For all things Tooks, and some things, er, relating to other people. As well as to other things. You get the picture.

28 February 2006

A broadly belligerent blog:

Well, not that belligerent. But call it a particularly peeved post.

The cause for my peevosity? Er, peevociousness? Er, peevedom? That the World Baseball Classic will, like so many other revolutions, not be televised.

(Here's a FAQ for those not in the hardball know about the WBC:

Granted, strictly speaking, it will be televised--at 3:00 a.m. on Sunday night on ESPN Deportes. Or, worse, ESPN2. The Deuce. C'mon, people! The first-ever truly World Series, and I have to either stay up all night and deal with over-excited Spanish-language broadcasters waxing philosophical about "el bunt," or endure three hours of commercials for Mountain Dew and Nissan X-Terra's. As my girlfriend would say, searing pain!

I wouldn't complain so much if there were at least radio coverage. As any true baseball fan knows, and he knows it because his dad taught him, there's something very special about listening to a baseball game on the radio. A long, hot summer afternoon, the distant sounds of lawnmowers and kids riding bikes, a cold beer and a blt with extra mayo, the endless moments between pitches filled with languid prattle about players' on-base percentage and hometowns, punctuated by the sharp percussion of the ball off the bat all those thousands of miles away (or, if you're lucky, only those miles between Wormtown and Fenway.) It's up to you to visualize the players, the field, the crowd, the action. Or not. Sometimes, the pleasure is in lying back and just letting the game drift in one ear and out the other. (No comments from the mom gallery--I'll take out the garbage after this inning, I swear.) You listen a little, nap a little, swat a little fly, and wait for dinner--can't you smell the burgers on the grill, and the corn on the stove? Gershwin, my boy, when you're right, you're right: the livin' is easy.

I hope you haven't enjoyed this little rememberie with me too much, because you'll be completely shut out of such joy for the World Baseball Classic. You'll have to content yourself with box scores and Sportscenter. Good thing Kenny Mayne is so witty. Sigh. Searing pain. Searing, searing pain.

Lament the sad state of "el bunt" with me,


P.S. This rant has officially ended, but let the record show that I'm also outraged that some American teams are discouraging their marquee players from representing their countries in the WBC because of the possibility of injury. Let them play, for baseball's sake.

14 February 2006

I love gooooooold

Being an American sportsfan during the Olympics must be like being a Yankee fan during the playoffs. Your team wins not because it has more heart, or plays harder, or trains more effectively. They win because they're rich and numerous. They, like the majority of their fans, are loud, overbearing, and arrogant. Frankly, they're hard to root for. You almost get sick of winning, even if it's supposedly your guys (and ladies) that are doing it. And when, once in a while, they don't win it all, the story is still all about them--deconstruction of an improbable defeat, public floggings of front-office personnel, and often the ritual sacrifice of a coach.

But c'mon. Where's the storyline? Where the drama? Where's the Eastern European downhill skier who had to defy land-mine-studded slopes and patrols of bloodthirsty deathsquads to pursue his goal of international five-ringed glory? Where's the Kenyan figure skater to poor to purchase enough spandex and sequins to cover her gargantuan seven-foot-seven frame? Where's the Algerian Bedouin whose language doesn't even have a word for ice, but who has a dream of rocketing down a tiny tunnel at speeds fast enough to make him renounce the one true prophet?

Instead, we have super-athletes with funny names like "Bode," "Picabo" and "Michelle" who have been raised from birth on special Team USA hormones to make them small (or large), slender (or broad), and impossibly fit (however their particular discipline and disposition demands). They are trained for up to 23.25 hours per day for most of their youth and adolescence, and kept in special sensory deprivation tanks for the other 45 minutes, where their bodies are immersed in fluids designed to replenish their muscles and drug their systems into a feeling of rest and refreshment akin to waking from a solid 10-hour stage 5 REM sleep. They are kept sheltered from the world on special Team USA training facilities, hidden deep in secluded regions of Montana, Utah and Rhode Island. They emerge only for competition and a once-yearly one-day field trip to the dump, where, they are threatened, they will be exiled should they fail to "bring home the golden goose."

No, we choose not to celebrate Third World bravery, but rather to support a system that ruthlessly exploits and then discards innocent individuals who can only wish for a swift and merciful death following their inability to compete at the ancient age of 27. As they stare out the massive windows of the AutoMile Dodge dealership where they now toil, trying in vain to trade in on the fame of past gold--the medal gathering dust on the shelf in their cubicle near the service department--as they watch overall-clad mechanics and overly-made-up receptionists flirt and chew gum, these former eagles of the wintry passes, lions of the summer plains, can only wish their parents had let them take up the trumpet in 4th grade instead.

Weep for our generation with me,