On Hating Baseball, Passionately

I understand that baseball is America’s pastime. I understand the allure of drinking beer in the sunshine; in fact, that’s something that would constitute my sort of heaven. I understand how one might be intrigued by the significance of actually seemingly arbitrary statistics.

Even with that knowledge, I can’t help but just hate baseball.

Maybe it’s the ADHD. Or the fact that paying $8 for beer that will be warm and half spilled by the time I get back to my seat isn’t something that excites me. Or the fact that I can’t sit still for three hours watching tiny little men in pants run/stand around a giant lawn.

It’s probably that. I can do that for free pretty much anywhere.

I’m happiest when I’m trying to guess how fast the pitch is going to be. And even that loses its luster after like 7 minutes, or roughly 1/3 of an inning, which is like 3.8% of a game. (See, I did speculative math just to prove my point. That’s how intense my dislike is.)

Then what? Sunshine that I had to pay for? Or worse, a rain delay? Ha. I know we’re all terrified of the lightning strikes that have really just been a sweeping epidemic for baseball player deaths, but I think mud baseball would be way more interesting to watch. They’d slip and slide and it’d be way more interesting than the current quick jog to first and then maybe you’ll be out because you’re forced to run to second and everyone knows that’s where they’ll throw the ball. Oooh, double play. Interesting, for a split second. Much like a heart attack. Then back to the slow steady rhythm of the ball, strike, ball, strike, foul, ball, strike, ever consistent keeping of the count. It’s a baseline for boredom, an undercurrent of apathy, an elucidation of the reasons behind the effectiveness of Chinese water torture.

For some, it’s a near religious experience, a replacement for yoga, for meditation. For me, it’s nothing but sunburn and struggle.

My littles are going to the game today. My aunt told me that they get to go to school for the first half of the day and then they get to go to the game. They’re about 9 years old, and the little boy is the most passionate baseball fan I’ve ever seen. He loves it. He thrives on the game play, the player stats, the experience. I adore him, and I love that he loves it.

I finally understand how my mom feels about my cat.

Ah, well. I can avoid it as much as I like, which I do intend to keep doing. However, if I do find myself in a ballpark, I will be content to soak up sunshine and eat hot dogs, which are truly the only redeeming quality of the baseball experience.

(I’m mostly kidding – I do get bored easily, which is why baseball isn’t the sport for me. I don’t hate it as much as I pretend to, but I enjoy how riled up everyone gets when they’re defending it.)

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On Captain Earthman, fondly

This is really cute. 6 daughters!?!

PEOPLE & PLACES | COLORADO PERSONALITIES ND THEIR FAVORITE HAUNTS

Colorado Rockies beer vendor Captain Earthman, a.k.a. Brent Doeden, reflects on “Cold beer!” at Coors Field and beyond

POSTED:   04/26/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT
UPDATED:   04/26/2012 08:32:35 AM MDT

By William Porter
The Denver Post

“Captain Earthman,” a.k.a. Brent Doeden, has been hawking cold drinks at Coors Field since the stadium opened in 1995. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

BRENT DOEDEN

The colorful gent known as Captain Earthman has been a fixture in Denver’s sports and music venues since 1986, when he first started vending at the old Mile High Stadium.

Most folks probably know him fromCoors Field, where he has hawked beer, soda and snacks at Colorado Rockies games since the stadium opened in 1995.

“I needed some extra income — I was a single parent with a 6-year-old daughter,” Brent Doeden says of his debut at a Broncos game. “They gave me a tray of sodas in the third level of the east stands.

“I walked out and said something incredibly stupid and people started laughing and bought all my sodas. I fell in love with it and have been doing it ever since.”

A grandfather, Doeden lives with his wife, Becky, and has six daughters.

COORS FIELD

One of Doeden’s top spots in Colorado is Coors Field. He not only spends at least 81 games a year at the stadium, but it’s the backbone of his vending career, which is a full-time job.

“It’s a beautiful place and I love the feel,” Doeden says. “It was an instant classic from the day it opened, and the fans are just terrific.”

He’s particularly fond of thestatueof a baseball player outside the stadium’s main entrance, a work by Loveland’s George Lundeen.

