Results tagged ‘ Coco crisp afro blog ’

An old friend has returned.

1976 Topps

Reading is one of the few things that calms my mind for any given length of time as concentrating on any one thing for long moments poses some serious problems. Losing yourself in a book is a fantastic escape from the everyday, and I also find myself being lost in the wordplay and turn of phrase by any writer with significant skills.  I was recently going through some boxes when I found a dusty copy of Slaughterhouse Five with a baseball card tucked inside and I had to take pause.

I’ve dragged this “bookmark” around from mezcal soaked Tijuana watering holes where the prostitutes would whisper “primo” at me in an attempt to extract a few American dollars for an escort, extravagant Palm Springs hotels where I once kissed a model with a zit on her chin, and a hash-smoke laden Barcelona beach where a Muslim kid tried to steal my passport while I was sleeping. It has ceased to be a simple piece of cardboard to be merely used, thrown away or disregarded; now it is a dear friend full of memories with hilarious anecdotes to share.

I know very little about the player on the card and have certainly never seen him play. Tommy Harper was born in Oak Grove, Louisiana, was a central figure in the troubled racial history of the Red Sox, and had a long but rather unremarkable career with 8 teams. (although he did hit 31 home runs for Milwaukee in 1970, making his only All Star game.)

“Bip” the player meets “Bip” the cat.

Around Fall 2001 I was moving in to a new place with my girlfriend at the time; she was 21, petite, had short red hair, a great sense of humor, loved to eat cheese and watch the X Files. We moved to a studio in a dodgy urban area, but it was ours and we loved it–we were young and still trying to understand the internal world of our hearts and minds among punk rock music, modern art, drugs and used furniture.

One night we were behind our apartment building taking out the trash when we saw a small gray and white cat running around. After chasing the little rascal around for a while, we caught it and decided to adopt him, but we couldn’t decide on a name.

“How about Bip?” I said.

Leon Joseph “Bip” Roberts hadn’t been in the league for a couple of seasons, but at the time was announcing for the local AAA Sacramento River Cats and this predicated the name. Besides, the player Bip was sort of smallish and an underdog who only hit 30 homers in his career. (One for the Oakland A’s!) The cat “Bip” was smallish and an underdog as well. The name stuck. Bip is probably gone now and the relationship is long over, as things tend to do, but the memories will always last.

No word yet as if Bip (the cat) has hit any homers in the Big Leagues.

Carney Lansford and the cosmos.

My middle school science teacher was a die-hard Giants fan. Our class listened to the ’89 NLCS game 5 clincher against the Cubs and Mark Grace on a portable radio while she scored the game on the chalkboard. (do these specimens of archaic learning still exist? and does anyone actually score a game anymore?) I pretended to read about black holes and sun spots while my eyes glossed over, staring at absolutely nothing with a slack-jawed bovine expression. Someone had drawn a heavy metal logo on page 237. Perhaps they were enjoying my current landscape of foggy faux-meditation when they had a primal urge to draw something, anything.

“Yesterday we explicitly agreed to quietly do our work as long as we could listen to the game.” she said.

We knew that this was a faulty agreement as she was going to listen to the game regardless of whether we agreed to the shoddy terms or not, and besides, some of us weren’t Giants fans. I couldn’t give a toss about the Giants or science at that time as I was more interested in girls and boobs; not necessarily in that order.

We had spoken about Carney Lansford a few days earlier and his time with the Red Sox. Her boyfriend was a “Southie” from Boston; a second generation working-class, red-haired Irish Mick from a long line of drunks, thieves and lowlifes. He had escaped the sludge and went to some long forgotten East Coast university and he and his stoner buddies would go to Fenway Park on weekends where they had acquired an affinity for Lansford. Of course, she thought all of this was cute and clever and was terribly pleased by it.

“No offense Mrs. Cleveland, but besides Will Clark your team just isn’t very likable. Rick Rueschel looks like a fat, middle-aged divorced dad and Scott Garrelts looks like a skinny nose-picking dork.”

It was true. Both starting pitchers looked like the antithesis of an athlete but the perfect working-class early 20th century farm boy baseball player. Some fans, probably the nerdy, isolationist type can get behind that “average joe” persona and root for them passionately, but in the era of super athletes like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders I would always inexplicably choose the latter over the former.

