It used to be a badge of honor to have served in the Armed Forces and even stars like Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio did their time. Does it bother you at all that this new crop of ballplayers has never served and probably never will?
While serving in our nation’s armed forces may still be seen as a badge of honor for Americans, it does not bother me one bit that modern day baseballers don’t take part. I haven’t ever taken part either, so why would it bother me that they don’t?
I am a big believer in sticking with what you’re good at. If you happen to be really good at throwing 90 mph splitters to Big Leaguers, then please, focus on throwing 90 mph splitters to Big Leaguers. If you’re really good at leading groups of armed men through hostile urban environments, then please, focus on leading groups of armed men through hostile urban environments.
In my opinion, one of the greatest tragedies in baseball history is missing out on the golden years of baseball production from the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Bob Feller and many more. Think of how much better their already herculean numbers would be had they not taken a break to join the military ranks!
Look, I’m no dummy. I understand that their collective decision to leave baseball for the armed forces came at a poignant time in history — a time when the entire future of the planet rested on defeating the Axis Powers. It was either defeat evil incarnate (y’know, the guys killing innocent people en masse) or succumb to the insanity of megalomaniac, intolerant tyrants.
It was also a time before the internet, before instant access, when no one could see what was behind the curtain. Looking back, one could even say the US Government used such high profile athletes as pawns to get more everyday joes to enlist. Heck, if Teddy Ballgame is serving, then so should I!
But those days are no more. It’s hard to keep any sort of secret and when the wars we are fighting are against invisible enemies in caves we can’t see and in countries rich with oil where we probably shouldn’t be anyway, then it’s pretty hard to convince somebody he should give up his talent, his career, his life.
As far as I know, our military isn’t hurting for more participation. With smart bombs and drones and missiles more accurate than a Greg Maddux two-seam fastball, not to mention the bazillions of taxpayer dollars regulated for military spending, I think it’s best that our Matt Hollidays and Matt Kemps keep their bodies where they belong: in the outfield.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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Over the weekend, my brother-in-law and I had a deep discussion regarding what Major League records, streaks and milestones would never again be reached. We volleyed, dipped and parried, throwing out memorized stats and tangible history: Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hit streak. The 300 win plateu. 5000 career strikeouts. Pete Rose’s 4,256 hits.
On the surface, all of them seem insurmountable considering the modern game’s allegiance to softness, a result of the millions and millions and millions of dollars involved. We concluded that the game was going to evolve into something else, perhaps a realm where the magical achievements of the 20th century would never again be rivaled — that they simply couldn’t be, because the people and the philosophies and the technologies of the game had changed.
Considering what we know now about how the human body works, why would a team subject its star athlete to a 162 game season, every year, with no breaks and no rest periods at all? It just doesn’t make sense.
Which makes Cal Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive games played streak the holy grail of Major League records.
We consider the very real (and imminent) arrival of the Singularity era.
That’s right. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, consider Moore’s Law, which applies the exponential growth theory to the amount of transistors that can be aptly placed within an integrated circuit. The number doubles rather quickly (every two years or so), which is why 50 years ago the most basic of computers took up an entire wing of a building to do simple calculations and the iPhone or Droid you have in your pocket is able to take dictation, guide you from your home to the ballpark via GPS and give you the answers to any question at any time at speeds you never even dreamed possible (cue the Google Oracle music).
According to leading scientists, engineers and futurists, we are soon going to reach a point (within the next 30 – 50 years) where nanotechnology will be as common as laptops are today — that tiny yet powerful computers the size of blood cells will be programmed to reverse engineer the effects of aging, to fight off disease, to, in effect, provide superhuman powers.
Imagine having Albert Pujols, in the prime of his career, forever… or, at least for 40-50 solid years. Imagine Justin Verlander striking out 500 hitters each season with his 145 mph fastball. Imagine Carlos Zambrano murdering his entire —
Okay, so the Singularity era will also present some pretty controversial issues, like creating artificial intelligence that is able to out think us, which will blend the lines between what is real and what is not to the point where we could be opened up to an entirely new dimension, an entirely new worldview and/or perspective (like an ant suddenly realizing and being able to understand that there’s an entire world that exists above him).
But if we could see Albert in a Cardinals uni forever, tallying up as many career homeruns as there are trips around the sun and never getting hurt, I think all that sci-fi apocalypse shizz will be worth it.
So I retract my idea that some records will never be broken and confess: THEY ARE ALL GOING TO BE BROKEN. Believe it.
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
The good thing about the offseason is that baseball players have nothing to do but work out and prepare themselves for the next 162-game slog to the playoffs that we call the regular season. Unfortunately, this also means they have plenty of time to call attention to all the reasons why they are baseball players and not university professors.
