1.) Jim Johnson –This one doesn’t surprise me as it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind. I disagreed with the signing from the very beginning because A) I don’t believe in giving closers big money B) despite having 50 saves in Baltimore the year before, (hands down the most overrated statistic in sports) he still managed to blow 9 games…a horrible percentage. C) He just looked like a creep.
I was spot-on as the fans quickly grew tired of pitches that had zero movement and blown saves in bunches. Eventually he was run out-of-town until signing with Detroit who grew tired of him as well and sent him to AAA Toledo to waste away in the city known for unemployment and the smell of shit in the air…a fitting ending to the season for Johnson and perhaps an omen.
2.) Daric Barton — This guy never had a nickname, yet as far as I was concerned it should have been “The Cockroach.” (He was deemed “Churro Vendor” by this blog because readers thought that it would be a better suited job.) Barton was acquired in the trade with St. Louis for Mark Mulder (Dan Haren was also acquired in the trade supplying 43 wins and an All Star appearance, so the trade worked out pretty well overall.) and was slated to be the Athletics first baseman for years to come. The only problem was that he couldn’t hit a lick, but for some reason stuck around for EIGHT seasons, being shuttled back and forth to Sacramento (AAA) so much that he sort of became their unofficial mascot. The cherry on top of the shit-heap was when he was put on waivers twice in one week and not one team claimed him.
3.) Brian Fuentes/Bob Geren — Yet another closer that didn’t live up to his deemed position. His goofy face, big ears and screwy delivery added to the fire when the blown saves started to add up. Things got so bad that my mother, a neophyte baseball fan, would storm out of the room whenever he came into the game. A reader of this blog summed it up perfectly when she sent this response: I hate Brian Fuentes with a passion. He is a horrible closer. He blew 4 saves in eight days when he was with the Rockies. I cried a little when I had found out we picked him up in 2011. My dad kept trying to say he was good, and he was briefly, but I just told him to wait. It quickly turned into “OH (f-bomb)! Fuentes is coming in. There goes the game.” The only saving grace was when he criticized then manager Bob Geren’s (probably the least liked manager in Oakland history and an ex-Yankee, so who really gives a darn!) “unorthodox managing”, handling of pitchers and “zero communication.” Then ex-closer Huston Street piped in saying of Geren that “he is the least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports.” Ol’ Bob was let go after the 2011 season leading to the signing of another Bob (Melvin) and Fuentes’ career was over soon there-after.
Arthur Rhodes (yet another stinky closer.)
Luis Polonia (not sure about this one as he was busted for raping a woman as a Yankee. Perhaps the reader hated dripping jheri curl mullets.)
Nick Swisher (was sort of a lovable hick/douchbag until he got Yankee-itis and then began thinking he was a much better player than he really was.)
Jon Lester (more Yo hangovers)
Jeremy Giambi (strip clubs, drunkenness, a scolding by Brad Pitt in the locker room and the prancing “non-slide.”)
Bobby Crosby (a high pick that couldn’t do much of anything after his rookie year and even had his dad criticize Billy Beane in the media.)
Buddy Groom (dumb name, psycho looking face, and one of the worst LOOGY’s of all time.)
I could only laugh when I received these autographs in the mail on the same day…It was uncanny. Both players “played” DH for the Athletics towards the end of their career and both struck out A LOT. These guys struck out so much that both led the league three times. It was enough to make an old school tyrant like Ty Cobb, who preached contact and speed, turn over in his grave. Yet both players also had amazing power and could hit the ball a country mile.
Cust bounced around from team to team and played in the minor leagues for 10 years before getting his shot. He was acquired from the Padres for cash as the A’s needed a DH due to an injury to Mike Piazza. (another horrible position player.) Cust quickly endeared himself to A’s fans by hitting 6 home runs in his first 7 games. “John Joseph” was an effective DH, and had a nice ending to his career from 2007-2010 for the Athletics. You can see why Billy Beane liked the guy from a statistical standpoint as he walked a lot and had a high OBP. This was a very strange dichotomy, and Cust will go down as one of the more unique players in MLB history. (Adam Dunn was another who led the league in both categories, and was also a Oakland DH this season…conspiracy theories anyone?)
