"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
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Sunday Soul

Baseball is back, let us give thanks. The sermon today is from Annie Savoy:

“I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball and it’s never boring … which make it like sex. There’s never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball: you gotta relax and concentrate. Besides I’d never sleep with a player hitting under .250 … not unless he had a lot of RBI’s and was a great glove up the middle.

You see, there’s a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I’ve got a ballplayer alone, I’ll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. ‘Course a guy’ll listen to anything if he thinks it’s foreplay. I make them feel confident and they make me feel safe and pretty. ‘Course, what I give them lasts a lifetime, what they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball – now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God’s sake? It’s a long season and you gotta trust. I’ve tried ‘em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul is the Church of Baseball.”

A-a-a-men!

Annie Savoy Would NEVER Go For This

I freely admit I am so starved for baseball happenings that I actually did a news search just now for “baseball” –as if I wouldn’t have read about it already, on a blog or Twitter, if anything big went down. Aside from the Matt Garza trade (good news for the Yanks this season, probably, but nothing I can get too excited about) there ain’t nothing going on today. Except Brian Cashman is talking more and more like some kinda internet zealot. Adam LaRoche is finalizing his deal with the Nationals. Okay.

Unfortunately what I did turn up, like some gross bug under a rock, is the story over at Radar Online that a new reality show about baseball groupies is being developed. Baseball Annies are now being cast, with the idea of filming in Arizona during spring training. I’m not much of a reality TV fan — I’m too easily embarrassed on behalf of other people — and doubt I will watch this, unless I have to write about it. Anyone with half a brain realized many, many years ago that the vast majority of baseball players sleep around, and I really couldn’t care less since I am not married to, nor dating, a baseball player; that’s between them and their significant others and as long as everyone’s a consenting adult, hey, not my concern. The entire subculture has always seemed deeply depressing, though, and this newest cringe-inducing exploitation-fest is doing nothing to change that impression:

“The girls will go to any lengths to go to games and practices with the goal of sleeping with and getting material things from athletes as a notch under their belt,” the source told RadarOnline.com exclusively.

Ooh, an EXCLUSIVE about soul-suckingly shallow groupies! Great job, RadarOnline.com. Also:

The show will focus on the women and their ‘cleat-chasing’ lifestyle more than the players and their participation, added the source.

Well, of course. Why deal with the legal and societal repercussions of showcasing popular men behaving badly when you can just vilify the less wealthy and famous women who, inexplicably, are volunteering for this? Not that they won’t deserve vilifying, most likely, and no one can go on a show like “Cleat Chasers” and not expect to come out looking horrible.

I’m not someone who bemoans the decline of humanity, because I think humanity has always been pretty messed up, and even a show as tasteless as this is still better than say burning a bunch of people at the stake every time you get freaked out by an eclipse, but still.

Now, it's Garbage

Atrocious. That’s how Michael Kay described AJ Burnett’s performance tonight in Chicago. Nine runs in 3.1 innings. Maybe it was all a bad dream, huh, Meat?

Nope, it actually happened. Seen it with my own eyes. And if Burnett wasn’t bad enough, the rest of the team played like Chico’s Bail Bonds. Francisco Cervelli’s little star has not only crashed to earth, it’s been dismantled to the point where it doesn’t matter how cute he is, his performance, behind the plate and at bat, is lacking. That Yankees were listless for long stretches of the game, scratching out just six hits.

Here’s a shot from Joe Girardi’s post-game team meeting with the team.

Bull Durham and The Bad News Bears. Makes for a great double feature but a lousy model for, you know, winning a real game.

“This is one of those games where you hope the whole team gets it out of its system because they just want to turn the page quickly,” said Ken Singleton. The long view. Right, what he said.

The White Sox whipped the Yanks, 9-4. The Red Sox also beat the Rays, so the Yanks remain tied with Tampa for first place. Boston is just four-and-a-half back.

The Yanks are the defending World Champs and share the best-record in baseball with the Rays. But after CC Sabathia–who pitches on Saturday night–their starting rotation is suspect. The Red Sox are lurking. Could the Yankees–or the Rays, for that matter–spit the bit down the stretch? Could the Red Sox, improbably, make the playoffs?

Stranger things have happened. I’m not panicked but I haven’t been impressed with the Yankees of late and I’m far from comfortable.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver