Like any good book, the baseball season unfolds as a series of intriguing stories. Mike Trout. Bryce Harper. The Baltimore Orioles. The Boston sell-off. ROIDS!!! These are all striking plot lines that draw us in, forcing us to check Twitter and MLB Trade Rumors and MLB Tonight as often as Mr. Krause uses a 5-year old picture of me looking like a goof.
Yet, at the end of the season, after the World Champions have been crowned, the champagne has been drunk and Ozzie Guillen has said something unintelligible on live television, I firmly believe that the biggest story of the year could be the complete reversal of what up until a few weeks ago looked like a major headline grabber.
That’s right. I’m talking to you, Pittsburgh Pirates.
Not even International Talk Like A Pirate Day could save loyal baseball fans in the Steel City from wanting to bring back the brown paper bags from the last 19 years.
With the losses on Wednesday and Thursday, the Pirates find themselves back where they belong, with a losing record.
It’s sad, right? I guess. No. I know. It is sad. But for a realist like me, it was also predictable. The Pirates doing well would be a surprise. Seeing them sink back into loserdom is not.
Speaking of losers, you are not one today, my friend. In fact, you just won! What did you win? Well, I can’t leave you feeling so sad on a Friday… so here are 18 glorious minutes of bloopers from The Office.
The rottenness I’m talking about is the foul stench that emanates from a past-his-prime public relations disaster who seems to have eaten Tony Gwynn on his way to joining the Sugar Land Skeeters. That’s right, as if taking a page right out of Jose Canseco’s book of insanity, Mr. Clemens, the fallen idol of my youth, is now preparing to embarrass himself with what I can only assume is a Favrian attempt to prolong the inevitable Hall of Fame first ballot denial.
If Roger can get on a Big League roster, he’ll get another five years before being considered. And who knows, by then they might be banning people 50 games for NOT TAKING EFFING STEROIDS.
And happy Friday!
What would MLB do if it turned out that Melky Cabrera was “legitimately” using PEDs? For the same matter, what if Barry Bonds came out and told us that he had been using the “cream” and the “clear” but it was legitimate so we didn’t need to worry about it? I’m pretty sure that the fans and MLB would call bullsh*t on both of them.
By now I’m pretty sure you know where I’m going with this since you couldn’t swing a cat this week without hitting some news about Clay Aiken‘s long-lost father, Todd. (Ok, fine, they spell their names differently but how funny would that be?) And with both sides of the debate more than willing to weigh in, once again the Presidential race turned away from the economy and back towards the Republican’s seeming fetish for pushing away women voters.
Getting back to the original question I posed, of course you’d laugh at Cabrera or Bonds’ statements (speaking of which, what is it with the Bay Area??). Whether it was “legitimate” or not, violating the League’s substance abuse policy means you have to face the consequences. Sure, some guys, like Bonds, Sosa and McGwire, benfited from Bud’s willingness to look the other way as long as the money kept rolling in. But the way things stand now, a violation is going to get you fifty games, just like Manny and Melky. Except for when it doesn’t. Yes, I’m looking at you Ryan Braun and your technicality.
Whether or not you get away with it, there is no such thing as “legitimate” or “illegitimate” PED use just like there’s no such thing as “legitimate” or “illegitimate” rape. And it’s important to keep in mind here that although PED’s may tarnish someone’s legacy or hurt a team in the playoff hunt, rape destroys a person’s life, no matter what Mike Huckabee or Todd Akin say. It has nothing to do with “legitimate” or “illegitimate.” It’s plainly and simply unacceptable.
It’s Shark Week. But you knew that. What you might not know is how dire the level of stupid is that permeates our planet.
Which makes me ask: WHERE IS JAWS WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HIM?!?!
Why not show up in the Red Sox clubhouse? Talk about sharks in the water, my goodness. Isn’t it funny how a couple of World Series titles make us forget just how endearing the Red Sox used to be? Nowadays, The Nation seems more like an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Incessant and annoying bickering from privileged entitled millionaires ad nauseum. Before the season started, I was so excited Bobby Valentine was back in the manager’s seat because I knew he would bring drama to the league. This is NOT the drama I was looking for.
