Sunday’s Word Salad

18 08 2019

New York

We know it’s silliness.

First off, last season, the average player salary was $6.1 million while the median was $2.5 million.  Those of you with at least a rudimentary knowledge of statistics know what this means when the average is so disconnected from the median.  Either way, there aren’t $2.5 million slaves, anywhere.

Second, there must not be any real problems in this world, if this is a BFD.

But if there’s any there there to any of this foolishness, it’s for the fact that American English as a language uses “team” to refer to both the organization/business and the men.  Most people get it.  They know that the owners own the business, and the business employs the men, not that the owners own the men.  Yet and still, the homonymic nature of “team” in this context may contribute to this muh slavery mentality.

That’s a problem that the country I’m in does not have.

In German, “Verein” means team as a business and organization, while “Mannschaft” (literal translation of the parts is how it appears:  Man shaft), means the team as the men and players.  The owners own the Verein, so nobody ever thinks they own the Männer in the Mannschaft.  “LeBron James returns to the team after recovering from an injury” would use Mannschaft;  “Steve Ballmer is the sole owner of the team” would use “Verein.”

Note:  “Verein” could also mean “society,” but in the context of a tangible organization.  Gesellschaft (lit.: Fellow shaft) means society in the abstract.  “Cancer Victims Support Society” would use Verein, while “Society’s declining morals” would use Gesellschaft.  But to make matters more confusing, add “Aktie” in front of “Gesellschaft” and you’re back to a tangible organization, i.e. a publicly traded corporation, “Aktie” = Joint stock.  Aktiegesellschaft, abbreviated as AG, which is why you see AG behind the big German corporations.  BMW AG, Siemens AG, Bayer AG.

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this sort of thing.  “Free” in English could be free as in speech, or free as in beer.  In German, you use “Frei” to mean speech (to the extent that Germans actually have it — Ed.) and “Kostenlos” (lit.:  Cost-less) to mean beer.  Even though I’ve seen “Kostenfrei” on occasion in the wild.

I better stop before I go any deeper down this Kaninchenbau.

Point being, sometimes you wish English was as wordy as German. (???)  And that the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is A Thing.



Retire, Kid

4 08 2019

Logan, Utah

The number 11 really jumped out at me.

All the stated factors here, the parents’ pressure, the coaches’ pressure, the expenses, I think are factors, but only secondarily so.

If you want to know why age 11 is such a critical juncture, just ask me.  I know it’s risky projecting my self and my own history on every 11-year old, but once you hear me out, I think you’ll realize that I have a point.

I had the baseball dream when I was a kid.  And I was good enough the summer I was nine years old (1986) and then the next summer I was ten (1987) to play for select teams with light and local-only travel for what is now called the Gene Slay’s Boys Club in Soulard.  I was pretty good as a nine-year old, and even better as a ten-year old.  Then came the next summer, 1988, when I was eleven years old.  I knew I was a better ballplayer than the summer before, but quite a few of the boys who were on the same team the previous summer made gigantic strides, and zoomed out ahead of me.  It was then I kinda figured out that the major leagues weren’t happening for me.  To put it in a way I would now, I was projecting out a trajectory based on past experience.

Because I liked playing, I continued to one extent or another, albeit not as intensely organized, the next two summers, and was on my high school team for the first three years, albeit I was nowhere near any good.  After junior year, anticipating, correctly as it turned out, a really busy senior year, I hung up the cleats for good.

Believe it or not, I still have those cleats, somewhere in one of my many storage boxes in the family storage garage back in St. Louis.

I’ve also written here before that 1988, the year I was (and turned) 11, was the first for me in terms of comprehending several other things.  It was the first Presidential election cycle I was able to pay close attention to on the blow-by-blow day-to-day thing and understand what was going on.  (Helping matters was that my Congressman at the time, Dick Gephardt, was in the Democrat race and was in the credible top mix for awhile.  Since both parties had contentious primaries and caucuses, that made 1988 an opportune year to start paying attention).  The Olympic games, summer and winter, in 1988, were my first watching them intensely and understanding.  Plus, just in an overall sense, that year was when I could really start grokking the day to day hard news.

Like I said, I’m a curve blower, so it’s perhaps not wise to think that every 11-year old that has ever existed, does currently exist, or will ever exist, is a carbon copy of myself.

But I do think that the reason why age 11 is the age when so many kids quit organized team sports is because that’s the age when they get old enough, develop a mature enough mind, and a sophisticated enough understanding, to know that they just don’t have it to go pro.  And if they’re not actually enjoying the sport, they’re going to give up.

