Dad Brog (#093): Year One of Forever, part 2

As is often the case with life with two kids as young as my own, things seldom go according to plan. And as much as I loathe tardiness and inability to be on time, things happening behind their intended time has become more and more of a routine occurrence that I hope one day rectifies itself as/if life ever calms down to a less frantic pace.

That being said, with no disrespect for my second child, #2’s birthday has come and gone now, for a few weeks now, but finally I’m taking the time to really reflect on the monumental  occasion.

To be fair, some of this delay had to do with the fact that unlike with #1, #2 got to have a traditional big Korean first birthday party, as the travels I described in prior posts was so that my side of the family could celebrate the first birthday, as is a big tradition in Korean culture.  And that particular weekend was the best chance at getting as much of my family members present, even if it meant celebrating a little bit past the actual date.

But my little #2 is officially one year old, and it most certainly has been an eventful twelve months since her arrival into the world.  I’d be full of shit if I didn’t talk about just how difficult it had been at times, especially considering her challenges she’s had with sleep in general, that still rears up every now and then even to this day.  And when she gives us hell about going to sleep, I fantasize about when she’ll one day be a groggy teenage girl who wants nothing more than to sleep, and I’ll be the obnoxiously awake dad who will gleefully remind her of her infant days when she fought like war to not sleep on a daily basis.

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Dad Brog (#089): Father’s Day, for the rest of my life

#1 of until the end of my time

A while ago, mythical wife asked what I wanted for Father’s Day.  Usually whenever anyone asks me what I want for my birthday, Christmas, or now that I’m eligible, Father’s Day, I have no idea.  I don’t have a want for things except wrestling blets, and understandably nobody(ies) want to drop $300+ on effectively useless straps of fake leather and metal plates.

However, this year, I had an answer pretty quickly, because I have been thinking of it for a while.  And the best part is that it doesn’t cost a thing, but will still have unlimited value and meaning for me for the rest of my life.

What I wanted for Father’s Day this year, and every single year for the rest of my life, is a photo with my daughters, holding their tag team championship blets.  That’s it.  There’s nothing else I’ll ever need or want more than this every Father’s Day, than this request.

I figure there would be no better opportunity for me to pull this card than Father’s Day, as the my girls grow and get older and intelligent, and inevitably think my blet collection is lame and stupid.  But being Father’s Day, they’ll have to acquiesce to this small and simple request, and I’ll have them right where I want them, next to dad for a yearly photo.

I love time-lapse photography, and what I’m hoping is to one day have an impressively long photo album, built a year at a time, of myself with my daughters as they grow, blossom into the beauties their mom’s genes have set them on the course for, and watch the changing of expressions as they may be excited and exuberant as kids, begrudging and embarrassed as teenagers, but then come around and be happy and accepting of tradition as young adults and maybe one day mature women and maybe mothers in their own right.

Either way, this photo makes me happy, and I’m hoping that this will be the first of many, many years of similar photos, of forcing my children to participate in their lame dad’s hobby.

This is what wheels coming off a vehicle looks and sounds like

Well, at least the Braves aren’t going to go down having gotten swept.  Instead, they’ll have gone down flubbing a 3-1 series lead, which in baseball isn’t that terribly uncommon, but it’s still poor optics, since the statistics of teams coming back from 3-1 deficits are still minuscule in comparison to how long Major League Baseball has been played.

Honestly, I’m more surprised that the series is going to seven games now, which is the ultimate agony for sports fans to endure, watching the slow bleed of defeat, watching their teams bring them to the brink of hope and jubilation, only for them to crash into agonizing finality.  But when the Braves got blown out and allowed 15 runs in game three, I figured that it was a foregone conclusion that the Dodgers were beginning their mighty comeback and were going to win four straight, like the way the Braves blew the 1996 World Series against the Yankees after winning the first two games.

Instead, the Braves gave false hope to all Braves fans by winning game 4 in commanding fashion and sitting on a pretty 3-1 series lead.  Naturally, since they have no starting pitching, they lost game 5, which was probably to be expected, but fans would find solace in the fact that Max Fried, arguably the best pitcher on the team would get the ball for game 6, but that brings us to now, where Fried pitched well, it’s just that the Braves offense appeared to have cashed in all of its available runs in the previous five games, and could barely scrap together a single run, losing to the Dodgers and sending the NLCS to game 7, where they will undoubtedly lose in embarrassing fashion, by like a score of like 11-1, bringing closure to a season that really shouldn’t have happened in the first place, and back to another cold offseason of pessimism and increasing nihilism in professional sports.

