We can all use a feel-good story

A few years ago, I joined a Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) Facebook group, because I was really just looking for intel on how to get tickets to baseball games in Korea.  Mythical (then) gf was going to Seoul for a month and expressed interest in going to a baseball game while out there, and I figured English speaking Koreans on this particular KBO group would be a great resource to tap into.

I never left the group, and when the coronavirus pandemic started and all sports shut down across the globe, one of the very first professional leagues to get back on track was the KBO, and for a very brief part of summer, all sports-starved eyes of the world were all focused on KBO.  As far as the Facebook group went, the membership exploded, with the most prevalent sector of noobs showing up being degenerate gamblers, practically begging the group for any tips any info to use.  Still, I stayed in the group, because it was Korean and it was baseball, and I enjoyed seeing the perspectives of fans in a completely different realm outside of MLB and affiliated ball. 

A few weeks ago, I saw a post pop up, about a guy who had witnessed a bus hit a dog, and how he was trying to rescue said dog.  Frankly, given my general attention span when it comes to social media, I didn’t even realize at first that it was coming from the KBO group, and then I saw the name of the person who had made the post – a person named Anthony Lerew.

The reason why this name rang a bell for me, is that a long time ago, when I was still early in my quest to visit all 30 MLB ballparks, when my travels took me into Boston, naturally I planned it during a weekend when the Braves would be making a rare interleague appearance out there, long before I realized that I was a walking bad luck charm for the Braves* whenever I traveled.

As was often times the norm back in those days, teams loved to call up pitchers from Triple-A for interleague games, mostly on account of the fact that their opposite league opponents would have zero familiarity with them, and hope that such would give them an edge.  The Braves called Anthony Lerew up from Richmond to pitch against the Red Sox, and I remember sitting in Cheers in Boston, having a massive burger and a Sam Adams, while the game started, relishing in being that tourist with the away team’s hat, hoping for a good game for the Braves in hallowed Fenway Park.

Lerew gave up three earned runs, and the Braves lost 13-3.  As was occasionally the case with Bobby Cox, he had a short trigger with young pitchers like Lerew and pulled him after the second, and let a bunch of trash pitchers absorb the rest of the afternoon.

What I didn’t really realize was that was Lerew’s last appearance for the Atlanta Braves.  He was back in the minor leagues the following year, and I vaguely have some recollection of him getting shelved with injury before being released.  As was the case with many former Braves, Dayton Moore was quick to pick him up and bring him to the Royals, where he had a few more appearances in the bigs in 2009 and 2010, before his major league career ended.

Unbeknownst to me, his career continued on long after his time in affiliated ball, and he kept on pitching wherever his talents could be utilized.  Japan, Korea, Venezuela, the Independents.  He had one particularly good year in 2012, where he pitched 170 innings for the Kia Tigers, while maintaining a 3.83 ERA. 

I have no idea if that one particular year had anything to do with his present, but fast forward to present day, and Anthony Lerew is still in baseball now, where he is on the coaching staff for the Kia Tigers.  This made me happy to learn, as there’s always something so beautiful about the guys that are baseball lifers that always stay involved in the game, even after their playing careers are over.

Anyway, back to the story about the dog, one thing that I learned from my two trips to Korea, is that their bus drivers are among the most reckless drivers on the planet.  I spent maybe cumulatively 20 days in various parts of Korea over those trips, and I witnessed no less than three different incidents of buses hitting cars or guys on scooters, from Seoul to Jeju to Geongju.  The notion of a Korean bus driver hitting a dog and driving off is about as surprising as finding out about pollen in Georgia.

So Lerew came across a badly injured dog, and decided to take it upon himself to try and rescue him.  Unsurprising, costs would be an issue, as KBO salaries are nowhere near pro salaries in America, much less for a non-player coach, so Lerew did what many in the world do whenever they try to raise money for a cause: GoFundMe.

99 times out of 100, I tend to kind of pretend like I didn’t see a GoFundMe, because there’s at any given time so many of them out there that have some degree of personal connection to me, and it’s not that I don’t care about any of these causes so much as I got a second kid on the way, my finances are pretty buttoned up, and I don’t always have the capacity to get involved.

But once a Brave, always a Brave to me, and I always remembered Lerew from Boston, and when I saw him, he always had the most killer sideburns.

Plus it wasn’t like Lerew was trying to exploit GoFundMe and/or his friends, to raise money in order to pay bills or some sort of debt that was his own fault and was totally avoidable.  He was just trying to rescue an injured dog.  Who doesn’t love dogs?  So I donated a small amount, with genuine hopes that he would reach his target goal of the equivalent of $7,000 USD to pay for surgery, rehab, vaccines and other costs.

It didn’t take long at all for the goal to be met, because clearly there are many out there that love baseball, love dogs, recognized Lerew, or whatever reason.  I think it hit the goal in 2-3 days, and I was pleased to see Anthony Lerew notch a win in one of the many things in the world out there that are more important than just baseball.

