TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM
Today's theme is SACRIFICE. Is it the sacrifice of money that you need to make to buy a ticket to a professional baseball game? (The average price for Field Box seats at Fenway is now over $150.00 per ticket.) Is it the sacrifice in time, energy, and emotional well-being that so many diehard fans make? Or is it the sacrifice in health and longevity that professional athletes sometimes make by choosing to use steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs? I cannot say.
OKSURE, lots of people seem to like baseball. And I, myself, still enjoy a day at the park INPERSON with a friend, but you've gotta admit that the whole thing has gotten a little out of control, don't you?
But back to the puzzle, where we try to evaluate the sacrifices made to accommodate a complex theme. Today I feel there are several entries that ARENOT particularly ATHROB. There's ALLELE, ALIENEE, WAF, PERI, ELHI, and NOB, and the unusual TOILETBAG (I usually think of it as a "toiletry kit"), SCRUBSUITS (usually just "scrubs"), and WHEELNUT (usually lug nut), the old-timey MAUDE and ADLAI... and what the hell is an ONLAY (109A: Bit of dental work)? And why is the UVULA "something seen with a tiny flashlight? It's visible in any light. Because doctors sometimes shine a light onto it? OK, maybe... but is that light so tiny?
I did enjoy the clues for FLYROD (103A: Casting choice) and CHASER (11D: Drink after drink?). And I appreciate the effort of trying to make some clues more "baseball-y," like 36D: Hit sign (SRO), 56D: Related to pitches (TONAL), and 16A: Dugout propeller (OAR).
As you can see, I didn't particularly love this one. Hopefully, you liked it just fine.