Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
I'm Back, and I Brought Brian Lawrence with Me
2007-01-22 12:46
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Well, I went on tour for a couple of weeks. It was fun. All of that sleeping on floors had to be beneficial for my posture, and I'm certain all of the bands with whom my group shared stages were great. I didn't catch hardly any of them because I was either carrying equipment or napping in the van, but I'm sure they must have been good anyway or else we wouldn't have been playing with them.

There is a lot of America west of Colorado. Most of it is empty and rugged. There are a few cool cities if you know where to look. I had no idea Boise was such a happenin' town. For the most part, however, since it was January and cold everywhere we went (even Southern California) and there was no baseball season going on to differentiate one medium-sized city from the next, each tour stop kind of ran on into the next. You could get the same approximate effect by just driving around in circles on your metropolis's beltway, stopping at random houses and dive bars to play for half an hour for tiny, uninterested crowds, and not showering for several days.

It was strange being away from the constant stream of sports news I usually have on here at home. No one else in my band, surprisingly, was interested in listening to sports radio all day every day in the van. I didn't hear about the Darrent Williams incident until several days after the fact and didn't for sure get down the details until I finally secured a decent newspaper like a week later. I was worried that the Rockies might make some sort of big move, like trading Todd Helton. It was a distinct possibility, and it would have been very difficult for me to find a way to get my two cents' in from the road. One nice silver lining about the Colorado organization, though, they seldom rock the boat. Here I am posting for the first time in just about a calendar month and the only thing that qualifies as a development worth mentioning is the signing of Brian Lawrence to come and compete for a rotation spot. I think that a healthy Lawrence is better than Josh Fogg, but he didn't pitch at all last year (shoulder surgery). It seems like the plan all along with starting pitching, at least after the Jason Jennings trade, is just like last season's. Dan O'Dowd and Clint Hurdle have collected a bunch of guys who at least look the part of major league starters, and they'll pretty much let them have it out to determine who rounds out the starting five after Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis. This year's group (Lawrence, Rodrigo Lopez, Oscar Rivera, Eric DuBose, Jason Hirsh, Taylor Buchholz) is better than last year's (Fogg, Zach Day, Miguel Asencio, Jose Acevedo, Keiichi Yabu and so on). That's progress!

I think the major lesson I absorbed during my recent travels is that no one, anywhere, really knows anything about sports. I was in Seattle the weekend of the first NFL playoff games, and every Seahawks fan to whom I spoke was certain they were going to lose to Dallas. They didn't. I was in San Diego the next weekend, and the Chargers fans I met were fired up; they were sure they were going to win the Super Bowl. Someone showed me a website with multiple fan-submitted Charger championship rally songs. The Chargers lost. Football is kind of the last American sport I follow where I'm not submerged into it to the point where being a fan with a single team to root for becomes obsolete. I'm interested in and follow basically all of the baseball teams; I'm not a Rockies fan so much as a baseball superfan who lives in Colorado's jurisdiction. Likewise there are maybe six NBA teams I watch pretty closely, whether it's due to local connections past and present (Bulls, Warriors, Nuggets), because simply watching them play is a beautiful thing (Suns, Mavericks), or because I have a weird obsession for which I probably need to seek pro help (Knicks). The NFL is different. I like the Bears. That's it. (Two seven-hour football games in one weekend is one too many. I tried really hard to watch the AFC Championship the other day, but I fell asleep.) I watch just the Bears game every week, unless it's not on TV, in which case I have been listening to the radio feeds. I have been a Bears fan for a long time -- one of my very earliest memories is of watching William Perry score in Super Bowl XX, when I was five years old -- and I have never felt less confident in a Chicago football team. I can't believe they're in the Super Bowl! They're terrible!

It's incredible that in the face of all this evidence that none of us, even the most obsessive, loyal detail-oriented types who schedule their entire existences around their team's games know anything at all about anything that we all keep caring and producing so much passionate writing and talk radio hot air regarding the objects of our obsessions. Like most of the Pacific coast running from Canada to San Francisco, it's at once extremely beautiful and deeply inconvenient.

2007-01-22 15:51:09
1.   Kels
Welcome back Mark. I was really hoping to hear your opinion regarding the blockbuster signing of John Mabry :)

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