🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
There is cause for celebration in the Core Four: Boy The Younger has been drafted.
Sadly, we’re not talking about the ongoing Major League Baseball draft. Rather, we’re talking about the sick modern world of Little League baseball.
Not to get too “Get off my lawn!” on you, but back in my day, if you wanted to play baseball, your parents signed you up for the town Little League team, and you played with and against your classmates and the occasional weirdo homeschool or private school kid. Then, when you got to high school, you played for your school team and then, if you were good enough, you played in college or were drafted into professional baseball.
The big excitement for us back in the day was if you made the town’s All-Star team, in which case you got to play with the best players from the other teams in the town against the best players from the next town over in a one-game, winner-take-all border war of epic proportions. Or maybe we were just excited because only the kids who made the All-Star team got a trophy.
BTY’s Little League teams have, no matter where we’ve lived, no matter what league we’ve tried, but the Little League equivalent of this year’s Washington Nationals. When I’m saying they’ve been bad, they’ve been abysmally bad, and the problems have started right at the top from “coaching” that made early Bad News Bears Walter Matthau look like Joe McCarthy (no, not that one), Miller Huggins, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre, all wrapped into one.
The thing is, objectively speaking, BTY is pretty dang good at baseball. More importantly than that, the kid is a dream to coach. He hustles all the time, he has an amazing attitude and he’s an encouraging teammate. He has an outside shot of doing something in the game, maybe at the college level, but he’s not going anywhere if he doesn’t get better coaching and a shot to play with and against better players.
The problem with that is that Little League baseball is fundamentally broken. The rise of “select” teams drained town teams that are actually affordable to the common man of most players not being forced to be there by their parents. The remnants in those league are those whose proclivity toward video games and only video games is abundantly clear, most notably in how they react to being outdoors in the sunlight as a vampire would.
That means that for BTY to play the game he loves at the level he can play it, we have to join this ugly system. It is most definitely not the fact that he has to try out for these teams that bothers me. I’m all for competition and would rather burn a participation trophy than have my child display it in any prominent place. It’s that these select teams charge outrageous sums of money for the privilege of playing a game that used to be accessible at its highest age-appropriate levels to all.
After BTY’s experience on his last team, which my regular readers (hello to my three favorite people) will remember ended quite badly thanks to the most unprofessional display by a youth coach in any sport I’ve ever seen, I decided I’d have to bite the bullet and become a part of this thing I abhor.
So for the past week, BTY has been going from tryout to tryout, showcasing what he can do in front of clipboard-toting coaches who are looking far too much like they think they’re scouting Major Leaguers than the 13-year-olds on the field. And I get it. They take it seriously, and that’s what I want. I’d much rather that than some unprofessional dolt who is so far removed from anything approaching athleticism that he has to sit on an overturned bucket all game, lest he pass out from the exertion of standing.
The thing is, this is going on not just for boys of BTY’s “advanced” age. I had lunch with some co-workers today and one was talking about going through this same process right now … with his 8-year-old! Same type of tryouts. Same pack of clipboard-toting coaches.
The good news is that, yesterday, I received a call from a coach for a team BTY tried out for on Saturday. They want him on their AA/AAA team, which is a pretty advanced level and appropriate for where he’s at right now. The coach and I had a serious conversation about his vision for the team, how he treats his players, and the expectations on the parents. He seems like a good dude, and you bet your booty I’ll be doing some deep-dive investigation into him on the interwebs. The thing is, I felt like I was BTY’s agent as I listened to this extremely nice man talk about how he wanted BTY on the team. “Sure we’ll sign with you, but we want a $10 million signing bonus and a lifetime supply of popcorn for my guy.”
We’re likely going to go with this team, though BTY is coming back right now from another tryout that Wifey Poo says he “rocked.” Whatever happens, I’m happy for my son … and happy this entire ordeal that began this spring with that dolt of a “coach” is about over.
I’m not quite sure how this happened, but evidently, while making dinner for myself last night, I took the leftover turkey out of the microwave after heating it up … and put a bottle of BBQ sauce in it. I don’t remember doing this. I don’t know why I would do this. I only know BTY found it there and that I am the only one who possibly could have put it there.
Getting old is hard, you guys.
