Kitty loves baseball

I was planning on giving Levi the first word on the first game of the season, but I think he’ll agree that it was vitally important that I post this picture of my cat Chessie (who jumped off the TV shelf once the Yankees started winning)…

And I assume this commercial was met with great joy and delight in Rocketship-land…

Original comments…

Levi: Damn you, TiVo! I missed that ad completely!

Jim: That’s why I haven’t enabled the semi-secret “30-second skip” option — I want to see what I’m fast-forwarding through, just in case.

I guess now you’ll have to watch the commercials on every single baseball game until you see this Johnny Damon one!

Opening night

Could we possibly ask for a better Opening Night game?

Sunday night, we get the World Champion Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium against the World Champion (Choker Division) New York Yankees.

For the second year in a row, Johnny Damon will be our first sight of the baseball season, stepping into the box in all his glory.

And on the mound, we get pure contrast. David Wells v. Randy Johnson. Junkballer v. Flamethrower. One of the roundest guys in baseball v. the tallest, skinniest. They ought to go on the road as a comedy team. They’re listed at as weighing the same, despite the Unit’s six-inch height advantage. Now that’s comedy.

It’s time. Y’all are invited for chili and corn bread.

Some things gold can stay

To distract you all from the rat and pony show going on in DC today*, here’s a bit of good news passed on by BRPA reader Becky:
Five Red Sox players (Varitek, Millar, Mirabelli, Wakefield**, and our own Johnny Damon) will soon appear on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but Johnny Damon has refused to cut his hair for the show. His reason? Because of his forthcoming book, he’s contractually obligated to keep it long! What a great idea! If anyone can get Craig Wilson to sign such a contract, please do. And while you’re at it, maybe get Matt Morris to sign something promising to shave that fungus off his chin?

*Excuse me if I can’t get worked up about publicity-hungry Congressmen feigning outrage over what Mark McGwire might have jabbed in his ass. Once our esteemed representatives can bother to get themselves worked up enough about, say, the fact that our troops were sent, ill-equipped and without a plan into a war of choice, then I’ll perk up when they want to grandstand about how baseball is harming our kids.

**Is being a knuckleballer the closest thing, in baseball terms, to being gay?

Original comments…

Jason: Were our representatives ever esteemed?

Jim: Similar sentiments were expressed on “The Daily Show” this week with regard to the steroid hearings, but I’m pretty sure Levi doesn’t watch “TDS” (it’s too hard if you don’t have a subscription for your TiVo), so this post was wholly original, not just the part about Craig Wilson.

Toby: Levi, Nice reference to the Robert Frost poem (which is also somewhat a reference to the Stevie Wonder song, “Stay Gold”) in the header. And yes, I believe being a knuckleballer is… (I laughed out loud when I read that)

thatbob: I think that now, more than ever, being gay in baseball is probably the closest thing to being gay in baseball. But being a knuckleballer might be the closest thing to being, say, a practicing Zoroastrian in baseball. (I was going to say being a practicing Zen Buddhist philosopher in baseball, but then I remembered Yogi Berra was a catcher.)

Levi: Yeah, I should clarify what I meant: clearly, the closest thing to being gay in baseball is being gay. But, since baseball is self-defined as macho–and straight–but the knuckleball is both not macho and not generally trusted, by non-knuckleballers, pitching coaches, and teammates, I think the grudging acceptance of a good knuckleballer by his teammates–i.e., “He’s on our side, so he’s okay, I guess.”–would be, I posit, kind of similar to the way a clubhouse would, after an adjustment period, deal with a teammate whom the team members learned was gay.

My cup runneth over!

He so leadeth me beside the still waters, capsule and He maketh me watch men in green pastures. He can skip the anointing my head with oil, so long as He keeps accompanying my walk through the valley of the shadow of spring training with such good reading material.

What have I done to deserve such riches? A book by my favorite non-Cardinal and a book about the Cardinals to be published the same month? And by the same author who wrote one of the two books that Adam Dunn admits to having read in his 24 years?

The Gospel According to . . .

Johnny Damon.

I’m in line already.

Original comments…

Jim: Hey, we went to two Red Sox games in 2004. Where’s our book deal?

Levi: I was on the verge of signing us to a book deal with a major New York trade house, but, as the fine print required us both to grow long hair and a beard, I balked.

Jason: You could have borrowed my hair & beard.