Dave “King Kong” Kingman needs no introduction to most baseball fans. He hit 442 tape measure jobs and gave a rat in a box to a female reporter. Kingman wasn’t known for his sunny disposition and had a personality former Mets teammate John Stearns compared to a tree trunk, complaining that “when you talk to him all he does is grunt.” “Dave Kingman was like a cavity that made your whole mouth sore,” said another former teammate Bill Caudill. Ol’ Dave constantly quarreled with reporters and even dumped ice water on one. Another reporter said he was “an unquestionable slugging talent with a puzzling psyche marked ‘fragile.'” Kingman regularly insisted he was misquoted, and he began appearing regularly in the Chicago Tribune as the nominal author of a ghost-written column. Mike Royko, then writing for the rival Chicago Sun-Times, parodied Kingman’s column with a series using the byline “Dave Dingdong.” (A bit of Royko’s parody column…Hi, I’m Dave Dingdong and you’re not. I really don’t have to introduce someone as well known as me. But for those who have been living in a cave, I’m the tall, dark, handsome left fielder who hits those towering homers. I’d be a standout anywhere, but especially in Wrigley Field, because most of my teammates are nothings. . . . You might wonder why I’ve broken my legendary silence. Well, I’m a frank and honest person. And to be frnk and honest, I’ll do anything for a buck, even break my legendary silence. And if you wonder why I’ve been silent for so long, it’s because basically I’m a shallow, self-centered person who has few ideas and nothing to say.Sometimes they boo when I drop a fly ball. Why should dropping a ball be a big deal? Or sometimes they’ll boo when I throw the ball, and that’s really unbelievable. A few weeks ago in Houston, I made a really fantastic throw. It went over the third baseman’s head. Our pitcher was backing him up, and it went over his head too. Then it sailed all the way into the dugout and went up the player’s ramp. Now, how many people do you know that can throw a ball that far? Even the sportswriters said they never saw a throw like that before. But then they criticized me for it – for doing something they never saw before. No wonder I can’t stand sportswriters. They don’t appreciate originality.) Kingman eventually quarreled with his own ghostwriter. Kingman may have wasted his talent and by all accounts he was a jerk, but you didn’t buy a beer when he was due up. Even on the downside he was worth the price of admission. He was entertaining as hell, that’s for sure, even if it was somewhat in the entertaining-the-way-a-car-wreck-is-entertaining fashion.
With a career total of 442 home runs, Kingman was the first person with over 400 home runs not to make the Hall of Fame
I had no idea Dock Ellis played for the Athletics. Of course, it was before my time; and I’m sure a lot of other nerds didn’t know as well since Doc only spent two forgettable months with the Oakland club in 1977, posting a 1-5 record with a 9.69 ERA. Legend has it that it was his job to jot down the pitching charts in those pre-computer, pre-Steve Jobs days. (It was probably before Jobs had even gotten laid; he was 22.) Doc didn’t think too highly of this position and subsequently burned the charts in the locker room. He was eventually traded to Texas that same season.
Unless you’ve been on the moon the past few years or so, Dock recently received minor fame for pitching a no-hitter while on LSD for the Pirates in 1970, (I wont bore you with the details) reminding me of my own experimentation as a young man. I grew up in California; land of the hippie dress, recycled bottles, veganism, the breathtaking sea view, the rich yuppie asshole and the meth epidemic. It was almost a right of passage to smoke a bowl out of your “righteous” hand-blown glass pipe and listen to the fucking Eagles, man. I had a friend who took a couple of doses one cheery night. He tried to fight my neighbors, who he had never met, and then laid down to enjoy the musical stylings of Santana for the next 8 hours….nonstop.
Do I have my doubts about Ellis’ claim? Perhaps. But then again this is definitely THE most fucked up sport; (besides cricket) the sport where players can get mind-fucked and get their tiny capitalistic self esteem shattered within mere moments. Perhaps ol’ Dock was cruising on tolerance, muscle memory and racial strife. These motherfuckers were CRUISING on “greenies” half the time anyway, and the world was “changing”. (which begs the question…did the hippies “save” physics?)
