Tag Archives: poetry

The slider was a psychedelic nightmare for Bobby Crosby.

crozz2For the readers of this blog that don’t follow the Athletics closely–Bobby Crosby was a super-stud prospect who was called up to the big club, won Rookie of the Year in 2004, and then just….disappeared. I’m not a huge fan of poetry, but I believe that this one sums up Crosby’s and hundreds of other players careers that have come and gone throughout the decades.  Poem by Sam Yam.

 

It looks so straight, but ends up slicing
If pitching were a cake, it would be the icing
There’s nothing in the world so enticing
as the slider low and away

It feels like the pitcher is just showing off
I’ve tried to get the runners to tip me off
But however I try I just can’t lay off
of the slider low and away

Fastballs and changeups? I don’t do ’em
Curveballs and sinkers? I eschew ’em
Strikes in general? I say screw ’em
for the slider low and away

They wish that I could hold up and stare
But quite honestly, I just don’t care
Because nothing will end my love affair
with the slider low and away

 

 

Brett Lawrie, I bid you adieu.

 

2015-TU-265-Brett-LawrieIn the news: Donald Trump and his xenophobic rhetoric and unrealistic, infantile threats of massive bombing have been dominating the attention span of talking heads recently. I am a member of one of the most pessimistic and ironic generations that has ever roamed the earth–Generation X — so all of this is difficult to process as I can’t get past Trump’s silver-spoon-since-birth shitty bourgeoise attitude and makes me laugh/makes me want to kill someone psychedelic hairpiece. It’s also offensive that the man is using death, suffering and a public existential crisis to further his own political agenda; not caring a lick about working class struggles or fears. Truly a sickening individual with no ability to conceive the reality that average Americans face everyday. “Condemnation without investigation is the highest form of ignorance.” – Albert Einstein

 

MLB’s alcoholic circle jerk known as the Winter Meetings took place in Nashville and new Oakland G.M. David Forst harkened back to the early days when teams would try to find the drunkest guy in the room and then proceed to pilfer him for great players on the cheap. Forst recently lived up to that generalization when he traded Brett Lawrie to the White Sox and in exchange the South-Siders sent minor leaguers RHP J.B. Wendelken (AAA) and LHP Zack Erwin (A) to the A’s. Neither was on the Sox’s list of Top-30 prospects. This trade was a head-scratcher because of its insignificance.You would think that the Oakland ball-club would try to squeeze something more appetizing out of the Sox because of their desperate attempt to pick up ANYONE better than Mike Oltdave justice pepsi dollar at third base. Let us take a pause… we’ve now traded Josh Donaldson for 3 minor league pitchers, 1 major league pitcher, and a very young (albeit in theory future superstar)short stop. Forst just pushed the button on the evaluation of the that ill-fated trade even further. Lawrie? who knows…he probably called out Beane for not stocking the vending machine with free sodas. (this may be an inside joke to the clueless, hello Dave Justice!) Joking aside, the trade may have been a desperate attempt at dumping “Tweaker” as there have been whispers about Lawrie being a clubhouse nuisance after not one teammate stepped up when was drilled early in the season by Kansas City.
Something tells me the A’s will be okay without Lawrie, and that moving on was the hard-boiled thing to do. Lawrie will always be seen by this blog as a hard-nosed player with a serious hitch in his swing, horrible plate approach and is partial to tattoos and copious amounts of energy drinks. With Lawrie you see the sweat, blood, tears, screams, anger, defeat, triumph, joy, sadness and a .299 OBP. (probably the real reason why he was traded.) You see every bit of it. But unfortunately individuals with freakish athleticism don’t always translate well to the baseball field. Just ask Michael Jordan.

The Philadelphia Athletics and their hunchbacked mascot.

louis van zelst

Louis Van Zelst

Louis Van Zelst was born in 1895 and was disfigured, the result of an early childhood fall. However, while Van Zelst grew to have a humpback, he was never particularly self-conscious about it, and willingly served as a mascot for a few teams at the University of Pennsylvania.

