Editorial by Marti Ronemus
“Swing for the Bleachers”
Well, here we are on the second day of Summer and it’s all about baseball. Personally, I always said I’d rather watch paint dry… at least something happens with the paint. Then I was invited to a Triple-A farm team game, and couldn’t get out of the invitation. (You know how that is, don’t you?) I packed my sunscreen, seat cushion, emergency Raisinettes, hid my eReader in my purse and set out expecting to be bored, bored, bored.
Much to my surprise and delight, it turned out to be a fantastic experience. The arena was much smaller than a big-time pro “coliseum,” the players high-fived the observers and stopped to chat with us between innings, the hot dogs were cheap and crispy, the beer was cold, and people talked to each other, cheering every small occurrence on the field no matter which team did it. It had that “Field of Dreams” ambiance. I’ve had to change yet another life-long opinion, darn it. While you won’t catch me watching a game on TV, if you invite me to a small local game, I will say yes willingly.
While bridge players don’t have to run bases (thank the Lord for small favors), we do need some of the skills and mind-sets of baseball players. We need a long-term strategy. We can’t just start plopping down cards without a master plan.
We have to take risks. If we wait for the perfect hand to “go for it,” we’ll miss many game and slam contracts. This is especially true of less-experienced players. They often will wait, wait, wait, under bidding for fear of not making their bid. Swing, darn it! If we miss, so what. If we don’t swing, we’ll NEVER hit it.
We need to work with our team-mate, our wonderful Pard, who puts up with us day after day. We need to trust and support him, as he does us.
And finally, we have to LOVE LOVE LOVE the game! Bridge, like baseball, is too darn hard to play if we don’t love it.
And all our hands today require that willingness to “go big or go home” and swing for the bleachers. Fortunately, we’re not alone… we’ve got lots of that Vu-Bridge help up to bat. Ready?
We start with MATTHIAS HUBERSCHWILLER. He claims his hands for us this month are “easy,” and indeed they are IF we master the technique he presents. All Matthias’ hands this month can be made if we can set up a long suit in dummy on which to dump those losers. These hands reinforce the importance of counting losers in our hand, and either trumping in dummy or dumping them in dummy. And that will get us to first base.
BEN NORTON’S guidance will get us safely to second. His focus this month is on timing and planning ahead. He shows us how to induce the opponents to make errors, and one nifty hand enables us to circumvent the opponent’s plan to ruff. Also there’s some fancy bidding, “exclusion keycard” to show a void.
I’ll get us to third with six hands, each of which is a Grand Slam. Each hand can be made using a familiar technique… but which one? There is absolutely no wiggle room when in a Grand Slam, so our goal is to eliminate guesswork on finesses. We will count and visualize our way to victory.
MATTHIAS will have us sliding into home plate with his two quizzes. One is on Blackwood and the other is a “bid a hand”.
So there you have it! Bridge for baseball lovers. Enjoy.