Nor was I looking for the Vice President of US America to be just as stupid as I’ve always thought he might be. Well, turns out he is. Joe Biden’s mouth seems to be about as large as Jaws’, yes, it’s just too bad he uses his for talking instead of devouring prey.
And while I realize Jaws tends to reside in the warm coastal waters off the North Atlantic, would it be too much to ask for him to swim down, out and around on up to the San Francisco Bay? There’s one fraudulent outfielder there who could use a good ass-chewin’.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m angry, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Usain Bolt is looking to try out with a British soccer team. What athlete that you’ve seen in the Olympics would you most like to see trying out for an American baseball team?
Santa Clara, CA
I can’t help but think Michael Phelps would look good in Yankee pinstripes. The man has 20 Olympic medals — hardware that would surely look good next to 27 World Series trophies. And let’s face it, the dude has earned the right to be as cocky and off-putting as he is. He might not have Derek Jeter’s golden little black book yet, but some time around the Captain and soon he too could be kissing mirrors of himself.
When it comes to actual physical strength though I might suggest Holley Mangold take up a spot in the American League as a DH. She wouldn’t have to actually do much running or having anyrefined skills other than swinging for the fences; and accounting for her already buoyant build, I don’t think we would have to worry about any Giambian steroid scandals.
Of course, no baseball league is complete without its lovable losers. And considering how much crying Jordyn Wieber did in the 30th Olympiad, I think she’d be a perfect fit for the Chicago Cubs.
But let’s not forget, when it comes to an Olympian I want on my baseball team, there is no one other than THE Usain Bolt.
Holy jerk chicken, that guy is a bonafide SUPERSTAR!!!
Have you EVER seen anything more exciting the last 4 years than watching that man run!?!?! Unbelievable! I’d want him in center field, catching everything in between the foul poles. At the plate, I’d have him try to walk as much as possible, just to mess with the opposing pitchers’ mind before taking off to fly around the bases. And look out if he actually hits a ball out of the infield, ‘cuz dude is gonna turn singles into doubles and doubles into inside-the-parkers!
Not only that, but Bolt is also insanely entertaining in the most endearing of ways — a happy-go-lucky clowner who can back it up with performance as opposed to the psychotic shenanigans of a WAY less talented Tony Plush.
Forget soccer, Mr. Bolt, please come wear the birds on the bat.
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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But having immensely enjoyed the 30th Olympiad from London thus far, the truth is, I don’t miss it at all. In fact, if I want to watch the best baseball in the entire world, I just flip over to any of the 15 games being broadcast on my DirectTV Extra Innings package (do I get a credit for that plug?).
And really, that’s the only reason needed for not including baseball as an Olympic sport. Remember how excruciating it used to be watching Olympic basketball without the finest athletes in the world participating? And that’s in a sport lucky enough to have worldwide appeal. Sure, we US Americans love our baseball, but the truth is, outside of Japan and a few pockets of Canadian air, the rest of the world could care less.
In fact, unless you grow up around the game of baseball, it’s pretty darn impossible to learn the rules of the game. Believe me, during my four years in China, I tried like crazy to teach it to anyone who would listen. But after a few hours of mass confusion, people tended to pretend they had to be somewhere, anywhere, just to get away from the crazy white guy wielding a stick and three different leather gloves.
Honestly, a professional-less international baseball tournament would be a pretty boring affair. The World Baseball Classic already features the best of the best, and even that has proven to be an extremely hard sell.
What makes the Olympic games so appealing, to me, is that it really is a celebration of glory. The absolute greatest athletes in their respective sports, from LeBron James to Roger Federer, Mary Keitany to Usain Bolt and hundreds more in between, all come to the same place, and the world is watching.
Albert Pujols ain’t gonna show up. Neither is Derek Jeter nor any other Major League Baseballer. And even if they did, the world wouldn’t care.
