I’m not one to pick a fight. Whenever the editor of a newspaper for which I don’t work for comes over to my cubicle screaming obscenities as to why the Internet is jacked up, I look down, blush red in anger, and bite my lip.
Loyal UmpBump readers know that I rarely have a bone to pick with anyone (well, except Jay Mariotti, but who doesn’t?!)
But this morning, as I unfolded the sports section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution I came across a column by one Furman Bisher, a pundit I’d never heard of in my life. And his column, “Sayonara, baseball tradition” though eloquent, rich in historical facts, embellished with romantic longing for yesteryear, came across as outstandingly ignorant and scandalous.
Now, as I said, I’d never heard of Bisher, so I brushed up on his bio just to know who I was dealing with, and it’s more than evident that he’s an eminence and he’s earned his place among accomplished sports journalists.
But passages like this have finally broken my impression of printed dates preceded by the number 19 as current or modern; and clearly, like Bisher, those dates belong in the 20th century, and not in the opinion pages of any publication:
Well, not any longer. Money can change any habit. Eight springs ago the Mets and Cubs opened the season, not in Cincinnati. Guess where? Tokyo. That Tokyo, the guys who gave us Pearl Harbor. Some people don’t like you to bring that up, trade with Japan is so hot. But I’ve got a long memory. I saw what a few bombs can do to our property.
Oh, well, ‘scuse me. It’s just tough to get away from it when you turn on your TV in the morning there are the Boston Red Sox playing the Oakland A’s in the Tokyo Dome. Not only that, but the Red Sox pitcher is Daisuke Matsuzaka, who didn’t grow up in Wampole.
I have no problem with Furman waxing nostalgic about Red Stockings and how every season was opened in Cincinnati; yes, tradition is something we all long for and have a hard time breaking off. But when you go from Cubs-Mets in Tokyo, to the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor, to Daisuke and Opening Day ’08, it’s time to ignore the senile old man and let him sit in his chair, drinking his sweet tea.
Except, of course, he’s not sitting idly reminiscing on his better days. He’s in the opinion pages of both a major daily and its website!
Bah, who am I kidding. This is the AJC, and this is Georgia, where it’s still illegal to buy beer on Sunday. Too bad old man Bisher doesn’t realize that, much like him, some traditions, for better or worse, will simply not go away.