Flattland - "Cross-Checking The Offseason Malaise"

To cover the "dead season" between minicamp and the June 1st cuts, .NET's Trav Flatt gets in touch with his "inner goalie"...and discovers a baseball player with a really weird substitute for batting gloves!

There comes a time in every writer’s life (Specifically, Thursday afternoon around 3:00) when the overwhelming pressure of an impending deadline goads that writer to the realization that he probably should, all things considered, get around to writing something.

A problem arises when any given writer (Specifically, me) doesn’t really have a working concept regarding what the ‘something’ is supposed to be.

Luckily, we here at Seahawks.NET have a close-knit support group of talented writers headed by an Editor whom I frequently make the career-jeopardizing decision to poke fun at (Just kidding, Doug. Ha ha?). It’s an invaluable resource upon which one can draw insight and opinion, and find such profoundly thought-provoking questions such as, “Have you thought of a career in, say, plumbing?”

In any event, I’m proud to be a part of this cohesive group of Seattle Writers even though they have elected to keep me in Albuquerque, NM. This is presumably to enable me to keep a close, alert eye on such developing college NFL prospects such as, say, Wes Zunker and Katie Hnida.

I suppose that the World of Sports has a great deal going on at present, though as a football zealot, I’m hard pressed to give a rodent’s rump at this time of the year. All a football fan really has to do right now is to wait for the June roster cuts while playing fake football on the X-box. A few free agents are meandering about the country making “news”, but that’s really putting a stretch on the meaning of the word “interesting”. A casual glance at headlines merely reveals three or four different versions of, “Aging Quarterback Looks for Job”.

My attempts to diversify my sports-related interests continue, however. I’m still attempting to watch hockey. The fast pacing and unnecessary violence have managed to maintain my interest for long enough that I feel I am beginning to understand the subtle nuances of the sport.

Basically, the “players” skate around on the “ice” in the “rink” and whack at the “puck” with big “sticks” attempting to score a “goal” with frequent pauses to smash someone’s “face” into the “glass” until a “fight” breaks out and draws “blood”. What I find surprising is that when a hockey fight breaks out, the officials just casually skate around observing the proceedings as if nothing atypical were taking place. I’m not sure if this holds true in Real Life Hockey, but I vaguely recall that in EA Sports Fake Video Game Hockey, it was always the guy who got beat up in a fight who was sent to the penalty box. Personally, I think this would be a great motivation to just take a dive and get a chance to sit and rest after being punched in the forehead approximately 38,629 times.

Hockey Team Owners (Presuming there ARE team owners) have come up with a great marketing idea, though. The Tampa Bay Lightning have offered, for individuals purchasing season tickets, free beer throughout the playoffs. Not just a free beer, but multiple free beers. I can think of few things that could get a guy more into the spirit of a hockey game than the ability to consume some free beers and start punching his seat neighbor in the forehead.

According to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s official website, season ticket holders also receive a complimentary birthday card from their favorite player! (“Dear Bob, Happy Birthday! Thank you for not barfing on the ice after your 32nd free beer. Signed, Nikolai Khabibulin.”)

And now, some weekly awards:

Questionable Hygiene Practice Award

In a landslide unanimous vote composed of my own opinion and my interpretation of the quizzical expressions of all three of my cats upon being posed the question, Chicago Cubs left fielder Moises Alou wins this award hands down (Har!). Moises revealed to reporters that he engages in the practice of hardening his calluses by, in scientific terms, making wee-wee on his hands. Alou’s quote of, “It’s just like water,” leads this writer to wonder why he did not choose to use a more socially acceptable substance that is ALSO just like water: Water.

In a flagrant exhibition of my lack of cultural diversity, I was always under the impression that “Don’t make wee-wee on your hands on purpose” was a universal social norm, much like, “Don’t intentionally fart loudly in the elevator.”

Hypocritical Politically Correct Action Award

The Iowa Hawkeyes baseball team cancelled a game scheduled last week versus the Bradley Braves due to the Native American origins of the “Braves” nickname. Ironically enough, the name “Hawkeyes” is also deemed to have Native American origins. Dan Snyder was unavailable for comment.

Other team nicknames facing a possible Boycott:

*Purdue Boilermakers: Labor unions nationwide are growing enraged by this offensive use of a Noble Trade.

*All Animal Names: PETA has decided that the use of animal-related nicknames such as, “Bears”, “Tigers”, “Geoducks”, and “Banana Slugs” brings up painful reminders of Mankind’s mistreatment of all Mother Nature’s Creatures, and the practice should be immediately banned.

Just Plain Irritating Award

A fellow Seahawk Columnist Person mentioned, in my virtual presence, the price of gasoline. Considering that my daily work commute involves 120 miles worth of round trip in a vehicle with a fuel economy that might at well be measured in gallons per mile instead of the inverse, this is a topic on which to NOT get me started.

Stupidly enough, I have no problem whatsoever in paying roughly $17.50 per gallon for, say, "Arrogant Bastard Ale".

Fire off your scintillating insights, inquiries, and team mascot boycotts to trav@spinn.net.

Trav Flatt

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