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.
Baseball, Apple Pie & Lobster
While still behind the modern US American game in terms of global appeal, Japanese baseball does have a special place in the universe of our national pastime. Indeed it has evolved much beyond the infant and fundamentally challenged Chinese game and the linguistically worldly fella in me likes to think that even Japanese basebrawls tend to be a bit more aggressive than their Korean counterparts’ elusive yet intriguing pitcher’s mound chicken dance routine. Still, there is more to it than that.
During my first year in China, I had a Japanese roommate named Hayashi Nobuhide. Nobby — as we white devils called him because, well, it was easier to pronounce — was a rabid baseball fan. In fact, our friendship, which was predestined to be rocky due to 60 years of bad history, was solidified by our matched passion for the game.
Some of my fondest memories revolve around us getting up at 5am to watch the 1999 World Series during which he vehemently professed his equally tired hatred of the New York Yankees — for they were, to Nobby and his Japanese brethren, holistically representative of “all that’s bad with America” (his words, not mine, though most probably true, especially when considering the likes of Roger Clemens, Chuck Knoblauch and Tony Tarasco).
And that year, Nobby cheered on the Atlanta Braves just like any other rabid Japanese nationalist: while wearing a Seattle Mariners cap.
Ichiro! Ichiro! Ichiro!
“But what about Hideki Irabu?” I asked.
“**** that traitor! Go Ichiro!” he replied.
“But Ichiro’s not playing.”
“He should be! ICHIRO!!!”
To hear Nobby tell it, Ichiro Suzuki was more popular, more influential, more inspiring than Jesus Christ himself (not to mention having a better stylist). Everything about Ichiro, from his odd pregame warmups to his ritualized on-deck routine to his classic power pose at the plate was unequivocally all-things Japanese: systematic, graceful and proud.
Consider the fact that this undying allegiance came during the height of the steroid era, and I gotta admit, Nobby had a damn good point:
Sensationalized as the above may be, the truth remains: Ichiro is powerful.
And now, that power has multiplied. The Japanese gifts continue to grace diamonds all across US America. From Ichiro Suzuki to Takashi Saito to
Kaz Matsui Kosuke Fukudome Hiroki Kuroda, the game has plenty of room for Japanese imports.
If we’re lucky, maybe someday we can even borrow the Hiroshima Toyo mascot; ‘cuz nothin’ says powerhouse baseball like a wet, smelly Carp.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
“I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’, and I can prove it.”
— Ed “Butch” Panczko, ruthless Chicago gangster
It is the year 2009, dear readers, and I would think that by now, every single one of us has seen enough cop dramas on television to know that you never, ever, ever tell on yourself. You just don’t do it. Big Papi knows this. So does Roger Clemens. Why is it then that the Chicago White Sox — who reside not far from the famed warehouse district were body after lifeless body went to disappear forever — do not understand this golden rule of foul play?
First we watched as Bobby Jenks told the whole world that he purposely threw at Ian Kinsler — which netted him a $750 fine and a watchful eye from MLB brass — and now we have Ozzie Guillen himself blabbing to anyone who will listen that he’s out to bean anyone whom he suspects of throwing at his guys. What next? Kenny Williams owns up to jaywalking? Check.
Look, it’s one thing to protect your team and head-hunt in retaliation. Hell, in this game, it’s expected! But to openly admit that you are going to throw at people, to announce to everyone that you intend on hurting someone, to alert the league that you’re going to send a message… well, that is just plain irresponsible. And dumb.
Yep. Tell a story. Do the opposite. Leave ’em guessin’.
That, my friends, is the Chicago way.
Even political nimrod figurehead Rod Blagojevich knows this.
And he’s a Cubs fan.
What’s your excuse, White Sox?
Hate me ‘cuz I put it out there, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(*Ozzie Guillen’s grill image courtesy of Da Bronx Bombers)
Very few pursuits allow for perfection. In bowling, there’s the 300 game but how much of that has to do with luck? Football quarterbacks can post a perfect passer rating but that usually still involves incompletions which is far from perfect in my book. And let’s be honest, when you’re forced to define perfection by a mathematical formula, how perfect is it really? (No offense to any of the mathematicians out there, obviously.)
