Sunday, December 18, 2005

1979 Topps #324

I don't care if it's not the same guy or not I'm still not fucking with him.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

1988 Topps #717

The porn 'stache? The jheri curl? The jungle of chest hair? The mesh jersey? Two layers of cheap bling? And his last name is Baller? Amazing is the man who manages to be 10 years behind the times and 10 years ahead of the times while still accurately representing the times in which he lives.

Friday, November 18, 2005

1987 Topps #321

March 21, 1987

Busch Stadium
250 Stadium Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63102

Dear Mike,

Don't you ever fucking show up to play for my team wearing a pink jersey ever fucking again.

Whitey Herzog,
Manager - St. Louis Cardinals

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Marathon Postscript

See, this is why I love this game. You can't make this shit up.

Quite possibly the Luckiest Boy in the World.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

1985 Topps #706

In 1984, Rickey Henderson was incredulous to discover that he was named to the American League All-Star team instead of the Hall of Fame.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Instead of playing two, let's play one twice as long.

Holy crap, what a marathon. 18 innings and 14 pitchers. This is playoff baseball. I mean, when was the last time Rocket came out of the bullpen in the 16th inning? If box scores are poetry, then this is goddam Homeric.

In other news, the guy with the single greatest pitch ever recorded his 7,326th post-season save. I think that's some sort of record or something.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Paul Punk-Ass Konerko.

Doesn't quite roll off the tongue as well as Bucky Fucking Dent or Aaron Bleeping Boone but the Sox season came to a near-abrupt halt last night. I'd be a lot more devastated if they kept me teetering on the brink like the last two years but now it feels like a mere shoulder shrug away from getting over it.

On the other hand, I do take much perverted pleasure in Randy Johnson's line last night in Game 3 against the Angels:

3.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HR.

Yummy. Thanks, Randy.

Friday, October 07, 2005

1987 Topps #481

Von Hayes: Okay, guys, I didn't want to bring this up around the rest of the team but just between us three, who do you think sucks the worst?

Glenn Wilson: Oh, it's Steve Jeltz. Definitely Steve Jeltz.

Juan Samuel: Really? I was thinking Rick Schu.

Von Hayes: Those are good answers but I'd say Darren Daulton.

Juan Samuel: Darren Daulton? He's a three-time All Star! He once lead the league in RBI!

Von Hayes: Dude, it's not 1992 yet.

Juan Samuel: Oh, right.

The Comeback Kids.

Ken Griffey Jr. just may be the most root-able player in the game. Of all the top sluggers in the 1990s, he's virtually the only survivor who has escaped the "is-he-or-isn't-he?" whispers of witch hunt finger-pointing frenzy that steroids ignited in Baseball. True Class Acts are rare in sports; what athlete is without some sort of controversy? And what athletes are impossible to hate? I think we all root for the Cincinnati Kid, a bizarro pedigree of his Big Red Machine father and another certain left-handed outfielder born in Donora, Pennsylvania on November 21st, because he plays the game like we did when we were 9.

If he retired today, he would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. As he is now, 2005 was the closest year he's had to a full season since 2000. Like Andruw Jones today, we used to forget how young Griffey really was. Now we're forgetting how old he's really getting. But in his Age 35 Season, Ken Griffey Jr. smacked 35 home runs in 128 games on his way to a fantastic .945 OPS, good for 14th in the majors. Giving the freak injuries that have numbed his decade so far, Junior's 2005 is a welcome return to form for fans and is exactly the kind of player this award was invented for.

Jason Giambi, on the other hand...Well, of course, he had a torrid July-on, re-establishing himself as a force in the deep Yankee lineup. But isn't it obvious what he was coming back from? Considering how steroids has revealed itself as a stain on Baseball's blouse, what's the lesson they're teaching to ballplayers and the public at large here? Look, I actually pride myself on not really giving a shit about the morality issue concerning steroids but does this bother anyone else? I mean, giving a $13,428,571 first baseman who can't play first base an award for not doing drugs anymore? I know his OBP was sick and all but come on, now...

P.S. - Because they just couldn't pass up an opportunity to be involved with another one of McCain's suspects, Viagra, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, is now sponsoring the Comeback Player of the Year Award. One performance-enhancing drug company rewards another performance-enhancing drug user. Horray!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Phenomenal Smith's Guide to Baseball

My name is Phenomenal Smith and I used to play baseball. I was a journeyman pitcher from 1884 to 1891, playing for the Philadelphia Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, Brooklyn Grays and the Pittsburgh Alleghenys of the American Association League. I don't even know what an Allegheny is. I also spent time in the National League, playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Alleghenys and the Detroit Wolverines. That's right, there was once a team called Detroit fucking Wolverines of the National League. Things were very different in 1886.

On the margains of history (baseball and otherwise), there are men who have had the misfortune of not being able to live up to their names. I was anything but my moniker, and I was out of the game at 26. But I was there and you weren't, which makes me a poet. Us players, we're all poets, and the sum of our poems have given you more drama than Shakespeare, more sadness than Dostoevsky and more absurdity than Miguel de Cervantes. This is my diary of baseball history.