The All Star Game

From the archives. . .

Major League Baseball officially reached its halfway point Tuesday, July 16th as the All-Star Game played out at Citi Field in Queens. Hosted by the New York Mets for the first time in nearly 50 years, the AL shut out the NL 3-0, ending their three-year winning streak and effectively securing home field advantage for the American League in the 2013 World Series.

While most baseball fans soak in the revelry of the Midsummer Classic, enjoying the crescendo of activity that surrounds a grand event like the All-Star Game, my reaction is the opposite. I’m annoyed because it’s 10 years and counting since MLB decided it was a good idea to give away home field advantage for the World Series as the prize for winning the All-Star Game.

A prize—what is this, a carnival? Seems to be, and here’s how it happened.

In 2002, the All-Star Game resulted in an awkward 7-7- tie when the game was called in the 11th because both teams ran out of available pitchers. To say fans were salty is an understatement. Roaring with contempt, the crowd pummeled the field with garbage and jeered the umps like crazy. So, the following year in an effort to incent managers to ‘manage’ better and entice players to take the game for real, baseball’s brightest came up with the dazzling idea to give the game-winning league home field advantage in the World Series.

Say what?

Yea, that’s right. In a sport grounded in stats and numbers, both sides of the baseball aisle capriciously agreed to toss out WS home field advantage to the All-Star Game-winner. It’s absurd for sure because the All-Star Game and World Series matchups are completely different levels of play and intertwining them is a mistake because it corrodes the game.

By design, All-Star Week is a relaxed and friendly matchup between the leagues. The Midsummer Classic a time where players take a break from regular season action and come together to enjoy a saturated baseball experience. During All-Star Week, everyone is a baseball fan, players included and everyone from enthusiasts to celebrities, players, old-timers and dignitaries get to rub elbows, take in the atmosphere and enjoy electrifying pre-game events like the All-Star Workout and the Home Run Derby.

At its core, the All-Star Break is just that, a break. It’s a truth all baseball fans know though the powers that be continue to deny it by offering up a sacrosanct distinction like World Series home field advantage. Fans don’t expect to see pennant race action on the field at the All-Star Game.

Bringing baseball’s best together is what the All-Star Game is all about. It’s a way for baseball to showcase its top talent and it gives fans a chance to see the biggest names in the Big Show on one field. The entire game is suspect as far as legitimacy goes; players are only in the game long enough to make an appearance and the starting lineup is a popularity contest determined by fan voting. And, let’s not forget the All-Star Break is baseball’s equivalent to conventions in corporate America and if someone told me I’d half to work half of my vacation week, I’d be bitter.

The buildup to the All-Star Game is reminiscent of Apollo Creed’s showboating before he took on the Italian Stallion in Rocky. MLB should capitalize on that and pay it forward. With all the hoopla, FanFests, charity runs and benefit concerts surrounding All-Star Week, certainly there is a more appropriate reward and incentive geared to the spirit of the tradition that’s sufficient enough to entice the players to put on a show. Giving away home field advantage for the pinnacle series in baseball—a matchup that’s at least three months out between undetermined teams is amiss. It’s just not logical and it’s a wasted opportunity for the fans, players and the sport to leverage this event to provide to enrich to dignify the game of baseball and give back to the base that sustains its existence.

Everyone knows there’s big money in professional sports and there’s no shame in admitting it. Instead of shying away from that truth, leverage it and use All-Star Week as a backdrop for something greater than the game—like veteran’s issues, preserving baseball history, child hunger in America or pick one of the many pressing concerns facing us today. Find a cause, tie it to the All-Star game, market the heck out of it, make it about the greater good and finally, put something on the line all players can be proud of (charitable donations, face time with at-risk youth, drug use prevention). Then and only then will baseball see its players put their heart into playing the All-Star Game.

By no means am I trying to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony or anything like that. What I am saying is that certainly, the powers that be could devise a more appropriate benefit structure to incent its players to put on a show at the All-Star Game. Giving away home field advantage is not an appropriate reward and it’s not just a miss, it compromises the integrity of the game. Baseball has an opportunity to leverage such a historic event for a grander purpose and a game befitting the moniker of America’s Pastime needs to step up to the plate and take a swing at some of the bigger issues on society’s playing field.

