During my high school days there was this kid who caused quite a bubble of interest everywhere he went. A by all means normal, good-lookin’ dude, this guy was the essence of cool, the poster-child of charm, the cliche of class.
He had money. Nice car. Designer jeans.
Yet despite all of those wonderful attributes — both material and physical — no matter how hard he tried, the kid just couldn’t get right.
He failed school. He drove under the influence. He burned down his own house.
Nowadays, at 30 years old, you can find him living in his parents’ basement, driving his half-totaled IROC-Z with T-Tops back and forth to a running jape of part-time service industry jobs which require little more than a heartbeat.
And every time I see the Yankees, dear readers, I can’t help but think of him.
Because no matter how hard they try, the New York Yankees just can’t get right.
Excessive amounts of money, $1.5 billion new stadium, marquee pitching… and still, those damn Yankees can’t beat the Red Sox, best the Royals’ win total or avoid the onslaught of negative press that follows Alex Rodriguez around like Jose Molina does an all-you-can-eat buffet.
It is sad, folks, really sad when the most positive headlines from the Yankees’ young season include the following:
- Nick Swisher as Offensive Powerhouse
- Damaso Marte Injured; Physically Unable to Allow His Typical 5 Runs per Appearance
- Joe Girardi’s Excuse: I Am as Dumb as I Look
Jimmy Dugan may have said “there’s no crying baseball”, but he didn’t say jack about burning down your own house. And so far, the Yanks are doing a mighty fine job of that!
I mean, don’t get me wrong, a 13-12 record ain’t all that bad, but in the Evil Empire, you might as well be winless.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Many things in life make no sense. Wonderful guys like Jeff and myself being single, for instance. Or the Cardinals winning the 2006 World Series. Sarah Palin becoming a de facto leader of the Republican party. The world is a crazy place. However, nothing reminds me of this fact quite so much as when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces the Oscar nominations around this time every year.
Another mixed-up Oscar
Seriously, are you guys smoking crack? 13 nominations for Benjamin Button? This movie already won an Academy Award a decade and a half ago when it starred Tom Hanks and they called it Forrest Gump. Making the same movie in reverse shouldn’t qualify it to win another Oscar. Speaking of which, here’s an idea for the studio that will save them several million dollars. Why not just buy some old VHS copies of Gump and play them on rewind. There, you’ve seen Benjamin Button and you’ve helped save the environment by reducing demand for new movies and packaging. Don’t get me wrong, it was a cute movie. But it’s three hours of Brad Pitt being Brad Pitt and it leaves us with the oh-so-original thought that we leave this world much like we came into it. Really? I paid twelve dollars for that?
And from the inane, we move to the insane. This category breaks down into two major subcategories, “How did that make it in?” and “How did that get left out?” In the first subcategory, we have the multiple nominations for The Reader. Yep, I’m sure it’s a good movie. Yep, Kate Winslet is an amazing actress. But this fixation the Academy has with anything Holocaust skews their judgment in a major way. Without a doubt, Ben Button also falls into this first subcategory but I think I’ve already made my point there.
However, the second subcategory is where we find the real problems. For instance, how does Gran Torino get completely shut out? For all the amazing films Clint Eastwood has been part of over the years, this one has to rank up near the top. He makes Jack Palance look like a pansy. He’s as clutch when it comes to film making as A-Rod is choke when it comes to post-season baseball. Similarly, there is no possible way you can say that Mr. Button deserved a best picture nod over both The Wrestler and The Dark Knight. Arguably, those are the best two films of the year and neither one of them is even up for the award. That’s more than a shame, that’s a crime. And neither the Boss or Clint being nominated for Best Original Song is beyond embarrassing.
Anyway, I’m done. The anger is gone. I have nothing left and I’m lying in a puddle on the floor, soaking in my own impotent, rage-filled tears. And yes, I realize that this is probably the third post in a row with only the most tenuous connection to baseball but don’t worry. Pitchers and catchers report soon and I’ll once again be on the floor, sobbing as the Tigers’ pitching staff takes the field.
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.