One and a half times. That is how many times I have been able to watch the Brandon McCarthy play where a darting Eric Aybar comebacker destroys the Oakland A’s pitcher’s skull. Holy mother of invisible friends, that hurts.
The first time I saw it my stomach dropped and I got real dizzy. When the replay was shown again — this time in slow-motion — I anticipated the skull crushing but still wasn’t able to get through it. I thought I was going to be sick.
I was sick the first time I saw Clint Malarchuk get his neck sliced by a Steve Tuttle’s skate back in Buffalo too. In fact, I remember asking my dad if it was even real, hoping that the spewing, rhythmical blood staining the ice might be some cute Hollywood trick designed to draw in more fans. Sadly, the situation was quite real.
As was Joe Theismann’s career ending leg snap, courtesy of Lawrence Taylor. Even Homer Simpson had a hard time stomaching that!
The truth is, as much as we enjoy our professional sports, they do carry with them an incalculable element of danger. Even with all that open space in Oakland, a ball can still easily find one’s head. It found Brandon McCarthy’s, and it will find someone else’s too someday. It’s all a part of the game.
Which reminds us that these people we watch and cheer and boo, they’re real people. They bleed too, just like us. And while they may have more zeroes in their bank accounts, they are putting themselves in danger for our enjoyment. I think it’s important to remember that.
A baseball, a skate, a weakside linebacker, they can all become deadly weapons, at any time.
Get well soon, Brandon. And here’s to hoping you get that threesome someday.
Standing in the check-out line at my local grocer, I scanned the magazine rack hoping to find out if Khloe Kardashian had eaten herself to death or how drunk Jennifer Aniston got in Cabo while still thinking about Brad. Instead, I was subjected to an image I thought I’d blocked out 25 years ago:
Eldra “El” DeBarge.
On the cover of Jet.
Who’s Johnny… she said…
*cue the daydream montage*
I see Bert Blyleven record his 3,000th strikeout…
I see Bob Horner hit four homeruns in one game…
I see Mike Scott no-hit the Giants… the Red Sox come back to win the ALCS after being down 3 games to 1… Ray Knight skip like a schoolgirl on Mookie Wilson’s Bill Buckner nutmeggin’ dribbler…
…and… and, I… I see…
*snaps out of it*
Oh, Youppi… oh, dear, dear Youppi… no!!! It’s not FAIR! It’s not fair that El DeBarge gets a comeback and you don’t… not fair that in 2010 you’re relegated to Montreal hockey duty while El DeBarge gets nominated for a Grammy.
A GRAMMY FOR JEEBUS’ SAKE!!!
And you wonder.
You wonder why I don’t believe in god.
No loving god would subject the altruistic baseball fan to such chronic despair!!!
So hate me ‘cuz I I think El DeBarge topped out in ’86, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
And so in this Podcast…
…the fullest, rawest, most awe inspiring podcast yet, RSBS convenes as Jeff, Allen, Johanna and special guest Mark Piebenga from Second City all come together for one rip-roarin’ time! Among the topics of conversation (sponsored by Lifestyles and encouraged by Miller Lite) are strains to one’s right glute, burning one’s hand on the hot stove, hiding one’s pain with the NBA… and much, much more!
All to make you smiley face!
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For more on Mark’s work on RSBS‘ Ninemen’s Morris series, check out this story then click on the Ninemen’s Morris tag at the bottom for more early 20th century hilarity!
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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. You can check out Keith’s wicked podcast and his subsequent film projects at Undercard Films. The dude has mad skillz, so you might wanna pay attention. Do it! Now!
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Recorded Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Look, don’t get me wrong, folks. As an adamant stickler for tradition and a lifelong, self-confessed purveyor of pomp, it is widely known that I don’t take to change too well, especially when it comes to my precious national pastime. Indeed, I take pride in knowing that the game I watch is the same game my dad watched, the same game his dad watched, and his dad before him.
In baseball, there is no cavernous divide between generations. No peach baskets. No leather helmets. No prerequisites of toothlessness. No. Not in baseball. The baseball game of the early 20th century is the baseball game of the early 21st century. And that, dear readers, is a beautiful thing.
