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Old Sports Writers Could Lose HOF Vote

August 2nd, 2015 · No Comments · Baseball

The Baseball Hall of Fame wants some of the old sports writers off the voting rolls for the game’s greatest honor — admission to the Hall of Fame.

I would take that personally … except that I think it’s a good idea.

To see the headline is to think, at first: “Hey, ageism at work! That’s wrong!”

But that doesn’t convey the nuance of the decision, and the nuance makes it sensible.

Here is the key provision:

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August 1, 1966

August 1st, 2015 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

The human brain is such that basic facts from our youth are likely to remain lodged there decades later when we struggle to recall the name of the new co-worker sitting across from you.

I remember the birthdays of neighborhood pals. I know the date of D-Day, Waterloo, V-E Day and the Little Bighorn. I can recite the winners of every World Series of the 1960s.

I also remember the day my grandmother died.

August 1, 1966

Since 1966, no August 1 has passed without me thinking of her.

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God Hates … Toronto?

July 31st, 2015 · No Comments · Baseball, NBA

“God hates (fill in city name)” was a meme Bill Simmons worked into the ground during his writing days. He could hardly go a month without revisiting the topic, tweaking it slightly, looking at it from another perspective.

Sure, it usually came out with Cleveland and Buffalo near the top, as “most benighted sports cities” … but cases could be made for Minneapolis, San Diego …

And Toronto?

I don’t remember seeing much about “Toronto and Godforsaken”, but Canada’s biggest city warrants some sympathy, as I realized after looking at the baseball Blue Jays this week as they swung a couple of big deals in a bid to improve their chances of making the baseball playoffs …

… for the first time since 1993, the longest no-playoffs streak in North America’s Big Four sports leagues.

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Catching Up on Justin Turner

July 30th, 2015 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

Back in February I looked at the list of the 10 bobblehead nights the Dodgers were planning for the 2015 season, and saw a name there barely familiar to me:

Justin Turner.

And I did a post entitled The Unknown Bobblehead … referring to this Justin Turner person, who for all I knew might have played 100 years ago.

And now, six months later, I have come around on this to the point that a case can be made that Justin Turner is the third or fourth most important hitter in the Dodgers lineup.

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Dodgers Acquire an Oaf?

July 29th, 2015 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

I don’t know Mat Latos. Pretty sure I’ve never been in the same room with him. Maybe not even in the same stadium, since he got to the bigs just as I was leaving California.

But he seems to be the sort of guy who gets under the skin of people around him, and Dodgers fans would like to think the club looked into that before (apparently) trading for him today.

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UAE Drivers Deal with Gas Price Hike

July 28th, 2015 · No Comments · Travel, UAE

Gasoline price hikes always come as something of a shock in the Gulf, where many countries are pretty much floating on oil and consumers expect to pay very little at the pump.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading producer of oil and gas prices there have always been cheap — about 59 cents a gallon, according to the globalpetrolprices.com site. It is 79 cents a gallon in Kuwait, $1.01 in Qatar.

At the moment, UAE prices are $1.77 a gallon, which some consumers here already thought was high.

Prices are going higher, the energy minister said today, up 44 cents a gallon to $2.21 a gallon on August 1 — a 24.9 percent increase.

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Cycling Still Races Under Cloud

July 27th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

It isn’t clear how long it will take cycling to escape the long shadow cast by Lance Armstrong‘s six doping-tainted Tour de France victories.

It hasn’t happened yet, as Chris Froome found out while winning the 2015 Tour yesterday.

He was a little too convincing as the winner of a tough mountain stage on Bastille Day, July 14, when he seized control of the race, and that was all it took for the questions to begin, with the clear subtext that Froome must be cheating, too.

Over the final 12 days of the race, Froome was spat at by fans, and one of them apparently tossed a bag of urine on the Englishman.

Clearly, riders should not be assaulted by fans, but it is hard to condemn those who limit their suspicions to tough questions about a rider’s superiority. If we have learned anything about cycling over the past 20 years, we know that “suspicion” is a good default setting when evaluating any great performance in the demanding sport.

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The Veteran Doctor

July 26th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

I much prefer people from some professions to be older than I am. Presidents. Ministers. Doctors.

The ones I deal with, anyway.

I have always assumed that someone is certainly going to be wiser than me if he or she is older. I don’t think that’s an unusual preference; as you get older I believe you become more aware of the Things You Don’t Know and Never Will — and you like extra years in key professions.

This is becoming increasingly difficult, of course, as I move up the actuarial table. Some large percentage of my elders are retired. The current president is the first to be younger than me, and I don’t like it. And it’s been a while now since a doctor was older than I am.

Until my recent — and wonderful — visit to one in Long Beach.

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See: Two Days Ago

July 25th, 2015 · No Comments · Football, soccer, World Cup

What I wrote then?

Jurgen Klinsmann needs to be fired as soon as possible if the U.S. national soccer team is going to make any real improvement ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

The latest?

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In Praise of Airline Food

July 24th, 2015 · No Comments · tourism, Travel

For most of my life, airline food was mocked and derided.

“Cold” … “rubbery” … “tasteless” … “inedible”.

We ate airline food because it came with the ride. It was distributed, free. No, really.

(And I realize some Millennials have never seen anything more tasty than peanuts given away/sold. Or, worse, a bag of mini-pretzels.)

For years, the airlines provided meals as a form of crowd control. During meal-delivery, which generally clogged the aisle(s) for an hour, we all stayed in our seats, waiting for our freebies. Which usually came to us in three segments: 1) drinks cart; 2) food plate; 3) followup drinks cart or coffee/tea.

It also helped pass the time. And, 40-50 years ago, led to jokes about how bad airplane food was, mostly because it had to be reheated at altitude. Then came price-conscious cost cuts, and the disappearance of meals on most short flights.

Perceptions of airline food haven’t changed much, but the result has. Airline meals are no longer an issue of “how desperate for food are you?”

Meals are provided with less frequency, but my sense is, that when they are provided, they are better than they have ever been.

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