I saw this weather map yesterday, and my first thought was, “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sure are happy about the heatwave we’re having.”
In Other Writing
I’m not quite sure when I went from being the working world’s wide-eyed newbie to the grizzled veteran I see in the rearview mirror when I start the car for my evening commute home, yet here we are. I’ll be 48 years old in a few weeks, and I’ve been doing this marketing/communications thing since…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- I have to stick around to finalize my son’s monster Little League deal.
- Silver Dollar City this weekend!
- Five more concerts to go in my Summer/Fall of Music!
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Concert Thoughts 🧠Marriage 💍Drunk Idiots 🧉 There’s this scene in the 2004 movie Garden State in which Sam (Natalie Portman) looks at Andrew (Zach Braff) and notices … … And yeah, that resonated with me then and resonates with me now. Ever since then, being “in it” has become a thing…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sadness 😥Beautiful Skies ⛅Two Terms For 2022 ✌️ Back in our early days at Pound Ridge Elementary School, Sarah was the fastest girl runner in the class, which bought her some serious playground cred. There were only a few of us boys who could hang with Sarah in the 50-meter dash…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ear Flushing👂Grunge God🎶Tech Guy📺 If you have to have a doctor tell you a body part or yours is small, I suppose one of the least offensive would be the ear canal. That’s what a doctor told me this morning, after I finally broke down and actually went to said doctor’s…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Toys in the Hall🪅Idiot Governors🗳️Flopping FedEx✈️ Last night in my hotel in Springfield, Missourah, I set out a glass of milk and a plate of cookies before going to bed. It’s not that I don’t know how to read a calendar or have any particular belief in a fat man in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Which One?🗺️Leave Introverts Alone🤫Oxford Commas🤪 I’m on the road for work this week, in Springfield. Ahhh, but Springfield what? There currently are 35 populated places in the United States named Springfield, spread out over 25 states, including five in Wisconsin. In addition, there are 35 Springfield Townships, and Ohio owns 11…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Surrounded 😷Wood Splitter 🌲Morons 🤪 I’ve had COVID. Twice. The first time fucked up my life for a year. I’m still not back to the me I was before it came into my home, and I’m pretty sure that now, nearly two years later, that’s not going to change. The second…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sunday audible🤒Fantasy Failure 🏈Anal Chess♟️ Sunday was supposed to be a romantic day spent in a canoe with Wifey Poo, the two of us paddling leisurely down the Meramec River. Mother Nature was not in the mood to play wingman and decided to pick the one day in the midst of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Finish Line Scene 🏃♂️Baseball’s Better ⚾M-I-Z! Z-O-UC-H! 🏈 I have never understood the modern-day purpose of running for the sake of running. Sure, I understand it’s a great form of cardiovascular exercise and it’s a convenient way to get from Point A to Point B, yet the desire to strap on…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Book Guy 📚Queen Stuff 👑Bernard Shaw 📺 I’ve decided I want to own a copy of every Stephen King book ever written. That’s about 75 books at the moment. I have a built-in bookcase in my mancave/home office. I don’t think it would hold all 75 in hardcover, but perhaps it…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beginnings 📚School Start 🚌Real Baseball ⚾ I was thinking this morning on my drive to work how we rarely know when the significant times in our lives begin. So frequently, the most important things that happen to us start with nothing noteworthy. Of course, there are exceptions, the “love-at-first-sight” moments or…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fallin’ Thoughts 🤕Shinedown 🎸Sleepy 😴 The brain can be surprisingly efficient when the meatsack it’s attached to is in the middle of falling off a ladder while holding a revved-up chainsaw. This, I learned yesterday morning while attempting to saw a limb off a tree that was getting way too close…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Overview📅Fantasy Football🏈Elite Bonding🤼♂️ Days that start with chainsaws and lighter fluid and end with four hours of really good professional wrestling are bound to be added to the “good” column for review when the scales are weighed at the end of a life. Yesterday was such a day for me. In…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Funeral 😢Glimmers ☁️Meat 🥩 If you’re lucky, you’ve had a second mother. Whether your first mother was or is an amazing person who nurtured you and raised you among calm consistency or if she was lacking in certain maternal fundamentals, having a second mother is a blessing. Today, we were