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MVP goes to Iowa Jeff for the heads up on the day game. What's more disappointing than getting out of work, looking forward to some 9-inning-QT with your team, only to discover the game's been over for hours. Not only disappointing, but I also get weirded out when I'm unaware of things that everyone else has known about for a while. Like surprise parties. And Novacaine-anesthesized tooth pain.

So, point being, thanks to Iowa Jeff for the assist in sidestepping that landmine.

As amazing as it must have been to be in attendance for this one, I gotta say I thoroughly enjoyed how the bottom of the 5th sounded through the radio.

It was like being on the East River boardwalk on the 4th of July with the bat cracking and ball popping and delirious excitement and manic cheering. Down 4-1, and then 5-1 with a solo shot, and it looked like your classic lame dash O game. Then the hits parade began with Pena and Cervelli and it was just outstanding to listen to, like a symphonic medley of staccato, crisp cracks, with Sterlings crescendo-ing excitement running underneath it all.

All of sudden, the game's tied, thanks to a 3-run double from Tex (of course), and then in the 8th, the Yankees lead, thanks to a late-inning go ahead shot from Melk (of course). The game game was eerily similar to yesterday's up until the 5th. 4-1...getting shut down...but the difference between yesterday and today was our the 1B back in the lineup.

Unfortunately, we're sharing the very tight 1st place spot with the Sux right now. Which means the upcoming series with them next week is going to be extremely consequential. I wonder if they're resting on their laurels, relieved to have a series against us so they can bank another easy sweep. Or if they're a little uneasy playing the current best team in baseball. Our teams are nothing like the teams that faced each other in April, and even the HR-generating Yankee Stadium can't help Ortiz outta his slump.*

Speaking of, Bill Simmons gives us a testament so ridiculous, I half wondered if he was making fun of himself, that it was maybe a subtlely crafted self-deprecating satire on the gross delusions and denial engulfing Boston losers.

To say Ortiz is a shell of his former self is more charitable than a church mission in 3rd world countries. He can't even get the bat around, it's almost as if a magic potion just wore off. But Simmons offers up what he alleges is a much more plausible reason than simply pinning it on steroids. (Obviously.)

Ortiz isn't actually 33, but closer to 37.

See, this is a type of situation where Simmons can thank my ex, who said that most stunningly idiotic, shockingly devoid of sense, sadly inane comment that the sports world, and possibly the world in general, has ever and will ever suffer. Anyone who says anything dumb for the rest of my life can thank him for having a stranglehold on the Stupidest Thing Ever Said.

But this Ortiz contention? Giving that a run for its money.

So basically Simmons, who notes the valid reasons why people would assume steroids, is rejecting all things rational, and suggesting that we should disregard the mounting evidence against Ortiz, and believe that the aging process is highly accelerated between the ages of 36 and 37. And that in the span of an off-season, not even a year, that age just caught up to old ironsides, and while 36 was primetime for slugging in HR after HR, that 36 and a half is on par with Medicaid and disability.

Moises Alou. Jeff Kent. Kenny Lofton. I can think of plenty of 35+ years old players who managed to hit over .200. I can't think of too many players who went from batting circa .330, to going 0 for infinite in the span of just 2 years.

Yes, Sports Guy. That's the only logical explanation. You really thought that one out.

In Yankee-related news:

Superman Roy Hobbes announced his dream is to play in pinstripes. For the New York Yankees. Between him and the octopus in the minors, I'm liking the farm system. Not that the Yanks have so much as dibs on Bryce Harper, but sweet Christ, look at the kid and tell me that Cashman/Hank aren't going to handcuff him to the Yankee dugout until he agrees to sign a contract.

To sum up a few of his resume credentials to date (and remember, he's only 16) --courtesy NJ Star Ledger :

  • He has hit home runs as long as 570 feet (in a high school game as a 15-year-old)
  • Earlier this year blasted a home run 502 feet off the back wall at Tropicana Field
  • As a catcher--his primary position--he can throw out a runner at 2nd from his knees
  • Also throws a 96 MPH fastball
  • Can is a great (and speedy) baserunner who says he emulates Pete Rose's hard-nosed approach on the field -- "I'm going to try to rip your head off. That's just the way I am. Old School," he says.
  • According to SI's Tom Verducci: "has faster bat speed than Mark McGwire in his prime and runs so fast that he scored on wild pitches six times this season from second base."

Harper's goals are modest:
  • "Be in the Hall of Fame, definitely,"
  • "Play in Yankee Stadium. Play in the pinstripes."
  • "Be considered the greatest baseball player who ever lived. I can't wait."

Whatever, I don't care if he shrugs that another goal includes nailing down the elusive ability to fly, he's bank. I have no problem with ego-players. In fact, I like them. What's the point in being that f'n good if you can't capitalize on it?

Which brings me to Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

I'm rooting for the Lakers. There. I said it.

I have nothing against Orlando, I think they are awesome and probably have a better chance of winning. But I'm not rooting against a player who eats $80 worth of sour/gummy candy for breakfast. And frankly, I don't want to root against Kobe, either.

"Did he touch the foreign exchange student, did he not touch the foreign exchange student? I don't know, Brooke. I wasn't there."--Vince Vaughn, "The Break Up"

I gotta assume he didn't rape anyone in Denver, because the chick dropped the charges and he wasn't tried. Just as I have to assume that Manny only did steroids when he was proven to have done them. But this is immaterial. My support of the Lakers stems from my stance on the Underdog vs The Favorite.

America as a rule rallies around the Underdog, so powerfully that at the end of the day, they're not even the underdog anymore. But why? What is it about the underdog that makes them so much more worthy of support than the favorite?

How did the favorite get to be the favorite in the first place? You don't get to be #1 by slipping through the cracks. You gotta have talent. You get there because you're good. (Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but theoretically and most often, the favorite is the best team or they wouldn't be in the position they're in.)

So why don't we celebrate that? Why isn't our instinct to champion the talent and skill that put that team at the top, instead of dismissin their triumphs as automatically sinister when juxtaposed next to the noble efforts of the struggling underdogs?

To me, it's no different than communism.

*It's not a slump. That implies it's a deviation from the norm and presupposes an eventual rebound. He's done.


  1. Jeff said...
    "To me, it's no different than communism."

    Americans celebrate the underdog because its democratic. In a democracy, everyone gets their shot. Everyone can grow up to be president. Does being able to hit like AROD or having the last name Bush or Kennedy help? Sure. But, every once in a while, the '87 Twins or a hick from Arkansas slip through. It also goes back to the scrappy George Washington and his continental army taking down the privileged, egotistical British redcoats fighting inbetween tea breaks for King George. Underdog = democracy. Favorite = monarchy.

    Communism is where everyone gets a trophy in youth sports. It discourages competition and the drive for excellence. I still get a trophy if I suck, so why should I try a little harder? Freakin' commies.

    RE: the phenom
    Did you see that hitch he does during his swing where he turns his knee in? It almost looks like something I'd see in a slowpitch softball swing. It probably helps him generate more torque as he really can uncoil the hips from that position. Have you seen that before? I'm not sure I have. I'm curious to see if he's able to do that when trying to time a major league slider. That said, it's still pretty incredible.
    Whoa Nelly said...
    Way too much to read

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