Posts Tagged ‘Bob Gaydos’

Mass Murders, Insanity … Our America

Thursday, June 2nd, 2022

By Bob Gaydos

 F6BB8580-548F-45C1-9ADC-21E887D51A37   How messed up is America? This messed up:

    Having written far too many editorials and columns in my lifetime on violence and the need for sensible gun control and more resources for mental health programs, I stopped after writing a couple of paragraphs on the murder by a teenager of 10 black Americans who simply happened to be in a supermarket in Buffalo one afternoon.

     I was too depressed. It’s the same, old story. Do some yard work. Give it a couple days.

     He who hesitates. A couple of days later I was watching the escalating body count as yet another teenager slaughtered virtually an entire fourth grade class in Uvalde, Texas.

     Nineteen children. Two teachers. The slaughter in Texas knocked the massacre in Buffalo off the front pages before we had time to properly grieve that senseless loss of life.

     That’s how messed up America is.

     After reading the early reports of the escalating body count in that fourth grade classroom in Uvalde, I turned off my phone and shut my eyes.

     I cried. If you’re a parent, you’ll get it. Hell, if you’re just a normal, caring adult who appreciates the joy and promise of children, you’ll get it. I pictured myself as one of the parents standing outside the school, screaming and crying as police stood frozen, also outside, while a deranged teenager with a military-style killing machine blew their children apart inside. And I wept. And I cursed.

   And I said, what the hell, I’ve written this editorial dozens of times already. We know the solutions.

   Apparently, we don’t. Not all of them. We know that universal background checks for purchase of a firearm makes sense. Most Americans support this. We know that banning the sale of military-style assault rifles will reduce the civilian death toll. It’s already been proven. We know from sad experience that more mental health resources, especially for young people and schools, are vitally needed in our social media era.

     We also know that the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers have the Republican Party in their pockets. Bought and paid for. They will fight gun control measures to the last student’s dying breath.

      And that’s the last, obvious, part of the solution to mass shootings in America: Voting for state and national representatives who will support the necessary changes. The one we keep ignoring.

   It has been said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. Well then, screaming about the need for changes in gun laws and repeatedly voting for people obviously opposed to them — paid to oppose them — is a form of insanity.

     Worse yet is screaming for the need for change and not bothering to register or even bothering to vote for people who would fight for those changes. Deadly apathy.

      It comes down to this: For whatever their individual reasons, Republicans don’t seem to care about the slaughter in our schools. They have sold their soul for some votes, power and their twisted image of what “liberty and justice for all” means.

       We know very well what needs to be done. We just need to get the final part right. If we want to clean up this mess, we have to behave like responsible Americans and stop voting for Republicans. It’s time to stop expecting different results. Otherwise, nothing will change but the body count.

(Full disclosure: The author is not now and has never been a member of any political party. He is a registered independent voter.)

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.

      

A Birthday Tribute to JFK’s Life (cont.)

Saturday, May 28th, 2022

(Updated to reflect the passage of time.)

By Bob Gaydos

JFK ... at a press conference

JFK … at a press conference

 Nine years ago, I wrote a column about what I see as the synchronistic connection between myself and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, beginning with the fact we share the same birth date, May 29. The key point in the column, at least to me, was my pledge “to remember to honor him not on the date he died, but on the date we both were born.”

      It’s a pledge that’s even more important today, I think, when there is such a dearth of public figures who inspire the kind of hope and pride in America that JFK did for me and millions of others. Hope and pride are two elements in short supply in today’s political debate. They’ve been replaced by deceit and anger, which only begets more deceit and anger. A path to ruin. So today, on what would be JFK’s 105th birthday, I choose hope.

       My connection with Kennedy began to take shape in my college years. His handling of the Cuban missile crisis allowed me to graduate on time. But as I was home waiting to report to Fort Dix, N.J., for basic training, JFK was assassinated, on Nov. 22, 1963, postponing my duty for a month. And 20 years later, as fate would have it, the first editorial I was asked to write as the new editorial page editor for The Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., was to mark the 20th anniversary of Kennedy’s death. Headline: “The Measure of the Man.”

