You know what Chris Sale needs? A good long trip to the woodshed. Unless you’ve been in a coma the past few days, you already know that Sale was suspended for cuttin’ up his team’s navy-collared 1976 throw-back uniforms cuz he didn’t like ’em, and then got into some sorta shoutin’ match with someone from Chicago’s front office. Nice, Chris. Real mature. Oh … and with a ginormous helping of sarcasism, I’d like to say “nice job” to the parents of this major league bratski. Anybody who behaves like a 20 year old John McEnroe impersonating Carlos Zambrano doesn’t deserve to wear a Major League uniform, regardless of what era it comes from.
Temper tantrums from athletes are not new. I already mentioned Zambrano and McEnroe, but that’s just the tip of the ice berg, pal. How ’bout Billy Martin, Jonathan Papelbon, Serena Williams, Ron Artest, Latrell Sprewell, Pacman Jones? Oh yeah, and there’s the ever-lovin’ crown prince of pissed off, OJ Simpson. It’s a deep pool of boiling vitriol that meanders through all sports. But no matter which offending athlete or whatever sport they participate in, the professional equivalent of throwin’ yourself on the floor, screamin’ and kickin’ can likely be traced to a really stellar job of parenting.
It’s not like this was the first time Sale flew off the friggin’ handle in a fully armed F-22. I guarantee you it’s been happenin’ his whole life, without consequence. Spare the rod, spoil the child that grows up to be a Major League asshole pitcher.
There is no joy in Mudville. At least on Tommy Lasorda’s street. Of course I’m just spit-ballin’ on that, but I gotta imagine Mike Piazza goin’ into the Hall as a Met instead of a Dodger musta been more than enough to orbit LA’s most famous Italian sausage. They probably heard it all the way in Vero Beach, cuz I’ll tell you … anybody who’s ever heard Tommy when he’s upset knows what his favorite words are, and that he wields ’em like Luke Skywalker with a lightsaber. Even Andrew Dice Clay probably covers his ears.
I think Piazza is still sore at the Dodgers for not givin’ into his contract demands back in the day. Let me just say right here that makin’ eight or 12 or 26 million dollars a year to play a game is not only stupid money, it’s just plain stupid. Nobody should get paid like that unless you’re curin’ cancer or somethin’. Anyway, instead of payin’ him, they traded the guy to the Marlins who immediately sent him to New York. The back story on all of that is pretty interesting. In the end, Piazza was the best position player the Mets ever had, was a GREAT hitter and had his best years in Queens. In addition to that, goin’ into the Hall of Fame ranks a little higher than gettin’ the prize outta your Cracker Jacks box, so you should pretty much be able to decide which one of the teams you played for gets the honor.
Still, if it weren’t for Lasorda, Piazza may never have stepped foot on a professional diamond — not even in A ball. Nobody wanted to give Mike a look. So Lasorda — a long time friend of Piazza’s dad and Godfather to Mike’s brother — talked the Dodgers into takin’ Piazza in the 62nd round of the June 1988 draft. That’s what you call a throw-away pick, my friend. They sent him to Salem, Oregon. If LA is the brightest spot in the Dodgers universe, Salem is a little asteroid that’s furthest from it. I don’t think they has much hope for Piazza. But he was like family. If Tommy hadn’t insisted on makin’ that pick … who knows? Maybe Piazza is sellin’ insurance.
Anyway, if I’m Lasorda, and I’m a big believer in family and loyalty and I bleed Dodger blue, I’ve got smoke curling outta my ears when I hear Piazza’s “Mets” decision, and I’m marchin’ through my house lettin’ loose with an extra large serving of the Dave Kingman and Kurt Bevacqua word salad.
Like I said, it’s Piazza choice. Of course it’s just another reason (number 870) to hate the Mets, and I just don’t think Lasorda would be all that giddy about it.
Hey there, weed eaters. I got a question for ya: What the hell is it with the Robin Leach plans for Wrigley Field? Excuse me all to friggin’ hell for just bein’ a baseball fan instead of a Rolls Royce drivin’, C-suite fancy pants with $1000 bills hangin’ outta my pockets, but I guess that just ain’t good enough for Tom Ricketts anymore.
Hey, I’m grateful as hell that Tom-Tom wrestled the Cubs away from the pinheads at the Trib, and has turned the club into something that has less than zero resemblance to the National League door mat it used to be. Major kudos for that, Mr Ricketts. The Schlombowski’s thank you. But plans are in the works to turn parts of Wrigley into some sorta private yacht club for the single malt sippin’ rich and famous, and they’re wedged into my craw like a friggin’ 2 x 4. That whole way of thinkin’ is a slippery slope, my friend. It gives me an Old Style headache — one that can only be relieved by blowin’ the foam off my medicine.
