I proudly retell the story of the time my brothers hassled Manny Ramirez so much at Comerica Park that he finally looked up into the stands and practically begged them to stop. Maybe it runs in the family because even when we were little and sitting way up in the upper deck of old Tiger Stadium, that didn’t stop us from keeping up a steady chant of “Hey batta’ batta’ batta’, swing.” Baseball lets you get close enough to the players that you can actually get inside their heads if they let you.
And this is probably the one area where soccer fails by comparison to baseball. Sure, the fans are up there in the stands cheering on their team. And sometimes they’ll try to get involved by starting racist chants (if you’re in Italy) or throwing objects at the opposing players. They even try to help with the rhythm by singing songs and banging drums.
However, at this point it seems that soccer fans are best known for blowing those goddamn vuvuzelas all game long. Seriously, I’m pretty sure the buzzing is still bouncing around my head from the games I watched this past weekend. This leads me to wonder what the long term effects will be on the players who had to listen to them for the entirety of at least three matches. Will they suffer permanent disabilities?
Well, if animal testing is any proof, the answer is yes:
If the vuvuzela can drive a dog to that, what will it do to the internal wiring of a human? But more importantly, if a plastic toy can have that effect, what happened to Manny after my brothers’ heckling? I’m sure the guy is housebroken but so was that dog.
I hate to pile on the French since this hasn’t been one of the best weeks in their history but I have to add one more thing before we let this go. As you have probably noticed, I have a little thing about sportsmanship. This is somewhat awkward since I tend to be a terrible sport myself and have even been known to throw at opposing batters while playing softball (yeah, seriously). But, knowing this weakness in myself makes it much easier to spot it in others.
For every Armando Galarraga there’s an Alex Rodriguez. For every Nancy Kerrigan there’s a Tonya Harding. And for every Carlos Parreira there’s a Raymond Domenech. Raymond Domenech? Maybe this will refresh your memory:
Refusing to shake the hand of your opposite number on the world’s biggest stage is not exactly the best way to end a career. It’s not like Parreira had insulted Domenech’s mother and sister the way Italian defender, Marco Materazzi, is reputed to have done in the lead up to Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt during the final of the 2006 World Cup.
And you know what, even if he had insulted Domenech’s mother wouldn’t the ultimate payback be shaking the man’s hand and showing that you’re the bigger person?
It has been a rough few weeks for the French. Their retirement age is about to go up to 62 and their World Cup team has become the biggest French snafu since the Maginot Line. However, intractable situations give us all the opportunity to shine and Domenech totally missed his. Me, I just make sure I’m not pitching when I play softball.
Jeff!!! I loved your pictures from Nats park and I’m psyched that you
got to see Strasburg. I also saw that you’ve been to Sox park and
Wrigley recently. What’s your favorite ballpark that you’ve already
visited and which place would you like to see the most?
After a fiery, bloody internal debate that lasted well over an hour, I finally decided not to begin addressing this query by postulating what one would find if he/she were to actually venture to Manassas, VA… ‘cuz I’m pretty sure one can find Man-assas (a$$e$?) anywhere… including ballparks all across US America.
Still got it, folks.
Okay, maybe not.
But it doesn’t matter… and neither does the ballpark, Caitlin. What matters is the game. Sure Busch hosts my boys, Wrigley’s nostalgic, Nats Park has Ben’s Chili Bowl and Sox Park is a good place to pick up Latin Queens; but to be honest, I can find something positive about any and every ballpark I ever go to. And I’ve been to many.
My favorite random ballpark story is the one about the Oakland Coliseum. I happened to be in San Francisco on business. It was a Saturday night and I had nothing to do, so I hopped on the BART to Oakland, walked up to the ticket counter at the Coliseum and said, “I got forty bucks. Where can I sit for that?”
“In a good seat, Honey.” said the kind ticket lady.
Ten minutes later I’m sitting behind homeplate on the first tier above ground level and I can hear Nick Swisher’s awful jokes with my own ears. Ten minutes after that and I have a Fat Tire in my hand (at the ballpark!) and a few hours after that I was sufficiently drunk off the seductive elixir of the game itself.
And that can happen anywhere.
Though there is one place in particular that I just gotta go to, before it goes back to just hosting football games:
(Chewbacca image via 9GAG)
And so in this Podcast…
Dear readers galore FINALLY get to meet THE one, the ONLY, Mr. Allen Krause as he joins Jeff and Johanna to discuss all things urgent, all things necessary. And it’s all made possible by science. And hard work. And Skype. Judge for yourself. Among the titillating
topics of discussion: Strasburg as Jesus, the difference between anathema and an enema (it’s important), starting a Pete Rose for US WBC Team Player/Manager petition on Facebook, Gallaraga’s thingy, the Lou Piniella Mailbag and much,
to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
thanks to Keith Carmack — our engineer, director, editor and
all-around sound guru. His Undercast
podcast is the bomb shizzy, by the way. It’s available on iTunes and
is posted regularly at Undercard
Recorded Wednesday, June 23, 2010
If you’re like me, dear readers, you like to eat, you like to sleep, you like to fantasize about Erin Andrews and Jenna Fischer co-hosting a pot luck dinner at my house (hey, how convenient that your fantasies are my fantasies!).
And being a Chicagoan, I am surrounded by plenty of good eats. Ann Sathers, Giordano’s, Gibson’s… just to name a few. Heck, you can even get good grub at the ballparks! I know, ‘cuz I wrote about it!
