Immigration Issues and Batting Cages

Soapbox time!
Allowing 12 million illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. to compete with citizens and legal immigrants for jobs is unfair and wrong. In fact, a report by the Migration Policy Institute concedes that "low-skilled native workers who compete with unauthorized immigrants are the clearest losers."

There are other reasons to oppose amnesty too: It will put a greater strain on our schools, hospitals and government services, and it will increase taxes.

Americans do not want amnesty for illegal immigrants. Our nation’s immigration policy is one of the most generous in the world. We are right to ask that those who want to come here play by the rules, wait their turn and enter legally.



By Chris Erskine

March 26, 2010


One day, I will do for batting cages what Starbucks did for hot water. These new cages would feel like Fenway but be high-tech to the gills. Laser sensors will separate hits from sure outs. Video replays would break down your broken-down swing. Women with cocktail trays will stop by, mostly hoping you’ll discuss your glory days or the Dodgers’ bullpen — your pick.

In Cage 1, you could face Bob Gibson, an avatar of the guy going through that violent windup. In Cage 2, Don Drysdale would melt your fillings. Cage 3, Steve Carlton. Arrrrgh, Carlton!

Cage 4 would be devoted to the great Chicago Cubs pitchers of the past, so if you needed a boost to your ego, you would spend quality time there . . . holy cow.

Till then, we have pretty much the standard-issued cages. In Monrovia, there is Grand Slam, which I like because you can use the indoor facility on a rainy day. In Burbank, I’ve spent a small fortune over the years at a place called the Batcade (on Victory Boulevard, no less).

Glendale used to have the ultimate no-frills cage, down the block from where the Hillside Strangler used to upholster cars. I liked the history of that, though it could creep you out a little, especially in the evenings. Did the Hillside Strangler ever come here? Or maybe he didn’t come here often enough.

For there is nothing better for the soul than 15 minutes in a batting cage (going rate 12 bucks). A driving range is good therapy too — anything to get you off the couch — but at the driving range you hit shots that arc like the long neck of a swan. At the batting cage, you are swatting at the devil’s fingers.

I call it swing fever, though you’re more likely to call it delusional psychosis. I did grow up a Cubs fan, after all, so my judgment is never to be trusted. I pick good stocks and good friends, and beyond that I am fairly hopeless in my life choices. I have a very spotty record in real estate, for example. And I drive a car without a single cup holder. Can you imagine? Not a single one.

So perhaps the sole thing separating me from all you other losers is a deep abiding appreciation for baseball. It has the best sounds of any sport, and its lazy rhythms allow the most time to eat.

It is also, on occasion, pleasant to watch.

They may as well play baseball with BBs, it is that difficult a game. Most of us can fake a layup or crush the occasional tee shot, but we’d be hopeless in the box against Cliff Lee. Such an encounter with Mr. Lee would leave most of us like pretzels. When you were done, you’d have to call for a chiropractor and a shrink. The shrink would be there just to keep the chiropractor calm after he saw the gold mine that had become of your thoracic vertebrae.

It’s a psychologically brutal sport, as well. We’ll get to the Dodgers one day soon, but in the meantime, look what this evil game has done to poor Blake DeWitt. He’s up, he’s down, he’s in, he’s out. It’s like baseball waterboarding. Finally, this year, he seems to be getting his star turn.

Which is another reason to love the cage. It reduces baseball to its soft, chewy center. In the batting cage, you can always catch up to that 50-mph screamer down the middle. You can crush it to Kalamazoo. You can mentally Photoshop it with your boss’s face. Smaaaaack.

There is so much therapy to be had at a batting cage. I’ve always thought that with friends and laughter you can get through anything, but I just added a good batting cage to your prescription. I once hit so many balls in a batting cage that the shank of my hand, the part I’d use for karate if I knew karate, turned black as scorched firewood. But my brain felt all kinds of better.

By the way, have you noticed lately how dangerously dull Sunday evenings have become since football ended? In a few weeks, we’l-l have announcer Jon Miller back to work his magic in stadiums where the shadows fall across the field like old soldiers. You’ll hear the organ music and the muffled groans of the public announcer. All will be right with the world. In that moment, summer will light its first candle.

Few folks understand the magic in the game like Miller does. I’d like to nominate Miller now to replace that kid Scully, in about 2025, maybe later, should the kid in fact ever retire.

Honestly, though, I can’t escape the feeling that when Vinny goes, so will I. The game may never, ever fully recover.

I’ll go to the batting cage that day, to be sure. And I will swing like a madman for the sky.


Friday at last!!!  Have a Super weekend!

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8 Responses to Immigration Issues and Batting Cages

  1. Joe says:

    I totally agree Bob, this in the face of the newly past health care bill is one more reason to be concerned. My wife is a legal immigrant and we had to work very hard to get her here honestly. She now is a professional photographer but held down many jobs to help with our family’s bills. She studied her self sick over the test she worked on and mastered English not just in speech but writing…she came away from the test wondering why they hardly asked her anything at all nor even really tested her comprehension of English. I couldn’t answer her then and what can I say to the current madness? Wrong is an understatement. On that bright note bless you my friend, have a great Friday and weekend!

  2. john says:

    another thought for illegals…. If they are willing to break the law to enter the US, what other laws are they willing to break. Roughly 25% of the prison population is illegal aliens. The illegals breaking other laws places another burden on the tax base plus the illegals evade taxes…get em Bob

  3. maillady says:

    Send them back! There is a reason for a border! If they can come here LEGALLY fine.DO NOT offer them welfare, a place to live and health care! (prison or not) I’m sorry, but this is a sore spot with me. I didn’t even get to read about the batting cages. Student visa’s? I don’t think so. I have to work hard for every thing I get, and now they want give it away to people that don’t even pay taxes. They even did a background check and fingerprint scan on me, BEFORE I could be hired! Watch and see how many Haitians start to show up here. Hmmph! I gotta go, my blood pressure is rising. Didn’t mean to take over your soapbox. ; (

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