You know how it’s often said people see things during near-death experiences? One minister in the U.S. claims he had one but it was about Hell.

Bill Wiese has written a book about it called 23 Questions About Hell and in it, he said it was a 23-minute out-of-body experience and not one of near-death. He says there were dungeons and demonic creatures of all sorts along with a big pit of fire, among other rather terrible things. Now, I’m not making fun of Wiese because who are we to question what he saw? You weren’t there with him but I will say this: I, too, spent 23 minutes in Hell once and you have as well if you’ve suffered through half an episode of My Big Fat Fabulous Life on TLC.


Your how-to manual for interviews

I missed this one when it happened but I need to talk about it because it made a re-appearance on Facebook a few days ago.

It was a post-game interview ESPN did with Stephen Schoch, who was a relief pitcher with the University of Virginia’s men’s baseball team. The original live hit happened on June 8 after he saved a win for the Commodores and it turned into three minutes of pure gold.

For example, Schoch was asked about how it felt coming in for the save to begin with and he responded with the following:

“You walk into a stadium with 8,000 people, they want you to lose but as long as you got your 26 guys ready to kick a …, er, kick butt, you’re gonna be alright. Sorry I sweared.” (Yes, he said sweared.)

Then it was on to the emotions of the ninth inning. Here’s where Schoch will live forever:

“The emotions are go in, win – I heard a fan offer free Dippin’ Dots if I blew it, which – the price of Dippin’ Dots with inflation is unreal. So, for a brief moment, I was like ‘Damn, Dippin’ Dots sound good’. But also, I thought in the back of my head, we win today, we win tomorr … we win tonight, we’re gonna be here another day. That’s more per diem so that means I can buy my own Dippin’ Dots and be a winner …”

Schoch then proceeded to talk about how he’s scared most of caves, uses three words when he’s on the mound – one of which is contained within George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on T.V. – and how there are more important things in life than striking out the side. All in all, three minutes of my life I’m kinda sorta glad I’ll never get back.

So all you kids out there – the next time I call you for an interview, I expect to hear how you won the game and got some Dippin’ Dots and how you overcame your fear of caves.

Yeah, they went … wha!?!?

One of my favourite calls to make during mu umpiring days was the check swing. Guaranteed 99 times out of 100, the batter has gone around enough for me to ring them up.

On that one off-chance that the batter didn’t look like they swung, it was a ball but it was close. Like any call an umpire makes on the field, it’s judgment. Some umpires will say yes all the time, some will say no all the time, some will be right down the middle.

The reason I talk about this is because there was a panel debate on the MLB Network on July 20 about the check-swing rule. One of those involved, Jon Heyman, came up with perhaps the dumbest thing I have ever heard about how to deal with check swings. Heyman feels that as soon as you start your motion and make it appear that you’re going to swing the bat, it should be called a strike. I’m not kidding – that was his take. His defence was that it would take away any argument about whether someone swung.

I don’t know where to start with that but suffice it to say that it’s a terrible take. If that ever becomes the rule, the Mendoza line (batting average of .200 on the nose) will become the gold standard for winning batting titles in Major League Baseball. Pitchers are already good at fooling batters and they don’t need any more help. Even with the substances being taken away from them, some can top out at 100 mph on the gun.

Stick with the regular rule and if the players don’t like it, don’t swing.

Geez, didn’t see that word count coming so …

Until next time, folks …

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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