Wednesday, May 03, 2006

This is What I'm Talking About

posted by BH

This comes Mike Celizic's latest bit from MSNBC. Mike kind of doesn't know what he's talking about. Ever. He's like the old white guy version of the girl in high school who was popular, but no one could figure out why. Everything he writes is, without fail, this ginorous dramatic overreaction. Guh.

Last year, the Yankees and Red Sox opened the season against one another, and, though it was exciting in Yankee Stadium, it was too early for so much emotion.

Mr. Celizic prefers to decompress between April 1st and May 1st. After the beginning of May, it's on.

This time, the schedule makers got it just right. On the first day of May, with all players — resident aliens and native-born citizens alike — ready to work, the two biggest rivals in the game took the field in Fenway Park in a virtual tie for first place.

Awesome knock on immigrants. Once you've read Celizic a few times, you'll notice this formulaic form of writing in which he throws in these semi-current, borderline controversial, full-on stupid observations from popular culture. I'm envisioning this checklist next to him when he sits down to write a column.

Ortiz’ eighth-inning hit may have effectively ended the game, but it also symbolically opened the 2006 baseball season. I know the games have been going on for nearly a month, but just as the golf season doesn’t really begin until the Masters, the baseball season doesn’t really begin until the Yankees and Red Sox get together.

There's a lot of nothing going on here. Something symbolically and effectively happened at the same time? And the whole idea that a Yankees/Red Sox series is more significant than anything else in the baseball and national landscape is ridiculous horseshit. Just as golf season does start long before the Masters, with lots of guys making lots of real, spendable currency, so too does the baseball season. Real stats and records have been compiled over the first month of the season. This idea that New York and Boston playing any series bears some immense significance is the kind of narcissistic garbage that makes the national sports media unbearable.

There’s no need to hype the rivalry. The history stretches back through the decades, and a string of playoff meetings in recent years has cemented its standing as much more than just a regional rivalry like so many others in the game. Yankees-Sox is now a national event, like Colts-Patriots in football, Tiger-Phil in golf, Kobe-LeBron in the NBA.

You're right. There's no need to hype the rivalry. But you do it anyway. We know about the history. But you keep telling us about it. It is a regional rivalry, but it happens in the region in which the majority of the national media makes its home. I've also got some issues with your other national rivalries. Colts-Pats: for the most part, one sided in favor of the Pats. Tiger-Phil: hasn't really materialized on Sunday the way a legitimate golf rivalry should. Kobe-LeBron: seriously? Haven't they played each other a total of like five times? We're not talking Magic/Bird or Jordan/Pistons.

There had been a somewhat manufactured storyline about the return of Johnny Damon to the city where he had become the beloved leader of the team that finally brought a world championship back to Boston.

Allright. You just wrote about why it's not manufactured. Maybe the word you're looking for is "overanalyzed," or "overplayed." Anything containing "over."

Even afterwards, the media kept asking Yankees whether they were surprised and/or offended that Damon was thus hailed and abused by fans of the team he served so well for four years. Derek Jeter fairly snorted at the question, asking the reporters how else they’d expect a Yankee to be greeted in Boston.

What the fuck do the Yankees care about how fans feel about anything? Are you stupid? What the hell do you think the fans owe Damon? Jesus. Why did anyone think the fans in Boston would do anything other than boo the guy? Yankee broadcasters were heard to tell listeners that if Sox fans had any class, they'd cheer Damon upon his first introduction. What? Remember when Deion Sanders went from the Niners to Dallas after helping San Fran to the Super Bowl? Were Niner fans classless for booing Deion when he came to Candlestick? Jeff Kent plays for the Dodgers after winning an MVP in San Fran and playing a huge role in getting the Giants to the Series. What do fans owe him? Shut up, shut up, shut up. Don't act like the passion fans feel is reserved for this rivalry alone. Don't act like hate is reserved for Yankees alone, to be dispensed only upon New Yorkers visiting Fenway. Shut up.

