Two hours before first pitch, Brad Tammen combs his stadium for peanut shells. He sees one wedged into a seat back, and points it out to a staff member, who prises the stubborn, seemingly-fossilized shell out with his fingernail.
"I swear, I thought we had every one of them," says the general manager of the Nashville Sounds. It's peanut-free night at Herschel Greer Stadium, which means no peanuts, Cracker Jacks, or (oddly) Dippin' Dots. Tammen has faith in his grounds crew getting the stadium clean. He's worried about the sky. "I don't need another thunderstorm," he says. "We don't need any more rain."
Not bad stuff, eh? I bet you want to find out what happens next, eh? Well click up there! Click click click!
I've had some other odds and ends run in the Classical this month, all quite heartfelt. The first is an appreciation of the most wonderfully verbose-named video game I've ever played: World Soccer: Winning Eleven 7 International. Just rolls off the tongue, don't it?
It was not a functional relationship. I gave and gave, time and energy and effort, and got nothing back but hurt. But we do not always have a say in such things, and the video game that stole my heart was Winning Eleven, a mid-2000s soccer franchise that was, for all its mastery over me, as awkward as my fifteen year-old self.
Its cover was ugly, its graphics were bland, and its generic team and player names ranged from forgivable (Merseyside Red, for Liverpool) to absurd—meet Ruud Von Nistelroum, star striker for, um, Trad Bricks. Even the name was clumsy, as the European Pro Evolution Soccer 3 was rebranded as World Soccer: Winning Eleven 7 International.
And yet, as with many early-life relationships, I saw something in the object of my affection that was, maybe, not there. It was janky and goofy and unconvincing, but beneath the surface was one of the smartest soccer games of all time. I have found healthier relationships since then, in life and on various gaming platforms, but I still believe that bit to be true.
If so inclined, you can enjoy that beauty here.
And last, out of fear that the Mets ace radio partnership was on its way to being broken up, I wrote a plea for continuity in an organization that has none.
What's the best season to need crutches? Look out your window at the blackening New York slush, and it seems reasonable that, if one absolutely must spend three weeks Rear Windowing inside a walk-up apartment, January would be the ideal time to do it. Why waste summer sweating in your bandages, staring out at clear blue skies and aching to be in a park? Only a fool, you’d think, would prefer crutches in July.
Unless that fool was backed up by Howie Rose.
Crutch-bound for three weeks last summer, I left my apartment only four times. Once was for lunch, when a foolish attempt to crutch my way to a nearby park left me feeling like I'd attacked my arms with a meat tenderizer. The other three excursions were for baseball. I'd slide down the stairs, crutch to the bench in front of my building, and spend three or four hours breathing and smiling, the Mets chirping from my transistor.
A person on crutches wants to vacate the body, head floating off cramped shoulders and away into the blue. Sports, at their best, make that possible—and nothing can deliver us from our blighted physical form quite as well as good sports radio. In the world of good sports radio, I know of no pairing so transporting as Josh Lewin and Howie Rose.