Zombie ball

I have no idea what’s going on here. And even though they’re speaking Japanese, I still wouldn’t know why this was happening if it were in English:

Not your normal ceremonial first pitch.

Muhammad Ali dies at 74. He was the greatest of all time.

You’re going to see a lot of tributes in coming days to Muhammad Ali, who died in Arizona last night of respiratory problems. People are going to say the three-time world champion heavyweight boxer transcended sports and was a great humanitarian. They’re going to say how he was a powerful symbol for oppressed people. They’re going to say how good he looked and how watching him in action was witnessing the physical expression of poetry.

Which is all true.

But don’t let the tributes fool you. When Muhammad Ali was at the peak of his talents, he was one of the most hated people in America. Black people loved him. White people hated and feared him. Anyone who was alive in the ’60s and ’70s knows that was the case. He was hated because, unlike today’s athletes, he spoke out against injustice.

Remember civil rights? When people were saying we’ll all get along by just grabbing hands and singing “Kumbaya,” Ali was in America’s face talking about its hypocrisy:

In the previous video, they talked about Vietnam, the issue that resulted in the the theft of his heavyweight crown. But when smug college boys tried to tell him that he wasn’t patriotic and anti-American because he wouldn’t support his country’s war against a tiny nation thousands of miles away, he threw the issue back in their faces.

He really threw terror into the hearts of white America. Don’t think that everything was beautiful and the multitudes agreed with the things he said at the time he said them. He was lightyears away from today’s athletes in terms of skill in a sport, but most of all in terms of impact on society. Today’s athletes aren’t going to do anything that threatens the removal from their sport or the loss of multimillion dollar sponsorships they have with sneaker companies.

The greatness of Muhammad Ali is that he gave up everything for what he believed.

Really, when you think about it, there are only two great athletes who spoke on behalf of black America when blatant racism was just the routine of life. Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson.

Robinson was told to internalize the injustices he was subject to. Don’t fight back. Don’t say anything no matter what the bigots in the stands or on the fields said or did. So, in what was the right move for his time, Jackie took the abuse, but he also spoke up against it when the opportunity came.

Jackie Robinson died when he was 53. He died young, and I’ll always believe that the mistreatment he faced in his early years in baseball contributed to that.

One thing you can say for Muhammad Ali was that he didn’t internalize anything:

I’ve seen Muhammad Ali live twice and neither was in the ring. The first time was in 1979 at the No Nukes all-star concert at Madison Square Garden. He said a few words and tried to endorse a senate candidate, but the crowd was surly and shouted “No politics.” Which was kind of stupid because:

  1. The anti-nuclear movement has to be a political movement. I mean how else are you going to put an end to nuclear power and nuclear weapons unless you get politicians to pass laws against them? And …
  2. When you’re giving a concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden, you’re using a lot of kilowatts. Where do you think that energy is coming from other than the nuclear plant up the river.

Anyway, Ali left the stage and the bands played on before an oblivious crowd.

The second time I saw him was at the 2013 Louisville vs. Florida Sugar Bowl college football game in New Orleans.

It made me so sad. Look at that beautiful vibrant intelligent man of the 1960s, and then to see him 50 years later wasting away is heartbreaking.

But we shouldn’t feel sad, because we’ve witnessed one of the most important people of the 20th century.

He was the greatest of all time.

Back to the future … in the real future

So, back in 1985, Marty McFly, his girlfriend Jennifer, and Doc Brown got in the Delorean and traveled to 2015 to help get Marty’s and Jennifer’s kids out of trouble.

This is what they saw in “Back to the Future II

But the date they went to was Oct. 21, 2015. That’s tomorrow. Unless something really radical happens today, I don’t think I’m going to see any flying cars, or hover boards. Or holographic movie ads on the city streets. I’ll see this:

Just goes to show. The future isn’t what it used to be.

A side note. This was the front page of USA Today in 2015 in “Back to the Future II”:

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Notice the sports news in the upper left hand corner. If you’re betting on baseball, “Cubs sweep series in 5.” Now that’s way out there. (Also, you can’t sweep in five. A sweep is four games.)

All is right in the baseball world

SUB-CITY-YANKEES-articleLargeThe Yankees win! THHHHHHHUUUUUUUUUUHHHHH YANKEES WIN!!!! (From the New York Times)

As Adam Warren saw the hard grounder coming back up the middle, he knew he was in trouble. His balance was betraying him, and he began to topple backward. So Warren did all he could do: He reached his glove out behind his back.

Much to his surprise, the ball stuck, leaving Warren with an easy throw to first base to extricate himself from trouble.

It was not a consequential play, but it was one that was emblematic for the Yankees, who have lost their footing in recent days but regained it Thursday to clinch a playoff berth with a 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

It’s over: Yogi Berra died at 90

But the AP didn’t get it right Tuesday night:

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This is Yogi Bear:

Yogi_Bear

He didn’t die, because he isn’t real.

This is who died:

Yogi Berra is one of the Yankee immortals. Plenty of people know the great Berra quotes:

But the top video shows he was probably the best catcher in this history of professional baseball. Look at the World Series records. Yogi holds a lot of them.

Yogi even made a game show appearance:

And yeah, word is that the Bear was named after the Berra.