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SPORTS ILLUSTRASIAN: World Series Fashion Trends and Their Presidential Parallels

October 22nd, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

The World Series started Wednesday, and since the Red Sox are out, I wasn’t planning on watching. Except, as with the Academy Awards, the Series has a hold over me that is hard to shake, no matter how much it blows (or how much I hate the Rays one or both of the teams). So this year, I thought I would watch it much like I do the Oscars (or Project Runway)–to see what people are wearing. I know, it sounds a little batshit. But if you’ve watched as much baseball as I have, you know that when you’re heart’s not in the game itself, you have to find something to keep your interest. Of course, when I started thinking about it, it occurred to me that there were some eerie parallels between the World Series and the presidential election, which I’m also aware sounds a little batshit. So bear with me here…and let’s play ball!

Mohawks versus Mullets


In the World Series hair department, the primary trend matchup is Mohawks versus Mullets. Toward the end of the regular season, many Tampa Bay Rays players–and their 54 year-old manager, Joe Maddon–gave themselves “The Rayhawk” to demonstrate team unity. While the Phillies’ don’t have uniform ‘dos, Game 1 starting pitcher and NLCS MVP, Cole Hamels, and outfielder Jayson Werth (pictured) share a hairstyle that borrows its name from another sport: “Hockey Hair.” The two prevailing styles are, by all appearances, totally different–punks versus pucks, Joe Strummer versus Joe the Plumber–yet they both would have you believe that the person wearing them is a rebel, a freethinker, a maverick, an agent of change, and an outsider to the Clean-Cut Establishment.

Man-Hugs and Chin-Pubes


With so much attention brought to specific voter groups this election, whether they be young, old, black, Latino, Asian-American, or your Jewish grandparents, there was perhaps no group more sought after than women voters. Wasn’t that why an unknown female governor from an obscure, underpopulated state that your “average American” has never been to was brought into the race? Baseball players in this year’s Series are also getting in touch with their feminine side, whether it’s hugging it out on the field after a win, or proudly wearing what most closely resembles a slightly overgrown bikini wax on their chins.

Flat versus Curled Brims


The flat hat brim is for the fake American who lives in the big city, an urban dweller too busy with their fake life to be hard-working, patriotic or pro-America, who feeds their family with peppery, bitter lettuces foraged from Whole Foods. The curled hat brim is for the real American who lives in a small town, in a wonderful little pocket of real America, who feeds their family through their real core values, like hunting, fishing, and getting real animal carcass-blood on their hands and clothes. The flat hat brim’s origin is the streets, hip-hop, pop culture, and cool; the curled hat brim’s is the country, country music, a culture of “actual responsibilities,” and true grit. The curled hat brim is bending under the weight of its profound realness, a burden that the flat hat brim, in all of its smart eloquence, will never understand. The curled hat brim says, “God Bless America,” and the flat hat brim, well, it occasionally “palls around” with terrorists…plural.

Swing State Batter Batter Batter, Swing State Batter

Phillies fans (L), Rays players rallying for Obama (R)

Perhaps the most enduring World Series trend that we may get a glimpse of this year is the fact that winning often hinges on just One Big Swing. One side can seem like they’re totally out of the game and then thwack!–victory is once again up for grabs. Both World Series teams also happen to be from two important swing states, Florida and Pennsylvania. Kinda puts a new spin on the idea of a state being “in play,” doesn’t it?

Not that America’s pastime has any bearing on, like, who our next American president will be. Or does it? The first World Series pitch has already been thrown out, and I’d rather watch the game, as much as my heart’s not in it this year, than talk any more about politics. So I’ll let you readers decide…Mullets in 5? Chin-Pubes in 7? Obama in 286?

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SPORTS ILLUSTRASIAN: A Roll of the Dice-K

October 8th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Well. It’s official. The Sox pitching rotation for the ALCS, which begins Friday, is set, and Dice-K will be starting Game 1. I’m both incredibly psyched and incredibly about-to-shit-my-pants. Dice-K, despite his awesome winning record this season, walks way too many batters. My baseball-watching comfort zone is insufficient to tolerate Dice-K’s putting-men-on-base-all-the-time steez (which has earned him the nickname “Dice-BB”); that is to say, it is close to nil. We either have to have an insurmountable lead or our pitcher needs to be totally shutting down the opposing team’s batters or else I’m splayed out on the floor, mumbling to myself, Xanax? Scotch? Xanax? Scotch? Xanax and Scotch? Not that Josh Beckett, who starts Game 2, is in better shape to kick things off. Every year I vow to swear off sports entirely because of moments like this. I know, I know…Shut up and pull it together, this is unbecoming. It’s not very Asian of me to say this–an appropriate response would be “Fuckin’ A, I’ve got my shit together” or “It’s in the bag”–but all I can offer at the moment is I. Will. Try.

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SPORTS ILLUSTRASIAN: Sarah Palin, Mrs. October

October 7th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

As if I needed one more reason to loathe Sarah Palin, here’s another: she likened the Republican presidential ticket to the Tampa Bay Rays today in Jacksonville, FL, saying in her distinctive Alaskanasal, “The people in this area know a little something about turning an underdog into a victor, and we’re counting on you to help us do that November 4.”

(The Rays–who dropped the “Devil” from their name this year–had their first winning season in their eleven-year history in ’08 and are moving on to the American League Championship Series to face my Sox, last year’s World Series champs.)

But, you know, sports allegiances aside, Palin may have a point. Tampa Bay has the second-lowest payroll in Major League Baseball, and the other teams remaining in the playoffs have spent two to three times the money that they have. And they’ve only ever finished out of last place twice in team history. So they are underdogs. And, like Palin, the Rays are young, as a franchise and in terms of the average age of their starting line-up.

Although I wonder if Palin would be so quick to compare her ticket and its supporters to the Tampa Bay Rays and their fans if someone had actually briefed her on the fact that THE RAYS HAVE THE SHITTIEST FANS IN BASEBALL. Last month, when Tampa Bay held the best record in the bigs, their fans turned out in record-low numbers. Typically, there are as many fans rooting for the opposing team at Tropicana Field as there are fans root-root-rooting for the home team. And that’s when there are fans attending at all; the Rays rank a dismal 26th among 30 teams in fan attendance, averaging crowds of 21,459 in a 36,048-seat stadium. As a point of comparison, the Red Sox have sold out every home game since 2003 and Fenway is already sold out for next season.

So, if this is the kind of support Palin is “counting on” to make her and McCain “victors” in November, all I can say is, Bless her stupid heart.

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