There’s no sweeter phrase than “Play ball!” at this time of the year. For the frozen folks of the Wolverine State and elsewhere in the Rust Belt, the start of spring training games in Arizona and Florida this week means warm weather is a mere two or three months away.

But the past off-season brought the unsettling news that the geniuses of Major League Baseball are willing to tinker with how extra-inning games are played. Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, has okayed a plan to let the lowest minor leagues automatically put a man on second base at the start of the 10th inning and thereafter.

Backers of the idea say it’s to shorten games so the teams’ benches and pitching staffs don’t get depleted in a marathon outing.

“It’s not fun to watch when you go through your whole pitching staff and wind up bringing a utility infielder in to pitch,” explained Torre, a former All-Star player and Yankees manager.

Well, I got news for you, Joe. It’s a lot more common for non-pitchers to take the mound in the eighth inning of a 16-3 blowout than in extra innings. Only a few games a year turn into death marches of 15 innings and more, and most bullpens can handle them pretty easily.

The idea of putting a guy on second to open extra innings originated in international baseball competition a few years ago. To which I say: So what? The next thing you know, some Supreme Court justices are going to cite international law in their decisions. (Yeah, some do that now. But not the good justices.)

Anyway, it’s time to stop babying the overpaid ballplayers. When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, not one of the Ten Commandments read, “Thou shalt not let a starter pitch more than seven innings.” And a decent middle reliever should be able to be effective for two or three innings. Limiting a strong, young pitcher to a single inning is counterproductive if he’s getting batters out.

It wasn’t uncommon for pitchers to throw extra-inning complete games in the deadball era, but great pitchers could gut it out in modern times, too.

In a classic match-up of two future Hall of Famers, Juan Marichal of the Giant’s and the Braves’ Warren Spahn pitched scoreless ball before Willie Mays belted a one-out homer in the bottom of  the 16th inning on July 2, 1963.

Spahn blamed his 1-0 loss on a screwball that “didn’t break worth a damn.” What nobody pointed to was his age. He was only 42 and still had more innings in him.

Yesterday I spent my morning in the ER with DaWife who came home around 3 pm with a diagnosis of gallstones & plans to schedule surgery.

Tonight we’re heading back to the ER this time in Worcester, and everything is up in the air including CPAC trip

Posting will go on here as normal but my own blogging will likely be light.

Update: Suddenly the phones in the house are iffy and every single piece of personal ID of my has mysteriously vanished, my son is taking my wife to the ER and I’m stranded here.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I’ve written before about the negative effects of cell phones on our youth but this article in the Wall Street Journal only confirms what I already know.  Our kids are addicted to phones, so much so that it is detrimental not only to their classroom performance, their attention levels, and even their socialization.

What prompted my interest in this topic was my own experience as a high school classroom teacher and my reading of Matt Richtel’s A Deadly Wandering which tells the story of Reggie Shaw who crossed the center line one morning while texting and driving which resulted in the death of two scientists.  Interspersed with the chapters about Reggie and the aftermath of the accident, we meet the neuroscientists who work in “attention science” and the result is an engaging page turner.

Now a Wall Street Journal article examines the social habits of teenagers who are now apparently making their friends online rather than in social settings. They are using apps like Kik and Houseparty, among many others, at alarming rates:

These apps make sense now in part because more teens than ever have access to smartphones. In 2015, the Pew Research Center reported 73% of U.S. teens have access to a smartphone, and that figure is growing. Those teens are checking their phones on average more than 80 times a day, according to Deloitte .

Think about that for a moment: they’re checking their phones “on average more than 80 times a day…”.

That’s a lot.  And if you believe the science, each time they check their phone they’re chasing a dopamine hit.

With the Houseparty app, for example, you’re basically Facetiming with more than one person at a time. So rather than go to a movie, to a playground, or out in the neighborhood, kids are sitting on the couch glued to their phone screens.  Some would advocate that this is much safer than the risk of having kids abducted or hanging out in malls (do they still do that?). At least if they’re home, you know what they’re doing. On the other hand, this kind of behavior leads to sedentary, inactive kids who will likely have problems with real, in-person situations.

Not to mention the increasingly addictive factor of the device itself.   I see the detriment of this in the classroom every single day. The attention span of students has decreased significantly in my twenty years as a teacher. Teachers must find a way to be more entertaining than the phone. I find the statistics, frankly, alarming.

For American teens, making friends isn’t just confined to the school yard, playing field or neighborhood – many are making new friends online. Fully 57% of teens ages 13 to 17 have made a new friend online, with 29% of teens indicating that they have made more than five new friends in online venues. Most of these friendships stay in the digital space; only 20% of all teens have met an online friend in person.

Give the kid a library card instead of a smart phone.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

 

The latest rumor that Tilda Swinton is the top runner to be the next Doctor is all over the place.

As insanity of the social justice warriors in media envelops their fellow SJW’s at the BBC, who get the final say in remaking The Doctor in their own cultural image,  let me highlight a few practical points before you decide to give red Tilda, or any other woman, the keys to the Doctor’s TARDIS and throw the final vestiges of what is a children’s show, and not as it may seem a show for adults who are still children, into the bin.

  1. History

People tend to see the world based on the world around them, however history didn’t start in 1990. For the vast majority of human history women were chattel at worst and subordinates as best and in most Islamist countries that remains true today. Given the history how many knots are you going to have to twist any time a female Doctor arrives at any date prior to 1900 or in any non western society today (say Saudi Arabia) and get her to persuade the various powers that be to give “her” the ability to deal with threat X, Y or Z? And unless you plan on only one adventure in Earth’s past how do you plan on making said “twist” work each time?