But what happens when you’re full of beer, full of hot dogs, full of pulled pork… and the game is… boring? Let’s face it, folks: this weekend’s Crosstown Rivalry has every potential of being boring (Cubs = Bad, Sox = Good). Well, my suggestion (via baby Blake below) is to just stuff your face with even more food!
And if that doesn’t work, go back to that Erin & Jenna fantasy… that oughta keep your spirits high!
Hate me ‘cuz it’s not illegal yet, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Special thanks to Sam at Eating Everywhere!)
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.
Say what ya want about the mighty market divas of the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Dodgers. Go ahead and hate on A-Rod, slam Manny, spit on Youk… whatevs. Sometimes they deserve it; sometimes they don’t. It’s all a part of professional sports.
But no matter how infantile and annoying MLB superstars can be (yes, I’m looking at you, Milton Bradley), none of them quite qualify as being as toxically asinine as Nicolas Anelka and his band of busted b!tches that once formed the French national soccer team.
You think Roberto Alomar spitting on John Hirschbeck was bad? Imagine Roberto Alomar spitting on John Hirschbeck during the World Series, with a big nasty particle-filled loogey, and all his teammates joining in.
Yeah. That’s sorta what France’s World Cup was like. But at least it’s over. And now we can think about… things that are worse than France. For instance:
Duh. You knew that was comin’.
Rob Blagojevich’s Image
For all of you who live outside of Illinois, be glad you do; ‘cuz this Blago crap is just now gettin’ started for real. The lego hair, the smarmy and disingenuous smile, the creepy way he talks to every woman as if she were a dumb, money-chasin, cheap-trick-happy cocktail waitress… this dude is going to the joint. Eventually.
You knew that was comin’ too.
It makes me sick that he was in my neighborhood. It makes me even more sick to know that he was at Sox Park. And it makes me Bush-Sr-Throwin-Up-On-Japanese-People sick to know he tossed the first pitch to Mark Buehrle!
You didn’t think this could end with anything worse, did you? I’m pretty sure I heard the Astros’ team on-base-percentage was the worse on-base-percentage in the history of time, including all dimensions — even those we are unaware of yet…
That’s why they’re called the LOLstros.
Hate me. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Too often we ignore tough questions and refuse to speculate on the “what ifs” we confront as a baseball loving community. You could make a strong case that this happened with the steroid scandal and it is inevitable that baseball will face other equally difficult problems in the future. Luckily, RSBS refuses to sit back and rest on our laurels. We will continue to push for consideration of all the too real issues facing the baseball community.
For instance, isn’t it time that we think about what would happen to baseball if the zombie apocalypse broke out? On a geo-political level, Daniel Drezner already addressed the topic and presented several different paradigms. Today, RSBS takes a look at possible MLB specific scenarios.
The Danny Boyle
As players continue to experiment with various PED’s and try to avoid detection by using previously unknown substances, we face a very real possibility of infection à la 28 Days Later. It doesn’t help our chances that baseball players are already genetic freaks with practically superhuman strength, speed and dexterity. In this scenario we have two avenues of salvation. First, we can hope that security reacts quickly and shuts down the stadium so the zombie baseball players don’t escape. Yes, this probably means several thousand dead fans before the problem can be, uh, eradicated but it’s a small price to pay to avoid the annihilation of all mankind. The second possibility is that zombification will affect the players’ brains to the point that they can be taken down easily with available weaponry like bats, t-shirt cannons and plastic knives.
The George Romero
The second scenario is a more classic zombie approach. If an infected fan were to enter the ballpark, the tight spaces, confined exits and various nooks and crannies present a zombie wonderland. Or house of horrors depending on whether you’re playing for the undead or Team Humanity. In this we’re once again lucky to have access to a veritable arsenal of zombie killing treasures and, as long as they remain uninfected, the services of trained head smashing machines like Jose Offerman. Let’s just hope it doesn’t start at Citizen’s Bank Park because Chase Utley’s batting average suggests he’ll be hitting more air than zombie heads.
Our final scenario draws on contemporary inspiration like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. Zombies are generally seen as terror-inducing eaters of brains. But recent popular culture reinterpretations have shown us that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. For instance, what if a zombie A-Rod stumbled across the mound while Dallas Braden was pitching? Or what if Manny Ramirez became a reanimated corpse? It might even lead to the new catchphrase, “That’s just Manny being a zombie.” Which would be funny because it was true. Sure, we’d have to keep an eye on the epidemic and make sure it didn’t spread. This might even lead to protests against the segregation of zombie baseball players in separate dressing rooms. But I think we can all agree that the comedic potential is definitely there.
Over here at RSBS we’re still hoping that the zombie apocalypse stays firmly rooted in the world of film and fiction. In our opinion, Woody Harrelson and Mr. Darcy are much more suited to zombie fighting than we are. But if the day of reckoning does come, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you were prepared. No, don’t thank us. It’s our job.
I know we just saw him on Friday, but I can’t sit still. I’m eager. I want Stras-mas to be here… yesterday.
I also want the Nationals to give the guy some runs this time.
He’s throwin’ a 90-91 mph change-up for Cy Young’s sake.
Help the guy out.
All the cool kids are sayin’ this is the year of the pitcher…
And this is the best one I’ve seen.
Don’t hate me… ‘cuz I’m tellin’ ya, I’m right.