"Klotz" As In "Blood"

A Testament to the Insidious Impact of Florida Sunshine on Brain Matter

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Goose Down? Not This Time!

Filed under: Playing With Balls — Steve @ 2:55 pm

gossage.jpgGoose Gossage became only the fifth relief pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame, earning baseball’s highest honor Tuesday on his ninth try on the ballot.

Gossage, who fell short by 21 votes last year, joins Hoyt Wilhelm (1985), Rollie Fingers (1992), Dennis Eckersley (2004) and Bruce Sutter (2006) in Cooperstown’s bullpen.

Known for his overpowering fastball, fiery temperament and bushy mustache, the Goose received 466 of 543 votes (85.8 percent) from 10-year members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Gossage was a nine-time All-Star who pitched for nine major league teams from 1972-94 and had 310 saves — 52 of them in which he got seven outs or more. — NY Times

Congratulations, Goose! ‘Bout time the writers acknowledged the crucial role of the closer.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fin-ished

Filed under: Playing With Balls — Steve @ 2:44 pm

As unexpected a development as gravity pulling down.

Cam Cameron was fired as the Miami Dolphins’ coach Thursday by new boss Bill Parcells after plunging to an 0-13 start in his first year on the job and finishing with just one victory…..All but two members of Cameron’s coaching staff were also fired, although some might be rehired by the new head coach, the Dolphins said. Retained were assistant special teams coach Steve Hoffman and linebackers coach George Edwards. — USA Today

Aaaah, the smell of smoked Dolphin. The only downside is, this improves the team.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Trick Play

Filed under: Playing With Balls — Steve @ 9:56 am

Until I moved to Florida, I never took college football seriously. In 7 years of college education (wasted), I wasn’t even certain my school even had a team. I still don’t give a rat’s ass about it, but now I’m surrounded by people who do, so I take it seriously enough to sneer at, insult its fans, and find things wrong about it. Type of guy I am.

So the news that Florida State University, another pillar of “amateur” sports, has been scarred by scandal is a pleasant early Christmas gift. Corruption, cheating, indifference to rule-breaking, cover-up……just another day at the office in the world of college football.

I try to get somebody at FSU on the phone to talk about this, but it’s no-go. So last night I wander over to the Liquor & Rubber Balls Sports Bar & Grille & Bar and seek out resident barfly, professional gambler, and all-time sportshole Duck Diamonds.

rudeboy.jpg“Pain in the ass,” he says. “Really screws up the line on the Music City Bowl.”

The Music what? You mean the melody line?

“No, numbnuts. The gambling line. FSU has to replace 2 dozen players. That cripples up the team like a too-tight jock. All because of what — cheating on tests? Gimme a break.”

Well, look Duck. Cheating is wrong, isn’t it? That’s why it’s not allowed.

“Oh, balls. Like academics means anything to these kids. They’re athletes, professionals. Their job is to make money for the school, not ace their courses. If they wanted an education, they wouldn’t have picked FSU, now would they?”

Well, very few make it pro. Aren’t they’re supposed to learn something at college as a back-up?

“Man, you and Toto really miss Kansas, don’t you. Colleges with serious football teams like this one don’t teach squat. It ain’t what they’re there for. That’s why in Florida the PhDs make peanuts while the coach is a millionaire. This whole charade with making the kids pass tests is a scam, a cover, a way to do sports business on the taxpayers’ dime. It’s called ‘higher education,’ but it’s really subsidized sports biz.”

What about the sportsmanship angle? Cheating is cheating. Amateur or pro.

“Grow up. It ain’t cheating unless you’re caught, and then you’re just hungry and competitive and willing to do anything to win. They like that in the pros. They like that in business. It shows commitment to mission.”

You make sports sound mighty ugly, Duckling.

“Sports my wrinkly wet wang. It’s big business, twinky. It ain’t supposed to be pretty. You think anybody like me gives a bloody fart about football? Or sports? It’s makin’ money, is all, same as the stock market, same as the race course, same as the blackjack table. Those athletes work for me, get it? They make me money. At least they’re supposed to. The End.”

I buy him a beer and move off. Poor guy. Very grinchlike of those meanies at FSU to ruin this nice fellow’s Christmas, don’t you think?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sucker Pitch

Filed under: Playing With Balls — Steve @ 12:10 pm

Yesterday it was Arte Moreno of the “Los Angeles” Angels.

I’ve felt we had a deal with them twice,” Moreno said of the Marlins, who apparently cut bait and decided they needed more in exchange for the 24-year-old slugger.

