The professional locker room is a private sanctuary for the professional athlete.
It's like a very private and exclusive club. Things go one that aren't intended for the public to know.
In every Major League Baseball clubhouse there is a sign that says, "What you see here, what you hear here, what you say here, what you do here, leave it here."
That was possible before the 24 hour news cycle, social media and smartphones.
Now EVERYTHING is under a microscope.
There are too many reporters with a nose for news. (My high school journalism teacher Mr. Ginsburg's term. A reporter always asks "who, what, when, where and why". Still remember that almost 30 years later!)
It was a tradition to have a few beers and talk about the game with teammates in the locker room. Now a days after a few athletes have been arrested for DUI, alcohol is banned in most locker rooms.
Back in the 50's, reporters didn't dare write about an athletes drinking. Mickey Mantle had several DUI incidents not reported by the New York press. Can you imagine that happening now?
We live in a world where no one can mind their own business.
This world has gotten too sensitive. Too politically correct.
Yesterday, Major League Baseball announced that rookie hazing will be banned. Hazing as in men dressing as women.
Today on my Facebook I posted a picture of men in a locker room taking part in rookie hazing. They were dressed as women like they were going to a night club. They're all laughing and smiling.
It's a tradition to have rookies dress ridiculous and walk around in a public place such as the hotel lobby or the airport. It's inclusion into a special club. A club that says, "You're in the big leagues now!"
But some people too smart for their own good say that it's demeaning to the athletes self confidence and demeaning to women. So stop it, you're hurting someone's feelings. (Insert whiny voice.)
There was a lengthy report about how it seems men make women inferior. That wearing pink in self ridicule will cause further damage to the athletes mind. May cause depression and PTSD.
I can guarantee you that ANY minor leaguer would gladly wear a woman's dress, cheerleader outfit or Hooter's girl outfit and wear it with pride! It would be a badge of honor. It would say, "I'm a big leaguer now!"
It's not insulting, it's not humiliating and no harm is intended. It's a joke. It gets a few laughs in MLB Network and ESPN. Hell, teams even tweet out the pictures!
But people who don't play sports, but know what's best for us have taken away another baseball tradition.
Start handing out skirts and tampons to newborn baby boys. They're going to need them to survive this world they will live in.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
The professional locker room is a private sanctuary for the professional athlete.
Monday, December 5, 2016
A friend put up an interesting Facebook post the other day. He mentioned it's time for female sideline reporters, studio analysts and pre and post game hosts to go away.
I know a lot of guys who say they don't like seeing women talking about a sport they never played. I have another friend who gets irritated at the sight of them.
One time he said, "What do they know about coming up the middle and have their ass handed to them?"
I think that's why I stopped watching football. It is quite irritating to see women talk about a sport they never played.
(I talk about sports on TV, but I played the sports I speak of).
This phenomenon grew in the 1990's when ABC Sports had Leslie Viser roam the sidelines on Monday Night Football. She was great at it though. She was a journalist at the Boston Globe in the 1970's. She's very well respected in sports television.
Then she moved on and Melissa Stark took over. She was horrible. Then along came Lisa Guererro. Not any better.
Then it was the thinking, "Let's put a hot chick on the sidelines and let her talk. Who cares if she doesn't know what she's talking about?"
Then there's the queen bee of female sideline reporters, Erin Andrews. She's informative and insightful, but so irritating! It's that voice!!
Now she's everywhere! She's a celebrity now.
Then there are the talking heads at NFL Network. There's always a female on the panel on most of their programming and it's a reason to keep the TV turned off.
But they're not going away anytime soon.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
"Beaten by the queen of hearts everytime." - Little River Band
I'm sitting at my kitchen table drinking champagne. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series!
We all know the story, they haven't won in 108 years.
I'm thinking there was no radio or television back in 1908.
The Cubs were known as the lovable losers as long as I've been alive.
I'm thinking back to 1984. I ride my bike as fast as I can from Douglass Jr High School to get home so I can watch the San Diego Padres play the Chicago Cubs for the NL pennant. The Cubs were sure to win.
I get home in time to see the ground ball go through Leon Durham's legs. Padres win the Series.