“Let us not forget that your friend Carney Lansford looks like an accountant,” she said as she swallowed what was supposed to look an aspirin to the general viewer. A few classmates had theorized that she popped vicodin on occasion because of her seemingly more “relaxed” state as the day wore on. This wasn’t a great choice as it ultimately led to bouts of throwing up in the garbage can.

Jessica Canseco gives the 411 on Jose’s dong.

The following was taken from Jessica Canseco’s book, “Juicy: Confessions of a former baseball wife.”…we kissed for awhile and I relaxed a little, but then I looked down and saw his weiner. It didn’t look like any weiner I had seen before. It was big and uncircumcised, and I thought it was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. But as soon as it got hard all the skin pulled back and it looked pretty magnificent. I don’t remember much about the sex. We made love in the standard position. I’m from a farm in Middle America. We didn’t get a lot of Latinos with uncircumcised wieners there. I also thought about his testicles, but it seems Jose’s were unusually small. (editors note: this is called testicular atrophy and can be linked to steroid use)

Turn out the lights…the party’s over.

turn-out-the-lights

This is what last place feels like.

I absolutely loathe doing these sort of things–analyzations and grades are usually the penchant of a scout or a small town newspaper hack with a deadline. Let us take a cursory
examination on the dog end of a wasted season; one where the fans’ patience was tested, and “Brad Pitt’s” alter-ego was seen, though not necessarily exposed, as a no-nonsense charlatan rather than wizened guru. It is with queasy optimism that I bring you…

Marcus Semien: The seed of talent has become a full flower. Unburdened by his fears with the leather (thanks to Ron Washington) he has flourished with the bat.
He has become the best slugging SS in Oakland history behind Miguel Tejada and a favorite of this blog. Addison Russell who? B+

Stephen Vogt: The revolution has remained underground. “Vogter” is the most underrated catcher in the league, and is the absolute heart, soul and entrails of this team.
The most beloved catcher in Oakland since Terry Steinbach; he is the Crash Davis for the young pitchers on this team, giving them advice and “howling at the moon” on occasion. Cerebral influence is a necessity that doesn’t show up on the back of a baseball card–an absolute gamer, and if you don’t harken that term with any baseball
relevance than you probably shouldn’t be reading this. B-

Ryon Healy: Healy grew up in Encino, Ca. most famously noted in the movie Encino Man, an early 90’s flick which follows the exploits of 2 high school nerds and
the caveman that they dig up in the protagonist’s backyard. Showing flashes of brilliance, he will mature into one of the better hitters in the lineup until being traded to the Yankees
or the Dodgers. B+

Khris Davis: He hit the most taters in Oakland (40) since Jason Giambi and has the power of about 20 drunk Jeremy Giambis jumbled together. A necessity and brilliant front office move yet ultimately an A.L. player because of his weak arm and average defensive ability. A-

Danny Valencia: His career has been as confusing as a yin and yang tramp stamp. He has been on 6 different teams in the past 5 seasons, and has shown great ability and power one day while flailing at junk and looking court jester the next. There was the strange move to right field although he was a more than adequate third baseman. There was the “infamous” scuffle with country-bumpkin degenerate Billy Butler over, cryptically, cleats or some such nonsense which lead to the media claiming he was going
to be released. It never happened. Valencia’s career up to this point begs the question of a famous Buddhist koan: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” C

Yonder Alonso: Led the team with 32 doubles, played great defensively, yet only batted .255 with minimal power. He is as solid as a brick wall yet as quiet and unassuming as that brainy girl who would always sit in the back of the class that you didn’t realize was attractive until your Senior year. He’s like your son-in-law: get used to him because he’s gonna be here for a while. C+

A’s are stinkier than diarrhea so far this season.

A's suck again 1

This is not very far off from my actual reaction last night . I gave up after 3 innings of internal frustration and outward cursing.

