You know that part in Bull Durham when Nuke LaLoosh is pitchin’ naked, and then Crash wakes him up and they talk about it like it’s a common baseball player dream? I always thought that was just a big Hollywood cow pie designed to make baseball players interesting to movie critics. Nope. In fact, Arrieta is livin’ his own Nuke LaLoosh dream in ESPN the Magazine’s “Body Issue” (coming out July 6th).
Now I don’t have anything against nudity. The missus will definitely confirm that aside from the Cubs using the Cards for a roll of Charmin, I’m at my jolliest when she’s all dressed up in her birthday suit and there’s nothin’ good on TV. And I’ve let more than my share of guys cut in front of me at the barber shop cuz I was busy checkin’ out the naughty bits of the Playmate of the Month. But I gotta draw the line at Jake Arrieta, my friend.
First of all — and this point is so major it counts for 3 points all by itself — Arrieta is a guy. I don’t really give a crap that he has some super human healthy lifestyle and is built like the Rock. Nobody wants to see the J-man’s bat swingin’ in the wind. Maybe Mrs Arrieta. Maybe some of the bimbettes I see swooning at Wrigley when 49 is pitchin’. Maybe the guys over in Boystown. But that’s it. If I wanna see a guy naked, I can look in the mirror. In fact, it’s because of the naked guy starin’ at me in the mirror in morning that I don’t wanna see Arrieta, or Dwyane Wade, or all 300+ pounds of Vince Wilfork pretending their in a Michelangelo fresco. No offense to athletes and their athletic bodies, but as long as the Internet is still plugged in, there’s greener grass. Know what I’m sayin’?
Now I’m sure there’s some sorta Freudian head-shrinker mumbo-jumbo that can explain why one of the best pitchers in baseball felt compelled to pitch naked in the desert for ESPN. But if I’m pullin’ down Arrieta’s pay check, I don’t really need the money. So what is it? I know there are parts of San Francisco where you can just walk around in broad friggin’ daylight without a stitch and it’s ok. Maybe Arrieta is one of those kinda guys. I don’t know. Pitchers are a different breed. Mark Fidrych used to garden on the mound. Carlos Zambrano had to be hauled off the field in a straight jacket with monotonous regularity. And Al Hrabosky? Well, let’s just say big Al wasn’t called “the mad Hungarian” for nothing.
And where’s the front office? You tellin’ me Theo is good with this? Where’s Major League Baseball? Usually orgs like those are screwed down so tight you can’t slouch in your chair without gettin’ fined. Posin’ nude? That’d usually get your naked ass fired. I guess this is a non-factor, though, cuz this particular issue of ESPN the Magazine, along with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue (girls, though … really hot ones) are generally accepted … and mostly tasteful. That and the itty bitty fact that Arrieta is pitchin’ like some sorta Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, 50mm Howitzer mishmash this season. In my opinion, though, if God had wanted ballplayers to pose nude he wouldn’t have invented pinstripes.
Of course, I could be wrong. But I’m not.