Hey there, corn nuts, Joe “I can’t stand the friggin’ Cardinals” Schlombowski here to remind you that we start a 3 game series against the Redbirds tonight. I bring this to your attention cuz if we broom these cupcakes we claim the Division title for the first time since 2008. I’d call that pretty sweet … but doin’ it against the Cards? Well, that’s more like cotton candy pancakes smothered in whip cream covered Snickers-infused molten chocolate syrup. With an Old Style.
Clinchin’ in St Louis has a much higher calorie count cuz of the long history of discontent between the Cubs and the Cards. It’s like the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, Ali and Frasier, Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. Takin’ the title on the Cards’ home turf would have the added benefit of rubbin’ their noses in somethin’. I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Anyhoo … this reminded me of Sosa and McGwire — two guys that, back in 1998, became a microcosm of this long standing rivalry. That was before they became a microcosm of the cheatin’, roided-up jaggoffs who crapped all over the game of baseball. That aside, their chase for the single season dinger record seemed other-worldly at the time, and it probably did a lot to help bring the national pastime back out from the shadow of the players’ strike, which cancelled the 1994 World Series and part of the next season as well. Assholes.
Seriously. How the hell do you strike when every guy in your industry is makin’ mad money for playin’ a game?! That drives me friggin’ bat guano. Of course the owners pretty much brought it on themselves, and much of that can be laid at the feet of Captain Lame with Lame sauce. Uhh, that would be Bug Selig.
I digress. Point is, Sosa and McGwire spent the ’98 season makin’ like NASA with all the crap they put into orbit. It was mind-boggling. All you had to do was look at either one of ’em to know they weren’t do it the way Maris did, but baseball let it go cuz it was puttin’ butts in seats and makin’ players rich beyond Barry Bonds’s wildest dreams. Anyway, they’re still at it in September when McGwire swats number 62 off Steve Trachsel in the fourth inning of a 6-3 Cubs loss. And what does Sammy do? He makes his way in from right field to embrace his home run rival like a couple of horny grizzly bears. Full disclosure: he wasn’t alone. Hell, half the Cubs lineup practically tried to get his autograph as he was trottin’ around the bases like Secretariat. Which brings me back to the Cubs-Cards rivalry. Or in this particular case, love fest. I’m sorry … I totally get what sportsmanship is all about, but puttin’ your arms around a Cardinal oughta get you fined, my friend. Say somethin’ nice at the press conference, send him a bottle of scotch, maybe. Whatever. But a public display of affection for the arch enemy?! Are you friggin’ kidding me? That’s like Montgomery givin’ Romel a big wet kiss after getting his ass kicked in North Africa. I’m talkin’ oil and water here, my friend. No Cubs player should ever betray the rivalry by doin’ anything that could be construed as “fraternizing” with a Cardinals player.
Fraternization is a term defined as “to become like brothers” and undermines the goals and objectives of war, or in this case a ball game. Providing covert aid or even extending cordiality to the enemy is an offense typically prohibited by military codes of conduct. When it comes to the Cubs-Cards rivalry, I think we’re talkin’ about a similar code, and breaking it oughta be subject to some sort of harsh military-like punitive measures. Like pickin’ up all the sun flower seeds in the dugout between innings, or couple weeks of cleanin’ up Wrigley after each game. I’m just sayin’.
The animosity between us remains intact, though. Should we respect the Cards? Absolutely. They’ve won a helluva lot more Championships than the Cubs have, so they kinda deserve it. Of course that’s just one more reason to hate ’em.
This Friday, Alex Rodriguez will play his last game as a Yankee, and finally — mercifully — A-Rod’s charmed but sordid, impressive yet disgraced chapter in the encyclopedic Book of Yankee will come to an end. At least as a player. His departure from baseball is a good thing. One less cheat; a malignancy that not even the Yankees — for decades, baseball’s answer to the soap opera — could contain. And that’s sayin’ somethin’.
When the announcement was made, I’m sure the guys at the New York Post scattered like cockroaches to their various watering holes, seeking to drown their anguish over the loss of one of the most prolific sources of tabloid dirt in the history of the five boroughs. The good news for Yankees fans — and the Post, for that matter — is that you can take A-Rod outta New York, but you can’t take New York out of it’s penchant for signin’ the most ginormously colossal ego blimps to ever don a mitt. If outsized, overpriced, self-destructive ballplayers were moths, Steinbrenner’s funny farm would be a billion dollar light bulb. It’s only a matter of time before B-Rod or C-Rod slips on the stripes and starts swinin’ his dick around 5th Avenue.