     Five  years ago, I wrote: “Much of it still applies. The legend of JFK — Camelot (Jackie, John-John and Caroline), PT-109, Navy and Marine Corps Medals, the Purple Heart, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” “Ask not …”, the challenge to put a man on the moon, the Peace Corps, the New Frontier, a limited nuclear test ban treaty — still far outweighs his failings, including extramarital affairs, hiding illnesses from us, escalation of the American troop presence in Vietnam and a reluctance to take a firm stance in the growing battle over segregation in America.

    “He is regularly rated as one of this country’s greatest presidents, a testament I believe to his ability to inspire hope, faith and courage in Americans, especially young Americans like me, at a time of grave danger. Much of that owes to his youth (he was 43 when elected president, the youngest ever) and his ability to eloquently deliver the words written for him by Ted Sorensen, a synchronistic match if there ever was one. But Kennedy, a Harvard graduate, was no slouch at writing either, having won a Pulitzer Prize for biography with “Profiles in Courage.”

    “… Kennedy’s (message) was unfailingly one of hope. We can do this. We are up to the challenge. We care. His average approval rating as president was 70 percent. He also ranked third, behind Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mother Teresa, in Gallup’s List of Widely Admired People of the 20th century, according to Wikipedia.”

   The question I still ask myself is, what might JFK have done, what might he have meant to America and the world, if he had lived longer?

    In that column five years ago, to my ever-lasting embarrassment on the Internet, I also said that I shared a birthday with another great communicator, Bob Dylan. I was off by five days (May 24). Belated happy 81st birthday to the Nobel poet laureate anyway.

     On a positive note, I subsequently discovered that May 29 is also the birthday of Harry G. Frankfurt. The professor emeritus at 2F762D3F-A272-4CCA-9C0B-DEA9C6B2D949Princeton University authored a 67-page essay entitled “On Bullshit.“ It was a New York Times best seller in 2005. And it also explained to me how a person like Donald Trump could say the things he said, flying in the face of other things he had recently said, none of which had any basis in reality, and keep doing it. It’s not lying, Frankfurt explains, it’s bullshit. The liar has to remember what he said. The bullshitter does not. He doesn’t care.

     Professor Frankfurt is apparently alive and well and celebrating his 93rd birthday today. Happy birthday, to you, too, professor. A day for hope and truth

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.

    

Is Alcohol a Problem? A Test for Teens

Friday, May 20th, 2022

Addiction and Recovery

By Bob Gaydos

Summertime and alcohol — a risky combination for teens.

Free time and alcohol — a risky combination for teens.

Summertime is fast approaching. It can be a fun time for teenagers. For starters, there’s no school for most of them. Even if they’ve got a job, and, Covid or no, there’s plenty of time to hang out with friends. Go to the beach. Parties.

But lots of free time and limited responsibilities can also come with risks, especially if the fun often revolves around drinking. The legal drinking age may be 21 in this country, but underage drinking is still defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “a major public health problem.”

The CDC, monitoring several different surveys, says alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States and is responsible for some 4,000 annual deaths among underage youth. According to the CDC, even though drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States. Much of that is binge drinking (five or more drinks on one occasion for males, four for females).

The government conducts regular surveys of teenagers to gauge alcohol use and other risky behavior. The CDC notes that the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (the most recent one) found that among high school students, during the past 30 days:

— 29 percent drank alcohol 

— 14 percent binge drank 

— 5 percent of drivers drove after drinking alcohol.

— 17 percent rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.

Along with those deaths, there are tens of thousands of alcohol-related emergency room visits by teenagers each year. Perhaps not surprisingly, but worth pointing out, the CDC notes that “studies show a relationship between underage drinking behaviors and the drinking behaviors of adult relatives, adults in the same household, and adults in the same community and state.” One example cited: “A 5 percent increase in binge drinking among adults in a community is associated with a 12 percent increase in the chance of underage drinking.” And drinking often leads to other risky behaviors. Something for communities concerned about underage drinking to consider.

But it’s not all on the adults. Parental indifference to their children’s behavior and the friends they choose or ignorance of the harm alcohol can do to young minds and bodies are certainly key factors in the way many teenagers spend their free time. But teens aren’t wholly clueless about their behavior. In fact, it’s not unthinkable that a teenager whose social life revolves around alcohol has asked himself or herself if, just maybe, drinking is becoming a problem. 

