"You watch the game last night?"
I was in the middle of a shuttle in the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and an older man with his son is beaming at me about five feet away. It was the day after the Orioles beat the Texas Rangers in the AL Wild Card game. I was wearing my old beat-up Orioles hat. There was no way I didn't watch that game.
We engaged in a very loud, excited exchange about Brian Matusz striking out Josh Hamilton when I remembered where we were. In the middle of the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Ranger Country. People were staring. Out of courtesy, I politely wound down the conversation and wished the man a pleasant trip back to Baltimore (we both were at the receiving end of a 3 hour delay and missed transfer).
I was thinking about that interaction last night, in the top of the 8th Inning when I saw Ken Ulman, or someone who looked a lot like Ken Ulman, going crazy with a rally towel on TBS. Our calm, cool, and collected County Executive...going nuts....with a towel. It was great. Stripped of the formality of office, we were fans together. All of us.
Regardless of the complaints about payroll and salary caps, there is something egalitarian about sports. You didn't have to be wealthy to go to either of this week's Playoff Games. You just had to really really care. Tickets were available from around $25 (standing room) up into infinity, but we were all identically hostage to the outcome.
Just as we all will be nursing coffee this morning.
Any self-reflective sports fan has had the conversation with themselves after a tough loss: Why do I do this? Why do I care about mercenaries who I do not know and do not care about me? Most of these conversations have to come back to the collective. We follow sports to be a part of something bigger, whether that is the regional "conversation" or just a unified point of attention over a moment in time. That doesn't change the objective triviality of sports, but it certainly deepens the subjective component. We're in this together...going nuts...with our rally towels.
Did I mention the Orioles won 3-2 off of an impressive 3-up-3-down 9th Inning by Closer Jim Johnson? Man didn't even smile after he struck out A-Rod. All business.
Liberal blogger Andrew Sullivan is getting ready to throw in the towel after a Pew Research Poll showed Mitt Romney with a 4 point lead nationwide. Seems a little dramatic, considering that the President still may have a cash lead and certainly holds serve in the swing states, but there is no doubt that we have a tight election on our hands.
In what presumably will be Lindsay McPherson's last Political Notebook for the Flier/Baltimore Sun, she looks at the number of Ulman staffers that have been hired by the subsequent Ulman administration, and their salaries. This piece seemed a little off to me. A little bit "so what?" I expect campaign staff to be hired by the winning administration. The real concern is when administration staff are actively working for the campaign on County time, and there is no indication in this piece that this has occurred.
Featured Blog Post of the Day: On the most recent episode of And Then There's That, Dennis and Paul talk to an empty chair after Board of Education Member Brian Meshkin stood them up with less than a week's notice. I was one of the people that said from the beginning that I did not expect Brian to appear on the show. I was all the more disappointed that Mr. Meshkin saw it necessary to get lawyers involved. As Paul said on the show, "Asking questions is not bullying." Throwing around the words "defamatory" and "my lawyer", however, is bullying. Intimidation to try to stop a conversation. Thankfully, here in Howard County, we stand up to bullies. Even the adult ones.
That's all for today. Have a great Tuesday doing what you love!