But what isn’t beautiful is always being late to the party. The NFL, the NBA, heck, the NHL… all three leagues had their very own networks before MLB finally made the move for its own. David Stern has taken the NBA all over the world with wild success — and the NFL has somehow convinced us all that from Week 10 to Week 17, we just GOTTA have a game on Thursday night!
One could even say that baseball’s public eye mediocrity is perhaps rooted in its stuckupedness — a trait that I am guilty of championing.
Alas! A chance for redemption!
Did you know there’s a friggin’ Lingerie Football League!?!?
I just found out about it. But I’m a fan. Big time.
And since (as far as I can tell) it appears the NFL has nothing to do with the league, I see an opportunity for Major League Baseball to finally make its mark as a trailblazer in the alternative sports industry. Ah, yes… I can see it now… during the cold, wintry months… 9 beautiful women versus 9 beautiful women… positioning fields in comfortable, indoor stadiums… whilst in… their underwear (if you could see me you’d see me smiling right now).
Damn it, SELIG! Are you listening?!?! I’m trying to sell you a goldmine here! And have you seen the price of gold lately?
Hate me ‘cuz I’m addicted to the female form, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Wow. Baseball is really over. I’m feeling a little lost here. Should I
turn to football, alcohol or the annual Victoria’s Secret holiday
special for comfort?
For serious though, anyone who knows me knows to be very, very cautious this time of year… for the sudden drop of the best baseball teams on the planet playing for a title to absolutely no baseball games at all can be beyond devastating.
I ain’t gonna tell on myself, but if you refer to the sheer number of world catastrophes that have taken place during the month of November over the last several years, you’ll understand exactly what I’m trying to say.
So. How do we cope?
Football helps. But not if you’re a Bears fan. So, yeah. I’m screwed there.
Hockey helps. No. That’s a lie. Hockey doesn’t help. At all.
My pal Johanna (from the RSBS podcasts) is trying to get me into the NBA… he’s been quizzing me on my basketball knowledge. My only problem is that the last time I paid any attention to the NBA, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal were in their primes (and half their current sizes!) so I’ve got a lot to catch up on. Apparently Dwight Howard and Juwan Howard are not the same person.
And beer. Yes. Beer will help. A lot. Especially if you mix beer and vodka and gin with Johnnie Walker… and a few bottles of Ambien. After that cocktail you won’t even remember to watch the Victoria Secret Holiday Special, let alone care about it.
And if everything goes according to the above plan, you can eliminate most of the doldrums tha traditionally take place between Thanksgiving and President’s Day. By then, Cliff Lee will be in pinstripes, Jayson Werth will be in pinstripes, and Carl Crawford will be in pinstripes!!!
So join me, Ben… join me, dear readers galore… and let us ride off into that fabled sunset known as off-season delirium. It won’t hurt. I promise.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
As is tradition here at RSBS, The Filibuster will now go on hiatus until pitchers and catchers report in the spring, leaving more room for the avant-garde ridiculousness you’ve come to expect from us over the years. Of course, come February we’ll announce its return; in the meantime, we would like to heartily thank all the strangers, friends, relatives, morons, geniuses and fellow bloggers who have sent in Filibuster questions during the 2010 season. Without y’all, it’d just be Al and I talkin’ to ourselves (BORING!)… so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!
Happy “Health-Care-Less” Friday!
(Image courtesy of BuzzFeed)
Right now, dear readers, you are probably experiencing the same agonizing symptoms of baseball withdrawal that Al and I are. We are here to remind you that we know: it hurts. It will continue to hurt… until pitchers and catchers report. If your symptoms gain in severity, do not hesitate to contact your primary caretaker (for those of you who can afford health care, that’d be your doctor; for those of you who cannot, try calling your congressman. I’m sure that will work).
Football and hockey can only carry us so far (not very, especially if you’re a jaded Bears fan, or in Mr. Krause’s case: a lowly win-deprived Lions fan), so we are left to rely on the offseason baseball hot stove for our daily fixins.
We like our hot stove like we like our coffee: hot.
(Mr. Levin is doing just fine. His skin graph surgeries were successful — well, most of them anyway.)
Hate me ‘cuz I tricked you into processing that painful imagery, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Does this mean, Al, that you would have taken Steve Howe back 6 times like Steinbrenner did? He picked up Strawberry and Gooden too. He loved reclamation projects.
