Saturday, September 23, 2006

Blast. You Beat Me Again

A's fans, rejoice! Rejoice to the heavens because You're headed to the playoffs again and playing meaningful ball games late into September... only to have your dreams and hopes crushed in October by Ken Macha, some completely flukish play that will be overated until the sun expands to an alarmingly large size and consumes us all or by the ghost of Jim Leyritz.

Me? I'm headed for my 14th straight losing season of Pirates baseball. It's not a good thing. But atleast we have the Steelers. Which is a good thing.

You might be wondering where i've been lately? Or maybe you don't care. Or maybe you're trying to figure out who the bloody hell I am. I've been doing a few things here and there. Perhaps you should check out my blog. Who cares if you're not a Pittsburgh sports fan? As grandpa Simpson said about the Super Bowl in 1970, "If people don't support this thing it won't last."

Support your friends.

I also took a trip. I took a trip to Chicago to see the Pirates and Cubs play at Wrigley Field. My cousin lives out in the middle of nowhere in that god forsaken rock that is Illinois... thats about a 2 hour drive from Chicago by the way...

So we left my cousins house at about 9 in the morning on a Saturday and drove up to his sisters house where we would meet his brother in law and a buddy of his to head into downtown Chicago. Did you follow that? Good. His sister lives about 100 feet from Midway Airport which was really bizarre. As we're pulling up to the house my cousin looks at me and goes "whatever happens in Chicago stays in Chicago."

I looked at him with a confused grin and said "I thought that was Vegas?"

"Did I tell you that my brother-in-law is a dead head?"

He sort of left that part out.

So I walk into the house and I instantly pick up a scent that I hadnt realized since my college days...I was starting to see where he was coming from. In the corner of the living room I saw a guy that looked like he should be playing for Phish strumming an accoustic guitar singing some sort of folk song...or something like that. Either way I felt like whipping out a hacky sack and throwing it down right there.

They were both (My cousins brother-in-law and his buddy) dressed head to toe in Chicago White Sox gear which was sure to make the day interesting when you combine them with me and my Pittsburgh Pirates gear. We did a shot of tequila in the kitchen (Which I tried to convince the hipster guy strumming the guitar that "Tequila in the kitchen" would be a great song title) and headed for the El Train. We walked over to Midway airport, ran through the bus terminal and hopped on the El train which was actually a pretty cool ride. After a 15 minute train ride on the EL and nice guided tour of the city we transferred over to the redline which is where things started to get fun. As I was sitting in my seat some drunk guy (Cubs fan) sat down next to me and looked at my Pittsburgh gear....

"You from Pittsburgh?" he asked...


"So I assume that you're a Steelers Fan?"

"Hell yes. Season ticket holder"

"Thats cool, I don't mind the Steelers. Just so you're not a Packers fan. I hate those fuckers."

I told him that I thought Brett Favre was a teenage drama queen that needed a good Brian Urlacher shoe up his ass.... he shook my hand, got up and left. I'm not sure where he went, but I had the entire seat to myself so I didn't really care.

Finally, we arrived at the stop directly in front of Wrigley Field. I went to stand up when Scott (My cousins brother-in- law) said " stop."

Huh? But it's right there.

I figured he's the expert, so lets go...

We rode down another block-block and a half and got off the train...Scott looks at me and goes, "Now we drink."

Sounded like a plan. The first spot we hit was this little hole in the wall dive bar that Scott kept referring to on the train as "The Old Mans Bar." Fitting soon as we walked in I felt scared. There was a bar...a few tables...and 6 old guys sitting at the corner of the bar with no fewer than 8 pitchers of bar watching a Phillies-Mets game and screaming at each other about everything. Why Jimmy Rollins sucks. Why Baseball was better in the 50's. Why the country is going to hell in a hand basket. And why there was a "God damned Pirates fan in Cubs country."

But hey, Dollar and a quarter drafts. It was worth it.

3 Beers later we continued our trek down to a much larger and obviously much more popular place called "Murphy's." It was one of the places with bleachers on the roof. The place was packed and beer was plentiful. They had Stella on tap and a cheese steak sandwich that would make you orgasm right there in your pants. I was feeling fired up. And a little pleased and relieved...and slightly aroused.

We had 15 minutes until game time and I was already hammered. The day was off to a great start.

We stumbled across the street to the ballpark and walked up to our seats just as the National Anthem was being sung. We were sitting way down the right field line well up under the roof. There was maybe one row of seats behind us on the bottom level and I for one felt like I was sitting in a soccer stadium in Warsaw because everywhere I looked there was a damn pole in front of me.

Thats okay though, I was more there to soak up the experience of Wrigley Field... and to do this right I realized I would soon have to start consuming alcohol at a much faster pace as 99.9% of the people in there were already far more loaded than I was. The thing that disappointed me the most about Wrigley Field was the absolutely abysmal selection of Beer. In Pittsburgh at PNC Park we have no fewer than 25-30 Beers to choose from, and that is no joke. Local brews, national brews, want it, chances are it's there. In Wrigley, they had Bud products (Budweiser and Bud Light) which are nothing more than glorified urine, and this stuff that they called "Old Style" which is what you would get if you took the urine they used to make Bud Products and added 3 more gallons of urine to it. It was horrible. But somehow the Chicago folks loved it. It came served in a paper cup that was not strong enough to keep the beer flavored urine from leaking through the bottom. Almost like it was acid just melting through the cup.

