CHICAGO -- One of my favorite philosophers last week addressed the need to use your time wisely while adhering to the new rules of staying home during the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is when you really have to utilize your imagination," he said. "There are so many lessons to be learned right now, so many positives that can be derived from this awful moment."
Yes, he said, we need to stay home and practice social distancing. That goes without saying.
"But while you're doing that, you still can carry on a pretty normal life within those parameters," he added.
Play board games. Call your friends and family. Read. Write. Binge-watch. Whatever it takes.
That philosopher was former Cubs manager and current Angels skipper Joe Maddon, who spoke with local media Wednesday during a half-hour conference call. On Friday, Brewers Manager Craig Counsell said much the same on a conference call with Milwaukee media.
"Public officials have asked us to have some discipline here," Counsell said. "That has put everybody out of their routines a little bit. We're trying to adhere to that. It puts you in a different routine. You've got to try to enjoy that and find some different things to do to make it a productive day."
Maybe these public service reminders seem obvious. Perhaps you don't want to hear from anyone in the sports world when real-world problems are at your doorstep.
I wouldn't blame you.
I feel the same about celebrities I've never heard of who post misinformed or even dangerous opinions on their Instagram accounts, as a B-list actress named Vanessa Hudgens did.
The only one we really need to listen to right now is Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. For some reason my blood pressure goes down whenever Fauci speaks during the daily White House press briefings, then suddenly jumps when the self-described "stable genius" next to him starts blathering.
Some have understandably stopped watching the coronavirus updates on TV for their own mental health. Maddon said he stopped watching CNN for some relief and last week turned on MLB Network to watch a rerun of the George Brett "Pine Tar Game."
I've also found myself turning to the classics for a break, including parts of the Cubs' epic 23-22 loss to the Phillies in 1979 -- during which I kept repeating, "Whoo boy" for some reason -- and Mark Fidrych's "Monday Night Baseball" game against the Yankees in 1976.
Reruns may get old, but I can still watch an "Andy Griffith Show" episode I've seen 100 times, so we'll see how long until it gets stale.
Naturally you're bored after spending all this time at home. But now it's mandatory, so just make the best of it.
One thing I've missed during the sports shutdown is going to baseball-reference.com and looking up stuff, a daily routine during the baseball season.
After listening to Maddon, I went to the website the other day and tried to connect "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and Carlos Beltran, the biggest names from the two biggest cheating scandals in baseball history: the 1919 "Black Sox" and the 2017 Astros.
Here's what I found:
• Jackson played for the 1919 White Sox with Hall of Famer Eddie Collins, who was not involved in the game-throwing scheme.
• Collins played for the 1928 Athletics with Jimmie Foxx, who played for the 1942 Red Sox with Ted Williams.
• Williams played for the 1950 Red Sox with Jimmy Piersall, who played for the 1965 Angels with Jose Cardenal.
• Cardenal played for the 1980 Royals with Willie Wilson, who played for the 1993 Cubs with Sammy Sosa.
• Sosa played for the 2007 Rangers with Mark Teixeira, who played for the 2016 Yankees with Beltran.
• Beltran was the most famous culprit in the 2017 Astros sign-stealing scandal and the only player Major League Baseball named in its report.
That exercise in silliness took about a half-hour or so and was performed on my couch. It kept me from watching cable news or looking out the window wishing I could leave.
Sports on 03/22/2020