Sunday, July 24, 2011

They're baaaaaack and taken out to the ballgame

It was reported today on the radio that the NFL Players Association has agreed to the terms of the NFL owners and so will be back to it pretty soon with a nice ten-year contract.  In next week's blog I will report on more details.

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In my job, work teams sometimes build relationships with vendors such that the vendors invite a team to be their guests.  My present team is comprised of some very hard-working people and not a single person is lazy about getting the job done.  Our client is extraordinarily parsimonious, the client employees act like they are entitled to most everything, and vendors really get sick of this sort of behavior.  A new vendor is on the scene, a generous and classy vendor, and we were invited to stay a night at the vendor hotel, check in early, check out late, were treated to several meals, and were taken to a baseball game at Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs.

An Astros pitcher doing his job
When I was a teenager, I was insanely committed to the Detroit Tigers and got very excited when each new baseball season was to start.  (I also followed skiing which is almost inexplicable.)  As I've gotten older, I have lost most of my devotion to Major League Baseball but I admit to liking the Chicago White Sox.  I moved to Chicago in 1978 and had been to all of two Cubs games (and a soccer game) at Wrigley Field in all that time, the last time in 1988?  1987?  Anyway, decades passed and I was given the choice of hanging at the hotel and doing my thing or going to the Cubs game.  The Mike Quade Cubs, who are near the bottom of their division, versus the Houston Astros, the division team that's lost even more games than the Cubs.  A radio station referred to it as the Battle of the Bottom Feeders and that was right.

Mike, handsome in sun protection
I asked Mike, my close work friend, if he were going to the game and he said, yes, why not, and because I need things to write about in my blog, I agreed that I'd attend too.  Neither he nor I are fans of very hot weather.  Example:  When I got into my hotel room, I cranked the thermostat down to 63 degrees.  When Mike got into his room, he would have turned down the thermostat, but it was set at 60 degrees and he left it.  So you have two people who are not ready to say "I do" to the marriage of heat and humidity agreeing to go sit outside at a baseball game.  It must be a world gone mad.

Strike!  It's okay.  The Cubs won.
We went.  It was hot.  It was humid.  We lasted for the entire game and did not complain bitterly so good for us.  The Cubs won but the Astros were spectacularily error ridden.  This Battle of the Bottom Feeders went to the team that could see the surface a bit and went for the sunlight and air bubbles which on this day was the Cubs.

Why do great fans of the Cubs and Wrigley Field call it "the friendly confines?"  It's an astoundingly old-fashioned ball park with terrible sight lines, uncomfortable and narrow seats, and some aisles -- those off to the far sides, like where we were sitting -- are almost impossible to navigate.  We were glad we went and are even more glad that now we don't have to ever go again because friendly it's not but confining it most certainly is.

In the conveyance on the way over, someone with great affection for the Cubs said with enthusiasm, "If they win tomorrow after maybe winning today, then they will have won three in a row, which they haven't done all season long."  A backhanded way of saying, "They suck so hard but I live in hope."  His dream was answered and they did get three in a row.  During the game we agreed that Mike Quade was probably a great guy but Ryne Sandberg, ex-Cub, Hall of Fame second baseman, he of the retired Cubs number 23, would have been the superior choice.  It is feared that the three-in-a-row might mean Quade is not so terrible.  Oh, he's terrible and he needs to go to the Minors.  I suggest a swap.  The Minors take Quade and the Majors get Ryne Sandberg.  I think that's fair.

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