The door remains open to a Cabrera deal materializing with the Winter Meetings opening on Monday in Nashville, Tenn., but Moreno seemed frustrated with the negotiations with Florida. “They’re doing it to everybody. I read that the Dodgers’ [general manager] Ned Colletti had a deal, and they changed [players] on him.” — mlb.com

Even casual Marlins fans know that Cabrera’s time in south Florida is down to less than one full season. He’s worth far more than this team is willing to pay him. So why not unload him now, before he can escape into the free agency status he richly deserves, and get something back? And yet…

The second baseball executive in two days questioned the Marlins, saying their trade demands for All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera are unrealistic.

”I hate to speak to somebody else’s business, but you wonder if they really want to trade the player or if they absolutely, positively have to win the deal in such a one-sided fashion,” San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean said during a conference call Thursday with reporters. “Maybe they’re not going to get something done. I don’t know.” — Miami Hurled

When I call my contact in the Marlins’ front office — let’s just call him “Bats” — he’s bemused by the other owners’ reactions.

“What, they don’t know about this ownership group?” he asks rhetorically. “They don’t know these guys aren’t in it to win?”

miguelcabrera.jpgKeep going, Bats.

“Luria and that sawed-off schmuck Samson tell you every day that they gotta make money. They don’t care about building a team from the ground up, y’know, with a strong minor league organization, marketing plans with the region, commitment to win, nunna that crap for them. So they play games with people.”

I don’t get it. What game are they playing with Cabrera?

“It ain’t about Cabrera. They already know what they’re doing with him: keeping him until about the trading deadline to get the most out of him, bring in the fans, sell tickets. Then they wave the wand and he’s gone.

“The games right now are with the other teams. See what they’re willing to give up. See whose minor league talent they can raid. Put the pieces together for the rest of the year after the trade and the following year so they can patch together a bargain basement outfit just interesting enough to advertise, not good enough to contend for a championship, but definitely eligible for revenue sharing.”

Well, that sucks.

“Yeah, but that’s business. That’s what these slimeballs did in Montreal, and cost the city their team. Way they see it, the World Series ain’t as important as the revenue sharing check. They’re rather be wealthy than winners.”

If that’s true, why on earth would anybody want to be a Marlins fan?

“Ha! Look at the empty stands on game day. You find a fan, ask him yourself!”

Monday, October 22, 2007

All Bets Are Off

Filed under: Playing With Balls — Steve @ 2:18 pm

Nothing like 3 hours in a dentist’s chair on a Monday morning to sweeten one’s disposition, y’know? He had only had to stick me 5 or 6 times this trip, using a different kind of anaesthetic whose name I forgot but I do recall his saying it was used on bovine herds in preparation for castration. Quite a card, my dentist.

I figure this visit earns me a nerve-steadying shot of afternoon Jack Daniels, so I stop in at the Liquor and Rubber Balls Sports Bar and Grill and Bar. And there’s Duck Diamonds, (alleged) professional gambler, having a burger.

I tell him I’m surprised he’s not having a celebratory steak after the ALCS.clip_image002.jpg

“Fat chance,” he says. “I had Cleveland in 6. I was smart for about 4 games, maybe 5.” He growls. “Every once in a while I go with the gut. I figured Boston’s late-season collapse was overdue, and they’d do their usual self-immolation. They tried, but the Indians are even better at it.” He shoots down what’s left in his glass and pushes it across the bar. “Which I knew.”

Well, that’s why they play those games, Duck. If they knew who was gonna win before they played the game, they wouldn’t bother, would they.

“Thanks for the tip, Einstein,” he mutters, eyeing the barmaid’s shapely ass as she pours him another. “Christ. Only the fuckin Indians could make the shit-eatin RedSox look like heroes. Remember that 14-year run where the nutless Braves finished first and got themselves exactly one World Series win? It was ’95. They played the fuckin Indians. That’s how fuckin choke and lame the fuckin Indians are.”

Nice logo, though. Classy.

He laughs bitterly. “Yeah. ‘Class’ is what I’m thinking right now, too.”

I finish my shot, cringe at the mixture of relief and pain as the alcohol washes across the punctured soft interior of my ragged pie hole, and gather to go. But first I ask Duck who he’s backing in the Series.

