I’m fat. Well, not really fat, just kinda chubby. And if we REALLY want to get into it, I’m short and stocky. I look like a fire plug and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi had a kid.
This combination is great unless you have an insatiable habit like I do. Snacking. Not just a piece of candy here or some chips there. We’re talking “entire bag of peanut M&Ms” type snacking. As you can guess, this hyper-habit leads to a very unhealthy FireCorgi. So I’m doing what every out of shape man does in his 40’s. I’m going to the gym first thing in the morning, 5 days a week. I’m really enjoying it and I’m actually excited about getting my workout in everyday after my cup of coffee. The great thing about the gym, as opposed to running in the neighborhood or having workout equipment at your house, is that you’re around other people. Other people means people watching. And there may not be a better place to people watch than the gym. I spend a good bit of my mental time coming up with nicknames and laughing at my fellow gym occupants that are, let’s say, “different from the mainstream”. Some of my favorites are:
LL Bean – guy that wears a collar shirt, shorts or slacks with belt and Teva type shoes. I can only assume this person has a Boy Scout meeting inside an REI store after his workout and he wants to fit in PERFECTY
Rhett Michaels – this is the dim witted half brother of rocker Bret Michaels. He ALWAYS wears a bandana when working out. I assume he does this for the same reason Bret does it…cause he’s only 29 and already bald.
Sex in the City – this is not one woman, but a group of no less than 3. They come in their work clothes, change and hit the recumbent bikes (right next to each other). They pedal at the lowest possible speed while reading People, Entertainment Weekly, Cosmo or any bridal magazine. They chit chat for about 20 minutes while eye balling the Today Show and then leave.
The Mayor – this is usually a guy and he’s usually a total idiot. His main form of cardio is leaning up against ANY piece of useful gym equipment and talking (and by talking I mean hitting on) to any woman under the age of 55. He’ll be at the gym for about 90 minutes or so and exercises for about 10 of that.
The Panther – this is the guy we all know. He is VERY loud when lifting and slams the weight down after each set. He then proceeds to pace around his workout like a lion might walk around an injured gazelle. He usually wears long pants since he only works his upper body and is embarrassed his legs look like a 12 year old.
I thought about the new look Atlanta Braves during one of my less eventful workouts, trying to think about what their persona will be this year and in the years to come. Our Braves have a unique opportunity to establish themselves as a team younger fans will be drawn to. The Braves have always captured the Southern white baseball fan. From Tennessee to Mississippi to anywhere in Georgia, you’ll see white southerners sporting their Braves gear during the long summer months. But with the signing of both BJ and Justin Upton, along with the maturation of the “Jay Hay Kid”, Jason Heyward, the Atlanta Braves can do themselves a big service by promoting the team as THE TEAM younger African American kids can relate and root for. Atlanta is already seen as the place where young, happening, talented African Americans can come and thrive. From the HUGE music scene to the host of historical Black colleges and universities, Atlanta is viewed a place where all are welcome and all can succeed. With our Braves displaying the most talented outfield in MLB bar none and all three positions are young American black players, it just seems smart to use it as a platform to market Atlanta as “the team for the next generation”. And it’s not just those three guys. With Andrelton Simmons, Freddie Freeman, Kris Medlen, Craig Kimbrel, Mike Minor, Jordan Schafer, and Julio Teheran, the Braves also have young players at key positions. But the Upton Brothers and Heyward give the Atlanta Braves a real chance to capture the hearts of young African American fans that may be thinking of baseball as their sport of choice. With all the health/safety concerns surrounding football and the never ending way soccer falls short as an actual popular sport after 8th grade, more kids may be playing baseball in the coming years. And if a lot of those kids need a hip, cool team to root for that they can relate to, the Braves just MIGHT be America’s Team for 30 more years. While I firmly believe that baseball IS the most diverse major sport (just look at any roster, it’s like a Benetton commercial), you just don’t see that in its fan base. And if MLB is serious on ways they can bring a more diverse fans base to the ballpark, they need to look no further than the Atlanta Braves. MLB, the Braves and the City of Atlanta need to focus on marketing the Braves to young African American fans. If they do, Atlanta will continue to have one of the most loyal fan bases in the majors. And it will be one of the most diverse as well. And that’s a great thing for baseball.
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