I imagine it’s pretty much always been that way in the Bronx. It’s just that in my day — before Facebook, before YouTube, before Instagram and texting and tweeting, before megapixels and high-def and Pokemon Goin’ like an idiot all over everywhere — you didn’t read about who Billy Martin clocked after last night’s game. And there was no way of knowing which players were treatin’ their wives like Nerf balls, or which material girl they were shackin’ up with. Why? Cuz without that 3 x 5 inch incrimination device in everyone’s pocket like we got today, ballplayers could do just about anything they wanted, to whomever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and no one was the wiser. Hey, I’m not makin’ excuses for A-Rod, mind you — to me he’s just Barry Bonds in a New York state of mind. But they both woulda come out a little less shit-stained if they’d played in the 60s.
When I was a kid, and then later, in my 30s and 40s when George “Fort Knox” Steinbrenner financed the purchase of a fair number of championships, the Yanks stood apart from the rest of baseball. No franchise was more storied or proud or feared than the Bronx Bombers, flashin’ their friggin’ pinstripes like Wall Street bankers, and playin’ in the house that Ruth built among the swirling memories of Gehrig, Mantle, Berra and Ford. They were movie stars that could hit.
A-Rod is a modern day version of one of those guys — someone who commanded an x-rated pay check … just to swat a friggin’ baseball around the yard. Hey, if someone wanted to pay me like that, would I complain? HELL no. I’d take every penny of it.
But I wouldn’t cheat.
And this, my gummy-chewin’ friends, is where me and a buttload of baseball writers, players, coaches, announcers, front office guys — and especially fans — part company on the question of whether A-Rod is a jaggoff or not. Yes, is the correct answer. He is.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph Maddon! How in the friggin’ hell can anyone defend a guy who cheats at baseball? That’s like makin’ sixth grade excuses when your best friend gets caught tryin’ to peek up Sister O’Shaughnessy’s habit. Shameful, pal. Shameful. Almost as much as the act itself. Why? Cuz unlike any other sport, Baseball is a game that’s built on its numbers. If you don’t respect ’em, the whole 150 year tower of baseball history could come crashing down on itself — sort of a baseball 9/11, carried out by a bunch of radical baseballic juicers like Bonds, Sosa, Canseco and McGwire. And, of course, A-Rod. The numbers matter, pallie. They should matter to you, too. They are the measuring stick that transcends baseball’s decades, binding era to era, and standing player against player in a way that, over time, defines greatness or reveals mediocrity.
Or in this case, a cheat.
Look, when a guy in his mid-30s is smackin’ more yard shots than he did 10 years earlier — and I’m talkin’ big numbers here — you don’t have to be Charlie Friggin Chan to know what’s goin’ on. It ain’t happening on a level playing field, my friend, I can tell you that. Of course, if some needle-nosed accountant gets caught cookin’ the books for a NASDAQ tech company … BOOM … the guy is decked out in orange coveralls. Not in baseball. A-Rod and his ilk have been barbecuing baseball’s record books for years, and I don’t see any of ’em gettin’ the Shoeless Joe treatment, let alone havin’ to worry about pickin’ up the soap in the Big House. Why is that? Why are baseball writers willing to look the other way? Why are teammates of these hosers apologizin’ for ’em? Why are there so many so-called baseball fans willing to Perry Mason for A-Rod and the other butt-stickers who’ve needled up? I gotta assume it’s cuz most of the guys who set the REAL records aren’t around any more. And those that are were long outta the game by the time the “I just wanna see home runs, and I don’t care how they’re manufactured” crowd was even born.
SIDEBAR: These fans are the same ones that gotta have music blarin’, or human hot dog races around the base paths, or t-shirt cannons blastin’ at the ballpark whenever theres a break in the action. If that’s you, you’re not a real baseball fan. You’re not even a reasonable facsimile, cuz you’d rather be entertained by stupid crap that has nothin’ to do with the game than absorb the million subtle things that make one up. Stay home, spice rack.
Personally — in case you haven’t been payin’ attention — I have as many as zero ounces of tolerance for A-Rod’s cheatin’ heart. Not just because of the deed itself, but because he friggin’ Hillary Clinton’d the crap out of it. There aren’t a lot of liars in baseball. Historically. But, again, that’s because of the numbers. Which is why they’re so friggin’ important … sacred … holy, even. Numbers don’t lie — at least until the asterisk era they didn’t. I mean, you can’t exactly make up stuff on your baseball resumé and fool anybody: “Uh, yeah … name’s Mario Mendoza. That’s with a Z. I’ve hit above .350 all but by rookie year. Just .337 that season. Musta had a touch of the PTSD or somethin’ from my off-seasons in Afghanistan.” See what I mean? Until baseball players started shootin’, drinkin’, chewin’, rubbin’ or otherwise enhancin’ their performance with secret sauce, the numbers laid bare their relative skills compared to everyone else in the game. Roids turned guys like A-Rod into better players than they really were. And one of the major side effects for most, including Rodriguez, was the development of a forked tongue. Not an endearing human quality (although I can see how Madonna mighta liked it).
