Bad News: Baseball Has Problems – Good News: All Solutions Are Known And Available

Field of Dreams, the fantasy movie, had a mysterious voice saying, “If you build it – he will come.” “Shoeless” Joe Jackson would return with his talented friends to show fans the way his generation played baseball. Sorry, Joe ain’t coming back. Instead, over the past half-century we have been warned by Hall of Fame professionals at every level of the Game, how they feared it was falling into disrepair. Hitter-Ted Williams, Pitcher-Bob Feller, Manager-Earl Weaver, General Manager- Branch Rickey, and Owner-Bill Veeck, along with many others, wrote books, articles, and have been quoted about their concerns. College Baseball Hall of Fame coaches, Skip Bertman – LSU, and Ron Fraser – UofM, the teachers, taught us in print and by photo how to employ the proper techniques. What all these men brought to aspects of the Game they lived and loved, is still relevant today. Their warnings, and instructions, were not heeded. The dumbing-down continues. Like Elvis, common sense has left the building.

The solutions for many current problems, on and off the fields of Major League Baseball have been known for over 100 years. How MLB implements play, promotion, and presentation of our National Pastime is what it is – past time to reconsider and redirect their efforts to benefit, not damage, the Game’s rich history and future progress. There are no unknowns. NONE! Everything has been seen and done before.

As predicted by the professionals, questions have been raised about what is now happening. Find answers, with CHARTS, to indicate where we were YESTERDAY, are TODAY, and should be TOMORROW. Baseball’s numbers are what they are, facts. Facts are stubborn things.

There are a host of things to discuss, including the All-Star Game, Playoffs, World Series, Designated Hitter, and Saves, to name a few. Reviewed are the rules, assumptions, suppositions, and definitions dominating today’s Game. Let us not forget the years spent willfully, painfully, ignoring use of steroids.

What’s going on out there?

· MLB teams are immersed in an epidemic of strikeouts, which have increased for 12 consecutive years. At the current rate, 2017, will be the 13th straight year and the AL average per team will exceed 1300 for the first time.

· Players have forgotten, or never learned, some of the proper techniques of base running and fielding. Most baserunners run hard only when deemed necessary; are constantly looking for the ball as they’re running; take bad leads off the bases, especially 1st base; and repeatedly violate the unwritten Rules that have been accepted forever. Unwritten Rule #1: Don’t assume anything!

The infielders biggest fault is that they are always reaching out to tag runners, instead of taking the glove and ball directly to the base whenever possible and allowing the runners to tag themselves out. Again, 1st base is the biggest problem because of how the first-basemen position themselves when holding runners on, which makes it harder to take their gloves to the base on pick-offs from the pitcher. The main reason they sometimes succeed is that the runner’s leads are so bad.

· Batters evidently don’t practice the skills needed to defeat the drastic defensive infield shifts currently being employed. Managers have let bunting slowly, surely, go the way of the dodo bird, partly because their batters have never learned the how, when, and where, art of the bunt to make it a useful weapon.

· All involved have attached a completely foreign mind-set to all aspects of pitching. The suppositions and definitions that pervade pitching have succeeded in lowering expectations to levels that would never have been accepted by previous generations.

· The 44-year experiment of the Designated Hitter has failed to deliver the expected superior offensive production. Check the Stats. In addition, having half of the teams playing the same game using different Rules is, on its face, non-productive. That’s probably why no other leagues in any sport would ever entertain the idea. The DH should be discarded at the earliest possible moment.

· MLB is constantly complaining about the length of their games and has implemented several Rule changes to speed them up. Unfortunately, they have not allowed their umpires to strictly enforce all Rules currently on the books. Until they do, there can be no appreciable change in the pace of games.

· MLB also needs to take a hard look at how their games are televised. The dominant view is from behind the pitcher showing just the pitcher and catcher on defense, plus the batter and umpire. There are 7 more defensive fielders. How are they positioned to defend the current batter, and if there are runners on base, what are they doing on the pitch? The best view for a baseball game is from behind the plate, that’s why those tickets cost more and the score keeper, broadcast crews, other media, and owners watch from there. The TV viewer should be able to see everything they see – as it happens – not from replays.

The issues concerning those on the field of play can and should be addressed, from youth leagues on up through the Minor Leagues, prior to arriving in the Major Leagues. The evidence is in – they aren’t. The issues concerning those from the front office to the top of the management pyramid also have hard work ahead to restore confidence that the Game is headed in the right direction and present it in a way that attracts, not discourages, future fans.

