In honor of the beginning of the 2015 MLB baseball season, Sports Editors Mike Kasdan and Wai Sallas riff on all things baseball and some things not, with appearances by Monty Python, Doc Brown, and – yes – Pete Rose.
Sports Editors Wai Sallas and Michael Kasdan let you peer into the random workings of their collective minds as they wind their way through a stream of consciousness discussion of MLB baseball, while touching on various and other sundry matters of great import.
This is our third in the Sports Exchange series, where we compose a sports piece on a topic of interest through a series of email exchanges. (And we give a shout-out to Bill Simmons here for his ‘Curious Guy’ series of email exchanges between he and “successful” and “interesting” people like Malcolm Gladwell. That, in part, served as the inspiration for what you see here. Except instead of emailing someone successful or interesting, Mike Kasdan just emailed Wai Sallas.)
And…away we go!
Well would you lookee here. It’s April. The sun is peaking out and the last of winter is melting away.
The manicured fields stand ready.
Opening Day has arrived my friend.
Are you ready for some baseball? These days we have the rush of the Tournament, the MegaEntertainment Complex of Football, but to me nothing beats baseball.
The ball popping the glove, a diving stop frozen in time, a towering drive to the deepest part of the ballpark, as the crowd gasps:
“Did he get enough of it?”
Are you forgetting the sub-freezing temperatures, the snow postponed games? And that’s in June.
I’m sorry to tell you this, Michael, but people don’t care about baseball until July.
You have NCAA Tournament that we just wrapped up right now, then The Masters, followed by the NBA Playoffs.
You know what all of those events have in common?
You don’t have to eat frozen hot dogs and stale crackerjacks. You can sit on your La-Z-Boy (do they still sell those?) have a hot toddy as you watch the snow flurry outside your house…or spring vortex or whatever clever name Al Roker drums up to mask the depression everyone from the Dakotas East feel as Groundhogs Day becomes every day.
I’m sorry, I don’t know why I sound so bitter. I live in Los Angeles. It’s 80 right now and I’m thinking about going to the beach.
Maybe I’ll check out a game at the Ravine before it gets too hot.
Come to think of it, maybe baseball should be played in June and September and miss the hot and sticky months as well as the cold.
But then NFL training camp starts in July, The Womens World Cup is this summer as well, and the Rugby World Cup this fall.
Can they just reschedule baseball for every other year? Or indoors?
I think that the Left Coast had warped your brain there, buddy. One too many Dodger Dogs.
Rugby? NBA basketball? preseason NFL football?
I’m talking Yankees vs. Red Sox. Well . . . Imagine it’s the late 1990s and I’m talking Yankees vs. Red Sox. Back when “Got Rings?” meant something. Damn.
But the point is, the demise of America’s game is greatly exagerrated.
As Monty Python would say, “it’s not quite dead yet.”
It still has great drama and moments unlike any other sport.
The beauty of watching Clayton Kershaw mow through a line up with a dazzling array of pinpoint fastballs and hammer curves.
A Giancarlo Stanton light tower HR that hadn’t yet landed.
Mike Trout leaping over the wall on a dead run to track an otherwise HR right into his glove.
The game is oozing with global talent.
And we get to meander through box scores and statistics and eat peanuts at the ballpark with our sons and daughters.
That’s what it’s all about right there.
Which Red Sox-Yankees game am I supposed to get excited for, the first one or the 19th? While you may be right about baseball not being dead, I assume if baseball were a man, it would look like this:
Look. I love Peyton Kershaw, I mean Clayton Manning, I mean Clayton Kershaw. I would love to see how well he could do in the postseason without facing the Cardinals.
I’ll give it to you, Stanton and Trout are amazing, but oozing with global talent? Baseball’s oozing alright, but it’s not with global talent.
You hit the nail on the head about the nuances of baseball; keeping score, eating peanuts and having a chat with your kids might be the one thing the game has over every other sport out there, just make sure your toddlers don’t need to go to the bathroom.
All joking aside, Mike, it’s very hard for me to back a sport that turns a blind eye to a huge part of its history as if they weren’t complicit. That’s right, I just brought up the steroid era.
Barry and Roger deserve to be in the Hall!