Scott and his buddy spent the afternoon harrasing Cubs fans about how great the White Sox are and I spent the afternoon cheering wildly for anything that resembled a positive play for the Pirates. This could have been a hit, a simple out, a strike, a batter being introduced. Etc. Etc. Etc.

The Pirates lost 7-5 and people began to harrass me about how the Pirates sucked and I told them that they didn't have to tell me, instead, they should be trying to explain to me how they managed to spend 95 million dollars on a collection of stiffs led by the biggest stiff in baseball (Dusty Baker) that was currently below the Pirates in the standings, and would finish the season behind the Pirates.

The responses I recieved varied from "GO CUBBIES!!!!!!!!!!!!" to "Go back to Ohio." Whatever the hell that means.

After the game we went back to Murphy's, drank some more Stella, ate another cheese steak and hopped back on the trains for the ride back to Scotts house. By the time we got back to his house we were ready to pass out on the floor only to "tough it out" and order an authentic Chicago Style pizza and watch the Blues Brothers... after which, Scott lit up something and put on a bootlegged Phish concert. I fell asleep. The next night we drove back to my cousins house in the Normal-Bloomington area (which is about two blocks off the campus of Illinois State University) and noticed a naked fat college dude running down the sidewalk who was just behind a naked fat college coed. It was....flabby. And....disgusting.

Would I do it again? Yes. Yes I would. In fact, i'm planning on doing it again next summer, only I want to tie in a trip to the south side of Chicago and see a White Sox game, which I've heard, is a dangerous part of town. Should be fun.

- I'm pulling for the A's in the playoffs, as I usually do when they make it. I just hope they can overcome the American League version of Jim Tracy and the unheard of clutchness that is Derek Jeter. You know he's going to do something completely routine in the series against the A's (assuming you play)...a play that 99.9% of the shortstops in Major League Baseball would make and Bob Costas will weep on the air at the greatness of the play. He will give an emotional speech on the beauty of baseball and sacred art form that is Derek Jeter...and the nation will poke their eyes out with a fork.

And Joe Buck will pleasure himself at the thought of his own voice.

But i'll be pulling for you.

Because I love.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The crushing sound of inevitability

I bet most of you are wondering why this blog has gone almost two full months without a real post. Since Macha cost us the win on July 17th, I estimate that he's probably cost us about 3-4 games since then, not to mention all the idiotic moves he's made that just didn't happen to be fatal, so there's been ample opportunity to wax poetic or just swear like a fucking sailor about how detrimental that idiot is to our team.

And there's no good answer to that. I could give you some bullshit about how Roman has undergone a pretty big life sex change recently or that I've been busy moving and getting ready to go to even more school (like I need to get any smarter), but we all know that would be bullshit. I guess the best I can come up with is that I don't really care. The A's are in the process of committing the single biggest September collapse in the history of baseball, and I just don't care. I've written over and over again how this season would play out: start out slow, hot in the middle, choke in September. Go ahead, check the records. I don't feel like digging them up, but they're there. So this isn't surprising.

But I just don't care. I don't care that Macha decided to leave Kennedy in to face one of the best hitters in baseball when he clearly didn't have much (in his second inning of work) when first base was open and he could have brought in one of the best relievers in baseball to face a hitter who is much less of a threat, particularly against right handed pitchers. There is no possible rational argument you can construct to defend this move. Macha had yet another of his deer in the headlights moments, and instead of realizing that Kennedy was getting raped like an African Tutsi, left him in so Morneau could jam his baseball bat so far up his rectal cavity that the other end was sticking out of Greenland. I mean, why bring in your 8th inning setup guy in the 8th inning? That would be fucking batshit insanity.. The easiest solution is to just let your lefty go two innings, especially since that would likely make him unavailable for the next afternoon's day game, and watch helplessly once again as your team fritters away a huge lead.

But I don't care. I don't care that the A's are choking like a porn star with a gag reflex. It happens every September under Macha, and this year will be no different. Actually, it'll be a little different. You see, the last two September's, the A's didn't have a lead of more than 6.5 games when they had their ribs surgically removed so they could choke on their own dicks. That number is important because no team with a lead of 6.5 games in September has ever not made the playoffs, until this year of course, when the A's 8.5 game lead will be blown away faster than an overbooked Thai masseuse. So this year's choke will not only be unprecedented, it will be historic. Congrats, Ken. Nobody in baseball history has ever asphyxiated on their own mushroom tip like you. You should be proud.

But I don't care, and neither should you. As you listen to the A's cough and gag and vomit away their season, just realize that no amount of Robitussin could possibly cure them (unless you can drink enough Robitussin so that it's fatal, in which case I would recommend killing Macha with a hammer or something. Actually, do that anyway), so just accept it and move on. The A's are not going to make the playoffs this year. And if they do, they will be ousted in the 1st round again by a vastly superior team. And personally, I would rather they lose the division in September. Losing in October gets you national derision. At least September choking isolates the scorn to a more regional level. I say, let's choke on a smaller scale. If you choke to death at Taco Bell, you'd be lucky to get a passing mention in your local paper's obituary. But if you choke and die while raping the Queen of England at an abortion clinic (she was there because you had raped her a couple of weeks earlier, too), there's a good chance that you might make the local news. You see how this works? Man, what a perfect analogy.

So stop caring. It's what I did. The A's will either make the playoffs or they will not make them. I don't give a shit either way.

Because do you hear that? The train of inevitability is sputtering down the tracks. The lights are flashing and the gates are down, and that train ain't stopping until it gets to Chokeville: Population A's.