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GROB: Chemo, fake cars, baseball tech, tricks and treats — and vote!

By James Grob,

As I write this, tomorrow is Halloween. Tonight is Game Seven of the World Series. I’m about to disconnect my handy-dandy home chemotherapy infusion, as soon as the alarm on my chemo pump goes off.

No one was more surprised than I was when my cancer team told me that I could be trusted to remove my chemotherapy infusion by myself.

There is a process to it. Chemo can be dangerous, but the instructions are relatively simple. Then again, clipping toenails is a relatively simple process, too, and I somehow screw that up every week.

GROB: Chemo, fake cars, baseball tech, tricks and treats — and vote!
James Grob

Still, it’s better than having a home nurse come visit every two weeks, although I’ve had home nurses in the past and they’re very kind people. It’s also much better than spending three days in the hospital getting chemo infusions.

As it is, I have to spend a few hours in the hospital getting one big infusion and then spend the next two days carrying around a chemo infusion pump in a fashionable handy-dandy man-purse. It works fine, until the alarm goes off and I have to remember the removal process.

I don’t trust me, but my doctors and nurses trust me, and their faith in me gets me through it.

So I already had a lot on my mind when the phone call came this morning — the fifth call this week telling me it’s my “last chance” to extend the warranty of my car, and if I don’t they’re going to close my account for good. I dialed “2” to speak live with a friendly customer service representative.

SHE: Hello, may I have the make and model of your vehicle?

ME: Yeah, I have a 1976 AMC Spirit.


The nice lady never gave me a chance to tell her that my imaginary 1976 AMC Spirit is powder blue. I’ve been discriminated against. Her company had no desire to extend a warranty on a darn fine, all-American, patriotic, 44-year old fake vehicle. It’s Vehicular Ageism. It’s a thing.

Meanwhile, technology is ruining baseball. This is according to me and one other guy I know.

Last night, in Game Six, there was a pretty obvious umpire’s call along the first base line that the umps got right the first time. But for some reason, they had to review the call for about 15 minutes. After further review, the umps determined that the call couldn’t be reviewed. This confused me. I remain perpetually confused.

When I watch a game on television, I don’t mind that they now have a box, created by graphic geniuses, that shows me where the strike zone is. I do mind when the commentators complain that the umpire called a pitch a strike when the ball did not go through that box. Can’t that dumb umpire see that box?

No, Einstein, the umpire can’t see the box, because the box is not real, it’s a television graphic. Also, it’s not exact, because television screens are two-dimensional and the world is three-dimensional. The strike zone is what the umpire says it is, not what that little box says it is.

There are good things about technology that can help the game, but unfortunately it gets sent into overkill, and rather than using it as an occasional guide to enhance coverage, it becomes the basis for the coverage, and overshadows the game itself.

I would add that analytics is also ruining the game, the coverage of the game, and enjoyment of the game, in much the same way. A lot of positive things can come out of crunching baseball numbers, but there is a new wave of baseball computer geeks who insist that things like RBIs, batting average, slugging percentage, ERA, wins and saves are “useless stats,” and if you try to argue with them, they attack you personally.

Instead, they are obsessed with things like “wins against replacement” (WAR) — a meaningless stat that amounts to little more than an arbitrary number — and things like “exit velocity,” “spin rates,” “catch and hit probability,” and they foam at the mouth with pleasure at defensive shifts and “launch angles.”

They push this on us and push out the real stats. Coverage of baseball has become intolerable, especially on television, and they’re starting to go after football and basketball, too.

Anyway, I’ll still watch Game Seven tonight, because I still love the game, and I hope it’s a good one, with no controversial 15-minute reviews that can’t be reviewed. As you read this, you already know who won. Please don’t spoil it for me.

Oops — my chemo pump alarm just went off so I have to go. I don’t have time to tell you what I was going to tell you about Halloween, so I’ll just say that if you want to give me some candy, I’ll take it. I’m going dressed as a general assignment reporter this year.

As a postscript, I remind you to vote next Tuesday. First of all, learn about the issues and candidates — perhaps from your friendly, local newspaper — then vote for whatever you think is best, for yourself and for your community.

It seems almost everyone votes in presidential elections, while almost no one votes in local elections. Seriously, local election results have far more lasting impact on your life than national election results do.

Trust me — my chemo doctors do.