Maybe it's because I had two weekends in a row where I wasn't running around to get to concerts (Jimmy Sturr ends the streak this weekend) or maybe it's because my fantasy baseball team has finally climbed to over .500, but I've been delving hard into baseball these past few weeks. And, it's been a good time to do so--especially last week. Here's a recap of what I consider the most interesting moments:
*Tom Glavine gets 300. Good for him. I've always liked Glavine, even when he was with the evil Braves. And it's not just because he sent me back two signed baseball cards when I was a kid (or at the very least had the decency to have a ballboy sign the cards and send them back to me). First of all, he's as big into hockey as he is into baseball, which is the mark of a true man. Second, he's just been a quietly consistent pitcher. No flash, no fist pumping, no heat. Just good, smart pitching (and a little help from those umpires who call strikes on borderline, corner-of-the-plate pitches). Third, I don't know a damn thing about his personal life. Never even saw his wife or kids before the chase for 300. Don't know any of their names. Don't want to. Which brings us to...
*A-Rod hits 500. Every time A-Rod speaks, I get that same sort of soulless vibe that politicians work decades to cultivate. Look, he's a fine player and a great hitter. But he just strikes me as a giant douche. And it's not just the pinstripes; I've always felt he was a creep. And so, when he said after the game on Saturday that he wished it were possible to shake the hands of all the people who supported him at Yankee Stadium, my first thought was "Well, you know, it is possible. Surely, he has a free couple of days in the offseason to just sit in the Javits Center (or any other giant building he could rent with his millions of dollars...I'm just going with the Javits Center because it affords him easy access to an afterparty at Scores) and just shake people's hands. No fee, no attempt to get them to buy a children's book that he "wrote." Just shake hands, pal, maybe pose for photos. It's not impossible.
Sorry. I just don't like A-Rod. He can sign with the Mets, hit 1,000 home runs, and I still won't like him.
And speaking of people I don't like...
*Barry Bonds hits 755. Whoopee. The guys on ESPN2 were going a little overboard, no? Save a little for 756. That's the one that's actually historical. I don't remember ever seeing Aaron's 714th. So, tone it down, guys. You're not the next Milo Hamilton just yet. I also liked watching Bonds admire a home run that didn't really clear the fence by much. But why start being respectable now?
At least Bud "I Will Show No Emotion" Selig is making Bonds a slightly more sympathetic character. Hell, Selig almost makes Gary Bettman look cool. Listen, MLB, either you're happy or you're not. Pick one. You can't have it both ways.
And if Bonds wants to solidify his place in history, what better way than to follow the trail being blazed by Charlie Hustle?
*Pete Rose curses in front of kids, brags about seeing Joe Dimaggio naked. Say what you will about Pete Rose, but he rarely lets you down in the crazy department. In an attempt to top his marketing of the "I'm sorry I bet on baseball" autographed ball (also available on a t-shirt for the cost-conscious), Charlie Hustle made an appearance at a baseball camp for 7- to 14-year-olds. where, according to attendees, he dropped a few curses, joked about how he saw Joe Dimaggio in the shower and saw more of him than Marilyn Monroe did, expressed dismay that Marge Schott didn't leave him any money, and declared "if you get second place, you're just losers" (well, I'm with him there). Quite a man. Hard to believe he hasn't gotten in the good graces of Major League Baseball yet. C'mon, what more does he have to do? Move in with the two Coreys?
*Guy busted for impersonating Steve Karsay. In a week full of great baseball stories, this was the grand slam. As reported in the New York Post (and followed up the next day), a guy was busted after spending TWO YEARS pretending he was former Athletic/Indian/Brave/Yankee/Ranger Steve Karsay, whose 32-39 career win/loss surely ought to give him carte blanche for the rest of his life. And therein lies the genius of the story. A guy was able to just do whatever he wanted for two years simply by saying, "Hey, I'm Steve Karsay." To wit, according to the Post article, "The bogus ballplayer was spotted last winter at the Stand-up New York Comedy Club on the Upper West Side, where he interrupted the show by hopping over the bar, making out with a randomly chosen woman, and skipping out on his $100 tab, authorities said." Awesome! Karsay was relieved that the imposter was caught, telling the Post, "I'm glad they caught the guy. You never want your name smeared." Yes, thank God Steve Karsay's name has been returned to its unsullied state.
In related news, Hi, I'm Mackey Sasser.
*And finally, Wednesday of last week was spent at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, where the Staten Island Yankees lost to the Oneonta Tigers 5-3 in 11 innings (we had to bail just as the Tigers took the lead, because Denino's beckoned). The stadium was pretty empty and the scoreboard wasn't working (apparently struck by lightning, according to the guy in front of us), but it was still a good time. I was even chosen to be one of the Tamron Photo Fans of the Game, which meant I got to take pictures with a nice camera for a few hours. See some of the results here. Unfortunately, they couldn't publish all 50 or so that I took.
Go see the Baby Bombers play, wouldya (the San Diego Chicken will make an appearance at Friday's game)? Don't let the Cyclones get all the local minor-league glory.