Talking Too Much

I watched the Guardians-Yankees division series playoff game last night on TBS. By the end of the broadcast, I was left with two unshakeable conclusions.

First, it’s hard to beat a team that has spent huge amounts on player contracts. Every player in the Yankees batting order seemed to have hit at least 20 homers, knocked in at least 70 runs, and either won an MVP, a batting title, a World Series title, or a Golden Glove award before they went for the big money in the Bronx.

And second, Bob Costas just talks too much. Way, way, way too much. So much that his partner in the booth, Ron Darling, was hard pressed to get a word in edgewise, even though, unlike Costas, he often had something interesting to say about what was happening on the field. By the end of the game, I felt like hitting the mute button, just so I wouldn’t hear Costas rip through another set of weird statistics and seemingly pointless anecdotes.

There’s nothing to be done about the payroll difference. Regrettably, it’s just part of the big-league game these days and something that you need to accept when you root for a small-market team against one of the cash-rich big boys. All you can do is hope that lightning strikes and your team can somehow prevail despite the stacked deck. But the broadcast booth blabbing is jarring. You’re used to listening to your hometown TV team, and then suddenly you’re dealing with a national media personality who apparently feels compelled to gush out verbiage like a fire hydrant on a hot summer’s day.

Baseball is a slow-moving, pastoral game. Part of its appeal is the sights and sounds and rhythms. A chatterbox announcer interferes with all of that. Make your occasional point, and call the action, sure — but there is absolutely no need to fill every precious moment of silence or background crowd noise or the organ sounding the notes of the “charge” call with mindless yammering about in-the-weeds data analytics or curious back stories that really don’t have anything to do with the game.

Bob Costas has had a storied career in broadcasting, but in my view his approach really interferes with enjoyment of the game. Take a breath now and then, Bob — won’t you?

Using Things Up

Did you ever sit back and consider, for a moment, how many different pens you have in your household? You’ve probably noticed it when you were looking for a “good” pen, not one of those cheap, skinny ones that skip when you write and always seem to be ink-challenged. You may have pens in jars, pens in the kitchen messy drawer, and pens in family room end tables, in bedroom dressers, even hiding in bathroom cabinets. It’s as if your entire life has been devoted to accumulating as many different, partially used pens as possible.

It’s not just pens, though. Perhaps when you were engaged in that frustrating search for the “good” pen you realized that you’ve got a lot of other random stuff, too, and in amounts that are much greater than you could ever actually need. Consider, for example, those little round or square dental floss dispensers that your oral hygienist gives you as part of the dental swag bag after an appointment. You’ve already got dental floss at home, but it seems wasteful to just throw away a perfectly good mini-roll of dental floss, so you chuck it in a drawer . . . and the next thing you know they’ve apparently multiplied and that drawer is absolutely overflowing with them.

The same is true with pencils that are used about halfway down to the eraser nub and have become dull because you’re not sure where a sharpener might be. Or different kinds of tea bags in one kitchen cabinet, highlighters in various colors with barely a whisper of highlighter juice left, mismatched drinking glasses, and random pads of paper of varying sizes, with the remainder of the little rubbery strip that used to hold the individual pieces of paper curling up at the top. Or the kitchen drawer that is groaning with an impressive array of various food-related objects, like ’60s-era ice breakers, that never seem to get used. And a careful inventory of your personal possessions would probably yield other examples, too.

How did we end up with all of this household debris, and what are we going to do with it? You can’t just toss out usable stuff, because you’d feel guilty about that, so the only viable answer is to consciously try to use it all up. But how? It’s a daunting task, for sure. The obvious answer is to specifically change your habits with that goal in mind. In short, it’s time to take up doodling while you are watching TV, flossing multiple times a day, highlighting junk mail envelopes, quaffing cups of tea after dinner, and breaking ice just for the heck of it. And while you’re at it, you might join a skeet-shooting club to thin out the herd of that kitchen glassware, too.