Thursday, May 28, 2015

Too Many Cooks: The Crowded Clusterfuck of 2016

Ok, let's all take a deep breath and think about what's about to begin, full-force, in about seven months. Everyone and their mother is vying for the Presidency. That's a given. I mean, it's the friggin' Presidency. If Scandal has taught us anything, it's that people will do anything for that power. Including blowing commercial planes out the sky with the help of terrorist-like organizations who are actually some sort of SIS/MI6 spy team who are powertripping their balls off. Oh, and Kerry Washington will always crawl back to the guy who did such sky blowing because THE CONCEPT OF LUV...or something. Also, something about Quinn being weirdly hot, but I digress. But, there's something different about this go-around.

This election season, we might need Eli Pope to work some of his death-bringing magic. Why? Well, so far, we probably have at least 45 potential candidates. At least. Damn, is Obama hated that much that everyone wants to get in on the fun? Or is this just some dog-and-donkey-sex show meant to distract us from the "real issues." Or, better yet, is it just a way for "The Powers That Be" to piss off "intellectual" and "Black" Twitter: trotting out candidates who, in their hearts, accept they have no chance of winning but want to try it out because reasons (looking at you, Ben Carson, Waka Flocka Flame, and Martin O'Malley). Who knows? I don't, I was an English major.

But, I do know this. When you have too many cooks and not enough servers and managers, you're pretty much setting up for a cannibalistic approach to your dinner. So, line up, grab a plate, and let's watch the clusterfuck unfold. For all we know, Obama could've made himself God King of Zamunda and overtaken the US while we were sleeping.

...and sarcasm doesn't translate as well in an op-ed as in real life.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

On Eric Davis

Growing up, I had a fascination with a particular Orioles outfielder who would constantly raise the roof. This man had seen it all. Kidney lacerations, cancer diagnoses, recoveries--you name it, he'd probably dealt with it. By this point, Eric Davis was a punchline to some, mainly because of his constant "bad luck." To others, he was that guy you'd bring up in bar trivia and no place else. "Who was third in steals behind Vince Coleman and Rickey Henderson during the 1986 MLB season?" or "who was, aside from Rickey Henderson (you're seeing a pattern here), the only player to hit 25 home runs and steal 80 bases?"

To me, he was a hero. He was the guy I paid money to go see at Orioles games. He's the guy who I modeled my own baseball game after, even adopting "24" as my number whenever I played sports. He was, even though he only played two years in Baltimore (many will remember him forever as Eric the Red), the epitome of what it meant to be an Oriole, what it meant to be a Baltimorean. Yes, it was partly because of the cancer thing. I mean, you try to recuperate and then supersede expectations after going through colon cancer treatment. Baseball player or not, cancer's a mean-spirited SOB who deserves to be drug out into the street and shot at point-blank range. So, for Eric Davis to battle back in 1997 and then have a career year in 1998, it inspired me to say "I, too, can achieve greatness." But, there's another reason why Davis is one of my favorite players.

It's what he represents.

As I mentioned, he was the epitome of the Baltimore spirit. He wasn't the greatest of all-time, but he played his butt off and had the potential to be one of the all-time greats. When he had the ability to use that potential, few could touch him, in my opinion. I mean, this is a guy who, at 36, managed to obtain the Orioles record for hitting streaks. That's something that even Cal can't say he's done. But, biases aside, he was a great player. He made it into the Reds' Hall of Fame in 2005 and should have a plaque of some sort at OPACY, if only for the "I kicked cancer in the face and helped uplift a city" aspect of it all.

But Davis' awesomeness lives on in Baltimore. Just look to center field to see a young man who's got all the skills of Davis, minus the 80-steal-caliber speed. I'm, of course, referring to Adam Jones. Now, if only we can get Adam to raise the roof every once in a while...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"Foreign Substances": Some Thoughts on the 2015 MLB Season

Now, we all know that I'm a baseball fan. But, this season has been brutal, and not even from just the standpoint as an Orioles fan. From pitchers being suspended for having "foreign substances" on their arms during games, to the AL East having one of the worst cumulative records thus far, to the "speed boost" of having games restart after commercial breaks (thus making baseball a quicker game, which is good...but a quicker game because of advertisers, which, to the Empty Park Game, to Bryce Harper probably being on the cusp of receiving "ADD-ER-ALL" and "STEROIDS" chants from opposing crowds (because no one, in 2015 MLB, can actually just be naturally jacked and/or uber-tuned in to the game, apparently), this season has been unique to say the least.

As an aside, I'd be legitimately sad, a la Chris Davis' "lapse,"
should Harper be on his doping game. And I'm not even
a Nats fan.

But, it's been unique in a way that puts a couple shiners on the image MLB was trying to rehab since the Steroid Era. For starters, the Empty Park Game should not have happened. Hell, John Angelos was more vocal about the Baltimore protests and what they represented, from his perspective, than Rob Manfred ever was. At least Adam Silver, in his first season, dealt with his first controversy in a manner that set a precedent. Manfred's precedent seems to be this: baseball above all, even if we're going to have the teams play in an empty park while protests go on not even a mile away because fuck that shit.

But, on the same token, the foreign substances thing has always rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, shoot, back in the day, (almost) everyone had some sort of tobacco/grease/spit/pine tar in their arsenal. And, guess what? It made games more exciting, to me at least. You had characters. Now? Everyone has to be a Model Citizen and Role Model of the Year. That's fine, because advertisers aren't going to shell out big bucks to the John Rockers of the world. However, baseball doesn't seem to be "fun" these past couple seasons. Don't get me wrong: going to the games is Nirvana personified, but the game itself doesn't seem as "fun." Perhaps that's just part of the rebranding of baseball. There's an air of "We're going to still present the game, but we'll do so in a family-friendly way (kind of like WWE), so we don't offend anyone or offer alternative methods to solve problems."

Of course, that's not to say that "cheating" is right. But, "cheating," in some ways, has always been a part of the game. You take away that aspect and you neuter the game to the point where you might as well be playing teeball. Essentially, what I'm getting at is this: let some of that foolishness slide and worry about bigger issues in the game, such as the Empty Park Game and why it was a bad idea. Those are the issues that'll keep a negative light on some aspects of the MLB.

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