America has become an unequal place. Yes, there’s the enforced salary cap equality of sports like football that has led to a more competitive game. But in general, the haves and the have-nots of baseball more accurately reflect what’s really happening in our society. Sure, money doesn’t always ensure that you’ll win it all but there’s a reason why the New York Yankees are the winningest team in MLB history while teams like Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Oakland and Denver have flourished in the NFL.
Inequality in sports is bad enough but the inequality between people matters even more. What does it say about a country when a Congressional committee hearing on contraception has exactly zero female invitees? I think it’s safe to say that even Kenny Powers respects women more than Darrell Issa.
Inequality also appears to be rearing its ugly head among the Republican presidential contenders, although at least one of them doesn’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that Santorum was trying to throw the race by saying the most patently offensive things possible. And yet, he’s not only still in the running, he’s also somehow leading Mitt Romney in polling for upcoming important contests. This continued surge of Santorum (…ahem) seems to prove not only that a portion of the country supports his worldview, it also shows us that quite a few Americans really are batshit insane.
Inequality tends to right itself eventually. The conspicuous consumption of the 1920’s and the ensuing Depression led to a recalibration in the 30’s and 40’s. Today, a similar series of events has left a recession that seems to tenaciously hold back growth outside of a fraction of the population, while a small-scale revolt against income equality has risen up in areas of the country. Are we seeing another recalibration? Me, I’d say there’s hope because there’s one place where we are all still equal.
The unofficial start of the baseball season is fast approaching and that can mean only one thing. It’s almost time for season three of Eastbound & Down!
For those of you who have not yet succumbed to that lovable scamp, Kenny Powers, you owe it to yourself to check him out. And if you’ve checked him out previously and didn’t care for his blatant racism, misogyny and general ignorance, well, you probably have a good point. But me, I can’t wait for Kenny to get back on the field.
See, Kenny Powers isn’t like the rest of us. I could try to explain but I think it’s better to just let him do it in his own words: “…From one Gifted Young Athlete to another: don’t kill yourself trying to make sense of all the madness…It’s not our fault we’re awesome, playboy. It’s Jesus’s.”
Despite the month and a half wait, I have been getting more and more excited about the inevitable clash when Kenny Powers runs into our neighbors to the south. But beyond the promise of imminent racist hyjinks, it turns out that Eastbound and Down is the gift that just keeps giving.
For instance, where else could you win yourself a free jet ski? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t come with a half naked blond but if you have yourself a jet ski, I’m also pretty sure that it won’t be too hard to come up with a half naked blond soon thereafter.
But even if you don’t win the contest and even if the blonds are sorely lacking in your life, there’s still plenty to look forward to. While I was leafing through Esquire the other day I came across Ana de la Reguera who will apparently play a key role in season 2. If that name doesn’t get you fired up, maybe this video will help:
Yeah. If you need more, here’s the article.
As soon as I heard about the Mel Gibson stuff I automatically thought of
John Rocker. Thoughts?
I think, “How is it possible that Mel Gibson still has a career and Tom Cruise is considered the crazy one?” I mean, I get it. Jumping on couches on national TV, praying to aliens, dumping Nicole Kidman for Katie Holmes. That’s all pretty crazy. Even if I personally think Katie is a step up over Nicole. But punching out your girlfriend’s teeth, telling her you hope she gets gang raped, dropping the n-bomb like it’s going out of style? Dude, that is all kinds of crazy.
The comparison to Rocker makes sense to a limited extent because both men are racist pigs. But there’s a very important difference between the two men and their body of work. Rocker is straight up ignorant. For better or for worse, he has no idea what he’s saying. Think of him as a real life version of Kenny Powers. Gibson subscribes to a more insidious style. He slings around slurs with a practiced abandon. I’m not saying that ignorance is an excuse but it is something I can understand. Gibson is a vile person who actively represents the lowest common denominator. Think of him as an Australian version of Joerg Haider.
And there’s another important distinction between the two. Rocker launches verbal tirades but that’s where it ends. Gibson likes to use his fists and, if the reports end up being true, also likes using them on women half his size. Maybe it’s different down under but my parents didn’t raise me that way. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if my mom ever heard about me hitting a woman, she’d take the next flight to whatever town I’m living in at the time and beat the living snot out of me. You just don’t do that.
Rocker’s racism, while still dangerous, comes across as kind of cartoonish. But Gibson’s record of racist rants intimates a more fundamental level of psychosis that apparently manifests itself violently. It’s viral and I find it hard to forgive and also much more scary. I guess my point is this, Mark. On the surface the two men seem to have
quite a bit in common. But when you dig into it a little bit, the
comparison falls apart. If I had to make a choice, I’d much rather be dealing with Rocker than Gibson.
As a baseball fan, I also enjoy fictitious treatments of the subject. Although I somehow never saw The Natural until a couple years ago, I still got a lump in my throat when Roy Hobbs hammered the ball into the lights at the end. Kevin Costner may have gotten lost way out in left field when he made The Postman but Field of Dreams and Bull Durham almost make up for it.
The only real problem is that I can’t really identify with those guys. Sure, Field of Dreams is set in the heartland, not so far from where I grew up. But the chances of me ever owning a farm are pretty slim and there’s quite a bit of difference between that big house and my little apartment.
I guess that if I had to choose one character from a baseball story with whom I most identify, it would be someone a little more vulgar, someone who’s on the edge and sometimes goes over. There’s only one character I can think of who fits this description: Kenny Powers.
So, you can imagine how excited I was to see this:
The first season of Eastbound and Down was beyond hilarious and rumor has it that the second season will find Kenny making his way through the Mexican baseball leagues. The possibilities for wildly inappropriate racial and spicy food based humor are simply staggering. Remember, this is the guy who says, “Sure, I’ve been called a xenophobe, but the truth is I’m not. I honestly
just feel that America is the best country and all the other countries
aren’t as good. That used to be called ‘patriotism’.”
September can’t get here soon enough.