May 22, 2013
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Thursday, July 02, 2009
I never thought I'd cry while watching an Eminem video, but the waterworks started at about the 3:05 mark of his new one.
Detroit natives of a certain age may get a little misty through the whole thing.
Last week, Rany Jazayerli sent a heat-seeking missile in the direction of the Royals' medical staff. The Royals read it. As a result, the Royals have banned him. Banned him from what is not exactly clear inasmuch as Rany lives and works in Chicago and isn't exactly a constant presence at Kaufman Stadium, but banned he is.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous.
UPDATE: I've given this more thought.
I'm still trying to get my brain around this. I mean, the Royals organization obviously reads Rany, or else they wouldn't have gotten mad at what he wrote. However, if they do read Rany, surely they realize that he's one of the best fans in the history of fandom. For years and years he has been optimistic about the Royals, giving them way more benefit of the doubt than they were probably ever entitled. No, it's never been blind faith -- Rany is not some mindless fanboy -- but he has long avoided the cynicism and hopelessness that tends to take over your more critically-minded followers of historically poor performing teams. More importantly, Rany is one of the team's most high-profile fans. In that capacity he gives voice to what many thousands of fans are thinking.
In light of this, when Rany levels criticism, it's safe to assume that (a) it's serious criticism, not a cheap shot; and (b) many, many people who buy Royals tickets are thinking the same way. This doesn't mean you roll over, of course. To the contrary, when a guy like Rany says what he said, the Royals' first impulse should have been to ask themselves whether he had a point. If he did, great, it was a worthy comment. If he didn't, that's fine too. Call him a sonofabitch in the privacy of the team office and make it clear to anyone who matters (i.e. the trainer Rany went after) that he has the team's support and no one cares what this blogger thinks.
But they didn't do that. They got defensive and pissy in a very public way. And by doing that, the Royals sent a signal to an important segment of their fan base -- the plugged-in segment -- that they can't tolerate reasoned criticism. And if one can't tolerate reasoned criticism, one isn't going to act on it.
Which raises the question: In light of this, why on Earth would anyone with a brain continue to be a Royals fan?*
UPDATE II: This is not the first time the Royals have acted so petulantly.
UPDATE III: It's over, and while the Royals are apparently still barring their employees from appearing on Rany's radio show -- as is their right -- they have rescinded their threat to bar team-access to any station that airs Rany's show (got that?). Of course, as J.C. Bradbury noted on his Facebook post "They recanted only b/c they got caught." Specifically, because an Internet #### storm happened and everyone saw how ridiculous the Royals were being.
None of this changes what I said above about the Royals. There's no escaping that they're focused on the wrong things. There's also no escaping that, if this how they respond to external dissent, there's no reason to believe that they're making the right decisions internally either, because all good decisions are made in a setting where people can feel free to say anything without fear of reprisal.
This was probably stated too strongly and/or inartfully. I did not mean to say that Royals fans are stupid. I understand that fandom is not always a rational thing. The comment was merely intended to make even ardent Royals supporters think hard about their support for their team in light of this little development. I probably could have stated it better.
Here's an event for you, at least if you're in Brooklyn this evening:
Gelf's Varsity Letters sports reading series returns on Thursday, July 2, at 7:30 p.m., with a night dedicated to baseball. At this free monthly event in DUMBO, Brooklyn, hosted by Gelf and Jan Larsen Art, Scott Price, Selena Roberts, and members of the New York Daily News sports investigative team will read from and talk about their work, and take questions. Price has the wrenching tale of the life and death of [Mike Coolbaugh]. Roberts will speak about her controversial biography of Alex Rodriguez. And the Daily News team will discuss its exposé of Roger Clemens and steroids in baseball.
Admission is free. Go to mock Selena Roberts, but stay to listen to Scott Price, whose Coolbaugh book sounds really, really good.
The Rangers' financial woes continue:
Amid increased internet chatter Wednesday that Tom Hicks’ sports group - Hicks Sports Group - financial woes are deepening and that the club has borrowed money from MLB’s rainy-day fund, team officials took a strange approach.
It's only a matter of time before the Rangers' become baseball's General Motors.
I think I read about this a couple of weeks ago, but today's the actual ceremony:
Red Sox left fielder Jason Bay has long played America's pastime and will now be able to call himself an American. The 30-year-old player from Canada becomes a U.S. citizen Thursday afternoon in a ceremony at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall. Bay is from British Columbia and is the first Red Sox player to be naturalized since Dominican-born David Ortiz was sworn in last summer in Fenway Park.
Sure, he'll tell you that it's because he's married to a U.S. citizen and that he plans to make his home here and all of that, but if you don't think this is a move borne of lingering embarrassment over the circumstances of the British North America Act, well, you're just crazy.
