Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

December 27, 2013

Morgan: The virus is spreading

By Ron Morgan
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — When the Bird Flu was the biggest threat we faced domestically (that was before faulty federal websites), I kept hearing the word pandemic applied. I vaguely knew what it meant, but couldn’t really fathom the seriousness of such a thing.

Now I know, and it has nothing to do with sick birds or healthy millennials not enrolling in health insurance.

There is a deadly virus that has spread across time and space. It started in the NFL and has now spread to major league baseball. If it ever spreads to the NHL, we’ll know that there is no hope for the rest of us.

The virus is one I have discussed before. However, at that time I had no idea it was a pandemic. It is the dreaded virus of wussification.

Round up the women and children and break out the vaccine. It was bad enough when baseball cracked down on pitching inside. Allowing a pitcher to protect “his” part of the plate has been a baseball tradition forever.

Now, hit a batter and both sides get a warning. OK, I figure we can live with that. But, now, you cannot have a collision at home plate between the runner and the catcher. What are they going to do, give the catcher a red cape to wave at the runner as he slides by?

I remember back in third grade at recess, Mrs. Milton inserted the rule that if you “slung” your bat, you were out. That was her way of trying to keep anyone from getting hit by the bat. Anyone called out by Mrs. Milton for slinging his bat secretly hated her for that. Of course, with Mrs. Milton constantly accompanied by her paddle, no one dared voice opposition. (She was no Wuss.)

Much like you cannot legislate morality (see prohibition or the “War on Drugs”), you cannot make a rule to eliminate every possible injury. If you could then they could just outlaw pulled hamstrings, and the Cowboys would have another 15 or 16 players available to play Sunday.

Do you really think a hammie would have kept Dick Butkus or Ray Jacobs off the field? The Bear would have taped an aspirin to it, spit on it and played.

They already make base runners wear helmets on the base paths. Should they do away with steel spikes? Check out any longtime second baseman or shortstop and look at the scars on their shins. Should they coat all baseball bats with plastic so they can’t splinter and impale the pitcher? In high school and college they have had to deaden the metal bats to slow the launch speeds of batted balls. A regulation baseball is awfully hard. Maybe the commissioner could have them Nerfed.

The nanny state has taken over. Let your kid ride his bike without a helmet, and CPS could come knocking on your door. I had a Daisy BB gun at age 5, a .22 rifle at age 6 and a 12 gauge shotgun at age 8. If that had been a contemporary occurrence, my dad would have been all over MSNBC. Rachel Maddow would have sworn I was abused.  On top of biking without a helmet, hunting and carrying a pocket knife to school, I ate Twinkies, red meat and French fries cook in lard while washing it all down with a Dr. Pepper. No wonder I turned out like I did. I thought the food pyramid was only for Egyptians.

The NBA now has flagrant one and flagrant two fouls. They won’t allow flopping on defense, and to take on a driving player, you must be outside the little circle under the basket. What’s next? Will they require organic basketballs and sneakers free of antibiotics or pesticides? They tried jerseys with sleeves on Christmas Day, and Mr. Black’s Worst Dressed list will now be made up entirely of NBA players.

I hope that someone will quarantine the Dallas Stars. If this virus ever infects hockey, we’re definitely looking at one sign of the Apocalypse. Can you even imagine NHL players with teeth? Heaven forbid. What could be next, pucks with air bags or sticks with bumper pads?

The idea that America’s pastime has been infected is simply shocking. Catchers are almost armored as it is. The runner makes the decision to have a collision. What’s wrong with that? Any runner trying to score from third should be allowed the right to try to cross the plate. He shouldn’t have to send his attorney down the line to clear the way.

Let ‘em play ball. The last thing we need is to put Mrs. Milton behind home plate. One taste of her paddle could make wussies of us all.