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April 1998 Archive

April 28, 1998
Sharon Lopatka- 1998 Cosmic Player Plate

In October 1996 Sharon Lopatka's body was found buried in a shallow grave in North Carolina. She had died during a "breath control" sexual experience with Robert Glass, a man she had met on the Internet. Was it murder, an accident or an assisted suicide? Glass has been charged with first degree murder but there is some evidence that Lopatka wanted to die, that she sought someone out to help her make her masochistic fantasy a reality. Lopatka's death created a swirl of controversy about the Internet, censorship and lifestyle choices of our citizens.

Lopatka joined the CBA last year as a catcher with the Vestal Virgins.

Click Here to visit Lopatka's 1998 Cosmic Player Plate


April 24, 1998
James Earl Ray, Woodsox Infielder, Is Dead at 70

James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther King, died yesterday, April 23, of liver disease in Tennessee. Ray was born March 10, 1928 in Alton, Illinois.

Martin Luther King was gunned down on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. On June 8, Ray was apprehended in London, England. He pleaded guilty to the crime, received a 99 year sentence and then recanted, claiming he was a pawn in a conspiracy to kill the civil rights leader.

There has been persistent speculation that the U.S. Government was somehow implicated in King's murder. It is well documented that J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, believed King was a serious threat to American society. In 1978 the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Ray was part of an informal conspiracy of white racists based in St. Louis. But the committee did not discover a conspiracy by the federal government as Ray and others had charged. In his recent book on King's death, Killing the Dream, Gerald Posner theorizes that Ray may have been assisted by family members in the deed but Posner doubts the government or any outsiders were directly involved.

Ray published a book in 1991 called Who Killed Martin Luther King: The True Story by the Alleged Assassin. In this book, Ray spells out his theory about King's death. In a 1993 mock trial on the HBO cable network channel, Ray was acquitted of the crime. But in 1998 the district attorney in Memphis, Tennesse claimed a reinvestigation of the event could find no credible evidence of a conspiracy.

Like the John Kennedy assassination, the King killing will be debated for years to come. The King family, however, believes Ray was right, that there was a conspiracy. They want the matter reinvestigated vigorously by the federal government.

James Earl Ray joined the CBA last season as an infielder for the Psychedelphia Woodsox, CBA's team of 1960s personalities. In 196 at bats he compiled a .316 batting average with seven homeruns. His corporeal demise is not expected to affect his cosmic baseball playing status.


April 23, 1998
Elizabeth Dole, Virgin Thirdbase Coach, Will Leave

The Vestal Virgins announced today that Elizabeth Hanford Dole, a member of the team for 10 seasons as a player and coach, will resign. Dole's resignation is effective April 30. No replacement coach has been announced by the team.

No official reason for the resignation was provided in the brief team announcement but insiders suggest Ms. Dole's growing involvement with United States presidential politics might be a factor. Fans of Ms. Dole are hoping she will become the first female president in the year 2000 elections.

A 1988 Gallup Poll found Ms. Dole to be one of the ten most admired women in the world. That same year she joined the Cosmic Baseball Association as a rookie outfielder for the Vestal Virgins. After three playing seasons she became the team's thirdbase coach.

In reality she is a native of Salisbury, North Carolina. She graduated Duke University and later received a law degree from the Harvard Law School. She came to Washington, D.C. during the Lyndon Johnson administration and worked as a staff assistant in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW). After a stint in the Johnson and Nixon White House running the Office of Consumer Affairs she served for five years on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In 1983 President Reagan appointed her to his cabinet as Secretary of Transportation. She was the first woman to hold that position. President Bush named her Secretary of Labor in his cabinet. Ms. Dole is currently president of the American Red Cross. This organization employs some 30,000 staff members and manages neary 1.5 million volunteers. It is clear to almost all observers that Ms. Dole has exceptional executive skills.

Now that she has set aside her cosmic baseball responsibilities, will Ms. Dole have the time, desire and energy to run for the Republican presidential nomination? We wish her good luck in her future endeavors, whatever they might be.


April 22, 1998
CBA Website Rejects Banner Advertising

The Steering Committee of the Cosmic Baseball Association has again rejected a proposal that would permit the CBA to accept banner advertising on its website pages. This is the second time in nine months that such a proposal has struck out. As the cost of website operations escalates new revenue avenues are being explored. Currently CBA revenues come from the optional membership dues, personal cosmic game fees and team ownership fees. Despite the growth in membership only 11% of our members pay annual dues. A proposal to require dues was rejected last year and it is unlikely that CBA will ever require its members to pay for membership. The main reason for rejecting banner advertising is aesthetic. Our graphic artists claim that banners hawking anything are unsightly and detract from the desired design effect. Apparently their attitudes were more persuasive than the accounting department's argument that insolvency is also a bad design effect. So, other revenue avenues are being explored.