The 9½-foot bronze, titled “The Player,” honorsBranch Rickey, the innovative Brooklyn Dodgers general manager who invented the modern farm system and shattered Major League Baseball’s color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson.

On a recent April afternoon, just hours before he was due inside the stadium, Doeden basked in the sun just a few feet from the statue. A young couple walked up with a camera. They didn’t want a

Branch B. Rickey, left, grandson of Branch Rickey, at the 2005 unveiling of “The Player,” by sculptor George Lundeen. (Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file)

photo of the statue — the guy wanted a photo of himself with Captain Earthman.”Say ‘Rockies,’ ” the woman said, aiming the camera.

Doeden drew himself up and grinned.

“Cold beer!” he yelled.

Q: You turn 56 in May and still lug those beer trays like a trouper. How do you do it?

A: Young guys wonder about that constantly. My trays weigh about 60 or 70 pounds and this is one of the few places I dominate. But up at Red Rocks the young guns tear me apart. I can’t do 120-pound trays anymore. But I ride my bicycle everywhere, and that’s a great workout.

Q: So how many beers do you sell at an average game?

A: It depends on who’s playing. At a good game I sell 200.

Q: You are quite a showman in the stands. Where does that come from?

A:That’s the entertainer in me. I discovered it when I was 16 and working in a fish market at Fort Walton Beach, Fla., where you had an audience. And I was in the high-school acting club and found I really liked interacting with a crowd.

Q: What is your current state of mind?

A:Outrageously happy. Baseball season’s started.

Q: How did the Captain Earthman persona start?

A:It just happened over the years of vending. I used to be a really private person. And when I was a teenager and we’d be hanging out doing dumb things, I’d used to say, ‘If it’s from the earth, man, I’ll do it.’ That’s where it began.

Q: What historical figure do you most identify with?

A:Neil Armstrong. He got to walk on the moon. I’m from outer space — the Orion nebula: They’re still calling me but I can’t go there.

Q: What is your greatest fear?

A:Making the wrong change while vending. It’s bad karma.

Q: What is your most treasured possession?

A:My album collection. I have 11,000 albums — all vinyl.

Q: And your greatest extravagance?

A:Going into a Goodwill store and walking out with eight or nine albums. And I’m a big collector of “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” stuff.

Q: What trait do you most dislike in others?

A:Stupidity. I don’t have much tolerance for stupidity, even in myself.

Q: What trait do you most dislike in yourself?

A:Sometimes I get really lazy, not while working but at home. Once I sit down it’s hard to get back up.

Q: What is your favorite journey?

A:Going to Hawaii. I’ve been twice. One of my daughters just moved there so I have another reason to go back.

Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

A:To quit putting my foot in my mouth. I seem to do that sometimes.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

A:Raising a family and all of them turning out OK. There have been minor bumps in the road but the kids are all fine.

Q: How would you like to die?

A:I’d like to be abducted by a spaceship. But I wouldn’t call it an abduction. I’d just be hitching a ride home.

William Porter: 303-954-1877 or wporter@denverpost.com

Read more:Colorado Rockies beer vendor Captain Earthman, a.k.a. Brent Doeden, reflects on “Cold beer!” at Coors Field and beyond – The Denver Post

On Bruising, Carlos, and Mullen. Weird mix.

My arms looks really weird in this picture (it normally doesn’t look like a sad piece of sausage), but that’s the back of it – all purple and blue and green. Let’s just say I’m really grateful that I have a helmet for snowboarding; I’ve needed it quite a bit this year. After knocking the wind out of myself during a particularly nasty fall on Saturday, I sat on the mountain and cried a little bit. It was the first time I’ve cried while snowboarding; I felt like such a baby. I got back up, though, and kept going. My ribs are ever-present reminders that the human body is not invincible. Alas, by the end of the year, I am determined to be more than proficient in snowboarding. I want to be able to do black runs and go off little jumps. We’re getting there. (Slowly) 
Best quote of Kevin’s all weekend was: “As long as I’m with you and you’re not crying, I’m having fun.” Emphasis on the “you’re not crying.” It made me laugh. 
Where is my son? Oh, that’s right, he’s still hanging out at Kevin’s. Apparently, the two of them are quite a nice pair. Carlos loves all of the nooks to crawl into and all of the stuff to climb on. He also seems to adore Kevin. I’m happy that they get along so well. 
 Dear Mullen High School Board of Trustees,

