Al Batt: We’ll get 365 days of 2017 if we’re lucky

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.

I turned the calendar to January.

So far, so good.

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I can’t believe it’s been a year since I didn’t become a better person. I try to follow the words of Abigail Adams who said, “To be good, and do good, is the whole duty of man comprised in a few words.”

Off with the old. In with the new. 2016 left us black and blue.

Some think that 2016 was a year with nothing but sharp corners. It was a year of lying, cheating and war. Of sharing, kindness and love. Of decadence and decency. It was a time of births and deaths. 2016 has gone into your permanent record. When we think of 2016, we wonder, “What happened?”

Some of us wonder, “What in the world happened?”

The year 2016 reminded me of the neighbor boys who were helping move a huge piano.

“We’ll never get this piano up the stairs,” said one after a 40-minute struggle.

“Up? I thought we were carrying it down,” replied the other.

I’m not going to take the advice of the old pitcher, Satchel Paige, who said, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

That’s because it’s time to give 2016 its annual performance review. Historians will repeat the process. Here is a look at 2016 in the rearview mirror. It’s not that difficult to look back. Warren Buffett said that the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.

Without much more than a wheeze, 2016 moved to 2017 with the greatest of ease.

It took the Chicago Cubs 108 years to win a World Series. Remind your wife of that fact the next time she asks you when you’re going to finish the deck.

Despite the Cubs winning the World Series in 2016, Steve Bartman remained in hiding. During Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins, which the Cubs led three games to two, Cubs fan Steve Bartman was blamed for ruining Chicago’s chance to advance to the World Series when he tried to grab a Luis Castillo pop fly that drifted into foul territory. Bartman deflected it out of the reach of Cubs outfielder Moises Alou. The Marlins scored eight runs and knocked Chicago out of the playoffs the next night in Game 7. No one could prove that Alou would have caught the ball. After all, he wore a Cubs uniform. Bartman had no hand in Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez making a costly error in Game 6 or the Cubs blowing a 5–3 lead in Game 7. Those players should send Bartman a “thank you” card for taking the heat for their poor play.

Bob Dylan won a Nobel Prize, but refused to mumble a much obliged.

Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer and John Glenn died, proving my Grandma right. She maintained that people always die in threes.

Michael Phelps made a big splash by winning his 23rd Olympic gold medal in swimming. His inspiration was his junior high girlfriend who told him to go jump in a lake.

Pokémon Go told its users to take a hike.

To the surprise of no one, the sales of adult coloring books declined.

The weather was the worst since 2015. It was good, bad and indifferent.

The economy did what an economy does. It proved economists wrong.

New digital devices continued to go out of date minutes after being purchased.

For the first time in 100 years, the world population of tigers grew. Tony the Tiger said that was great.

We learned that the Russians hacked the cherry tree that George Washington claimed to have chopped down.

The Prune Festival parade completed its route in record time.

Whatever it was, there was an app for it.

Fake news proved to be untrue. Not enough people cared. To quote Philip K. Dick, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

Scary clowns had a frightening year.

Unfortunately, the Minnesota Vikings, Twins and Timberwolves didn’t get to play one another.

The election offered a number of candidates who forgot about their own faults in order to concentrate on the faults of others.

A company proved that climate change doesn’t exist by producing bumper stickers claiming that climate change doesn’t exist.

I was surprised that not every basketball referee suffered from PTSD.

Squirrels were believed to be behind a rash of sunflower seed thefts.

The music changes. The best thing we can do is to sing along.

Here is hoping that 2017 has room for all of us.