For all the things A-Rod is on the baseball diamond, being genuine and original are not among them.
Yesterday, in a rare moment of clutch production for the Yankee 3B, A-Rod took a 3-1 pitch from the Braves' Jorge Sosa and deposited it towards the wretched scum & villainry in the Yankee bleachers.
Whew. No boo-birds for fragile Alex. No perplexed blue-lipped trudge back to the dugout, fiddling with his arm armor.
A-Rod was a hero! Yay A-Rod! Huzzah! Huzzah! La Shana Tova!
But he STILL can't pull it off? It's still phony.
Why? Because it's been done before. Several times recently. In fact, often.
Because, as hard as he tries, he is NOT the guy who has made it his calling card...the Player's Choice for 2005 American League Player of the Year...David Ortiz.
Check out the account of the A-Rod blast from today's New York Daily News:
"A-Rod, who was 1-for-4 to that point and 6-for-his-last-31, got to a 3-1 count and then launched a towering drive toward the driveway that runs up between the visitors' bullpen and the left-field seats. He flipped his bat, clapped his hands together as he neared first, kissed them and pointed skyward as he reached the bag.
Rounding third he looked up to see his teammates crowded around the plate and grabbed his helmet with both hands, flinging it into the air in preparation for the standard pounding awarded all players who deliver game-ending homers.
Amidst the hysteria, Torre grabbed A-Rod in a bear hug, whispering simply "nice job" into his ear."
Ok...let's recap those three paragraphs with beautifully illustrated pictures, shall we?
Without a doubt, many of my fellow New England baseball fanatics grew up reading Peter Gammons in the Boston Globe, and looked forward to his Sunday columns every week.
So, while he recovers, I thought I would reprint his induction speech into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.
Enjoy the speech - it is one of the finest sports-related ever delivered.
And keep Gammo in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy and full recovery.
One. Peter Gammons' Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Speech- July 31, 2005
Steve Jobs' advice at that time to a graduating class of Stanford this year was 'find what you love.' I am here today because I found what I love. Understand, I grew up in a household where when I got home from school my mother greeted me with, 'Can you believe they traded Jim Piersall for Vic Wertz and Gary Geiger?'
Ned weaned me on respect and reverence for the history and texture of the game. My sister Anne hit me fungoes in a small New England town where the Red Sox home opener was an acceptable legal excuse to leave school at 10 a.m. My father found what he loved in music and teaching and the goodness of man. He and Paul Wright, my godfather, teacher and mentor, remain the two greatest men I have ever known … teachers like Juney O'Brien and Jake Congleton. By the time I was 18, I knew my role models and my life's mission statement were defined.
When this award was announced, Mike Barnicle left me a simple message. 'Tom Winship would be very proud.' Winship was the editor of the Boston Globe, a Branch Rickey of a man who changed the newspaper business in Boston and opened a world for kids who were dying for a chance. Mine came as a summer intern in 1968. It started the day Robert F. Kennedy was shot. In those days you had a morning Globe and afternoon Globe, and when I walked in, I was introduced to my fellow intern Bob Ryan, basketball Hall of Famer. We were told to call every team in business, ask them what they would do for Robert F. Kennedy and write a story. We did. The 3:30 late stocks edition came up, and there on the front page of the entire paper Mr. Ryan and Mr. Gammons had their first bylines. We went to the Erie Pub, raised a couple of 10-cent drafts and decided, you know, what we found what we loved.
My career essentially has been very simple, Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated, ESPN. I have been fortunate enough to work for extraordinary people. There are hundreds, maybe thousands who I should thank, but it was Tom Winship and Fran Rosa who stuck their neck out to hire a kid who hadn't even graduated from college … Mark Mulvoy, who hired me twice at Sports Illustrated … Vince Doria, who brought me back to the Globe and anyone who I ever worked for believes is the best sports editor, if not the best boss who ever lived … John Walsh who had the crack-brained idea to bring a sportswriter into television because, as one of the businesses most creative visionaries, he understood that information is king. I am very proud to say today much of what ESPN is today is because of John Walsh and there are hundreds of people that have gone and followed me out of the print profession to ESPN because of Walsh.
I am not here as a television personality, but as an ink-stained wretch. Publishers and new editors have no clue. They have no understanding that the baseball beat is the toughest beat in the newspaper business. It means severe personal sacrifices. A few years ago Jayson Stark and I decided that over a 25-year period we probably talked to one another more than we talked to our wives and no one has sacrificed more than my wife Gloria, who saved me in an unpredictable storm of a business that knows no holidays.
