Nevermind his explosively jovial presence in the Yankee clubhouse. Pay no attention to those 27 homeruns. Disregard his selfless donations to community charity and his insatiable propensity for all-world positivism.
This dude is a friggin’ tool.
Whether you focus on the plastic hook-tag still fastened to the top of his cap, the pantyhose wrapped around his right wrist, the forced bleary eyed smirk of a man you’d never let date your sister or the weak flash of a devil horn gang sign while mugging the camera, this Nick Swisher looks more like every frat guy you’ve ever hated.
Move over Tucker Max because apparently they do serve Swisher in hell.
Hate me ‘cuz I hate on the playuh, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(*Image courtesy of Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Baseball, Apple Pie & Lobster
While still behind the modern US American game in terms of global appeal, Japanese baseball does have a special place in the universe of our national pastime. Indeed it has evolved much beyond the infant and fundamentally challenged Chinese game and the linguistically worldly fella in me likes to think that even Japanese basebrawls tend to be a bit more aggressive than their Korean counterparts’ elusive yet intriguing pitcher’s mound chicken dance routine. Still, there is more to it than that.
During my first year in China, I had a Japanese roommate named Hayashi Nobuhide. Nobby — as we white devils called him because, well, it was easier to pronounce — was a rabid baseball fan. In fact, our friendship, which was predestined to be rocky due to 60 years of bad history, was solidified by our matched passion for the game.
Some of my fondest memories revolve around us getting up at 5am to watch the 1999 World Series during which he vehemently professed his equally tired hatred of the New York Yankees — for they were, to Nobby and his Japanese brethren, holistically representative of “all that’s bad with America” (his words, not mine, though most probably true, especially when considering the likes of Roger Clemens, Chuck Knoblauch and Tony Tarasco).
And that year, Nobby cheered on the Atlanta Braves just like any other rabid Japanese nationalist: while wearing a Seattle Mariners cap.
Ichiro! Ichiro! Ichiro!
“But what about Hideki Irabu?” I asked.
“**** that traitor! Go Ichiro!” he replied.
“But Ichiro’s not playing.”
“He should be! ICHIRO!!!”
To hear Nobby tell it, Ichiro Suzuki was more popular, more influential, more inspiring than Jesus Christ himself (not to mention having a better stylist). Everything about Ichiro, from his odd pregame warmups to his ritualized on-deck routine to his classic power pose at the plate was unequivocally all-things Japanese: systematic, graceful and proud.
Consider the fact that this undying allegiance came during the height of the steroid era, and I gotta admit, Nobby had a damn good point:
Sensationalized as the above may be, the truth remains: Ichiro is powerful.
And now, that power has multiplied. The Japanese gifts continue to grace diamonds all across US America. From Ichiro Suzuki to Takashi Saito to
Kaz Matsui Kosuke Fukudome Hiroki Kuroda, the game has plenty of room for Japanese imports.
If we’re lucky, maybe someday we can even borrow the Hiroshima Toyo mascot; ‘cuz nothin’ says powerhouse baseball like a wet, smelly Carp.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Sometimes when I get really worked up, you probably forget that I am not just a simple, hateful man. There are many things I appreciate. This is not true about Notre Dame since there is absolutely nothing redeeming about that school and I consider Rudy to be nothing more than Catholic propaganda. But, despite a dogmatic insistence on my hatred of the Yankees, let us consider them for a second.
Growing up in a small town outside of Kalamazoo, MI, I admired Derek Jeter. This wasn’t true of my whole family. My brothers routinely referred to him as “Fila-boy” because for some reason he had an endorsement deal with that shoe company and always wore them. I think their dislike of him has something to do with the leftover animosity those of us who come from German descent have for the Italians totally screwing the pooch in WWII. Seriously guys, you couldn’t even hold on to North Africa? But, even though he was the golden boy and could seem to do no wrong and even though my brothers hated him, I always had a special place in my heart for Jeter.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but he always seemed to hustle a little more than the other guys, to work a little harder to prove that he belonged there. Even though he was a Yankee, he didn’t have that same air of entitlement that guys like A-Rod seemed to possess. And maybe that’s just me projecting but when you’re coming from the same area in the middle of nowhere in Michigan, it’s nice to see someone who made it out.
So, I still stand by my guns and there is no way I will ever cheer for the Yankees (unless one of those guns happens to be pressed up against the side of my head). But Derek Jeter? The guy’s a class act. Kalamazoo Central class of 1992, in fact. See, I’m not all bad.
During my high school days there was this kid who caused quite a bubble of interest everywhere he went. A by all means normal, good-lookin’ dude, this guy was the essence of cool, the poster-child of charm, the cliche of class.
He had money. Nice car. Designer jeans.
Yet despite all of those wonderful attributes — both material and physical — no matter how hard he tried, the kid just couldn’t get right.
He failed school. He drove under the influence. He burned down his own house.
Nowadays, at 30 years old, you can find him living in his parents’ basement, driving his half-totaled IROC-Z with T-Tops back and forth to a running jape of part-time service industry jobs which require little more than a heartbeat.
And every time I see the Yankees, dear readers, I can’t help but think of him.
Because no matter how hard they try, the New York Yankees just can’t get right.
Excessive amounts of money, $1.5 billion new stadium, marquee pitching… and still, those damn Yankees can’t beat the Red Sox, best the Royals’ win total or avoid the onslaught of negative press that follows Alex Rodriguez around like Jose Molina does an all-you-can-eat buffet.