All in the Family

25 06 2019

Downtown St. Louis

I find it ironic and loop-closing that a Federal judge named Limbaugh has ordered Stan Kroenke to shell out based on the PSL class action lawsuit that was filed after Kroenke moved the Rams back to Los Angeles.

Said Federal judge’s first cousin once wanted to own a non-controlling minority share of the Rams while they were in St. Louis, but the league cock blocked.

Kroenke himself is regarded as the NFL’s second most powerful owner, behind only Jerry Jones.

Bizarro Welt

9 04 2019

Salt Lake City

White man who is making $7.5 million this year is prattlebratting about privilege, oppression and discrimination, and a black man worth $450 million is cheering him on.  Now that’s speaking truth to power.

What precipitated all this was a patently stupid NYPD arrest four years ago, and a drunk heckling fan in Salt Lake City last month.

Social Justice circa current year = Millionaires and half-billionaires bitching about how people making five figures are hurting their feelings.

Any Given Sunday

3 02 2019

Greetings from Warsaw.

First off, even if I really had an interest to watch the Super Bowl, the kickoff is at 12:30 AM in my time zone, (Poland and Germany are both on UTC+1), and I’ll be well off into log sawing land by then.

But I saw this interesting piece in SI tonight.

This article sits at the intersectionality of what were two of my serial interests, one of which is now hot again:  The Great Stadium Soap Opera of 2015, and what I now term the Louschaltung (portmanteau of St. (LOU)is and Gleichschaltung), the city-county reunification effort.  (Remember, you might not be interested in the Louschaltung, but the Louschaltung is interested in you.)

I might have mentioned here once or twice or 847,295 times, but just in case you either missed it or are new here, I figured from just about the get-go of the North Riverfront stadium proposal at about the start of 2015 that it wasn’t a serious plan, that local and state officials were going through the motions of looking serious about proposing something that smelled like a serious plan to build what seriously could have been a new stadium, because they all knew that Kroenke was going to move the Rams back to L.A., so they wanted to position themselves on the chessboard in such a way that, when what they knew would happen eventually did happen, all the PR splatter and civic anger would splat on Kroenke’s face, and none of it on any elected or non-elected St. Louis civic officials.

From this article, it seems like that effort has massively succeeded, considering the way “Kroenke” is now a cuss word back on the old home city.

The only thing I got wrong in the long term is that I presumed that Kroenke made up his mind about moving the Rams back to L.A. in the spring of 2014, because the whole Donald Sterling non-troversy relating to the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA showed the business community how valuable a Los Angeles based major pro sports franchise can be.  As it turned out, after the move was done, and people started confessing to stuff, Kroenke actually made up his mind in 2012.

Now, as for the matter of the Louschaltung, it says in the SI article that Kroenke’s formal application to the league for relocation:

St. Louis is a misunderstood place, a city that boomed a century ago and then had a lot of things that didn’t break its way. Chicago reversed the flow of its river, sending us its sludge downstream and then outpacing us with growth. Municipal leaders did some disingenuous and stupid things as they drew boundaries, creating this arcane setup where the microscopic city is left with declining population and atrocious schools. Most of what we call St. Louis is actually St. Louis County, in a bizarre twist, and has its own separate set of demographics and statistics more robust than the city’s. All of us former Kool-Aid babies understand this. Kroenke understands this. And then he and the Rams used those quirks and mistakes, twisted those facts, to pave the Rams’ path out of town. In the team’s application to move away, Kroenke and his cronies listed a smattering of stats about the city’s stagnancy—most of which took into account only the city, not the 10-times-larger metro area—to claim a place that had played home to an NFL team for 49 seasons between the Cardinals and Rams couldn’t viably support one.

In reality, those stats were just an excuse, and even if he didn’t list them, the league still would have approved his relocation application.  That’s because Kroenke is among NFL owners the “good cop” to Jerry Jones’s “bad cop,” and the league has wanted a team back in L.A. badly for a long time.  But that’s not quite the point:  The point is as long as “St. Louis” in terms of the city proper is as statistically bad as it is based on the fact that it’s a relatively small entity both geographically and population-wise, it houses a particularly degenerate black undertow, the more of an embarrassment it becomes to everyone in the region, and hurts the metropolitan area’s prospects.  Or so they say.  Which is why, if you look closely enough, you’ll find one of the two real reasons for the Louschaltung is the “big rug” thesis, that is, using the relatively well behaved white people of St. Louis County as statistical cover for the high violent crime, homicide and STD rates for black St. Louis City.

Local Boy Does Good (“Was Ist Diese Flagge?”)

8 12 2018


Remember this flag I brought with me on the move?

