Win Vegas - Million
Strike might not be all bad

By SCOTT OSTLER - San Francisco Chronicle

Sure I'm cranky and irritable. Maybe even more so than usual, and I got a right to be. So here goes, a few of the things I won't miss if there's a strike:

- Barry walkin' the walk.

- Steinbrenner talkin' the talk.

- Yankee dollars. Ranger nonsense.

- The search for the elusive strike zone. Despite the alleged reforms and redefinitions, nobody's happy - not hitters, pitchers, umps, fans. Each ump is still starring in "My Own Private Strike-a-zona."

- Velcro batting gloves. Hitters, do we really need to readjust those glove straps after every pitch? Watching that routine is getting on Sergio Garcia's nerves.

- Walk-up music. If you're going to swagger up to the plate or onto the mound with your own tough-guy theme song, you should have to face the music if you fail. Why no walk-off music? Like "Bang Bang (He Shot Me Down)." Or "Loser. " Or "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes."

- Pine tar. George Brett must go nuts to see a hitter stroll up to the plate swinging a bat that looks like it's made of pine tar. It takes three batboys with a can of solvent to pry that club outta the batter's hand after he whiffs.

- The $7 beer. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

- The pants-that-cover-the-shoes look.

- Rotating advertising boards behind home plate.

- The spitting. Why not just barf and get it over with?

- The souvenir squeeze. It started when someone realized that the fan is a cash cow to be milked with vice-grips. Pleeease, Dad! I don't have the Giants' home day-game St. Patrick's Day interleague batting practice cap!

- Broadcasters' praise for players who dive for a ball or hustle to first on a grounder. You're supposed to do that if you're making $2.38 mil per season. You're supposed to do that if you're making $2.38 per hour.

- The DH. In or out, one or the other.

- The facial-hair thing. Why does everyone have the same exact thing goin' on? Welcome to the big leagues, rook. Here's your uniform and your shaving stencil.

- The swimming pool at Phoenix. There's no swimming in baseball.

- The Pete Rose controversy. Hey Pete, if the strike happens, and it lasts into next season, you'll be able to buy the damn Hall of Fame for $10,000 and move in.

- The clean-cut Jason Giambi. Oprah-like makeover, from Ratso Rizzo to Gordon Gecko. Who liked the dirty-cut Jason better?

- Window shopping. Players who talk to the media about teams they'd love to play for next year. We know you're all mercenaries, fellas, but we cling to the illusion that your heart is with our team.

- The poseurs, who assume we enjoy watching the personal drama of the stroll-off routine - the cap fix, the nose blow, the cup adjust, the baseball massage, the jewelry straighten . . . after . . . every . . . freaking . . . pitch.

- Mascots. The Philly Phanatic is in the Hall of Fame and Pete Rose ain't?

- The cheesy home-run call, especially on the late-night highlight shows. Goodness gracious, great balls of cowhide, ladies and germs, that one has departed the field of strife!

- Cutesy nicknames. Miggy, Chavvy, Goody, Bennie, Bondsie. OK, there's no Bondsie, which is a whole different problem.

- The Code of Hammurabi, or Marquis of Queensberry rules, or whatever set of ancient laws govern who can do what in baseball, and what must be done in manly retaliation. I'm not saying I threw at the dude's head, but a man can't come up to the plate wearing his hat at that kinda rakish angle, showin' me up.

- Ump rage. Can't they take charge, establish authority, without going all WWF on us?

- Tobacco dipping, chewing, drooling, spitting. Why not hit a double, dust yourself off at second base, pull out a flask of moonshine and take a long chug? That terbacky is a killer, slugger. And if you're not a role model for the kids, who do you think is buying your damn jerseys and copying your swing?

- The All-Star Game. Guys whining about going, guys whining about not going, managers letting players run the show, Bud pulling the plug.

- 'Roids.

- Bud. .

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,

Photo copyright Donale Miralle/Getty Images

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