Maybe you like your advanced primates on another planet, or your funeral train is a spaceship to bring space pioneers back to Earth for burial. Let me hear it folks.


Filed under The Idea Mill