Former major leaguer Jim Leyritz was arrested Thursday in South Florida on charges of domestic battery against his ex-wife, just two months before his trial on a DUI manslaughter charge was set to begin.
This would be the ex-wife who, according to Leyritz's weepy interview last month, "moved back in to help with expenses and the kids" when he was in desperate straits following the fatal accident.
You're welcome, jackass.
UPDATE: Yes, I note the conflicting reports, and I also note that the article itself says that Leyritz told police that his ex-wife was drunk and hurt herself to retaliate for him trying to evict her. I have no idea what actually happened, but (a) it was apparently ugly either way; and (b) I've been calling Leyrtiz a jackass since October 1996 and I have no plans of stopping now.
I love Joe Mauer, but I'm guessing he's got no flow:
Joe Mauer is from Minnesota. He is white. He plays Major League Baseball. He is considered something of a pretty boy. None of these four things outlaws him from practicing his secret hobby. All of them combined into one 6-foot-5, sideburn-wearing, .400-flirting catcher, however, makes for the unlikeliest rapper in the history of rap.
When I started my new job back in February, I made one or two off the cuff comments about "Watchmen," and suddenly I was transformed into the office comic book geek. Never mind that, aside from a handful of well-known graphic novels, I own virtually no comic books. For me it's basically "Watchmen," some assorted Batman stuff and that's it. But when people don't know your personal habits very well, they tend to latch onto the first semi-defining trait of which they hear. I mentioned a comic book, so I'm the comic book guy, and that's just how it kind of goes in offices. Which is one of the many reasons why you don't even joke about some crap at work.
This strikes me as one of those deals. Mauer probably had one too many Sheep Head Ales, beatbox into a tape recorder, and the rest is somewhat inaccurate history.
(thanks to YankeeFanLen for the link)
Things I wrote while trying to decide whether it would worse to be a lawyer handling the Michael Jackson estate or a lawyer having to tell this woman's family that, no, there probably isn't a viable products liability lawsuit coming out of this. Wait, that's crazy. Guys will be lining up to file that lawsuit, and this time next year your thermostat will have a 36-point font:
A pinch is a device which creates, like, a cardiac arrest for any broadband electrical circuitry. Better yet, a pinch is a bomb - now, but without the bomb. See, when a nuclear weapon detonates, it unleashes an electromagnetic pulse which shuts down any power source within its blast radius. Now that tends not to matter in most cases, because the nuclear weapon usually destroys anything you might need power for anyway. But see, a pinch creates a similar electromagnetic pulse, but without the fuss of mass destruction and death. So instead of Hiroshima, you'd be getting the 1960s with Koufax on the mound.
I think one of those things was set off last night, as there were all manner of pathetic offensive/excellent pitching performances, characterized by multiple 1-0 games. Many of these games can be broken down into three categories: the pitcher who pitched great and won; the pitcher who pitched great and got boned; and the blind pig of a batter who managed to find the one stinkin' truffle of a run that made the difference. Oh, and there's a nice Monty Python bit down in the Yankees-Mariners recap and some totally uncalled for Canada bashing down in the Blue Jays-Rays item. Enjoy!
Dodgers 1, Rockies 0: Won: Ramon Troncoso, but he was a reliever. Clayton Kershaw started but couldn't hang around for the win because he walked too many guys and threw 97 pitches in five innings. Boned: Jason Hammell (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5K), who pitched way better than Kershaw but had no blind pig on his side. Blind Pig: Rafael Furcal with an RBI single.
Reds 1, Diamondbacks 0: Won: Johnny Cueto (6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER 8K); Boned: Jon Garland (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER); Blind Pig: Joey Votto with an RBI single.
Mets 1, Brewers 0: Won: Mike Pelfrey (7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 6K). Boned: Yovani Gallardo (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 12K). Blind Pig: Ryan Church, RBI single.
OK, so it was only three, but I don't recall any days in the past couple of years with even that many 1-0 games. Anyway:
Yankees 4, Mariners 2: Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!
Buster Olney: Here's one-
Alex Rodriguez: (feebly) I'm not dead!
Cart-master: (surprised) What?
Buster Olney: Nothing! Here's your ninepence....
Alex Rodriguez: I'm not dead!
Cart-master: 'Ere! 'E says 'e's not dead!
Buster Olney: Yes he is.
Alex Rodriguez: I'm not!
Cart-master: 'E isn't?
Buster Olney: Well... he will be soon-- he's very ill...
Alex Rodriguez: I'm getting better!
