Monday, October 3, 2011

Quick Takes - Day two, the second day

That's quite the large junk chamber you have there, miss ...

I have never caught a foul ball at a baseball game. For a while, especially living in Chicago and prowling Waveland during Cubs games with the professional ball hawks (quite the career path!), the foul ball had become somewhat of a white whale to me. I'd seen other people catch them, I'd even come close to catching one or two myself, but they were always just beyond my grasp. Then I brought a harpoon to a game and nailed the first guy who caught one, calmly walked to his bloodied seat and peeled the ball from his cold, dead fingers. Satisfaction! They say hard work gives a man the greatest feeling of accomplishment he can attain, but I contend anything re: harpoons should be above hard work.

That didn't actually happen. Those pat-down guys outside stadiums are super thorough. But my quest for a foul ball has taken a sharp turn in recent months (not associated with the Mariners offense only being able to hit foul balls). I don't feel the need to catch one anymore. I really don't. The novelty of the "souvenir," whatever the hell that is, has systematically been expunged from my body by the appreciation of memories. Catching a foul ball will leave me with a freaking ball I have to carry around for the next three hours, then I'll take it home and put it in a box, which I will then have to move all around the world for the rest of my life. And it's not even a real souvenir, a real piece of historic memorabilia, it's a foul ball off the bat of Miguel Olivo.

Sure, I could catch it and then hand it off to some kid. The people in my section would applaud my generosity and I'll maybe get a free hot dog (for $7), but all that's going to do is teach a young, impressionable child that, to get whatever he wants, he just needs to wait for free shit to land in his lap. And that's not how you teach proper harpooning skills.
  • Reports surfaced of a contentious meeting between the NBA and the player's union over the impending lockout, most notably between commissioner David Stern (Satan) and Dwyane Wade (Dwayne Wade). Stern allegedly pointed a finger at Wade, who shouted at him "Don't point your finger at me!" Honestly, I hope the NBA misses the entire season because a) David Stern deserves to have his "legacy" tarnished by destroying his own league in a selfish attempt to make more money for the owners and to cover up decades of mismanagement of the league's finances, and b) because I want every basketball fan in America to know what it's like being a Sonics fan.
  • Alex Rodriguez is 0-8 against the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS, and it's prompted him to channel his inner Buddhist: "One pitch at a time. One big hit can change this series around. You've really got to stay in the moment, like Coach [Phil] Jackson says, a little bit of a Zen mode." Is that how he managed to get through sex with Madonna?
  • If there's one thing you can count on on NFL Sunday, it's Tony Romo blowing everything. And America's quarterback threw two pick-sixes to the still-undefeated Detroit Lions, blowing a 20-point lead and falling to one of the worst losses in franchise history (don't quote me on that, I'm being hyperbolic because I'm far too lazy to research Dallas Cowboys history; also, I don't care). As the game ended, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones came over and grabbed Romo's jersey. Romo, instinctively reacting to someone passionately clawing at his jersey, made out with Jones and asked him to marry him. Jessica Simpson cried from a distance and ate an entire turkey.
  • The NFL is balls-deep (breasts-deep?) in breast cancer awareness month. With the entire month of October shrouded in pink, the NFL and players are showing their support for the cause by wearing pink gloves and shoes and then auctioning them off for charity. However, I couldn't help but notice the league's harem of cheerleaders also wearing pink get-ups. I'm not sure that scantily-clad half-hookers in neon pink sends the right message to the kids, though. Just saying. "Daddy, I want to be a pink cheerleader when I grow up and stop cancer!" ... "I've just signed you up for the MCAT."
  • Also, couldn't NFL players and the league just donate money to cancer research instead of doing this big dog and pony show? The NFL makes, as a whole, roughly $10B in revenue each year. If they just donated 1% of their revenue to cancer research, they could hand over a check for $100M every season. Isn't that more effective than pink shoes?
  • Look, I don't think Tim Tebow is the future of the NFL. I don't think he's going to dramatically change the way offenses operate. But, damn, Denver Broncos, there has to be some way to get the guy involved, even just to see what he's capable of; if those intangibles and that "won't-lose" attitude actually add up to something at this level. The fear of failure in the NFL breeds a lot of corporate risk management coaching, and, eventually, these coaches risk-averse themselves out of jobs anyway. It's shocking to me that very few of them realize it before it's too late. So if you're going to go down, why not go down with a little creativity? A little crazy? Van Gogh cut his goddamn ear off for a woman, the least you can do is run a few interesting plays. Or, better yet! Cut off Tebow's ear and put him in the game. Opposing players will be so grossed-out and mortified by the massive spurts of blood shooting through his ear hole they'll let him walk/crawl to the endzone (or wherever he passes out).
  • I'm quite fond of hypocritical arguments. Not for myself to dispense, but simply as a consumer. This Sunday, my beloved Arsenal lost 2-1 in the North London Derby to the bloody Spuds, and while I could (and probably will) write a self-immolating response to that devastating loss, I was quite surprised at the reaction to Tottenham midfielder Rafael Van Der Vaart's goal celebration. Van Der Vaart, already on a yellow card from an earlier tackle, ran toward the crowd, his own home fans, and celebrated the opening goal like every single one of us would've. That's it. He hollered and pumped his fists. That was the extent of his ludicrous display last night. In the Premier League, they have a rule against that for god knows why, and the punishment is a yellow card. Arsenal fans, and even some players (including the injured Jack Wilshere, who responded on Twitter to the celebration), called for VDV to be given a yellow. Let's think about this for a second. Celebrating with your fans = A yellow card. Two yellow cards = A red card. A red card = Playing a man down the rest of the match. Have people become so desperate for a break at Arsenal that they really think the rule should've been enforced there? Would Arsenal fans have thought it fair if one of our players had been sent off for celebrating a goal with his own fans? No. Would Arsenal players have nodded in agreement with Spurs players who begged the referee to send the offender off? Of course not. I am as die-hard of an Arsenal fan as you'll find, but it's a stupid rule that only seems to matter when the other team's doing it. Let's all relax about the celebration, and focus on being pissed about the handball. And the loss. And Michael Bay movies.

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