I have watched a lot of television. I won’t say that I’m an expert on what makes good TV but, like porn, I know it when I see it. That probably helps explain why things just haven’t been the same since I finished Season 5 of The Wire.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still quality shows out there. AMC’s raft of dramas – Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead – underscore this point and during their best moments, I sometimes forget about the Wire-hole in my heart. But then I see this and it all comes rushing back again:
I think the only event that came close to invoking the same sentiments that the end of The Wire made me feel is when Curtis Granderson left the Tigers for the Yankees. Sure, I didn’t know Granderson personally but it was like I had just lost a friend. The only real difference is that although I’d still love to have Granderson back, it’s good The Wire ended when it did. There’s something to be said for leaving them wanting more.
Throw the Spaghetti in the Machine.
I’m a burning bush. I’m a wildfire. I’m singing in the rain and dancing again. Like Tim Tebow, I have a big god. BIGGER THAN ZEUS. I can put away my Club Confidential and stop pleasuring myself while crying. My iguana, Dudley, is beside himself too. We’re throwing confetti on each other, plowing through our best box of wine and eating marshmallows off the floor. For at least one week we’ll stop throwing flares at cars, getting arrested on our skateboards and falling asleep in alleys.
Because, for once, baseball took an unconventional route and picked fire-fire -flame-flame tapdancing bad@ss Justin Verlander as MVP. When we lost Buster Posey early in the season, Dudley and I had to act fast to find a baller we could have an unhealthy OBSESSION over; and Justin was our guy. He was the Hannibal Lecter to our Clarice. We even bought a special chianti.Dudley and I rarely missed a Verlander start. In between great Chrysler ads, he sat on my lap as we watched the Motown hero pitch deep into games, mystifying hitters, dropping jaws like change-ups. He was like Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler when he came back to take down Minnesota Fats. Nailed every rail. Hit every spot. Geometry and speed to perfection. (Fitting that Minnesota is in the AL Central too. See what I did there?)
It would have been easy to pick an everyday player like Granderson or Ellsbury. Sure, they had splendid seasons. But this was the year where a starter — the first since Roger Clemens — gave everything needed and CARRIED a team to the playoffs.
While defense in football can be boring, pitching and defense in baseball… I LIVE FOR IT. I wasn’t around for Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax. Wasn’t alive yet. But I love when the game offers pitchers whose starts you just can’t miss. When Pedro Martinez was in his prime I would’ve rather eaten my dinner off a urinal than miss a start.
And for next year? I’m looking at you, Stephen Strasburg. Throw the spaghetti in the machine and eat the children…
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What better way to celebrate the return of contemporary television’s greatest comedic achievement than to steal one of its taglines for an hyperbolic thrashing of the MLB seasonal awards?
That’s what I thought.
American League Cy Young
Um… no brainer, y’all. Justin FRACKING Verlander. Anything else is just… stupid. And dumb. And Cubbish.
American League Most Valuable Player
Though my repugnant and oft pedantic colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, would like you to believe Mr. Verlander is the “most valuable” to his team, let’s not lose sight of what’s really going on here. You can argue semantics all you want, Mr. Krause, but we all know that the MVP is reserved for a position player. How do we know this? Because the pitchers ALREADY HAVE THEIR OWN AWARD. And that, my friends, is a deal breaker! So the MVP goes to Curtis Granderson. Close your eyes and imagine the Yankees without him this year. Scurry, ain’t it!?!
National League Cy Young Award
Halladay or Kershaw or Halladay or Kershaw or Halladay or… wait, Kershaw? It’s a fine line. And my gut says Kershaw; however, upon further review (and I know using stats from 2010 isn’t fair, but who says I’m fair?), in a galaxy far, far away, Adam Dunn took Kershaw deep. Twice. In one game. And THAT’S A DEAL BREAKER. Congratulations, Roy Halladay. Again.
National League Most Valuable Player
My instincts say Ryan Braun deserves this award BUT Ryan Braun is a Brewer and yep, that’s a deal breaker! So Matt Kemp, come on down! In fact, if Lance Berkman hadn’t done such a nice job, I might also hand Kemp the Comeback Player of the Year Award because, let’s face it, compared to ’09 and ’11, he was nothing short of regurgitated fecal matter last year. Think about it.
