Baseball: Where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re headed

As I sit here watching a seven-plus hour World Series Game between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers at 1:00 AM MST, I can’t help but think about how baseball has changed over the years and how it will change in the future. Not sure if you’ve heard, but baseball has some strange things going on nowadays. Now look, I’m the biggest baseball fan around – I mean, I watched all 162 games that the New York Yankees played this year (please disregard Mom and Dad, the job search is going swell).

But, and this is a hard but, and also a soft but at the same time: baseball is a lot different than it used to be. In today’s game, there are replay challenges that get looked at by some guy in some office in New York who must sleep on the job an awful lot considering it often takes ten minutes to make a call that fans at home figured out on the first replay. There aren’t any more aggressive styles of play or small ball tactics like safety squeeze bunts. No more collisions at the plate or strong slides to break up a double play.

Actually, I take that back because batters are a lot more aggressive; they either hit a home run or strike out. I haven’t seen a double in three seasons. At least it seems that way. And did I mention that the baseballs, not the players, are juiced up now so that they’ll fly farther? It’s hard to blame Major League hitters or the baseball juice scientists. Every pitcher throws the ball 100+ mph with ridiculous movement nowadays; hitters need all the help they can get. And as if the pitchers need more help, everything goes by the numbers now which means that infielders play the wrong positions to cut down on well placed singles.

So here’s the thing: if you think the new age baseball is weird and unattractive to young generations, just wait for what baseball is to become in the future. Take a look at the history of baseball with me and see if you can hop on board to the future of this brilliant sport.

Pre-1900s:


Honestly, who cares? You don’t know any names, I don’t know any names. Hell, it was probably just a bunch of teenage boys beating up a homeless guy with a stick when someone suggested it might be a little more fun to use the stick to hit rocks at the guy. And WHAM! Baseball was begun. Sorry Abner Doubleday, consider me one of the doubters.

1900-1935:

It was at this time that people actually started hitting the ball over the fence. And I present: the Caliph of Clout, the Sultan of Swat, the Great Bambino, Babe Ruth!!! Thanks Sandlot.

1936 – 1962:

World War II and the integration of black players spurned on by Jackie Robinson in 1947 ends a darker era of baseball history. Oh and also the Yankees won 16 out of 27 World Series Titles during this span thanks to the likes of Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio and Roger Maris. I can hear the Red Sox fans right now: ‘Hey that was 50+ years ago, how many titles do the Yankees have in the past 15 years punk?’ Actually, I’d rather not talk about it.

1963 – 1994:

Honestly, I’m not quite sure what happened during this period. You see, I was born in 1994, so I couldn’t care less about the years before that glorious one. I do know the Yanks sucked for a while and then Mr. October, Reggie Jackson made history like only a Yankee can in 1977. Also, for some reason I’ve seen a lot of footage from this era. The picture is grainy, all the players are wearing capris and theres not one mustache-less face in the dugout.

1995 – 2017:

So the Yankees got good again. Oh, I’m sorry are you getting sick of hearing about them? Too bad. Jeter’s the man and he gets five rings for the Pinstripers. Also the Sox and Cubs break some curses or something, but who cares about that? Plus, home runs became an even bigger deal than they were with the Babe. Everyone was injecting each others butts and Jose Canseco was evil-y masterminding a maniacal tattle-telling book while the MLB was pretending they had no idea that everyone was doing steroids.

2018 – 2020

As mentioned, in today’s game we have nothing but K’s and HR’s, pitchers with Popeye arms who can’t pitch for more than one inning, 100 Sammy Sosa’s, and some drunk sleeping in a New York MLB office who’s passed out every time he gets a call.
2021 – 2025:

After the 2020 World Series is won by the wrong team when an umpire makes an atrociously bad call in Game 7, MLB decides to get rid of the human factor of umpires. Enter robots making every call in a game. In the first game with robot referees, an angry Cincinnati Reds fan (probably just angry that he’s from Cincinnati), throws a beer at the robots, which destroys his mainframe delaying the game for five hours before a replacement robot could be delivered. New rule from the MLB: no more alcohol in the stands.