What I found is that the counterculture owes many of its ideals, and particularly its understanding of how media shapes people, to a generation earlier that really came to life during World War II. In the ’60s psychedelic counterculture boomed. People surrounded themselves with psychedelic media – videos, art, installations – thinking that it would turn them into a different kind of person, perhaps make them more personally satisfied and psychologically fulfilled. Culturally and ideologically, much of this came from the previous decades and was not a spontaneous counter-cultural emergence, but now it had a more visual representation. Isn’t this everything to a homo sapien? And does this absolutely validate Neitzsche’s “God is dead?” or was it just visual representation of “God’s” majesty? Was “She” on Ellis’ side on that fateful day of June 12, 1970, guiding his no doubt methamphetamine laced arm to victory? Who knows? Who cares? This is that point in time when you nut up….you chose a team, a wife, a house, whether or not to kill yourself, maybe a job…and your fundamental questions eventually come up with their own self satisfied conclusions. Alas, this is just some random dumb shit baseball blog. I don’t have answers. All I have are questions and a fake baseball card. Happy Memorial Day… R.I.P. Wendell James Crosby
“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… The only Church that truly feeds the soul, day in and day out, is the Church of Baseball.” Annie Savoy in Bull Durham
Class structure is a bitch of a thing. It defines who we are from the cars we drive, the television shows we watch, the clothes we wear, the neighborhoods we live in, even the food we eat. I thought nothing about these things as a child, hell, who does? You wake up, go to school, come home, eat a PB&J, play baseball until the sun goes down, and then repeat ad infinitum. ( you can throw in a few ass whippings in there for good measure…i was a rebellious spirit) And like every other red-blooded American boy, I idolized baseball players, never questioning the ethics or morals of my heroes. How could they be so “bad?” I knew nothing about drug use, (Darryl Strawberry, Josh Hamilton) D.U.I.’S, ( Miguel Cabrera, CoCo Crisp, Adam Kennedy) wife-beating, ( Milton Bradley, Alberto Callaspo, Brett Myers) tax evasion ( Darryl Strawberry, Pete Rose) or even murder ( Julio Machado, Ugueth Urbina) These things were done by OTHER people who weren’t associated with me and my family, and never the twain shall meet. I learned quite quickly through the buying and trading of baseball cards about the true nature of the human condition. (of which my parents weren’t exempt) These little pieces of cardboard had taught me deceit, unfair business practices, price manipulation, collusion, restraint of trade, extortions, pay- offs, bribes, plagiarism, and false hype. Soon thereafter, as I entered my early teens I started to understand privilege and advantage as the Yankees had started to define it in ways that were bigger than the world of baseball: old, out of style clothes, pot pies for dinner and late night parental arguments over bills.
I would like to thank baseball for teaching me these valuable lessons. The beautiful game is rich with juxtapositions and historical aspects that go beyond stats, OBP’s, WHIPS, and World Series titles. It is a game that teaches you to slow down, as it can be played in the mind as well as on the field. It is a game of anticipation, a game that erupts in a sudden explosion of action, then slows down again, giving us time to savor what we have seen, and to give us time to think about what we are going to see. It shows you that you are not perfect, and that you don’t have to be. It also teaches you to enjoy your lot in life whether you be a HOF er or a .220 hitter. It teaches you that no matter how much you think you know, you should always learn MORE. It teaches you to love and cherish something that was loved and cherished by a father or grandfather, and that you love and cherish in return. I have long since stopped putting these guys on a gold leaf pedestal, and it has enriched my life in ways no home run ball, autograph, or season ticket could ever match.
The A’s have played 7 games so far, in which they split with the Mariners, and then beat up on the hapless Houston Astros to start the season with an impressive 5-2 record. I’m not going to bore you with stats, etc. because A.) You’ve probably seen/heard about the games yourself and you’re not a dumbass. and B.) I’m not going to sit here like every other shitty blog and feed you endless soul-sucking stats that don’t mean shit because the season is only 7 games old. Ahem. Thank you.