Many have drawn their own conclusions about what could be described as the Dead Brain Era. Agree, or disagree. Fine! You may have your own questions, or better answers to ones being asked. Great! There’s an oft-repeated observation about baseball these days, “That’s just the way they do things now.” That “now” way is real, is wrong, and no one cares it’s wrong. Worse, no one cares that no one cares. If it matters to you, in these days of social media there are many ways the powers in charge can be influenced to change course. It won’t be easy, but please, let them know your opinions. They count!

Review of Movie “Baahubali – The Conclusion”

I received a call from my younger sister that the tickets had been booked and the family would be watching the movie “Baahubali-The Conclusion” in Telugu language on April 29th, 2017 at Eros Theatre in New Delhi. As usual, I was excited and assured her that I will be reaching the theatre directly after my working hours or I would take the permission to join them at the theatre. However, it was decided that I must reach home and accompany them. Each one of us was excited. However, my sister, who was at the driver’s seat, was proud to announce that she has seen the movie in the Hindi language on April 28th, 2017. She was hyper about it as though it was a great achievement for her. Moreover, she wanted to compare the movie in both languages. She promised me that she will not share the story with me.

The theatre was jam packed and everyone wanted to watch the movie without losing a single scene. Each one of the individual arrived in time and took the possession of their sets. I wish we were so punctual in our classes too! Children demanded their parents for the large pack of popcorn and soft drinks. How could I miss them? I wanted to do two things together-watch and munch! Thanks the movie began on time.

According to the Central Board of Film Certification, the name of the movie was “Baahubali-The Conclusion”. It was in Telugu language. It was coloured one and was cinemascope. The date of release was April 24th, 2017 and under the Universal category (that is meant for both adults and children). However, it was clearly mentioned that the movie must be watched under parental guidance. The name of the applicant to sign was Shri Y.N. Sobhandari for M/s Arka Media Works Entertainment LLP, Hyderabad and other signee was Shri Pahlaj Nihalani, Chairperson, CBFC, Mumbai. The duration of the movie was for 167 minutes and 30 seconds.

Wow! I liked the titles of the movie for following reasons:

a. Computer graphics and dummies were used for various kinds of animals shown in the movie like horse, elephant, parrot, pig, oxen, birds, ducks, bison, boar, falcon, swan, etc.

b. The team thanked agencies, digital cinema, travel partners, currency exchange office in Hyderabad, health care partner, social media channels, accommodation partner,chocolate and confectionary partner, nutrition, mobile, communication, Reliance Fresh to get various goods, multiplex and Jewellery partner, location and experience partner, stationary, messaging partner “hi”, agency partner,beauty partner to “Lux”, fitness partner, Make a Wish Campaign, merchandizing and licensing through ICICI Bank, Simba, etc. , insurance providers, their bankers were IDBI and Kotak Bank, Hyderabad, their financers, media and radio partners, etc. They did not forget the contribution and participation of single person also. That’s something to be appreciated for the success of the movie.

c. Very elaborative and distinctive background was shown in the titles. This is must for capturing the attention and focus of the audience. Kudos for their thinking powers.

d. The movie was a combination of both real shots and multimedia graphical frameworks. Thus, attention of the children was at its maximum level.

e. Titles were providing, associating and linking the connectivity between Baahubali Part 1 and Baahubali-The Conclusion. The short story of the part One of the movie was showcased in the Titles of the movie (one must have perceived the audience in the theatre-I perceived that all of them were dumbstruck and not even a single person was blinking their eyes-I thought movies indeed play a major role in learning and educating ourselves, and there is no need to work hard with the individuals. This will do wonders in the classes of Law, Literature, History, Sociology and Journalism and Mass Media. ).

The movie was presented by K. Raghavendra Rao, production of an Arka Mediaworks and creative film by S. S. Rajamouli. The lyrics and dialogues were written by Manoj Muntashir. The music was by M. M. Keeravani. The cinematography by K. K. Senthil Kumar. Vivid colored sketches were introduced at the beginning of the movie with the song at the background. The producers of the movie were Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni. The screenplay and Direction was by S. S. Raja Mouli. The main star cast was Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty, Sathyaraj, Ramya Krishna, Nassar and Tamannaah. It was distributed by Arka Media Works for Telugu version, K. Productions for Tamil version, Global United Media for Malayalam version and Dharma Productions for Hindi version. It was released in 4K high Definition format.

Once the titles are over, the story begins for us. Our hero-Amarendra Baahubali- achieves his victory in the battlefield. The Queen Mother is proud of this achievement and declares that he will be crowned as the future king of Maahishmati. Her words turned out to be the festival moments for the people in the kingdom. However, her own and real son Bhallaladeva and husband are against her wishes. Her husband starts instigating Bhallaladeva against her. This is the turning point in the movie.

