I’ll admit that only approximately 0.0000153% of you reading this blog will know who Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes is (Jeff, Brad, David I’m looking at YOU). He is my eternal poster child of Spring optimism. In 1994 Tuffy Rhodes was a Major League Baseball player for the Chicago Cubs. He was a marginal Major League player – acceptable, but not a superstar by any means. On Opening Day for the Cubs in 1994, he belted 3 home runs and because a nationwide sensation among all Fantasy Baseball geeks like me. I mean 3 home runs on Opening Day! Extrapolated, that would total 486 for the season – shattering the then-record of 61.
Suffice it to say that old Tuff-Tuff didn’t maintain that pace. In fact, he only hit 5 home runs the rest of that season. He only hit 10 more home runs for the total of his Major League career. But for that one day, he was to baseball geeks what eBay is to bargain geeks. Now to be fair, Mr. Rhodes, after failing in the United States – went to the Japan Baseball League and became the all-time leading home run hitter among foreign-born players ever. In fact, in 2001 the Tuffster hit his 55th home run of the season for the Kintetsu Buffaloes to tie the Japanese legend Sadaharu Oh for most home runs in a Japanese season. The problem was that he hit his 55th home run way too early in the season – and he suffered constant abuse from the Japanese teams so that he wouldn’t break their legends record. In fact, in one series with the Daiei Hawks (coincidentally OWNED by Sadaharu Oh) he was thrown only 2 strikes in 18 pitches – because they “didn’t want a foreigner to break the record.”
So what does this obviously fascinating story have to do with anything? The optimism of Spring equals the optimism of Opening Day. Realistic optimism I couldn’t be happier for… but false optimism? It can go climb one of the cherry trees in Washington, D.C.
Have you ever noticed how whether it’s February, March or April, the first warm sunny day brings out every jogger, biker, gardener, and horticulturist in the free world? These same bikers will more than likely never again bring out their little spandex outfits and tight shirts and goofy “biking shoes” – even though there will probably be 30 days in the next few months that are exactly alike. People just lose their heads on the first warm day – much like we baseball geeks lost our heads in 1994. Consistency is what I’m after mind you, not abstinence. If there are 538 million people and dogs at the local dog park on the first warm day, there should be at least 500 million (38 million are hereby excused for being sick, dying, or otherwise having a real life) on every warm day after that. But there is not.
And ah…. the cherry trees. Every year Washington, D.C. goes nutso for the cherry trees ringing around some basin downtown. Every year the local area dutifully drives downtown to ‘see the trees’. They look at cherry tree webcams, they analyze the budding of the cherry trees and monitor the weather to know when the blossoms will be at their peak. This year? I was brilliant. Since my family (at least some of them) want to ‘see the trees’ as well, instead of fighting the traffic I’ve signed up for a cruise that cruises BY the trees on the Potomac! Brilliant, eh? No mucking around with parking or anything – just shell out $200 and I have dutifully fulfilled my duties. And that’s really all I’m after in life – to fulfill my duties.
So please keep your optimism at a reasonable level. Don’t go batcrap crazy when the temperature hits 55 degrees. Just enjoy life equally every single day. I’m always amazed at people becoming so depressed when it’s drizzly and 45 degrees. It’s still a day, you’re still alive, and good lord, YOU STILL HAVE EBAY TO MONITOR!
Enjoy your Spring. Bidding is over in 10 minutes!