Instead, I have decided to regale you with the story of former A’s pitcher Matt Keough. Matt played on the A’s from ’77 to ’83, made the All Star team in 1978 (he is largely considered one of the worst All Star selections of all time) and finished his career in 1986 with an unimpressive 58-84 record. His career was in shambles by 1992, but the Angels gave him a shot in spring training. He was subsequently hit in the right temple with a foul ball while sitting in the dugout, giving him permanent brain damage. Matty married one of the ugliest Playboy playmates ever to walk the earth, Jeana Tomasino, and then appeared with her on the reality show, “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” (this whole thing sounds like a nightmare so far) She then divorced him because of his alcoholism, even stating that his brain damage may have left him a bit off.
Here’s where things start to get a bit crazy…. In 2005, Keough pleaded guilty to felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, during which he collided with a car at a red light in Orange County, which in turn, rolled into a pedestrian walking his bicycle across the street who was briefly hospitalized with a knee injury. (d’oh!) The incident occurred following a family squabble. Making matters worse, Keough wandered away after the accident. He said that he did not flee the scene as some reports had indicated, but he was so disoriented that he walked toward some nearby shops where he was tracked down by police officers. His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. On December 18, 2007, Keough was arrested for violating his probation when he was found drinking at a bar. Under terms of his probation, he was to not consume alcohol. He was then sentenced to 180 days in the Orange County Jail on January 11, 2008. In August 2009 he was arrested AGAIN for a DUI and was sentenced to a year in jail. (Not to dismiss the brain damage theory, but if I was married to that thing in the video below, I might toss back a few too.)
Hopefully someone at OC Jail has been keeping a bunk warm for Orange County’s version of Otis from The Andy Griffith Show. Perhaps we should pity Keough. Rob Harley, the ex-arm’s attorney, has reportedly said that his client has never been the same since he was hit in the head with a foul ball during spring training in 1992, when he was attempting a major league comeback with the Angels. “He lost all self-respect, his self-esteem,” Harley says in wire service accounts of today’s sentencing, “and now he’s an alcoholic, a caged animal.”
I’ve got my cheap bottle of vodka, walking down Crenshaw Blvd. behind an older mexican gentleman who absolutely REEKS of marijuana when it hits me right in the forehead: a wave of emotions and forgotten times, thoughts, and practices. I was smack dab in the middle of high school again. You see, my friends and I were always skipping school to skateboard, smoke weed, go to the movies, hit on girls, etc. and we would always stop in this dingy liquor store next to the Greyhound station to buy this certain brand of cheap vodka. (If you absolutely need to know, the brand is Taaka; which is surprisingly distilled in Frankfort, Kentucky, and even more surprising is their slogan, “mixes easy…just add people.”) Now before you get your panties in a bunch, remember that I eventually went to college and am a normal, tax-paying citizen with a girlfriend etc. who just happened to grow up in the 90’s when kids acting like derelicts was somewhat common and fun.
In the typical American fashion, these past-times have turned into big business; as every counter-culture movement is eventually commodified and eventually cynicism and complacency overwhelms your constantly dying brain tissue. (If you are a lucky reader, you were a baby boomer who didn’t have to do shit (not even a college education) except be born in the right era, and you can hang on to the fact that you are “important” despite the fact that you are most definitely a victim of your own glorification of your era, and didn’t actually contribute ANYTHING to the human race except that you are a horrible person with your head up your ass with nothing to offer ANYONE except for jumbles about the, “good old days” as your parents had told you before you decided to become a faux hippy 10 years after it had died as a movement completely.) The generation after saw these actions and acted accordingly. (each generation likes to act as if their “dereliction” was “innocent” compared to the generation after. As I grew up in the 90’s, enough time has passed to claim that innocence) My parents fit well into the dereliction of the era and did a bunch of coke, danced, and has children out of wedlock. I am a product of the “hippy era, ” yet an afterthought. A “test tube baby” of the “rock and roll/capitalism” era before anyone (or very few) knew how to cash in.
The 90’s was known as the “grunge generation” and a particular friend of mine was keen on listening to a band from Seattle called Willard. I thought they sounded like Nirvana, was mildly impressed, even thought some of their songs were better than the so-called “grunge gods.” (who am I fooling?…. all that shit was boring, isolated and well, not punk rock…although some may vehemently disagree) No sooner do I get home when I see this baseball card lying on the floor. Jerry fucking Willard. I smoke a bowl, put on this absolute piece of shit, stained cassette tape a friend had given me that I hadn’t considered for over 15 years. I smile.