Yes, they have other awards too, like, Manager of the Year, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, etc… but honestly, who cares? Quick, name the 1989 National League Manager of the Year. See, you can’t. ‘Cuz nobody cares (it was the Cubs’ Don Zimmer).
And if nobody cares, well, then THAT’S A DEAL BREAKER!
Hate me, it’s all good. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
“All I can tell you is, I wish I had a dime for every dime I had.”
To commemorate my hopeful demise of the mighty money juggernaut that is the Boston Red Sox, I have decided to use one of the greatest films ever conceived to explain my feelings for this occasion.
I’m also here to remind the world of the hurt and pain that Russell Brand caused me by pissing on my childhood by remaking this classic. BASTARDDOOOO.
The Red Sox are falling apart. The Tampa Bay Rays are in pursuit of the wild card and I couldn’t be happier. At the beginning of the season, I, like the rest of the baseball universe, had the Sox winning it all. That being said, I love this Rays team. I’ve loved the last three or four Rays teams. LOVE Joe Maddon. He almost makes me like Florida. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate tha SAWKSSS. I’m just a bit tired of everything Boston. NO MORE BOSTON!! No more Red Sox! The Town, Conviction, Gone Baby Gone, the Patriots, The Departed, Ben Affleck doing Madden ads. I NEED A FAWWWWWWWWKIINNNNN BREAK!!!
“If you and your undershirt will walk two paces backwards, I could enter this dwelling.”
Oh yea. Forgot about Edge of Darkness, The Fighter, and Danny fawwwwwwkkkinnnn Woodhead!!!! I feel like I have had a Fenway Frank shoved up my giggy for the last ten years.
“I race cars, play tennis, and fondle women, BUT! I have weekends off, and I am my own boss.”
Theo Epstein’s bright idea was to punch in Erik Betard. BRILLIANT? No. Can Jon Lester be everywhere at once? Josh Beckett is hurty. The BLOWN RANGER! John Lackey is awful. This staff is not quite in dire straits but…
“Ladies and gentlemen… I’m sorry… As you probably have surmised by now… there will be no wedding. The bride… has had second thoughts… and has decided not to marry me… Most of you know me… Can you blame her?”
Carl Crawford has been my personal joy killer. One of my favorite players of the last seven years, he hasn’t quite been worth the money. Hitting third in this lineup has been a problem. He’s a leadoff hitter!
“Isn’t this fun? Isn’t fun the best thing to have? Don’t you wish you were me? I know I do.”
The rise of Jacoby Ellsbury has been nothing short of TRANSCENDENT — an absolute bright spot. And I couldn’t be happier for the kid who has struggled through injuries. He or Curtis Granderson would be fine choices for MVP. (I’m sorry, Verlander.)
And now, one last fleeting thought for my beloved Cubs. Both Sox teams have won championships and so have the current champ Giants. My thoughts on this?
Gloria: My mother died when I was six.
Arthur: [bangs his fist on the table] Son of a bitch! Don’t they know what they do to kids?
Gloria: My father raped me when I was twelve.
Arthur: So, you had six relatively good years? I’m sorry. Listen, my father screwed me, too.
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We tend towards the smarmy and irreverent over here. Actually, “tend” probably isn’t a strong enough word. We “tend” towards smarmy like Kyle Farnsworth “tends” towards being a cry-baby pansy. If you had any doubts about our smarminess, that last sentence should have erased them.
Every once in a while, though, we run into a story that softens even our jaded hearts. Don’t worry, I’m not about to get all Mitch Albom here. In fact, I’ll probably go punch a baby polar bear as soon as I’m done writing this just to prove I’m not going soft. That being said, the story of John Donaldson might just get to you, too.
John Klima recently wrote a moving tribute to Peter Gorton and his search for John Donaldson. However, what got me most in the story was that beyond his ability as a ballplayer, Donaldson was way ahead of his time when it came to professionalism. During Curtis Granderson’s tenure with the Tigers, he wrote a blog for ESPN and I liked to check it out from time to time because he always had an interesting take on events. Donaldson did the same thing 100 years earlier and his criticism of early 20th century racism still hits home today: “If I act the part of a gentleman, am I not entitled to a little respect?”