Much like Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, I can’t bring myself to watch games of teams that I actually care about, because it gives me anxiety and stress that I really don’t need, and I superstitiously believe that I am a master of the universe that undoubtedly jinxes whatever team I care about when I watch them, and if I do want the Braves to win, I most absolutely should not be watching them.

Seriously though, check out this Mookie Betts catch.  This is the kind of highlight that preserves no-hitters or turns the tides of playoff series.  If he doesn’t make that catch then Ozuna doubles for sure, and Freddie Freeman probably scores.  A single run doesn’t change the 3-0 deficit that the Braves were in, but at the same time, it could very well have been the start of a rally.  The thing is, a catch like Betts’ is what keeps the mythical momentum on the side of the Dodgers while sucking the life out of the hope of the Braves.  The jubilation of Mookie Betts after making the catch is precisely the opposite of a metaphor of what the Braves’ chances of winning the series sounds like.  Although his lips appear to be mouthing something probably like let’s fucking goooo it could very well be emanating the sound of a flushing toilet, because that’s precisely what happened when he makes that.

Welp, Baby Magic and partial-year champions theories were cute while they lasted.  I would undoubtedly put legitimate money on the Dodgers to win game 7, because it’s a foregone conclusion that the only thing well that the Braves are going to do, is what they’ve historically been known to do: fall short.

The real question is will they get blown out in the first inning like they did in game 3 a few nights ago and in game 5 against the Cardinals last year, or will they be competitive and hard-fought the entire way and then lose in agonizing and soul-wrenching manner late in the game like they did against the Dodgers back in like 2012?  Who knows, but as long as it ends up with the Braves going home yet again, does it really matter?

Profit ≠ Championships

I feel like I’ve been in a little bit of a writing rut lately, but at the same time I never like to go too long without having written something at all.  When times like this, I tend to fall back onto topics that are easy for me to ramble about like wrestling, or in this case, baseball.

No, it’s not about the Astros and their cheating scandal, although it seems very foreboding for the franchise, due to the overwhelming amount of evidence that backs it up, not to mention the fact that former pitcher Mike Fiers literally tattled on them to the press.

I was reading this article about how a current president, CEO and investor stooge-slave of the Atlanta Braves, Mike Plant, is all optimistic about the future of the Braves and their future success, and as is often the case whenever I read bullshit like this, it makes my eyes roll, but at the same time, it occasionally inspires words to formulate in my head, and then through my fingers and then into a word doc.

Of course Plant is going to say a bunch of optimistic shit to quell investors.  Why would he say stuff like “ehh, the Braves are going to be a perfectly adequate .500+ team, but realistically speaking we don’t have the pitching to compete in the playoffs, nor the talent to carry us beyond the NLDS?”

Instead, he extols the positive bean counts of how well the attendance and television ratings were, and the sponsorship revenue, and the overall profits that the organization is raking in, but not turning around and spending on the team itself.

Somewhere along the lines, the Braves appear to have forgotten that success isn’t really measured in spreadsheets and profit, but in championship banners and Commissioner’s Trophies; and that succeeding with the latter typically results in massive successes with the former.  I would wager money that the Cubs blowing open the bank in 2016, the Astros ponying up in 2017, the Red Sox spending like they always do in 2018, and the Nationals paying their pitchers what the Braves spent on their whole team in 2019, result in way more ROI than the Braves have done, playing it safe and by their completely unnecessary corporate spending limits.

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Same shit, different year

In the shocker of the century, the Atlanta Braves were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.  For those keeping count, this is like the 5th or 6th time that the Braves dropped the deciding game of the NLDS at home, and somewhere around the 169th time that they’ve failed to make it out of the first round despite making it into the playoffs.

I’m long past the point of where I get upset about it anymore, because I would’ve bet my house that the Braves were going to lose to the Cardinals when the playoff field was initially set.  There’s just something about history, and something about the Braves vs. Cardinals matchup that was a foregone conclusion that another heartbreaking loss to the Cards was all but inevitable, and as much as I would’ve loved to have seen the Braves exorcise the demons of the past and advance, I’m just as satisfied with being right about how the Braves would simply collapse and fall apart – like they always do.

However, this year was a little bit different in the sense that at one point, the Braves actually captured the series lead, when they stole game 3 in St. Louis and for 24 hours, held a 2-1 lead on the Cardinals in the best of 5.  Television was nice enough to do the research for me and explained that it was the first time since 2002 that the Braves carried a series lead in a playoff series, and despite the pessimism, it did birth a sliver of hope that this might be the year that the Braves make it out of the first round.