A prime example of this tomfoolery is Baltimore outfielder Luke Scott. In a recent interview Scott talked about his valid belief in a limited government before going all Glenn Beck while explaining his very invalid belief that our President is not American. It’s like Lenny Dykstra dispensing financial advice or Jim Bunning attaining a seat in the US Senate. Baseball prepares you for lots of things but this doesn’t include politics or finance.
Luckily there are other baseball players who tell us what we really want to know. Like Pete Rose who a few days ago shared with Philly radio listeners all they could ever hope to know about Joe DiMaggio. It’s worth listening to the entire story if for no other reason than to hear Pete Rose say “…the best way to describe Joe DiMaggio, he was a peni$ with a man hanging from it.”
Thank you Pete. This is how baseball players should be spending their downtime.
Kids have it hard these days. I grew up in cable’s infancy, a time when phones were still attached to the walls. It took a little while for news to spread. And it was a more innocent time, too. Heroes were put up on a pedestal to be worshiped, not to have stones thrown at them. Today, though? Man, it must be rough to be a kid or a hero.
Take Tiger Woods (please!). As if the multiple sordid affairs weren’t enough, he’s now being dragged into the PED arena as well with the news about his doctor using HGH. And as soon as any news about him hits the streets, it’s spread far and wide by the internet. Let’s be honest, it’s entirely possible that Jack Nicklaus had a stable of pretty young fillies at his beck and call during his hey-day but you never would have heard about it. Stars were protected back then.
The real problem is that we can’t seem to find a happy medium. Either we don’t know anything (why haven’t I seen a Joe Dimaggio/Marilyn Monroe honeymoon video?) or we know way too much (the image of a syringe in Roger Clemens’ @$$ is something I’ll never be able to forget). Why can’t we just know a reasonable amount? Like, if someone is a danger to himself or society (Ray Lewis, I’m looking at you), let us know. But if they’re just doing some canoodling on the side, that’s his or her business (yes A-Rod, I’m giving you a pass on that one).
Information is power and that hasn’t changed. And there is plenty of information on every possible subject out there today. But trying to find the useful stuff is like diving into a latrine to find the quarter you accidentally swallowed and then excreted. It’s messy and ultimately just not worth it. Kind of like being a hero.
This is exactly why I didn’t want to like Jay-Z’s new album, The Blueprint 3. As the resident Brett Favre of the rap game, Jay-Z has taunted us with his multiple “retirements”, all along gradually stepping away from his street-centric roots and engaging in the bling-bling-I-got-hoes-money-and-fame garbage that has destroyed my ability to find any entertainment value in modern hip-hop.
But Alicia Keys sucked me; and as much as I hate to admit it: Empire State of Mind is a killer track.
Still, there is one Jay-Z line that makes me cringe with disgust:
s*** I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can…”
Ever heard of a fella by the name of Babe Ruth? How about DiMaggio? Gehrig? Mantle? Mattingly? Jeter?
I know Jay-Z is a lot like me in that sometimes he says dumb s*** just to say it, to see what kind of reaction he gets, to be relevant, to stir up trouble.
But even I have limitations… and dissing some of the greatest players to ever play the game is certainly among them.
Shame on you, Jay-Z.
And unless you can find a way to put Alicia Keys on every song you ever do from now until the end of time, you won’t be getting my money ever again.
Hate me ‘cuz I gotz some street cred of my own, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. I mean, it’s all we’ve been talking about for the past few weeks and it kind of feels like a dagger in the heart every time it comes up. No, I’m not talking about the Tigers’ chances for success this season. And I’m not referring to Jeff’s notorious difficulty in the dating world. No, I’m talking about the former anti-Barry, Alex Rodriguez.
How is it possible that he just doesn’t get it? What is he paying Boras for? Shouldn’t that guy be out there making sure he doesn’t do stupid ^ss sh!t like this?
But no, once again A-Rod is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Yeah, he still has that sweet swing as Jeff mentioned yesterday. However, it appears he also still retains that incredible tone-deafness that got him into this current predicament. Really, man? After everything that’s happened you’re still going to head out for a night of needles in the butt with the same guy that supposedly got you into this mess? As Simon and Garfunkel put it so eloquently, “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?”
Maybe he thought that everyone was so caught up in watching our president try to pull us out of our current financial mess that he figured no one would notice. Maybe he decided that the nation was so focused on the Republicans’ inane game of “I know you are but what am I?” that we’d all let this slide. Or maybe he just thinks that with the current state of things we’re all going to be dead soon so what does it matter anyway.
I don’t know. But, what I can say is that for all my dislike of the Yankees, this whole saga just makes me sad. Luckily I still have the Pistons and the Red Wings to keep me sane. What? Really? 8 games in a row? Well, I guess 1 out of 2 ain’t bad.