The University of Pennsylvania happened to share a city with the Philadelphia Athletics, and Van Zelst came to know some of the team’s players and its manager, Connie Mack. Van Zelst approached Mack in 1909 saying he was lucky, and after giving him a tryout, Mack was sufficiently superstitious to believe him and bring him on in an official capacity.

Van Zelst began as the Athletics’ bat boy in 1910, and while the team had been good the year before, in 1910 it won the World Series, and Van Zelst was paid a substantial bonus. The Athletics would then win the World Series again in 1911 and again in 1913, before losing in 1914. Still, Van Zelst had four Series appearances and three championships to his name as a mascot, which is about as good as it gets.

In the day-to-day, Van Zelst was on hand for pretty much every home game and many road games. Prior to each game, players would walk over and rub his humpback for good luck. Such practices were not rare in those days. They stemmed from the rather out-of-control belief in superstitions which resulted in midgets, humpbacks and other unfortunates joining the ranks of youngsters in the dugouts of major league baseball teams. In Baseball: The Golden Age, Harold Seymour explains that “Lefthanders, hunchbacks and cross-eyed people were all considered (lucky). …Touching a hunchback was popularly believed to bring good luck…. Brownie Burke, a midget to whom Gary Herrmann took a fancy was in uniform daily with the Cincinnati Reds.” There are countless other examples from Ty Cobb’s unfortunate black boy mascot Li’l Rastus to Babe Ruth’s not-so-unfortunate Little Ray Kelly. Indeed, the crosstown Phillies would soon match the A’s with a hunchback mascot of their own. Van Zelst was popular with both Athletics players and visitors, and was even invited to second baseman Eddie Collins’ wedding. At one point Mack tried to send him out to coach first base before the umpire told him to return to the dugout.

Unfortunately, Van Zelst fell ill after the 1914 season and soon died of kidney disease. After advancing to the World Series with Van Zelst in 1914, the Athletics finished in last place in 1915, the first of seven consecutive years they’d finish in the basement.

The dumpster fire known as the 2015 season.

The 'Fro agrees with this fans assessment of the "split caps."

The ‘Fro agrees with this fans assessment of the “split caps.”

Baseball doesn’t always follow a Hollywood script and neither do baseball seasons. This past season, for me, conjures up the old baseball adage: we came, we saw, we went home. It was a quandary from the beginning that lent itself to flaccid penis. We as Oakland fans simply knew we weren’t going to be contenders a month deep, and it can be tough watching games day after day, month after month with no hope for the immediate future and a bullpen that resembles something my dog leaves on the ground after a brisk walk. The A’s pitching has been at its worst since the mid 1990s and it makes me cringe at how they would look without Sonny Gray and half a year of Scott Kazmir. This team reminds me of the crummy baseball team on the Twilight Zone episode “The Mighty Casey.” Perhaps the Oakland ball-club should sign a robot as well or maybe Kelly Leak from the Bad News Bears. Hell, the alcoholic manager of the Bears (played by the late, great Walter Matthau) could probably hit as well as Sam Fuld. The rest of the team (except for a few players) left me cold– like a disease but with a prescription that includes strychnine along with the penicillin.
This past Saturday gave Bay Area baseball fans something to talk about (besides provincial animosities) as the A’s and Giants faced off with 2 of Oakland’s “Big 3” facing off in Barry Zito’s first ML appearance since 2013 and perhaps the final appearance of his career. (obviously my local A’s radio affiliate couldn’t care less as they decided to carry a Division 2 football game instead.) The game echoed the year to date: much to do about nothing as Zito and Tim Hudson were knocked around and each left before the 3rd inning. The fans gave each a heartwarming standing ovation as they skulked off the field in perhaps the most ultimate display of nostalgia and a desperate attempt to cheer about ANYTHING in a season of despair, disappointment and the worst record in the A.L. Is there any way to smirk on paper? Fans were actually excited about a dumpster fire… but at least this one had an explosion at the end compared to the many others we’ve experienced that were just slow burning tire fires. I just refused to bring out the marshmallows.