Fast forward to 1989.
I'm a senior in high school. I'm in 7th period yearbook class. We're watching the San Francisco Giants play the Cubs for the pennant. The Cubs were winning. Our teacher Mr. Ginsburg turns the TV off as class is about to start. 50 minutes later, the Giants won the pennant. Another heartbreaking loss.
Move on to 2003. I'm 31 years old. I'm a working stiff on night crew at a grocery store. I had to go to bed early so I could be up by 10pm so I could be at work by 11pm.
I go to bed with the Cubs beating the Marlins in the NLCS.
I wake up and the Marlins won the pennant.
Last year, the Mets swept the Cubs.
My point is the Cubs could never win the big one.
But this year was different since day one of Spring Training.
You just knew it was going to be a special year.
I went to a Spring Training game in Mesa, Arizona. It was an electric atmosphere.
I saw the Cubs in San Francisco and Oakland. It was like attending a Cubs home game.
You just knew this year was gonna be special.
Now I sit on my couch watching the World Series post game show and it's a historic celebration in Chicago.
A friend joked on Facebook that the city of Chicago is shut down until further notice.
There have been jokes that Chicago will run out of booze win the Cubs win it all.
It's not a curse or a dream no more.
The Chicago Cubs are the 2016 World Series Champions!
Party on Chicago!
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
This is a dream I have every September 1st......
"Hi Felix this is Tommy Lasorda with the Dodgers. Congratulations kid! Your a big leaguer. The rosters are expanding. We need you tonight!"
Me- "Seriously Tommy?"
Lasorda-"Serious as a heart attack!"
Me- "Don't say that Tommy. You've had a couple of big ones. You mention the Big Dodger in the Sky, you almost with him!"
Lasorda- "Everyone is a comedian! Get on the bus to LA. You have no time to waste!"
Me- "Bus? I'm done riding buses! I'm a big leaguer now!"
Lasorda- "You're not a big leaguer until you put on that big league uniform in a big league clubhouse! Got it mister?!"
Me- "Yes, Tommy, see you soon....."
Alarm goes off.
It was a dream. But to a few select minor leaguers, it's their first time in the Show or for the older minor league veteran, it's his last chance to get to the bigs.
This is why I love September baseball!
I was at home enjoying my Labor Day holiday when a friend said, "Hey! You gotta see this!"
It was a message from Facebook from another friend asking if it was true what he heard about me.
So I start making phone calls checking to see if my father died. This friend thought I had suddenly past on.
After a few minutes, we got a message saying it was another Felix. Felix Castillo.
Mr. Castillo was the head baseball coach at Woodland High for several years. We've been mistaken for each other before. People thought I was the coach at Woodland High. (Friend literally laughed in my face when he saw that. He thought it was a joke that someone like me would be coaching a baseball team.)
Mr. Castillo was playing softball when he had a heart attack. He was 48.
I never knew him, but it made me think that life is indeed short and sweet.
We're not promised tomorrow. He looked healthy in his pictures. He had a family and was a beloved teacher at Woodland High.
There was a touching photo on Facebook yesterday that showed parents, students, faculty, family and friends of his at a memorial gathering at the athletic fields at Woodland High. It was at sunset. The place was packed.
Sunday, August 21, 2016
"To be or not to be, that is the question", Shakespeare once said. There are those of us who have a plan in life and stick to it.
I on the other hand was a happy go lucky kid who just followed the crowd and was always the dreamer.
I never had a plan. I talked big and bold, but when it came down to it, I did nothing.
"I'm gonna try out for the baseball team", or "I'm gonna try out for quarterback", I'd say to whoever would listen.
All talk no action. I'd always have a bullshit excuse why I didn't do it. "I don't have time", I'd say.
I was a dream chaser. After high school I put it in my mind I was going to be a PE teacher. "I'm going to be a PE major!"
"Oh really?", someone would say, "What sport did you play in high school?"
"None. I just really love sports."
"Oh, good luck with that."
I didn't know I'd have to take anatomy classes, chemistry, and other science classes. I just thought at the time I'd take PE classes and get my degree. I was too dumb to be a dumb jock. The dumb jocks were smarter than me!
