Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

It's that time of year again.

No, I'm not talking about election season. You, we, have been getting plenty of that elsewhere.

I'm talking about, "Let's play every sport ever invented all at the same time" time of year.

Pros in the Big Four (if you count hockey as big) are all playing for keeps. There are four baseball teams left, all playing for a pennant and the chance to play for two more weeks in the World Series. The NFL (that's National Football League for troglodytes) Is six weeks into the season, and the NBA's opening night took place Tuesday. Hockey teams apparently are playing for real too, although I'm not real sure when that happened.

I haven't forgotten you soccer fans. Some might put it on a par with the other pro sports. Since I don't really follow it (and never played), I have a harder time caring, but the MLS (Major League Soccer) season is underway, and apparently there's some stuff going on in Europe. Closer to home, it's all about college soccer right now.

We're blessed in sunny Southern California with a climate that allows us to play pretty much anything any time of the year. But that's playing, and that's here. The pro leagues spread out all over the country.

Can you imagine if the Colorado Rockies had actually made it to the National League Championship? If you watched the Rams-Broncos football game Sunday, you know it was well below freezing in Denver that day (and the Broncos played like their feet were frozen to the ground). Even Ernie Banks wouldn't want to play baseball in that weather. 

I'm specifically upset about baseball going on so long, probably because I played the game long, long ago in a galaxy far away. Baseball is supposed to be The Boys of Summer, not the Popsicles Of October.

Baseball's always been a long season — more than 150 games in the majors, even in the old days. But back then, it was — regular season ends, World Series begins. Then it was regular season ends, league championships begin, World Series begins. Then Division series, league championships, World Series. Now it's wildcard game, division series, league championships, World Series.

My math might be wrong, but I figure that if every series went to the final game, a team could play another 20 games to win the World Series. And that's after 162 regular season games. Find me a fan that's fanatic enough to care about 182 games in a single year.

And it's all so the owners can rake more money in. Those 10 to 20 playoff games can pay some of those ridiculously astronomical salaries they pay the players. The same is true of the other pro sports.

There was a time when I followed sports pretty closely. I still like to catch an occasional game (football, baseball, basketball), particularly toward the end of the respective season. 

But I'm suffering from overkill, or over-saturation if you prefer. Big time college football and basketball competes (often successfully) with the pros for my limited sports time. And it can get frustrating.

How many of you have missed the big play because you were flipping channels to see what other games were on? Sure, you're going to see it dozens, if not hundreds of times if you partake in the plethora of roundup shows, but it's never quite the same as the excitement of the moment.

When I was growing up long, long ago in that galaxy far, far away, pro sports were special precisely because they were rare, at least in my adolescent world. No longer.

Dare I say it? I think I will.

Familiarity breeds contempt. And that's too bad.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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