Major League Baseball 2006
Baseball of all the Amerikan sports is probably the most intelligent and certainly the most exciting to play in terms of skills, like being able to hit a 100 mph fastball or maybe its a ball coming at you from the left, curving in toward you, then suddenly just dropping straight down--you've got to know whether you can hit it or not; swing or don't swing. You've got to hit these balls with a piece of hickory or birch wood. Also, when you're out in the field, you have to be able to field that 100 mph fastball that is hit 200 mph right toward you or maybe far to your left, or dribbling up the foul line. Or if you're in the outfield you've got to be in shape and ready to run hardily a long way, or you've got to come off the turf and try to make a diving catch, or you have to chase a long ball into a corner, or you have to be ready for a line drive, a pop up, high flies, humpback liners, tall cans of corn, catchable foul balls, bloopers, or long bombs.
Baseball is truly a "managed" game. Young guys with the potential talent to become major leaguers have to be trained to be the best and brightest at bat or in the field. There is a special skill needed by a baseball player at every moment in a game. It's the manager's job to know exactly how every player on the team plays best at what position, or runs best, or hits best with players on base, or who is likely to strike out against certain pitchers--also the manager has to know the other teams in the league, their hitters, their pitchers, all the scouting reports on all the players in both leagues really, players being totally interchangeable these days.
At bat, a player must develop a controlable eye. Ted Williams (now only a frozen head) said the art of good steady hitting was being able to sight on the ball as it immediately leaves the pitcher's hand and steadying your eye on it all the way in and then through juxtopositioned timing swatting at that shrinking ball like you have to swat a fly with a flyswater, you know, hitting the sommbitch just right, superguessing which way the pesky sommbitch will take off.
Ted Williams was the last major leaguer to hit .400. He ended up hitting .401, getting a hit at his last at bat in the last game of the year to put him just over .401, whereas, if the Splendid Splinter had of sat the game out, he would have hit .4o6 or something like that. Before Ted, it had been that bitter asshole, that sourest peach on the Georgia peach trees, Ty Cobb, who hit over .400; Cobb had an amazing career as a hitter and runner. He would slide into second on a base-stealing attempt spikes first, and spikes in those days were real spikes, nail-sharp bastards that could do a hell of a job on your thighs, hands, god knows, maybe even the family jewels, though most ballplayers wear protection in that area. Hitting .400 is very hard to do, not many players have ever done it, not even down in the easier minor leagues. It means you have to get a hit in every game you play in, given an average of most starters coming to bat at least 4 times in a game. Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 straight games; only Pete Rose has had a chance since to beat Joltin' Joe's long-time record.
Speaking of Pete Rose
Pete was banned from baseball. So were Shoeless Joe Jackson and 7 other of the 1919 Chicago White Sox. They got banned for gambling on the game. Pete simply made major league bets with a bookie. Shoeless, Hal, Eddie, and those louts, threw a World Series (White Sox against the Cincinnati Red Stockings). Here's a great blog that gives you a great incite into gambling in baseball the history and how it ties in to the 1919 Black Sox scandal: http://1919blacksox.com
Which Brings Us to Barry Bonds
I growl like a hissing puff-adder when I see what this asshole Congress is trying to do to Barry Bonds again. "Hey, god-dammit," the hayseed Congressman crows, "that boy lied to us; how dare he; he's a usin' them thar steroids, god-dammit, and we're gonna nail his black ass to the white man's barn door, Pilgrims. How dare this baseball player, who should be kissin' our ass for lettin' him be an Amurican, but, shit, I'm jest jokin' 'bout that now, so don't go off callin' the ACLU, but how dare this boy break a white man's record and then we find out he's usin' drugs. That's an insult to the white man's record. What kind of an idolator is this boy to all these here kids, including white kids now, I ain't gonna kid ya. Why that great white ballplayer Mister Mark McGwire, well, hell...wha's that? He used drugs, too...well shut my cornfed mouth, can't a white Congress trust any of these ballplayers?" I don't need to go off on a howling spree here on The Daily Growler over this injustice being shoved onto a really great Amurikan game and a really great baseball player like Barry Bonds, who's certainly proven himself as a great ballplayer long before he got in all this stupid steroid bullshit. I'll tell ya the truth, I ran track in high school and the coach used to give us these tablets. He said they were for energy. My friend the shotputter blew up twice as muscular as he ever was before; he looked as dopey as the ole California joker governor when he was all pumped up on steroids, while smoking joints and squeezing women's asses and titties. "Ja vol, mein Fuhrer." Arnold should get together with Herr von Pope and talk over old times. "I knew you when my old daddy took me to the Hitler Youth Camp that first glorious time. Sieg Heil mein Poppy!" Our track team went on to win the state championship that year. We were a pumped up track team, man.