The lack of sound leadership on the part of Mr. Ryan Clement, President and CEO, and Jim Gmelich, Principal as it relates to the firing of Coach Dave Logan and his staff have hurt our Mullen students, alumni, parents, faculty, and friends. The character and dedication of Coach Logan and his staff are without question. The number of young people they have positively influenced is tremendous. The actions of Mr. Clement and Mr. Gmelich do not uphold our LaSallian values in how our Mullen family is expected to be treated. 

We petition the Board of Trustees of Mullen High School to act immediately to remove Ryan Clement and Jim Gmelich from their respective positions, and to move immediately to reinstate Coach Logan and his entire staff.

As I type this, 750 people have signed the Mullen petition (text above). I know some of them. I’ve been reading the comments – of course they’re biased, but they are very telling about how Mullen has handled the last few years. As a member of the class of 2006, I am proud of the education I received, but I can honestly say that I’ve not heard any positive news coming out of Mullen since I left. While I know that a lot of people think that there must have been some grievous offense committed by Dave Logan prior to his firing, I am not necessarily ready to believe that. I’m also not supportive of this current administration. I am saddened that the attempts to revive Mullen have resulted in the utter destruction of its reputation.

On more of the Tebow madness….

I thought that this was one of the most interesting articles I’ve read in the midst of all of this Tebow madness.

I’m neither for nor against him; I’m curious to see how things will all end up.

By the way, if you’re in the mood for something awesome, look up Jimmy Fallon’s “Tebowie” video. It’s Fallon as a Tebow-David Bowie combo and it’s amazing.

THURSDAY, JAN 12, 2012 9:30 AM MST

What if Tim Tebow were Muslim?

The NFL star has been praised for his public Christianity. It’s been different for athletes who follow Islam