The best part about this whole story has been Lerew and his family’s complete transparency during the whole aftermath of the fundraiser.  It’s not that I wouldn’t have trusted him, but in this jaded day and age of scumbags and thieves, I can understand the Lerews’ overcaution with transparency, and they posted updates on a near daily basis of the journey of Oreo (the dog’s new name), updates on surgeries, receipts, and adorable rehab videos; in English and in Korean.

As of today, it sounds as if the worst of the journey is over, and Oreo has been discharged from the vet and is on her way to a life of care and compassion with the Lerews in Korea.

Honestly, I didn’t really know where I was really going with this post so much as I just wanted to share a story of rare positivity and a happy ending in this time of the world that is desperately in need of stories like this.  I loved hearing that Anthony Lerew is still in baseball, and that he’s a person of great compassion, faith and resourceful enough to utilize technology, and that there are many also compassionate people out there who are willing to chip in for a good cause.

I’m okay with whenever Braves corporate gets owned

When the topic of Georgia’s recently passed voter suppression laws were fresh, I had plenty of thoughts about it, but no real desire to write about it, because when it comes to politics and racism, it’s a sad and unfortunate feeling of a pointless debate, because it doesn’t matter just how flagrant and blatant it can be, it still inexplicably breezes on through to law and no amount of protesting and action afterward ever can undo it.  That, and the whole I have no time ever thing, to where when I do have a little bit of free time to myself, none of it wants to be spent writing about the futile state of Georgia’s politics.

But the recent news of Major League Baseball plucking the 2021 All-Star Game right out the hands of Cobb County, the Atlanta Braves and ScumTrust Truist Park, as something of a national punishment for being in a state that allowed such flagrant discrimination?  Now that’s some shit right there, that piques my interest and gets some creative writing juices flowing.

In one hand, there’s a sensible portion of me that feels a little bit bad for ultimately, the Atlanta Braves organization, because they’re the ones getting embarrassingly punished for a decision that has next to nothing to do with baseball, and sits on a level way above a glorified kids game.  This is kind of along the lines of businesses threatening to boycott and leave the state because of Jim Crow 2.0, where that might send a message to people that what Georgia politicians did was a bad thing, but it will definitely hurt the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people who work for these businesses or rely on these businesses to make livings.

But in the other hand, there’s a sadistic part of me that sees the Atlanta Braves organization-real estate conglomerate is this entity that makes a gozillion dollars every year on a variety of revenue streams, and is ultimately headed up by some circle-jerk of old white people who I have no qualms with seeing take a humiliating slap on the wrist on a national level, and hopefully lose out on some large pies that will instead go to like Chicago or Philadelphia or Los Angeles instead.  Sure, the hundreds of people that would be allowed to actually attend in a pandemic ‘Murica won’t spend their money at local businesses, but MLB’s All-Star break is just a few days in which some projected money won’t be thrown about; it’s a vastly different scenario than say the Georgia film industry, uprooting and leaving, forever, killing thousands of jobs in the process.

When the day is over, I’m glad that Atlanta lost the All-Star game. Aside from being a newer ballpark, and MLB loves to award All-Star games to newer ballparks, the Braves or the city, or this fucking state hasn’t done shit to deserve getting a cash injection that an All-Star game tends to bring, and I’m not going to lose any sleep over the city getting owned, as a result of a crooked choice made by the state.  Because let’s be real here, in spite of their efforts to remain politically ambiguous, most records revealed just how much of the Braves brass leans right, and so they kind of indirectly did this to themselves.

No matter the fact that I support the baseball team and want to see them succeed, I love hearing about when the Braves business organization gets owned.

Oh Miami (Marlins)

For as hip of a city Miami thinks they are, when the day is over, the pursuit of money tends to run roughshod over everything else, like the naming rights to a fancy, high-tech baseball stadium.  And I’m not entirely sure why, perhaps I just sometimes feel that no other team is capable of making boring, square-like business decisions other than the Braves, but I guess it should be of no surprise that the long-awaited naming rights to Marlins Park have finally been sold, and moving forward, will be loanDepot park, the home of the Miami Marlins.

And because identity is everything, it will be in that precise format, with lowercase L and lowercase P, with an uppercase D in the middle, which is appropriate, because the stiffs that chase the dollars that ultimately go to them are typically dicks to begin with.

Maybe it’s because Derek Jeter is among the ownership group of the Marlins, that I thought that perhaps even they would break from the timeless tradition of chasing dollars, and actually name the park that isn’t something as soulless and boring as loanDepot park, but as stated above, when the day is over, money rules the world, apparently even for a guy like Derek Jeter, who often played every game like it was his last.

