Category: Dailies

Rebels 6, Empire 4

Enjoy this moment.Yankdarth_1

Sit back, close your eyes, and breathe deep. Now take a sip of your coffee. Doesn’t it taste unusually robust this morning? Spring is here and the robins are cavorting outside the window of my baseball shrine.

Last night, in that wonderful little baseball town of St. Pete, the Devil Rays completed a sweep of The Empire. You might wish to pause here and reflect upon the enormity of that last sentence.

I personally cannot help but savor this victory because it illustrates that, in baseball anyway, the whole David versus Goliath schtick isn’t just some mythological fantasy designed to give us false hope or courage in the face of insurmountable odds, but a very real possibility on any given day.

Never mind that The Empire carries a payroll eight times that of the Devil Rays or that a certain extremely gifted third baseman makes more than the entire lineup of the home team, because this is bigger than that. It is the proverbial battle between good and evil, the have nots against the haves, or light versus the darkness.

In the grand scheme of things, the Devil Ray’s sweep of The Empire represents only .012% of each club’s regular season. It was merely one battle in a long and protracted war against The Empire, that great and terrible beast from the east, eternally hungry and relentless in their pursuit of glory.

And it still lurks among us, watching, waiting.

But for this moment. Ah yes, this glorious moment.

So see ya around.

BW

The People vs. Barry Bonds

Dear Dugout Confessor, 

Who IS Barry Bonds? I mean, here is a player poised to break one of the most hallowed records in baseball and there seems to be a lot of controversy over whether or not this is a legitimate attempt due to his alleged steroid use.

Is this a man worthy to break Aaron’s home run record?

BK, Yakima, WA

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Dear BK,

Much is written and discussed in the media about the character of Barry Bonds, especially this year when {{{The Record}}} seems likely to fall. Why, even the folks over on the Bowling Network are finding time to muddy the waters. This circus is only beginning, however, and by the time Bonds reaches 750 all **** is going to break loose.

And none of it matters.

The future, you see, belongs to a Dominican-American kid who goes by the handle of A-Rod. Whatever fame (or notoriety) Bonds brings upon himself by breaking Aaron’s record, it won’t last long.

Alex Rodriguez is the most complete baseball player in the history of the game. Barring a career ending injury or some other catastrophe, he will break Bond’s (soon to be) home run record – and a host of other records – along the way. The baseball gods have surely smiled upon this one.

You are indeed witnessing history my friend. It’s the kid in pinstripes.

So see ya around.

BW

Blue vs. Red

YankssoxIt’s been a brutal week at work –  not so brutal as, let’s say, Buddy Bell’s work week – but it’s enough that I’m going to put the brain in neutral and settle down to the greatest rivalry in sports.  Catch ya after the hangover.

So see ya around.

BW

Staying Cool: Why Not KC?

Yankscap_2 Dear Dugout Confessor,

The other day while I was washing my boyfriend’s truck a man walked by and asked me if I was a Yankees fan. I was wearing a Yankees cap with my halter top and cutoffs like I usually do when I’m outside. I told him, "yes" and he made an ugly face and walked away. He had on a blue hat with the letters K C on it. Now I don’t know much about baseball but I could tell that man sure didn’t like the Yankees.

Even though my boyfriend told me baseball is for sissies and that the only real sports are football and wrestling, I think my hat looks cool and I was wondering if you could tell me why the man was so mean to me.

JH, Tulsa, OK

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Dear JH,

The man was obviously an embittered Kansas City Royals fan and cannot be blamed for his contempt of the New York Yankees. You see, the Yankees (hereafter referred to as ‘The Empire’) are one of the most successful baseball teams in history, having won the world series a major league record 26 times. The Royals, by comparison, have won the series only once.

The Empire, made fabulously wealthy by people like you, has a 2007 player salary of about 200 million dollars. The Royals have a player salary roughly one third of that and, as one might expect, have about one third of the talent.

The Royals could really use your help.

There is nothing cool about following the herd anyway. If you really wanted to be original, you would wear a Nippon Ham Fighters cap. Betcha no one in your trailer park would know what that was. But I think supporting the Royals might help them to someday acquire some bats and that would ultimately be good for all of baseball.

