Hey there, sponge cakes. Welcome to Opening Day — not Opening Week, as baseball has taken to calling it. That’s gotta be a Manfredism. Speaking of which … Bob Nightengale reports that commissioner Rob Womanfred will be in attendance at the Cubs opener in St. Louis tonight. My question is: When does he adios the game? I figure it’ll be after the 7th, cuz that’s how long he thinks major league games oughta last.
I tend to pick on commissioners, and Manfred is no exception. But, hey, they bring it on themselves. Bud Selig, for example, decided to end the 2002 All Star game in a tie. It’s baseball. There are no ties. And that “World Series home field advantage to the league that wins the All Star game” rule was his, too. I’m tellin’ you … listening to baseball commissioner ideas is like walkin’ your dog — you gotta bring a plastic bag along to pick up all the turds. I’ll give this to Manfred: the guy flushed the ASG/World Series advantage brain fart. But that’s it on the plus side of the Manfred board. Everything else he wants to do — most of which revolves around makin’ games shorter — screws with the fundamentals of baseball.
Some people want shorter games. Yeah, I read about that all the time. But I ask: Who are these people? Are they millennial types raised on iPhones, video games, and blaring music so loud during any break in the action that it makes my toenails hurt? I think maybe so, cuz I don’t hear people my age complaining about watchin’ a game for 3 hours. (Except for Mr. “if it ain’t broke, fix it anyway” Womanfred.) I’d even be willin’ to bet that it was Robbie’s idea to broom the nudie pictures from the pages of Playboy — another institution that didn’t need to be “improved.” I’ll tell ya … if congress wants to investigate something that’s truly un-american … that would be it, my friend!
Point is, maybe it isn’t baseball that needs fixing. Instead, maybe it’s the binge-watching, instant-gratification, short-attention-span generation that can’t spend four seconds away from their social media feeds without breakin’ out in a sweat that needs fixing. Baseball has been around for like a million years, and other than stupidly not lettin’ black players in until Jackie Robinson, it’s pretty much been perfect. It doesn’t need the pathetic DH. It doesn’t need instant replay … especially when the umps still can’t get it right. (See today’s Yankees-Rays opener.) Baseball doesn’t need a fake intentional walk, or a protective bubble around middle infielders, or a special purpose rule puttin’ a guy on second in extra inning games. And it SURE as hell doesn’t need two innings clipped off the tail end. If anything in baseball needs to be clipped, it’s Rob Manfred’s self-important wings and Noah Syndergaard’s goldilocks. Other than that, unless you wanna make American League pitchers man up and take their swings, or turn that F-ing head-banging noise off between batters, or hire the displaced Playboy models as bat girls, we should just leave baseball the hell alone, pallie.
Hey there, turf toes. Do you like magic? I like magic. There’s somethin’ about Siegfried and Roy (before that tiger remembered he was a tiger) or Houdini or David Blaine that makes you say, “How in the friggin’ hell did he/she/they (don’t wanna offend anyone) do that?!”
Uhh … that makes Joey Chestnut a magician, too, by the way.
I know you know that magic also applies to baseball. And if for some you don’t, you musta never seen Ozzie Smith or Roberto Clemente or Brooks Robinson or Willie Mays pullin’ rabbits outta hats like they were Kreskin or somethin’. YouTube ’em. It’s like Harry Houdini and Misty Copeland got busy and had all boys. Those guys could do stuff with a glove that woulda turned Michael Jackson white, and routinely had you scratchin’ your noggin and wonderin’ how in the wide, wide world of sports could any mortal do such things.
The 2004 Red Sox were total magic. Comin’ from 0-3 in the ALCS to snatch victory from the jaws of the Yankees was a way better trick than, say, makin’ the Donald disappear … or turnin’ Hillary Clinton into a pidgeon.
I’d say Jackie Robinson crossin’ that stupid friggin’ line was magic, but I think it was way, way harder than makin’ someone disappear.
I think the fact that the rotund Bartolo Colon can play Major League Baseball is magic.
Most importantly, magic also refers to the number of games you got until you clinch a playoff spot. Yeah, I know you already know that, but I’m shootin’ for the lowest common denominator, here. I gotta account for guys who never heard of Clemente or Robinson — whipper snappers who think bat-flippin’ Bryce Harper is the big bang of the baseball universe. So, now that we’re down to the short and curlies of the regular season we’re startin’ to hear a lotta chatter about magic numbers. (By the way, as a life long Cubs fan, I can tell you with Einstein-like certainty that there’s nothin’ at allllll regular about this season, pallie.) Anyway, the whole subject of magic numbers, as it relates to the Cubs, is borderline euphoric. Why? Cuz most years you’d a needed friggin’ IBM Watson to figure the Cubs astronomical magic number. Not this year, spanky. In fact today’s digit is an 8; an ocho; the number of those things an octopus has; Yogi’s and Ripkin’s and Yastrzemski’s number. In a few hours I think it’s gonna be Mickey’s number, thanks to the Stros.
Anyway, 8 is enough. Seven is better. Zero is just around the corner, my friend, as will be the World Series championship … makin’ the luckiest number of all, 108.
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.
Regarding Manny’s whereabouts next year, I quote … “I want to see who is the highest bidder,” Ramirez said after the Dodgers’ NLCS loss to the Philadephia Phillies. “Gas is up and so am I.”
What a friggin’ a-hole.
I grant you, he’s not alone. Everywhere you turn you got guys hitting a buck-75 going to arbitration cuz they think they’re lightin’ the world on fire. But, exxxxccuuuuuuuusse me! This guy was basically asked off the Red Sox by his teammates because he couldn’t be counted on. He made it crystal clear that he didn’t want to play for Boston anymore by dogging it, and pretty much treated Epstein, the owners, the rest of the team, and the fans the same way a baby treats a diaper. Well let me tell you Manny, you are not well-loved when your team dumps you but pays the remaining $7 million on your contract while you play for someone else. That pretty much says it all. In fact, it says you’re not just a garden variety a-hole, you’re a large, economy, only-available-at-Costco sized a-hole; with a capital ‘A’ and a ‘hole’ you could drive a cement truck through.