The baseball beat today is much tougher now than when I was traveling with the Red Sox for the Globe. There is far less access, 10 times the bodies in the clubhouse. The Internet, radio, television have broadened the baseball information universe. And yet our business, I am proud to say, keeps producing generation after generation of young reporters who are tireless, good and fair. Throughout my career I have tried to be guided by one principle, that because I am human I have the right to like people. But because I am professional, I have no right to dislike any one. People ask me, as a New Englander, what was it like walking out there in the field when Aaron Boone hit a home run. To be honest, my first reaction was, I was ecstatic. I have known Aaron Boone since he was 13 years old, and that's my privilege. My second reaction, I saw Tim Wakefield, head down, and I felt despondent. He's one man who did not deserve that. As I walked out on the field to try to get introduced, I turned to my producer, Charlie Moynihan, and said, 'Look around here, you know what? I just got paid to cover the greatest game ever played in the greatest sporting venue in the world. I think I'm the luckiest man on earth.'
Jerry Coleman, I am honored to be in Cooperstown with you -- war hero, World Series MVP, announcer, gentleman. Ryne Sandberg, I think of a 40-home run season, a 200-hit season, a 50-steal season and the ego of a clubhouse kid.
But, to be here the day Wade Boggs is inducted is a special thing for me. This is a guy who played seven minor-league seasons, hit three something a ridiculous six straight years, went through three Rule 5 drafts and kept saying, 'my success will be measured in terms of dealing with adversity.' In the last half-century, Wade Boggs is the oldest position player to debut in the major leagues and make the Hall of Fame. He is the model for overcoming adversity of all kinds. I remember that afternoon in the spring of '86 when you and I were driving with Ted Williams over to have that night of discussing hits with Don Mattingly. Ted leaned forward in the car and said, 'Hey Wade, did you ever smell the burn of a bat?' Well, there are very few people who have. I have never forgot that. When the All-Century Team gathered around Ted at Fenway before the '99 All-Star Game, Ted asked Mark McGwire the same question. He retold the story. He said, 'Did you ever smell the burn of the bat?' There were six National League players in the room at the time around McGwire. What is he talking about? Well, let's face it, the burning of a bat is the lexicon of the gods.
And to stand here in front of the Hall of Fame players is like standing in front of the baseball dieties, and yet I feel so fortunate to have known so many of them as humans. I think of Carlton Fisk and I think of eight to 10 hours a day of rehab in the winter of '73-'74, mostly in the Manchester YMCA, to come back from a knee injury that very few humans could have recovered from. Eddie Murray, I think of the hours he took, watching him take BP, which allowed him to know all of those thousands of clutch hits which were only by design, not chance. I think of Robin Yount and the fastest he ever got timed to first was 3.9 seconds, the slowest 4.0. And I remember that George Brett always used to say he wanted his career to end on a ground ball to second base on which he busted his hump down the line. I think of Mike Schmidt mowing and lining the field in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, so he can coach his son's high school team. Then there's Sandy Koufax telling me that I lived in L.A. the way he lived in Stonington, Maine. I think of Bob Gibson's handshake, of Tony Perez, Petuka Perez, I think he lived a quarter of mile from where I lived in Brookline, Massachusetts, and to this day not two weeks go by when someone doesn't say, you know, how are Tony and Petuka Perez? They are the greatest people who lived in this neighborhood.
I think of the hours and I thank Jim Palmer and Tom Seaver for discussing pitching with me. I will never forget the day that Orlando Cepeda hit four doubles in one game in Fenway Park and could barely walk. I think of Reggie Jackson and the two of us wandering around Kenmore Square in Boston after the Angels had lost the 1986 ALCS, outraged because Reggie Jackson's team had lost. I think of Dennis Eckersley and I think of his start in the 1978 Boston Massacre, when nearly 100 writers surrounded Frank Duffy because he made an error. He started pulling them off. He shouted, 'He didn't load the bases. He didn't hang a 0-2 slider. Get to the locker and talk to the guy who has an L next to his name.' Dennis Eckersley defines teammate.
I think of Kirby Puckett, my favorite days in baseball while the lights were still off in the Metrodome at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Game Six, the night he won the World Series, probably the only guy in the world that called me Petey, says, 'Petey, get up in your SportsCenter and tell everyone that Puck is going to jack the Twins up on his back today.' Well, four hits, a game-saving catch, and a 11th-inning home run later, Puck took us to the greatest seventh game, World Series game I will ever experience: 10 innings, 1-0, Jack Morris. These players are great players whose success is measured in overcoming adversity, but no one had to be a great person, no one had to be a great player to be a great person stored in my memory bank. So I think from John Curtis to Bill Campbell to Jerry Remy, Buckethead Schmidt to Bruce Hurst, Ellis Hurst to George Lombard, I've been lucky to know thousands of people who loved the game as much as I do.
