Bird Scooters, Voting and the World Series

102518If you live in Nashville, you would swear it was a scene from the movie “The Birds” but instead of birds it is in the form of these silly looking vehicles called “bird scooters” that have invaded the city.  It is annoying and it looks silly.  People are zipping down sidewalks, bike lanes, streets and any place these vehicles can possibly fit without regard to safety, traffic laws or even common sense.  They are a nuisance.  Just another irritation to add to the peddle taverns, golf carts, party vehicles and buses that litter downtown.  The electric scooter companies have promised to ensure their users are adhering to safety standards but I can tell you that they are not.  Riders are not abiding by any safety or any kind of standards.  Just like many Nashville automobile drivers, they are doing whatever they want without regard to any rules.  They are just everywhere and anywhere.  What happened to simply walking?  Oh wait, some people can’t do that right either.  So let’s add another form of transportation to an already over-saturated downtown.

Early voting has started and it is a good thing.  Everyone should get out and vote.  Unlike the way the presidential election goes, these elections actually do go by the popular vote so every vote does indeed count.  Be sure to check the times because they can be rather puzzling.  Polling places have some odd-ball closing times as my wife and I experienced yesterday when we attempted to go vote.  We unknowingly picked the night the place closed at 4:30 p.m.   So we will try again now that we have a copy of the times.  If you go vote, be sure to take a photo ID.  This is very important.  Millions of people have voted early and if this trend continues, it will be the highest turnout in 50 years.  I’m not going to tell you who to vote for.  That’s up to you.  Just take your common sense with you.

The Boston Red Sox lead the Los Angeles Dodgers 2 games to 0 in this year’s World Series but if you aren’t in Boston or Los Angeles you probably don’t care much about it.  This year’s World Series has the lowest rating since 2014.   Unless you are either a diehard baseball fan or one of your teams is in the World Series, it is very difficult to be interested in the World Series.  I honestly haven’t been interested since the Chicago Cubs won it in 2016.  I don’t know what it is about Major League Baseball.  The season is long.  Then there’s the one-game wildcard game, five-game divisional series and seven-game league championship and World Series.  Maybe there are too many games and too many teams in the playoffs.  With football and hockey going on in October, the fall classic doesn’t fit into my personal sports viewing schedule.

I’m hopping on my scooter and getting out of here…….

0-for-World Series

worldseriesLast night the Houston Astros won their first World Series’ title in franchise history.    I wondered about other teams in Major League Baseball (MLB) that have yet to win a World Series.  After Houston’s historic win, there are now seven teams that have not won a World Series and two teams that have not even made it to the World Series:

  • Texas Rangers
    • The Rangers have played in two World Series (2010 & 2011) but have not won it all.  They have been in the league since 1961.  The closest they have come to winning was in the 2011 World Series when they lost 4 games to 3 to the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • San Diego Padres
    • The Padres have had two chances to win (1984 & 1998) but have fallen short.  They came into the league in 1969.   The closet they have come was in 1984 when they were beaten by the Detroit Tigers 4 games to 1.
  • Milwaukee Brewers
    • The Brewers have only been close once (1982).  They started in 1969 as the Seattle Pilots.  In 1982, they lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh game.
  • Tampa Bay Rays
    • The Rays made it to the World Series in 2008.  The Rays began play in 1998.  In their only World Series appearance, they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.
  • Colorado Rockies
    • The Rockies were swept by the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 World Series in their only appearance.  The Rockies started in 1993.
  • Seattle Mariners
    • The Mariners are one of two teams that have never played in a World Series.  They began in 1977.  Seattle has been in three American League Championship Series.  They lost in 1995 to the Cleveland Indians (4-2), 200 to the New York Yankees (4-2) and 2001 to the New York Yankees (4-1).
  • Washington Nationals
    • Despite their winning seasons recently, the Nationals have not been to the World Series.  The franchise began in 1969 as the Montreal Expos.   The Nationals/Expos have not advanced past the National League Championship Series (NLCS).  In their only appearance in the NLCS, they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 3 games to 2 in 1981 as the Montreal Expos.

The Houston Astros finally got off of this list last night in their win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Astros entered the league in 1962 as the Colt .45s.  They have played in five league championship series (1980, 1986, 2004, 2005 & 2017).  In their only previous appearance in the World Series in 2005 they were swept by the Chicago White Sox.  Last night, they ended the drought.

So Why Do We Have The National Anthem Before Sporting Events?

San Francisco 49ers’ backup quarterback Colin Kapernick stirred controversy when he sat during the playing of the national anthem before a National Football League (NFL) pre-season game.  He did it in protest of the way African-Americans are treated by police.  Kapernick, who has fallen out of the limelight in recent years, got the attention back in his protest.  Yesterday, President Obama defended Kapernick’s right for freedom-of-speech.  Regardless of how we feel about what Kapernick did, the President is absolutely right.  Kapernick does have a right to express his feelings and disrespect the national anthem.

True, there are many other things to be concerned about than a benched quarterback refusing to stand for the national anthem.  This gave me another thought about this whole issue.  

Why do we have the National Anthem performed before sporting events anyway?

The tradition can be traced back to when the United States entered into World War I.  Major League Baseball games began having patriotic festivities before the game.  During the seventh-inning stretch of game one of the 1918 World Series between the Cubs and Red Sox, the band played “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  Players faced the centerfield flag pole and stood at attention.  The crowd followed and even sang along.  In 1931, the song was made our national anthem by a congressional resolution and the song continued to be played but only on special occasions like opening day, national holidays and World Series games.

From that point on, major sporting events eventually became one of the places where the general public could sing the national anthem together.  Unfortunately, this is the only time most of us hear the song and have a chance to pay tribute to our country.

We have also seen (and heard) the best and worst renditions of the song from Whitney Houston’s powerful voice to Roseanne Barr’s train wreck.  

It’s probably time to seriously consider not making the singing of the national anthem so routine.  It’s clear that the song has lost its meaning to people.  It’s not for a social statement or tool to bring attention to a washed-up quarterback.  It’s a patriotic song which people like John Legend can’t understand.  Let’s stop singing as a pre-game tradition and return it to something special.