And on the globalization of the game, I was talking about the studs from Japan, like Masahiro Tanaka (praying his arm stays attached to his shoulder this year pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease
But here we go with the steroids. Now you’ve done it.
Sadly, baseball is the only sport that has problems with PEDs.
Oh right, and football. (Which also has that small pesky concussions issue).
And every Olympic sport ever.
I wonder if they should just legalize it and get the whole thing over and done with. Get that Rose guy on the horn too and stick him in the Hall of Fame. Nah. Let’s not do that.
Anyway — who do you like in baseball this year. Give me your World Series Teams, favorite players, and one bold prediction.
The difference is the sanctimony displayed by the baseball writers is offensive. And get Pete in!!! Who hasn’t gambled on their profession?! Am I right Mike?
In terms of who I like, we’ve already seen this play out in Hill Valley. I like the Cubbies to beat Miami.
Also, can’t wait to get my auto dry jacket, hover board, and flying car.
Are you listening Santa?
If Back to the Future was not an accurate interpretation, I like an Orioles-Dodgers series with LA finally gettting a title on the 26th anniversary of their last championship. You know what else happened in 1989?
BACK TO THE FUTURE II premiered!!!! It’s meant to be!
Well, the Pete Rose debate is an article or twenty unto itself, which turns wholly on what the Baseball Hall of Fame means to you.
But I will say that he sure seems to be having a good time of it in his relaxed Sketchers™
As for your predictions, unless Future Biff came back and gave you a book that had the Cubs and Marlins going to the deep playoffs, I would say to lay off those mushrooms you foraged in the backyard, my friend. And definitely stay away from the Sports Book.
First of all, that would be a tough World Series matchup, since both teams are in the National League.
Second of all, its the Cubs and Marlins. Though I will say, if Jose Fernandez comes back firing darts, the Marlins look to be on the verge of building a contender. Again. The Cubs are also trending upwards, but I would say are at least a few years away. I am intrigued by Cuban import Jorge Soler, and by their future core of Baez, Kris Bryant, and Addison Russell.
The Dodgers do look stacked. Spending money with reckless abandon, like the George Steinbrenner Yankees. Don Mattingly must feel right at home.
If they can stay healthy behind Kershaw and Greinke and Puig keeps being Puig and doing Puig things…they will be tough.
The Orioles. Ugh. I’m tired of the Orioles already. Cranky Yankee fan here, with an aging lineup that just aged another year. Hopeful that Tanaka’s arm stays on, that Pineda steps up and that the Yankee bullpen is dominant.
Anyway, my bold predictions are that Seattle wins the AL West and the San Diego Padres make the playoffs.
Players I’m excited to watch continue to be Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. I also want to see someone – Billy Hamilton — steal bases like the days of Henderson and Vince Coleman. I’m also good with more dominant pitching match ups — let’s see Strasburg emerge as a Cy Young guy and Kershaw and King Felix continue to twirl masterpieces.
As long as that happens, I’m good with the much ballyhooed decline in offense in baseball.
Do we really mind that baseball is a game of dominating pitching now. Do we need jacked up scores and the long ball???
How dare you discredit the works of Doc Brown and Marty McFly. But yes I concede the point that Miami and Chicago are in the same league, so once again, like every other exchange you gave me questioning everything.
Is anything real? Is my childhood a sham?
I guess I can get behind a few games this season. I just hope we get another feel good story like the Royals. Now that’s something I can get behind. I guess the Cubs can be that team.
That settles it. I’m all in on Chicago, 2015.
God help them.
God help us all.
And Play Ball!
This piece was co-written by Mike Kasdan and Wai Sallas in a series of back-and-forth emails over the course of a couple days.
P.S. This is how Wai Sallas really feels about baseball. From another email thread that I was secretly monitoring:
I love going to the ball park because unlike any other sport, it gives you time to take in the nuances to going to a game. It’s a nostalgia game. You can be taken back to a different era. Chavez Ravine in LA is the perfect example. You go to the ball park and you are no longer in Hollywood, you are in a different world with no traffic, honking horns, money hungry vultures. It’s simplistic and beautiful. You can chat with friends or family and still not miss anything happening in the game.
Photo Credit: Associated Press/File
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