Naturally, when the Braves squandered their lead in game 4 and inevitably lost in extra innings, I knew right then and there that it was over.  History was just far too strong, and the Cardinals are just one of those teams that are far too charmed, that there was absolutely 0% chance that the Braves were going to win game 5.  Sure, I had hope that maybe they would break the glass ceiling that they erected unto themselves, but the reality was more likely that they were going to choke again, especially when the pitching matchups were set up, with Jack Flaherty going for the Cardinals, and the Braves countering with the once-exiled to Triple-A Mike Foltynewicz.

All I knew was that the Braves were going to win 10-3, or the Cardinals were going to win 10-3, but there was going to be no close game, and it was going to be a blowout.  When the game ended 13-1, I was the last person in all of Atlanta that was remotely surprised at the outcome, and there’s even a part of me that’s relieved that the season is over for the Braves, because I have to pass ScumTrust Park on my commute, and I would no longer have to worry about any future playoff game traffic getting in my way.

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Love this fire from Craig Calcaterra

Go on, get ‘em Craig: NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk writer Craig Calcaterra lights into the Atlanta Braves front office after their apparent ambivalence for the success of their baseball team

I don’t follow a tremendous amount of sports as much I once used to, but there are a couple of names that I’ve grown to really enjoy and respect throughout the years.  Joe Posnanski and Tom Verducci come to mind pretty quickly, but after reading this scathing editorial by Craig Calcaterra, I have to say that I think he’s ascended to that level of “this guy often piques my interest, no matter what he’s talking about.”

I’m not going to bother narrating the things that he wrote, because his piece in itself is pretty brilliant, mirrors a lot of the same thoughts that I have about the Atlanta Braves, Major League Baseball and professional sports itself, but I just really want to extol just how much I loved the fire coming from Calcaterra.

He’s totally right; the Braves are operating as if they think that their fans are idiots.  Unfortunately the arrogant front office, most notably represented by president Terry McGuirk and GM Alex Anthopolous, aren’t entirely wrong either; lots of the Braves’ fans are idiots.  Lots of baseball, and professional sports fans are idiots.  Most fans of anything in general are often idiots.  Not that there’s anything wrong with some blind faith in the things that people like, but when it comes to analytical thinking, that’s just stuff that some people don’t want to do, and it unfortunately puts them into the category of being idiots, as far as front offices are concerned.

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Different Braves, same shit

Honestly, I’m just glad that the Braves won a game.  I’d have been very not mad, just disappointed had the Braves gone into the playoffs and gotten swept and embarrassed like the Rockies or Indians did, and at least they can hang a single laurel that they put up a modicum of a fight before the inevitable Atlanta tradition of getting bounced from the playoffs came to fruition.

I haven’t really written much, if anything about the Braves (baseball team, not ownership) this season, because really there wasn’t really that much to talk about.  Sure, the team of the future arrived a little bit earlier than schedule, and jump started life into the franchise, powering them to a surprise division title and an actual playoff berth.  But there was one part disbelief that the team would actually achieve success and that between the Nationals or Phillies, they’d have gotten upended in September and miss the playoffs, and there was another part that simply didn’t want to tempt the laws of fate and risk jinxing anything, when the team was going so well.

But either way, when the race for all the divisions were settled, and it was apparent that the Braves were in, I can’t say that I was really at all that excited, and this just might be the sentiment of all fans of sports that live in the Atlanta area.  I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I can’t help but feel that the curse of Atlanta sports is just too strong, and as exciting as the 2018 Braves were, were just too young, and really achieved as much success as they did, heavily on the notion that their divisional rivals were all just that bad.  I didn’t just predict that the Braves were going to get bounced in the first round, I’d have put actual money on it, because that’s simply what the Braves do.

Seriously, the Braves haven’t made it out of the first round of the playoffs since 2001, and they’ve made the playoffs eight times since then.  That’s eight times getting bounced in the first round, and almost always, by a team that was seeded lower than they were.  And that’s just the Braves; as far as other Atlanta and Georgia sports are concerned, most of us here remember the epic historic Super Bowl 28-3 collapse of the Falcons.  The Georgia Bulldogs proceeded to lose the National Championship in similar fashion months later.  The Atlanta United soccer team made it to the playoffs in their first year, only to get bounced in the first round by the lower seed, and even the Atlanta Dream WNBA team made it to the WNBA Finals, only to get swept.

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