This blog never seems to tire of news regarding Jose Canseco as I find him intriguing, appalling and entertaining all at once. I found number 4 to be the most impossible, whereas number 8 regarding the “Juiced” movie is too awesome for words! (all mis-spellings are his own)
1. spend more time with my daughter
2. get stronger and fitter
3. help people who are getting screwed wherever i can
4. return to pro baseball as player or manager and have dinners with McGwire, La
Russa, Bonds, and Selig.
5. Fight Shaq in MMA cage match
6. Get elected to a important political office in the U.S. or canada to help all
people and governments with there problems
7. Become a world class entreprenur and found at least two great companies that
make peoples lives better and funner
8. Write a third book and do a move deal for Juiced!
9. Do at least 100 promotional deals for good companies and products like Animal
Rights, Human health, Environmental, and Beer companies
10. Use position as A List entertainer doing reality, TV, movies, blogs,
columns, appearances to be able to do more charity
if anyone wants to make my new years resolutions true or can help me with any of
these deals contact my manager firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking over this blog the past couple of days, I’ve decided the posts were waxing a bit too nostalgic and “literary” about the old boys game. I enjoy Bob Costas as much as the next guy, but Jesus Christ he makes me want to puke sometimes. In the end it IS just a game played by big babies, Bob! So without further ado, here is some good old fashioned American sensationalist/ muckracking/ schedenfreude about two of the easiest targets ever to walk the earth.
To those of us in the know, Ozzie Canseco was Jose’s scrubby identical twin brother that never quite panned out in the bigs. Ozzy played with Oakland and St. Louis, amassing 65 AB’s, 0 hr’s (462 behind big bro… err…. his twin) and overall was seen as sort of an afterthought, perhaps even a sideshow draw because of his name. Noone really gave a shit about Ozzie until about 10 years after he retired and gave the world his own brand of slapstick comedy:
– posed as his brother on the show VH1’s “The Real Life,” in which case the other participants didn’t know he was really Ozzie until the show’s end.
– posed as his brother for a boxing match, yet was found out when he took off his shirt and didn’t have the same tattoos.
– In 2002, Canseco pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a nightclub fight on October 31, 2001. He and his brother got into a fight with two California tourists at a Miami Beach nightclub that left one man with a broken nose and another needing 20 stitches in his lip; Canseco was charged with two counts of aggravated battery. The brothers received probation and community service – Ozzie was sentenced to 18 months probation, 200 hours of community service and anger management classes
– reportedly posed as his brother in order to sleep with Jose’s wife.
– In 2003, Canseco was sentenced to four months in jail for possessing an illegal anabolic steroid and driving with a suspended license.
An Ozzie interview, courtesy of buzzfeed.com…
What are you up to these days?
I’ve been working with baseball players for almost 30 years now, and I offer baseball lessons for every aspect of the game. I work with kids.
How was the stint in Yuma?
It was an independent league, and I was there for approximately 4 months coaching alongside my brother.
Have you had any more substantial coaching jobs since Yuma ended?
Not really. I tried to play one or two games for Yuma, but old injuries from the past kept coming back.
What do you think of your brother’s Twitter?
My opinion is that many years ago, the media took it upon themselves to paint my brother in a very negative light. He was very outspoken, and the fact that he talked about racism and the unfairness of the game, which has always been there — because of this, there was allowed to be an open season because he was outspoken. Some players are protected from the media, and some aren’t, and he was not. As correct as he was, and as truthful as he was, when he wrote the book on steroids and told the absolute truth — we live in a time where the truth is taboo. So it was definitely open season on Jose. And that led to everything that’s happening now. He’s just trying to survive like the rest of us. He’s trying to play the cards that he’s been dealt to the best of his abilities.
A lot of people think he’s crazy. Is he crazy, or is this all part of a plan?