I suppose I should be happy that Wrigley hasn’t gone the way of the wrecking ball. If it had, not only would the best ball park in the galaxy be just a memory, but we’d now have a “kinda” ball park as it’s replacement. “Kinda” ball parks are places like AT&T, or PNC, that kinda seem like an old baseball park, and kinda have some of the idiosyncrasies ($10 word bonus for Joe) of an Ebbets or Crosley or Comsky or Fenway, but they’re just Kingdome’s in disguise. No one is happier than me that we’ve still got Wrigley in it’s almost original form. And some of the changes over the years have been good. As hard as it was to take at the time, I know we had to do the lights. It was a must. And the clubhouse? Sheesh. You can’t treat million dollar ball players like circus animals, especially now since they don’t play like ’em anymore. But not every change is for the better, pal.
Hey there, pot stickers, Joe “Untouchable” Schlombowski, here. So I was readin’ in the Trib that Chris Correa, the Cards’ former scouting director, was just sentenced to a skosh under 4 years in the slammer for spyin’ on the Stros. This story is so whacked that I’m havin’ trouble knowin’ where to even start. But, hey, I’ll give it a shot.
First, Chris Correa isn’t exactly on par with the Pink Panther when it comes to bein’ a criminal mastermind. I mean if you rob a bank, and you’re wiley enough to get away with it, you end up with a ton of cash. BOOM! Instant payoff. Rocket scientist Correa, on the other hand, hacked into the Stros’ database in order to get his beady little eyes on their draft list, notes on trade discussions, player evaluations and a 2014 team draft board. What the hell is the payoff with that kinda move? Sure, over time, the Cards maybe, possibly, eventually might, sorta, kinda be able to make some minor gains at the expense of Houston, but we’re talkin’ about stuff that typically takes years to develop. And Houston isn’t even in the same league, let alone the same division as the Cards, which if they were it would have the greatest possibility of makin’ a difference. And what does Correra get outta any of it anyway? Maybe a raise if and when enough of it pays off, but … wow … is that a roundabout way of gettin’ ahead.
Second, if you are gonna do your own little Richard Nixon reenactment, why the hell would you target baseball? Now, I could be wrong but it seems like whatever Apple Computer is plannin’ for the new, new thing might … just might … be a little more valuable than the OPS of some 16 year old phenom from Barahona. Yeah, I get it … Correa was in baseball so he was workin’ the turf he knows. But the risk/reward trade off is just too thin. It’s Twiggy on a liquid diet. It’s friggin’ anorexic.
Third, and no offense to the Stros — well, the usual amount, but no more than that — if you’re just bound and determined to partake in corporate baseball espionage, is hackin’ into the Astro’s database where you wanna start? That woulda been like Nixon’s guys breakin’ into the Bethesda Motel 6. If I’m Correa — and thank God I’m not cuz I’d have the IQ of driftwood — I’m hackin’ the Cubs. Why? Look at ’em. Look at the club, the depth, the talent, the farm system. If you get away with it — and I gotta assume that was part of Correa’s plan — why wouldn’t you go after the information that can make the biggest difference for you, both in terms of it face value, and the fact that you’d be takin’ it from your arch-friggin-rival? Nope. Correa goes for the Stros in what can best be described as a pinheadian move of gargantuan proportions.
But then, what would you expect from a Cardinals guy?
When I got up yesterday, I had a little extra spring in the Schlombowki waddle. It was National Hot Dog Day. As usual, I saluted and checked my condiments. No … the ones in the pantry.
Nothin’ … and I mean NOTHIN’ is better than a hot dog. Except 3 or 4 of ’em. A few dozen more if you’re Joey Chestnut. Anyway, National Hot Dog Day pays tribute to that, honoring the highly under-appreciated and unassuming hot dog as the quintessential American food. It’s waaaaaay more American than apple pie, by the way. When the hell was the last time you saw someone chowin’ down a pie at a ball game? Never, that’s when. Look, when American’s do American stuff, like picnics or a 4th of July BBQ or takin’ in a ball game, hot dogs are on the menu, pal. Period. And if they’re not — if you’re doin’ any of those things without havin’ dogs or brats or polish or whatever kinda encased meat products (the 3 most beautiful words in the English language) that turns your crank, you’re just plain un-american. You could be KGB with an attitude like that. Boris Badenov. Putin.