But in baseball, perfection exists. And when Mark Buehrle hit the mound the other day, we got to see it. There were tense moments and some great plays that made it happen. But it was perfection.
The most amazing thing about perfection is how it’s a snapshot in time. No one is going to achieve perfection over the course of a season. No batter is going to get a hit every time he’s at the plate, no pitcher is going to avoid giving up a hit during every outing. The reason that perfection appeals to us is because it happens so rarely.
Some of this sentiment also plays into the betrayal many have felt at the hands of various players who used PEDs. I still remember the summer when Sosa and McGwire were racing for the home run crown and how astounding it was to watch them rack up those totals. They made the extraordinary ordinary. And when Bonds came along and shattered those records, it almost became mundane. We came to expect these kinds of feats and now we’re disappointed by their absence, a problem similar to what swimming is now facing with the ban on many of the new suit technologies. No one wants to ride in coach after they’ve experienced first class.
But the perfect game stands out because it is one of those things that is still so rare. Clemens may have been juicing and he may have been a dominant pitcher but that never earned him perfection. Nolan Ryan threw seven no-hitters but none of them were perfect. But a guy like David Wells, all 250 plus pounds of him, managed to do it.
Possibly the best part of Buehrle’s perfect game, though, is the time in which it came. This season has been marked so far by Manny’s suspension, A-Rod’s admission and several mediocre divisional races. It’s only fitting that the thing that takes our minds off of the mediocrity and failure……is perfection.
What could possibly be funnier than a holocaust-denying bishop exchanging blows with an Argentinian reporter?
I can think of many things.
But in the end, what is making my side split today is the announcement that Condoleezza Rice (what’s the second “z” for anyway?) has signed a book deal with Crown Publishers to write three — count ’em three — books detailing her tenure in the White House as well as delving into her oh-so-saucy personal life.
Crown issued this statement:
“Rice will combine candid narrative and acute analysis to tell the story
of her time in the White House and as America’s top diplomat, and her
role in protecting American security and shaping foreign policy during
the extraordinary period from 2001-2009.”
Extraordinary? You betchya! That was an extraordinary, poorly structured sentence!
When Crown Publishers says “candid”, what they really mean is “bullhickey” and when Crown Publishers says “acute analysis” what they really mean is “a cute anal cyst”.
I am going on record with that.
Ah yes, the moment we have all been waiting for, my friends: the inevitable onslaught of uninteresting, embellished memoirs (see James Frey) from Bush administration cadres who would be much better off hiding under that blanket of destitution they collectively weaved over those eight long years.
Dick Cheney’s memoir: I Screwed Over My Own Country and Got Away with It
Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir: Blowing Up People Is Fun
Dubya’s memoir: I Am Smarter than a Fifth Grader Because I Am Way More Educationified
I suspect these tell-alls will not tell all and that they will all be as candid and truthful as an Alex Rodriguez/Katie Couric interview.
If you want the truth, read the battery of explicit facts spewed by one Jose Canseco. He seems to be the one with all the info and up to this point, he has been the most accurate when disclosing the inner workings of a poorly policed administration.
Speaking of good stuff, I am and always have been a reader (how else do you think I became so intelligent?) and though I enjoy some good fiction every now and then, my true passion is reading about real life. These days I can be found reading Jane Heller’s Confessions of a She-Fan. My busy schedule of Cub fan hounding and John Mozeliak thrashing has allowed me to only read a little bit each day, but I can honestly say that I am thoroughly enjoying it.
And since we are all about telling the truth here at RSBS, I am not going to withhold the fact that while reading Jane’s book during my commutes on the Chicago Transit Authority, I do my absolute best to hide the chick-lit-esque cover boasting a female fan donning a Yankee cap, looking up at an invisible monster whom I can only assume is Theo Epstein. The cover lady’s eyes are dreamy. She’s definitely into me. But I still force myself to cover it up. I live in Chicago after all. Like the rest of the blue collar cities, we hate ‘dem Yankees… don’t get me wrong, the book is great and all…
Just remember: I have an image to uphold.
Luckily, my stealth allows me to take in Confessions and really enjoy it. And while I may not have the desire to date a Yankee, as author Jane Heller once did, I sure would not mind dating some of the Yankees’ leftovers.
Believe me, that would be way more interesting than any Condoleezza Rice book.