Because there’s little reason to believe that whatever hundreds of millions of dollars loanDepot pay the Marlins to be a giant billboard, will actually invested into the team itself, and the baseball organization will continue doing what the Marlins have historically always done, which is rely heavily on their scouting department and development to continuously find diamonds in the rough at an impressive clip to keep the team remotely passable while ownership swims in pools of money like Scrooge McDuck.

Honestly, this is no surprise, but it’s always a little bit sad to me whenever any ballpark or venue sells out to some regional no-name corporate entity that makes them sound lame as shit.  The Braves have a bank and two different regional HVAC companies that own the naming rights to various facilities of theirs, and all across the country, whether they’re sporting venues or event spaces, they’re all just named after boring companies as if the impact of their advertising is anything but residual name recognition.

Long gone will we see another Fenway Park or Veteran Stadium, or venues with names that roll off the tongue, or at least are capable of having interesting nicknames, that help mitigate the lameness of corporate greed.

And after four years, in spite of Yeah Jeets’ acquisition of the Marlins, the culture of the team hasn’t really changed as much as I thought it would, and as a closeted supporter of the team, it is sad to see them just kind of falling into the status quo of obscure lower-middle class teams.

A 2020 MLB Arizona-only short season: greed personified

I know that over the last few years, baseball has definitely fallen pretty hard in terms of priorities in my life, but it’s still my favorite sport, and I’ll always have an ear to the ground in regards to it.  I’ll also include that the lack of the pomp and circumstance of the Opening Day that didn’t happen is mostly lost on me, because of the whole, having a baby owning my life from here on until the indefinite future, but it’s still a sad state of affairs that this is the time of the year in which baseball should be shining the brightest, but thanks to coronavirus, is nowhere to be seen.

Naturally, within the inner workings of baseball and their respective organizations, there are massive repercussions to not having a season; fans don’t get to enjoy watching the national pastime, ballparks all across the country sit dormant as the beautiful spring days and nights come and go, and of course, there are billions of dollars being lost all across the board from there being no baseball.

Ballparks large and small, major league, minor league, semi-pro, etc, make no money on parking, concessions and tickets when there is no baseball.  The local economies that house and surround said ballparks also feel the pinch from there being no focal point to draw traffic to them.  People who work in the ballparks and any businesses that rely on baseball to bring in money, end up suffering and worse, jobless as a result.

And when everything culminates, above all else, the owners, investors and other partners who run baseball organizations and the teams themselves, aren’t making money when there’s no baseball being played.

What’s kind of messed up is that baseball players, are still getting paid in spite of the shutdown.  For doing jack shit nothing at this point, as they can’t really train, since the places they’d go train at are all also shutdown.  Sure, the Bryce Harpers and the Manny Machados aren’t going to be getting their full $30M+ salaries for the year, but it’s reported that quite a few players are making up to $143K a week for doing the aforementioned nothing.

But anyway, the point of this post comes from some news that’s been bubbling over the last few weeks about how Major League Baseball is kicking an idea around, that would attempt to get baseball back onto the field as soon as possible, even if it had some really extreme guidelines about it.

Basically, in this proposal, the entire 2020 MLB season would take place over the span of 4-5 months starting in July or August and go through presumably November.  But here’s the real crazy part of it: all 30 teams would be playing in various stadiums all across Arizona.  And possibly Florida.  Or maybe just Arizona.  The point is, MLB wants to play as much of an entire season as possible in either just Arizona, or they’ll do Arizona and Florida and use the Spring Training Cactus and Grapefruit leagues as two divisions and then mash together a World Series at presumably a neutral site.

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Well, at least it’s no longer called ScumTrust Park

Shocker of the century: Truist Park becomes the name of the new stadium after the merger between SunTrust and BB&T

Welp, nobody saw that one coming.  And by nobody, I means every single fucking person in Atlanta with a pulse knew that it was going to be Truist Park in the end.

No matter how great it would’ve been if Waffle House swooped in and usurped the naming rights to the stadium, and called it “The Waffle House, home of the Braves.”  Or if the ballpark decided to honor the greatest power hitter of all time and called it like “Hank Aaron Field,” everyone and their mother knew it was going to end up as some soulless, corporate stooge of a name, and once it was announced that the merged bank was going to be called Truist, it was only a matter of time before this obvious news was going to be announced.

The best part is that in spite of the obvious, these corporate stiffs all took the time and resources to make an event of it, justifying the claims of obvious corporate circle jerking.  As if an unveiling was actually needed, anyone with a brain knew the name and what the logo was going to look like before any sort of curtain was ever put on a pedestal.

The sad thing is that no matter all the clowning that Citi Field got when they unveiled, Truist Park is worse.  Sure, the Citi Field logo looked like a Domino’s logo, but at least it was still somewhat attempting to look like base paths and relate to baseball.  Truist Park looks like an Epcot reject with an emblem that looks like the ominous symbol seen on the episode of Black Mirror about the White Bear.