What follows may help answer that question. For teens wondering about their use of alcohol or other drugs, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has prepared a self-assessment test to help determine if they — or someone they know — is at risk and in need of help.

Remember, this test is for teens. Read each question carefully and be honest. Consider your actions over the past 12 months. Answer yes or no and be sure to answer every question. 

 

A Self-Test for Teenagers

Do you use alcohol or other drugs to feel more self-confident, more sociable, or more powerful?

YES NO

 

Do you ever drink or get high immediately after you have a problem at home or at school?

YES NO

 

Have you lost friends because of your alcohol or drug use, or started hanging out with a heavy drinking or drug-using crowd?

YES NO

 

Do you feel guilty or bummed out after using alcohol or other drugs, or ever wake up and wonder what happened the night before?

YES NO

 

Have you gotten into trouble at home or school, missed school, or been busted or hospitalized because of alcohol or other drugs?

YES NO

 

Do your friends use “less” alcohol and/or other drugs than you, or do you consume alcohol or other drugs until your supply is all gone?

YES NO

 

Do you think you have a problem with alcohol or other drugs?

YES NO

The NCADD states: “The results of this self-test are not intended to constitute a diagnosis of alcohol or drug dependence and should be used solely as a guide to understanding your alcohol and drug use and the potential health issues involved with it. The information provided here cannot substitute for a full evaluation by a health professional.”

That’s their disclaimer. But obviously, the more “yes” answers, the more cause for concern. This is not a test to cheat on.

More information:

https://ncadd.org

http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/index.htm

Bob Gaydos is a freelance writer and retired award-winning journalist.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

On Making History, the Painful Way

Monday, May 9th, 2022

The world in 500 words or less …

By Bob Gaydos     

Ex-NYPD Cop Thomas Webster Guilty in Jan. 6 Capitol Attack

Thomas Webster at the Capitol.

   History came to my area of slightly upstate New York twice in one week recently, but not in a celebratory way. The history was announced in newspaper headlines. Both involved “firsts.”  Some might have regarded these historic moments as simply the result of unfortunate circumstances, but they made me think of the choices we make.

        The headlines linked two of the biggest stories in the world — the Jan. 6 Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the war in Ukraine — with two men with ties to Orange County, N.Y. 

  •  The Insurrection: Thomas Webster, 54, a retired New York City police officer, was the first person arrested in connection with the riot to defend himself at trial by claiming Capitol police officers had used excessive force against the violent mob seeking to overturn the 2020 election results and maybe hang Mike Pence. Interesting defense choice right there.  After viewing videos of Webster profanely berating the officer, beating him with a metal flag pole, tackling him and grabbing the officer’s gas mask, the jury took only two hours to find the former Marine guilty of assault and other charges. Married and with a family, Webster started a landscaping business in Orange County after serving 20 years as a New York City cop. He said he chose to go to Washington, D.C., alone and carrying that flag pole, on that fateful day to hear Donald Trump speak about how the election had been stolen. Webster said he became agitated as the pro-Trump crowd approached the Capitol. Once there, he joined the melee and, like many others, was photographed doing so. Now, the man who once served on the protective detail of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, faces a possible 20 years in prison. 
  • Ukraine: Willy J. Cancel, a native of Orange County, graduate of Newburgh Free Academy, Walden volunteer firefighter, was reportedly the first American to die in combat against Russian forces in Ukraine. A former Marine who, reports said, had not received an honorable discharge and had never been deployed, Cancel was a corrections officer in Tennessee. But his family said he was also employed by a military contracting company. Soldier-for-hire might be considered an unusual second-job choice for a 22-year-old man with a wife and seven-month-old child. That company sent him to Ukraine, where he died. Cancel was praised back home for his service and bravery. A Go Fund Me site has been created on Facebook for his widow and infant child.

     I don’t know anything else about either of these men and am in no position to understand, much less judge, the choices they made. Their stories just reminded me that, what may seem to some like reasonable, even honorable, choices can have unintended, dire consequences. Even historic ones.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.

To Live and Die in America

Monday, April 25th, 2022



 The world in 500 words or less 

By Bob Gaydos

Maybe it’s just me, but…

Alec Baldwin on the set of “Rust.” He says he didn’t know the gun was loaded.

Alec Baldwin on the set of “Rust.” He says he didn’t know the gun was loaded.

