Gone Fishin’

Folks,

 

Sorry things have been a little light lately. Griggsy is on vacation and I’ve been dealing with my own stresses and levels of freaking out. Uncle Walt is going to be away pretty much until Friday, but I will, hopefully, have fantastic news to share then.

On Tuesday I am making the ~10 hour drive to Fayetteville, North Carolina to interview for a teaching job. I am guardedly optimistic about this. I don’t want to say too much or give too much information away, at least not right now, but this could be a fantastic fit for me. It could also be a chance to do what I’ve talked about for some time – hit the reset button on life. Recently I described my life as being “like the old 8-bit NES blinking on and off and someone was furiously pressing the reset button hoping it would catch.” This may be a great opportunity for me to hit the reset button myself and do so with a little stability in my world.

I am excited and terrified and confident and worried and cocksure about everything. I don’t know what to think or how to feel, but I’ll allow it. Hope is better than the alternative.

We’ll see how things go, but there won’t be any blog updates until Friday at the earliest. You can still contact me on Twitter at twitter.com/AvoidingTheClap (@AvoidingTheClap) – I will have access to that via my smartphone (which may get put through a wall). Well wishes, death treats, trolling, and general herp de derp is always welcome.

 

-Walt

Come On, Come Out

As mentioned previously, I have been dealing with quite a bit in my personal life. I’m going through a major period of flux with a lot of uncertainty over the next few years. I’m making some moves and some choices with some pretty long tails on them and I can’t take them too lightly.

Those of you who know me in real life know that I’m wound pretty tight and am pretty serious about things at times. I sometimes lose sight of the simplicity I so desire in my world and let it get away from me. Today, thankfully, was not one of those days. Today I just had an incredible amount of peace and clarity.

I had to go to the store to pick up a new TV today (my previous TV had some technical issues internally regarding HDMI inputs and being able to switch signals thus rendering my PS3 unusable). We had absolutely gorgeous weather this evening. It was mid 70s, give or take, the sun was shining with some great periodic, fluffy cloud cover, a wonderful blue sky…and I just enjoyed driving around. I took the scenic route to the store (which is normally a 20 minute drive). I drove up through the country and just enjoyed the wind blowing through my hair and the warmth in the air and having my stereo up.

I love to match my music to my mood or to my surroundings. While I was initially enjoying the Hell out of some 90s Janet Jackson, I needed something a little better. Enter one of my favorite go-to records, “One Cell In the Sea” from A Fine Frenzy. Pretty much wherever I find myself or whatever I am doing, I can put that record on and get my mind right. It was almost too obvious and too perfect a song, but it really set the tone for my peaceful journey. “Come On, Come Out” has been one of those songs that sticks with me for a variety of reasons and I always use it when I am experience a shift in weather.

I absolutely love her. I love her voice so much and, frankly, she’s rather nice to look at, too. So much talent, though.

And I just peaced out to the record and enjoyed the whip of the wind and scent of woodsmoke in the air. I didn’t allow the moment to pass. There was, however, only one suitable end to it all.

Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” is one of those tracks I loved as a burgeoning young man and have really come to appreciate as I’ve entered into my older life. What can I say? I enjoy female vocalists in that indie, singer-songwriter, wonderfully dramatic, and sometimes smokey sound. Before you can ask, yes, I remember and still love Lisa Loeb.

It was so nice to have such a peaceful evening. I just enjoyed it so much that I wanted to keep driving. I just wanted to fill up the gas tank and drive until I couldn’t go any further and start a new life wherever I ended up. Had I had this song on the flash drive it would have been perfect (both in tone and keeping with the above theme, plus this unreal use in the final episode of “Six Feet Under” – obviously if you haven’t seen the show don’t click the video, less you be witness to spoilers).

And There Was Lots of Doubt About It

I know I said that there was likely to be little to be said about the Pittsburgh Pirates, but I felt the need to write about them tonight.

I was a huge fan of the Pirates as a boy. I remember going to see them at the old Three Rivers Stadium. I still have my pennant from 1990. I remember always being upset in little league when I did not end up on the Pirates (I spent my entire youth baseball career between the Phillies and the Yankees, two teams I cannot stomach). And then something happened.

The Pirates sucked. For nearly 20 years the Pirates have been a laughable joke of a franchise. They have been the bottom feeders of MLB. I stuck with them through the 90s and into the very early 2000s. I don’t recall exactly when it happened, but one day I just snapped and that was the end of it. I have spent nearly the last ten years ranting about them, and I am unsure if I am willing to welcome them back into my life.

I described the Pirates over the last ~10 years as a living, breathing version of The Producers. For those unfamiliar, the musical/production follows the story of producers who create flop productions because you make more money with a flop than you do a hit. The Pirates have been The Producers. Ownership and management was making money hand over fist while effectively abusing the fans – the real, honest fans who still believed and stuck with them no matter what. While I can respect that, I also wish that people hadn’t stuck with them like they did. It was no different than enabling an alcoholic. By enough people sticking with the team, it became evident that no matter what the owners and management did the people were going to stick with them, so why sink money into high cost players when you can develop talent and trade them off for assets when it came time for their payday?

Obviously I still harbor plenty of feelings of resentment toward the Buccos brass for all the BS they’ve pulled over the last two decades.

But are things starting to change?

I have been sucked in by the team this year. They are winning. And they aren’t just winning against garbage teams or by dumb luck. They are competing. They are winning because they are a really good, strong team on the rise. I haven’t gone to a game in 7 years, but I am being tempted by this. I have watched probably 10 games on TV, and it’s been some up and down emotions. I’m happy they are winning, but I just don’t believe it. I don’t believe it because I can’t trust the ownership and upper management to actually commit to winning. I cannot put my faith, and certainly not my terribly limited money, into this batch of devilish hands without some proof of life from them. We’ve seen how excited people get about the team and players, only to see all-star caliber players shipped off for more draft picks and cash. We’ve seen the talent come, develop, and then leave.

Is this something different?

I’m not willing to go all-in. Hell, I’m not even willing to raise at this point. Until the ownership and the management can prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are committed to competing, if not winning, regularly, and do so without trading away every player worth a damn, well, then I’ll have to bring about an end to my stand. This is not something that will be resolved in one season of hopefulness. If this is a one-and-done magic carpet ride, what comes of the “franchise” players next year? Assuming the struggle, or problems arise, do we see a return to the last 10 years of trades and fielding a minor league team?

I am not ready to commit myself to the team until I can be assured that this isn’t some sick money grab and we’ll be back to the same bullshit we’ve been dealing with for far too long. Think back to only a number of months ago when Mario Lemieux said he was interested in purchasing the team. The entire world was listening. You could hear a pin drop. Everyone imagined what it would be like to have a proven owner who was committed to winning.  Everyone had hope. And when it gets down to it, hope is all you have sometimes.

I’m not there yet. I would genuinely like to see the Pirates become successful again. It would be great to know the team has a chance to be something. It’s great for the city of Pittsburgh and for the long suffering fans who just couldn’t take the abuse any longer. But we need to careful. How easily one’s heart can be broken if things revert to the norm. Enjoy the ride right now, but don’t take your eyes off the road in front of you. You never can be certain what waits around the next bend.

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