Baseball, Uncategorized

Free Agency

Thank you all for coming. Please take a seat, and out of common decency for not just myself, but the right-minded people of our society, silence your cell phones, unless the theme song from “Dallas” is your ringtone, then and only then is full volume not only acceptable, but encouraged.

Today I announce my intention to sign with a fictional baseball team.

The choice was made easier by the movie industry’s inability to produce a fictional baseball film within the last fifteen years that warranted more than a groan and cursing the eight bucks a month on Netflix.

I’d like to thank all the fictional characters and their organizations that made this decision a tough one. I’d especially like to thank the two teams that were second and third runner-ups respectively. I’m barely above the baseball hat shell game where I initially pick up one hat and attempt to put it on, only to discard it at the last possible minute and go with the actual choice, but I’m still above it.

So I’d like to thank Billy Heywood and the Minnesota Twins for all their efforts to land me, but I can’t play for a teenage manager. Who is supposed to bail us out if myself and some of the other relief pitchers (let’s just suspend belief for just a moment and pretend I am the most-courted lefty-one-out-guy in the history of Major League Baseball) want to unwind in a Texas Roadhouse (an actual one) and get into a skirmish with some of the locals. Who are we supposed to call to get us out of a jam, the manager? Who’s going to drive him down to the police station and bail us all out and talk to the arresting officers about Mercucio, the setup man, because we all know how he gets after a few belts of Shiner Bock? It certainly won’t be the manager who can’t even drive. If I’m a professional athlete it’s my right to develop multiple addictions and raise hell on every occasion that I deem reputable.  It’s his job to keep me alive. Plus, I wouldn’t even be able to borrow a pinch from him on occasion.

Also, the Twins of yore played in a dome. I’m most fetching with a slight tan. No way I give up half of my season indoors.

And I’d also like to thank Jimmy Dugan and the Rockford Peaches for the opportunity, but we just couldn’t come to terms on my role with the team. In the All-American League, I’m an ace, no doubt. He wanted me to come on as long relief. Now I have no problems playing against girls, especially ones from the 1940’s and potentially inflating my strikeout numbers, but a man has to have some pride and I will not pitch for the Peaches unless it’s as an ace. Good luck with Kit. Should have traded her when you had the chance. Plus they wanted me to room with Marla Hooch. I heard she likes to soak her feet in the sink for hours on end.

But, my grapes aren’t all sour. I decided to sign with the Cleveland Indians and play for Lou Brown. Brown doesn’t take crap from anyone. That’s the type of manager I want to play for. Granted the absence of Roger Dorn at the pitch meeting helped things, and Jake Taylor’s potential job switch to manager sweetened the deal, but my ardent devotion to my lord and savior Jesus Christ told me to sign there. Eddie Harris has been a spiritual adviser throughout my career and the opportunity to play in the town that Dolph Zigler made famous has only sweetened the deal and the pot, all in one fell swoop of sweetening.

Also, we have a real chance to win this thing as long as Vaughan can keep those black glasses of his focused on the target Taylor puts out there. I also heard that “Witness” billboard is still looking for a new resident.


Unearthed Blurbs

It’s fascinating to see what blurbs marketers use to accompany a trailer for a movie’s advertisement. A reputable film critic’s blurbs are splattered over advertisements for movies up for major awards. A series of tweets from BignHot69 lauds the work of “Madea Goes to the Optometrist.”

The blurbs aren’t the end-all be-all to convince people whether to see a film, but it seemed somewhat strange that a blurb from Bill Simmons accompanied an advertisement of “Lone Survivor.” The collided worlds signaled an epiphany. If Simmons was deemed competent enough to speak on the merits of “Lone Survivor” then other personalities in sports media have probably done the same. So, in the spirit of some television-detective work, I unearthed (or created, depending on how gullible you are) quotes from other personalities in the world of sports in reference to movies they’ve seen.

What follows are quotes left off of advertisements for the movie they reviewed.

“You got this guy, this doctor guy, and his wife, heh, heh, heh, he drops her off at home. And boom! Some man with a mechanical arm ends up killing her. And this doctor, he’s charged with murder! I mean, murder, not larceny or loan sharking, but murder! So he’s on this bus and this bus goes whack! Whack with a train. He’s out on the lamb and he tries to find his wife’s killer while eluding the cops and guys with guns. It’s great.”-John Madden on “The Fugitive”

“Hello friends, the picturesque Midwestern landscape provides the perfect backdrop as the hard-driving Neal Page tries to make it home for a blissful Thanksgiving with his family. The only problem, and it’s one with some girth, is weather hazards, long a great accoutrement to any story line and Del Griffith, the rosy-cheeked, mustachioed shower curtain ring salesman. Watch as Page and Griffith traipse from one beautiful slice of America to another in attempts to make it to Chicago for Thanksgiving.”-Jim Nantz on “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”

“So there’s this little (expletive deleted), who I love, the kid’s a real piece of (expletive deleted) and his stupid (expletive deleted) parents, who are your typical suburban white bread (expletive deleted) forget about the kid, you know the little (expletive deleted), who I love, when they take their ugly, boring (expletive deleted) family to visit some relative in God knows what awful foreign (expletive deleted) country which no real man would ever want to visit. I liked the (expletive deleted) movie, the guy with the shovel could beat the (expletive deleted) out of Boog Powell, he’s that (expletive deleted) quick with that thing.”- Earl Weaver on “Home Alone.”