The Queen Mother instructs Amarendra and Katappa to take the tour of their kingdom in order to gain more knowledge of their subjects and well-being. Amarendra meets Devasena and is attracted by her charm and skills. They fall in love with each other. Soon this information reaches to Bhallaladeva and he makes a plan to create the differences between Shivagami and Amarendra. He tells his mother that he has fallen in love with Devasena and expresses his desire to marry her. The proposal is sent to Devasena from the side of Shivagami and is rejected by Devasena. The Queen is enraged at this attitude of Devasena and instructs Amarendra to capture, bind her as prisoner and present her at the court of Maahishmati.

Amarendra helps and protects the kingdom of Kuntala from their enemies called Pindaris. With his excellent skills, Amarendra overpowers Pindaris and saves the kingdom. Devasena was curious to know about the truth and demands to reveal his identity. She comes to know that Amarendra is the future king of Maahishmati and refuses to be the prisoner. He promises to protect her modesty and marries her. Both of them leave for Maahishmati. Shivagami comes to know about the truth and is not happy about it. At this time, she feels guilty for not keeping her promise to Bhallaladeva. This is the first point where the turning point of the story can be observed in the movie.

The differences between Shivagami and Amarendra kick off from this point. Soon Shivagami asks Amarendra to leave the kingdom with his pregnant wife. With the help of evil ideas, Bijjaladeva is successful in creating more differences between them. In one scenario, he declares that Amarendra is trying to assassinate Bhallaladeva in order to be the King. She orders Katappa to kill Amarendra secretly so that the kingdom is saved from disharmony between the royal family and the subjects. As a result, Amarendra is stabbed to death by Katappa, the queen is informed about the treacherous ideas of Bijjaladeva and Bhallaladeva and her mistake in judging her own people. In the meantime, Devasena gives birth to a baby boy and arrives to the palace after knowing the death of her husband. Shivagami announces that the new borne baby is Mahendra Baahubali and future king of Maahishmati.

Bhallaladeva is surprised and orders his soldiers to capture the Queen, kill the baby and imprison Devasena. The Queen escapes from the palace and dies soon. The baby is rescued by the common people and called as Shivudu. Soon he comes to know about his imprisoned mother Devasena from Katappa and falls in love with Avantika. He fights against the injustice and is victorious in the end.

Positive points of the movie:

a) No animal was hurt or exploited in any scene. They get full marks from all animal lovers, environmentalists and eco-caring philosophers and feminists.

b) This means that creativity was at its highest level in the media laboratories for the team members.

Otherwise they might have missed on the minute details of the particular scene. There is a need to applaud the entire team.

c) The Police Commissioner and his team were specially thanked for allowing the film unit to work on areas of Rachakonda in Andhra Pradesh for the shooting of some of the scenes in the movie.

d) The audience were clapping and enjoying the comic scenes present in the movie.

e) Elaborate efforts were taken to create awesome visual and audio effects in the movie.

f) Game was also developed on the release of the movie.

g) Care had been taken to portray the realities of the historical era9as this was a historical movie though not filmed on any particular king or queen or kingdom).

h) The Prince had been trained and educated in all the respective skills required for the future king in the movie. For example, the Amarendra Baahubali knew how to take risks, tackle the situations-both intentional and spontaneous one, presence of the leadership qualities, minute observation skills (for example when Prince visits the kingdom of Kuntala, he observes that the villagers were using their strong-built cattle for various purposes and same skill was helpful and used when there was the need of the hour to fight against the powerful army of Pindaris), being alert and helping the army of the other kingdom without delegating the work to others, etc.

i) Sensitivity of the Prince towards his own love, keeping promises, fighting against the evils, nurturing his own subjects, maintaining various kinds of relationships, sacrificing his own life for the sake of the kingdom and mother, protecting weak subjects and women are valuable and learning lessons for all.

j) No marginalization of the individuals was observed in the movie. This is the need of the hour in the contemporary society wherein women and children are equally treated and no partiality in giving or sharing of the knowledge. For example, Amarendra observes that Devasena is eager to learn about a special skill in archery and he readily teaches her the skill. This helps both of them to protect and fight against the enemies.

k) The individuals chosen for the respective characters are excellent and they matched with their roles.

