The SPORTS PHILOSOPHER is confused…and he admits it — By Brad Eastland

August 15, 2011
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      I’m one of those guys who family and friends always accuse of never admitting he’s wrong.   It’s not true, not even a little bit, but that’s what people say.   In fact for years, whenever I find I’m wrong about something, I always go out of my way to admit it, and mention it, just to prove that very point and set the record straight; alas, once you get a rep like that, it’s a tough bell to un-ring.

     But I just wanted to go on the record to say they’re wrong and I’m right about this.   I’m right about freely admitting it when I’m wrong.  In this case I’m not wrong about admitting when I’m wrong, and in fact I’m right about that.   About sometimes being wrong.   (Ironic, isn’t it?)

Who 'Dat?

Who 'Dat?


     Fortunately, I’m not wrong very often.  (just kidding….I think)

     However, one thing I’m very wrong about (and as always it gives me great pleasure to publicly admit it in print) is pretty much everything I used to think about sports.   Things have been very crazy in the sports world of late, and I don’t mind saying I’m pretty confused about it all.

     For instance:

ITEM:   I’m at Dodger Stadium the other night, it was “Duke Snider Night” and I got a cute little Duke Snider bobblehead, it was a good game, and a good time was had by all.   Except, of course, by any Dodger fans who might have come out for the game itself and not just Duke’s bobblehead.   Cliff Lee of Philadelphia, one of the finest pitchers in Creation, pitched eight shutout innings against the Blue Crew.   He only allowed four hits.   And he also homered.   You could say he won the game pretty much by himself.   But the sidesplitting occurrence in the game came late, in the 7th inning, when, just as Lee’s home run ball was sailing into the right-field pavilion, I happened to glance at the giant Jumbotron-esque scoreboard beyond left field.   And written on that scoreboard were the words: “If anyone is hindering your enjoyment of the game, call….” And then a phone number.

THE SPORTS PHILOSOPHER’S TAKE:   Wasn’t it obvious?   Cliff Lee!   Shouldn’t every Dodger fan in attendance have called in and declared to Dodgers management that CLIFF LEE was hindering his or her enjoyment of that game?   I mean he literally ruined that game for Dodger fans all by himself!   Very confusing.   (Of course in my case, being a San Francisco Giants fan, Lee was actually enhancing my enjoyment of the game….)

ITEM:   Speaking of baseball, my World Champion Giants are in a slump.   They have lost 10 of their last 14, and have fallen out of 1st place.   It has gotten so bad for the Giants that the Pittsburgh Pirates’ recent losing streak was at ten games and counting….until they played the flagging Giants, who promptly lost to Pittsburgh two out of three times.   Then the pathetic Florida Marlins, who had lost seven in a row, were lucky enough to get to play the Giants and so Florida immediately won.  When I say things are going bad for the champs, consider that Florida beat them even though in the 9th inning a Florida guy made a game-saving catch while tripping over his own feet and falling down.  

TSP’S TAKE:   I’m very confused.   In the old days, when I wore a younger man’s moustache, great teams, championship teams, always used to beat up on weak pathetic laughable 2nd-division teams like Pittsburgh and Florida.   They never lost eight of nine, or 10 of 14, like the Giants just did.   I thought I understood baseball.   I was wrong.

ITEM:   Speaking of the Giants, they just set a record.   And not a good record.   They hit 21 consecutive home runs with nobody on base.   Think about that.   Twenty-one straight home runs with nobody on. (Of course the Giants rarely get anybody on, so that much makes sense….I guess.).   The previous record holder was the 1914 Phillies, so that record managed to stand undisturbed for 97 years.   The odds against this happening are probably a gazillion to one.   And oh, by the way, it took the Giants over a month to hit those 21 solo home runs.   In other words, hitting-wise, they stink.   This is one very bad hitting team, people.   Of course they were just as bad a hitting team last year, and they won it all.   I’m so confused.   I’m very confused!

TSP’S TAKE:   I thought things were really turning around for me on this planet, but it’s starting to feel like maybe this isn’t the Giants’ year.   I was sure they’d make the playoffs.   I thought they might even repeat as World Champs, because, I figured, that since they finally won it all last year God really did finally love me.   I was wrong about that.

ITEM:   Dan Uggla of the Atlanta Braves just hit in 33 straight games.   His streak just ended on Sunday, but it was quite a run for Dan.   Because 33 games is the longest hitting streak this whole year, and in fact it’s been five years since someone in major league baseball got at least one hit in that many games in a row.  