In 1985, the Globe sent me to Meridian, Mississippi, to do a story on Dennis 'Oil Can' Boyd's background. I had dinner with his father, Willie James, who was once a Negro League pitcher and maintained the field and team in Meridian. He was telling me how he financed his life in baseball by being a landscaper.
He told me a story of a day in 1964 when he was landscaping the yard of the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. He remembered seeing the cars coming up. They all rolled up the street, up the road from Philadelphia [Miss.] to [Meridian] Mississippi to take care of some civil rights workers. Mr. Boyd looked me in the eye. He said, 'You know what? This is what makes this country great. Today that man is destitute and crippled with arthritis and my boy, Dennis Boyd, is pitching in the major leagues for the Boston Red Sox.' In my mind the Boyd family represents baseball's place in American society. Jackie Robinson was in the big leagues seven years before Brown versus the Board of Education and we should never forget it, just as we should never forget the important athletes of the 20th century, arguably one of the 10 most important Americans of the 20th century. I remember waking up to read the story of Roberto Clemente's death, a great baseball idol [who] died taking medical, food and clothing supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. I was with Dave Stewart the morning after he won the third game of the 1989 earthquake series as he crawled through the rubble of the collapsed Cypress structure to hand out coffee and donuts to volunteers searching for bodies.
I walked the streets of Manoguyabo, Dominican Republic, with Pedro Martinez and viewed the churches, school, athletic complex, day-care center and houses that he built for poor people in his hometown. I was not far from Fidel Castro when he stood for the American National Anthem at attention, his hat across his heart because baseball came to Havana in 1989. I remember George Bush strode out toward the mound at Yankee Stadium before the third game of the 2001 World Series, weeks removed from the World Trade Center attacks, and turned and said to Karl Ravech and Harold Reynolds, 'We are among the 55,000 people who just experienced one of the great chills of anyone's lifetime.' When Bud Selig asked us to embrace the World Cup, it's not T-shirts in Taiwan. It's about celebrating that baseball, more than any sport, is who we are. It is reflected in our immigration patterns, our history because we're all immigrants. We should want the world to see us not for our politics, not for our business, but for baseball as our metamorphic soul, inclusive, not exclusive, diverse, not divisive, fraternal, not fractionalized.
If any of you are familiar with the Cape Cod League you probably might have heard of Arnie Allen, a special needs gentleman who for 40 years was a batboy for the Falmouth Commodores. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in the summer of 2002. Seventy-two hours later a duffel bag of Angels paraphernalia arrived in Falmouth, courtesy of two Falmouth players, Darin Erstad and Adam Kennedy. Of course, the Angels went on to the World Series in 2002 and after winning one incredible sixth game coming from a five-nothing deficit in the eighth inning. Before Game Seven, Erstad and Kennedy pulled me aside before they went out to stretch and told me, 'We know you are going to be speaking at the Hall of Fame inductions in two weeks on the Cape.' They said in unison, 'As you speak, could you do us a favor, Arnie will be there probably for the last time. Could you just tell him that Darin and Adam Kennedy said we are thinking of him before they went out and won the World Series?'
Every day at the ball park, for me, there's been something that's great. Ozzie Smith fielding ground balls, just seeing Willie Mays, watching Tom Seaver throw a 3-1 changeup to Don Baylor in his 300th win, George, Gossage in 1980. More important, what I have taken from all of these years is the knowledge that the people who play this game inherently care so much about that game, fellow players and those who love it. I am very fortunate to have baseball as a part of my life for 35 years. I thank you, Gloria, and all my family for standing aside me and all baseball writers for their friendship, support and maintenance of a great and proud profession. The game is also about players. I thank the thousands of players that I have known for making this ride better than I ever could have imagined. Ted Williams used to tell me, 'Hey, Bush, someday you want to walk down the street and have people say you have the greatest job in America.' Ted, it happens almost every day. For that I thank all of you, every one who read or listened to me, allowed me to try to be your eyes and ears, that allowed me to find what I love and hold on to it long enough to experience this, the greatest day of my professional career.
Vegas, Baby, Vegas
The trip started off, as many of my recent trips have, with a delay.
So leaving Milwaukee to go to Hartford was a harrowing experience as I didn't know if the MKE to Cleveland was going to shampoo up the CLE to Hartford segment.
And I had a good dinner with my main man TP and then traveled 25 min. outside the Rising Sun of New England to meet up with the rest of the lads for CDD's Bachelor Party in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(ok, so if you're Magellan, don't bother with the not-so-direct route to Sin City.)