The Daily Growler would like to lead you to this article by cultural historian (I like that title) Don Santina a damn good writer in The Daily Growler sense. He writes about what I wanted to write about a lot better than I could have done it, even during one of my virtuosic growls. So here ya go, to Alexander Cockburn's Counterpunch site to read this article about Barry Bonds, steroids, and racism in the major leagues and how they all relate. The URL is http://www.counterpunch.org/santina01212005.html
The Daily Growler a la Oprah Book Club
1) The Astonished Man, Blaise Cendrars (see The Daily Growler, April 16)
2) The Ancient Near East: a History, William W. Halo; William Kelly Simpson, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers, 1971. If you want a compleat history of the area where "president" Bush is intending to obey the voice of his God (Jim Beam? cocaine? a can of Budweiser?) and perform the Battle of Armegedon as his final triumph. (Did you know really really rich people like little spoiled rich boy Georgie Porgie Bush feel, like O'Neill's Emperor Jones, that they are invincible to any kind of punishment, rebuff, disrespect, bullets, bombs--"Hell, Pilgrim, me and my family are so damn rich, we ain't worried about no nuke-kleer war." This book gives you the historical prelude you need to read in order to understand the complicated cultures that evolved from the Stone & Iron ages into the present-day hostile Middle East. Read about the "Dawn of Man"--the first hominids originating in sub-Saharan Africa to spread from there through northern Africa and across into southern Eurasia...the hominid migration had begun. [This book also mentions another great book, V Gordon Chiles's Man Makes Himself.] The African Aborigenes spreading out a few thousand miles up the highway to China and the Hindu Kush. "Two kinds of plant and four breeds of animal were involved in the beginnings of domestication. All six are present in the Near East, and only in the Near East"--not necessarily the whole area, but definitely in "the hilly flanks of the area watered by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers." [Where your idiotic government is building its superembassy, a 22 building complex on 400+ acres on the banks of the Tigris that will house 5,000 workers, a gaggle of fast-food chains, and even a car dealership. What bullshit! Can the Amerikan people bring a class-action suit against the "president" and his wildcat henchment and under citizens's arrest, haul them all off, cuffed, to Guantanemo Bay. Why not?] What a book! Beginning with the Ubaidians, unwinding into the Akkadians, Subarians, Semitics, Amurrites, Elamites, with Babylon the seat of the Akkadian empire. All the biblical enemies and angels are in here, both Islamic beginnings and Hebrew beginnings, language beginnings, mathmaticall beginnings...too much in this book to even talk about it. The Moses story comes to life in here as a tale in the ancient List of Kings; also the Flood story; all the stories of all the bibles of the tribal cults of that area conjuring up the same stories and coming to the same judicial, religio, economic, agricultural systems, all evolving toward Greece and the beginnings of Western Civilization. Great book if you can find it.
The Daily Growler Quote of the Day:
"[Called "Financial Capitalism," the Economist Rudolf Hilferding said such Capitalism is, "...entirely opposed to that of liberalism; finance capitalism wants not freedom but dominance...." Rudolf Hilferding (1827-1941)
From the Daily Growler Central Newsroom: "president" Bush's attempt to start World War III is going better than expected. Iran, look out! Freedom's on the march. "Bring 'em on," and god-dammit, here they come.
Remember: The Daily Growler recommends you check out
Go see some baseball.