It is sad, folks, really sad when the most positive headlines from the Yankees’ young season include the following:
- Nick Swisher as Offensive Powerhouse
- Damaso Marte Injured; Physically Unable to Allow His Typical 5 Runs per Appearance
- Joe Girardi’s Excuse: I Am as Dumb as I Look
Jimmy Dugan may have said “there’s no crying baseball”, but he didn’t say jack about burning down your own house. And so far, the Yanks are doing a mighty fine job of that!
I mean, don’t get me wrong, a 13-12 record ain’t all that bad, but in the Evil Empire, you might as well be winless.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Welcome to the club, Arlen!
Folks, this is a big deal.
a Cardinal fan rooting for the Cubs, a Red Sox fan pledging allegiance
to the Evil Empire, a Dodgers fan embracing Barry Bonds while chanting
As crazy and fantastical as those scenarios seem,
longtime Republican (albeit a moderate one as he opposed Clinton’s
impeachment and didn’t get along with Dubya so well) has done just that
by crossing back over the visible division line to find his rightful spot among US Americans who pine to progress, lean to logic, veer to victory.
No more filibustering power for the GOP?
You betchya! Guess from now on those smattering political diatribes of malcontent will be reserved for Fox News and the Vatican.
while this obvious jockeying crossover amuses me like Gary Sheffield’s
defensive capabilities, in all honesty, I hope it does not become a
trend. I mean, besides needing a multi-party system with checks and
balances, I am afraid that without Republicans, I would not have any
material to rouse fuming arguments on this site, family reunions or bathroom walls.
Let’s face it: we Cardinal fans could not survive without the
incessant, whiny yappings of hopeless Cub fans every year. As much as
we hate to admit it, ours is a symbiotic relationship built on mutual
antipathy, fundamental dislike and drunken slander — all for the love
of the game.
Dear readers, before making such a monumental switch, remember to chickity-check yo self before you wreck yo self ‘cuz wavering loyalties are, ultimately, bad for yo health.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Specter image courtesy of the US Government)
(Cardinals/Cubs image courtesy of Deadspin)
And since I have heard the Yankee fan speech on why names are not pertinent to your ball club more times than Alex Rodriguez has lied to the public, I say ya’ll should stick to your own program.
Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Image courtesy of the Associated Press)
When Joe Torre, one of the untouchable paragons of class, is getting slammed for allegedly revealing all the Evil Empire‘s dirty secrets in a book that no one has had the chance to even read yet, I think it’s a pretty clear sign that we’ve run out of things to talk about this off-season. Manny being Manny being unsigned is now as interesting a story as Bea Arthur is sexy. The Varitek saga in Boston is teetering on the pathetic. And when the Rangers look to be the best bet for unreliable dark horse Ben Sheets, does anyone really care anymore?
How about a new MLB Network drinking game? It may not be that ramshackle of japery that we created back during the post-season/presidential debate, but it sure will sauce your inhibitions quicker than Rush Limbaugh will make you want to commit suicide.
It’s simple. Tune in to the Hot Stove Show and anytime Harold Reynolds leads the panel in a symphony of phrases uncomfortably coated by the word “guy”, take a drink. You’ll be hammered ten minutes in to the program.
Look, I have nothing personal against Harold Reynolds and his self-serving ramblings. He seems like a genuinely nice man and most of the time I actually get something out of his demonstrations on the diamond; but I sometimes feel dumb listening to his emphatic, annoyingly frequent use of the word “guy”. Let me paraphrase a sample, dear reader — a hypothetical spew based on several weeks of actually listening to the man:
A guy like Manny… Manny Ramirez is a guy who just doesn’t change a team, he changes a division. Guys see a guy like Manny in the clubhouse and then guys are suddenly seeing changes. He’s a guy who has the ability to go out there and be that guy that all the other guys are honing in on — a guy who can beat you every time he takes the field. And guys on the other side, guys on your side, those guys see that too. Makes them want to go out there and be more competitive guys, guys that get things done. You see guys change, not just guys on the team, but guys throughout the division.
I wish I were exaggerating.
H.R.’s inability to find a synonym for “guy” probably wouldn’t bother me so much if he didn’t subliminally infect the rest of the cast with his lecherous verbal disease. Broadcasting newbies Barry Larkin and Al Leiter have picked up on it, and the ensuing cacophony is near deafening.
But, I keep watching… ‘cuz I love the MLB Network. I can’t stop watching it. So I might have a problem.
As much as I love it, there is one block of MLB Network programing that baffles me like a Spaceman eephus pitch.
Whoever thought it would be a good idea to rerun old homerun derbies during a prime-time slot deserves to have John Kruk sit on his face during the two hours they’re being aired. The homerun derby? Really? I’m supposed to get excited about watching a bunch of superstars hit lollygaggin’ Jamie Moyer fastballs from two, three, four years ago while Chris Berman entertains himself ad nauseum with his cutesy cleverness? I didn’t care about the homerun derby the first time; why would I care now?
And even if you do enjoy the homerun derby (when it actually happens each July), do you really get excited about watching it again? Save Josh Hamilton’s gargantuan effort of 2008 — a contest which he ultimately lost — is there really anything titillating in any homerun derby that makes you say: “Yeah! Can’t wait to put aside two hours to watch that again!”
MLB Productions has done a fine job of producing edgy, dramatic, quality programs that explore the deep history and colorful characters of the game. I haven’t been disappointed with one of their productions yet. So I am both baffled and bored by the network’s decision to rerun past derbies instead of wowing us with original content. Seems like they’re missing a big opportunity there.
The good news is: if I play the H.R. drinking game, I won’t be conscious enough to watch the derby reruns anyway.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.