And no clever nickname can be applied to something as lame as “Truist.”  Or ScumTrust for that matter.  Turner Field was often referred to as “the Ted” based on the original ownership, but nothing can really be applied to these bullshit corporate names.

Regardless, in spite of the dunking I want to do about Truist Park, at least when the day is over it’s no longer called SunTrust.  Despite the fact that the bank itself isn’t necessarily dead, the lack of identity helps mask their bullshit, and I can probably stomach actually going to a game in the future once my kid gets here, and daddy wants to take his daughter to her very first baseball game.

lol good riddance

In short: SunTrust Park begins removing all traces of SunTrust identity on account of merger with BB&T and the re-naming of the company

I know that at the root of it, ScumTrust is not truly dead, but still in existence under a different name, merged with another company, but damn does it feel nice to know that the logo that I was so familiar with during my tenure and eventual layoff with ScumTrust is being wiped from existence.  Especially from the ballpark, of my preferred team, that I was so diametrically opposed to from the onset, for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they were named “ScumTrust Park.”

Despite the fact that ScumTrust isn’t truly dead, the fact that they’ve completely lost their identity and headquarters, ScumTrust is pretty much dead.  In short time, few people will remember the ScumTrust identity, and only the corporate stooges who have to take an orientation class will actually ever hear of the name ScumTrust in the future.  Even shorter will be the time it takes before cranky customers bitch about how shitty of a bank Truist is, and then it’s only a matter of time before Bank of America or Wells Fargo consumes them too.

I think my favorite part about the whole saga is that it wasn’t that long ago in 2014 in which ScumTrust signed a 25-year contract to the naming rights of the ballpark that would soon become ScumTrust Park.  Six years, in a 25-year contract, and although the terms of the contract have not been necessarily severed, the fact that ScumTrust’s name is coming off of the entire property might as well be the same thing as the whole contract being dead in the water.

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How to reflect on a decade

This year ending isn’t just an ordinary ending of a year, because it’s also the end of a decade.  Naturally, a sentimental person like me tends to want to reflect on an entire decade, because much like individual years, a decade is a nice round chunk of time that one might think it would be easy to reflect upon, but in the greater spectrum, it’s ten full years we’d be trying to look back onto.  Now I like to think I have a good memory, but even without the aid of my trusty brog, it’s difficult to really look back at an entire decade.

Regardless, that’s not going to stop all the self-important jobbers of the internet who will try their darnedest to speak with authority and copy and paste all the same milestones the major news outlets will when it comes to trying to summarize and reflect upon the entire decade.  The funny thing is that most of the internet savvy generations probably aren’t that much older or younger than I am, which means that in the grand spectrums of our respective lives, we’ve only really lived through 3-4 decades, whereas I’d probably estimate that 1.5-2 of them are pretty invalid, because we’re simply not articulate and/or educated enough to have the capacity to reflect on entire decades.

So combined with the advent and growth of the internet, and the notion that everyone has a voice, I’d wager this is probably, at the very most, the second real decade of the modern high-speed internet that people really care to really reminisce about; and I’m being generous by calling it the second, because DSLs and cable internet didn’t really flourish until nearly the mid-2000’s; I couldn’t imagine people trying to use streaming, auto-refreshing social media on a 56K modem, so frankly I see this more as the first real decade that everyone and their literal mothers on the internet are going to be writing about.

Anyway, I’m going to attempt to try to recollect from mostly just my own memories, and stick to things that are more relevant to my own little world, and not the big gigantic depressing one we live in.  If I had any readers, they can google any decade in review, and probably find more worldly and probably more high-profile shit than the things I have to say about the things going on in my own little life, like the start and finish of Game of Thrones, Pokemon Go, the sad state of American politics, all the endless mass shootings, and Bill Cosby being outed as a rapist.

And the reason that I disclaim the whole “if I had any readers” because one of the most devastating things that occurred for me is the fact that despite my WordPress going online in 2010, at nearly the very start of the decade, midway through the decade my brog went down indefinitely, when my brother relocated from one part of the country to another.  A lot of hardware changes meant no more place to host my brog, and despite having the supposed backups, I simply haven’t taken the time or allocated the funds necessary to get my site up and running again.

If I were the type to do New Years resolutions anymore, I think I’d resolve to get my site back up and running again in 2020.  TBD on if that will actually occur, and frankly with the things I have on my plate going into the next decade, I don’t want to commit and then fail to deliver.

In spite of the brog blackout, that hasn’t stopped me from writing.  Even to the day my site went down, I have been writing on a fairly regular basis, taking no more than two weeks off before the internal guilt gets my fingers flying across the keys again, and I’ve got at this point, hundreds of folders of dated and timestamped Word docs, all awaiting their day in which they can be posted retroactively to a brog.

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