Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday Bits

It's a relatively comfortable afternoon in the apartment, thanks to wide open windows, fans, and typical Windy City gusts, and big ass cups of water. Now on to my perusings:

  • Baseball season is a marathon, except when you get hot at the right time and win eleven of twelve playoff games en route to a World Series title, like the White Sox last year. Still, this year's cardiac Sox are close to giving me a coronary. If they concentrate in the early frames the way they do when their backs are against the wall, they wouldn't be pulling so many wins out of their ass in their final at-bat, and might be pulling away in the AL Central. I'll just be glad when interleague play is over and the Sox can hopefully make up some ground on Detroit.
  • As for the Cubs, it looks like there's the beginnings of a mass revolt at Wrigley. The crowd today sounded easily 50-50 between the teams. Let's see what happens if they make a stab at 100 losses, since their aspirations of being "like Houston last year" have all but vanished. As one who has given up his Cubs allegiances cold turkey, I find the level of fandom both amazing and asinine. We put our faith in our favorite teams to field a squad that's at least competitive. When that team (e.g. the Chicago National League Ballclub) doesn't return the favor, but is fully willing to exploit your faith, then you should have the good sense to extract yourself from the relationship. If the past two games - and the Cubs series with Detroit - are any indication, the die hards are starting to stay home, leaving the Friendly Confines for the masochists, visitors from Iowa, and amateur drinkers.
  • I'm late to the party on this, and I don't care. Is it just me, or did the focus of the Guillen/Mariotti flap switch quickly from Guillen's use of the word "fag" to how Mariotti does his job? Jay the Joke and Deadspin do spectacular jobs of covering the groundswell of writers criticizing Mariotti for being detached from clubhouses, and generally not doing his job. It started last week with the Tribune's Rick Morrissey, followed by Bob Verdi last Sunday, with a beautifully written "back in the day" piece. Rick Telander, Mariotti's rival at the Sun-Times, summarized it with a play on Jay's "I'm not the story" defense whenever it gets too hot in his kitchen for him. Melissa Isaacson touched on the Morrissey column by reminding readers (and Ozzie) that Mariotti will always "want the last word. Always. And forever.", which my friend Whitley from Ravenswood initially interpreted as a rebuke of Guillen until I made him read it more closely. ESPN's Jason Whitlock, a writer every bit as lazy and reactionary as Mariotti, called Jay a "knockoff of Mike Royko." "Pardon the Interruption" host Michael Wilbon admonished Mariotti for not having the convictions to stand behind his words. Finally, Michael Miner in the Reader wrote about the flap the other day, and it was insightful. Not content to call athletes names anymore, Mariotti called his fellow columnists "housemen", that they're "jealous of (him)", and that they need to "break some stories in town." You know, like Jay does between applications of makeup on "Around the Horn." Miner hands down his opinion in that subtle way he has. To wit: "...(W)itness is journalism’s irreducible core. And sportswriters are the most old-fashioned of journalists and athletes the most old-fashioned of other people. Clubhouses are where jocks and scribes circle and sniff each other. Mariotti boasts of his sources in other places, but he’s remarkably estranged from this environment, where the circlers and sniffers ultimately piss on the same hydrants." I've been on record here as stating I believe that Jay rehashes old columns: his Lance Armstrong mash notes from 2001-2004 could possibly be word-for-word reprints, just with the year changed. The only person to defend Jay? His father, in a letter-to-the-editor in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The writing is better than anything Jay has ever typed out, and you also get a sense of how Jay became the smug, delusional asshole he is today. The apple does not fall far from the tree, folks.
  • Speaking of my favorite monotesticled, angry super cyclist, Lance is not taking July off. He's just traded in the Alps and Pyranees for the undulating hills of Iowa (you bet your ass I'm doing RAGBRAI next year). Lance also picked a great time to retire from competitive cycling. A doping scandal has forced out Tour de France favorites Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso, and Francisco Mancebo. Fellow contendor Alexander Vinokurov also had to withdraw from the race when five members of his team were also implicated, leaving him with only four domestiques. Those are the men who finished second, third, fourth, and fifth behind Armstrong last year, and it means that the sprinters will be passing the maillot jeune around like a hot potato for the next week. After today's initial time trial, Armstrong's fellow Discovery Network teammate George Hincapie is in second place, with Floyd Landis in ninth place. Those are two riders who are strong in the mountains. The sprinters will be dropping like flies as the peloton approaches the mountains next week. Should be a good Tour.
  • CLICK HERE IF YOU WANT TO READ ABOUT HOW NAZIS REPUBLICANS SPEND THEIR SUMMER VACATIONS. The latest bullet point in the far right's smear campaign against the New York Times claims that by writing about the vacation homes of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, we're putting the security of the nation at risk. If only it were that simple, people. Some people, however, think it is. One mouth breather went so far as to publish the address, phone number, and e-mail address of the photographer for the article. These are reprehensible actions, and if anyone is hurt by this, then folks like him have blood on their hands.
"Where's Jay" image from Jay the Joke.

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