Weekly Feature

2017-10-11 / Editorials

October has all the options when the news is so depressing

Managing Editor

The month of October is always a great time for sports fans. Football is well under way, the baseball post-season has begun and hockey has returned from its annual hiatus.

These brief distractions are needed now more than ever.

News is often violent, disturbing and piled high with inappropriate content.

For the third time in recent weeks, an important baseball game was broadcast on national television on Sunday at roughly the same time as the Buffalo Bills were playing. Thank goodness for the invention of the remote control, allowing me to skip from one channel to another by pressing a single button.

The only time I stayed focused on baseball was when my favorite players were coming up to bat. The only time I stayed focused on football was when there was less than four minutes left to play.

That reminded me of a sketch put on by the late comedian George Carlin. He said he enjoyed comparing football and baseball, the two most popular spectator sports in America. Here’s most of that sketch:

“Baseball is a 19th-century pastoral game. Football is a 20th-century technological struggle.

“Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park! Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.”

These brief distractions are needed now more than ever.

“Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life. Football begins in the fall, when everything’s dying. In football you wear a helmet. In baseball you wear a cap.

“Football is concerned with downs – what down is it? Baseball is concerned with ups – who’s up? In football you receive a penalty. Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness. Baseball has the sacrifice.

“Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog. In baseball, if it rains, we don’t go out to play. Baseball has the seventh-inning stretch. Football has the two-minute warning.

“Baseball has no time limit: We don’t know when it’s gonna end – we might have extra innings. Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we’ve got to go to sudden death.

“And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different. In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line.

“In baseball the object is to go home! I hope I’ll be safe at home!”

These brief distractions are needed now more than ever.

There are no provisions for an elected official to leave the game before it starts because he objects to players protesting against injustice. There are no provisions for another elected official to state “only one thing will work” in dealing with North Korea and that he created the word “fake.” There are no provisions for that same elected official to question why a Senate committee is not investigating a legitimate American news agency.

Freedom of the press. Freedom to choose. This week, I choose baseball.

(David F. Sherman is managing editor of Bee Group Newspapers and a columnist for the Weekly Independent Newspapers of Western New York, a group of community newspapers with a combined circulation of more than 200,000 readers. Opinions expressed here are those of the author. He can be reached at dsherman@beenews.com.)

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