Anything wrong with that? Not in my opinion. In a world full of greed, hate, debauchery and Cubs baseball, I find solace knowing that even the tireless spin-doctoring and smoke-screening of Rod Blagojevich eventually falls on the deaf ears of a nation distracted with the task of rebuilding itself.
Blago’s days as governor are as numbered as Joe Morgan is annoying; and soon, he will just be another political coelacanth — a footnote in the oppression and wasted tax-dollars of a people.
In my fervent bidding adieu, I refuse to let Blago’s self-indulgent, gloomy demise get me down. The older I get, the more I realize how little my brain can actually remember if not trained otherwise; thus, I find it best to replace negativity with post-partisan positivity. So it is, on this four degree Sunday afternoon, with a broken heart and three cups of coffee too many, that I find grace in the baseball-politico memories dearest to me.
Of course, there are always the Joe Carters, the Kirk Gibsons, the Ozzie Smiths… the inauguration of a new hope for my country… those are all givens. Today I focus on the obscure, the seemingly minute, the more poignant personal moments that help me to forget about what an awful place this earth can be sometimes. And so I begin…
Ozzie Guillen Goes to Bobby Jenks
A move he’s made several times, but never as interesting as it was during the 2005 post-season when Ozzie motioned for Jenks by extending his arms out sideways as if to say: “Bring in the fat fella.”
Talking to Carlos Lee Outside Wrigley Field
Having gone hitless against Ted Lilly that night, I was stunned to see a smiling Carlos Lee on the corner of Sheffield and Addison waiting to get on the Astros player’s bus. I approached him — all gargantuan 230 plus pounds of him — and flippantly asked: “Caballo, what happened?”
“Ball move too much, man.”
I’m still laughing at that one.
“Yes We Can” Viral Video
Sure, I admit I’m a sucker for inspirational acts of creativity… this one still gets me.
Brian Anderson’s Catch
Picture it, October 1, 2008… a one game playoff between the White Sox and Twins to crown the AL Central winner, and a Jim Thome homerun is all that separates the two when we reach the top of the ninth and two outs. A sharp flare streamlines to right center field, in comes Brian Anderson… instant party on the Southside.
Bill Clinton on Carroll Quigley, DNC 1992
As a young, impressionable, questioning 12 year-old, this quote pushed me in to politics… to stay.
Adam Wainwright’s Curveball
Whether it was striking out Carlos Beltran looking or Brandon Inge swinging, I’ve never seen a more devastating hook — ever.
Barack Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote Address
I thought a change was a comin’… didn’t know it was going to take so long, but it got me revved up nonetheless.
Yadier Molina Hitting .304 in 2008
After the rocket homerun he hit off Aaron Heilman to beat the Mets in the 2006 NLCS, Molina became my indisputable hero. To see him blossom into a true hitter in conjunction with his unrivaled defensive skills just makes me want to hug the guy any chance I get. Yadi, you out there, pal? Let’s hook that up.
Grandma Lois Talking Baseball
May she rest in peace, my beloved grandmother was talking Cardinals baseball like no other 84 year-old I knew. Before the 2004 season, she told me: “It’d be nice to see Edmonds and Rolen have really good years.” She died on April 20, 2004; Jimmy and Scott both put up career numbers and vied for the MVP. I know she’s still smiling about that one.
Post 9/11 Baseball in New York
I’d be hard pressed to find a more inspiring, more electric, more communal surge of patriotic energy and overall bipartisan goodwill towards all through the greatest game on earth than what took place in New York City that fall.
I still get goosebumps just thinking of it.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
I didn’t attend just the inauguration this past weekend. Since the four days were jam-packed full of all sorts of goodies, I decided to partake in as much as the cold would allow me, which is how I found myself at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday afternoon. I have never seen such a star-studded event. In fact, I have never seen such a star-studded few days. If you were watching during the inauguration, you may have noticed that Jay-Z, Puffy and Magic Johnson were all up in the stage. And of course, Oprah. But this did not even begin to compare to the concert. Shakira and Usher singing with Stevie Wonder. Tom Hanks’ salute to the Great Emancipator. Jon Bon Jovi dueting on “A Change Gonna’ Come.” Jamie Foxx’s Obama impression. Denzel! Tiger! The Boss! The list goes on and on. All we needed was Jack Nicholson and it could have been court side at a Lakers game.
However, there was also something a little weird about the concert. Each performer acknowledged the crowd as they finished their piece but then each one of them also gave a little bow towards the man who had brought them there. The President elect gave only a short speech and he wasn’t even the one who ended the program (that honor went to the lovely Beyonce). But I couldn’t shake the sense that this felt more like a coronation than a concert. Now, I in no way want to imply that the event was intended as such nor do I think that our new President would think so of himself. It just felt kind of strange.
But if you really want to talk about strange, let me tell you about the locked-down state of the nation’s capitol. Almost every street corner had either police or National Guardsmen standing around. I’m not sure exactly what their function was and to be honest, it didn’t really bother me that much. But, it’s just a little disconcerting when in every place you walk in the town where you live, there are camouflaged men and women standing around.
All in all, though, it was a weekend to remember. It definitely had its highs and lows and I really wish that the 70 degree weather we enjoyed just a few weeks ago would have held off for this weekend instead. But, despite some miscues during the oath, power peacefully transitioned and the United States showed once again why “We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense.”
So, that brings our RSBS salute to the inauguration to a close. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go continue my attempts at thawing out.
Yes, I was. Yes, he did. Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!
As my friend, Mr. Lung, mentioned yesterday, I was indeed present at the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. And honestly, the only way I can describe the event is by comparing it to an early (or possibly late, although I have no experience with that) season baseball game. You know the kind of game I’m talking about, where you think you’re wearing plenty of layers but you figure out 30 minutes into it that you will never be warm again. But at the same time, you don’t care about a couple of numb fingers and toes because moments like this don’t come along every day.
Even now, I’m trying to sort through all the emotions that come along with an occasion like this. Of course there’s pride in knowing that for all our faults as a nation we always find a way to overcome them. And there’s hope, echoed in the words of the inaugural address, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.” There’s also a little bit of uncertainty because, let’s face it, these are not easy times in which we live and, as the President said, we all share in a “collective failure to make hard choices.”
But I guess what I feel most of all right now is relief. Relief that the unwashed hordes will soon leave my city. Relief that almost all disasters were averted. And relief that the stewardship of the country has passed into the hands of President Obama and his team.
At the same time, there were also events that left me conflicted. I freely admit that I am no fan of former President Bush and I’m sure I’ve written many scathing criticisms of him in these pages. But, the man was still our democratically elected President and because of that he deserves respect. Perhaps his opinions and his decisions don’t always deserve respect but the man and the office do. That’s why it left me a little unsettled today to hear people booing whenever President Bush’s face was shown on the screens. I understand the atmosphere and I understand the strong feelings. But, even if the inauguration felt like a sporting event and even if President Obama is the Michael Jordan of politics, there’s no excuse for booing his competition.
So, there you have my initial, unvarnished thoughts. And I’ll bring you more along with a roundup of the absolutely ridiculous coronation, uh, I mean concert I attended on Sunday.