Ghost runners

Maybe it’s the Robert Fick jersey popping up at a road game, or a talking head mentioning the time Shane Halter played all nine positions in one game. Sometimes it’s my brother reminding me of the guy I dated that one summer who looked like Rich Becker, or how the name Chad Kreuter seemed to us as children both vaguely pornographic and slightly B-movie horror madman-esque.

However they’re called up, the specters of the players we grew up with (and had perhaps even entirely forgotten about until they were invoked, like disembodied voices at a séance) still linger near the dirt of the on-deck circle, exist, somehow, side by side with Miguel Cabrera even though maybe they’re now living in Florida or running a limo company or imprisoned in South America.

So when Binge (B + Inge = Binge, and describes, for this fan, his feast-or-famine approach to offense) poked one through the infield, turning his all-time hits ticker from 999 to 1000, it was only fitting that the leading edge of Bobby Higginson’s right forearm could be seen as his transparent self marked a cautious lead at third, his whole mouth stuffed with Big League chew and, of course, that fabulous goatee meticulously trimmed.

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Laughing again, streaming this time

The decade’s five best, most influential comedies are all on Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” online streaming service. What are the odds?

In this short series, I’m going to watch each of them—notice I’m using the future tense, even though I’ve totally gone back and watched all of these—and pick them off and break them down one by one. How have they held up? What do we learn about them (and about us) by rewatching them? I’ll also pull in some additional commentary—some from earlier in the decade, some later—that helps offer some perspective on (re)watching these series. And I’ll definitely be letting you know what I think, offering my take on how we got here.

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