TSP’S TAKE:   I don’t get it.   It’s one thing for a player to hit in 33 games in a row.   But before he started that streak, Uggla had been the worst player in baseball.   At least for the year 2011.   On July 5th he was hitting .173, the worst batting average in baseball.   And then he suddenly becomes—for 33 days at least—the best player in baseball.   How can that be?   During his streak, he also hit 15 home runs in those 33 games.   By comparison, the San Francisco Giants don’t have a single player who has it as many as 15 home runs all year.   The world is out of whack.   Numbers used to make sense.   They don’t anymore.   Perhaps the Apocalypse is upon us….

ITEM:   As for the NFL, the Chicago Bears traded away one of their best players (Greg Olsen) but kept their two really dumb coaches (Lovie Smith, Mike Martz), practically every good player in football who is a free agent has decided to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles, Brett Favre is still threatening to return to the league, and TV stations still show pre-season football games in their entirety even though they have no relevance to either entertainment in general, or Humankind in general, whatsoever.

TSP’S TAKE:   I used to think I understood pro football.   Now, I admit I do not.

ITEM:   The PGA Golf Championship.   Nothing makes sense in the world of golf anymore.   Tiger Woods missed the cut by a mile.   Phil Mickelson is not very good anymore either, and was no factor.   Rory McIlroy was no factor.   The top three ranked players in the world (why bother to even name them?) were no factor.   Steve Stricker, one of the best putters in the world, was leading the tournament until he missed a two-foot putt on Friday.   Adam Scott—fresh off his Bridgestone win, where his new caddie Stevie Williams threw his old boss Tiger a gigantic “f-you”—3-putted from four feet.  That’s right.   He was only four feet from the cup but it took him three whacks with his oversized putter to get it in the hole (insert joke of choice here).   Yes, Scott really does use an oversized putter, relax.   And oh, a guy who’s first name is “Keegan” won the championship on Sunday, even though he made a triple-bogey on the 15th hole.  

TSP’S TAKE:   I used to think I understood pro golf.   Now, I admit I do not.

ITEM:   Speaking of Tiger’s ex (his ex caddie, not his ex wife), wasn’t that just about the most satisfying sports thing in a long time when his new boss, the aforementioned Adam Scott, won the Bridgestone tournament last week and then caddie Williams said it was a more satisfying win than any he’d ever had, even more satisfying than when he was on the bag for 13 of Tiger’s majors???   

TSP’S TAKE:   Yes, it was.   Felt just like when Alex Rodriguez made the last out for the Yankees against the Texas Rangers in the ALCS last year, Texas being the team his ridiculous contract ruined for several years after A-Rod took the money and blew town and headed for New York….

ITEM:   Finally, back to my first item, the one where the Dodgers wanted to know if anyone was hindering my enjoyment of that game on Duke Snider Bobblehead Night.

TSP’S TAKE:   There was someone hindering my enjoyment of that game.   Frank McCourt.   The Dodger’s embattled, beleaguered owner.   Because his Dodger Stadium “cuisine” always puts me in a bad mood.   The food at Dodger Stadium definitely hinders my enjoyment.   I’ve been to lots of other MLB ballparks, and the food is always top-drawer.   But not in L.A.   It’s like McCourt thinks he’s filming a prison movie, and wants to try out some nauseating chow on his essentially-imprisoned customers in order to affect a little realism.   It too bad McCourt never met Charles Dickens….you know, that old guy who wrote all those English novels about poverty and poor houses and orphanages?   If Dickens had met McCourt, and had come to Dodger Stadium as McCourt’s guest, and had summoned the courage to sample the cold stale swill McCourt churns out every night while his team languishes 12 games behind the leaders in the NL West, Dickens might have been able to do an even better job in his books of describing the horrible food that that orphanage churned out in Oliver Twist!   And it would have made those books even better.   And then maybe he would have amounted to something….


     Anyway, that’s all I got.   I hope you’re not as confused about sports as I am nowadays.   If you want to get anything confusing off your chest, drop us a line….I know how you feel.

meet….The Sports Philosopher!image002

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, undiscovered fictioneer, and cynical sports sage second to none; at least until his recent confusions detailed above.   Brad’s other recent columns for LaVerneOnline can be found in Sports under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written 4 novels* and over 20 short-stories.   

*To pick up a copy of his recently published novel of life at the racetrack, WHERE GODS GAMBLE, a tale of American mythology, simply search for it on,, or…it’s easy!  (You do wanna read it, don’t you???)








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