The puzzling relationship between Reggie Jackson and his adoring public.

reggie puzzlePALM SPRINGS, March 23rd 1985 — Reggie Jackson and Brian Downing were involved in an altercation with an unidentified man following the Angels’ 8-1 exhibition victory over the Cleveland Indians at Tucson Friday.
The incident took place in the parking lot at Hi Corbett Field as Jackson and Downing were preparing to return to the Angel training base at Mesa, Ariz.
Jackson, reached by phone Friday night, said he was merely responding to the man’s belligerence by trying to restrain him. He said no punches were thrown and that the man ultimately apologized as he and Downing left in Downing’s car.
Witnesses told the Arizona Daily Star that the man had heckled Jackson throughout the game and continued to do so in the parking lot. They said that while there were no punches, the heckler suffered a cut lip, apparently in the jostling near Downing’s car.
by Brody D-Bag (name changed to protect the “innocent.”)
My buddies and I took a trip to Palm Springs in 1985 to get away from our wives, kids, jobs and the everyday hustle and bustle. I was working in real estate at the time and had the persona of a world class douche-bag. (hey, it was the 80’s!) We had been partying voraciously all week and had all downed a few “hair of the dog” bloody marys that morning before Dave looked in the newspaper and found that the Angels were in town for Spring Training.
“I want to see that .220 hitting son of a bitch play!” Dave screamed as he buttoned his Hawaiian shirt.
I knew who he was talking about– Mr. Hot Dog himself, Reggie Jackson.
We all climbed in the car, eyes bloodshot and ready for some beers, sun and some good times. Of course, we parked ourselves in the right field bleachers and proceeded to heckle Jackson mercilessly, as only 10 year olds can. FINALLY in the 8th inning, he turned around and gave us the finger. It was a triumphant moment of immaturity.
After the game I approached Reggie in a drunken stupor in the parking lot and tried to shake his hand.
“You and your friends were the assholes in the bleachers!” he said as he grabbed my wrists and shoved me to the ground.
Jackson then jumped in fellow player Brian Downing’s car and they sped off. It was later reported that I was shoving kids and offered him cocaine…in Spanish. I am not proud of my actions and have always regretted every moment, but that statement simply wasn’t true.
I don’t even speak Spanish.

Brett Lawrie and my vacation.

lawrie bro

Who doesn’t tape 40’s to their hands, I mean….c’mon!

I am typing this through the dense smell of cow shit on an Amtrak train hurtling at 80 mph through the California Central Valley from Sacramento to Los Angeles. What a strange, wild world we live in.

It looks like the Oakland Athletics’ lovable frat-boy, Brett Lawrie (pictured) found himself in a bit of trouble over the weekend–injuring Kansas City second baseman Alcides Escobar in an attempt to break up a double play.  After seeing the replay, it seems to me if Lawrie manages to slide directly into the bag, he’s safe. Easily. Instead he takes out Escobar, cleats up, with his lead foot shin/calve, dragging his hand across the bag (and then past the bag). I’ve seen a talking head for MLBN state that it was a hard slide to break up Escobar receiving the ball and I agree. After a beaning in the back, a Twitter war between players and fans, a bench clearing “brawl” that consisted of players standing around and a few ejections; it looks like we have a good old-fashioned baseball rivalry on our hands. That’s just baseball. Obviously there is still bad blood between these teams due to last years playoffs, yet the season is still way too early for these kinds of things. It’s good to see that the Athletics have a lot of heart and competitive drive, but let’s get back to the summer marathon that we all enjoy shall we?

IN OTHER NEWS…I got a chance to see the (AAA) Sacramento Rivercats play the Las Vegas 51’s on Tuesday. Mind you, this was after swearing that I’d never step foot in their ballpark again after recently switching affiliation from the A’s to the Giants. Well, boredom and curiosity got the best of me. My mom was working that day and I needed something to do in a town that traditionally has nothing to do. I hadn’t stepped foot in Sacramento in over a year and wanted to see what the lions’ den would look like–what was once home would now be behind enemy lines complete with orange and black barbed wire.