April 20, 1998
Cosmic Game Report- Mountains @ Muckrakers

Two of the Cosmic Baseball Association's newest teams meet in an Underleague contest. The Mountains represent individuals associated with the experimental educational community in the hills of North Carolina called Black Mountain College. The Muckrakers are journalists. The poet Robert Creeley is the starting pitcher for the Mountains and political humorist Art Buchwald is on the mound for the Muckrakers.

Click Here to see the Game Report

Click Here for other 1998 Game Reports



April 19, 1998
Stan Brakhage- 1998 Cosmic Player Plate

Stan Brakhage is a starting pitcher for the 1998 Bolex Poetics in the cosmic Middleleague.

Brakhage starting making experimental films in the 1950s and by the time the 1960s rolled around he became the symbolic leader of the New American Cinema. This new cinema was anti-commerical and anti-Hollywood. It has been called "personal," "underground," "avant-garde" and so on but in Brakhage's case one very notable style was the fierce and passionate use of camera movement. Only an infinitesimal fraction of the movie-going public has ever seen a Brakhage film. Those who do experience his work usually do so while in college. Nevertheless his influence is pervasive. Most recently and perhaps ironically, a new Hollywood film, The Suicide Kings has just opened. Its opening sequence is an homage to Brakhage: scratched film leader, light flashes and so on. The film's director had Brakhage as a teacher in college.

Brakhage's epic, Dog Star Man was selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Film Registry. He has made over 80 films. He currently lives in Colorado.

Click Here to visit the Brakhage Cosmic Player Plate.


April 17, 1998
Ginsberg Wants to Be Traded

Paradise Pisces firstbaseman and poet Allen Ginsberg wants out. Since he is no longer the team's starting firstbaseman (he lost the job to rookie sensation and poet Lynn Behrendt), Ginsberg, one of the fathers of the Beat Generation, told field manager and author Henry Miller he wants to be traded to the Dharma Beats. The Beats could use a firstbaseman. Current firstbasewoman and Beat muse LuAnne Henderson has been struggling so far this season. However, the Beats would have to clear a roster spot for Ginsberg, who died last year from liver cancer...Stay tuned, we'll keep you posted.


April 1, 1998
Major League Baseball in 1998

As the new season is launched there appears to be an ambivalent feeling about the condition of the sport euphemistically called "America's pastime." Some numbers suggest the sport is rebounding nicely from the 1994 players' strike which devastated the sport in terms of its popularity. Last season over 67 million people attended major league games. Authorized Major League Baseball merchandise generated some $1.9 billion dollars worth of sales last season. And while Major League Baseball's television ratings numbers were the same in 1997 as they were in 1996 viewership was up 5%.

Football remains America's most popular sport according to a poll conducted for the ESPN sports network. Nearly 70% of those polled indicated they were football fans. Baseball ranked second with 61% of respondents claiming they were fans of America's pastime. (Basketball-59%; Hockey-38%).

So while the numbers might look good to the powers-that-be in Major League Baseball, others see ominous and disturbing signs that suggest baseball might be in eclipse. Baseball cities are split between the "haves" and the "have nots". Some form of revenue sharing and salary cap constructs will have to be devised to create that chimera called "market parity." The weird city of Cincinnati, (home of Marge Schott, Pete Rose, Jerry Springer and a community that closes its art museum because it is spineless in the face of the unconventional) is a grand location in the history of baseball, and it is in danger of losing its major league team, the Reds.

A more disturbing trend is baseball's relationship to the young people of America. It used to be a boy's game. But today baseball is an old man's game. Mike Bass, a writer for the Cincinnati Post writes, "kids just don't play baseball today. It isn't their passion or their pastime." The children think watching baseball is like watching the grass grow. They see baseball's contemplativeness as ennui. Is this purely a marketing problem? It doesn't help baseball's appeal to the young when its best games like the World Series are broadcast at night when many are asleep. Prime time brings in prime dollars. But is it a short-term gain at the expense of long-term prosperity? Greed can be slick and Major League Baseball owners and players are nothing if not slick.

From a practical point of view Major League Baseball needs to formally appoint a Commissioner who can at least symbolically lead the sport into the next century. It needs to see if the disenfranchised young are capable of being marketed back into the sport. And finally, the owners and the players need to be brainwashed into recognizing that baseball in America is a national cultural treasure that needs some protection from the more greedy aspects of the environment.

As always, we predict that the Boston Red Sox will win the World Series this year.


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April 1998 News & Information ArchiveCBA News & Information Plate
Published: April 28, 1998
Archived: May 1, 1998
Copyright © 1998 by the Cosmic Baseball Association