Hot dogs are actually the perfect representation of America, in a small, 3 or4 bite-sized epicurean way. Think about it — America is made up of all kinds of people (and St Louis fans) from all over the world. Melting pot? Pffft. To me, that’s a hot dog, baby! If you ever saw how they make ’em, you’d know exactly what I’m sayin’. Why? Cuz dogs are made outta all the left over stuff once the fancy cuts have been carved up. So, just like your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free are the ingredients in American soup … your fatty bits, small trimmings and pig lips yearning to be delectable are mushed all together in their own perfect union — the delicious all-American hot dog.
Anyway, I was really lookin’ forward to Chicago doggin’ all day; breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime snack … the works. It’s a Schlombowski tradition. And, as it turns out, a nutrition tradition. Yeah, seriously. I’m pretty sure hot dogs are a super food. I don’t really know what that means, but they’re food and they taste super, so I’m goin’ with super food. It’s a good thing, like kale … only I’ll eat it.
Gettin’ smacked in the jewels is no picnic. It’s not even a leftover bowl of little Doritos scraps, so I can only imagine how Willson Contreras musta felt when he got a foul tip off of his foul tip. I money-back guarantee you that every single guy that saw that play made one of those “ouch” faces, with teeth clenched, and where the eyes squint like somebody just emptied a couple of lemons in ’em. It’s a universal reaction to seeing that happen to somebody, cuz we’ve all been there. Maybe not with a baseball, but if you hit ground zero with a bean bag, it’s gonna hurt.
What’s not universal is the way Contreras was breakdancin’ all over the infield tryin’ to shake it off. That was totally new territory, my friend. Most guys — like 90 out of a 100 — are just gonna go fetal position. Another 9 are gonna LeBron James it — whaling like the Mountain just whacked off an arm or something. Contreras, on the other hand, looked like he was tryin’ to get a shot on Dancin’ With the Stars, shakin’ and bakin’ like the boogie woogie bugle boy. It’s only a matter of time before somebody with not enough to do sets it to music and throws it up on YouTube. Can’t wait.
The weird thing about this play — and I think this is universal, too — is that about 6 seconds after it happened, and I’m finished makin’ my “ouch” face, I started to laugh. Yeah … like I already said, it hurts like a (nasty word of choice here). As guys, we know that. But if it ain’t you, it’s funny. Especially with that Jupiter Walk (like the Moon Walk only way way further out in space) Contreras laid on us.
Anyway, I felt bad for him. As bad as everyone in the Cubs dugout, anyway.
Unless you’re still weeping over the fact that Game of Thrones is done for the season, you know that Kris Bryant leapt a few tall buildings in a single bound last night on the way to becoming the first player in Chicago Cubs history to have 16 total bases in a single game. Those came at the expense of the Cincinnati Reds in the form of 3 yard shots and 2 doubles. In fact, no one in the 177 years we’ve been playin’ the sport of baseball has ever had that particular combination of five hits in a game. Not even once. Seems to me parents oughta be marchin’ their kids by a plaque somewhere that commemorates this feat of basballian heroism.
The last time I saw the kinda power Bryant put on display last night was when the Soviets paraded their military might through through the streets of Moscow. I’d suggest marching Bryant through the streets of whatever city we happen to be in, but he’s not that kinda guy. And that’s the part I like best about Kris. You won’t see him flippin’ his bat, or standin’ at home admiring one of his dingers, or showin’ up another team. He just goes about his business and lets the performance do the talkin’. Bryce Harper, put your comb down for a minute and pay attention.
What makes this even filthier than it already is, is the fact that he did it while playin’ 3 different positions. There are certainly exceptions, and the Cubs are filled with players who qualify, but most guys get all twisted when you move ’em around the diamond. It throws their games off. Bryant? He could care less. And why? My theory is that his game is a whole lot more about the team than it is about Kris Bryant. He doesn’t ever get sucked into a mind-funk if he’s goin’ through a rough patch, or he’s battin’ in a different spot in the order, or he’s playin’ right instead of 3rd. There’s no Hollywood in Bryant. Bryce Harper, I said put your comb down and pay attention.
Anyway, you can catch the details from Jesse Rogers or David Schoenfield or ESPN or Jesse Rogers again, or maybe graffitied on a box car somewhere. It’s everywhere. I don’t even think Donald Trump can say something that would derail this story for a few days.
That was some game, Kris. Thanks for the memory.
Alright … anybody who wants to be a Major League umpire, raise your hand. Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Which is why my flabber was fully gasted when I read about Jen Pawol. Not only does she wanna be an umpire, she’s a she — completely devoid of the Y chromosome that comes standard with every Major League umpire that’s ever donned a chest protector; a piece of equipment that takes on a whole new meaning when a woman is wearin’ it.
