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.

Is giving out of spite better than giving out of goodness?

I know it’s a rhetorical question, and when the day is over, giving is giving, and in lots of cases, the end objective is still good and true, but I ask it mostly because I question the royal people, that are doing such.

When Rush Limbaugh died, the very first words that formulated in my brain were simply “who cares?” because I thought he was a piece of shit in the first place, so it’s not skin off my back to hear when a piece of shit like him kicks the bucket.  In fact, good riddance, the world doesn’t need such hate spreading cretins in the world in it anyway.  I had really hoped the day he died would be the last day that I would hear his name, but because the internet is always in pursuit of the next great meme, that wouldn’t be happening any time soon.

Some dude on the internet started a movement where, at the time I’m writing this, has surpassed over $1 million dollars raised for Planned Parenthood; in honor of Rush Limbaugh, the piece of shit who had gone on record countless times bemoaning their existence, and going out of his way to be contrarian in every regard to the idea of it.

When the day is over, it’s really fantastic that Planned Parenthood is getting his massive donation, regardless of the ironic, meme of an impetus that served to provide it.  Surely those who actually liked Rush are probably aggravated that their hero’s name is being besmirched in such a manner, but therein lies the objective of a good troll-y meme, to put the haters in a position where they can really do nothing about it.

But one of the first thoughts that came into my mind was that yes, the donations and the end objective are good and true sure, but why did it have to take a joke to get people to open up their wallets and donate in the first place?  Why does generosity have to have a conditional opponent, or detractor?  Why does it require the expense of someone else, in order to get people to want to do a good thing?  Sure, that someone is already dead, but not that it really would have mattered if this happened when he was alive either, but the point is, this is a prime example of people being eager to give out of spite, as opposed to giving out of goodness.

It kind of reminds me of when Rick & Morty caused such a stir about McDonald’s Szechuan sauce, that McD’s actually brought out the sauce in limited releases, and the ensuing response to them were people showing up to McDonald’s across the nation in droves, trying to be the lucky people to actually acquire some.  There were stories of people flipping individual sauce packets for thousands of dollars, and even one story where a guy traded a car for a sauce packet (too lazy to cross-check).

There was a meme that came from that whole movement, where the “joke” was Rick & Morty’s second favorite sauce was universal healthcare, to see if the apathetic flocks that got up in arms to basically force McDonalds to release Szechuan sauce might actually mobilize and try to get this country to make a difference.  Naturally, nothing but a few sad laughs came from it, but the observation was mostly the same vein: why are people so passionate about spiting others or getting worked up over inconsequential things, when there’s clearly strength in numbers and people in large quantities can make a difference, regardless of the motive?

I digress though, because it was a rhetorical question in which I know there is no right or wrong answer, and I’m frankly running out of gas in regard to this topic because of such.  As I stated already, it’s fantastic that Planned Parenthood is getting such monumental support, because it is an organization that I do personally support.  I just personally wish that people were more willing to regularly donate to and support them out of the kindness of their hearts, and not require a joke at some dead shithead’s expense in order for them to open their wallets.

TFW your BAC is higher than your career BA

It’s that time of the year again in spite of the fact that like a year ago, it’s probably still not a very good idea, but because Major League Baseball is a machine that demands its financial tithe, the 2021 season is a-go, and it’s Spring Training all over parts of Florida and Arizona, or wherever each team is actually deciding to try and get their bodies into shape for another unnecessary season of sports while a pandemic is still very much in play.

But the specific time in which I am referring to is that with Spring Training afoot, it’s only a matter of time before a baseball player, personnel, executive or alum, makes the news having gotten a DUI, most likely from a little too much fraternization and/or having a good time with the boys.

In this case, it was an alum, in former All-Star outfielder Johnny Damon, getting pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence in Florida. And naturally, because it’s completely relevant to the conversation, the article makes sure to mention that in his baseball career, he had 2,796 hits, 235 home runs, and a career batting average of .284.

It’s one of my favorite clichés about professional athletes getting in trouble with the law.

However in this case, it actually does provide a little bit of interesting context, because batting average is a decimal number measured by three digits, much like a breathalyzer test, and in the case of Johnny Damon’s two tests, he allegedly blew both a .300 and a .294, to which I hope most people can do the math, is well past three times the legal limit of .080. I mean, anything over .000 is illegal in the state of Georgia and I’m okay with that frankly because (in a non-pandemic world) ridesharing has made any sort of driving with any booze in the system completely unnecessary.

But back to the topic at hand, not only is .294 a staggeringly high blood alcohol content that literally states that nearly 30% of his body’s blood diluted by booze, it’s higher than his career batting average. Which is ironically impressive, because a career .284 batting average is actually pretty quite good, so the fact that he was able to surpass his batting average on a night out is pretty amazing.

Obviously in the grand spectrum of things this is really pathetic; most baseball fans know Damon as kind of face of the 2004 Red Sox that came back from the 3-0 deficit to the Yankees and ultimately won the World Series, but now he’s this sad sack of retired professional athlete with too much time, privilege and money to do stupid shit, like get trashed three times the legal limit. More than likely Damon won’t do any sort of time or get anything more than a fine and slap on the wrist, whereas any ordinary American would be in pound-me-in-the-ass prison by now, most definitely if it were any sort of person of color. But since there’s little anyone can actually do about it, all we can really do, is make jokes.

New Father Brogging, #035

It’s been a while since I last did any sort of post about my plights as a first-time father.  Admittedly, things have been fairly smooth since the last time I really wrote one of these new dad brogs, which might have something to do with the lack of writing about my child, but naturally I know that I’m always another growth spurt or some sort of milestone away from the shit hitting the fan and then the routine that I’ve been living for the better part of the last five months begins to change all over again.

