Brooks, Big Train, and The Onion

BaseballI’m not sure it is a good sign when New York Times columnists begin showing up at Bethesda Big Train wooden bat league baseball games.

Tonight I was at Shirley Povich Field for the Cal Ripken, Sr. League playoff game between Big Train and the Herndon Braves when I look down my aisle to the right (of course) and there sits David Brooks, conservative voice of the Times editorial page and PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer.  Brooks is a commentator who says enough sane things (e.g., see comments about Sarah Palin) to make some believe he’s bi-partisan.  I’ll reserve judgment on that…but I usually agree with how his columns are “interpreted” by the Daily Kos Abbreviated Pundit Round-Up (e.g., David Brooks recycles another “we’re all going to die” column).

Nonetheless, I’m not picking on conservatives.  Heck, I’d be concerned if it was Maureen Dowd sitting down the row in the bleachers from me.  Part of the fun of college wooden league baseball is that it really has that small town, family feel.  Kids throw out the first pitch on their birthday and they have a water balloon contest in between innings to see who can burst the most with a bat in a 30-second period.  I’d hate to lose all that if the announcer feels he has to tell us what celebrity is in the house that evening. (Only in Washington are columnists celebrities.)

And maybe that’s what set me off.  I’m really happy that David Brooks and his family can relax and enjoy some great, winning baseball.  (The Big Train were just ranked 11th in the nation in the latest poll of summer college wooden bat league teams.  The Nationals are…not quite as successful.)

Just don’t announce it!

What does any of this have to do with the satirical newspaper, The Onion?  Well, nothing really, except I’m looking for a transition between columnists in the Times and the ridiculous sports columns I read today in the most recent edition of my favorite hard copy source of non-news. (At least you know The Onion is making this stuff up.  You can never be sure about the chattering class.)

The Onion’s July 30th edition reported on “Sports Going Through Slump.”

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, a lack of emotional involvement, or simply its age beginning to show, sports hasn’t been able to do anything whatsoever for quite a while now,” said noted sports psychologist Dr. David Grand, who tracks sports’ annual performance and believes this may be the worst year for the recreational activity since it went professional in the early 20th century…”Frankly, sports is showing all the signs of being an overworked, overstressed field of human endeavor,” Grand said.  “It’s been doing double duty for years, probably since the collapse of religion.  It should reaffirm itself, concentrate on its games, and stop trying to be all things to all people.  Otherwise sports will just have to give up for good and leave us with nothing but arts and literature.  No one wants to see that.”

In a “Sportgraphic” in the same issue, The Onion turns its attention to “America’s Most Flawed Sports Facilities.”  Among those gems:

Minute Maid Park: Jesus Christ, a hill in centerfield?  With a flagpole in play?  What the hell were the Astros thinking?

Qwest Field: The Seahawks organization is unable to explain how, during two years of construction, no one noticed they were building the stadium upside down.

Ebbets Field: Is actually a Popeye’s Chicken, and not a very clean one either.

Lambeau Field: There is absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with Lambeau Field.

As for that last remark, truer words were never spoken in the New York Times.

More to come…

DJB

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