My Buccos And A Missed Moment

So last week I made my yearly pilgrimage to NYC to catch my woeful Pittsburgh Pirates in Queens for one, sometimes two efforts of baseball indignity. This season it was two games to add to my string of losses while watching them live and further compound my misery. There was a 1-0 nothing, 10 inning loss in the first of four game set with the Mets where Chan-Ho Park came in a scoreless game and further exampled why Major League teams really need to stop paying this guy to wear a uniform. The second game though was a lot tougher to take. After briefly enjoying a five run lead in the fourth Pirates pitcher Paul maholm decided to throw batting practice while the defense decided to forget everything they learned in Little League. It wasn’t this that was so tough though.

Now I realize that I’m 46 years old and there are plenty of things far more important in this brief life than baseball, a lot of them involving trying to survive and remembering to feed the cats. But my love affair with my Pittsburgh Pirates Ballclub is something I can’t escape and has been ongoing now, winning or not, for 41 years or so. I guess I’m a true example of the loyal fan as the “winning or not” has been mostly “not” for most of those 41 years, but I still strap on my mental cleats and cup every exhibition season and look forward to another six months of knowing the names, numbers and watching the games, with tears or not. Baseball for some, is a passion that remembers the best times of youth and the dreams that can be associated with it as you pretended your favorite players in the backyard and played with all your heart on ballfields lost in time. However much baseball has sullied it’s own reputation with drugs and greed and hubris it is still, and always, baseball…a perfect game.

So it was this second game I made my way to, with Cumulus pal Jeremiah, at Citi Field, the third game in the 3 game series, that was extra tough because I missed catching a home run ball in the 9th inning by inches, twice, and missed the opportunity to relive a little those dreams. The disappointment I felt at the time and still do can seem kind of silly for it just being a game but in my six seasons of catching my boys live I have yet to see a victory (about 9 games or so I think) so it felt like I missed a gift the Pirate baseball gods offered up to me as a sort of recompense for my fandom travails. Those Bucco gods had Andrew McCutchen, Pirates center fielder, hit the homer right to me but I didn’t have my glove on, until too late, as I saw it coming our way. (This is the link to the highlight of that homerun).

http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=12114299&topic_id=8877442&c_id=pit

Again the silliness of a grown man’s disappointment of missing a ball in a game is evident to the casual, but to me it hurt and still does and all can say is, alas. But I still love my Bucs, winners or not, and I will be there at some point next season wearing my bright gold pullover and also my glove, at all times, hoping those baseball gods give me a second shot.

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The Survey Grain Of Salt

I came across a survey earlier this week about mom’s and how they prepare school lunches for their small people. Quite frankly I was surprised and even dismayed. You would think that Mom’s, being Mom’s, would be forthright and honest when it comes to a survey. It’s a survey, a poll of a sampling. Isn’t it supposed to be a true barometer of what the larger population thinks? They’re scientific and precise right? There can’t be any variables to take into account can there? I mean Pew surveys and others such like them are always supplying us with the real pulse of the people correct? Without them how would we, say, know how many people are actually texting while driving and applying makeup or eating home cooked meals not takeout, or voting for dick and not jane? We wouldn’t.

No, we rely on them to tell us where we stand on every issue under the sun from social to political to economic and, most importantly, to whether we wear boxers or briefs or whether time is relative or something we just dismiss as a mere annoyance hoping our jeans don’t wear. We have to know if we are running with the pack or blacksheeping ourselves right out of the fold don’t we?

So the dismay I felt at reading this poll I mentioned earlier came from the true dishonesty of it.

Mom Central Consulting surveyed 13-hundred mothers to find out how they shop for their kids’ lunches. Findings:
–90 percent of them worry about what to put in the lunchbox
–86 percent plan out their children’s meals in advance to ensure they eat a variety of healthy foods
–74 percent select items based on their nutritional value
–72 percent buy items with higher nutritional value even if it means spending more money
–79 percent opt for whole grain or enriched bread instead of white bread
–82 percent regularly pack fruit in their children’s lunchboxes
–76 percent opt for portion-controlled snack packs

Where was the 35% of them that checked the expiration date on the meat for that sandwich on stale bread and decided it was close enough?
Or, the 22% who went rummaging, last minute, through their purse for $3 for the school lunch, sometimes even secretly finding the money in the stash of ‘grandma’ dollars in their kid’s sock drawer?
Or, the 75% who hastily grabbed whatever looked edible and threw it in a lunch box with a Mountain Dew and some cookies just before the bus arrived?
Or what about the 12% that thought the kids ate enough at dinner the night before to make it through tomorrow’s lunch break?

The only one that seemed honest was the first on the list about mom’s worrying about what to put in the lunchbox. Well of course! My own lunch box has whatever wasn’t talking to me or crumbling into disappearance but I worry about it.

No, I think in light of Mom’s trying to paint themselves in a better light, we have to take surveys with a grain. A Gibraltar size one. So the next time you see, for instance, a survey that says Sarah Palin is really in tune with the heartbeat of the American people and you actually take it to be truth hit yourself with a brick and then, well just hit yourself with a brick. Then keep in mind that we are hardly ever told the true context of the survey and the responders: who exactly (were they escaped mental patients?), what (are they financially sound or just like the rest of us?), where (online, in the mail, at a mall, at a prison?), why (is it a corporate behemoth trying to justify bleeding us dry?) when (in the middle of a shootout after they had finally been caught?). They are indeed only samplings and don’t necessarily speak for the larger public. Hell right now, however much I’d like to be in line with some of those wishfull thinking answer percentiles from the Mom lunchbox survey, I’m trying to find something for Jagger’s lunch tomorrow that isn’t moving. I didn’t get to the store today and my foot itches. How many of those survey answers took that variable into account?

Note: just kidding on the searching for something that isn’t moving. He has a healthy sandwich and sides in his lunch box for tomorrow and I threw in a Redbull and a 5 hour energy vial just in case he gets drowsy late in the afternoon.

Note 2: just kidding again. I didn’t get to the store for any Redbull.

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Note 3: my foot really does itch by the way

Now THAT’S Inflight Entertainment

Next time that you’re stuck on the tarmac after overpaying for your ticket and then paying extra for your bags, pillow, blanket, peanuts, safety equipment and possibly even for wearing a jacket you might just wish these folks had taken the same flight. (after the plane finally got into the terminal all passengers were told they would be billed for the extra, impromptu or not, musical amenity).