Baseball should treat the World Series with the dignity it deserves and award home field advantage based on merit relevant to the teams in the final matchup. There is no logical reason home field should be given away in July and at this point, a solid game of roshambo seems like a more sound way to determine home field rather than giving it away to the All-Star Game victor. The spoils just don’t jive with the contest. Leagues could easily be unbalanced, with all the rules regarding eligible pitchers I’m surprised the AL and NL can finish a game in any given year. Bottom line: giving away home field is like wearing an Armani suit with clown shoes. It’s just not fitting.

Giving away World Series home field advantage is more of a gamble to the integrity of the sport than Pete Rose betting on baseball. The All-Star Game isn’t really a serious matchup; it’s more like a midseason pickup game amongst friends with a fan-generated starting lineup and a game that informal shouldn’t determine who gets home field advantage in World Series play. Call me a baseball purist; I just think that it is a sport with a season built on endurance, determination, and statistics and deserves more respect than handing out home field advantage like some prize from a street fair.

What do you think?

Getting Fit – The Husband Project

My husband’s been lamenting his health lately…

For years he’s been advised to lose the pounds however, current lifestyle choices put him in a danger zone of sorts. After a recent health scare during our Vegas vacation, he seems to have a renewed sense of urgency to shed the pounds and get healthy. Surprisingly enough, he asked me to help him get there.

Now, I like a good project as much as the next person, which is why i’ve accepted my husband’s challenge to help him adopt a healthier lifestyle. I’m worried about his health and frankly, I’m tired of hearing him whine about it. (Where I’m from, there’s no crying in baseball.)

That may sound brusque but I’ve been along for the ride on many of his crazy “I’m going to eat healthy and get in shape” trains that inevitably derail.

As many people often do, my husband’s frequently tried to lose weight before. He’s attempted a bevy of approaches including everything from fad diets and extreme exercise programs to popular and mainstream diet options like Weight Watchers, South Beach, Zone Diet), and all to NO avail.

Time and time again, he’s tried these various programs or concocted his own weight loss spell because he thinks it will provide him with an out from his labyrinth of unhealthy living. But it never does.

While he has the best intentions, he seems to leave basic math out of the equation and gets a bit militant about what he’s allowed to have. He deprives himself of things he likes and instead of learning moderation or how to make a healthier choices he goes through a ‘have not’ cycle that makes him crave that which he’s ‘given up’ much faster.

Eventually the stringent thinking he tries to subscribe to backfires and suddenly, he’s throwing a rebellion for one and caves to cravings but instead of having a bite, he binges. That inevitably kicks off a self destructive cycle where he’s trapped in a perpetual continuum of self-loathing. It is beyond sad to watch.

From there he spirals further, ending up as a yo-yo dieter cautionary tale. Off the rails and reeling from defeat, he begins to overindulge in all the bad habits he disavowed a few days before. Now he’s heavier and feeling more defeated than before, if that’s possible.

Everyone knows there’s an unfortunate and accompanying stigma associated with being overweight. Society fat shames the obese & praises the scary skinny so it’s no wonder deterred dieters enter an inner dialogue of self destructive thinking. It’s madness.

I totally get it’s hard to break cycles. While i’m not overweight I’m not in the best shape either and I’ve been working on it steadfastly for a decade. I really believe the key to sustained lifestyle changes lies in changing your process–not in just the day to day choices you’re making but also, the rationale behind your decision making.

Dieting is stupid and by design, sets users up to fail. What my husband should be focusing on, instead of drastic eating and exercise programs, is a paradigm shift in his thinking. He’s not giving up anything, all he has to gain is the benefits from healthy lifestyle choices but he quickly forgets that and caves to his inner critic when his cravings get a ninja grip on his brain and won’t let him think otherwise.

Self-doubt is an inner bully trying to push you around & kick your ass. It’s a negative inner dialog seems to be the loudest when individual willpower is low. Don’t let it. Yielding to your inner critic found lurking inside is a trap. Free yourself.