“The sanctity of marriage in all of its wonderfulness gets turned on its head in a remarkable, breathtaking, awe inspiring manner by the grace of Steve Martin and Diane Keaton, and the spine-tingling quirkiness of Martin Short. I had so much fun I might want to get married again, a thousand times. Life is grand.”- Bill Walton on “Father of the Bride.”

“People want to call him Lord and Savior, but is he really any better than Peter, Paul, or even Simon, the guy who helped him carry the cross? I don’t think enough people talk about how Pontius Pilate was the real leader in the movie. You saw how he condemned Jesus to death? He’s the one in charge, not Jesus. Jesus seemed too all-powerful in the film, too all-knowing. What is he, the son of God? He’s a product of the hype machine. He’s certainly no leader, just like LeBron.”-Skip Bayless on “The Passion of the Christ.”

“The heart of Rock and Roll may be in Cleveland, as Huey Lewis sang, but the heart of tires and soul is in Sandusky, Ohio. Watch Chris Farley and David Spade navigate the changes in a company where as the Who says, the old boss is like the new boss and they hilariously try to save their jobs and the jobs of hundreds of others. Operator, can you help me place this call, as Jim Croce sang, because they’re dialing up laughter by the minutes. The movie gives you something more, more than a feeling, as Boston sang.”- Chris Berman on “Tommy Boy.”


Why Can’t It Make Sense?

I need help. The first sentence should not send a pack of do-gooders into the apartment and remove belts, sharp objects, pills, and alcoholic beverages from the premises. I need football help. I’ve become one of the people I regularly deplore for their perspective on professional sports.

Before the couch session drifts towards some unsettling experience from youth, let me state that I can co-exist perfectly fine with people I don’t care for. In the professional setting tensions are eased by pretending to be on the telephone when you hear the wretched party on their way down the hallway. At large social gatherings, it’s about the quick hello to the individual before you ramble some version of “bathroom, help with the food, be right back.” The pettiness of each act is entirely juvenile, hardly justified, but they’re decent coping mechanisms instead of the terminal alternative of “go (expletive deleted) yourself.”

In terms of rooting interest it is near-impossible to like the entire team in a particular sport. Every time you want to pinch Ronnie Brewer’s cheeks, Joakim Noah emits some guttural scream that in a way loosens your desire to see the team win. Results matter, to hell with likeability. We root for the actions and the performance of the athletes on the field, not their ability to market batteries or tag less underwear.

So we’re all on the same page? Good.

Now it’s going to get a little sticky. My logic is flawed and delusional all at the same time.

Jay Cutler himself makes me hate the new contract he received from the Bears.

It’s not just him, Jay the person. It’s a confluence of things, but it’s mainly Jay the person.

First, the supplemental reasons, meaning the nagging injuries that follow him. Cutler has missed 13 games since he was traded. Most are bad-luck stuff, from the broken thumb to the ankle, but his inability to stay healthy unsettles me.

There’s the offensive inefficiency. Cutler, not to his fault, again, has worked with a number of offensive coordinators in Chicago, from the egoist to the clueless and every variation in between. He’s suffered from a lack of continuity.

So I understand that the benefit of the doubt needs to be directed towards him. I understand that he gives the Bears the best chance to win. Even with an old and creaky defense, a turnaround is not out of the question. I understand the athletic ability, the toughness, the stabilization he lends to a position that before his arrival served as a favorite graphic of Fox whenever they played the Packers is paramount to a team’s success. (Side note: did you know the Bears started the equivalent of the entire population of Rock Island at the quarterback position during Brett Favre’s tenure with the Packers?) I also understand the talent of the skill players that surround him on offense. Jay finally has buddies who can catch the ball. He has a coach who built a professional offense. He has all these things going for him, but I keep drifting back to the fact that I don’t like Cutler.

The hipster doofus routine is hackneyed and trite. He’s just too interested in life to answer questions he doesn’t deem worthy of an articulate response. I can’t endure any more of the entire Cutler experience and it goes against my better football judgment.

Maybe it’s Cutler fatigue, maybe he’s wrongfully linked to the inept offenses that he mucked his way through in the majority of his time in Chicago. Maybe I thought he was the long-awaited stability at a house-of-cards position for a franchise known for running backs and linebackers, which is a real recipe for success if only Amos Stagg patrolled the sidelines.

So I don’t get it, I don’t know how to explain it, I don’t like the Cutler deal primarily because I don’t like Cutler and don’t want to endure another year of him as a human being. No more press conferences, no more shots of him in the huddle, him speaking with a referee or him celebrating a touchdown or downtrodden after an interception.Jay Cutler the person has forced me to dislike Jay Cutler the football player.

It doesn’t make sense, but I see how sports are easier to digest when the interpreters fail to use logic. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to consume some Ditka All-American Red Wine and listen to “The Grabowski Shuffle” on repeat.