Yes, it’s part of a plan. 100%. If you’re in the game, the game of life, and you’re dealt certain cards, you work with those cards and bluff with those cards to do the best that you can. It’s that simple. He knows that he was dealt the wrong hand. He was colluded against by major league baseball, thrown out of the game. The MLB owes him 25 million dollars. So now you try and do the best that you can with what you got.
Why does Major League Baseball owe him 25 million dollars?
The fact that many organizations colluded against him and wouldn’t give him a job when he was healthy and could’ve played. He could’ve easily produced 30-40 home runs a year and 100 RBIs. He even offered to play for free or put together a contract based solely on incentives, minimum salary to no salary, and no one would even touch it. To me it would’ve been a no-brainer for any organization. That was pretty obvious. In my opinion, it was very obvious that there was collusion. This was probably around the mid-90s, toward the end of his career.
Why have you been keeping such a low profile?
I have nothing to gain. Jose has things to gain because he has a name, and he’s not famous, he’s infamous. He’s trying to use his infamousness — I don’t know if I just made up a word there; the fact that he’s infamous — to the best of his advantage. I prefer to stay out of it as best as possible. I try, anyway. And by speaking with you now I’m kind of breaking that rule, but sometimes you have to say what’s on your mind. I don’t think you should be quiet forever.
What happened with that boxing match where you switched places with Jose? Was that planned? Did you know you were going to do that?
I never spoke about that for a reason, because there’s a lot of misunderstanding about that. I’d rather not talk about that.
Are you and your brother close?
I’d rather not talk about that.
What did you learn from playing overseas? Did you like it?
Baseball’s very similar, they’re very detail-oriented when it comes to the game of baseball, very technically sound. What I enjoyed the most is their society is based on respect and honor and hard work. Unfortunately here in the states it’s the opposite, my personal opinion.
Do you ever feel like you didn’t get a fair a shake in the Major Leagues?
Absolutely. A lot of people had that view of my situation, always thought that I never got a legit opportunity to get rooted in the big leagues. I was never told for sure why. To this day I’d like to know why. I can remember vividly as if it was yesterday when I was in big league camp with the Cardinals in 1993. Joe Torre was the manager there, I was leading the club in RBIs and homers as a pinch hitter, as a part-time player. The last week of spring training I was benched, and I remember as if it was yesterday, I stepped into Joe Torre’s office and said, “Mr. Torre, I’m not playing and I feel as though I’ve been producing more than anybody on the squad, leading the team in home runs and RBIs, and I’ve been on the bench for 3 or four days now. What did I do wrong, did I disrespect anybody, did I step on anybody’s toes?” He didn’t have an answer for me. After that I was sent back down to Triple A. so I definitely felt that I should’ve been given a little more of an opportunity.
“No one jumps when the phone rings at Todd Van Poppel’s house. It rings almost constantly, and not just because Todd is a typical high school senior. It rings because Todd just may be the next Nolan Ryan.” SI
I was in Jr. high when i read this article in a 1990 issue of SI, but thought nothing of the zit faced high school senior because my beloved A’s had no shot at getting him with the 14th pick that year. Ol’ Todd didn’t help out the situation by saying he was going to college, scaring off most teams, including the Braves who swallowed their pride and took a scrub by the name of “Chipper” Jones. The A’s, being the perpetual team of desperation took a shot on the guy and “zitface” decided the big leagues was where it was at. Apparently, when the A’s signed Van Poppel, they signed him to a major league contract and not a minor contract. Consequently, the A’s could only use a limited number of minor league options on Van Poppel, so they had to rush him through the minors and he never really had time to develop. In scouting reports, Van Poppel was described as having a blazing fastball with no movement, which helps explain the discrepancy between his A- numbers and the rest of his career. Van Poppel was a career reliever who bounced around from the Tigers,Rangers,Pirates,Cubs and Reds, never coming close to Ryan’s 324 wins and ended his career with a paltry 40-52 record becoming one of the biggest busts in baseball history. I, like every other red-blooded american dipshit bought into the false and largely propagated by Upper Deck baseball card craze of the 90’s and stocked up on Van Pimple cards never dreaming that you could find it (with case) 22 years later for exactly 1 cent on amazon.com. (the case being more valuable than the card.)