— New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau fined producers of the film, “Rust,” $139,793 — the maximum amount — and issued a stinging criticism of safety failures in connection with the fatal shooting of a cinematographer and wounding of the director during the filming of the movie. Actor/producer Alec Baldwin, who fired the fatal shot, says he was told the gun was safe. He is probably not through with the courts and may rue the day he lost his gig playing Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.

— South Carolina has given the phrase “pick your poison“ a whole new meaning. Unable to procure the drugs to administer lethal injections to Death Row inmates, the state now offers electrocution or firing squad as the available means of meeting your maker. A recent candidate appealed both the sentence and method as cruel and unusual and a court has postponed his date with destiny. There have been only three firing squad executions in the U.S. since 1950, all in the state of Utah. Why is that not surprising?

— The reason South Carolina had to stop using lethal injections for executions is that pharmaceutical companies apparently forbid the sale of their products for that purpose. Wish they showed the same concern for some of their drugs that are killing people who are not on Death Row.

— Prescribing fatal overdoses of fentanyl for 25 seriously ill patients would seem to be taking the doctor-playing-god thing a bit too far. Then again, a jury in Columbus, Ohio, had no problem with it, acquitting Dr. William Husel of murder charges in a trial involving 14 of those deaths. Putting people out of their misery did cost Husel his job when the hospital fired him and 26 other employees who went along with his unorthodox treatment protocol. Why it took several years and so many fentanyl-induced deaths has yet to be answered.

— The judges who selected this year’s winners of the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award got it perfect. Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine, was an obvious choice and eminently deserving, but the perfect selection was Rep. Liz Cheney, the only Republican in Congress with the guts, conviction and public name recognition to meaningfully stand up to the Trumpers spreading the stolen election lie and trying to treat the Jan. 6 insurrection as something other than a failed coup attempt. Forcefully defying the powers who can impact your political future takes moral courage, especially for Republicans today. I think JFK would applaud the choice. And, while I don’t share a lot of political views with Cheney or her father, Dick, I believe the former vice president should be proud of his daughter and her stout defense of the truth. Ironic, huh?

rjgaydos@gmail.com

 

Baseball’s less than perfect week

Sunday, April 17th, 2022

The world in 500 words or less

By Bob Gaydos

Maybe it’s just me, but:

Apr 12, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants assistant coach Alyssa Nakken

Alyssa Nakken

— Major League Baseball had a red letter day recently when Alyssa Nakken became the first female coach on the field, for the San Francisco Giants. Well-played.

— On the other hand, there was yet another sign that the people running the game have lost all sense of what once made baseball America’s pastime. With Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw six outs away from pitching a perfect game and having thrown all of 80 pitches, LA manager Dave Roberts pulled Kershaw from the game. Kershaw later said he was OK with the move. I doubt it. Imagine yanking Gibson or Ryan or Spahn or Seaver or Koufax or even David Cone, for Pete’s sake, in that situation. Baseball used to be a game of historic efforts and legends. Kershaw had a shot at history and deserved the opportunity. Moneyball isn’t necessarily baseball.

— Part two of what used to be baseball. Say that Kershaw stayed in the game and pitched two more perfect innings, but the score was tied at zero after nine innings. Kershaw gets to keep trying to be perfect and goes out to pitch the 10th inning. There’s a runner on second base. Kershaw didn’t put him there; baseball did. Is it still a perfect game? What if someone actually sacrifice bunts the runner over to third and the next better hits a long sacrifice fly that allows the runner to score? Do you yank Kershaw now because he’s actually losing a perfect game? Or maybe he’s on the road and just lost a perfect game. I guess with pitch counts we’ll never know.

— Confirmation of the eminently qualified Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court was a red-letter day for America. Less celebratory is the fact that 47 Republican senators had to tie themselves in knots trying to come up with reasons to vote against her that did not include “she’s a woman and she’s black.” Another shameful moment for the former party of Lincoln.

— The only nasty thing Attorney General Merrick Garland has caught recently is COVID-19.

— In another effort to bolster his base by lowering the average IQ score of Republicans in the House of Representatives, Donald Trump endorsed Sarah Palin for Alaska’s lone congressional seat. Well, for what it’s worth, she can spy on Russia from where she lives.

