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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Gentleman's Guide To Baseball

A Gentleman's Guide To Baseball

Play by the rules! Posted by Picasa

Baseball games are one of the few occasions for adult males to act like assholes with complete impunity. When they announce the equipment manager before the game I like to screech like a 13 year old girl at a Backstreet Boys concert. Is there a better excuse to have a beer before noon than at a day game? At a recent pre-game show in Seattle they had some 9 year old cancer survivor run the bases. While most of the crowd was teary-eyed and cheering, everyone in my cheap-seat section was screaming at the kid to show some hustle. OK, replace “everyone in my section” with “me” but I think they were all thinking it. And would it have killed the kid to slide into home? It’s not like he just hit a walk-off home run.

Like a complex jazz improvisation, enjoying a baseball game is open to a high degree of personal interpretation; however, like staying on key in jazz, baseball does have certain standards. It’s what separates us from the animals…and hockey. The rules for watching baseball at the park are few and uncomplicated yet people continue to behave badly. It’s time to put down the rules for fandom in writing.

Pre-Game Ritual

Baseball is a game with more traditions than the Catholic Church so it is important to develop your own set of rituals when you go to the game. It is essential to have at least one beer at a neighboring bar before you enter the ball park. I pity the people who drive to the stadium, park, enter, and immediately start paying $9 for crappy beer in a plastic cups.

The street leading to Seattle’s baseball park is lined with a gauntlet of hot dog stands and food concessions. Aside from the cholera epidemic of the 2003 season, this isn’t a bad place to buy some cheap eats before you enter. If your tradition is to eat sunflower seeds and spit the shells all over the people in the two rows in front of you, save some money by buying the seeds at one of the concessions outside the park.

What’s That In Your Hand?

There are only a few acceptable items that you can have in your hands while the game is in play.

I guess it goes without saying that beer is one of the suitable items you can grip with your hand. Ditto soft drinks. If you are in a luxury suite I suppose things like mimosas or wine are allowed. Rich people have their own rules. They aren’t watching the game, anyway.

Food is another one of those things. From all of the public eating that goes on at baseball games you would think that the fans are all famine victims. Bad food is as much a part of baseball as the intentional walk and the infield fly rule. I think that we can all go nine innings without trying to be health conscious. When I see a guy eating sushi at the ball park I wonder if he is going to take off his shoes and paint his toenails when he finishes. Stick with hot dogs, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.

You can have a baseball mitt in your hand.

You can have a scorecard in your hand.

If you are a Yankees fan it is OK to have your finger knuckle-deep in your nose.

That’s it. Everything else is a fucking disgrace. Talk on your cell phone while you are waiting ten minutes in line to buy a beer or take a piss. There are no rally monkeys, thunder sticks, or other gimmicks in baseball. Sit in front of me with that kind of crap and you’ll be watching the final innings in the emergency room.

Foul Tips

I’ve lived in three cities with major league baseball teams and I’ve been to more games than I can count, but I’ve never been in the same area code as a foul tip so all of this advice is pure theory. Bare-handing is the perfect way to handle a foul ball. Just try not to make too big of an ass out of yourself if you are going after a foul tip. Don’t end up on ESPN because you fell out of the top tier seats going for a ball that retails for about $5.

You Don’t Know Shit

To be a baseball fan is to be a geek. Baseball enthusiasts know more about their game than any other sport fans, so don’t make yourself look like a stupid turd by screaming “Balk!” at the top of your lungs every time the opposing pitcher throws over to first base. Trust me; nobody knows what the fuck constitutes a balk. You have a better chance of guessing a random number between 1 and 1,000 than you do of correctly calling a balk.

Remember To Keep Your Eye On The Ball

There are signs at the park to watch out for flying balls and bats. Bats! If these aren’t good enough reasons for you to hang up your phone then you’ll have to let me explain the rules to the game we invented that allows us to bet on every single pitch.

Enjoy the game.

P.S. After the seventh inning stretch song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is played, stadiums follow that with their own song. In Seattle they play “Louie, Louie.” What song do they play in your park?

Friday, April 21, 2006

The War In April 2006

I just had a long holiday weekend in Las Vegas so excuse me if I’m not too current on world news. Maybe you can answer a couple questions for me? What’s up with the Pope? Is he alive or dead? I haven’t seen Liz Taylor around lately. Is she still as big as Sasquatch or is she doing the Atkins again? It’s amazing how much you miss just by spending three nights gambling away the mortgage on your parents' home and two days stuffing yourself at the strip club buffet line. What’s that? We’re still fighting in Iraq?

You are fucking kidding me, right? We can’t still be over there getting blown up. Surely we have learned by now that the situation is hopeless and we should just cut and run. The only strategy that I have seen up to this point is for our soldiers to try and not get blown up by religious fanatics. We could pursue that strategy more effectively if we had all of our soldiers back here at home.

I thought the pro-war crowd said this wasn’t anything like Viet Nam? Maybe they are right. Maybe Iraq is worse than Viet Nam? I’ll be that the soldiers serving in Iraq wish that Iraq were more like Viet Nam. At least the guys who were in Nam could go out and get drunk, stoned, and laid. It is positively unhealthy for men the age of our soldiers not to be trying to get laid, drunk, and stoned.

