Monday, October 22, 2012
Sometimes, you find things to write about. Other times, things find you. Two of the items below fairly jumped off the pages of my extremely part-time employer, The Boston Herald, and begged for me to type a few words about them. The other assaulted me while I sat in my La-Z-Boy (and was also brought to my attention by my Uncle Jimmy, who loves me and shares my outrage.)
Item 1: Sunscreen Recalled After People Who Applied It Caught On Fire
To quote from the story in The Herald:
“The maker of Banana Boat sunscreen is recalling one of its spray-on products after reports that a handful of people have caught on fire after applying the lotion. A spokesman for Energizer Holdings said there have been five reports of people catching fire after applying the UltraMist sunscreen in the past year.”
“Come on, Jim, we’re all going swimming!”
“You know how badly I burn in the sun. I need to put on some sunscreen. OK, I’m spraying it on and… AUGH! AUGH! AUGH!”
It would be hard to imagine a more surprisingly unintended consequence of applying sunscreen. It would be like putting on a condom and, instead of preventing pregnancy, your girlfriend instantly went into labor.
(I have to assume there was another source of flame involved; perhaps cigarettes. I doubt that folks have spontaneously combusted when applying the stuff. It’s much more fun to imagine it that way, however, and if that IS how it happened, it makes me doubly sad that The Weekly World News ceased publication a few years back because this would have been the stuff of front-page headlines.)
Item 2: Eddie Yost Is Dead.
Most of you (heck, maybe all of you, with the exception of Craig and maybe Skip) have no idea who Eddie Yost was. Let me rectify that. Eddie Yost was a major league baseball player. He played in the big leagues for 18 seasons, plying his trade with the Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers, and Los Angeles Angels. After his retirement from playing, he coached for another 22 years. Among the teams he coached was the Boston Red Sox.
So far, I’ve told you about a nice career in sports, but now I’ll tell you why I care. Eddie Yost was one of my all-time personal heroes in baseball. Why was Mr. Yost my hero? Because he made the drawing of bases-on-balls his particular specialty. He was so good at it, he gained the nickname “The Walking Man”. He led the American League in bases-on-balls for 6 of his 18 seasons. Of his career 8,960 plate appearances, 1,614 resulted in walks. If he played in today's On-Base % conscious days, his .394 lifetime OB% would have made him a millionaire.
When I first heard about Eddie Yost, I was a kid. I immediately knew, upon hearing of his specialty, that he had to be the smartest man in baseball. He made a career out of standing at the plate and taking advantage of mistakes made by the other guy. He let his fellow batters have the ups and downs of hitting slumps, the mental anguish of trying to figure out what pitch was coming and then a less than one-third chance at successfully getting on base when they tried to hit it. Eddie learned that you could stand there, look at the ball coming, and then just let it go by four times (if it was high or low or inside or outside) and they had to give you first base just the same as if you had stroked a frozen rope. Not only that, you got to WALK down to the base instead of running.
Eddie was a genius. And not only did he turn NOT swinging the bat into an art form, he also cashed another 22 years of paychecks for coaching third base, another form of standing around. While young macho idiots sweated their nuts off running, he told them to stop at third base or keep on going.
For FORTY YEARS, Eddie Yost got to stand in the sun on green grassy fields, collect a good paycheck, and know all the while that he was the smartest son of a bitch on the field. Hard to beat that.
And, since I admired him so much, I made a career out of imitating Eddie Yost on a softball diamond. I hold the Bomber team record, by a wide margin, for drawing walks (926 plate appearances, 173 walks.) There are no league-wide stats to which I can refer, but I have no doubt whatsoever that I hold the lifetime league record in that category. I might also hold the lifetime record for The M Street SoftballLeague in South Boston. I’ve led every league I’ve ever played in, at least once, in bases-on-balls. It has probably extended my playing days a good five years, maybe ten. And I’ve had the great joy of pissing off more pitchers than just about anybody who has ever stepped onto the field. There probably isn’t a pitcher alive who hasn’t believed, in his heart of hearts, that he could get me out every time I’ve stepped into the box to hit. I’ve beaten them over 50% of the time.
God bless you, Eddie Yost. The example you set for me - never run when you can walk - is one I’ve tried to apply in every aspect of my life. I hope we meet someday in Heaven. We can have a nice walk together.
Item 3: Christmas Advertising In October
I saw the ad while watching “30 Rock” last Thursday. My Uncle Jimmy phoned the next day to alert me to it.
As most of you know, I'm all about Thanksgiving Coming First. The wretched over-commercialization of Christmas, and most of it at the expense of a truly lovely family-centric holiday such as Thanksgiving, has been a major pet peeve of mine for many years. So, allow me to congratulate this year's prime offender. Here is my reaction, arrived at after much deliberation and considered thought.
FUCK YOU, TARGET
And your little dog, too.
That is all.
Soon, with more bitter vitriol.