The moment felt strange from the beginning. The sea of Giants caps and guilt made me feel a bit nauseous. “It’s OK, it’s baseball.” I kept telling myself. My positive emotions were soon turned to mush as I found out that the cheapest tickets were 12 DOLLARS! For a minor league game!!! Like always, I waited the unwritten baseball rule of 3 innings planted in a crap seat in the sun before finding a nice, shady seat right along the first base line. It was a typically fun day at the yard with a homer, a few great defensive plays, (even a bases loaded 1-2-3!)  a few pitching changes and even a few great plays by the fans. I paid 6 bucks for a relatively fat hot dog (anything is better than the Dodger Dog, which are usually stale) that was quite tasty. The price was ridiculous but I came away happier and with a nice tan as I listened to the sea lions bark below the iconic Tower Bridge on the walk home.

Brian Kingman does some time travel.

bk

loves girls with cars….well, at least in 1975.

BK,

I just noticed you were born on July 27th. I was born on July 26th, 1975….you were a young buck just starting out in Boise at that time…
A 19 year old punk just a day shy of his 20th birthday…out on the road, away from his parents and living his baseball dream. Do you remember what you did that day? So fucking long ago…. 
July 26, 1975….let’s see if I can successfully do some time traveling back almost 40 years to the Northwest League. Normally this would next to impossible, however
through the magic of the Internet I was able to find a newspaper clipping that helped to spark my memory.
On Thursday July 24th I was within two outs of a no-hitter in Boise Idaho, but ended up with  a one hitter in a 7 inning game against the Portland Mavericks. Jim Bouton played for the Mavericks that year but he wasn’t with the team at the time we played them. If he had been I would have run through a brick wall to meet him! (editors note: Kurt Russell’s father owned the Portland team and the actor actually played for the unaffiliated team in 1973…a few years before Brian was in the league.)
I believe we played the Mavericks again on Friday, July25th. Only in the minor leagues would you leave around midnight, take a long bus ride and play the next day, but that’s what we did. We were off to Bellingham, Washington to play the Dodgers. So on Saturday July 26th, 1975 – Your Birthday- I would have been in Bellingham, between starts, and trying to figure out what the hell to do for entertainment after the game in a small town (population probably around 40,000 back then). The usual strategy for minor leaguers who constantly find themselves on the road and without a car, is to meet girls who have cars, and other coveted assets that can be shared and enjoyed. For more on this topic refer to Life in The Minors or perhaps even Ball Four.
Dave Stewart was on the Bellingham Dodgers. I remember him being mostly a relief pitcher at the time. I remember there was a team in Seattle as well, that played in the same ballpark (Sick Stadium) as the Seattle Pilots had several years earlier. Most baseball fans have never even heard of the Pilots because they only lasted one season, 1969. The only reason I remember
this is because Jim Bouton included his season with the Pilots in his epic book Ball Four.

1

“Stew” looking mean.

Bouton resurfaced in the majors as a knuckleball relief pitcher in 1969 with the Seattle Pilots and later the Houston Astros. This period is well documented in Ball Four. Although Bouton was moderately successful as a knuckleball relief pitcher, after the backlash against Ball Four, Bouton disappeared from the majors. Although gone from the major leagues, Bouton continued to pitch for professional and semi-pro teams. He eventually made it back to the majors with the Atlanta Braves for five games in 1978 at the age of 39
After making it back to the major leagues he wrote this in a Sports Illustrated article: “Actually, I thought I’d play about five more years, Hoyt Wilhelm pitched until he was 48, but by the time I got called up, I knew I wouldn’t even stay around that long.” (Bouton was 39 at the time)

The most hated Oakland Athletics (according to my readers)

jj

The “winner!”

1.) Jim Johnson –This one doesn’t surprise me as it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind. I disagreed with the signing from the very beginning because A) I don’t believe in giving closers big money B) despite having 50 saves in Baltimore the year before, (hands down the most overrated statistic in sports) he still managed to blow 9 games…a horrible percentage. C) He just looked like a creep.

I was spot-on as the fans quickly grew tired of pitches that had zero movement and blown saves in bunches. Eventually he was run out-of-town until signing with Detroit who grew tired of him as well and sent him to AAA Toledo to waste away in the city known for unemployment and the smell of shit in the air…a fitting ending to the season for Johnson and perhaps an omen.

