Well, kind of. Spring Training for the Phillies officially opens on Tuesday, with the Phils vs. the Yankees, but there will be an exhibition game tomorrow at Bright House against the University of Tampa. Lest anyone think this is a simple scrimmage, The UT Spartans are quite an impressive college team and the Phils a quite unimpressive major league team. Should make the game interesting, as few if any of the Phils players will be in the majors this year. Certainly none of the scheduled pitchers are – in order, they are slated to be Clemens (not Roger), Aumont, Neris, Ogando, Araujo, and Oliver.
Games like this are a big deal for the college kids. I recall the exhibition game at Bright House in which Buster Posey played for Florida State University before moving on to the Giants. Will any of tomorrow’s UT Spartans go on to major league careers? Unlikely. But it’s intriguing to look back at some of the current players who starred in college – take Chase Utley, for example, in his UCLA Blue.
Don Studt is an incredible retired optometrist who is a renowned world traveler. I had the privilege over the weekend of visiting with him at his home in the Hollywood Hills of California, in the course of delivering the 146th Studt Practicum at Western University of the Health Sciences. Don’s home is magnificent in its architecture and landscaping, all of which he designed and much of which he built and still cares for, but it is also a breathtaking testimonial to the life’s experiences of very special individual.
Bright sunshine now, despite the wind chill in NJ, brings thoughts of Clearwater Beach. We’ll be driving over the Causeway in time for the first game, an exhibition pitting the University of Tampa baseball team against the Fightin’ Phils. Unfortunately for the Phillies, with this year’s crop of players, the outcome of that contest is uncertain. I shouldn’t say that. The Spartans actually have a better team than the Phillies. Of course I say that to insulate my heart, given the long, tough season we’re anticipating this will be.
The Phillies are so devoid of capable position players that there’s even been talk about broadcaster Tom McCarthy stepping on to the field as a non-roster invitee with his golden glove from the highlight reel of Citizens Bank Park.
Nah, not really. Tom and I know that we can only play vicariously, he through his microphone and me through Tommy Bahama. Time Marches on …
The wind is blowing so hard at the Jersey Shore this morning that Governor Christie is contemplating declaring a state of Cool hWhip. The snow is drifting on the lake, the chairs and table on the deck look like they want to take flight, and even our Welcome Pooch on the Front Porch is lathered up in the white stuff. Pitchers and catchers report in 3 days, and Miriam and I will report to Clearwater Beach 10 days behind them. Only hale and hearty Phils fans ventured out to the Starbucks in Sea Girt this morning, going sockless in anticipation of the warm weather (and long season) …
This article in my inbox this morning from Aeon Magazine gave me pause. It was disturbing on many fronts, and I doubt you’ll be able to read it non-judgementally. The concept of Orthopraxy is not unique to Judaism – it occurs in any, and I daresay every religion – and seems to be a universal challenge to fundamentalism. Rabbi Pruzansky addressed the rising trend of Orthopraxy in Judaism in his thought-provoking blog in 2010.
My Uncle-in-law Teddy (may he rest in peace) addressed this in his own thought-provoking way through a joke many years ago. The punchline was, “Haseedem too, but who ah dey?” Orthopraxis presents a dilemma in self-identity, and my purpose is not to propose any solution, but to support wider discussion of the problem. I’ve always maintained that it is worse to make believe vexing problems don’t exist than it is to address them head-on.
The first hint I had of the extent of the problem was in reading Nathan Englander’s amazing literary debut, “For the Relief of Unbearable Urges”, sixteen years ago. A number of books have since emerged since then, mostly addressing the issue in terms of people who have broken away from their communities, but more recently by those who continue living a double life of sorts.
Last month in Barnes & Noble the sight of this observant gentleman covertly ogling an attractive woman in a less than noble way (transparently picking up a book now and then but following her path at every turn as she browsed) was both embarrassing and disturbing. Was she aware of his stalking? If so, did she handle it best by not saying anything? Should I have ignored the incident altogether? Given that it captured my attention, did I do the right thing by remaining silent?
This was a microcosm of moral and ethical questions that seem to grow more profound in contemporary society, and that the Aeon article addresses in a very deep way. I doubt that we can derive appropriate answers to the questions until we entertain more open discussion. Yet there is a school of thought that says our lips should remain as sealed as the lid on Pandora’s Box.