The official start to the weekend began with a Frank-the-Tank beer funnel. A funnel that I had not done since, well, the first time I visited Fairfield with these clowns. So great, 13 years later, I'm back to where I was. I take credit for shortening the existential paradox triangle to a circle. ----- The weekend began with one of the married members of the travel party lying to his wife. "I thought we were staying local...they surprised me with a ticket to Vegas..."
Matrimonial bliss? Yeah, loose definition with the lads.
Another traveler did a different sort of lying...but that's a different story for a different province. ----- CDD is the groom-to-be. Spoon is the best man. CDD is a lovable anal-retentive shampoo. Spoon doesn't own a watch, nor does he prescribe to humanity's whole reliance on time.
So yes, we almost missed our flight out... ----- We got out here and got instantly it turned bad.
Go straight to the hotel pool/bar/restaurant for the kick-off.
Six guys. Six sandwiches. Maybe three drinks apiece. $300 bones.'
Allow that to sink in (yeah, $50 bucks apiece...welcome to Las Vegas) ----- We, since we're good looking, overly tolerant, and wholly friendly folk (read: all bullshit there) we made friends with Julie the waitress. She just moved here from Austin, Texas. She liked us. She gave us a round off. She put our names on a list for "Tabu" to skip the line. She gave us 8 beers in buckets meant for 5.
Julie the waitress, so far, is the MVP. ----- JJ - IMHO the guy who we're REALLY here for -- caught conjunctivitis. Pink eye. He's out. And I hope he didn't rub his eyes on this keyboard. ----- So we go to the pool at the MGM Grand. And mind you, it's 112 degrees outside. But don't worry, it's a dry heat.
Yeah...dry heat...shampoo please...I now know what London Broil feels like...holy shit, I cooked. But I did get a nice burn. And we met Joanna the Canadien.
Joanna is beautiful. She is smart. She is worldly. We all spoke about world issues, religion, philosophy, why Canadians hate Americans, and well, why she should ditch her gambling addict of a boyfriend/fiancee/petit chou (she is Canadian) and hang with a good group of bachelor party folks.
She'll catch on. ----- At last count, I've had about 18 beers today. Yeah.
And I'm still going strong. ----- Checking in with the real world, all is well.
Pedro Jaime Martinez pitches for the New York Mets now. And on the pitching probables list, the man we called Petey and who inspired grown men to paint themselves red and stencil large sheets of posterboard with the letter "K" is coming "home."
Pedro is slated to face - are you ready drama lovers? - Curt Schilling at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. The scumbag scalpers around the park must be licking their chops. If college were in their kids futures, freshmen and sophomore year might be all set after peddling a few Monster seats to that one...
As Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald talked about in his article today, Pedro still owns a home in the Boston area. But he owns more than just a tract of land in expensive Chestnut Hill.
He still occupies one of the most expansive areas in the Hub: as the best pitcher to ever wear the Red Sox uniform.
Hands down. No question.
I know they named the award after the guy, but Pedro's Red Sox career outshines Cy Young's. You can take your 20 strikeout game (or two) and you can send them to Toronto, the Bronx, and Houston for all I care.
Pedro was the best. And we were lucky to see his best. As for fans of Clemens in those other cities, they have gotten to see slices of the Rocket's greatness.
But in Pedro, we had the whole damned cake and we ate it too. And then we moved onto the pie and weren't bashful about helping ourselves to punch and cookies. (Respectfully submitted, Douglas C. Niedermeier, Sargeant-at-Arms.) ----- This is not to say Pedro's tenure was always smooth sailing. It wasn't.
But for all the hubbub and malarkey about Johnny Damon's decision, how Red Sox Nation was decimated and depressed with him bolting for the Yankees, when put on the Pedro scale, it registers hardly a blip.
Johnny has been summarily booed in his returns so far, and for one reason only: he's a Yankee. (turn on your Paris Hilton speech translator for this next sentence...for someone who's so, like, done with Boston, you sure seem to keep talking about it and giving your opinion...whatever).
Orlando Cabrera, in 2005, got a standing "O." And so far this year, so has Kevin Millar when he came in with the Orioles. The improbable return of Doug Mirabelli and the inspiration return of Gabe Kapler also brought the Fenway Faithful to their feet.
So Johnny, it's not that we don't know how to do it, or that we don't know when to do it...it's all a matter of opportunity costs. If you had signed with, say, the Washington Nationals, there would have been a video montage in centerfield before your first at-bat.