“The team that ain’t Boston,” he says. “But remember, I’m not a bettin’ man.”

photo credit: original art by Francis Yellow

Friday, October 19, 2007

Joe Goes

Filed under: Playing With Balls — Steve @ 8:51 am

[New York Yankees’] Joe Torre rejected a $5 million offer that would have kept him as baseball’s highest-paid manager, but also would have been a cut from his present salary. — NY Times

Most savvy Yankees fans saw this coming: Yankees’ principal owner George Steinbrenner more or less forced the issue two weeks ago, and while a change was inevitable, firing seemed inappropriate. So they made him an offer he had to resist.

Torre briefly addressed reporters late last nigshadow600.jpght. “The nature of this business, you’re a genius when you win and a moron when you don’t. I’m inconsistent. We’ve had our ups and downs. George, on the other hand, has been a model of consistency.”

In other baseball news, the Boston RedSox postponed their collapse until this evening with another outstanding performance by former Marlin Josh Beckett. “Nobody’s gonna pin the tail of disgrace on THIS donkey,” he vowed afterwards. “That’s what we got [Manager] Francona for.”

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sherry Baby

Filed under: Playing With Balls,Sense & Sensuality — Steve @ 12:40 am

sherry.jpgI’m at LRB’s (Liquor and Rubber Balls Sports Emporium and Libation Celebration) enjoying a dinner of Guinness and hard boiled eggs — yes, this diet leads to serious flatulence, but it sure does make the dog wag her tail when I stagger home– and evidently between courses I mutter something like, Nobody reads my blog on Friday anyway.

This comment inspires (alleged) professional gambler Duck Diamonds, without shifting his hawk-like gaze from the teevee screen, to remark, “You got that right, champ. Of course, nobody reads it Saturday through Thursday, neither.”

Cold, right? And these are my friends.

Duck told me before the post-season even started that I was backing every loser in the race. Result? I lost 12 of 13: my Phillies were swept in 3, as were the Cubs and Angels. The Yankees managed one crappy win against Cleveland. I ask him how the hell he knows so much.

“I listen to losers like yourself,” he tells me. “And bet the other way. Last week you made me my Roth IRA payment. Thanks. Buy you an egg?”

Fuck a Duck.

Anyway, on the related subjects of sports, alcohol, and butt-reaming, here’s an update on a story you may remember from teh internets a few years back…….

Houston, TX – Charges have been dropped against Tammy Jean Warner, a Texas woman who was accused of giving her husband a sherry enema that killed him, the prosecutor in the case said on Wednesday. Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne said the charges were dismissed a month ago for lack of evidence. The dead man had had “a severe alcohol issue” and it was not clear his wife had committed a crime, Yenne said in a telephone interview.

At the time of Warner’s indictment in 2005, police told the Houston Chronicle the woman had given her husband two large bottles of sherry, which raised his blood alcohol level to 0.47 percent, or nearly six times the level considered legally drunk in Texas. She told the newspaper her husband was addicted to enemas and often used alcohol in that manner. Police said Warner had a throat ailment that left him unable to drink the sherry. — Reuters

I’m quite prejudiced myself, but filling an enema bottle with sherry and squirting it up a drunk’s ass is the most appropriate use for that foul drink as I’ve ever encountered. So what if both assholes — himself and his own — expired?

As for you betting souls: I’m pulling for Colorado and Cleveland. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a World Series with Cowboys and Indians? So bet against me, buy me an egg, and make my dog happy.

Monday, October 8, 2007

….and maybe you don’t

Filed under: Playing With Balls — Steve @ 3:20 pm

From Sunday’s NY Times:

To the Sports Editor:

To every smug, naïve, clueless Mets fan who for the past few months has harassed, berated and insulted my Yankees, the greatest franchise in the history of professional sports, maybe now you have some minimal understanding of the difference between winning and talking about winning.

Phil Cincotta
Massapequa, N.Y.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sweet, Sizzling Schadenfreude

Filed under: Playing With Balls — Steve @ 9:24 am

Still without computer and internet access at home, what else to do on a rainy autumn Sunday after reading 3 newspapers but head on down to the Liquor and Rubber Balls Bar and Grill and Sports Emporium to watch the fate of my Philadelphia Phillies.

phillies beer.jpgBy now you know that the Phightins squeaked into the division title on the last day of the season — yesterday — capitalizing on a sensational winning trend in September (13 and 4) and a complete collapse by the New York Mets. The Marlins had a major role to play as well, kicking Mets ass yesterday and Friday at Shea (“The Sewer”) stadium.