However, for those who might take stock in the fact that my general posting has grown less frequent in more recent times, the thing is that I simply haven’t had the time to write as much as I did, even just a month ago.  And this isn’t the usual, danny is bitching about having so little time because of work and baby, but it’s a little bit more now, because for lack of a better term, I’ve gone back to school.

I’ve been taking a night course over the last month and it will be continuing on until April, so that I can explore the possibility of acquiring new skills.  I don’t think I’ve made much secret of the fact that I’m quite unhappy with where I am at in my life professionally right now, and while casually exploring possibilities elsewhere, the results have not been very positive.  I feel stagnant in my current career path and that I have hit somewhat of a ceiling, and I don’t like my current chances at being able to break through it to ascend higher.

So instead of simply looking for a change of scenery, I’m taking a different approach of acquiring some new and different skills to which I can hope to parlay into something different, and potentially satiate two desires, being a change of scenery, but also to make a career move into a field that is warmer than what I’m doing is, has more potential for the future, and hopefully make more money than I do now, so that I can be a better provider for my family.

Because when the day is over, that’s really all I want to do, is to provide for my family, and hopefully not hate my life in order to do it.  For years, I’ve tossed the idea around in my head to take some sort of class(es) and try to pick up some new skills and make a professional pivot, but I’ve often just been all talk and no action. 

But in an ironic, I have to thank coronavirus, kind of situation, it’s never been a better time to go in this direction, because the school in which I’m taking my course through, is 100% virtual and I can do this from home, because the pandemic has forced them to go entirely virtual.  Otherwise, I’d have had to have gone into downtown Atlanta twice a week to take my course, and I simply have no desire to actually go into the city anymore, regardless of a pandemic or not.

So, I’m getting to take this course entirely online, from the convenience of my own home.  But that also means that for the duration of this class, my already sparse 2-3 hrs of free time a night, two evenings out of the week, I have to forfeit even that in order to take my course, which means that I have even less time to myself, which has occasionally left me feeling a little overwhelmed and overtaxed at times.

But the good thing about having a kid is that it only takes one look at my child to remind me what I’m doing all this for, and to refocus.  And it’s kind of funny how serious I take this course, because despite the fact that I will have the luxury of tuition reimbursement from my current job, I’m still having to front all the costs until then.  And you don’t realize how hard you want to work in school, when you realize your own money is what’s at stake when you’re taking the course.

In addition to the four hours of rare personal time I lose a week to classes, I’ve spent much more than that, on homework assignments and doing my best to really understand the subject matter and actually try and learn, absorb and apply this newfound knowledge, and hope that I’ll someday soon, be able to parlay it into a different career path than where I’m at now.

I love Cameron Grimes’ new character

It’s not that I’m an AEW hater, and want to see them fail, it’s just that I’m critical about how they run their shows, and I’m dubious that they’ll actually amount to anything other than being a distant #2.  I feel as if the power structure of the company AKA Cody/Omega/the Bucks spent year one trying too hard to disprove nepotism and booking themselves to the moon that they basically buried themselves, but with the start of year two, taking the shackles off, pushing themselves like crazy, where Omega and the Bucks are the world and tag champions respectively, and on a completely different island as the rest of the roster.

And as for the rest of said roster, they’re basically this strange island of misfit toys where you have Chris Jericho’s Inner Circle, you have the Dark Order, you have Death Triangle, you have Matt Hardy building a stable, and then there’s the obviously protected-like-religion Hangman Adam Page.  And because there’s no real intriguing storylines for the women’s roster, they’re just doing this TNA-like random tournament of nationalities, between the US and Japan, where the US side has several Japanese women anyway.

But the storylines and characters are all weak and predictable, and I’m having great difficulty in getting too interested in any one storyline.

And then I switch over to NXT, and I’m seeing a Lamborghini pulling up to the CWC.  Okay, classic who’s this moment, where it’s got to be some smarmy new heel character or something.  Camera pans up, and it’s none other than Cameron Grimes, the obnoxious, loud mouthed redneck, but why’s he pulling up in a Lambo, and more importantly, why and how is he suddenly rich and handing out real-looking Benjamins to all sorts of random people?

Okay, I’m curious.  I stay on the channel.  And then he cuts a promo, talking about how decided to start playing video games in his spare time, and then when he wanted more video games, he went to GameStop, and decided to invest in GameStop at the right place and right time?  Now I’m amused.  One DogeCoin reference later, and now I’m thoroughly entertained.  This new iteration of Cameron Grimes, a redneck Million Dollar Man, who got rich by capitalizing on the GameStop stock boon, this is entertaining.

And just like that, one character on NXT has proven to be more entertaining than a litany of loosely written and poorly developed personas in AEW.  And the difference is that anyone who knows the history of Cameron Grimes, or Trevor Lee, knows that the guy can really go, but now he’s got a character that can really play to his non-wrestling strengths, like being a loud-mouth and obnoxious, but now he’s got the cash to back it all up.

If there was ever a time for him to strike singles gold, I imagine when Johnny Gargano drops the North American title to some face, Million Dollar Grimes will probably be a good heel to step into that spotlight and finally try to buy himself to his first singles championship.  But belt or no belt, I can easily say that this is the first character in a while that I’ve been immediately interested in, and I look forward to see how this plays out.  Hopefully they run with it for a bit and don’t kill it immediately in a topical allegory to how it can end in the blink of an eye.