Super Bowl LI

The CatchHighly improbable. 1 2 3

Super Bowl LI

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Where improbable equals “rigged.”
  2. This is not original to us; we imagine the Falcons are thinking much the same thing.
  3. Years ago…hell, decades ago, we read a sci-fi novella that revolved around the conceit that every Super Bowl since 1984 has been rigged. But for the love of Thor the title, much less author, escapes us. If you by chance you also read it, drop us a line.

Taxpayer Subsidized Super Bowl

We received a text about Super Bowl vandalism an hour or so ago and then pretty much chased that meme down into the Super Bowl preparedness rabbit hole, were we tripped over the following:

…the document which, it was revealed in January, allowed the NFL to roll into San Francisco and rack up a $5.3 million (and, as of press time, growing) bill for city-provided police, transit, and cleanup services.

After all, for these same services, the city of Santa Clara — which is hosting the game at Levi’s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers’ new $1.3 billion privately funded palace — managed to secure $3.6 million up front from the Super Bowl Host Committee, the collection of local civic and business leaders tasked with bringing the Big Game to the Bay Area.

With still-fresh memories of the 2013 America’s Cup, when the so-called “Super Bowl of yachting” arrived with promises of a cash bonanza but set sail after sticking local taxpayers with a $11.5 million bill, they’re fair questions: Why couldn’t San Francisco do the same? And who’s responsible for this particular fumble?…

Lee exited the supervisors’ chambers without ever answering Peskin, whose attempt to ask a follow-up — the same question as before, actually — was rebuffed by Board of Supervisors President London Breed…

Far from a “public subsidy” for the country’s richest professional sports organization, as a budget analysts’ report called it, being Super Bowl City comes with free concerts and free events, a gift for the public.

Of course there’s more…

As taxpayer costs related to Super Bowl City continue to increase, we learn today that at least one city department is working hard to keep expenses off the books. SFMTA officials, it seems, have asked employees to “volunteer” as “ambassadors” for Super Bowl City. This “volunteering” would be done during work hours, on the clock, and the employees would be paid by SFMTA. Costs associated with this volunteer work are not included in city officials’ $5.3 million (and growing) estimated bill to taxpayers for Super Bowl 50 celebrations, however, allowing overall costs to appear lower than they really are.

Add some “needed” surveillance…

New cameras, to be precise, aimed at the street between First Street and the Embarcadero, the area that will in a few weeks be closed down to traffic to make way for the Super Bowl and the “Super Bowl City” “fan village”…

They’re not even “security cameras” — they’re traffic cameras, according to SFTMA spokesman Paul Rose, and are meant to keep an eye on buses and trains, not people. Nevertheless, privacy advocates aren’t convinced, and fear the cameras could fall victim to mission creep…

“If these cameras are solely for traffic purposes, there needs to be an enforceable policy that strictly limits their use for that purpose,” said Matt Cagle, policy attorney for technology and civil liberties at the American Civil Liberties Union. “The risk here, as with so many other surveillance technologies, is that the cameras will remain up after the Super Bowl is long over, and will be used for purposes beyond just traffic control.”

There will be no unsightly bums on display…

People living on our streets are at high risk for pneumonia or of dying from exposure. On a recent outreach, our volunteer reported that everyone she came in contact with was drenched and so were their belongings. She could not help but notice a lot of people were barefoot or wearing soaked socks.
The Super Bowl is around the corner, and so sweeps are even more common than usual. According to one dripping young woman, the Department of Public Works and the police did a sweep of her encampment at 4th and Harrison at 6am — during the downpour. She and her group were told that they need to “move along” until after the Stupid Bowl events and that an area that is considered a “safe zone” is at Bryant and 7th, which so happens to be the location of the county jail.

Meanwhile a bunch of dry areas have been fenced off in the past two weeks. They are under freeways, away from businesses and residential areas, but off limits to those seeking shelter. In the middle of the rains, there are empty spaces where large encampments were just last week, enclosed with fences topped with razor blades. Meanwhile most homeless people are asking and searching for where they can go without getting harassed. That seems to be the question of the month.

Seriously! No homeless during the Super Bowl!