— The Taliban forbidding females to get schooled beyond grade six didn’t surprise me. But banning the growing of poppies, Afghanistan’s traditional crop? What the heck do they do for cash?

— Didn’t see this coming: There’s apparently a fertilizer shortage created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. should be OK as long as Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz still get to give speeches in the Senate.

— I just don’t trust Elon Musk on buying Twitter. Buy Texas. It needs fixing a lot more.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

 

Ukraine’s New Kind of Reality Show

Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

(more…)

Jada, Clarence, Ukraine …

Monday, April 4th, 2022

All the news in 500 words or less

By Bob Gaydos

This is not an old coot.

Bob Gaydos

  Maybe it’s just me, but:

— Jada Pinkett Smith could’ve handled Chris Rock’s lame joke very well on her own. And besides, taking cues on appropriate behavior from movie stars is probably not sound social policy.

— Clarence Thomas should be permanently recused from the Supreme Court and his wife should be investigated for promoting an insurrection.

— Warming up to 41° from 23° is not my idea of spring.

— So is there a runner on second base to start the 10th inning this year, and, if so, how did he get there?

— Saying Merrick Garland has been an absolute disappointment as Attorney General pretty much says it all.

— Does anybody even go to the movies movies — where you have to pay for the seats and can’t bring your own popcorn — anymore?

— Alcohol-related deaths increased by 25% in the United States in the first year of Covid. Does that surprise you, trouble you or disturb your serenity in any way?

— Don’t think all those Republican senators who broke bread with Putin a few years back will be visiting Moscow this Fourth of July.

— Having 20/20 vision (thanks to cataract surgery) after nearly 8 decades of being almost legally blind, is a blessing I appreciate every day.

— If Congress makes daylight savings time standard (still doubtful), shouldn’t we then call it standard time? After all, we’re not really “saving“ time, we’re just moving it around to suit our convenience.

— My heart goes out to the brave, proud people of Ukraine. They will pay a tremendous price, but Putin has lost his war.

— It’s difficult to see Andrew Cuomo being elected governor again in New York, even with marijuana being legal.

     That’s it. Remember local newspapers? Yeah, they were cool, huh?

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Study: A.A. Meetings May be Lifesavers

Friday, March 25th, 2022



Addiction and Recovery

By Bob Gaydos

 The absence of in person meetings lead to relaxes, a study suggests.

The absence of in person meetings lead to relapses, a study suggests.

   “Don’t drink … and go to meetings.”

    “Meeting-makers make it.”

    Those two bits of advice — “suggestions” as they are officially considered — have been welcoming newcomers to Alcoholics Anonymous ever since the group was born 86 years ago. 

     The message is simple: Alcoholics, especially those new to recovery, are more likely to get and stay sober if they keep regular contact with other alcoholics in recovery. The “all in the same boat” philosophy. “We” get sober, especially if some of us know how to do it and can guide others. Fellowship. Coffee. Hugs and handshakes. Easy does it.

      Then came COVID. No more hugs. No more handshakes. No more coffee. No face-to-face support and fellowship. And for some, no recovery. Or worse.

       According to a recent report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, alcohol-related deaths increased by 25 percent in the United States in the first year of Covid. Researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) looked at mortality data to compare the number of alcohol-related deaths among persons aged 16 and older in 2019 and 2020. Deaths were considered to be alcohol-related if alcohol was listed as an underlying or contributing cause.

          The report found that the number of alcohol-related deaths, including from liver disease and accidents, jumped to 99,017 in 2020, up from 78,927 the previous year. That 25 percent increase is compared to an average increase of 3.6 percent annually for the previous 20 years. Perhaps not surprisingly, in response to the pandemic, many Americans drank more. They binged more. And more of them died because of it.

           The researchers cited the stress of living with all the changes and restrictions of Covid, including isolation, as a major factor in the increase in drinking and deaths. Of course, isolation and feeling stressed are major reasons many alcoholics drink. Recovery is largely about dealing with stress and other people without drinking.

         In addition to the Covid-related stress in general, it became more difficult to seek help at rehabs. Hospitals with recovery programs were swamped with Covid patients. The researchers say many people got discouraged and just put off looking for help.

