Newmann: Switching gears
“It ain’t over till it’s over.” — Yogi Berra on the 1973 National League pennant race
Well, here we are moving toward the end of yet another election cycle.
At least this time around there’s a certain degree of civility (even with a recall on the ballot). Not much in the way of acrimony, bombast or lies. Maybe one can call it, in light of the election past, refreshingly boring.
Perhaps the overall calm nature exhibited so far in Eagle County during this voting cycle is a direct result of a rather sane and considerate populace. Let’s just hope it stays that way.
Meanwhile, seething barely beneath the surface, are the upcoming midterms. Oh, joy! And they’re only a year away. The campaigning has already begun (it started after last November’s results … or, for those in Neverland, after last November’s nonresults). We can all look forward to a wonderful lack of civility plus all the associated acrimony, bombast and lies. Stay tuned.
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Or maybe just tune out for a while.
If you do decide to tune out of the political spectrum, you may want to retune into the baseball playoffs. They’re the apex of the national pastime — and they’ve been terrific.
The two teams in the National League (the Giants and the Dodgers) with the best records in all of baseball faced off against one other in a divisional series, which went down to the last (check) swing of the last at-bat. Meanwhile, in the American League, the club with the best record (Tampa Bay) faced a wild card team (Boston) — only to be eliminated by the New England underdog.
So, we’re now into the championship series, which pits the Dodgers against the Atlanta Braves in the NL, while in the AL it’s Boston versus Houston. So far, several games in both series have been marked by surprising late-inning comebacks. Just when you think a team is out of a game … they’re back in. But now both the Dodgers and the Red Sox are on the brink of elimination. Can they both rebound — and keep their World Series hopes alive?
It’s great theater: lots of drama without many histrionics, clutch performances, a few questionable calls and some bizarre comic relief (an example: the Red Sox’s Rafael Devers stuffing so much chew and/or gum in his mouth that he looks like his cheeks are going to explode. And yet his hitting is sublime).
As with Devers, player personalities really come to the fore. There’s Max Scherzer, the very intense ace of a phenomenal Dodger pitching staff, skulking around, scowling and visibly objecting to visits to the mound by his pitching coach (with a choice word or two thrown in for lip readers in the viewing audience). Or Jose Altuve, the Astros’ diminutive (and irrepressible) second baseman who, at 5-foot-6 has one of the most potent bats in the majors and continually inflicts large-scale pain on opposing pitchers.
Adding to the mix, the play-by-play and color announcers have been very good. Many of them are former players who, much to their credit, do not overplay their hand. They’re informative and analytical — but don’t hammer you by continually trying to analyze every nuance of the game (several football announcer — and quite a few network political pundits — could take heed).
All in all, it’s a terrific way to just kick back, relax and watch the boys of summer wend their way toward the World Series.
And a wonderful respite from some of that “other” noise.
Tom Newmann splits his time between Edwards and Queenstown, New Zealand. He has been going winter to winter since 1986. He was also a journalist in Missoula, Montana, at the Missoulian for quite a few years. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.