I wasn't a jock though. I was a poser, a wanna be that never was.
I just didn't have a clue.
I can remember taking tennis and golf classes thinking one day I'd be a club pro or a PE teacher. I wasn't thinking of the thousands of other people who had the same goal but had the sports background.
I had a co-worker who's brother in law was a few years younger than me in school. He was going to UC San Diego for his PE degree (Kinesiology if you want to get technical). I was plodding along at JC while this guy was earning his BS, Masters, teaching credential and eventually a PhD in Kinesiology.
I remember feeling inferior to this guy I never knew, but with each passing year my co-worker would mention his progress. Must be nice to not worry about making a living like I had to. I would have loved to have just focus on school.
I knew my plan was a dream. I had a younger cousin who could rattle off the bones and muscles groups without looking at notes or a book. She had it memorized. That's when I knew there was no future in teaching for me. I was just talking the talk.
I was just struggling through my General Studies. What made me think I was gonna meld young minds someday when I couldn't meld my own?
So eventually I stopped focusing on PE as my major.
Then I focused on something else that was virtually impossible for me to accomplish. I had plans to be a scout, coach or manager in professional baseball.
Now, there were THOUSANDS of young men who played baseball who had the experience to get into professional baseball at some capacity. What made me think I could get involved with professional baseball? (Good Lord I was DUMB!)
I did volunteer coaching around Woodland, but the kids didn't respond to me. They had no interest in what I had to say. They asked me one question on the first day of practice and I answered honestly. With my honest answer, I lost all credibility.
"When did you play? How good were you? What position did you play?"
I answered I played one year of Little League, got cut from the Jr High team but caught on as a bullpen catcher and equipment manager for the team.
With that, I lost them. I lost them when I was running through signals and one kid asked what the indicator was.
I never heard of an indicator so I foolishly asked back, "What's an indicator?"
"You don't know what an indicator is? Are you serious? What kind of coach are you?"
Mind you, I was in my early twenties with very limited playing experience.
I may as well have quit right there.
It was the most humbling, humiliating experiences of my life. That's when I knew I had no future in coaching.
I would eventually give baseball coaching another try in 1994 at my old Jr high school. I didn't do much. Just sat around and soaked up what I could. It proved to be the eye opener I needed.
I embraced baseball so much at 17, 18, 19 years old, trying to make up for lost time. I should have embraced baseball at 7, 8 or 9 years old. I didn't have the experience of watching years of baseball situations to gather knowledge. I thought being a fan would get me involved in professional ball.
So I crossed baseball off my list and figured I would become that club pro I thought I would turn out to be.
I played recreational tennis and golf. I never played on a team. I was never around the golf course or country club. I didn't know how that worked.
My tennis instructor at Sacramento City was the club pro at Natomas Racquet Club. This guy was a major asshole. Very phony and full of himself. So were his assistants. Just trying to get his attention so I could talk to him about what I should do proved to be impossible.
I so foolishly thought I could crack into the world of tennis, I bought very expensive high end racquets that didn't improve my game. When I realized I was wasting my money, I tried to sell them to Play It Again Sports on Arden Way. I walk in and mention I want to sell these racquets (about $200 each back in 1995).
The guys behind the counter were in their late twenties. Very cocky and arrogant. I explain I switched brands and I didn't need the Wilson racquets and I play Prince racquets now.
They ask, "What difference is the brand you play? Are you a professional? How much do you want for these?"
I knew what they were doing. They were trying to lowball me by embarrassing me.
I mentioned what I paid for them and I was hoping for $75 or $100 each.
They smirked and said $12.50 for both.
Now I felt really stupid. I sheepishly took my racquets and walked back to my car.
I think I eventually gave them to a guy on the Sac City tennis team in exchange for tennis balls. I needed balls and couldn't afford to buy any after buying expensive racquets.
Now a days I rarely have time for tennis.
I think back to those days and laugh.
I tried too hard. I tried to be something I couldn't be due to lack of experience.
You couldn't tell me that when I was 19. I thought I knew everything.
Now I'm happy and comfortable in my own skin. I'm not a dreamer anymore. I'm a realist. Too bad I wasn't when I was younger.