It’s worth repeating that the gold standard of team collapses was set in 1964 by the same Philadelphia Phillies. With 12 games remaining and a 6.5 game lead, the team dropped 10 straight and finished second. Arguably, the event soured not just Philadelphia sports fans, but the entire city, making the citizenry the cranky, cynical, hostile savages you see today. Blame for the loss was universally attributed to the despised manager, Gene F. Mauch (guess what the F stands for), whose very name causes old-timers to ball their fists and curl their lips. (“I hated that sonofabitch so bad I cheered when his wife died of cancer,” one sympathetic fellow, a minister, told me.)

The 1961 Phillies lost 23 games in a row. And this year, the team set the Losing Record of Losing Records: the only sports franchise on the planet to lose 10,000 games in its history. Not even Reds Klotz and the Washington Generals have lost that many games, and they’ve been up against the Harlem Globetrotters for half a century. But thanks to yesterday’s culminating victory, for the first time since 1983, the Phillies enter the post-season. Sweet. Very sweet.

When I waltz on in to LRB’s yesterday, the patrons’ mood is not celebratory. Metfan had been opening his own vein for several weeks watching the team’s meltdown, while Yankeefan smirks visibly. Cubfan, secure in the NL Central, is just enjoying the show, looking for the end of the Cubbies’ 99 year drought. As for me, I’m the only Phillyfan, and I’m pretty goddam nasty about it because I’ve fucking earned it.

The Mets waste no time. They lose the game in the first 10 minutes. Future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine manages to give up 7 runs and record one whole out before he’s yanked like a buttplug, and the team spends the next 9 frames spinning zeroes for the scoreboard. It spectacularly, definitively punctuates a metldown season that will certainly brand this franchise permanently. I mention this casually, in a Philly-friendly sort of way (“Hahahaha! Your fuckin losers! You’ll die and rot and turn to shit before you fuckin live this down! Hahahaha!”) and offer to buy shell-shocked viewers beers to cry in. I am rebuffed. Imagine.

Five minutes later, Metsfan still staring in pop-eyed, jaw-dropped disbelief at the teevee screen, the Phillies nail down their 6-1 victory and win the NL East, ending the Mets agonizing season. Nobody offers me anything but a death look. I don’t care. Winners are like that, but how would Metsfan know that? That’s the difference between them and Yankeefan.

Absolutely it feels better that Metsfan suffers this loss while I get to celebrate. Yes, the ecstasy of victory is enhanced by the Mets’ agonizing defeat. That’s what growing up in the City of Bodily Harm, in the wake of the experience of 1964, has done for me. And for Phillyfan everywhere.

Last thing I see is footage of celebrating Phillies pouring beer on their manager. Yeah, beer, not champagne. My kind of team. Too bad Gene F. Mauch’s not around any more for a victory vivisection.

Friday, August 17, 2007

First and 6 Million

Filed under: Playing With Balls — Steve @ 12:45 am

I dread this season’s impending doom, time-and energy-consuming distractions, threat to health and well-being. No, not hurricanes. Football. Specifically, college or (ha ha!) “amateur” football. This little note caught my eye:

The University of Florida’s athletic department is spreading around some [$6 Million in] extra cash to help out the academic side of the school, mostly to cover scholarships for students who are the first in their families to attend college.

UF is the rare university that produces a surplus from television money, donations, ticket sales and licensing from its football and basketball programs. Even successful programs like the University of Miami’s say they have to subsidize the athletic department, covering the cost of scholarships for athletes with academic money. Miami Hurled

I’m constantly arguing with people that universities waste precious resources and distract themselves with their insane focus on brainless athletic competitions, most notably football. In fact, a few of us just rehearsed this line of thought last week at the LRB (Liquor and Rubber Balls) Sports Emporium, a discussion lubricated by the House Special ($2 pints of Bass on draft. Can you beat it?). One argument: it’s financially necessary: universities notcheck.jpg only support their athletic programs with generated revenue, they make a profit which goes towards keeping tuition down, recruiting talented faculty, research and capital, etc.

Paragraph 2 contradicts that contention, or at least suggests that the circumstance is rare. Those millions of dollars that make fat drawling football coaches in funny hats the highest paid members of the faculty come right out of state budgets, parents’ tuition, and white-belted boosters’ checkbooks.

Then there’s the ever-popular argument that without these athletic programs, hordes of illiterate morons would never have a shot at a college education, and end up in state penitentiaries where their upkeep would be even more expensive. How anybody fails to spot the embarrassing premise implicit in this approach is beyond me. But they do. Must be the House Special at work.

I say close ’em down. Send the sports faculty out to pasture, or wherever ancient jocks and wannabes waddle off to when they’re through. We should be spending our money to send kids to school to learn. They can play football (and drink, fuck, and party) on their own time and their own dime. And I’m sure they will.

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