2.) Daric Barton — This guy never had a nickname, yet as far as I was concerned it should have been “The Cockroach.” (He was deemed “Churro Vendor” by this blog because readers thought that it would be a better suited job.) Barton was acquired in the trade with St. Louis for Mark Mulder (Dan Haren was also acquired in the trade supplying 43 wins and an All Star appearance, so the trade worked out pretty well overall.) and was slated to be the Athletics first baseman for years to come. The only problem was that he couldn’t hit a lick, but for some reason stuck around for EIGHT seasons, being shuttled back and forth to Sacramento (AAA) so much that he sort of became their unofficial mascot. The cherry on top of the shit-heap was when he was put on waivers twice in one week and not one team claimed him. 

geren

Geren and his perpetual, smug asshole face.

3.) Brian Fuentes/Bob Geren — Yet another closer that didn’t live up to his deemed position. His goofy face, big ears and screwy delivery added to the fire when the blown saves started to add up. Things got so bad that my mother, a neophyte baseball fan, would storm out of the room whenever he came into the game.  A reader of this blog summed it up perfectly when she sent this response: I hate Brian Fuentes with a passion. He is a horrible closer. He blew 4 saves in eight days when he was with the Rockies. I cried a little when I had found out we picked him up in 2011. My dad kept trying to say he was good, and he was briefly, but I just told him to wait. It quickly turned into “OH (f-bomb)! Fuentes is coming in. There goes the game.” The only saving grace was when he criticized then manager Bob Geren’s (probably the least liked manager in Oakland history and an ex-Yankee, so who really gives a darn!) “unorthodox managing”, handling of pitchers and “zero communication.” Then ex-closer Huston Street piped in saying of Geren that “he is the least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports.” Ol’ Bob was let go after the 2011 season leading to the signing of another Bob (Melvin) and Fuentes’ career was over soon there-after.

Honorable mention:

Arthur Rhodes (yet another stinky closer.)

Luis Polonia (not sure about this one as he was busted for raping a woman as a Yankee. Perhaps the reader hated dripping jheri curl mullets.)

Nick Swisher (was sort of a lovable hick/douchbag until he got Yankee-itis and then began thinking he was a much better player than he really was.)

Jon Lester (more Yo hangovers)

Jeremy Giambi (strip clubs, drunkenness, a scolding by Brad Pitt in the locker room and the prancing “non-slide.”)

Bobby Crosby (a high pick that couldn’t do much of anything after his rookie year and even had his dad criticize Billy Beane in the media.)

Buddy Groom (dumb name, psycho looking face, and one of the worst LOOGY’s of all time.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark McGwire, my childhood, and why he should be in the HOF despite the “Boomers” that keep him out.

1985-mark-mcgwire-rookie-card

Whoa…this card stirs up a lot of emotions.

It’s strange; when most baseball fans talk about iconic cards of their youths they will usually cite a  1952 Mickey Mantle, 1968 Nolan Ryan or even a 1984 Don Mattingly rookie. That is all well and good; I enjoy baseball’s past and have spent countless hours and even days researching it. The most iconic card in my youth, however, was the 1987 Topps Mark McGwire.

You see, he was my favorite player on my favorite team; that’s not much of a stretch for a kid growing up in Northern California. When I look at this funky piece of cardboard with a blurry photo of a young, lanky, hunchbacked McGwire with the tacky, 1970’s Dad’s den border, I feel that it represents a couple of things that my generation encompassed so well–mass production and the willingness to do anything at all costs to achieve economic success in an era of unemployment and despair. (In this case “success” can be translated into “baseball success” through PED’s which equals economic success, my generation didn’t have the leisure of  the metaphorical PED in the workforce due to the “Boomers” taking all the corporate sectors that they inherited overseas in order to pay the rabble pennies on the dollar. In effect, fucking over China, Indonesia and El Salvador’s working poor and their own people as well. We are forever destined to bat .260 and never have a set position…so much for the “hippy generation.”)