Jen isn’t the first female to make her way through the ranks to the Rookie Leagues, but she could end up bein’ the first to stand toe to painted toe nails with a manager who’d like to rearrange her face. This is something I have a hard time gettin’ my big fat head around. I mean, why would a woman wanna be an umpire? Why does anybody want that job? Seriously. Why subject yourself to the spittle-ladened Lou Piniella impersonations dished by the guys on the field, and the constant, unrelenting, mean-spirited kind from the average schmo sittin’ in the cheap seats?
For a woman it’s gonna be worse. No two ways about it. You’ll have all the usual seein’-eye dog insults, but on top of that you’ll get the kind that are specifically tailored to Susie U:
• Hey, who let you outta the kitchen?
• What the hell do you need a chest protector for?
• You’re gonna need a lot more perfume if you’re gonna make calls like that.
• After this inning, bring me another beer, will ya?
• Hey, nice job with the plate. How ’bout sweepin’ my floors after the game, too?
• I guess you got distracted when you dropped your nail file.
• How’d you like rubbin’ those balls down before the game?
Lord knows there’s no love lost between me and umpires, and insulting everything from their eye sight to intelligence falls under what I would call “proper etiquette” for baseball fans. But yellin’ at one that’s a woman ain’t kosher somehow. I mean, when you’re taught to respect women — and I was — barkin’ at one seems flat out rude. I make an exception for a certain presidential candidate, but then there’s no real evidence that she’s human, let alone a woman. She could be a teletubby in those pantsuit things, so I wouldn’t necessarily be violating anything in the official Schlombowski rule book.
Hey there, bottle rockets. I just read where Mr Arrieta has to get a Coastal Carolina University tattoo cuz he lost a bet with Tommy La Stella over the College World Series. La Stella’s Chanticleers beat Arrieta’s Horned Frogs, putting the roosters (that’s what a Chanticleers is, but — full disclosure — I had to look that one up) in the College World Series finals.
The question remains: Where to inscribe the aforementioned barnyard animal?
At the risk of being indelicate — although really … this is Joe Schlombowski talkin’ here, so would you expect anything less? — I think there’s just one rather OBVIOUS anatomical appendage of the sculpted Arrieta frame that would be ideal for an image of a Chanticleer, otherwise known as a … rooster. (Unless you’re a White Sox fan, you can probably figure that one out.) Now, I have no personal knowledge of just exactly how obvious Mr Arrieta’s rooster is … but given he plays for the Cubs, is one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball, and has put a couple of notches in his no-hitter belt in the last year, I think we can agree that it falls into the “Big Swinging” category.
This brings up a couple of other questions, neither of which I have any intention of devoting even one second of thought to: 1) Would the artist have to order additional ink to finish the job? and 2) Would the Chanticleer be applied before or during the stretching of the proverbial canvas?
Alright. That’s just headed to a place that I don’t really wanna go. Time to watch some Baywatch reruns or somethin’.
Remember this, my friend: Tattoo bets always end badly for one participant, and you got a 50% chance of it bein’ you. Think before you bet with ink.
Hey there, rice cakes. The Cubs were swept by the Cards yesterday. (Yeeaacchhh! Man, those words taste like a giant turd hoagie.) The reason why seems apparent to me, and it’s got nothin’ to do with talent. Talent we got. Heart we got. Spirit we got. Youth we got. Pitching we got. The mixing bowl runneth over, so to speak, so what in the helllllllll happened over the last 3 days then?
I think most guys are gonna say that baseball happened, and losin’ a few in a row is no reason to call out the National Guard. And I get that. The first two games were close; coulda gone either way. We make a couple of mistakes … don’t take advantage of some opportunities … that’s baseball. But what happened yesterday was a friggin’ cake disaster. It was the baseball equivalent of opening the G-D oven door on a half baked angel food. Pfffffffft. Flat as a pancake, pal. I’ve done that a couple of times myself — with a real cake — and it’s never failed to turn the missus into Mr Hyde. Why? Cuz it’s 100% avoidable, and each time it’s been the result of me positioning my head for a really good view of my lower intestines. (Note: Not to be confused with being a White Sox fan.)
Not keepin’ your eye on the ball doesn’t work out too well in baseball. That goes for off the field, too. And it’s that kinda crapola, in my less than humble opinion, that had the Cubs quietly slinking out the back door of Wrigley after gettin’ swept in the finale with the Cards.