Reality vs. baseball

BY BEAU ELLIOT | MAY 12, 2009 7:26 AM

The U.S. economy dropped another 539,000 jobs in April, according to various reports — which I realize is not the news that those of you about to embark on what we euphemistically call “the real world” necessarily wish to hear.

Oh, well. As my parents used to tell me over and over, That’s life. You’d better get used to it, because it isn’t going to get used to you.

On the bright side, that 539,000 figure is less than average job-loss figure for the last five months, 680,000, according to economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

On the not-so-bright side, NPR reports that because of the recession, the U.S. Mint will produce 70 percent fewer coins this year compared with last year.

You gotta admit, 70 percent is not exactly loose change.

On the bright side (I’m always looking for the bright side; I’m this incurable-optimist type, always laughing with the world so that it’s not laughing at me) — meanwhile, back at the bright side, it turns out, according to the BBC, that it would take several billion years to produce the amount of antimatter envisioned in the movie Angels and Demons, which is based on yet another book by Dan Brown.

I don’t know about you, but I find that reassuring, if for no other reason than several billion years from now, I’m not going to care too much how much antimatter anyone can produce. (Not to be too self-centered about the whole thing.)

On the not-so-bright side, it appears as though General Motors is headed to bankruptcy. At least according to many experts.

Yes, yes, I know — the “experts” are right about as often as the seven-day weather forecast. (And yes, I know — long-range weather forecasting gave us chaos theory.) But if you are heading into the “real world,” perhaps GM should not be topping your career choices.

And if you are headed to the “real world,” you have my sympathies.

Oh, the “real world” is not that bad, I guess. I’ve had a lot of fun in it, such as it is. I would, however, stay away from the chicken factory in Portland, Maine, because that’s probably more reality than you’d want to bite off right now.

But the real secret to the “real world”?


Oh, I know — some of you, perhaps many, think baseball is boring. Slow. Played by pampered, overly paid selfish babies.

On that last bit, you’re probably right. But then, you could say the same thing about the investment-banking biz. And at least baseball players didn’t cause the economy to come crashing down.

And those of you who think baseball is slow and boring — I pity you. Baseball is measured, a thinking person’s game. There’s genius in the cut fastball and the curve ball and genius in knowing when to throw them and when not.

Oh, sure — baseball players are all on drugs. Look at Manny being Manny being all juiced up.

Well, if they’re all juiced, you gotta admit nobody’s getting any kind of an edge. And they’re not all juiced. Nobody’s ever going to persuade me that Greg Maddux, for instance, used steroids.

I mean, Greg Maddux was the Einstein of pitching. And he couldn’t throw all that much faster than me. (OK, OK, he could throw somewhat faster. And he was a much better athlete. Details, details.)

And in a society as awash in drugs as this one is (and I don’t mean only illegal drugs), it’s more than a bit hypocritical to complain that baseball players are using drugs.

So good luck in that “real world” out there. If you don’t embrace baseball as a way to forget about it now and the, well, more’s the pity. You’ve been warned.

(And I meant what I said about that chicken factory. Sometimes, it seems, reality does bite.)

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