A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Harold Reynolds

America is a land of second chances. From 1983 to 1994, Harold Reynolds wasn't an offensive threat at all. His 21 home runs from the second sack weren't anything to write home about. Hell, Ryne Sandberg had more home runs in a season during 6 of his years in the pros than Reynolds had total, and considering that he was the new face of second base (before Utley, Cano, and Soriano showed just how much power one could have from that position), Mr. Reynolds was just rapidly decelerating into career ending lack of productivity. All the same, he did have 60 stolen bases in his best year, but as a whole, he was what he was - average and his batting average of .258 for a career proved just that.
Nevertheless, he became a face for baseball because he went on to be a baseball guy for ESPN Baseball Tonight, and in that, he was always knowledgeable and interesting. However, after nearly a decade, he was canned from ESPN for hugging a female intern, which was considered offensive and sexual harassment when 3 weeks later, she said something about the hug and the dinner afterward. Maybe it was because she was white and he was black. Maybe he didn't return her further advances or maybe she just didn't hit it off with him. Either way, ESPN was not happy.
Later that year, he filed suit and won against his former network in that they settled the money he had asked for, and eventually, he went his way until MLBTV picked him up, which is unlike Steve Phillips, also an ESPN guy canned for issues that he had while being in a bizarre love triangle (cue New Order). There began the 3rd chance for Mr. Reynolds.
Now, Reynolds is on the air daily with Billy Ripken (the least of the Ripkens), Dan Plesac, and Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams (getting another second chance for himself after becoming Joe Carter's monkey boy and the most hated figure in Philadelphia history this side of JD Drew and Santa Claus). Together, they're disseminating what can only be described as "porn" since the constant baseball images on MLBTV are not only addictive and a guilty pleasure when I should be working or being productive on my days off, but a constant opportunity to gawk at the money shot home runs and defensive gems. I get to skip to the best parts of the greatest arguments, relive the memories past of glory that is missing from my life in this cold, nasty winter as I wait for life to come back to a former glory. Somehow, the images of the past and a past never seen have become my substitute for a daily life.
Not that I'm complaining. The countdowns are incredible and the Bob Costas interviews are enlightening me to all that is the grandeur of baseball. While they play the old Ken Burns Baseball stuff (I have this on DVD - it's the Vivid Entertainment of baseball), they haven't gotten to the new stuff yet. Someday, I'm sure they will, and I'll be able to record it rather than having to pay for the DVD just yet. On really good days, there are things on there like the entire game of Bill Mazeroski's home run to beat the Yankees and make Mickey and Roger cry.
If only MLBTV reached out to the world with their history (through Youtube), there would be a generation of baseball converts, but unfortunately, the already converted will be the only ones to relish in this greatness of a past world that can no longer be - at least until baseball becomes a game instead of a business.
Nevertheless, the hot stove is always burning - at least until my wife gets home and we watch "acceptable" television together.

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