Mayor Ed Lee told the homeless they “have to leave” for the Super Bowl. Join the Coalition on Homelessness as we protest the mayor’s unjust plan and demand immediate housing for our city’s unhoused residents. Meet up is at 4:30 in front of Sinbad’s on Embacadero next to the Ferry Building. We are going to set up a tent city, with plenty of visuals next to the superbowl city. Bring signs and banners and cardboard cut-outs of houses. And bring tents if you don’t mind them getting confiscated. 1

Homeless Statistics:
◦ There’s 1 shelter bed for every 6 homeless
◦ There’s an 8,000 person long wait for housing
◦ 3,300 Children make up SF’s homeless
◦ 61% have disabilities
◦ 11,000 citations were given to homeless for resting in SF last year

Superbowl-Related Statistics:
◦ 25% of the costs for Superbowl ads would be enough to end homelessness in SF (Each 30-second Superbowl ad costs 5 million.)
◦ The $5 million cost to SF to host the Superbowl would house 500 homeless people.
◦ SFPD is responsible for clearing out homeless people for the Super Bowl by giving them citations which are already up 30% from last year.

And finally, the totally in tune with the rabble response:

Yes, yes, the homeless are being herded, the skyscrapers defaced, our streets are clogged, and our tax money is being wasted. But you wanna know the worst thing about the Super Bowl plopping its nacho-stained Walmart sweatpants down on our fair city? The horrific “official parties.” They are so awful!

Look, when Coldplay is your halftime act it can only go downhill from there, but I didn’t think it could go this far down. We are entering a bottomless pit of tacky that literally gouges my eyeballs into black holes of abhorrence with each successive Facebook invitation. My Bizarro World favorite so far? The 2016 Maxim Party, “in a class all its own as the #1 most sought after event. Maxim is creating a premium ultra lounge featuring: concert sound, theatrical lighting & effects, full LED video walls and risers for exclusive VIP Tables on different levels.”

GUYS THEY ARE GONNA HAVE TABLES ON DIFFERENT LEVELS! Where will the innovation end? VIP tables (on different levels!) run you $8,500 — $25,000. Oh, and Paul McCartney might be there. Thanks for ruining everything!

The Charles household has no interest in the upcoming festivities 2, instead we will be hosting a Girl Scout trivia party for the Astas’ troop.

On Iowa

Show 2 footnotes

  1. The FB page.
  2. Except as our own superstitious predictor of the upcoming elections…

No Pitcher

Timmy was a great shortstop –he could go to his left like nobody’s business– but had no power at the plate; Mike was all bulk, a natural-born RBI guy, so we stuck him on first. I could motivate in either direction and had a whip-like arm but without the oomph needed to scream one in from the outfield: second base was my spot.

Same with the rest of the neighborhood kids – everybody fitted in naturally at some position. Some kids could play more than one position. Or I remember one kid we put the mask on, handed him the pillow, and stuck him behind the plate to keep him from screwing up too badly.

To start with everybody had a turn pitching. It was the only way to discover who was good. The neighborhood diamond was located in a field owned by the parish church; it had a good back-stop and an actual grass outfield, so we almost forgave it’s concrete-like dirt infield. The field had a home plate permanently affixed, but there was no discernible mound so three of us paced off 60 feet and then split the difference.. Frank’s dad had an old nearly white rubber that we nailed in with appropriated tent spikes and we were good to go.

Most of us had no delivery to speak of and others aped their hero’s, or their dads’. Frank Belsen did this weird Ewell Blackwell submarine style that nearly brought his nose to the mound, but he had no pep on it so the ball got smacked around pretty good. No one else had a significant stylish delivery, though everyone thought they were emulating Stan Musial or Warren Sphan or Whitey Ford. My uncle had taught me three pitches – a two seamed fastball, a fork ball (all in the wrist snap) and a curve. I threw “well” enough that I got into the rotation occasionally, but mostly I stayed on second.

And this is how the neighborhood pickup games went for a couple of summers.

Then a new kid moved in. He found the diamond quickly enough and sat watching from behind the back-stop. After the morning’s first game we ambled over and everybody said hey and started talking. Mark was from Nebraska and his dad has just changed jobs so hello Kansas City. More importantly Mark was a pitcher, that’s what he said. Said that was his primary position and he was good at it, too. Jay handed Mark his mitt and ball and said “So go pitch.”