I told you I brought it with me because I figured I’d have a use for it.  And that I did, yesterday, in Düsseldorf.

Over the summer voyage, I found that Bremen is the German city that most holistically reminds me of St. Louis.  During our day there, I saw in the local media that the soccer team in town not long before that signed an 18-year old native St. Louisan by the name of Josh Sargent, grew up in St. Charles County, and he is indeed a rookie on the team this season.  He started the season on the club’s kinda-sorta JV squad (U-23), but was just recently called up to the big team.

The way the German Soccer Bundesliga works is the way most countries’ soccer club leagues work, in that every team in the league plays one game at home and one on the road against every other team.  The Region here has five teams in the league:  Mönchengladbach, Düsseldorf, Leverkusen, Gelsenkirchen, and Dortmund, the latest being the best team in the league so far this year.  The Bundesliga is basically a two-team league, Munich and Dortmund, and Munich is having a down year by its standards this season, after having won the league for the last 87 years in a row, so this opens up the door for Dortmund.  Incidentally, Leverkusen is where Bayer is based, and Bayer sponsors the team — I wonder if part of the deal is free aspirin for the players for getting headaches because of all the time bouncing soccer balls off their heads.

Furthermore, the second tier soccer league in Germany, called Zweite Bundesliga (“Zweite” = Second), has three teams in the region:  Cologne, Duisburg and Bochum.  Meaning combining both top and second leagues, there are eight soccer teams, just here in my 10 million population region.  Promotion and relegation of teams up and down among tiers and classes of leagues is the device that contributes to some semblance of parity in sports cultures that use that system and within leagues.  The United States doesn’t have P&R on the pro level, so back home, what enforces parity is the reverse standings amateur draft, and of course, amateur drafts don’t exist in P&R cultures at all.

Anyway, this means that Bremen is making five trips to The Region this season, to play their one away game against each of the five teams here.

I fully intended to go to one, but it was just a matter of timing:  Whether I had something else and more important to do, and whether Sargent was promoted to the big club.  Bremen’s game at Dortmund doesn’t happen until May, and Dortmund tickets are really hard to get, being as the team is so good.  (Though right now, because some fans are on strike against going to the games because they have a burr up their saddle about Monday night games, for some reason, that’s not so true at the moment.)

All the stars lined up yesterday, for Bremen’s game at Düsseldorf.  So I went.

The only X-Factor was whether Sargent would start, and if he didn’t, whether he would get in the game as an in-game substitution.

As luck had it, while the former didn’t happen, the latter did.  It was his first playing time in the Bundesliga.  Even better, he scored a late game goal in Bremen’s 3-1 win.

When Sargent’s entry into the game was announced, I yelled out “YO JOSH” from where I was sitting, and waved my St. Louis flag.  Unfortunately, he didn’t hear me, even though a lot of people around me did.  Not a surprise that my voice didn’t make it that far away or down:  One thing that became perfectly evident about German professional soccer games is that the crowd is constantly and steadily loud, with only a few breaks of being a little less loud, then getting ear splitting when someone scores a goal.  The way I figure, at this game, around 40% of the crowd were Bremen fans, even though it was an away game for them.  Then again, it’s not a long haul between one city and another in Germany.  That, and Düsseldorf is in last place, so I’m sure their fans were in a ticket-unloading mood — Which is how I was able to score one myself so easily.

Naturally, there was a lot of curiosity about the piece of cloth on a stick I was carrying around.  And I anticipated there would be.  Lots of people were carrying and waving lots of flags, but Germans don’t get the opportunity to see the flag of the city of St. Louis every day.

While High German is not that morphologically similar to English, some words and phrases are just obvious.  Such as an interrogatory directed my way quite a few times during my several hours at the stadium in Düsseldorf:

Was Ist Diese Flagge?

Before going to the game, I pre-loaded the Wikipedia pages for both St. Louis and Sargent into tabs of the browser (Brave) on my sail foam.  So that when I was inevitably asked about the flag, all I had to do was pull out my foam and my passport and do a lot of pointing, to make it understood that I was there to show out for the homeboy.

Because he and I have something in common:  We’re both St. Louisans trying to make our career bones in Germany.



If St. Louis Was Its Own Country, He Would Be Getting an Official State Funeral

26 11 2018

CWE;  Belleville

I’ve thought all my life that professional wrestling is hokum, but I’m just old enough to have remembered Wresting at the Chase being on Channel 11 and Larry Matysik announcing.

My bet is that his family’s original last name is Matosich, or something similar, Croatian in origin.

He was on the Belleville PD before he started with WATC.