2026 – 2035:

The alcohol rule turns out to be a terribly unpopular decision and the MLB quickly reverses course on that subject. As President Donald Trump Jr. (who has gotten plastic surgery to look just as orange and stupid as his father, not that he needed much help) continues to praise violence in the country, MLB adapts their rules to please their ruler. Whiffle ball rules are now effective in the game of baseball. What this means is that the defense can now get runners out by pelting them with the ball. Mass injuries and subsequent entertainment ensue.
2035 – 2050:

Baseball has again become the most popular sport in the US as the game ball is now replaced with a hand grenade. Baseball stadiums now have armed guards to make sure that no players or fans attempt to leave the stadium as President Trump Jr. looks on in approval, giving a thumbs up or down to a pitcher as to when he can pull the grenade’s pin – very Roman Emperor-esque and resulting in some very interesting and bloody foul balls and home runs.
So now you see, if you just give it some time, baseball will get injected with some good old-fashioned violence and blood-shed that the American people are begging and literally dying for and will become a beloved sport yet again.

 

MR.G

Sun of a Gun

“Blackjack!”

“Ramiro! You son of a bitch! You’ve been too kind this evening but it looks like the changing of the guards is taking place.” Baron said this as each dealer rotated over to the next table. “If my lucky charm’s leaving the table then it is time for me to hit the bar.”

Baron flipped Ramiro a $25 chip and prepared to walk away from the table a richer man when a soft hand touched his back, the index finger dragging across his bare neck. Turning with his eyes glued to the ground, Baron came upon a pair of bright red heels housing some manly, toe-hair bearing feet. Baron’s eyes drifted upwards and gazed at the long black dress which hung just over the top of the heels and then at a long white beard that started at his chest. As the boy’s eyes hit his elder’s face, he scanned through the bushy beard to see none other than the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

“Dad, is that you? What are you doing here? And why the hell are you wearing a dress?” Baron asked in a senseless tone.

“One question at a time kid,” the man in the black dress retorted. “Don’t be a bigot, it’s 2018. All kinds of men are wearing dresses now. They’re in. And so are beards. You’re a millennial. You should know about beards…suppose it’d help if you could grow one.”

“Yeah, and you could pull off those heels better if you trimmed your toe hairs. Speaking of heels, can you click those rubies together so we can get out of here? This is getting too weird.”

Baron’s new friend sized him up, stopping at his eyes, “No I can’t. You know I was kidding about the dress, right? These are my robes you dingus, I just came from court. And the heels – well don’t ask. To be frank, this is a dream and I‘m here for advice from you…for probably the first time in your life. Sit down. And call me Donnie. Baron, this is a bit complex, and extremely random; you probably won’t understand, but there’s a gun on trial in my courtroom next door.”

As they placed their bets and the dealer dealt, Baron looked at the man in the black dress quizzically and questioned, “I’m sorry; there’s a gun on trial? What the hell kind of an analogy is that? And since when did you become a judge Donnie?”

“I’m not a judge, I am the judge. And it’s no analogy Baron. The defendant in this case is a gun. A talking gun. It’s like that Nas song where he personifies a gun being misused for unnecessary violence. Except there’s literally a gun on my chair, shooting words out of its nozzle like it’s murdering ears… Hit,” said Donnie to the dealer’s gaze.

She flipped over a king, adding ten to Vince’s eleven and giving him 21. “Winner!” She exclaimed as she payed him out.  Next, her attention turned to Baron who had aces sitting in front of him. “Split ‘em,” he mumbled and looked on in shock as two jacks came next, resulting in two more blackjacks.

After a strangely mild celebration, Baron looked at the bearded-dream-version of the president and his father and said, “Well this has been a terrific night on the blackjack table, but did you just say something about a talking gun murdering ears?”

Good ol’ Donnie, similarly flabbergasted, nodded and responded “Oh yes, I did say that. It keeps blabbering about living in its mother’s basement, eating Flaming Hot Cheetos and providing for his family that he doesn’t even have. This…gun gives off the craziest aura I’ve ever seen. It glows right there in front of my very eyes like the sun is in my courtroom. It’s got quite the following as well. I’ve had countless witnesses at the stand begging me to take mercy and not blame the gun for other’s crimes. These people are terrified that their guns will be taken. And this damn gun…it just kept stirring up trouble with every bit of nonsense it sprayed. The prosecutor wasn’t even sure what to do up there, so I had to call a recess.”

“Wow. Well, I don’t know how I’m supposed to give you advice about this but, why is the gun on trial in the first place?”