For your penance I prescribe three "Take Me Out to the Ball Games," substituting "Royals" for "home team," your attendance at two or more Tulsa Drillers games this season, and the ritual burning of all your Empire bling as an offering unto the Baseball Gods.

Oh, and ditch the boyfriend.

So see ya around.

BW

Big Unit, Big Expectations

Bigunit_2 After Randy Johnson’s 5.00 ERA performance with the ‘06 Yanks I was sure his pitching days were over. After all, he was getting a little long in the tooth and his heater had lost some steam.

He was beginning to look like a mere mortal.

In his last three seasons dating back to the ‘04 Diamondbacks, Johnson had seen a decline in productivity in innings pitched, hits, WHIP, and ERA. Certainly his age was a factor. His back, now seemingly repaired with surgery, obviously contributed. Then there was always the intangible "Bronx Zoo Effect."

Now he’s back in cactus country to a hero’s welcome from gushing fans and press – the place where he won 4 of his 5 Cy Youngs – and nothing stands between him and his next major league start but one more self-imposed rehab appearance on the farm. Count me among those who look forward to that day.

If any one can do it, he can.

So see ya around.

BW

He Ain’t Human

As I sit here in my baseball shrine watching Zito and the Giants pound the Rockies in the 3rd I feel some sense of camaraderie with the fans at Coors each time Bonds comes to the plate. I mean, this isn’t Philly or Shea but the fans are working him pretty hard. Good.

Woe to any pitcher in any park that faces this creature.  Whether he’s gobbling HGH, A-As, or the pituitary glands of Rhesus monkeys, he ain’t human.

So see ya around.

BW

Thanks Again Ed Ott

Edott A few years have passed since the days of $1 outfield seating at the Astrodome where my son, Matt, and I would spend our summers.

The dome was an impressive structure – looming like a mountain on the horizon fifteen minutes before we would arrive. Matt would always exclaim, "There it is!" when the roof came into view, and it would be about this time that he would put on his glove and hit it with his fist while occasionally making minute adjustments to the lacing. When we parked he would always run to the entrance with me lagging and sweating behind.

Once inside it was as if we had walked into a meat locker, the temperature a luxurious twenty degrees cooler than the brutal Texas heat. We’d spend the next hour hoping to catch a ball on the fly despite the fact that home runs in the pitcher friendly dome were not all that common, even during batting practice. Inevitably we’d have more balls tossed up to us by players warming up or jogging around the outfield, especially if the Cubs were in town. Matt was a Cubs fan and dressed the part, undoubtably influenced by WGN and a certain opinionated uncle. I guess I couldn’t blame him, though, what was not to like about Grace, Sandberg, Dawson, and Maddux?

I remember one pre game when we were loitering down the first base side and one of the Astros coaches walks by and waves us over. The coach picked up a ball and signed it, handing it to Matt despite the fact he was wearing a Cubs hat and jersey. I thanked him and turned to Matt, wanting to share in this incredible moment, only to see a look of disappointment on his face.

Me: "Wow! Isn’t that…um…what’s wrong?"

Matt: "I was hoping to get Bags or Caminiti or Gonzo."

Me: "Do you know who that was?"

Matt: "No. He was so old."

Me: "Ed Ott!"

Matt: "Who is Ed Ott?"

Me: "A mean-assed catcher for the Pirates.  Famous for putting a body slam on a second baseman during a game…I forget who.  Won a world series…"

The lapse in my son’s baseball education was, of course, entirely my fault.

Man those were good times.

Fifteen years and 1,667 miles later. I live in Utah, have season tickets to the Ogden Raptors (Dodgers Rookie club), and Matt is grown and has longer hair than Johnny Damon. He cares nothing about baseball.

Three Astros from the 1992 roster are still playing: Luis Gonzalez with the Dodgers, Steve Finley with the Rockies, and Craig Biggio who remains an Astro. The Astros no longer play in the dome or on bad carpet, but on the lush grass at Minute Maid (formerly Enron) Park. I can’t help but note that it is only 315′ to the left field wall. Sheesh.

I was going to get to some sort of point here but the Padres (my adopted west coast NL team) and Dodgers are about to start and I’m on my second pint which has severely eroded what little writing ability I possess.

So see ya around.

BW