Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ten Solid Predictions for the 2014 Major League Baseball Season

With the start of the MLB regular season coming tomorrow and the scent of peanuts, crackerjacks, and outrageously-priced stale beer invading our nostrils, it is time to turn our attention to America’s favorite pastime. (And no, I don’t acknowledge the two games played between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks in Australia as the start of the regular season. If baseball isn’t played in the good ole US of A it ain’t baseball. That’s right, in my eyes the Toronto Blue Jays only have an 81 game season.) In any event, below are ten ironclad, foolproof, take ‘em to the bank predictions for the 2014 baseball season…

1. After the revelation that Alex Rodriguez was taking illegal gummies, MLB will institute new urine testing procedures that can detect the presence of Twizzlers, Kit Kats, Starburst and Butterfingers, just to be safe.

2. Suddenly realizing there’s still one good player left on his team, Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria trades 2013 Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez to the Atlanta Braves for a bottle of Jim Beam and three restaurant gift cards to be named later.

3. In an effort to outdo last year’s beard growing antics, Red Sox team members will instead see who can sport the most outrageous facial piercings.

4. A scant 45 minutes after getting hit in the head by a meteorite, Miguel Cabrera still goes three for five with two homeruns and four RBI.

5. In an unprecedented move during a Rangers-Mariners game, umpire Joe West suddenly ejects all of the other umpires because they told a joke during the 7th inning stretch and he didn’t get the punch line.

6. Rookie base-stealing sensation Billy Hamilton gets overzealous after drawing a walk and proceeds to steal second, third, home and the batter’s box while Kyle Lohse is still in the stretch position.

7.  Halfway through the season Cal Ripken makes a surprise comeback and ends up playing more games than Jacoby Ellsbury.

8. During a meaningless September snooze-fest between the Twins and the White Sox, the game is delayed by 23 minutes when the umpires huddle around a monitor to review a contested homerun ball, but instead get caught up in a rerun of “How I Met Your Mother.”

9. After running out of his own teammates and opposing players to antagonize, Yasiel Puig becomes the first player in baseball history to get ejected for getting into a fight with himself.

10. In an unprecedented move after the All-Star break, the Houston Astros decide to swap out their entire major league roster for their entire Triple A roster and end up going on a two game winning streak—their longest of the season.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Million Dollar Ideas-- Free to You! (Well, Almost)

Every couple of years I come up with an idea so brilliant and amazing and revolutionary that I am forced to wonder: a) How come nobody has ever thought of this before?; and b) How many millions of dollars would I make if I actually got off my behind and attempted to bring this idea to fruition? Then I usually shrug my shoulders, eat another Twix bar and continue watching videos of amusing chimps on YouTube.

Clearly I’m no entrepreneur. I’ve never bothered to patent any of my ideas or even take the radical step of googling the phrase “How do I patent my ideas?” The only person I’ve ever shared my earth-shattering concepts with is my wife and she’s only slightly more entrepreneurial than me. (Of course, this is like saying Rush Limbaugh is only slightly more liberal than Michele Bachman.)

While the selfish side of me has been frustrated for years that my inherent laziness is causing me to miss out on truckloads of money, recently the selfless side of me has been weighing in as well. Forget the financial reward—these life-changing concepts can contribute to the betterment of mankind, so by doing nothing about them I am diminishing humanity.

This is where you, my faithful—and hopefully driven—readers come into the picture. Knowing that I am never going to follow up on any of my concepts, now, for the first time, I am going to reveal four of my best ideas in the hopes that some of you might act upon them and bring the world a sliver more joy and happiness. All I ask in return is that if indeed you become filthy rich as a result of this, you buy me a flat screen television. (*Note: by reading this blog you automatically agree to make Andrew J. Schwartzberg equal financial partners in any resulting endeavor and will relinquish 50% of all profits to him in perpetuity and e pluribus unum.) Onto the ideas…

The Watchdog – Although I am not a dog owner, it is clear to me from conversations with dog owners that sometimes dogs need to be walked. Indeed, it seems that often dogs need to be walked around the same time every day. Sometimes dogs seem to approach their owners in a manner that indicates that they (the dog) feel it is time for them to be walked. Perhaps the owner isn’t sure if it is, indeed, time for the dog to be walked and maybe they’re not wearing a watch or near a clock at that moment. Is it time to walk the dog or isn’t it? How can you know? Wouldn’t it be nice if the dog could tell you the time? Crazy, you say? Well, not with the Watchdog! The Watchdog is a dog collar that has a watch on it. It’s fashionable and practical. When your dog comes running and seems to want to be walked, all you have to do is look at its collar to see if the time is right!

Indoor Running Rest Areas – It’s summer vacation and you’re on a long road trip with your family. You have two young children in the backseat who are getting restless. You’ve driven for three hours and have at least two more hours before you hit the next rest stop. Boy would it be great if you could just stop and let the kids run around for 20 minutes before they kill each other in the car. Only problem is you’re on I-8 in the middle of the Sonoran Desert and it’s 115-degrees outside. Wouldn’t it be great if somewhere in the middle of this barren wasteland there was a gigantic, enclosed, air-conditioned, carpeted empty building that your kids could run around in? You bet your bippy that would be great! Yes, I’m talking about a building at least the size of a Costco that has absolutely nothing in it—no furniture, no merchandise, no structures of any kind. Cool, comfortable emptiness in which your kids can manically run around—and then hopefully zonk out for the rest of the ride as soon as they get back into the car.

Rentable Man Caves – We live in a small three-bedroom house and each one of those rooms is claimed by an inhabitant. The garage houses our minivan, the attic houses wiring, pipes and dust, and there is no basement. There is no good place for me to do private man things. If I want to blast Led Zeppelin or watch a gory horror flick, I do it on my 12-inch laptop while wearing a headset. Pathetic, I know. For years I wallowed in self-pity about this and one day it occurred to me that I can’t possibly be the only man in this predicament. While there are millions of guys out there who have managed to create their own man caves in a spare room or toolshed, there must be millions of others who have no such luxury. Would they pay $20 per hour to rent one for an evening? To get their own private man cave with a big screen television, incredible sound system, and fridge for beer and macaroni salad? I know I’d pay top dollar for a set up like this every once in a while. I envision a large retail space with a dozen or so soundproof units for rent. Once inside renters can do anything they want within legal reason…except listen to Michael Bolton. Man Caves have their standards.

Peripheral Frame Lenses – I have exceptionally good eyesight, so I’ve never had to think that much about glasses; on the other hand, my dad was an optometrist, so optometric thinking must be in my DNA. That genetic predisposition to eyewear knowledge came up big the other night while talking to my wife, who wears glasses. She mentioned in passing that due to the thickness of her frames, her peripheral vision is blocked while driving. In other words, the frame itself creates a blind spot for her. Oh, the irony! I said, “Wouldn’t it be great if instead of making the frame out of opaque plastic, they made it out of the same material as the lens and made the frame itself to your prescription?” A second after the full impact of that thought set in I shouted, “I’m going to be a millionaire!” Then I went on eating my Twix bar.