Jim: Just to point this out for anyone reading this who don’t know us personally: as you can see from the photo at the top of the page, I already have a beard, and although I keep my hair cut short, I could easily grow it long. Levi is the one who couldn’t look like Johnny Damon if he tried. Also, ladies, I’m currently unattached.

I may have a new favorite

I may have a new favorite non-Cardinal player.

Last night, we had a couple of people over to watch the opener between the Red Sox and the Orioles. We settled in, started the TiVo, and the first image of the season caused everyone to gasp in sheer, unadulterated awe. Johnny Damon, over the winter, turned into a god. He grew out his already shaggy hair so that it hangs over his shoulders, trailing out of his batting helmet or cap. And he grew a beard. It was hard to concentrate on what he was doing during his first at-bat, because all anyone in the room could look at or think about was all that hair. Then, on his first play in the outfield, he was coming in for a ball, not too fast, and it looked like there was no hope of his cap falling off. Everyone was disappointed. Then, like a silent prayer being answered, the cap popped off his head and his glossy locks floated free. There was much cheering in the Rocketship.

I apologize for not having a link to a photo. I haven’t seen one today, which just tells me, once again, that the majority of sportswriters have been doing their jobs so long that they no longer really love sports. Otherwise, today’s headlines would be along the lines of: Damon’s Hair, Beard Open a Glorious Season.

You know it’s going to be a great year now.

P.S. While looking up links for this post, I discovered that the Baltimore Orioles own neither or The latter hosts a site for the United States Beer Drinking Team, with a link for Beer Radio.

Who else?

As a lover of symmetry, I had hoped that Johnny Damon, having been the first batter of the season, would oblige me by being the last batter of the season. It is purely incidental that such a result would also have only been possible due to the Cardinals winning the World Series. Sadly, Johnny wasn’t interested in symmetry.


And Damon had one of his best seasons, which might encourage other players to go all shaggy. Who wouldn’t love to see Albert Pujols with a Damon look?

Original comments…

Toby: This is totally off the subject, but Levi, you might be interested to know that a kid from your hometown, Steven Smith, has just signed to play with Kansas University, where one of his teammates will be A. J. Van Slyke, the son of former Cardinal Andy Van Slyke.

As a Pirate fan, I sure do wish Francisco Cabrerra would have hit that ball to center field in 1992. If so, Van Slyke’s throw to the plate would have been on the money, unlike the 7-time MVP’s. Mike “Spanky” LaValliere made a superb catch and dive–all in one motion–just to make that play close.


Johnny Damon’s still in the news

A fan (and/or a Johnny Damon fan) passes along this link to an article about the Red Sox being honored before the New England Patriots game last night. I don’t usually watch the Sunday night football game, so I didn’t see it. (“The Lighthouse in the Forest”? Maybe I’m just unaware of how far out of town Foxboro is.)

Election, shmelection

Time for something really important: an allusion to Johnny Damon in today’s “Get Fuzzy.”

Original comments…

Toby: Hilarious, Jim! Thanks for posting it. Levi, are you going to stay in a depressed state forever? Come on, snap out of it. Post something! Gold gloves, new managers, free agents, your picks for MVP, Cy Young… something!!

Jim: The current state of syndicated newspaper comics amazes me, because back when I was a kid and studied up on such things because I had dreams of being a cartoonist, it was always “you have to work eight weeks ahead, although maybe the syndicate will let you get away with six if you’re a big name.” But now because of all the speed-ups in the production and distribution processes, a cartoonist can work only a week and a half ahead. (The Yankees lost on Wednesday, October 20th, and this week of strips about them losing started on Monday, November 1st.)

Levi: No–it’s not baseball depression that’s keeping me from posting. It’s my heavy workload right now. That should lighten up tomorrow just enough for me to post, then get busy again for about a week, then lighten a bit through the end of the month. So I’ll be with it again soon. I’ve enjoyed this forum with Jim and you all way too much to let it die in the offseason. We may have to change the name to reflect the new season, but there’s no reason not to keep at it.

Jason: Speaking of comic strips, I just purchased “The Complete Peanuts: 1953-1954”. Are they still only going to come out with 2 per year? At that rate, I won’t be able to collect ’em all, since there won’t be any Social Security money left.

Levi: Was that Jason Kaifesh, or Andy Rooney? Seriously. Read his comment in your Andy Rooney voice and see how appropriate it sounds.

Hell, read everything in your Andy Rooney voice. It’s good for you.