Now, first of all, I have to say that it’s a pretty low blow to compare me to satan incarnate. Am I older than god and incontinent? No. But the question itself is interesting. Baseball, like life, seems to be all about reclaiming, recycling and otherwise reusing. Honestly, is there any other reason that Kyle Farnsworth still has a job?
The first part of the question is easy. The only Howe that I would take multiple times is Gordie and any true Michigander would be right there with me. But if you look at baseball right now, how many players are in their newest incarnation as the result of some sort of experiment, some sort of reclamation? Rick Ankiel. Josh Hamilton. The existence of the designated hitter shows the natural (or unnatural, depending on who you ask) evolution of this philosophy.
But I guess here’s what I’ll say. If you can pick up a guy who’s iffy and he’s not going to be a cancer in the clubhouse, why not give it a try? And if you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work but you have a new approach this time, I say go for it. In the end, that’s what sets your run of the mill GM or owner apart from the greats. The great ones recognize who can still contribute and in what way while the other guys just fish around and hope for the best.
Here’s a good rule of thumb, though. Kyle Farnsworth is beyond reclamation. Can we just agree on this once and for all?
Get ready world, the Second City is about to take second stage (duh, the Cardinals and Tigers are playing) as Ozzie Guillen and his White Sox make their annual vomit inducing trip to that sacred dump on the Northside, Wrigley Field. Emergency rooms from East Chicago to Oak Park, all the way up to Waukegan are expecting a full flow of the black and blued.
The only bad thing about this series is that it’s simply too short — and, for whatever lame reason (to curb unwanted drunken injuries perhaps?) the schedule puts chapter one of the 2009 Crosstown Classic on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday rather than stage the regular weekend raucous which often leads to… well, death. Insatiable bloodsuckers like myself will have to find another way…
Still, this will be a memorable occasion. Think Bob Probert with fangs versus Chris Chelios with brass knuckles, both of them drunk enough to do Phyllis Diller in a well lit room. To celebrate the awesome combination of equally bitter/mediocre clubs sharing this fine city, we would like to continue what has become an RSBS tradition, with the sacred presentation of the worst rap song ever made:
“Black and blue, daz wha you gonna be!”
“Oh, yeah? It’s the Crosstown Ri-val-ry!”
No ball game — no matter how poorly played or mismanaged or lackadaisical — could be more embarrassing than that.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*Remember, starting tonight, the Cardinals try to put an end to the blasphemy spewed by my Tiger-lovin’ colleague, Mr. Krause, and his incessant yet feeble attempts at revisionist history. You had your Denny McLain, Mr. Krause. We had our Wainwright. Get over it.
**Special shout-out to Tom Walsh from Rocky Mountain Way for taking the time to meet with me on Monday. Good times. Post to come.
***Oh, and a special thank you to Sammy Sosa for making this Crosstown Classic buzz with juicy revelations!
Last year I made the mistake of placing my faith in the savior apparent of the Detroit Tigers, a man I lovingly referred to as my big, black baby Jesus. He rewarded my faith by issuing more free passes than a scalper outside a Washington Nationals game. But after some time in the minors and a stint on the DL for an “anxiety disorder,” Dontrelle Willis finally made it back to the big leagues last night. And didn’t do a whole lot to allay our fears.
It’s rare that we see our heroes crumble into dust and then reemerge as a better version of themselves. Al Gore and Andre Agassi are good examples of how that works out at it’s best but, unfortunately, the Dontrelle Willis route is much more common. Something happens, something disappears and suddenly the person is a shell of their former self. It’s like the final episode of Seinfeld. We recognize it as being Seinfeld but its essential Seinfeldness wasn’t there.
That’s why I especially appreciate it, though, when heroes of my childhood reemerge in a better if not stronger form. Sergei Fedorov leads the Red Wings for years and then plays his heart out for the Washington Capitals. Kirk Gibson lays it on the line for the ’84 Tigers and then comes back and provides the spark for the ’88 Dodgers as well. But if I have to choose only one hero who has come back better, stronger and faster, well, I think this video will explain:
Willie Tanner: a poor man’s Eraserhead.