Mark didn’t blow us away but we didn’t hit him either. He didn’t seem to have any stuff, but we kept swinging over the ball, or ahead of it. Mike’s second time up he hammered one pretty good, a round tripper, but the rest of us were lucky to get an outfield flair or a seeing-eye single.

So, yeah – we had found our pitcher.

Which was fine with Mark – he liked being a pitcher. Pitcher was the premier position, like a quarterback, or maybe being Richard Petty. Girls knew you were the pitcher, even girls who didn’t like baseball. It was a big deal. And Mark liked that part real fine. He strutted around like a rooster and crowed about how well he pitched. But when he didn’t pitch well, which as it turned out, was most of the time, it didn’t bother him. In the middle of a horrid outing he often had a smile on his face as though the whole game was just a lark, some prank he was playing on everyone, nothing to get upset about. Well, it bothered us – baseball was sacred and meant to be played that way. Worse, we had brought this on ourselves; we had made Mark our pitcher.

Next summer we moved into 3 & 2 ball. 1 At try-outs everyone said what positions they played and if they could play another one. The coaches set a quick roster and we played 500, with the obvious sluggers working against 4 or 5 pitchers. Mark had told them he was a pitcher so he came in the third “inning” behind a lefty from Raytown. And he stunk. He couldn’t find the plate, his fastball wasn’t and his curve just flattened itself belt high over the middle of the plate. They coaches had to pull him early cause they didn’t have enough little kids to go climb the fences to bring back the balls.

The guys weren’t surprised; other than that one time when he ate our lunch last summer this was Mark the pitcher we knew. Mostly we felt bad for him – he wasn’t going to make a team, and in those days if you weren’t playing ball you weren’t anybody. Most of the guys ended up playing for Kroger’s, though Frank and I caught on with Mr. Henry’s A & P. 2 Somehow Mark caught on with the Safeway team as a reliever. Good luck with that, we thought.

It was one of those leagues were all 6 teams played each other, I think four times. So I got to hit against Mark a couple three times when their starter’s arm went. And it was weird cause mostly I beat him like a drum, knocking the ball all over the park – the kid didn’t have a thing, he was no pitcher. But one time he started and was near unhittable. How did that work?

And that’s how it went. As we moved through junior high and then high school ball, as we laddered up divisions in 3 & 2 (and some into Legion ball), Mark would always tell everyone he was a pitcher and he would always end up penciled in as such and in almost every game we would hit him like he stole something, except that once a summer he’d come close to throwing a no-no.

Eventually reality settled in –we weren’t going to The Show. We were too slow, too big, couldn’t go to our left; our arm was too weak, our bat speed was lacking, we couldn’t go to our right.

Life moved on.

But sometimes I wondered, unlikely as it might be, whether Mark would make it into the Bigs – he was sure convinced he would. What would The Show do to a pitcher like Mark?

Then last night, out of the blue, I got the answer.

Fucking Cueto.
No Pitcher

Show 2 footnotes

  1. If I recall aright, that was the year we all turned either 11 or 12.
  2. Frank at third, myself at second base: the unis were white with green lettering, green hat, green and yellow stirrup socks.

Jays vs. Royals: ALCS Game 3

2015 ALCS

So…will power make the difference tonight?

You wouldn’t think so…however the Jays play in a hermetically sealed terrarium, where it is rumored their routinely staff drop both air pressure and oxygen in order to get the ball to travel further in what is already a 3 & 2 dimensioned park:

Zone Kauffman Stadium MLB average Rogers Centre
Left 330 feet 329 feet 328 feet
Left Center 387 feet 371 feet 375 feet
Center 410 feet 404 feet 400 feet
Right Center 387 feet 372 feet 375 feet
Right 330 feet 332 feet 328 feet

Of course, if Cueto does his job, no worries. Right?

Jays vs. Royals: ALCS Game 3

Royals vs. Astros: Game 5

Astros Royals 2015 ALDS

We had some work to do last night and so listened to the game on the radio 1, which is one of our not-so-guilty pleasures.

All we can say is if the Royals are going to play this way through out the ALCS they’re gonna give us a heart attack.

Royals vs Astros: Game 5

Show 1 footnote

  1. We sat with the Astas afterward to watch the clubhouse celebration before the young ‘uns were unceremoniously marched off, like prisoners of war, to bed; when did ball players start wearing ski goggles to avoid cheap champagne splashing in their eyes, the pussies?