GROTE'S GRIPES: EAST, WEST, NORTH AND SOUTH

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GETTYSBURG, PA – Like any good family, this great country of ours has always had our fair share of sibling rivalries. This healthy competition has helped our country become the greatest in the world. In years past the differences between parts of the U.S. were of serious nature. Like the fact that Southern folks thought it was okay to own other human beings while Northern folks thought this was a bit much. A couple of baseball stories this past week has allowed me to once again discard my moral compass and take a look at a nation divided.


    No Midnight Cowboy

West vs. East Cowboy Joe West last Wednesday called the Yankees and Red Sox “pathetic and embarrassing” for slow play. West also called two of baseball’s most storied franchises “a disgrace to baseball.” He said, “They’re the two clubs that don’t try to pick up the pace. They’re two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest?” These real heavy comments are indeed backed by facts. Last year Yankee-Red Sox games took an average of 3:39 to play. The American League average was 2:56. By comparison the Mariners-Rangers games were played in a swift 2:38. On Aug. 18, 2006, the Yankees beat the Sox 14-11 in four hours and 45 minutes. It stands as the longest nine-inning game in history. I’m a baseball fan and enjoy watching good baseball but there can be too much of a good thing. Even the Yanks/Red Sox fans with the biggest hard-ons for their teams have to admit it is enough already. As Viagra warns, you should call a doctor if your erection lasts more than four hours.

There have been many theories as to why these games are longer but none are correct. The real reason is Joe Torre’s weak bladder. As the former Yankee skipper’s prostate grew so did the length of these games. Jorge Posada didn’t even speak English when Torre instructed him to visit Jimmy Key on the mound back in 1996 so Torre could take a bathroom break. During that era he only needed one piss break per nine innings. By 2000 he was wearing out a urinal cake a game in the coaches bathroom. Luckily for Joe he got his prostate checked and realized he had cancer and caught it in time. Unfortunately for us baseball fans he got used to his bathroom breaks and began using these delays to clip his toenails, trim his nose hair, pluck his eyebrows, etc. If you don’t believe me then how do you explain the fact that the Dodgers are the only National League team to average over 3 hours per game. This all happened since his going problem moved west. Come to think of it he may have a growing problem. Either way the plight of four hour games is heading west thanks to Ol’ Joe.

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Baseball like it ought to be. Target Field, Minnesota.

North vs. South – Target Field opened yesterday in Minnesota. The Twins will once again be playing baseball in the great outdoors. The fact that they decided on an outdoor stadium instead of the retractable dome just highlights the fact that us northerners are a stronger breed than our southern counterparts. Cities in the South build stadiums with retractable dooms because it is too hot for them. They want to stay cool in the summer. They’d rather be indoors on a summer’s day than be outside. They even play indoor baseball in Tampa.

I just don’t get Southerners sometimes. Even the name of the stadium highlights the differences between North and South. Target Field as opposed to Wal-Park. I know there is no Wal-Park yet but I’m sure it is coming soon, complete with ball boys straight out of the infamous “People of Wal-Mart”.

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What is it with the South and the names of their stores? If you were from any part of the country and drove by a supermarket in the North you would know it by sight. Here’s a Stop & Shop, I think I’ll stop and shop. Maybe you want to Shop Rite or need to visit Food Town. In the South there’s the Winn-Dixie and the Piggly Wiggly. I don’t even want to know what products they sell there. Though Winn-Dixie’s slogan of “Stars & Bars and Mallomars” tells you all you need to know about their clientele.

No wonder most of the South looks like they do the majority of their food and wardrobe shopping from convenience stores, most notably Circle K. I guess it is better than shopping at the Midwest version of the convenience store called Kum & Go.


    Wouldn’t want to use those bathrooms now would ya?

Angry Ward, tomorrow.

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