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Wishing Johnny Damon a happy birthday is total fucking overkill. We refuse to do it. Here’s why:
Johnny Damon and Joba the Hutt Chamberlain celebrate the New York Yankees’ 27th World Series title
Imagine you’re Johnny Damon. You wake up today, and it’s your 36th birthday. You’re hungover, no, scratch that, you’re still drunk from the night before, because you raged into the wee hours after winning the World Series. Not your first World Series, mind you, but your second…in five years. Would it be gauche to wear both rings at once, you wonder, sleepily, drunkenly, grinning at the irony of your World Series ring won with the Red Sox and your World Series ring won with the Yankees glinting side by side on your knuckles. (You’re pretty stoked that you know what “irony” is, too. Well, sorta, but you wouldn’t want to have to put it in, like, actual words.)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
The Chicago Cubs reached an agreement to acquire 30 year-old Japanese player Kosuke “This” Fukudome yesterday, offering the left-handed slugger $48 million over four years. The AP reported that Fukudome is “(c)onsidered one of the best outfielders in Japanese baseball” and will play in right for the Cubs.
Will Fukudome help end the Cubbies’ 100-year World Series drought?
Alls I’m sayin’ is, the last three World Series winners had Japanese players on their starting rosters who played key roles in getting their teams to the big stage and winning it all. So Taguchi for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005, Tad Iguchi for the Chicago White Sox in 2006, and, of course, Daisuke “Badonkadonk” Matsuzaka and Hideki “All Is Forgiven after the Autograph Debacle” Okajima of MA SAWX.
Congratulasians to the Boston Red Sox on sweeping the World Series! Enjoy your victory parade today; it’s well-deserved. It was an up-and-down season, what with the addition of new players, the Yankees sucking then chasing your tails, and that nail-biter of an ALCS. I, more than anything, am relieved it’s over.
I had the good fortune of attending Game 3 of the World Series in Denver, thanks to our friend Jess and a Rockies fan willing to unload her tickets at a merciful price. I was there from the time the Coors Field gates opened and in a pinch-me daze for the next 8 hours. I am at the World Series, and the Sox are up 2-0. It didn’t seem real.
I took several photos of reliever Mike Timlin, my baseball Jake Ryan, i.e. I want him to be my boyfriend and he doesn’t know I exist. Dice-K was starting that night, so his warm-up routine was pretty much him sticking his juicy badonkadonk out to stretch and then doing some sprints by himself. Hideki Okajima was throwing lightly next to him. I was so close, I could see the whiskers on his chin.
After about a half hour, most of the pitchers dispersed, and Hideki was the only player who stopped to sign autographs. Anticipating this very moment, I had bought a Sharpie outside the stadium for 5 dollars. I had nothing to sign, but I was going to present the sleeve of my shirt. What could be better than Hideki Okajima’s signature on my shirt sleeve?!?
He signed the
brats’ kids’ balls first, and then he even got to the grizzled, emphysematic, professional autograph hounds who were probably going to sell that shit on Ebay from their crackberries at the game. This group of skeezy men kept yelling “Okajima! Okajima!” while I stuck out that Sharpie and said in my girly voice, “Hidekiiiiiii! Hidekiiiiii!” And then a hilarious conversation ensued.
SKEEZY OLD MAN #2: You’re right. His name is Okajima. Right?
SKEEZY OLD MAN #1: I’m pretty sure his name is Okajima.
ME: His name IS Okajima.
SKEEZY OLD MAN #1: That’s what I’m saying.
SKEEZY OLD MAN #2: Really? His name is…Hideki…and…Okajima? Huh.
SKEEZY OLD MAN #3: Well, I mean, she would know.
Oh right. I would know, because…well, who cared? I was THIS CLOSE to Hideki. He signed a person’s ball to my right. He signed one of the Skeezy Old Men’s World Series tickets. I was definitely next. I extended the Sharpie. Would he think it was weird to sign my shirt? I tried to remember what little Japanese I knew…it did not include the words “Sign my shirt, please.”
I almost cried. I almost pulled a Marie Osmond and dropped lifeless to the concrete steps. I haven’t wanted an autograph that badly since I chased this poor semi-famous gymnast through a Limited Express in the 8th grade. None of this personal drama really had an impact on the game, which the Sox won 10-5. It was closer than the final score would make it seem, however. The Sox went up 6-0 in the 3rd, but by the time they brought in Okajima in the 7th, it was 6-2 and there were two men on.
Okajima’s first pitch? Slammed for a three-run homer. Suddenly the score was 6-5. And the next night, he gave up a a two-run homer, making it a one-run game again. Things turned out fine in the end, but I can’t help thinking that IF HE HAD SIGNED MY DAMN SHIRT SLEEVE, dare I say, my magic shirt sleeve, things might have worked out better (and, no, Sox faithful, I did not put a curse on him, though I toyed oh-so-briefly with the idea out of shallow bitterness).
In related news, Japan is proud of Dice-K again, after his Game 3 win. Well, sort of.
Occupation: Boston Red Sox Aces and 2007 American League Champs
Dice-K recovered from the private pity party he had in front of his locker after losing Game 3 of the ALCS and letting down two countries–Japan and Red Sox Nation–to preserve a one-run lead for Boston through 5, while Okie stretched his set-up skillz through 2+ innings to propel the Sawx to the World Series once again (with massive help from Rookie of the Year candidate Dustin Pedroia and untouchable closer Jonathan Papelbon, of course).
It wasn’t perfect, and it sure as shit wasn’t pretty, but winning isn’t always an art form, is it?