Jeter was right, as were the fans. Nothing could be worse for the rivalry than for fans of either team to cheer a former hero who’s changed uniforms.

Shut up!

Wade Boggs was booed when he moved south on I-95, as was Roger Clemens. To treat Damon differently would have been to ignore everything that made the series such great theater. The players can respect each other if they so choose, but the fans are under no such obligation.

Yeah, no shit. And everyone with half a brain knows you're not supposed to root for a guy who left for a rival, or any team really. You root for or against the uniform. No one in San Francisco cheered for Deion or Kent. Shut. up. stup. Mike. Celizic.

Anyway, once the game began, Damon was barely a subplot.

Uh, that's kind of the way everything works. Most of the crap that hacks at the worldwide leader talk about is over before the game begins. Or at least after a guy's first at-bat.

The two teams had begun the night in a virtual tie for first place, with the Yankees holding an edge in winning percentage by virtue of having played fewer games. This early in the season, first place was already at stake.

Yeah. Actually, first place was at stake on the first day of the season. You're actually forgetting to mention that these two teams are kind of having a hard time staying above .500. You know what people would be writing if anyone paid attention to a first-place matchup in the NL West? OH MY GOD! WHAT A PUTRID DIVISION!

It was the first of 19 regular-season games between the two rivals this year. It could also be imagined as a delicious taste of what might come in October, where so much of the recent history of the rivalry has been forged.

A lot of teams play each other 19 times. I swear I've heard that these teams will play 19 games at least 753 times.

If so, what a terrific postseason it will be.

Yes, it will be. Regardless of whether the Yankees and Red Sox are involved. Is it some sort of foregone conclusion that these teams are going to meet in October. Did they play in the postseason last year, Mike? Did they make it to the ALCS. What's that Shakespeareian thing I've heard? Full of sound and fury signifying bullshit? Something like that.

It wasn’t the Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling on the mound, but Chien-Ming Wang and knuckleball artist Tim Wakefield. Wang struggled early, giving up a run in the first. Wakefield, who gave up only four hits, surrendered three runs in the fourth, an inning full of the sort of slop and walks that knuckleballers are heir to.

Calling a knuckleballer an artist is kind of like calling my dog a person, a point evidenced by you writing, "the sort of slop and walks that knuckleballers are heir to." God you are terrible.

The night was cold and the wind was blowing in with enough determination to have kept a half dozen other fiercely-struck balls in the park, but nothing could hold Ortiz’s in. It landed in the bullpen in right, ignited an eruption of joy in the stands and made the first statement in the first real game of the rest of the season.

"Nothing, nothing aside from the hand of God could corral the mighty blast from the lightning bolt in the hands of Ortiz. With one swift flick of the bat, the mighty Sox slugger fired a shot heard 'round the world. At that exact moment, an orphan in China began to cry. When asked why, the child merely whispered, 'David Ortiz.'" Seriously. This is slightly dramatic. Worse yet, it sounds like the start of a cliche murder mystery. "The night was cold and the wind blowing..." Celizic is writing this like it's supposed to be some corrected version of "Casey at the Bat." Ortiz yoked a ball, as he's done many, many times.

Again, this idea that the season has now started because the Yankees and Red Sox have played is the very essence of narcissism. Really, every fan that has seen a game in Kansas City, Denver, Phoenix, Oakland, Minneapolis, Baltimore, St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco, and Cleveland have been watching glorified exhibitions. They weren't real games, with real stats, with real players hitting real balls. You saw nothing. You thought you saw a baseball game, but you really saw what those in the know call "PreYanksSoxyourube." Sorry. Sucker.

It took a month of baseball to get to that moment. It was worth the wait.

Mike, you've missed a lot of good baseball sitting in your basement waiting for the Sox and Yankees. The only redeeming quality I find in your work is that you gave me something to do for half an hour.

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