Working on one’s health is a process: therein lies a crucial point for anyone on a journey toward any goal, health or otherwise. Goals take time. Establishing clockwork takes time. Stay on the path, keep on trucking and continue on the journey.

Getting in shape is part black magic a sprinkle of luck, and a heck of a lot of determination and I firmly believe that if you change your perspective and you change your world.

Here’s hoping i can help my husband alter his and realize he’s not giving up anything but trying a nutrition program that incorporates portion control, math and regular physical activity (and I don’t mean walking to the fridge to get a new seasonal IPA).

Really, I mean it all with love.

 

Resolution Updates

To say I haven’t blogged in a while is an understatement. My  last post is from January 1, 2014, and it’s from way back when I blogged about my list of New Year’s goals.

Everyone knows resolutions are hard to set. Goals by nature are intended as a challenge and while accomplishing them can feel euphoric, the downside to not achieving them can be far more demoralizing.

According to Forbes Magazine, a mere 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. This translates to 92-ish percent of people failing to meet their personal goals. That’s pretty depressing.

So, how did this “underachiever” fare? Well, I’m pleased to report I successfully achieved ALL my New Year’s resolutions this year!

Yea, that’s right. . . I’m batting a thousand!! #holla

New Year’s Resolutions 2014

Today is January 1, 2014, the first day of the New Year, a perfect time to hit the reset button and start fresh. Like many others, I spent some time thinking about setting some personal goals for 2014 and was surprised to find that coming up with a list of New Year’s resolutions proved more difficult than usual for me this time around.

Seriously, making a simple list had me racking my brain and I wasn’t sure why. Normally I could come up with an itemized catalog of goals and aspirations with little to no effort but this year was a challenge. Irritated at myself for taking way too much time to come up with a list of three measly things, I asked my husband if he thought I was an underachiever.

Now, I’m not quite sure what I was trying to get at by asking such a brash question however, without hesitation and with a resounding ‘yes’ that leaped from his lips before I could finish, my husband confirmed something I had long worried was true yet I never fully acknowledged and that is this,

“Jenna–you are an underachiever.”

Ouch.

Now while some partners may have a problem with their spouse blurting out a boldly affirmative answer to such a delicate question with fervent candor, I applaud my husband’s honesty. Hey, let’s face it,  if I had answer the question truthfully myself, I would agree with him completely.

Great, Jenna. Now what?

#####

 

 

So long 2013, you’ve been a good year.

It’s 12/31/2013, the last day of the year and New Year’s resolutions are abound. The Internet is brimming with an array of advice and it’s easy to find a guru’s latest take on anything. From tips on how to find personal happiness in 2014 to long and lengthy lists giving you ‘proven’ ways to succeed at keeping your New Year’s resolutions, anything and everything is just a Google machine search away. Since I usually have something to say about one thing or another, I’m listing my top resolutions/goals in hopes that I’ll stick with and/or achieve them in 2014.

In no particular order, here they are:

1. Finish getting in shape. I have been working diligently to rehab my body. I’m coming up on a notable birthday and I don’t want to have bingo lady arms in my Vegas party pics.

2. Speaking of Vegas—seeing #BritneySpears at Planet Hollywood is a must! I adore Brit Brit; she is one tenacious and talented lady. Many times when I was going through some funky stuff I often repeated to myself, “If Britney can get through 2007—I can handle this.”

It’s hard to believe Britney Spear’s debut album is a more than 15 years old. I give props to her strength and have to figure out a way to get Britney Spears tickets for her show at Planet Hollywood in 2014.

Britney Spears kicked off her Planet Hollywood residency!
#BritneySpears @ #PlanetHollywood #woot

3. Paint. I have a stack of art supplies and have been meaning to find my creative streak again but for some reason, it just sits there.

One final note, while it’s easy to search for items to put on your list, perhaps we’d be better served if instead we made a list of things we aspire to be. Let’s take the negative connotation out of New Year’s resolutions and strive to add at least one positive habit to try catching instead. In 2014, I’d like to stop regretting my choices. I am determined to view my life through the windshield and I will not fixate on the replay of past events. Happy New Year yinz!