Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Counting our many blessings -- and the turkeys, too

I just finished preparing the mashed sweet potatoes and the steps that will lead to my turkey’s stuffing, events that can only signify that my favorite holiday is approaching.

I love Thanksgiving because I have so much to be thankful for, and I appreciate them all. I’m blessed, and I realize it.

So let’s launch into the annual list of all that is good – and the accounting of the turkeys who try to spoil all the fun.

I’m thankful that I have a job that I love. One and a half, actually. I don’t take this lightly, because Michigan is hurting bad. It’s been a rough year in my state and in my profession. We’re hanging on, and don’t think there isn’t a day when I don’t thank the Lord for this blessing. And I’m glad that I can continue my adjunct teaching job in the spring semester. Working with such wonderful students tells me there are still talented young people who are dedicated to journalism and have hope for the future.

Turkey! Hallmark. People mocked in the past when I bemoaned the Hallmark Christmas Ornament Curse. But I was distraught when I learned that Johan Santana was this year’s decoration. Of course, he had season-ending surgery just after the ornament was released. And he took most of the team with him, leaving us with an especially dreary season.

I’m thankful that I was able to see our beloved Mets three times this season, twice in the spring and on Aug. 5 in our Citi Field debut. And amazingly – considering my past -- the Mets won all three. The 9-0 destruction of the Cardinals in August was viewed from spectacular seats provided by my parents – awesome – and was marred only by Jon Neise being carried off the field to join the DL party. But my son was able to see his first Mets game in New York, and I got all weepy seeing my glorious FanWalk brick, provided by Cousin Tim, who was there to join the celebration. And we all caught up with blogging buddy Greg Prince at the game, too. It was a very, very good day.

Turkeys! The ESPN Sunday Night Baseball crew of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. Look, I like Miller, one of the best voices in the game. But Morgan is killing me, and he’s an anchor around Miller. When Morgan is not reminding us that he “played the game,” he’s praising Derek F. Jeter. Jeter doesn’t even have to be playing at the time. But it’s darn near embarrassing when he is. How many times have you heard this scenario: A weak, routine five-bouncer to short, which Jeter gets only because it’s hit right at him, then promptly throws to first base, bouncing twice along the way. “Look at Jeter get to that ball,” Morgan will exclaim. “He makes that play look easy. Derek just brings that something special every time he steps on the field. He makes everyone around him better. I know how players do that, because I played the game.” Gag.

I’m thankful for my iPhone, which is very close to surpassing my iPod as the greatest device ever. It is life-altering. The apps are incredible for both work and home. I’m especially thankful for the “Lose it” app. All I’m saying is that I installed it on July 7 and now I’m 50 pounds lighter. Really. And there’s the app that tracks how far and fast I can run, with the pause button so I can flick over to the maps app so I can get unlost while running in Texas and find my way back to Aunt Darlene’s house. Yes, this happened.

I’m thankful for lax security in the Astrodome and tour guides who don’t mind giving individual tours of Minute Maid Park. That trip to Texas offered all kinds of adventures.

I’m thankful that the Baseball Hall of Fame is taking the task of adding executives and pioneers more seriously by adding a keen and brilliant mind to the selection committee. That would be Tom Seaver, who is being lured from the vineyards next week to make sure these knuckleheads don’t mess things up again.

Turkeys! Sadly, the Hall still managed to goof things up. The committee to consider managers and umpires includes Tom Verducci, the infamous Yankee hack who actually declared that cyborg/reliever Mariano Rivera should start the 2008 All-Star Game so applause could fall on him like soft rain. I almost gagged on the turkey just typing that again. But seriously, this is a bad idea. Is there any doubt that “The Duce” will start the meeting by protesting that there are non-Yankees on the ballot? Do we not believe that Verducci will, with a straight face, make a case that Billy Martin should have a spot in Cooperstown, then try to slip in Ralph Houk and Joe Girardi and goodness knows how many once and future Yankee managers into the Hall? Then he'll move along to Yankee coaches and bullpen catchers and the grounds crew and Derek F. Jeter's parents for their role in making the world a better place. I, for one, hope that they don’t put Verducci in charge of counting the ballots.

I’m thankful that the Mets are not totally screwing up the new uniforms all the way. We love the team. You know that. But sometimes it makes questionable decisions when it comes to tinkering with the astonishingly great uniforms the Mets were blessed with. This week the team announced it would feature cream-colored pinstripes intended to honor the 1969 champs. I’m down with that, even though the typical Mets pinstripes are the best uniforms in baseball. But for reasons I can not figure out, they are leaving the black drop shadow on there. Help me figure this out. If you are going to recreate a uniform from 1969, why exactly are you keeping the feature from the past decade? We know the Mets. The team makes progress in increments. That’s why we’re getting a Mets Hall of Fame a year after the ballpark opens. As long as we’re headed in the right direction, it’s all good.

I'm thankful that I was allowed to coach the greatest church coed softball team ever. One a communication-forced forfeit prevented us from smashing through the playoffs. We settled for the consolation championship -- excellent -- and lots of wonderful fellowship. And now I can start planning and plotting for next year.

I'm thankful that I was able to hear Audio Adrenaline's Mark Stuart and Will McGinnis one more time. One of my favorite bands, Audio A called it quits a couple years ago when Stuart started losing his voice. Now he and Will tour as Audio Unplugged, and share their stories as they play a few songs, which is easier on Mark's voice. I had the chance to meet them after a recent concert, and share how much their music inspired me, especially when I was looking for ways to connect with the middle school youth groups. They probably hear that kind of thing all the time, but maybe not. I didn't want the opportunity to say "thank you" slip by.

I hope this holiday finds you happy and healthy and in appreciation of the blessings the Lord has given us. Even in the toughest of years on and off the field, may we never forget what is special about our lives, and the people we get to share them with.

3 comments:

RDOwens said...

Morgan is bad and getting worse, but he pales compared to the Fox team. I've always been easier on McCarver than most, but it's evident he is past due. His partner, Joe "Slamma-lamma-ding-dong!" Buck, is the worst without exception announcer ever. His lack of baseball knowledge is only surpassed by his inability to pay attention to the game. Listening to Buck is below many other tasks that most people eschew on my list.

Of course Dave, you are forgiven for the oversight. I realize that you don't watch much baseball on Fox given they carry the playoffs and the World Series and your team is playing golf at that time of the year. ;)

Happy Thanksgiving. Indeed, it is a grand holiday!

Dave said...

And a happy Thanksgiving to you, too, my friend. And your team's season ended one game too soon and now we're all suffering for it.

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