"Got a beat-up glove, a home-made bat
And a brand new pair of shoes
You know I think it's time to give this game a ride"
- John Fogerty, "Centerfield" (1985)
Medical Costs- According to the Labor Dept., U.S. healthcare costs fell in May for the first time in almost four decades, the latest evidence that government policies and an expansion in generic drugs are constraining prices. Is this before or after the co-pay?
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)- According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 11% of all American children ages 4 to 17– over six million kids—have ADHD, a 16% increase since 2007. In comparison, roughly 3% of children have been similarly diagnosed in Britain. Doctors in the U.S. should stop writing prescriptions for amphetamine and instead force patients to drive on the left side of the road.
Just Plain Marginal
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Part I- On Sunday, after raw sewage flooded their locker rooms, the Oakland Athletics and the visiting Seattle Mariners had to share an alternate shower on a higher level. “The situation in Oakland is particularly complicated,” Major League baseball said in a statement. “We remain hopeful a resolution can be reached so that the A’s can secure the 21st century venue the franchise deserves.” Maybe Porta-Potty would be interested in buying stadium naming rights.
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Part II- The next movie to feature the Oakland Athletics won’t be a remake of “Moneyball.” More likely “A River Runs Through It: Part II.”
Views From the Cheap Seats
I went on the disabled list last night. After just one swing.
A devilishly handsome friend of mine sent me an email a few months back asking casually, “would you like to play some old man softball?” Why not, I thought. It’d be fun to meet a few new guys from the neighborhood and share some pizza and beer down at Pennini’s. I mean, what’s the downside here? What’s the worst thing that can happen?
I scoured the storage shed looking for my old mitt. I retired it about ten years ago, shortly after the Red Headed Kid and the Skinny Kid told me they’d rather eat brussels sprouts than play any more baseball. After ten minutes of rummaging among gardening tools and old tax returns, I found a mitt. Not my mitt; a mitt. My guess is Keith may have used it in third grade. This should work.
I show up at the baseball diamond a half-hour before game time. “Where’s your cleats?” a concerned teammate asks, staring at my sneakers. I tell him I’ll pick up a pair by our next game. I should be okay for one game, right? The devilishly handsome coach walks up and strongly encourages me to stretch. “I guarantee you,” he says with the certainty of Moses, “someone is going to pull a hamstring or a quad muscle tonight. It happens every season.” Not to me. I mean, I workout at the gym three or four times a week. I’m in decent shape. If I bend my knees far enough, I can even touch my toes. No problem.
“Geiger, go play catcher.” I skip merrily toward home plate. Catcher is supposed to be the easiest position on the field. All you have to do is stand behind home plate, let the ball hit the ground, then pick it up and throw it thirty feet back to the pitcher. What could be easier, right? Eighty-seven pitches and six walks later, the inning mercifully ends. I can’t feel my right arm. My throws back to the pitcher are terrible. Half of them hit the ground. At least the infielders are getting some work.
I grab a bat and stroll to the plate. The last time I swung a softball bat was sometime during the Bush Administration (the one following Reagan’s). I swing mightily at the first pitch I see and line an absolute bullet to left field. I’m so happy I made contact that I barely notice the nuclear explosion going off in my lower back. I’m thankful the ball is caught. I would have needed a wheelchair to get around the bases.
“Geiger, go play third base,” commands Mr. Devilishly Handsome Coach, completely unaware of my painful predicament. A foul ball is hit down the left field line, and the outfielder tosses it back to me. The throw is offline, and I have to scamper a few feet to my left to retrieve it. My feet begin to slide out from underneath me, and soon I’m lying prone on the dirt, staring up at the sky. Everyone in California is laughing at me. I didn’t trip over my own feet. I didn’t even trip over third base. I tripped over the foul line. I’m laughing too, ignoring the searing pain in my left hand. I may have broken my pinky. I’ve got to get some cleats.
The game ends. We lose 64-12, or so it seemed. Trudging to my car, my lower back screaming for morphine and my left hand resembling a cantaloupe, a teammate takes pity on me and says, ‘You’re going to feel sore in the morning.” I get home, pull a few ice packs out from the freezer, and pop enough Vicodin to numb Paris. After a night of zero sleep, I can barely drag myself out of bed. Sore is an understatement.
Our next game is this Thursday. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
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