There was a commercial break in the 1975 Richard Pryor rerun of Saturday Night Live. Was he brilliant.
I clicked on the Mets. Two outs. Runner on third. Mets down, 1-0. Duda against some lefty.
“Game over. He can’t hit lefties,” I informed my wife.
Clang. Home run off the foul screen in right. Perfect timing for my baseball wisdom.
I texted our son. Doo-dah. Doo-dah.
David was on the phone with his wife, who was visiting family. At the same time, he was watching the Mets.
“Losers to the end,” he said. Duda can’t hit lefties.
Clang. Do we know the game, or what?
Soon there will be no Mets, no season. As mediocre as the Mets have been, they have given us Lagares and de Grom, Mejia and Familia, and Daniel Murphy, who worked himself into an all-star. Collins is really a good manager.
My guess is that baseball fans in a lot of cities feel the same way, bereft. Yankee fans and others now that Jeter-mania is over. Baseball has been with us every day since April.
I’m adopting the Pirates to make a run in the post-season, and I’m adopting the Tigers in the other league. I like the old cities, the old clubs, and root for them in October.
But it’s not like having your own team, every day, even when you are 100 percent positive that Duda cannot hit lefties. Clang. The (imagined) sound will echo all winter.
Welcome to World Cup 2022, the most absurd thing that the routinely absurd world of sports has ever produced.
Those extreme descriptions were what virtually the entire world, save for those who had walked off with bags of cash from Qatar, called the awarding of soccer’s greatest event to the incredibly tiny, incredibly wealthy country back in 2010.
Twelve years ago, many were convinced this event couldn’t possibly happen: staging the world’s biggest sporting event in a country the size of Connecticut, one with zero soccer culture and even less soccer infrastructure? The tournament couldn’t possibly take place in 120-degree heat, and FIFA, the governing body of soccer, most certainly wouldn’t upend football leagues around the world to change the traditional summer schedule, could it?
And, for God’s sake, what about the beer?
Those were just the logistical concerns. The moral concerns are far more distressing. FIFA, so busy paying lip service to equality, couldn’t possibly expect the world to embrace a country where you could go to prison for being gay, where women’s rights are severely curtailed and female victims of sexual assault could go to prison, charged with engaging in extramarital sex. And all those questions came before the global realization that the World Cup was being built on the backs of migrant labor: modern-day slaves held in Qatar with virtually no rights, low wages and no ability to leave. Migrants make up 90% of Qatar’s stated population of 3 million. The country’s native-born equal about 300,000, or roughly the size of Anaheim.
---Ann Killion, columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.