One thing that sets the US apart from most of the rest of the world is that when we have a problem, we feel safe in turning to the police and our justice system. Sure, there are instances where that trust is misplaced but in general, if someone is in your house, you call 911 and hope the police show up. Likewise, if someone wrongs you, you believe that when you take them to court a fair and impartial judge will weigh your case on its merit and decide based on the law.
Because we place this level of trust in our justice system, we also have high expectations for its executors both inside and outside their job. If you knew a baseball umpire spent time with a rival manager outside the ballpark, would you feel confident about a close call going your way if he was officiating a matchup between the two of you? Of course not. The same is true of judges. Of course we expect them to be impartial but we also expect them to comport themselves in a manner that affirms this confidence, even outside the courtroom. This is what makes the case of William Adams so disturbing:
Now, in all fairness, I got spanked multiple times when I was growing up. And to be even more fair, I deserved it every time. But when it happened, it was quick, it wasn’t done in anger and the anticipation of the punishment was always much, much worse than the punishment itself. This guy, though? He’s just going off. What does that say about his rationality or his ability to decide a case that makes him emotional?
That’s the thing, isn’t it? No matter how hard we try, actions always speak louder than words. And when the actions directly contradict the words, we take it personally. Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign, not because he had sex with a call-girl, but because he created a law-and-order persona with his words while his actions told us otherwise. We’re capable of saying many wonderful things but ultimately, our actions betray us.
In the end, I find the case of William Adams reassuring. Yes, he let down the people of his county but the court moved to rectify the situation when it became aware of the video. Instead of saying they would look into the issue, they made him step down while investigating. The system still works.
When Eliot Spitzer left the political arena in a blaze of infamy, New York laughed at the “reformer’s” comeuppance. When Rudy Giuliani showed his true colors by announcing his intended divorce during a press conference, New York barely payed attention. And when David Paterson showed that he knew how to get around even better than the other two guys, New York couldn’t have been surprised.
In fact, if history is any guide, New York shouldn’t really be surprised by any of these events. The only thing that has changed is that it’s no longer as easy to escape from politically perilous pursuits as it used to be. Grover Cleveland fathered an illegitimate child by a New York socialite but still got himself elected President. And a recent discovery shows just how easy it was for 18th century New Yorkers to experience similar carnal delights.
So, I’ve decided that for this upcoming season, I am going to give all New York ballplayers a free pass when it comes to sexual shenanigans. Sure, they aren’t politicians but they’re world ambassadors for the game so they deserve the same concessions as the true politicos. Beside that, I think it’s what Grover Cleveland would want me to do.
Don’t quite understand VORP? UZR? PECOTA?
But the baseball basics? I thought everyone knew them.
I was wrong.
And rightly so. Not everyone’s interests align with mine; I shouldn’t look down on those who eschew the grandest game on earth (feel sorry for them, yes; patronize them? No.). Of course, I know this — NOW — after being way out of the loop on a conversation revolving around physics and something called… AFV.
“What is this curious AFV?” I kept asking myself as the cognoscenti carried on, oblivious to my poorly hidden obliviousness. The conversation dipped and rolled, skipped and scooted… “the air to ground ratio” this and “the hyperbolic arc” that.
Later, when I was all alone, I googled this curious AFV, only to find out that I’m a windmill-chasin’ idiot. Because AFV stands for America’s Funniest Videos.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
The lesson is clear: know your acronyms. And since we live right in the middle of technocracy’s jumbled white noise, we’d all do ourselves a favor by learning the hard ones. So, of course, the RSBS interns got to work on providing you, dear readers, with three of the most up-to-date acronyms you’ll ever find:
(Heterosexual Life Partner)
My HLP is Albert Pujols. He doesn’t know this (yet), but he is. He will know sooner if the GD cops would stop throwing this GD order of protection in my face. Uh… it’s getting in the way of my DESTINY*, Mr. Police MAN.
(Lou Intending to Actually Retire)
Admittedly, this is an odd acronym as it only pertains to people named Lou who hold whoop-dee-doo press conferences with the idea of hanging it up for good. And, considering the nature of our thought processes, it requires us to juxtapose the truth with a LIAR. If you’re confused, it’s okay. You should be. Lou Piniella intends to be in the Bobby Valentine and Buck Showalter retirement camp: waiting for a bigger, better paycheck.
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Determined Effort to Stalk Top Infielders Nightly, Yearly)
Sometimes the world turns inside out. Normally, we expect our sports stars to hit the strip clubs and get rowdy while our politicos throw good money after bad. If you’ve been paying attention the last month or so, though, you saw that all go upside down.
On the one side we have a bunch of schmoes taking financial advice from a guy like Lenny Dykstra and we know how that turned out. Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee apparently paid for some of its operators to hit a club in LA called, I sh!t you not, Voyeur West Hollywood.