So go ahead. Throw the book at me; just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Texans have long brought the drama. Whether we are talking about Nolan Ryan throwing seven career no-hitters, Ross Perot anteing up his own funds to eradicate the national debt or Roger Clemens going out with a bang, the good people of Texas are rarely light on theatrics.
With this in mind, it should be no surprise that Texans are looking to the skies and hypothesizing that what they see may very well be the beginning of the end of life as we know it. Humans are hardly rational beings, and as the world economy plummets, the earth itself rots and our heroes fall, it is no wonder why people actually believe UFOs are coming to invade us, kill us and eat our brains.
Alas, dear readers! While the recent UFO/meteor sightings in Texas appear to be mysteriously detrimental to our society, I have done ample research and settled on the following alternative explanations for this fierce phenomenon:
- That’s no UFO; it’s the ball Albert Pujols hit off Brad Lidge in the 2005 NLCS finally falling back to Earth
- That’s no UFO; it’s the wrath of God shooting down the twisted ideology of the devil herself
- That’s no UFO; it’s the collective failures of one Kyle Farnsworth crashing and burning (was supposed to land in Kansas City but due to a sincere lack of notoriety, Kansas City’s exact location could not be determined)
- That’s no UFO; it’s Roland Burris doing his best Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial impression to make us forget that his story doesn’t quite add up
- That’s no UFO; it’s Manny being Manny exercising his final, most breathtaking stunt to get a multi-year deal making A-Rod money (sans the special sauce one can only hope)
Wait, no… that is a lie.
Because the St. Louis Cardinals released their clubhouse infecting second baseman Adam Kennedy this week and GM John Mozeliak, by simply opening his mouth, has opened the door for more ridicule from those of us who should actually matter the most (the fans) but continuously get tossed aside like a Roger Clemens B-12 filled syringe.
So Kennedy is gone. Great. Ask me if I care.
What I do care about is the $4 million we are paying him for 2009 anyway. Mozeliak said:
“I tried to exhaust the trade market. We thought we might have something happening that really came to an end
this weekend. At that point it was just time. It was more fair for both
parties to do it now than wait a couple weeks.”
Translation: I am not very good at my job.
You mean to tell me, Mr. Mozeliak, that no team in Major League Baseball was willing to trade for Kennedy? No team!?! None?!? You couldn’t get one minor league guy, one nobody, one journeyman reliever for Adam Kennedy?
Give me a break. But in all fairness, Mr. Mozeliak, you are right about one thing. That was a fair deal for the Kennedy camp. More than fair. Here’s $4 million, Adam. Sit on your ^ss, dude. Have a good time. Go out and get a league minimum one-year deal from some team and live off the fat of the Cardinals’ land.
I suspect he will.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals fan forums, blogs and message boards are lighting up with “what the hell do we do now”s; some delusional fans have even gone as far as to suggest Mozeliak may go out and sign a free agent second baseman like Orlando Hudson or Mark Grudzielanek to fill the empty space.
Ha! I laugh in your face! For you know not the true nature of our general manager:
“Right now, we’re going to go with what we have. We would like to do this internally if we could, and we do have confidence that we can.”
Translation: I have the conch! Not you! Me! It’s mine mine mine mine mine! All mine! And I say let’s get these suckas in the ballpark without assembling a competitive team. Why not? Those silly fans have already proven that they’ll support a crappy team; we can do that on the cheap and still rake in millions! Sell ’em t-shirts and Busch Light and bobbleheads that are way overpriced! They love that s***!
Mozeliak finished by saying:
“I do think this [releasing Kennedy for nothing while still paying him $4 million] was an opportunity to inject some energy into that
position and really show that we are moving this club in a newer
Translation: This club is built to fail. I signed Trever Miller and Royce Ring to further weaken an already deplorable bullpen that blew 31 saves last year. My major off-season acquisition of shortstop Khalil Greene hit a mind-blowing .212 last season, I haven’t even tried to land a closer and I am taking Ludwick and Ankiel to arbitration because I want to make them feel uncomfortable about playing in St. Louis. And as soon as this season is over and we have been embarrassed by the Cubs and Brewers, LaRussa and Duncan will walk and I’ll have this team right where I want it: going nowhere!
At least Ballpark Village is right on track:
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.