In my opinion the writer is to be seen as a psychedelic trip of sorts: a creator of convincing illusions and bringing forth skeptical truths. There are no illusions here, however, only skeptical truths. “Super rookie” Sean Manaea was absolutely ravaged by the Red Sox last night. Mookie Betts led off with a homer and then Hanley Ramirez hit a bomb over the Green Monster among the menagerie of hits. Manaea skulked off the field after giving up 8 runs in 2.2 innings and at this point in his career doesn’t look ML ready. The A’s starting pitching as an undivided assemblage smells worse than diarrhea on a tin roof during a southern heat wave–and now I’m not sure if the team is going to be a summer respite from the dull and anxious day-to-day that most people call their existence as sentient beings.
I can only take solace in the Zen proverb, “Let go or be dragged.” I stop what I am doing , take a deep breath and ask myself, “What, in this moment, am I demanding?” There is still lots of baseball to be played…it’s only May for chrissake. All this is tumbling through my head as I am walking my dog in the largely Asian neighborhood I live in. Men take walks in the morning wearing suits and old ladies do seemingly useless calisthenics in the park. There are lots of windmills akin to a third base coach waving home a runner while walking backwards and synchronated hand claps. These sort of things drive my dog crazy and he barks at the gray-hairs incessantly while chasing squirrels and crows. I enjoy these morning walks, as does he, and he doesn’t let me forget it as he stares and paws at my face at exactly 7:00 each morning until we hit the pavement. What does all this mean? What am I trying to say?
It’s only May for chrissake.

Bartolo Colon breaks record and does time travel.

bartolo artsy“I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.” –T.S. Eliot

Bartolo “Big Sexy” Colon went yard Saturday night becoming the oldest player in ML history to hit his first home run at age 42. This feat was of a particular interest to me as he is one of 4 players in the league that are older than yours truly. (Alex Rodriguez was born the day after.) I also have an affinity for El Bart because of his superb dos seasons in a Oakland uniform including an All Star nod at age 40. These affinities moved to the physical realm as well when Bartolo made us all feel proud that he could be successful on the field despite his “physical limitations” and humorously strange haircuts. I, like many other fans, found it hard to believe that the man could weigh 265 pounds eating a strict Dominican diet of rice, beans and tubers. No, it was decided that Colon was also imbibing on American junk food.

We may all have a more mobile relationship to age than to other perspectives or subject positions … because we are all aging at any one moment. Bartolo’s rookie year with Cleveland was in  1997: I was a young man, 22 years old and living in my first ramshackle apartment with my girlfriend at the time. It was a second story, one bedroom tenement behind a raucous gay bar. Many times I was awoken at the witching hour to make sure that people urinating and fist-fighting in the alley weren’t breaking in to her car. (a black Dodge Challenger!) We worked at a coffee shop and liked to collect records and vintage furniture. We were naive and world-weary at the same time–and here I sit 19 years later with the conviction that life is no more than the sum of contingent facts, a chronicle of chance intersections, of flukes, of random events that divulge nothing but their own lack of purpose…equivalent to a Bartolo Colon home run.

Each life is irreducible to anything other than itself. Which is to say: lives make no sense. Thank you Bartolo for the echoes of the past and congratulations on a record that makes little sense and may never be broken.

Giants continue to pilfer bandwagon fans.

“We tend to think of true fandom as a virtue and of bandwagon jumping as a vice. But why? What’s so great about parking suckspulling for a team even when it does poorly? And what’s so bad about pulling for a team even when it does well? Humans rightly value loyalty. Being a loyal friend means being a friend even in bad times. Fair-weathered fans are like fair-weathered friends. They display a culpable lack of fidelity. Conversely, one who exhibits genuine fan-hood displays the same exact virtue of a good friend. For the good friend has a reasonable hope and expectation that the friend to whom he/she is being faithful to in the tough times would do the same for them.”–Thomas D. Senor

I despise the Giants. It isn’t the panda hats and the Disney-fication of baseball. It isn’t the fact that their two biggest stars, Willie Mays and Barry Bonds are self entitled assholes that simply played a boy’s game well. It isn’t even the obnoxious, loudmouthed selfie-taking “fans” who couldn’t tell you why you would want to hit a ball to the right side of the infield with a man on second if their lives depended on it.

