One beauty of baseball is its dynamic daily evolution. During the season, teams play virtually every day and when they don’t, their rivals do, along the guy your team’s guy is fighting for the league lead in home runs or strikeouts does. Daily box scores reveal sprout streams of details creating the ebb and flow of the season.
The All-Star break shatters that daily current, making it the worst three days of the season. Three days without your team’s box score and no movement in the standings is both brutal and pointless. In the infinite wisdom of the geniuses that moved the Astros to the American League to make interleague play – instituted as a special event – both necessary and commonplace, some teams get a four day break.
The other problem with the All-Star Game is the game itself. It’s not a real baseball game, where teams play to win, using the full range of strategies and the team’s best players. It’s a bad joke, like the difference between extra virgin olive oil and margarine. Determining World Series home advantage by the outcome of the All-Star Game compounds the error.
Consider the above the first pitch of what should become a far more satisfying baseball tradition: the seventh inning kvetch. For those not up to snuff on their Yiddish, kvetch means complain and can be used as a noun or verb. When have you watched a ballgame and not seen something to complain out? Nobody, no matter how many millions they’re paid, bats 1.000 or throws nothing but strikes.
My pal Dave Lapkin, Orange County’s insurer to the stars, wrote this song for the seventh inning kvetch: I think you can guess the tune.
Take me out to the ball game,
Ochen vey, such a crowd,
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
30 minutes, 50 bucks, it set me back.
It’s root, root, root for the home team,
Even though I don’t know their names,
For it’s one, two, three bouts of gout,
At the old ball game.
Let’s all get up and belt it out for all the things that bother us over those lousy three (or four) days next week.
Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.