The reason this sandpapers my ass, almost as much as the cheating itself, is that lying about it insults my intelligence, which may not be in Stephen Hawking’s zip code, but it ain’t in Donald Trump’s, either. I didn’t really need Scott Pelley to 60 Minute the subject in order to know that A-Rod was a doper. It was as plain as Dolly Parton’s gazongas. The Yankees 3rd baseman sent more things into a geosynchronous orbit around Earth than NASA, and did it at a time when his skills would have long since diminished due to age. He was doping, alright, and anyone with an IQ higher than a White Sox fan would have known it. The fact that he lied about it was chicken shit at best. You did it. You got caught. Man up, puss cake. Nope. Instead, he lawyered up. Just like Jimmy Hoffa. And he comes clean ONLY when he’s granted immunity from prosecution. And why the hell they did that, you, me and the dugout wall will never know. His alleged crimes include bribery, tampering with witnesses and obstruction of justice — all stuff he did to keep the original cheating from creepin’ out from under the rug. Model citizen.
It’s not like A-Rod was the first cheatin’ jaggoff in baseball, but his insistence on lying and throwin’ his weight around the courtroom while indefensibly trampling on all the guys who played the game clean (no, that’s not you, Barry) is the height of assholiness. You combine that with his off-field shenanegans and you got yourself a model for the official bronze statue in the lobby of the National Enquirer.
I say so-friggin-long, A-Rod. Don’t let the clubhouse door hit you in your frequently-needled ass on the way out.
I got one friggin’ question for Mark McGwire … if performance-enhancing drugs don’t enhance your performance, bat rack, then why are they called ‘performance-enhancing drugs’?
I’d say the guy is smokin’ crack, but crack probably doesn’t have an any effect on him.
Whoever or whatever is controlling Big Mac — perhaps aliens, or maybe a wizard or Barry Bonds — has convinced him that he, Mark McGwire, is the only human on the planet that is immune to the effects of anabolic steroids. His physiology is different than the rest of us. He is a species of one.
Apparently this major piece of beefcake doesn’t think steroids had one iota of influence on his home run production; says the good Lord gave him the strength to be a home run hitter. Too friggin’ bad he didn’t give him enough strength to tell the truth. I’ll tell you what, pallie … you wanna see an enhanced performance? Watch the Costas interview. McGwire could get a guest shot on Inside the Actor’s Studio based on that. He’s got the quivering lip. He’s got the cracking voice. For a minute there I thought I was watching Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind. Criminy. Get me a tissue, Tito.
So I guess, according to the special sauce inside Big Mac’s head, the Olympic Committee ought to rescind their ban on performance-enhancing drugs. Right?
News flash: Barry Bonds tested positive for three types of steroids.
No freaking kidding.
Guess what else. It rains in Seattle. Yeah. And if you stick your hand in a fire you get burned. And, can you believe this? … Rod Blagojovich, a Chicago politician, is a crook. Yeah, a shocker. Know what else? If you fall out of a boat, you hit water. (Unless your name is Alfonso Sorriano and it’s the playoffs. Then, no.)
I gotta tell you though, all this hullabaloo over Bonds’ cheatin’ heart is starting to get on my nerves. I know it’s against the law and all, but I could give a crap if he lied to a Grand Jury. It’s not like he shot somebody or ‘accidentally’ forgot to pay $140,000 in taxes. Besides, everybody knows he used, so everybody knows he lied. The Grand Jury knows, baseball knows, Greg Anderson certainly knows, hell, even you latte-drinkin’ Giants fans who defend the guy know. I mean you gotta be living on another planet to look at the guy and think he’s clean. Arguing about it is like arguing over who won the game three days after the last out was recorded. The guy did it — look at him — so who gives a crap if he didn’t man-up in front of the Grand Jury?
Now, you wanna argue about something? Let’s talk records. Like the ones Bonds and McGwire misappropriated while at the same time acting like they had so much respect for the guys that set them. How do you honor Hank Aaron, what he went through, and his contribution to the game — and sports in general — when you cheat to break his career home run record? And what are you when you chemically transform your body to belittle the 61 yard shots that Maris hit in 1961? Let’s see … “ass hole” comes to mind.
The way I see it, the only way to know how good, say, A-Rod really is compared to guys like Ruth and Mantle would be to wind the clock back to before Madonna; before Kabbalah; before the $250 million contract; all the way back to the Mariners, and then make him smoke and drink and stay out all night, all season long. And for his whole career. Take a look at his numbers then, pallie. Hey, the guy is gifted, I’ll give you that. But on a level playing field, I think we’d be comparing him to Mickey Hatcher, not Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, as far as Bonds goes, it makes no sense to me to Al Capone the guy and try to hang him for lying to a Grand Jury. The real offense is the desecration of the records; records that were earned through talent and hard work, and in the face of adversity. I say, put the books back where they were before these guys started cooking them in the steroid kitchen. And then, open up a new wing in Cooperstown for Sammy and Barry and Clemens and the like that draws attention to what it is that they really brought to baseball; disgrace.