  1. The Teenage boy fan base

There are a lot of teenage boys who watch Doctor Who, I discovered it myself as a teenager. The idea of a time traveling eccentric who travels the universe defeating monsters and saving planets was very appealing to me as I suspect tales of heroism have been to young men ever since there have been young men.

How do you think those young men approaching or in puberty (not to mention many who haven’t bothered to develop maturity these day) are going to see a Doctor to put it bluntly, with tits?

Do you really want to turn the Doctor, who is essentially the hero fighting the monsters, into a sex object because that is what is going to happen, however you dress this Doctor or however you play it the sexuality angle will be on the table (and in Swinton’s case there is plenty on youtube to fuel it)

Russell T. Davies and gay icons status notwithstanding, do you want the Doctor to become mastubation material for teenage boys? And is the BBC ready for the inevitable porn parody that will follow which would likely involve scarves, fezs, celery and the Doctor literally doing him/her self which will be watched by every kid with an internet connection over the age of 8?

Yeah that’s the image the that we want to leave with the youth of Britain and the world

  1. The Doctor in combat as a prisoner

As anyone who has followed the Doctor on TV or in books or via Big Finish knows, the Doctor is constantly getting captured and chained up in dungeons, and prisons and getting tortured. One the Doctor is a woman there is an entirely different dimension.

Rape.

How do you deal with the inevitable possibility in fact probability of the Doctor being raped after being taken? How do you explain it away? How do you get that to play on what is supposed to be a kids show and is the theme you really want to be dealing with?

Because anywhere that the TARDIS lands where women are property if the Doctor is captured that’s on the table, and if the Doctor is in that situation is the companion going to show up in the nick of time?

  1. Bringing Back those women viewers:

One of the knocks against Capaldi, who like Peter Davidson is in my opinion an excellent Doctor who had the misfortune of following the best actor who held the role in his generation, is that being older he lost some of the female audience because of the lack of sexual tension in the background. This is actually again goes to the door of Russell Davies who decided once Eccleston was gone, to turn the Doctor/Companion relationship into something more, first pining for Rose, then missing Rose while the Martha pined for him, then Donna and the recurring “we’re not a couple” gag. And Matt Smith with Amy, then the Doctor/Rory rivalry, then Clara, the TARDIS has been full of sexual tension and relationships, which thanks to good writing and fine actors was handled without destroying the nature of the show & the appeal to kids.

I can understand wanting to get that base back but the truth is making the Doctor a woman will not bring back the tension that attracted the female audience. The critics will love it of course but that’s not the audience they lost. They can try to play up the “Woman can be a hero too” business but that’s already been demonstrated in the series as far back a Romana & Leela. Making the Doctor a woman will just be a stunt and like all stunts will fizzle?

5…and getting out of it

This should really be 4a but when, not if, the SJW affirmative action Doctor fails what then? If the ratings don’t improve and the audience doesn’t return do you DARE kill off the 1st woman doctor after one season? After two? Do you risk the wrath of the SJW community if you don’t replace the 1st woman doctor with the 2nd woman doctor or the first openly gay doctor hitting on every man in history or the first transgender doctor or the first cisnormative but sexually confused asian crossdressing doctor? You get the idea. Once you start down this path you’ll have a tough time getting out of it without facing a backlash and we’ve already seen how very nice the SJW community reacts?

It won’t be pretty

  1. All girls together

If you want a “woman” doctor why not give a series to Romanna, or Jenny (the Doctor’s Daughter) or Susan (The Doctor’s Granddaughter)? Why not take a female Time Lord inspired by the Doctor, and have her go off to do what the Doctor Does? You could even have Catherine Tate thanks to the Meta Crisis (The Doctor Donna) do it and regenerate. Hell you could Bring back River Song, give her a new regeneration and let her do it. Want a hero for young girls, let that hero be a woman from start to finish, someone they can dream like being without an expensive operation. Let the “female” doctor be a woman right from the start and show that she can carry a series on her own and a TARDIS on her own, granted you have some of the same problems that I’ve already mentioned above, but with a different character and a different back story you have the flexibility that you don’t have with the Doctor.

  1. The Lessons of history

Finally let me remind you all of what happened the last time the BBC decided to play SJW with the Time Lord:

The idea of bringing politics into Doctor Who was deliberate, but we had to do it very quietly and certainly didn’t shout about it,” said McCoy.

“We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do.

His companion Ace/Sophie Aldred agreed

Sophie Aldred, who played Ace, the Doctor’s feminist companion, said a shared contempt for right-wing ideology had inspired “a real bonding process” for cast and crew.

“Thatcher was our prime minister and we weren’t happy,” she said.

So the decision was made to turn a children’s television show into a platform for 80’s SJW. The result?

ratings slumped from a high of 16m, when Tom Baker was the Doctor a decade earlier, to 3m and the show was taken off air twice: in 1986-7 by Michael Grade, then the director of programmes — who said it had “no redeeming features” — and again in 1989, two years after Grade had left the BBC.

Ah the joys of the left managing to make a British institution so unpalatable that it could not survive.

One would think that a show about time travel would be more attuned to the lessons of history.

Anyways they likely care what a fifty something like me thinks even though both of my sons discovered fandom thru me they will do what they want.