The '94 Strike - My Dad's Favorite Player

My dad is a total contrarian. He actively preaches against spectator sports. He believes that enjoying vicarious thrills are the mark of a loser. My father took me to see two movies in my life: The Jungle Book when I was 3 and Star Wars when I was 12 and will still occasionally rant against people spending their lives immersed in lives other than their own in the movies or on television. The worst sin in my dad's world view, though, would be to join a fraternity.

He recently went to the doctor. After a thorough exam the doctor said he was the healthiest 72-year old he had ever examined. My dad told the doctor to look a little closer, he is about to turn 82. He never smoked, doesn't drink and stopped eating red meat in 1970. He was pro wrestler when wrestling was still on radio, He went to Santa Monica City college and for one class, built a real radio transmitter. They call it KCRW now. He was a self-made successful engineer. His favorite quote about economics: All wealth is either mined, farmed or manufactured. Everything else is in service of these three fields. He taught me that when I was nine. He would do shit like that, lecture a nine-year old about world economics.

My parents raised seven kids and we each have quite distinct personalities, values and world-views. Everyone in my large Irish Catholic family was Dodgers fans in open rebellion to my father's scorning of sports. Something there must have inspired me, because I made a double contrarian move and latched on to the Angels. When the 1994 strike hit, whenever the subject would come up he would get so excited and scream "Those overpaid assholes are going to taste real work pretty soon and some of their miserable fans might actually get a life, this is a great moment in American history." In the realm of contrarians, no matter how much you love baseball, you have to admit that is pretty awesome.

My dad's response when he sees anyone watching a game on television or listening to a game on the radio "Judas Priest, turn that cotton pickin' thing off and go DO something with your life, crime-a-nitt-lee!" idea how to spell that last one and no, he has no idea that there is a band Judas Priest, it is a swear-phrase that he picked up from his grandmother.

He would, however, use baseball to illustrate a point. He would point out that many people in the country in the 1930s and the 1950s would clamor opposition with the phrase "Break Up The Yankees". This is an historical fact, it was a popular phrase when they were dominating baseball. He would point out that nobody ever did. He used this illustration to underscore one of his main philosophies "Most conspiracies don't exist at all and the ones that do exist inevitably fail. The whole world conspired against the Yankees and couldn't get anywhere, they had to wait for the Yankees to do themselves in. Conspiracy theories are the excuses of the world's losers."

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I could go on with stories of equal lunacy, but my old man would just squint in disappointment: "What the God's creation are you doing writing this crap when there is a world out there to be enjoyed, It is a tough life, go take a bite out of it before it takes a bite out of you..."

But he still will talk about how great Star Wars was.

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