“Popularity of era” is a part of becoming a HOFer…that is why Mark McGwire should be in there. PED’s or not, he was a HUGE part of those 90’s Athletics teams that people love and will talk about forever. Not to mention the class he showed to Roger Maris’ family when he broke the home run record.. (who was vilified as well by the fascist MLB brass…the asterisk instilled by then commissioner Ford Frick still has not been removed due to Maris breaking the record in the then-newly instilled 162 games. The feeling and overall jealousy of the new generation (now old as dirt or perhaps dead…do you see a running theme here?) was further recognized when HOFer Rogers Hornby said, “It would be a disappointment if Ruth’s home run record were bested by a .270 hitter”. Isn’t it strange how the players in an era with the least talent in an era where they didn’t even have to face black players are the biggest shit talkers!?)

goof

One of the greatest power hitters of all time.

There is a lot of talk about Tim Raines for the HOF..let’s get real…his stats are solid and then as the 90’s become a reality he becomes sort of hanger-on and a non entity. No one cared outside of Montreal. (and then again...they didn’t even care) It’s akin to giving the handicapped kid a pat on the back.

It’s all about IMPACT, era and the impact of that specific era. Just ask Derek Jeter, who was never even close to being the best player on his team, (or Pee Wee Reese for that matter.) yet Jeter will be a first ballot HOFer based on “good looks,” a great interview and a legion of mooks from Brooklyn who think they can be an MLB player because he did it. (Miguel Tejada was infinitely better in his prime.)

Here’s what I remember:
Multi-ethnic “sources” saying over half the players on every team used, and that MLB even tacitly encouraged it. I remember a reporter mentioning McGwire having androstenedione displayed openly in his locker, then said reporter getting raked over the coals by players, other reporters, and even the commissioner of baseball–Bud Selig.

Players linked to steroid use have been resoundingly rejected by Hall of Fame voters in recent years, shunned as synthetically enhanced frauds. But drawing an integrity line in the sand is a tenuous stance at a Hall of Fame with a membership that already includes multiple cheaters. Baseball has always had some form of hypocrisy when it comes to its exalted heroes. In theory, when it comes to these kinds of votes, it’s true that character should matter, but once you’ve already let in those who cheated, how can you exclude anyone else?

Here are a few:

Gaylord Perry (class of 1991) had a disregard for the rules that was far more patent and unashamed than any steroid user. Perry doctored baseballs with spit, Vaseline and other substances to confound hitters. All of baseball knew what Perry was doing even if he never admitted it — until writing a tell-all book after his retirement.

Don Sutton (class of 1998) Late in his career, Sutton was often accused of scuffing. In 1978 he was ejected and suspended 10 days for defacing the ball, but when he threatened to sue the National League, he was let off. Was teammates with Gaylord Perry for a while. “He gave me a tube of Vaseline,” joked Sutton. “I thanked him and gave him a piece of sandpaper.” Umpires took the allegations seriously, and sometimes gave him a good going over. Once, he left a note inside his glove for the men in black. It said, “You’re getting warm, but it’s not here.”

Whitey Ford (Class of 1974)… Ford used his wedding ring to cut the ball, or had catcher Elston Howard put a nice slice in it with a buckle on his shin guard. Ford also planted mud pies around the mound and used them to load the ball. He confessed that when pitching against the Dodgers in the 1963 World Series, “I used enough mud to build a dam.” He also threw a “gunk ball,” which combined a mixture of baby oil, turpentine, and resin. He kept the “gunk” in a roll-on dispenser, which, the story goes, Yogi Berra once mistook for deodorant, gluing his arms to his sides in the process.

Things are becoming a bit strange in the baseball world due to the advent of the internet and the basic human emotion of being a follower in a world of followers. (or they may do it to seem intelligent; I know this blog has been attacked by many lard-ass “experts,” with mustard stains running down their shirts, living in their mom’s basement and if they’re lucky MAY have a book published with a small run that no one will read.)  I’m starting to see a lot of followers who have no ideas of their own embrace idiotic “statistics”, nostalgia where there never was any, forced moral platitudes and just overall madness. I would die of shock if anyone had an original idea that was absolutely and irreducibly their own. Let’s hope the future generation/s gets it right when the novelty of being angry about a specific (and fun!) era finally dissolves after the Boomer HOF voter generation is finally dead. I have a feeling that the children of the future, because of their gradual and inevitable loss of civil rights, may find fault in the faceless men in the ivory tower who cashed in their billions and instead find compassion for the men simply trying to please them.

