Thursday, July 17, 2008

Females always win pennant on TV

Blog on the Run columnist

The lack of baseball highlights Wednesday night led me to my first viewing of a "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" episode in some 10 years.

There were two moderately compelling storylines.

Will and Carlton decide to start working out at the gym, and Ashley (the younger Banks sister) took a job at a restaurant in the mall food court, called Dippity Do Dog.

(For the record, Ashley became much better-looking throughout the series but for my money never threatened older sister, Hillary.)

In this episode, Ashley was managed at Dippity Do Dog by a young guy around the same age. Think Screech to her Lisa Turtle. He instructs her to not panic, regardless of the situation, but after a tour bus lets off, the manager gets overwhelmed by the crowd and it’s Ashley who takes control of the situation by arranging two lines, one for food orders and one for just drinks.

Meanwhile at the gym, Will tries to hit on a girl several times, with no luck, before she challenges him to a boxing match. Couldn’t guess how this turned out. He’s reluctant, at first, but eventually gets in the ring and after a wild swing and miss, gets knocked out cold ... the token female-beating-the-male-in-an-athletic-competition episode. They hooked up later.

Oh well, back to the baseball season today.

By the way, I think it’s still cool and acceptable to call it the pennant race. Even though the pennant more technically refers to the AL and NL champions. Before 1969 the top teams in each league were the "pennant winners" and advanced to the World Series. After the leagues split into two divisions (and later three divisions) it could be debated the use of the pennant terminology until the league championship series.

Still, I think it’s all a state of mind. Sports lingo is sometimes more symbolic than logical. The “pennant race” still represents competitive baseball down the stretch. The Big Ten is still the Big Ten (with 11 teams), because of its historic link to Midwest life and the football history of Woody and Bo and so forth. Even "World Champions" people have tried to phase out as other countries begin to emerge in pro sports such as baseball and basketball.

In the 1970s and 80s, "World Champions" meant being downtown during the victory parade with the Queen song playing and what not. That’s all.

Stu Arl lives in South Florida.

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