Tim Tebow

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) prays in the end zone before the start of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, in Denver.  (Credit: AP/Julie Jacobson)
Tim Tebow’s profession of faith has thrust the mixture of sport and religion into the national spotlight in a way that few can remember.
Students have been suspended for “Tebowing” — dropping to one knee to pray, even if you’re the only one doing it — in a school hallway in New York. Rick Perry claimed that he would be the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses. “Saturday Night Live” lampooned Tebow’s fan-boy love for Jesus. In response, Pat Robertson has claimed that the skit demonstrates “anti-Christian bigotry.” His supporters even called for a boycott of HBO after a Bill Maher tweet made fun of Tebow and his relationship to Jesus after his Denver Broncos lost to the Buffalo Bills.
After an overtime upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend, Tebow’s Broncos play the top-seeded New England Patriots on Saturday. For at least one more media cycle, there will appear to be no way to separate Tim Tebow – the person, the quarterback, the Christian – from his religion.
But back in September, the cultural critic Toure asked a fascinating question in ESPN the Magazine. In a piece called “What if Michael Vick were white?,” Toure argued with those who said the quarterback would not have received a two-year sentence for dogfighting if he was white. Would he have been involved with dogfighting? Would an entourage have led him to the same mistakes? Would he have had a stronger paternal relationship?
So I ask, what if Tim Tebow were Muslim? How would our society react if during every interview, Tebow said “Insha’Allah” or “Allāhu Akbar” rather than thank his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Or instead of falling to one knee and praying,  Tebow pulled out a prayer rug and faced Mecca? A recent study by the Pew Research Center suggests it would not be well received. While American Muslims in general tend be satisfied with their lives and communities in the United States, 55 percent report that being Muslim in the U.S. has become more difficult since Sept. 11. Twenty-eight percent report that people have viewed them with suspicion and 22 percent report having been called offensive names. The TLC show “All-American Muslim” has lost advertisers who were pressured by groups claiming that the show was Islamic propaganda. Yet Pat Robertson claims that the United States is a breeding ground for anti-Christian bigotry.
I don’t have answers to these questions. We can’t know the answers until we are faced with a prominent Muslim athlete who is willing to be so visible with his faith. In a country that consistently prides itself on freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom of religion – we can hope that Muslim athletes who are visible with their faith would find themselves just as revered as Tebow is for his.
But professional Muslim athletes are hard to find. Ahmad Rashād. Rashaan Salaam. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. Hakeem Olajuwon. Rasheed Wallace. Most of these athletes are retired and went about their religious lives quietly. But it is to that list of retired professionals that we must look to find someone as outspoken about their faith as Tim Tebow – Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Muhammad Ali, for example.
In 1990, Chris Jackson was drafted by the Denver Nuggets out of Louisiana State University. In 1991,  Jackson converted to Islam. In 1993, he changed his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. In 1996,  Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for the national anthem at an NBA game. A religious storm followed.
Everyone had an opinion, from fans to sports writers to radio hosts. Sports Illustrated reported that some people suggested Abdul-Rauf be deported. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was born in Mississippi, however, and deportation from Colorado to Mississippi is rare. Two Denver-area radio hosts even walked into a mosque with a stereo playing the Star Spangled Banner. One was wearing a turban. And a Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf T-shirt. While broadcasting live, on air.
Abdul-Rauf claimed in a 2010 interview with HoopsHype.com that “[a]fter the national anthem fiasco, nobody really wanted to touch me.” He played only three more seasons in the NBA before going overseas to play professionally. In that same interview, he discusses how his home in Mississippi was burned down just a few months prior to Sept. 11. He eventually left the state.
So Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf stood up (or in this case, sat down) for his religious beliefs. He made his religion a visible aspect of his life and a visible aspect of his professional basketball career. Just like Tim Tebow. The difference of course being that Tim Tebow was satirized on “Saturday Night Live.” Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf had his home burned down and felt blacklisted from the NBA.
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf pales in comparison to the outspoken nature of Cassius Clay. In 1964, Cassius Clay announced his membership in the Nation of Islam, and  changed his name to Muhammad Ali. In 1966, Ali spoke out against the draft and became a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War based on his religious beliefs. In 1967, Ali was convicted of draft evasion.
But even before his conviction, Ali was causing controversy. Sports Illustrateddubbed Ali the most hated athlete in the world in April 1966. In the same article, Ali’s faith was referred to as being a part of his “fanatically religious side.” Instead of being something to admire, his faith was inconceivable fanaticism. No Christian leader supported Ali’s display of Islamic faith in the same way that Muslim leaders have supported Tebow’s display of Christian faith. Just like Tebow, though, Ali – the person, the boxer, the Muslim – could not be separated from his religion. This was never clearer than in his conscientious objection to the war in Vietnam.
By now, even casual boxing fans are familiar with Ali’s quote “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong … No Viet Cong ever called me nigger.” That one quote made Ali a social activist. And his social activism was based on his faith. Ali claimed that Islam prohibited war unless called for by Allah. That one belief made Ali’s religion a wider social issue. What followed was public outcry. Ali was stripped of his championship belt, had his boxing license suspended, and was convicted of draft evasion. The Supreme Court ultimately overturned it. But for four years, Ali, arguably the greatest boxer of all time, did not fight.
So Muhammad Ali stood up (or in this case, sat out) for his religious beliefs. He made his religion a visible aspect of his life and a visible aspect of his professional boxing career. Just like Tim Tebow 40 years later. Just like Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf 30 years later. Ali was an outspoken proponent of his religion, Islam, but was vilified for his outspoken religious beliefs. His Islamic beliefs.
Again I ask, what if Tim Tebow were Muslim? He’s not. So maybe it doesn’t matter. There is no way to separate the man and the religion. Some people praise him for it, others recoil. When this happens, avid defenders of Tebow invoke freedom of religion. But as Tebowmania makes its way into politics, sports, religion and the everyday life of the mainstream United States, it is important to think about how we approach religion in this country. How we approach religious freedom in this country. Do we accept freedom of religion, any religion? Or do we accept freedom of Christianity?
source: Salon