Come on guys! How are we supposed to keep this straight? Democrats do stuff like this because they’re the party of Kennedy and Hart. But, with the exception of our dearly departed Charlie Wilson, the GOP staked its reputation as the party of “family values.” How can we make informed decisions if we can’t rely on stereotypes and generalities?
Now maybe these stories are just outliers and the exception that proves the rule. But in a week that ends with the Nationals playing .500 ball, you can understand my consternation. Where’s Eliot Spitzer when you really need him?
Clearly established is the fact that perhaps nothing is what it seems these days. From Alex Rodriguez gallivanting around the Dominican streets with his cousin scoring steroid sauce because he was “young and stupid” to Larry Craig simply taking a timeout in an airport restroom because he needed to “relax”, we, as US Americans, would be doing ourselves and our country a great disservice by not postulating the underlying motives and behind-the-scenes shenanigans that make up our anti-apotheoses of leadership.
Guilty until proven innocent?
Why not? This is America after all. We do what we want, when we want (see Iraq, Guantanamo, “W” for more information).
Baseball, democracy, Erin Andrews being all hot and sexy… these are as astutely American as a Paris Hilton reality television show; so it should be no surprise when they eventually fall victim to our insatiable desire for dirt.
So why not celebrate the fecundity of our backpage headliners… bring them together, assemble a stellar nine to barnstorm the backwoods, villages and small towns of this great nation?
Well, I have thought about it and I am all for it and I am doing something about it, damnit.
Marion Barry — CF
At the top of the lineup we need speed; and who better to give us speed than a bonafide crackhead? Believe me, folks, Barry will get on base — perhaps even manage to free-base — all the while giving pitchers (and Washingtonians) nightmares better fit for an episode of The Wire.
Eliot Spitzer — 2B
He’s scrappy, he’s fast, he leaves his socks on. With a name like Spitzer (see Roberto Alomar), Eliot’s the guy I want at second base. As patient in the number two hole (wink, wink) as he was hypocritical during his gubernatorial reign, Eliot is a surefire shot taker whom I definitely want on my team because he knows where to buy all the hot chicks.
Kwame Kilpatrick — 1B
The bigger, the fatter, the sloppier the man, the better the first baseman. Well, at least that is how they do things in Detroit. And Kwame, though once a sharp dresser, now looks a bit haggard after those 99 days in jail. The fact is, defensively liable players often end up at first base. On the plus side, Kwame is a big target and he has the agile hands of a 14 year-old text messaging champion.
Bill Clinton — 3B
No one knows his way around third base better than Slick Willy. Besides, this position requires a bit of flash peppered with a sprig of charm… not to mention an oh-so-faint cheating character. Of course, there are doubts that Clinton could handle the duties of a clean-up man (refer to the stained blue dress) but if we know anything, we know that Bubba is always full of surprises.
John Edwards — SS
Protect a cheater with a cheater: enter John Edwards.
Rod Blagojevich — DH
Now here’s a guy who comes to play, pays to play, forces others to pay to play, whatever; he’s a player. Widely known as a bit of a primper, Blago manages to fill the flashy DH role better than most. His only drawback: if you take him out of the game he will continue to run his idiot mouth.
Roland Burris — RF
Admittedly, the only reason Roland has a spot on this squad is because he’s in tight with the DH; but by now we all know it didn’t take long for Burris to wield his own personal bat of corruption and make a stately name for himself. And let’s face it: Burris has quick feet, able to change his story faster than you can say Chicago Democratic Machine.
George Ryan — LF
Bringing up the rear of our team’s famed corrupt Illinois politician trifecta (CITP) is the always forlorn oft uninteresting George Ryan. He’s fat. He’s slow. He’s a left fielder. But the man knows how to sell contracts, licenses and leases on behalf of his team, so it’s always good to have a guy who can get things when you’re on the road half the season.
Dick Cheney — C
The scowling shot-caller. The calloused captain. The man who hides behind a mask. With the entire field in front of him and myriad opportunities to talk s*** behind people’s backs, it is quite evident that Cheney was born to catch. More fierce than a misguided, misled, mishandled bombardier, he’ll chat the opposing hitter up as much as possible, flashing his hunting rifle from time to time to gain a psychological edge. Arrrrggghhh.
Larry Craig — P
Bringing up the rear, ahem, Larry Craig is one of those subversive anomalies of the baseball-politico reality. Sure, he can pitch; but he can catch too, which makes him all the more valuable to a team going long and far down that dirt road called destiny.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
If you are one to eschew the daily fear mongering and perpetual bad news infecting our world today, then I highly recommend you avoid reading the Chicago Tribune first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, for me, the Tribune has become that thing I love to hate. My self-inflicted aggravation is just one of the many results.
But today, I came across a titillating article by Stacy St. Clair which boasted and celebrated the harmony, the togetherness, the complete reciprocal adoration between Barack and Michelle Obama — our nation’s first couple. Reading it made me feel good.
As the day went on, news broke of Alex Rodriguez — our collective fallen hero — and his stunning confession of guilt regarding his usage of banned performance enhancing drugs in 2003. The image of Rodriguez discussing the issue with Peter Gammons flickered on my computer screen. I was overwhelmed with sadness.