there…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩We’re Dumber 👎OnlyFans Thrives 🍑Shinedown 🎵 Official statistics put the COVID death toll in the United States at 1.04 million, with another 713 deaths yesterday. More than 4,000 people are in the ICU right now suffering from what the former Moron-in-Chief called that one person coming from China and a situation…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dethroned Queen 👑Gravy Wrestling 🤼♂️Dog Talk 🐕 Don’t fuck with the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival board. That’s a message Abigail Brocwell is learning the hard way. Brocwell was expected to be inaugurated as the queen of the festival in the northern Ohio town earlier this month, but she was stripped of the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩3, Unassisted ⚾A Sad Day 📅Tracking Your Vagina 🌸 The last time Boy The Younger was on a baseball field, the “coach” of his team removed him from a game in the middle of an inning because I had privately messaged him to not attempt to steal home with my kid…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hydrogen Issue 🚀Karting 🏎️Lake Life 😌 I was all excited to watch the launch of the moon-bound Artemis 1 rocket this morning, only to see the clock stopped at T-minus 40 minutes because of a “hydrogen issue.” Don’t know about you, but I’m thinking having an issue with hydrogen is a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Karen in Control ⌚Karting 🏎️What podcast? 🎧 In the winter of 1993, I went to a comedy club with a friend and, in the spur of the moment, decided to be one of those who came forward to join the fun and be hypnotized. This was decidedly out of character for…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Little League Flap ⚾Grandpa Joe 🤦Psychedelics 🍄 Boys are interesting creatures who aren’t easily understood. One of the many, many weird things boys do is mercilessly make fun of their best friends. My closest friends in middle school and early in high school were affectionately nicknamed Goon, Tree Frog, Butt and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 Death Cometh Sooner 💀Twitter Security 🔓Game Over 🌑 Average life expectancy in the United States dropped in 2020 by almost two years in 2020, the biggest decline since World War II. Every state and the District of Columbia saw a drop. Guess it was a little bit more than that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Worm brain 🧠Chicken Big Mac 🐔Eye Twitch 👁️ Caenorhabditis elegans is probably too elegant of a name for something that is really just a disgusting little worm about a millimeter long and most easily found in rotting fruit. It is more commonly known as a lab roundworm and was the first…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Agliata Homeschool Academy 🚌Hypnosis 😳Sunburn 🌞🔥 When you tell people you homeschool your children, you typically receive one of three responses: An enthusiastic: “Oh, that’s so cool!”An I’d-rather-be-dipped-in-acid: “Oh wow! I could never do that!” A you’re-one-of-those-weirdos: “Oh… really… homeschooling, huh?” The percentage for each has changed in the wake…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Indycar 🏎️Best Friends 😎Baseball Irony ⚾ There are certain people who look at car racing as an endless series of left turns. These people are idiots on whom nuance is lost. Boy The Elder and I crossed the border yesterday late-morning to head just past the fine city of East St.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Swine Inflation 🐖Swamp Thing 🎥Phone Calls 📱 Life was different when I went to college in Iowa after growing up in suburban New York City. This isn’t to suggest I was a city kid. I wasn’t. The city was a place we went to a few times a year, and where…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Triple-Threat 🖥️🖥️🖥️Tasmanian Tiger 🐅Video Work 📹 Humans were not meant to stare at laptop screens. At least, humans of a certain age were not meant to stare at laptop screens. I say this after successfully lobbying for a second monitor at work, which effectively turned my laptop screen into a third…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Look Before Brewing ☕Hoop Construction 🏀Nuclear War ☢️ If you’d like an indication of how much of a Monday yesterday was for me, know that I ended up with an orange in my coffee. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t a full-blown orange. It was something called a Cutie, which is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Weird Date 🪦Nature Walk🌳Bulldog Bath 🐶 If you have a date walking around a cemetery, you’re either weird or goth, and neither Wifey Poo nor I were wearing black today, which I guess tells you all you need to know about us. Old cemeteries are something of a fascination for us,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩So Long, Kid 👨👦Steak Celebration🥩Chip & Joanna 🪚 Regular readers of my drivel know that I’m kind of an emotional guy, which is like saying that Jack kind of could have fit on the spacious floating door with Rose in Titanic. So it should come as no surprise when I say…Keep reading