Brian Kingman talks about life after death.

Brian Kingman Oakland Athletics

Brian Kingman, your author.

 I recently e-mailed ex-Athletics pitcher Brian Kingman– informing him that the first player on the 1981 team that he had played for had passed. Kelvin Moore, who had played parts of 3 seasons in the majors had died on November 9th, 2014 from cardiac arrest. He was 57. 

Brian, being insightful and clever as always sent me back this interesting e-mail that ponders life after death and the infinite intricacies that perhaps may await us.  I hope C.C.A. readers enjoy this special, one of a kind look into a former ballplayers deepest, most personal thoughts: 

I am so very sorry to hear about Kelvin.
He was a great teammate – easy-going nice guy and powerful hitter.
What do you think happens when you die? 
 
 
The short answer of course is that no one knows. For all we know dying might be an awesome experience. Unfortunately no one has managed to report back from the dead to let us know. It remains a mystery. In fact you could say our entire existence is full of uncertainty. Man still debates the origins of our beginnings, questions the meaning of life, and has no knowledge of what happens after death.
 
 The Souls Search For Salvation aka Coping Mechanism
 
The fact that life is full of mysteries and unexplainable events, such as death, has been a source of angst since the beginning of time. What is a coping mechanism? It is a term used by psychologists

kelvin

R.I.P. Mr. Moore

to describe an adaptation to environmental stress that is based on conscious or unconscious choice, and that enhances control over behavior or gives psychological comfort. It has also been used by 20 game losers to make themselves believe that other people actually understand how they lost 20 games (trying to remember this is a baseball blog!)

 
The emergence of religion (some might say the invention of religion) gave Man an explanation for suffering, evil and the unknown in the world. It also gave man the hope for life after death. The essence of all religions are basically the same: A life does not begin at birth or end at death. Some religions believe in a Heaven or Hell, while others believe in reincarnation. Religion grew to become a huge part of an individuals life from birth to death, and helped to diminish the despair of meaninglessness.
 
With the advent of science many religious beliefs became mythology, and belief in God, which was the basis for meaning and value went into decline  his led to Nietzche’s famous quote: “God is dead”.  Cause of death? Indifference caused by a cultural shift away from faith, and towards science and rationalism. Beginning around the time of the Renaissance there was a major change in Man’s psychological evolution. By losing religion, modern man lost his connection with the afterlife.
“Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.”
    ~Jean Paul Sartre
 
But is it an illusion?
 
 Those who have had a near death experience have reported various things from feelings of warmth, serenity and detachment from the body, to the presence of a light at the end of a tunnel. Sounds very similar to what a baby goes through at birth. It leaves the only home it has known, and travels through a narrow tunnel towards a light. Perhaps after all, death is just a part of the cycle of life. I find life more satisfying living with the belief that we are eternal beings. It is so much more satisfying than what Shakespeare described in the early 1600’s when
he wrote these famous lines for his play Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5):
 

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
 
 
Now that you have read the long answer, you learn it really is the same as the short answer. No one knows what happens when you die.
 
You have to die to find out!
 
Two buddies Bob and Earl were two of the biggest baseball fans in America. Their entire adult lives, Bob and Earl discussed baseball history in the winter, and they pored over every box score during the season.They went to 60 games a year. They even agreed that whoever died first would try to come back and tell the other if there was baseball in heaven.
 
One summer night, Bob passed away in his sleep after watching the Yankee victory earlier in the evening. He died happy. A few nights later, his buddy Earl awoke to the sound of Bob’s voice from beyond. “Bob is that you?” Earl asked. “Of course it me,” Bob replied.
“This is unbelievable!” Earl exclaimed. “So tell me, is there baseball in heaven?”
 
“Well I have some good news and some bad news for you. Which do you want to hear first?”  Earl excitedly replies, “Tell me the good news first.”
 
“Well, the good news is that yes there is baseball in heaven, Earl.”
 
“Oh, that is wonderful! So what could possibly be the bad news?”
 
“You’re pitching tomorrow night.”