These same fans use the Giants World Series victories as a sort of personal bourgeois self-vindication. (“We live in San Francisco, a world-class city…Oakland sucks,” whether they be educated and wealthy or not–a typical, though not uniquely American way of using group-thought as a facade of wealth.) This self-vindication has led these rubes to some serious deep-rooted racist and classism issues–seeing Dodger Stadium or the Coliseum as “dangerous” and “full of gangsters” read: blacks and Latinos, while ignoring the multiple murders and beat downs that have happened outside of Pac Bell, which are strangely swept under the rug. Baseball is a business, but it’s one made possible by the illusion that each of us has a personal connection to their team and its place. Apparently, this “illusion” has made some fans blind…and, according to the photo above, much more poverty-stricken as well.

Dodger Stadium and the “all you can eat” section.

 

me hot dogI’m not sure if I believe in chakras or not but mine certainly weren’t aligned Friday night as I stepped into Dodger Stadium to watch the Blue Crew take on the hated Anaheim (I refuse to call them Los Angeles as they don’t play in the city or even the county!) Angels. We sat in the right field all-you-can-eat section and loaded up on hotdogs, peanuts, popcorn and nachos. I immediately spilled nacho sauce down my shirt.
Strike one.
Japanese import Kenta Maeda was on the mound for the Dodgers so there were large groups of Japanese walking up and down the aisles with the men mostly wearing suits and ties and the women looking “smart for the office.” At one point a tiny Japanese girl walks by and spilled a hotdog right into my lap. My leg is now completely covered in mustard and relish. She apologized profusely in scant English and I felt really terrible for her. I told her everything was ok and went to clean myself off in the bathroom.
Strike two.
The Dodgers can’t do a darn thing and eventually lose 5-1.
Strike 3.
It was fun watching the drunk guy in front of me entertain the crowd with some well-timed jokes, “Angels suck” chants and profuse booing of Albert Pujols. His wife cackled at every spectacle. A girl a few seats behind me vomited everywhere. My girlfriend was trying to get center fielder Joc Pederson to wave at her which he eventually did. She was smitten, and he just might be one of her new favorite Dodgers. (She’s a Dodgers fan.) I’ve always been a bleacher-creature kind of guy and the free food thrown in made this a really fun, yet grimy game. We got home around 11 o’ clock and I immediately threw my clothes in the washing machine. trash aftermath
Opening day is on Monday. Let’s go Oakland!

Khris Davis, noodles and Los Angeles.

khrid davis noodle cartoon

“Noodle Arm”

The man sits regally and casually; wearing old style European clothing. Perhaps I felt this way because I was sitting in a park that reminded me of Spain– buildings towering around us in order to block out the sunlight. A couple of hummingbirds zip by me; connected in a seemingly sexual position. What a strange sound. As my attention span carbon copies the urban wildlife I notice that the “European” man is staring at me. (This is also known as the “devils” work of double–sense deluding.) The man rises and quietly opens an aluminum walker. And it is a woman. She was simply waiting for her granddaughter in the outside smoking section of a train depot in the middle of Los Angeles.
I rub my eyes and grab a newspaper to pass the time; a rare and tragic event that I enjoy and makes me look like a moth-eaten antique.
FRONT PAGE: More cosmetic culture. An American culture that cultivates an idea of a free destiny within a firmly imposed but imperceptible and uniform attitude. Most people are confused by this dilemma and just choose the easy way out: make money and fuck everyone else. Who am I to judge? I’ve done the same with impunity and thought I was better for it. We learn to sleep at night with no guilt. Sometimes that sense of peace and safety is all we have to hold on to.
ENTERTAINMENT: Idiot hip-hop artists and their self-importance; a soon-to-be-dead genre because of its chichi and an unrealistic approach to self-impressions as well as economics, actors schlepping terrible movies that will be forgotten within weeks, the occasional mass-produced book review, artists trying to make money from David Bowie’s still fresh corpse etc.
SPORTS: The A’s have acquired Khris Davis from the Milwaukee Brewers. Left fielder with some pop and a noodle arm. So– the only weakness is that we wont get a 7-5 tag-out during a dink base hit; and at least I am slightly reassured that Beane (or whoever the hell the new G.M. may be) is at least trying to put a competitive team on the field in 2016 and not tanking like many other teams……although everyone knows if they start slowly, the FOR SALE signs will quickly go up again.
I fold the newspaper and lay it on the bench for future travelers. The thought fades as soon as it appears.