Buster Olney: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
Alex Rodriguez: I feel happy! I feel happy! (2-4, HR, 2 RBI)
Red Sox 6, Orioles 5: Back atcha, Baltimore! The O's blow a 5-1 lead in the ninth and woof it away in the 11th. "I thought today was a great opportunity for our bullpen to come show the league what we're really made of," Papelbon said after the game. "I think we answered that with flying colors." And that answer is that the bullpen is made out of mixed metaphors until the cows come home to roost.
Braves 11, Phillies 1: Following up on yesterday's comment, I did tell Bill at Crashburn Alley that the Braves would lose the Hamels-Jurrjens game, so I was technically wrong. Still, I predicted Atlanta winning two of three, so they can vindicate me with a loss tomorrow. Jair Jurrjens pitched better than the guys up in the 1-0 games (7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 6K) and the Braves actually got some offense for a damn change.
Cubs 4, Pirates 1: That's three straight wins for Randy Wells (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER). Some other good news: Aramis Ramirez is ready to rehab, and now the Cubs get to see how he plays in Peoria.
White Sox 6, Indians 2: Oh come on cut the rah rah sh*t Taylor! Year after this I go free agent. Plus me and my agent got a couple of plans for life after baseball. So I am not about to risk major injury or displace this property for a collection of stiffs!
Athletics 5, Tigers 1: This is kind of how the A's drew it up in the offseason: Bombs from Giambi and Cust, a solid start from Dallas Braden and a nice win at home. Two facts from the game story: (1) "The 38-year-old Giambi, who has been dealing with sore legs . . ."; and (2) "[Giambi] was in a 2-for-28 stretch before the homer after striking out in his first two at-bats." How in the hell are his legs getting sore? Turning on his heel and walking back to the bench too hard?
Twins 5, Royals 1: Joe Mauer was 3 for 3, knucklebaler R.A. Dickey was perfect for an inning and a third, the Twins won, and Justin Morneau experienced tightness in his groin. Only one of these facts is truly significant in the grand scheme of things, but good for Mauer and the Twins and bad news for Morneau all the same.
Marlins 5, Nationals 3: From the game story: "Asked to explain Florida's baffling mastery of the Washington Nationals, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez offered the simplest explanation. 'We've been lucky,' he said." Wait. Since when did beating the Nationals on a regular basis constitute "baffling mastery" as opposed to "utter inevitability?"
Cardinals 2, Giants 1: Both Adam Wainwright (9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 12K) and Matt Cain (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) were kinda boned in what I'm choosing to call Game 3 of "Molina Fest." Worth noting in light of my little anti-La Russa bit on Tuesday, that this is exactly the kind of game where an extra bat or two off the bench -- as opposed to three or four pitchers you have no intention of using down in the bullpen -- might come in handy once in a while. And for the record, I had this on in the background and found Sutcliffe somewhat less annoying than he was when I ranted about him last week. I can only assume that I either missed all of the obnoxious parts or else the pod people got hold of him the other day and replaced him with a less-assaulting replica.
Rangers 9, Angels 7: This looked like a wild one, at least from the box score. How wild? Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out yet still scored in the sixth inning.
Astros 7, Padres 1: Not much interesting here, but this is interesting "The Padres say Friday night's game against Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers is a sellout." But . . . but . . . Bill Plaschke said we shouldn't approve of Manny Ramirez's vile and wicked ways!
Blue Jays 5, Rays 0: Ricky Romero (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 7K) can join the 1-0 All-Stars along with Jurrjens. Oh, and yesterday was Canada Day, too. For those of you who don't know, Canada Day celebrates the anniversary of the 1 July 1867 enactment of the British North America Act, which defiantly declared Canada's independence from the evil British and promised that blood will be shed in the interests of Canadian freedom if necessary. Wait . . .what's that? Oh, I'm sorry, I got that wrong. The Act actually declared that Canada was requesting to form a federation, with said request being gradually granted by British fiat over multiple ensuing decades. All while being overseen by Canada's Governor General, who, to this very day, remains in place as a viceregal representative of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who still goes by the title The Queen in Right of Canada. Inspiring, when you think about it.*
*Before Jonah Keri, Pete Toms and the ghost of John Brattain come after me for this gratuitous anti-Canadian rant, please know that both of my maternal grandparents hailed from the Great White North. Maybe that's a weak (and in and of itself offensive) defense for my thinly-veiled American exceptionalism, but I'm hoping that this, combined with my general tolerance/occasional enjoyment of Rush, my love of Tim Hortons Timbits, and the fact that my family hosted a visiting table tennis player during the 1984 Canusa Games will get me off the hook. Though, in the interests of full disclosure, I feel obligated to say that we all hated that table tennis kid and were happy when he went back home to Hamilton.