I have to admit, that was pretty neat. It's 10:55 a.m. Thursday, and I just got a quick crash course in parenting. And, more importantly, I found the angle I've been looking for in approaching this column.
I'm once again taking a quick breather from fantasy advice. Next week, I'll get back to it, as the couple of weeks that follow the All-Star break are, in my humble opinion, the most important of the season, save for draft prep weeks.
Back to Thursday morning, I was at my personal workout space, the Thomas Park basketball square. When I arrived, there was a guy, probably not more than 5 years older than me, as indicated by his freshly salted and peppered beard, playing tennis with his daughter. She's probably about 4.
About 20 minutes into my shootaround, the tennis lesson wrapped up, and it was on to playground fun, the first stop the merry-go-round. Almost immediately, the shrieks of joy, punctuated by "Faster" and the occasional, "I'm gonna fall off" rang out.
Watching dad and his little girl was kind of like looking into the future, except for me there will be two sets of vocal chords. Impending fatherhood has struck a nostalgic chord with me lately, and I couldn't help but think of the merry-go-round at Red Arrow Park in Manitowoc, Wis.
The Thomas Park structure was visibly far more safe than Red Arrow's, its base a solid metal disc, with complementary-colored axle and handbars soundly affixed. Back in fair Manty, I quietly – with great fright – waited for the day the rickety old wooden disc would break free, undoubtedly sending children flying and, for some reason, catching fire. Its handbars were a tetanus shot waiting to happen.
But we freaking loved that merry-go-round, even when the bullies got a sadistic thrill out of spinning it until one freshly fed half-pint...well, you know what happened.
I give you a parallel between the classic MLB All-Star games and our modern gala. It might not be a perfect analogy, but it works for me.
I love both incarnations for different reasons. Perhaps my favorite baseball moment ever was watching Randy Johnson cause John Kruk to retreat to the dugout for a clean pair of undershorts during the 1993 game.
And that's what I've been reading and hearing about all week: Those moments don't exist anymore, with interleague play running rampant, players having seen each other – some of them multiple times – and we liked the original recipe of Spam the way it was. Robble, robble.
Media-types at least my age have spent the week using the word novelty like it's about to be added to the league's banned list.
We're in love with that word. Novelty. And vintage, too. Don't get me wrong. I also pine for a lot of things to be the way they once were. I love retro. And I think Bud Selig got it wrong when he panicked and made the best exhibition game in sports mean something.
But let's not spoil this for everyone else. There's a ton of eye-popping talent fisting the reins in baseball right now. Nasty flamethrowers like Stephen Strasburg and downright likeable hurlers like Matt Harvey. Play-it's-Game-7-of-the-World-Series guys like Bryce Harper and Yasiel Puig. Personally, I'd pay admission just to watch Jean Segura play shortstop and drive pitchers batty with his penchant for extending at-bats.
Yeah, the All-Star game isn't the same. But the metal disc also isn't about to come flying off, stand up on its side and destroy everything in its path. It's not evil.
After a quick session on the slide and teeter-totter, that little girl dashed back to the merry-go-round. I don't know if the kids will exactly go dashing to the TV after a pretty good All-Star game a year ago.
But if they do, let's not ruin it for them.
The Hot Corner
Let’s Get Some Chatter Goin’
This week's banter
How do you feel about the All-Star game?
Last week's topic
If you could watch a ballgame with anyone, who would it be and why?
• Doug MacRunnels (Dixon): Ronald Reagan ... No reason needed
• Chris Zinkel (Weston, Conn.): Don Zimmer. I have no idea what he is like, but he seems to be one of those old guard guys that would sprinkle nuggets of information on you that nobody else sees or looks for.
• Andy Steffenhagen (Milwaukee): My dad. He's the one who threw me my first baseball.
• Paul Gierhart (Rock Falls): Harry Caray, so I could hear him pronounce player's names backwards and sing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game"
• Aaron Johnson (Iowa City, Iowa): Harry Carey. just to hear his stories again.
• Jeff Orheim (Appleton, Wis.): Casey Stengel, because the Ol' Perfessor was supposedly a very funny guy besides being a good manager. Plus he allegedly liked good whiskey.
Pitch the Commish
With no games this week, the commish picks Yasiel Puig as his home run king in the second half. Pick any other player and, if he out-homers the rookie, you're in the SVM Dynasty League next season.
Send responses to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to him (@CHeimerman_SVM). Also, look for questions on Facebook (Sauk Valley Sports).
Buy low: Adam Eaton, Diamondbacks OF: Someone likely stashed him, as he made his first start of the season Tuesday. He's off to a sluggish start, but could be a category(steals)-winner.
Sell high: Alfonso Soriano, Cubs OF: A no-brainer. For you and the Cubs alike. Eight homers in 14 days puts his stock higher than I could've foreseen when I told you to draft him.