Unfortunately for Donaldson, it took another 30 years for Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier and only now are his exploits coming to light. From an apparent 18-inning, 31 strikeout game to suggesting a name for the most famous Negro League team, the Kansas City Monarchs, Donaldson seems to be a legend come to life. But once again his exploits on the field pale in comparison to the person he seems to have been off of it. Can you imagine any current major leaguer recounting this story?:
“One prominent baseball man in fact offered me a nice sum if I would go
to Cuba, change my name and let him take me into this country as a
Cuban. It would mean renouncing my family. One of the
agreements was that I was never again to visit my mother or have
anything to do with colored people. I refused. I am not ashamed of my
Don’t worry, we’ll get back to the smarminess and irreverence tomorrow. Every once in a while, though, it’s nice to pay tribute to a hero of the game. Even if only half the stories are true, John Donaldson makes it in my book. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a baby polar bear to punch.
No longer exclusively tethered to the stage, the screen or the page, there is no doubt that life is full of drama — the sort that you weren’t ready for, the kind you embrace, even the type that makes you ill.
Nonuniform in appearance and uninterested in who or what it affects, drama can be as simple as that anxious feeling you get right before a big presentation or as complex as the collective mood among you and your fellow drivers during your morning commute.
Drama is everywhere. It infects everything. We love it. We hate it. We need it.
Take a look for yourself…
Ines Sainz and Her… Assets
Were members of the New York Jets out of line in their cat-calling towards Mexican reporter, Ines Sainz? Was Ms. Sainz perhaps inappropriately dressed for an NFL locker room? Is there more to this story that none of us knows about? Yes, yes, and yes? Probably… right? I dunno. Who cares? What is important is that a) we now know who Ines Sainz is and that she’s more than available via Google image search b) Jets fans have more to talk about than just how fat Rex Ryan is and c) I have another reason to post a B-side pic of someone not named Erin Andrews. Thank you, drama!
The AL East: Yankees – Rays Showdown
If this most recent series is any indication of what sort of playoff bliss we may be in for, well, paint me blue and call me “cubbie” ‘cuz I’m all in. Heart attacks galore, dear readers! From Sabathia v. Price, to Brignac bombs to Grandy’s catch to Jeter’s thespian act, this has been the most impressive, most entertaining, most dramatic regular season series between any two teams all season long! And, as a fan, I could care less about either club! Now that’s what I call drama!
Teabagging with Christine O’Donnell
If Joe Biden were dead he’d be rolling over in his grave. Heck, lots of people wish Karl Rove was dead (he’s not) and he’s already rolling over in his… er… wait. What I mean is this: Republican/Tea Party senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell from Delaware may seem like Sarah Palin 2.0, but that’s just because she’s good-looking, halfway likable and really dumb. Make no mistake: the Teabaggers are way more scary than their everyday conservative counterparts. Way more scary. For instance, O’Donnell once suggested to the MTV crowd that they refrain from masturbation. Uh… yeah. And judging from the fly hair and nails O’Donnell has in that circa 1996 video, I sure as hell hope she sees the irony in that. Anti-masturbation!?! Ha! Such a message EXPLODES with drama!!!
Hate me ‘cuz all the Teabaggers are doin’ it, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!
The only real reason to celebrate Groundhog Day is because it means we’re into February and baseball will start back up soon. Seriously, what is this point of this “holiday?” I don’t get a day off of work. There’s no food involved. And no matter what happens, you’re still firmly entrenched in the middle of winter. That doesn’t sound like such a good deal to me. In fact, one might even be inclined to suspect a bit of conspiracy.
No, I mean it when I say that without the hint of baseball it entails and the vehicle it provided for Bill Murray’s formidable talent, Groundhog Day would be dead to me. Just like you, Curtis Granderson. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. You’re just lucky I don’t have your name on a Tigers’ jersey or I’d really be pissed.