Saturday, September 3, 2016

Buster Singleton weighs in on the 1994 Major League Baseball strike

George Buster Singleton
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “Alternatives offered to fill void left by baseball strike” was originally published in the Sept. 8, 1994 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

We Americans have become so wrapped up in professional sports until many have considered suicide if the baseball strike doesn’t end.

We pay prices for tickets that are totally ridiculous just to see a few players prance around in uniforms that fit so tight their blood circulation is restricted. I don’t understand how some of them get these uniforms on unless they grease themselves with Vaseline or something of a sorts prior to trying to get dressed.

Each, prior to walking up to the plate to bat, has to stop and scratch. Each is always chewing something like gum or tobacco that causes them to also have to stop and spit. I suppose the scratching helps get their blood circulating so if they should hit the ball they will be able to run to first base. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention the bright-colored gloves that all wear when they go up to bat. These gloves are a must.

Thousands of dollars

All of the players make several thousands of dollars just to participate in one game. This adds up to several million a season. Now they are striking for more money; our fantasy world of make believe will see that their demands are met. I have a few suggestions that might help solve these ridiculous carryings on; I’m sure that there would be less money paid out to those who participate.

It wouldn’t hurt to try something different for a change.

Just imagine taking Yankee stadium and removing all the dugouts except one. Do away with all the evidence such as home plate and the three bases. Plant heavy grass all across this area so that the ground wouldn’t be too hard if someone falls on it. Then, the team owners would purchase about 40 to 50 young billy goats. This alone would cost them less money than they would pay a player for the time it takes for him to scratch himself.

Have each player wear a loose-fitting pair of pants and an old shirt. This would save the management several thousands of dollars on Vaseline alone.

Give each player a piece of rope no more than 15 feet long. Here, again, much money could be saved on equipment alone.

Prior to the roping, place all the billy goats in the one dugout. Place the players of each team on opposite sides of the field. At a given signal, such as a loud horn blowing, release all the goats onto the grassy field. As the roping teams rush out on the field, I have officials positioned out there to count the goats that are roped by each team.

Goat ropings

Should a tie between the teams occur, allow two minutes overtime for additional goat ropings to take place. Each player would be paid $20 a game and given a billy goat for a pet.

The owner of the Atlanta Braves could create a lot of interest by having his team to dress in the tightest uniforms that they could locate. The cost of equipping the team would be a little more because of the large amount of Vaseline that would have to be purchased.

Have each team place themselves on the opposite side of the field and then give each member two peanuts. Sound a signal of a sorts, then let each player push his two peanuts across the field with his nose. After each team reaches the opposite side, inspect each player for rips in his pants.

The team that reached the opposite side of the field first and had less rips in their uniform pants would win the contest. Their pay for the game would be $10 each, and all the peanuts they could eat. Peanut sales would pick up, and the peanut farmers in northeast Alabama would certainly be grateful. This way, there would be some good in it for everybody.

There are dozens of ways that the mass crowds could be entertained. One owner of a team could organize a hog-calling contest. It would surprise you to know how many people, even today, think that they can call hogs better than anyone else. A contest of this type would be quite simple to arrange.

Ugly wife contest

There could be an ugly wife contest put on during the hog-calling intermission. Or, to put the shoe on the other foot, an ugly husband pageant. This way, almost all the menfolks would have a chance to compete in the runnings.

I know that only a few, if any, of my readers has ever participated in a nose-blowing contest. This is a contest to see who can make the loudest nose when they blow their noses. All the equipment needed for a contest such as this would be a loudspeaker. This would make it much more easier to compete, and the contests would be much more interesting. Unfortunately, when I was growing up, loudspeakers were few and far between. Had there been one in the community, probably several nose-blowing world champions would have come out of the area where I grew up.

For entering the contest, donate a box of paper napkins to each of the contestants. This will also help the paper industry a great deal, and a lot of sinuses will be cleared in the process. This may not sound like much of a contest, but I do know if a great deal of pressure was exerted, a lot would come out of it.

We Americans have been sold down the river. We pay great prices for almost nothing when it comes to entertainment. We sit spellbound while deadbeats twist and scream across stages and television screens in something they refer to as music. Very few of us actually know what a beautiful song might sound like anymore.

Deadbeats and misfits

Our professional sports have been taken over by a lot of deadbeats and misfits, looking only for money. The time is at hand when we must put an end to these ripoffs and start our youth on the road to pride, decency and responsibility. Let the baseball teams strike; we can find many other ways to entertain ourselves.

The handwriting is on the wall. We must heed its warning now or never; it’s up to us. We can return pride and good, clean competition to the playing fields of our youth. We must teach our sons and daughters that money is not everything.

I have no objections to paying our professional athletes a reasonable salary for their services, but I think that it has gotten out of hand. In fact, I am really enjoying the baseball strike. I enjoy hearing some people I know talk about something else other than baseball.

Prior to the strike, these folks thought nothing else on this planet existed. This strike can help us prove, once again, that good fun can be found anywhere; we only have to look.

Who knows, I could yet end up being the hog-calling or nose-blowing champion of the world. Now wouldn’t that rip your britches?

(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School, served in the Korean War, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County in June 1964 (some sources say 1961) and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. For years, Singleton’s column “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. Some of his earlier columns also appeared under the heading of “Monroe County History: Did You Know?” He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

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