“Baron, with the ongoing violence in this world, people are scared. Some people are blaming guns, some the president, some think it’s a lack of security, and some just blame Russia. I don’t know about that last one, I personally like those guys, but they’ll blame anything because they don’t have a solution.”

“And you came to me? For advice on guns? Which I have zero knowledge of? Although I did play a lot of Call of Duty back in the day,” Baron mumbled off dazedly.

“Hey! Focus kid. The guns have selected this particular pistol to represent them all on trial and it happens to be a complete nut-job! But it reminds me of you, so maybe you can figure out what I should do with it.”

“Well, guns have been around forever. And before forever, people found other ways to kill each other. So if guns went away, they’d still find a way to get their fix. Plus, we could never get rid of all the guns. So maybe the Somali pirates would come back from voyage once we melted all the guns and enslave us all with their own guns? Maybe we could just remove everyone’s hands? No…if scientists can make sex robots then I’m sure they’ll figure out how to shoot a gun using a nub.”

“You little shit, be serious here, I don’t have all day!” Donnie huffed back.

Baron’s dreaming brain began working harder as he glanced at the split aces on the table, which still sat there for some reason.

As a light shot on in his mind, Baron rendered his advice to the man in the black dress: “Rather than split our military up in a hundred different illegal wars, why don’t we pull them all back home? Put them and their big ass guns all over the country like one big refugee camp. All the violence in this country would cease. That’s got to be the only way!”

“Oh boy, Baron. You’ve been a recluse for too long. I love the ‘peace and harmony’ concept, but I’m going to let the guns walk. Do you realize how important they are to the economy of this country? Let’s just sit back and watch the world burn like we’ve done since humans first left their caves. Violence is our finest contribution, it’s my job to keep it that way.”

With a defeated, yet understanding tone, Baron looked one last time at the man in the black dress and agreed, “Well, that’s a bleak way to put it. But, I digress, let’s go home.”

 

MR.G

Creator Space – Frozen in Time in 2015

(This is a piece written for the final exhibit of The Collaboration Accelerator 1.0, which took place at ArtStreet’s White Box Gallery at the University of Dayton in August 2015.  The piece is meant to showcase the ideas that the thirteen collaboration accelerator interns came up with over the course of the summer, as well as a fun and hopeful look at the vast possibilities for the future of Dayton by the year 2050.)

Welcome to the ArtStreet Creator Space at the University of Dayton! This room should remind you all of 2015, as it has been frozen in time in order to display the creative thought process that thirteen young individuals underwent in the Summer of 2015. The thirteen students, one of which was a recent graduate, had eight different majors and therefore brought unique perspectives into the project. Brought together through the Collaboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and the University of Dayton (UD), the “Collaboration Accelerators” as they were called, were given two challenges that Summer. The first was a commercialization challenge for AFRL Researcher Paul Fleitz, in which the challenge team was encouraged to find the best application for a proximity sensor. The second challenge was to find the best way to increase the senses of pride, unity and connectivity throughout the Dayton region. Throughout this narrative, the bold information will explain what we have here in Dayton in 2050. The other sections will explain the thought process and the ideation of the Collaboration Accelerators in the Summer of 2015, as they went about completing the two challenges mentioned above.

As the thirteen Collaboration Accelerators delved into the heart of Dayton and began to understand what made this city unique, one thing became very clear early on: this region is a hub for innovation. From the ice cube tray to the ice cream cone, the cash register, and a little thing called an airplane, countless life-changing inventions have come from the spawns of this forward-thinking city. The Accelerators began to realize through their newfound knowledge of Dayton’s bright past, that the city still shined, but in the 2015 Dayton, it had a new light.

There has never been a lack of creativity and innovation within the borders of Dayton; that still holds true today, in 2050, thanks to the Collaboration Accelerators, who began a movement 35 years ago to help turn the city into a nationally known center for big ideas and forward-thinking novelty.

This new light shined bright to these students, who ran with it and saw that Dayton’s next big step forward began with a focus on the brilliant and creative young people in their city. As thirteen young people with different majors and unique ways of thinking, the ice between their differences was broken with the help of ArtStreet’s Institute for Arts Nexus (IAN) at the University of Dayton. Another interesting aspect of their summer long internship was that the thirteen students would live together in four apartments at the ArtStreet Complex, in the center of the UD student neighborhood. The hope was that conversations would continue past work time, sparking new ideas and thoughts for the projects in unlikely situations. The IAN Curriculum taught these students to understand that creativity is all around them and that harnessing the confidence to innovate that creativity could change the world. The key to that realization was that the students began to look everywhere for unique things in Dayton that went unnoticed, but had the potential to be true “Gems.”