            And for those meeting-makers, there were no more meetings. At least not in person. The researchers also said they assumed many people in recovery relapsed because they couldn’t access any in-person support, including from 12-step groups like AA.

           To be sure, Zoom meetings proliferated online and many AA members found themselves staring at their smart phones or iPads, communicating with alcoholics across the nation and, indeed, across the world. The messages were the same, just not in person. Make your own coffee. Hug your cat. It was new and, for many, a welcome lifeline.

         But for many others, this wasn’t enough. Having been resourceful about managing to get a drink, a lot of alcoholics in recovery did manage to figure out how to have meetings in person, safely.

         In New York’s Mid-Hudson region, some began meeting in their cars in parking lots. Once the weather warmed up, groups with venues that offered private space began meeting outside. Bring your own chairs and coffee. Meetings sprang up in parks throughout Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties. If there was a park pavilion with a large crowd of people sitting quietly and sipping coffee, there was a good chance it was an AA meeting. The restrictions or requirements changed with Covid. Masks, sanitizer, and social distancing were common place.  It wasn’t the same, most agreed, but it was far better than not meeting at all.

      COVID is not yet gone. It seems to keep reinventing itself. Local AA groups continue to adapt as well, most now meeting indoors, with or without masking and distancing rules. For many, the coffee pots are back. Zoom meetings continue.

      But the importance of in-person contact is not lost on many members.

       “The meetings are where I get my medicine,” says F.G., a longtime member from Orange County. “I need to see the faces,” he says.

        More personally, G.E., an Ulster County resident, says he was within months of 25 years of sobriety when he stopped going to meetings and eventually relapsed. Then Covid arrived. Back a couple of months now, he says, “I must treasure my sobriety. I have to respect it. I thought I could do it without the personal contact. I couldn’t. Now, I really enjoy the fellowship.”

       At least one study suggests there’s a compelling reason to continue to do so.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

 

With the Bases Loaded, Baseball Whiffs

Thursday, March 10th, 2022

By Bob Gaydos

   F023405A-4B43-4727-BBFE-117778586F71 The world is in the third year of a deadly pandemic, Russia has started a brutal war in Europe, the United States is still reeling from an attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of white nationalists trying to overturn a presidential election, one of the country’s two major political parties has become a.cult led by a con man with fascist DNA … and there’s no baseball.

     Take it easy. I’m not putting the Major League Baseball lockout in the same category as the grab bag of historic events dominating our lives today (and I’ll add global warming). That’s actually the point.

     When the world goes, well, to hell, a person needs somewhere safe to go for a break. Sports in general and, in the bleak of February especially, baseball has filled that need for me.

     February typically means the Super Bowl ends the football season and pitchers and catchers report to spring training to start the new baseball season. But there was nothing typical with this February. With the contract between players and owners expired and no new agreement ready to be signed, team owners locked the doors to training facilities in Florida and Arizona. No contract, no getting into shape at our digs. Dumb.

       Both sides then toughened their negotiating stances in the contest between billionaires and millionaires on how to share the wealth from TV deals and over-priced tickets. And Rob Manfred, MLB commissioner, started talking about delaying the start of the season or shortening it. Dumber.

     Since my mid-teens, I have followed the practice of the late Chief Justice Earl Warren by turning to the sports pages to start my day. Time enough for the rest of the world. Sports for the most part is safe conflict. No one really gets hurt, except the gamblers.

     But lockouts and shortened seasons are not the headlines baseball fans were looking for. Not safe.

      Nor smart, from a business sense. Think about it. With all the grim news in the world and having already surrendered the national pastime crown to football by focusing on how fast a baseball can get to home plate and how much faster it can leave the park, baseball decision-makers blew a golden opportunity to grab some attention and provide some stress relief with positive, non-confrontational news. New contract! Who’s the talk of training camp? A comeback story? No more starting extra innings with a runner on second base?

       Instead, we got Derek Jeter quitting as boss of the Marlins because they apparently don’t want to win as much as he does, bigger bases to improve the success rate of stolen base attempts, a lockout and Opening Day pushed back two weeks. 

       Oh yeah, and no more shifts because major league hitters apparently can no longer hit it where they ain’t.

      You blew it, baseball. Fans were looking for a hit-and-run. Instead, they got an intentional walk. You picked a really bad time to play moneyball.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.