Visit Baltimore, where you can’t see baseball

Yesterday my podiatrist told me take the week off and to come back next Monday. Sure! Why not?? He has to ask me each time I visit what kind of work is it I do. He has no idea whether I am single or do I have someone to help me. He kind of snapped yesterday when he asked when I stopped taking the antibiotics he had prescribed. “You know why you stopped” — I stopped because the medicine was severely f**king with my stomach — “taking them, why can’t you remember stopping?” he asked.

I told him I take so damned many medicines, I didn’t know what all I take. Then he said “never mind I gave you an antibiotic during surgery.”

Well, some people, even doctors, I wouldn’t cut any slack. But I think this doctor is a nice guy. He is obviously overworked. He was literally simultaneously seeing three patients at once. The other doctor at this clinic was off yesterday. I cut Doc some slack.

Lonely baseball

The rioting in Baltimore, as I told my Tokyo friend Poe Lou Chan this morning, both saddens me and sickens me. I watched what was happening there on Monday. I’m not really surprised the town went up in flames in light of the Freddie Gray death in the hands of Baltimore po-lice. But this was, the rioting, was done in a great portion at the hand of teens. Some looted. Others burned buildings. Having worked as a firefighter, I especially loath those who set fires intentionally.

These fires will be investigated by ATF, or ATFE, for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The agency’s url is still ATF. One can only hope they do a better job than they did out in Elk, Texas, some years ago. Elk was the closest community to the bungled ATF raid in 1993 and subsequent siege and fire, now simply known as “Waco.”

Baltimore city officials worry that “Charm City” will be forever linked with the rioting that happened last evening. But Baltimore is surely not the first American city to experience civil unrest. And so far it’s not the worst. Newark, Watts, the riots after Martin Luther King’s death back in the 60s, all pretty bad. The “Rodney King” riots in 1992 Los Angeles killed 53. No one in Baltimore except Freddie Gray has died, so far, and while that in itself is tragic, hopefully it will stay this way. From what I am watching this afternoon, it seems that the young people may all come away from the protests with only laryngitis.

And while the media all remark the uniqueness of the crowdless Major League Baseball game tomorrow at Camden Yards in Baltimore a sporting game without fans is not something that has never happened. MLB is banning spectators for the Baltimore Orioles game with the Chicago White Sox due to fears of rioting.

During my stint in newspapers at a small weekly in East Texas, a high school basketball was once played in my time with no crowd. The best I can remember, some boys from a rival town shot and perhaps even killed another young man. The tension was so high the schools felt that closing the game to the public was the best course of action. I don’t remember who won, but I remember the media-besieged superintendent of the local schools told me: “That old saying is right: Don’t ever do anything on a slow news day.”

The media have a short attention span, or at least that is how they appear sometimes. Trust me, I was once a media man. I’m imaging a lot of people wish the media will move on along. Then off they will be.