The bottom line is that none of the predictions of the geniuses who dreamed up this war, and those who have supported it from the beginning, have turned out to be accurate. Just about everyone who opposed the war from the beginning said that we were headed for disaster. On the one hand you had the neo-cons saying that we would be welcomed as liberators. On the other you had those of us who thought that we were headed towards facilitating a civil war in Iraq and opening a wound that would bleed America for quite possibly a generation.

Once again I ask this question for those who support the war: What is your best-case scenario for Iraq? Democracy? Are you fucking kidding? Voting doesn’t equal democracy. Elections don’t equal security. Without security who cares who is in power?

Our war against terrorists should have been waged in secret. On the outside the United States should have turned the other cheek after 9/11. We should have flooded the Muslim world with goodwill and good deeds. We should have concentrated our efforts on solving the Palestinian homeland issue. We should have removed our troops from Saudi Arabia.

We have pursued the most bellicose foreign policy in U.S. history by an administration that is intimately involved in the petroleum industry. The oil industry and our complete lack of an energy strategy in this country have conspired to further empower the most unstable region on the globe.

Oil just went over $70 a barrel. Is that our strategy in Iraq? Because if that is our strategy it is working brilliantly. Unfortunately, I’m not in the oil business like the Bush family so I’m pretty much screwed by these rising fuel prices. Bush has done a great job as president if you look at the presidency as part of the Bush family business. If you are merely a lowly citizen you are fucked. If you are a citizen and a soldier you are totally fucked.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My Hippyphobia Sickens Me

Freedom's just another word for no dignity left to lose. Posted by Picasa

I used to have a pet hippie. It was kind of cool although it didn’t really do much but sit around and smoke weed. The hippie died pretty quickly. I was surprised and a bit saddened by its hasty demise. I always thought that hippies lived a long time. There is a hippie in my neighborhood that must be almost 60 years old. He still keeps his 4-5 strands of oily hair in a ponytail. The rubber band he keeps it in must be over ten years old because it is all cracked and dried out. He is probably afraid to take his ponytail out because it might yank his last few hairs out of his head. I kept my hippie in a jar on the table next to my bed. Next time I will remember to poke a few holes in the lid so the hippie can breathe. I flushed it down the toilet.

Some people have told me that it is wrong to keep a hippie as a pet—even if you poke holes in the lid of the jar so it can breathe. They say that hippies must be allowed to roam free. Hippies are said to love freedom, which is why they never wear underwear. The thought of a 60 year old hippie running around loose without underwear is enough to make me want to stuff it (the hippie) in a very small jar with no holes in the lid and then flush it (the jar with hippie gasping inside) down the toilet.

At least this was the way that I used to feel about hippies. I have begun to understand that they can serve a useful purpose in modern society. Sure, all of you people think that all hippies do is get high and play Hackey Sack and you would be 100% correct in this assumption, but maybe we could find something for them to do that would benefit society? Hippies would be the first to point out that using animals for product testing is wrong. Why can’t we just use hippies for product testing? They take tons of drugs anyway. A hippie would ingest anything if it thought that there was even the remotest chance of copping a small high from it. It’s just a thought.

When you use animals for product testing it costs a lot to clean out their cages. Have you ever seen the way hippies live? If you so much as even hinted that you where going to clean their cages they would screech like wounded crows. Besides that, they can live on nothing but tortilla chips and shitty beer.

I can’t think of anything else right now, but I’m sure there are lots of things that hippies could do for society besides talk about the guitar solo in Stairway to Heaven or brag about how many Dead shows they went to but couldn’t afford to do anything but play Frisbee in the parking lot.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

There's Never Any Hootchie At These Anti-American Mobs

Yo, Salim. Asalamu alaykum, my man. I like your poster: Death to America and all of the infidels who live there. That’s a good one, dog. What are we rioting about today you ask? Fuck if I know, but I’m sure we have good reasons. Hey Hakim. What’s happening, dude? Nice effigy of President Bush you’re burning. Those four years you spent at art school in the U.S. really paid off. Let me just throw this Molotov cocktail at the embassy and then I can shake your hand. Dude, why don’t you ever bring your sister? There's never any hootchie at these anti-American mobs.

I wouldn’t bring my sister, either. I’m just saying that we could use a little booty here. All I ever see at these things is the same group of swarthy dudes. I thought that there was a woman at yesterday’s riot but it was just a hostage they had wrapped in a blanket. Imagine my embarrassment when I was trying to get her phone number and all I got was some French journalist’s muffled plea for help. The sexual tension is so thick around here you could cut it with a strafing run from an Israeli F16.

I spit on the ground when I think of that country but do you remember when we were going to school in America? The street demonstrations over there had tons of hotties. That Freedom of Choice rally in Washington D.C. was like a Girls Gone Wild video. Riding in that crowded metro car on the way to the Mall was better than a lap dance. It’s no wonder that our demonstrations here at home always turn violent.

At least here at home we get things accomplished. We’ve had four riots this month and it’s only the 10th. When we were studying in America we’d be sitting around planning a terrorist attack and then someone would get the brilliant idea to hit happy hour. After that we’d waste the rest of the night trying to get laid. I know that it is the land of the Great Satan, but the wings at Hooter’s rock. And would it be such a terrible sin to have a couple of those waitresses here at this riot?

Where is Ali? I haven’t seen him at a demonstration since he got married. What? His wife has him at home painting their kitchen? Just leave it to women to screw it up for men when they want to go on a murderous rampage. By the way, I can’t make it tomorrow for the Death to Israel rally. I’m going to the mall. You guys should come. We can hook up with some girls. 
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