l) Elephants were used in the battlefields in the historical times. Out of the 64 branches of learning in the traditional schools of education, it was mandatory for the Princes to learn about the treatment and rearing of certain animals like horses and elephants. This is something observed in the movie and eye-capturing one(one can compare this with the scene in the movie Jodha-Akbar wherein Akbar takes the initiative to control the mad elephant and this will be presented in another article of mine as a comparative study).

m) Medicinal value of turmeric powder and its remedial usage for the mad elephants is brilliantly showcased in the movie.

n) The feelings of the animals especially the elephants are shown in the scenes wherein the prince is equally sympathetic and cares for the royal elephant. Another point secured from the side of the environmental ethicists and philosophers.

o) The attitudes, qualities and characteristic features of the royal family have been very well depicted in the movie.

p) The importance of the non-communicative language has been very well captured in the movie and it is part of the human and animal culture. For example, “the warming” gesture shown by the Prince towards the “calmed down” elephant is very natural one. Elephants love their masters and other individuals caressing their trunks with hands. The different feelings exhibited by Devasena towards Amarendra in various scenes are appreciable from my side.

q) Extraordinary skills and techniques are observed in the movie. For example, while sitting on the elephant, Prince Amarendra pulling and shooting the flame carrying spear to burn the effigy of Raavan;

shooting of three arrows, using natural surroundings to fight against their enemies, etc.

r) Rights of the women and children are shown in the movie.

s) The world wide gross collections for the movie is Rs1725 crores.

Negative points in the movie:

a) Lot of time must have been spent by the individuals on the detailed working on each and every frame of the movie shot wherein the animals were used.

b) Children did not like too much of the fighting scenes in the movie.

c) First of the movie was the flashback and was interesting to watch. However, the second half seemed to be slightly artificial with the fighting skills of the army.

d) Why did not Devasena fight against her enemies as she herself was trained enough with various skills and possessed the leadership qualities? It was surprising.

e) The Queen Mother was very knowledgeable and always took her decisions in an intelligent manner rather than in an emotional way. However, the turning point of the movie was understood immediately when she was emotional for her very own son and unconscious feelings for love of her son soon manifested in the choice of her daughter-in-law.

f) There are many questions raised after watching the movie and they are-

1. Can a husband plot against his own wife in order to become the king?

2. Can a father instigate his own son to be against his mother?

3. Can royal male members speak in an abusive language?

g) Audience is under strong assumption that there will be a third part of the movie.

In the end, I will like to summarize my review in the following way:

1. No doubt there are spectacular visual effects and they indeed mesmerized the audience throughout the movie.

2. There was breathtaking suspense created in the movie for the audience. As the movie was running further on, one may feel the real suspense and uttering of the words” Oh! No”.

3. The mood was of the audience was spell bound and atmosphere was amazing one in the theatre.

4. There were certain poorly placed scenes in the movie and they were not required at all.

5. There was no question of unsuccessful attempts in the movie. Otherwise, there could not have been an earning of an amount of Rs 1725 crores collected within 6 days of the release of the movie.

6. The details of the movie are narrated in a nice and clear manner.

7. There were exuberant sceneries in the movie.

8. The overall make up, dresses and Jewellery shown in the movie is simply irresistible.

9. There were perfect action and team coordination in the entire production of the movie.

10. One cannot tend to forget certain moments shown in the movie.

11. The plot was really good and different from the current movies because of which it has been a big hit with the audience.

12. This movie has been compared to the other popular movies like Sholay.

13. The movie was wonderful with the characters selected and their presentation in the movie.

14. There was hilarious momentum created through some scenes in the movie and enjoyed by the audience.

15. There were indeed some unexpected plot twists present in the movie.

16. There are certain scenes which are unbelievable and are pure creation of the imagination and hardwork.

17. It is indeed a phenomenal movie in South India as well as in North India.

18. Similar kind of hypes was present in the mythological movies of N.T. Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageshwara Rao in the past in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

19. The characteristic feature of Raj Mouli’s movies seems to be rotating around suspense in each and every part. There is an assumption that Part III of the movie will be more suspensive by nature and this is confirmed by the film crew members.

20. The music was not very disappointing one.

21. There are elements of confusion in the movie. For example, if Bhallaladeva never married anyone, then how come his son was present in the story?

22. One can conclude that there was some kind of imitation present in the movie (due to the fact that earlier mythological movies were directed in Andhra Pradesh).

23. It is a typical South Indian movie.

24. Prabhas-the main hero of the movie-was a very moving portrayal of the character and it suited his personality also.

25. The quality of the film was awesome and I was impressed by its credible shots and creative ideas in the making of the movie.

26. This will be one of the classic and captivating movies for the coming years in the Indian history.