Summertime means many things to many people. For some it's time for a few days to get together with family and friends to beat the heat; to others it represents an opportunity to travel and unravel their busy lives; and for kids, it signals the beginning of twelve glorious weeks of a freedom they will never know again after they are grown. But for baseball lovers, the approach of the second week in July portends the most dreaded days of the long, hot summer.
Worse for fans than a weekend of rainouts, and more painful even than forced soccer-viewing, comes the three-day drought that is the All-Star Break. Now I know I don't speak for everyone, but to most of us, the so-called Midsummer Classic is nothing more than an unwelcome distraction from the real game. Worse, is the addition of the Home Run Derby, the pervious iteration of which was a mildly entertaining TV show from the late 1950s that is remarkable today for the gentlemanly conduct of the players and their ability to speak in complete sentences.
However, many fans welcome the frivolity that accompanies the annual pause in hostilities we call pennant races. And maybe a short respite does prove the old adage about absence making the heart growing fonder; kind of like Republicans in the majority. But, if you're like me -- an obnoxious, arrogant Yankee fan -- or any other for that matter, you'd just as soon skip the whole thing and resume the season at once. And inasmuch as even the baseball powers that be acknowledge -- by trying to assign it significance by bestowing World Series home field advantage on the victors -- the All-Star game is generally a big snooze, you'd be better off finding something else to do. But what?
Read a book on Ronald Reagan. Although the Gipper has been gone some six years now, his legend continues to grow in leaps and bounds, especially when compared to the current occupant of the Oval Office. Who can forget those lovely summer images of the Reagans at their beloved Rancho Del Cielo? So pick up a volume on the Dutchman; there have been a dozen or so written in the past year alone, proving once again, that history will render the worthy well.
Take a trip to Washington, D.C. Although the weather can be oppressive, there's nothing like being in DC when most of the hot air has departed for points west. The city is a great gift to the American people, courtesy of those who brought you the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, which are conveniently housed in the National Archives. Go and see them soon, as their content may soon assume the museum-piece qualities of the actual documents.
For those of you who miss perusing the daily box scores, you might want to keep track of the score of a match in progress for the last few months: Barack Obama versus the U.S. Court System. So far, the big O is down three to zip on his deepwater drilling moratorium, with another turn at bat due in November when he goes against the people of Arizona's desire for self-determination and the protection they have not received from the federal government. Also on deck are lawsuits from 20 states seeking to overturn the squeaker of a victory obtained by Obama and his party on healthcare "reform."
And finally, you can, as will I, look forward with guarded glee toward the coming election cycle which will, just like the pennant races, be heating up after the Congressional break. You can while away the days digesting delicious reports of the upcoming extended House recess, like this one from the Washington Post's Perry Bacon, Jr.:
House members, originally scheduled to spend five weeks of recess in their districts this summer, will get to leave Washington a week early -- Aug. 2 instead of Aug. 9. The time is not likely to be spent on the beach. The schedule change could be dubbed "the fierce urgency of winning reelection." It will provide wary Democrats in contested districts one more week to campaign and one less week to be in Washington casting votes their GOP opponents could turn against this them.
Yes, the political Hot Stove League we've all been watching will be smoking until the summer heat burns off into the cool of the autumn, while we await what may prove to be two tremendous Fall Classics.
Note: RIP George M. Steinbrenner, the ultimate baseball capitalist.
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