IOC Chairman Jacque Rogge’s original statement to MLB columnist Mark Newman sums it up pretty well:
“To be on the Olympic program is an issue where you need universality as much as possible. You need to have a sport with a following, you need to have the best players and you need to be in strict compliance with WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). And these are the qualifications that have to be met. When you have all that, you have to win hearts. You can win the mind, but you still must win hearts.”
Oh yeah, then there’s that whole juicing thing…
Hate me ‘cuz I’m cool with the Olympics as is, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
This might keep me from being one of the cool kids, but I’m not sweatin’ it because I’ve been there in the flesh, watched it on T.V. and the truth is: the Home Run Derby blows.
It’s boring. It’s fabricated. It’s full of… nothing happening.
It’s made for T.V., that’s for sure, but it’s not baseball. It takes one small, often over hyped aspect of the game and blows it up to the point where it’s just senseless action with little at stake. Sure, I admit Josh Hamilton’s Yankee Stadium display was something otherworldly, but c’mon, that was just one time it was interesting. It’s usually just a bunch of mindless yakking from Chris Berman (another over hyped blah) peppered with the occasional home run and a bevy of unclever insurance ads.
Me? I’ll be watching Le Tour in anticipation of the actual All Star Game (also known as “Better than Christmas” at my house). And yes, I understand the Tour de France (and the entire sport of professional cycling) has a bigger PED problem now than baseball has ever had, thus possibly “tainting” the experience for unseasoned cycling fans, but let me tell you: if any event warrants blood doping, it’d be Le Tour.
I do not advocate it, but I get it. These guys are KILLING themselves, over three weeks, every single day, and if it were up to me, they could inject new blood into their own veins as much as they wanted.
Endurance events get me fired up. That’s one of the reasons why I love baseball so much: it’s a GRIND. Every day. In harsh conditions. Moving forward. But in baseball you rarely see the agony on the players’ faces.
In Le Tour, the agony starts at the gun and doesn’t reach its apex until the finish line is crossed. I can appreciate that, and will, much more than listening to obnoxious Chris Berman catchphrases while guys hammer batting practice fastballs over the wall in Kansas City.
Hate me. It’s cool. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Roger Clemens is not guilty.
Can this be over now?
Of course it can’t. It never will. For now until the end of time we’ll still be talking about the steroid era and those who made it infamous. Clemens is just one of many.
Still, I think it is safe to say his role in the overall picture of the steroid era is a bit larger than the rest. He’s up there alongside Barry, considering his Hall of Fame credentials and repugnant personality.
Before any of this steroid silliness was known, I loved Roger Clemens. He was a beast on the mound — a Nolan Ryan/Bob Gibson throwback. Proud, nasty, BALLSY.
But the Mitchell Report tainted his reputation, whether guilty or not, and Roger then ruined it further himself by being an outspokenly whiny ass. I understand the potential frustration that could come from having a tarnished reputation, but there are ways to handle adversity with class and there are ways to handle it like a jerk.
Clemens took the jerk route.
And undoing what ya done ain’t easily done.
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Is pitching so good because guys aren’t juicing anymore or are pitchers just better than they were ten years ago?
Downers Grove, IL
I love analogies, similes, metaphors, allusions and every other word tool that allows us to paint a picture of the unknown using something we’re already aware of. Some authors make entire worlds come to life with their words while others redefine things we thought we had always known. That’s one of the joys in writing these posts. Trying to think of new ways to describe political events using baseball terminology and vice-versa exercises the brain and occasionally leads to eureka moments.
So, you can imagine how excited I was to come across the following passage the other day:
“You can’t point to any one weather extreme and say ‘that’s climate change’. But a warmer atmosphere loads the dice, increasing the potential for historic spikes in temperature and more frequent and bizarre weather extremes. You can’t prove that any one of Barry Bond’s 762 home runs was sparked by (alleged) steroid use. But it did increase his ‘base state,’ raising the overall odds of hitting a home run.”
Hot damn! Not only does that provide a great explanation of what climate change really means, it also presents Barry Bonds and his ever-present asterisk in a way I had never considered before. That’s two for the price of one. Too bad I didn’t think of it first.