If you would ask anyone from Dayton where they are from today, in 2050, they would say “I’m from Gem City,” and the amazing thing about that is that most people, no matter where in the country you are, would say, “Oh yeah, Dayton, Ohio, right?” Built into a center for innovation, everyone in the country knows of the city covered in gems. There are murals on every building and the city is bright and inviting. People from the suburbs love coming downtown, and cityfolk love to head out to the suburbs. The Monorail weaves around and through buildings and out to every surrounding town. There are more bikes than cars on just about every street. The art is not just confined to downtown, but in all the surrounding areas as well, forming a powerful sense of unity under the umbrella of the Gem City.

“What if the Mendelson’s water tower was one huge gem? What if every abandoned building was covered in giant murals? What if the community felt welcomed to come into the city and create art of their own? What if somehow, just somehow, the art and the various things that make this city unique, could be built into a unifying factor for everyone in the region?” These are just some of the questions that the students began to ask each other, thinking up a city in the future that would be covered in gems, art, and innovation. Although most of the Accelerators had barely left UD’s campus in their time at the school, they began to see that there was so much to offer off campus and that many people simply did not recognize the immense variety of things to do. The idea for the gems came from a 2013 project in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in which a group similar to the Collaboratory set up a giant chalkboard square to prompt the community with thought-provoking questions. The team in Dayton decided to construct a chalkboard gem (as part of their initiative Project Gem City {PGC})to prompt the community. By combining the gem with their urban art installation, the students decided to reach out to businesses and artists in the area to incorporate a new way of connecting the businesses that make this city unique. The most important factor, however, was the engagement of the Dayton community by inviting the people they were trying to reach to offer their voice and vow to be part of the movement. It would take a collaborative effort, combined with the support of all involved, to reach their vision of a more connected Dayton.

Dayton in 2050 is known as a place where young, creative minds are ever-present, but more importantly as a place where these innovative young people work together. The Collaboration Accelerators from that pilot program in 2015 analyzed the Dayton region for several weeks before they began deciding on the next steps. They looked at problems in Dayton as well as solutions that they would like to see in the future, and then they brainstormed about the middle-ground; how do they get to that solution? In the gallery space, you will see that they chose four main areas as the focus of their solution to Dayton’s connectivity issue: Education, Creativity, Happy and Healthy. They believed that these four areas would be the foundation upon which Dayton could reach its potential, and here in 2050, Dayton has a plethora of each of those four topics.

Remember that Proximity Sensor Challenge that the Collaboration Accelerators were also working on back in the Summer of 2015? Although the students began to fall in love with the city of Dayton, they also had another challenge that deserved their attention. Rather than split into groups to attack these two challenges, they chose to collaborate together on both projects, which led to some interesting conclusions. With so many possibilities to go with the sensor challenge, the group organized over 100 ideas and voted democratically to narrow down to the five with the most potential and feasibility. However, in the end, the sensor project connected heavily with the other challenge, as the students decided on a sensor that would help bicyclists sense vehicles approaching from behind.

With the introduction of the Link Bike in Dayton in 2015, the idea for a bicycle safety proximity sensor came about at just the right time. In 2017 the RTA signed on the deal to add the R.I.T.E. Cycle Sensors to all of the Link Bikes as well as all of their transportation vehicles. Before long, the city of Dayton required that all vehicles, including bicycles, were required to use this equipment in order to make this city the safest in the country for those riding bikes.

Shortly after the Collaboration Accelerators 1.0 internship came to a close in August of 2015, the internship was renewed for future Summers. As more people jumped on board with the mission of the program, the changes that those original students had hoped to see started to become realities in Dayton. It was not long before young entrepreneurs and creative individuals began flocking to the region and the boom exploded. Here, in 2050, downtown Dayton is filled with residential buildings and the city is able to easily retain the talent that it attracts with all of the innovative, fun and interesting aspects it has to offer. Now with over 100 majorly successful pop-up shops and new connections with AFRL as well as the UD Research Institute and Vision Lab, Dayton has kept its status as a hub for innovation and creativity. The sense of pride and unity in the Gem City is unlike it ever has been before, and as one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country, people from any and all backgrounds feel welcomed and a part of the Dayton community.