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It's a world gone mad

Greetings, everyone.  Is the weather unseasonably warm where you are, or are you getting torrential rain in place of the years-long drought your area has suffered?

It's been in the 70s here in central Kentucky recently.  New record high temp for yesterday's date.  I played golf in short sleeves on Sunday.  February 19.

Common wisdom around here says we'll pay for this warm stretch with some heavy winter weather.  Much the same thing happened last year, as we had two major snowfalls in early March 2016.  Let's hope that we don't see a repeat of that.

I suspect I'm a bigger baseball fan than many of you who visit this space regularly, but I'm pretty dejected over an announcement made by the leaders of Major League Baseball.  Starting with the coming season, a manager may signal from the dugout that he wants to intentionally walk an opposing batter, instead of the ages-old practice of actually having his pitcher throw four balls way outside to walk that batter.

There's also a move afoot to add drama to extra innings by placing a runner on second base.  And, no, I'm not kidding.

This is all designed, allegedly, to promote a quicker pace of play.  As I noted to a friend on Twitter recently, pace of play issues are understandable in timed sports, such as basketball and football, but in baseball?  The leisurely pace is one of the game's great features, in my mind, and arbitrarily speeding it up with pitch clocks and signaled intentional walks don't enhance the fan experience.  Neither does replay, either.  I offered this to friends recently, so I'll do so here:  if a manager requests a replay, as is his right, and the replay umpires can't make a decision within two minutes, the original call on the field stands.  I think that replay creates more delays than it prevents, so that's my two cents.

But teams are readying for the 2017 season.  The Reds traded popular second baseman Brandon Phillips in order to clear a logjam of middle infielders.  It appears the alternative would have been to reduce Phillips to part-time status, and that would have been more of a distraction than anything.  The Reds have also picked up a few players from the waiver wire and other low-cost/low-risk sources, which is how a small-payroll team has to function.  We'll see how the pieces fit in about a month.

Kentucky's basketball team is looking for another piece of its puzzle, as it continues its schizophrenic 2016-17 season.  They had trouble defeating 7-19 Missouri last night, which is baffling.  This team looked like a group of world-class athletes early on, handling several quality opponents with ease.  Now, every game is a struggle.

Regarding what's happening in Washington, I'll repeat what I said last time around.  I can't really add anything to what's happened, or been said or written.  But I do love the fact that Kentucky's senior Senator Mitch McConnell was met with hostility at a town hall meeting yesterday.  This is a pretty common theme nationally right now, and, no, the protesters are not paid and are not being bussed in.

Last thought--are you going to watch the Oscars?  I don't think we will, but I've been wrong before.  We've seen a couple of the movies nominated, but don't really have any rooting interest.

That's it.  For now, anyway.

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