On this date in history

This past Christmas my wife got for me one of those little tear-off-a-page-every-day desk calendars. Each page has a sports fact or trivia question relevant to that particular day.

From March 12 until June 1 it sat untouched on my desk at work. June 1 was the day I stopped in to school to clean my room and pick up any materials I might need for the “summer.” (Which might last until 2027, apparently.) It was weird to say the least, of course, walking into that time warp, and among other things I considered immediately tearing off 75 pages from the calendar.

No, I thought, I’m going to make this a little more interesting. I’m going to tear off not one but two pages every day from now until I’m caught up.

Well, today I caught up.

And now I know that on August 5, 1974, a game between the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers was interrupted in the eighth inning when a whippet (that’s a dog) named Ashley ran on the field to catch a Frisbee thrown by its owner. (Ashley’s owner, Alex Stein, later creates the Frisbee Dog World Championship–a.k.a. the Ashley Whippet International World Championship.)

And now you know too.

College basketball fix

Over the weekend I finished reading John Feinstein’s latest book, The Back Roads to March: The Unsung, Unheralded, and Unknown Heroes of a College Basketball Season. The book has been out since early March (when the world was very different), but of course I rely on my local library to provide me with a copy (waitlist!) and dang it’s tough to get people to return library books these days.

Though it’s getting better every day, I’ll admit, we still live in a sports-starved world. I’m sure any book I read about college basketball these days would be fantastic. Just an average book that any of us could write.

And that’s what all of Feinstein’s books are, actually. Any of us could write them. It’s just that… he’s John Feinstein, and has a billion percent more access than any of us could dream. If one of us mortals went to a publisher and said, “I’d like to write a book about my experiences over a winter traveling around to a bunch of college basketball games,” he or she would say, “Who the hell are you?”

Well, John Feinstein has an answer to that question.

I’m John Feinstein.

[Publisher: (Sigh.) When can I have it?]

John Feinstein has written something like 40 books and I’ve probably read 30 or 35 of them. Actually most of the books are exactly the same, with passages recycled from one story to another. The Back Roads to March, a story of the 2018-19 college basketball season through mostly small-school lenses, is basically a retelling of The Last Amateurs (with a little of A March to Madness and A Season Inside, etc. mixed in). And yeah, I’m fine with that.

Because he’s John Feinstein.

And hey, I’ve gotta get my college basketball fix somehow.

Sports dream

The 2020 MLB “season” is unraveling before our eyes, like Peppermint Patty jumping up to block a Charlie Brown kick after he somehow got a toe on the ball before Lucy pulled it away.

That didn’t take long, did it?

With basketball beginning tomorrow and hockey on the horizon, one hopes we can keep all three going for the most awesome August of all time. It may be a pipe dream, but isn’t it pretty to think so?

Hulu brings it with Palm Springs

Gotta hand it to the folks at Hulu. The world gives their business a gift (let’s face it–Covid basically required everyone to order some kind of streaming service), and rather than rest on that fact have absolutely brought it  while we’re all chained to our TVs. Not content (get it? con-tent?) to offer mere Netflix scraps, they’ve put forth overlooked gems. Yes, yes, I made a fuss over Brockmire, but for every Brockmire there are 10 things actually worth your investment.

Case in point: Palm Springs. It’s close enough to “original content” to call it that I suppose. Produced in the pre-Covid era (remember those days?), Palm Springs premiered at Sundance in January of this year. When it became clear a big theatre release wasn’t going to happen Hulu snatched it up. For something like $20 million. According to its own internals, Hulu claims the film set an opening weekend record by “netting more hours watched over its first three days than any other film” in the platform’s history. That’s a solid investment.

The movie? Just watch it. Better to go in fresh. Yes, I thought it’d be a cheap ripoff of Groundhog Day (and as a child of the ’90s that it sacrilege). It is not. Trust me. Just watch it.

Seriously, what else are you doing these days?

They got our hopes up again…

From the I’ll-take-anything-but-a-Covid-story series, there is this…

If you live ’round these parts (that would be the Washington, D.C., metro area) you have no doubt felt a crush of very hot weather recently, and someone telling you we were closing in on a record for most consecutive days over 90 degrees in the nation’s capital. As a matter of fact, as of Wednesday that number stood at 20, one shy of a record set in 1980 and tied in 1988. (Both great years for Republicans and the L.A. Lakers, by the way.)

We all had our hopes up…

And then one day, yesterday, it didn’t hit 90 degrees and we were all very, very sad and confused. Still kinda hot though because it was like 87 or 88 most of the day.

Hope you enjoyed yesterday’s cool respite. Forecasted highs the next seven days… 94, 97, 100, 100, 99, 98, 94.

And we’ll be like, remember that day when it wasn’t 90 degrees? Weird.

Washington something-or-others

If you live ’round these parts (that would be the Washington, D.C., metro area) you know one thing for certain: we talk about football regardless of season, regardless of pandemics, and regardless of whether or not anyone will ever actually be allowed to play football again.

Case in point, news this week, my local NFL team will (soon, I guess) change its nickname. This move has been decades in the making, but apparently it’s real this time.

I’ve noted before that I think most people, in D.C. and out, are way more offended by the word “Washington” than by the word “Redskins.” Washington? Ew! Nobody likes Washington. Think about changing that one too.