My thoughts immediately went back to the Obama article and I couldn’t help but ask myself: Is anything what it seems anymore?
Alex Rodriguez put on a great front. Despite Jose Canseco’s self-righteous smear campaign and associated agenda, I never once questioned Rodriguez’s proclaimed innocence. At no time did I suspect Rodriguez to be tainted in even the slightest of ways, for A-Rod was our hero. He was the one targeted with pulling us out of the steroid era forever. He was the one endowed with replacing Bonds as the all-time homerun king. He was the one who seemed like the most talented, most gifted, most touted ballplayer I have ever witnessed play the game.
What you see is not always what you get.
John Edwards seemed like a family man.
Pete Rose seemed like the consummate all-American baseballer.
Eliot Spitzer seemed like a hard-nosed crime-stopper.
The Wizard of Oz seemed like an all-powerful wizard.
And it turns out they were all just… like… us:
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Hold on to your money-makers, dear readers… this is gonna be a thrashing ride reminiscent of Clint Malarchuk’s 1989 throat-slashing — the first and only image on television that made me actually throw up.
Verily, NBC gave her demonic highness, Ann Coulter, the greatest public relations gift in the history of the human race by banning her for life from their network and all like-minded lefty-linked affiliates. This decision was made in lieu of Coulter’s new book which attacks the media as being a farcical, one-sided (left), pretentious boys club incapable of stomaching any of her ranting diatribes, most of which we learned folks have grown to just call ‘crap’. Strongly suggestive of fecal matter or not, Ms. Coulter is still a US American, one who is astutely literate in the land of fantasy writing and one who has the same exact rights that all of us share in making our voice and our opinions known. Nothing good can come from this. She’s going to run with it ad nauseum and in this case, NBC clearly proved the exact point she’s been trying to make all along.
And it might not make me want to vomit as much as the above, but Pat Burrell is now a Tampa Bay Ray and in doing so virtually shuts the door on my boyhood hero, Ken Griffey, Jr. ever getting another shot in the playoffs. Having shored up their veteran/DH hitting needs, I doubt the Rays will have much interest in Junior now. In my mind, this can only mean he’ll likely end up with that cyclical hell-hole of a franchise known as the Seattle Mariners (for nostalgia’s sake — yack). Sorry, Junior. I really am.
And just as sure as I was that the Democrats’ insatiable desire for unwanted negative attention had already met Biblical proportions, it got worse when Rod Blagojevich appointee and prophetic puppet, Roland Burris, said he was the junior Illinois senator because “the Lord has ordained” him. How come the Lord is always talking to everyone except me?
Maybe he’s been talking to Al Franken too. No matter what, the Minnesota senatorial feud will be nothing short of a long, drawn-out, party-dividing legal and social battle that will only make us hate politicians that much more, if that’s even possible… wait, yeah… yeah it is… because there’s still this guy:
And of course his team is just one passing physical away from putting another ice pick in my chest and signing Milton Bradley to a three-year deal. In essence, the Cubs continue to get better, continue to open their change purse, continue to be savvy in all their dealings.
Note to John Mozeliak: You might want to consider waking the hell up!
And no, Mr. Mozeliak, I do not consider your signing of left-handed bullpen scrub Royce Ring, who finished 2008 with an ERA higher than Method Man and Redman on a Saturday night backstage (his ERA was 8.46), to be a “savvy” move.
(*insert dramatic pause while I take the time to puke… again.)
So what do I do when the world around me crumbles like Amy Winehouse during happy hour?
I tune into the wondrous world that is Red State Blue State…
But, folks, it ain’t always pretty. And it’s painfully obvious to anyone with a remedial math education that whether I’m younger by twelve years or twelve days or twelve hours than my cooped-up colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, I am and always will be younger than he, and more eloquent, and better at baseball. That’s just the hard, undeniable truth.
And yes, just as Mr. Krause stated in his low-blow, I did indeed spend some quality years without a steady girlfriend. This I cannot deny. But to call me out on the transgressions of the past without expecting a wicked rebuttal is quite juvenile.
Alas! Mr. Krause has long been the New York Yankees of meaningful romantic relationships: he was always in one, always spending too much money, always on top (so I hear).
Equally, I have long been the Tampa Bay Rays: never actually in the race, always flirting with free-agent wh0res who weren’t worth the inflated dollars, always on the bottom (cuz that’s just how I roll).
But (and I think we can all see where this is going here) like all facets in the grand scheme of life, balance ultimately plays a most crucial role. And nowadays it’s pretty apparent that I’m on top (with a hot girlfriend) while Mr. Krause wallows in the despair that is not making the “playoffs” for the first time since 1993. Don’t worry, Al, I’m sure they seat parties of one on Valentine’s Day somewhere in the nation’s capital. If not, you can always give Eliot Spitzer a call. I’m sure he knows some “people”.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.