But enough with Johnny Damon. (Paris Hilton voice again, folks...) He's so, like 2004. He's like Sisqo and the "Thong Song." Did you see that catch Coco made? ----- I penned an article about Pedro's departure at the time of his signing with the Mets. I was in New York at the time and the story was taking shape in both the Big Apple and Best City in the World...and for obvious reasons. The Mets were in full gloat mode, the Sox were in the spin cycle. Hard feelings were abound.
The Sox didn't step to the plate when Pedro wanted them to. They made him wait. When they finally did step in, Pedro unleashed one of his patented inside brushback pitches and then glared at them.
He signed with the Mets, he left Boston in his rearview. Or so he thought.
The point of my piece back then was that Pedro would never have it like he did in Boston. He would never have fans go to the bathroom when the home team was at the plate, in order to not miss one of his pitches. Pedro left with hard feelings, but those feelings would soften.
(cue up the self-pat on the back...) Glad to see that I was sorta right. He won a World Series in Boston and went to the playoffs four times, and while the Mets are in first place, it's not the same. He'd never say it, but he knows it.
Pedro misses Boston.
Boston misses Pedro. Just look at the message from Alexis Jamison, Josh Jamison, and Mike Fortuna, who "sponsor" Petey's baseball-reference.com page: We love and miss you, Pedro! Good luck in 2006, may you dominate the National League and win the NL Cy Young Award. Go Pedro!
See? Breakups don't always have to be ugly. ----- So here's the blast from the past Pedro article, from Dec. 17, 2004.
No matter what, it is more than just a breakup. It is more than simply waking up and deciding that after seven years, times had changed, people had changed and that it is time to move on.
Pedro Martinez, for the last seven years, had one of the most fruitful and remarkable runs with the Boston Red Sox. It was, perhaps, one of the best spans by a professional athlete in Boston sports history. You could even describe the run - and the relationship between him and the fans - as romantic. And now, with Pedro signing a contract for more years and more money than the Red Sox were willing to offer and guarantee, the romance is over. The Pedro Martinez Era is over.
Allow yourself a moment for that to sink in.
In the early days, when it was Pedro's turn to pitch at Fenway, it was a different place. It transformed from the lyric little bandbox with the big green left field wall. Every fifth day, it was Pedro's canvas to paint a masterpiece. On that fifth day, it was Pedro's ballpark and Pedro's team. Hell, from Beacon Hill to Kenmore, it was Pedro's town.
Things felt different. Each of his stoic looks in for the sign from the catcher got you excited, each windup put you on the edge of your seat, each delivery was truly electric, and each result usually positive. People at Fenway that needed to use the commode did not dare get up from their seats while the Sox were in the field.
That would mean they would miss Pedro. If nature called, answer it during the bottom of the inning, not the top.
The Fenway faithful would groan when the Sox turned the 6-4-3 inning ending double play or the batter popped one up to the catcher. It meant that Pedro was not going to strike out 27 batters that day. It was a letdown.
That was the feeling - or rather the expectation - for the Red Sox fan in his or her seat at Fenway Park, perched by a television screen, or tuned into the radio for a Pedro Martinez start. Twenty-seven up, twenty-seven down. No hitter. Perfect game. Thirty-five starts a year.
Pedro gave us his best years and his best stuff. In his first three years wearing a forked "B" hat, he gave us 19, 23, and 18 wins, respectively. His ERA was so small that Major League Baseball was rumored to have contracted NASA to help find it (author's note: I made that up).
Back-to-back Cy Young's. Back-to-back AL ERA leader. And, before the Keith Foulke-to-Doug Mientkiewicz became the most important 1-3 in the scorebook in the history of the ballclub, one could argue that Pedro entering game five of the 1999 ALDS against the Indians and firing six innings of no-hit, shutout ball was the single-greatest Sox playoff moment. (Yeah, I said it. Better than Hendu in '86. Better than Pudge in '75.)
Pedro became a one-name entity like Sting and Madonna. He changed a city (Boston), a region (New England), and a nation (Red Sox Nation). By a count of hands, how many of you reading this know three or four swears in Italian? Or in Yiddish? How many of you wear Green on St. Patrick's Day?
Well, prior to 1998, how many knew where Santo Domingo was? Could you point out the Dominican Republic on a map? Did you know the meaning of "punchado?"
Probably not, unless your golfing exploits have taken you to the Teeth of the Dog. And that is fine. Pedro became one of us. He helped make us all Dominican, just like we had taken to calling him Petey. In a city without a rich history of ethnic tolerance, especially in regard to professional athletes, Pedro tore down all walls and blurred all lines...without actively trying to, amazingly enough.
As time passed, despite some things beginning to change, it was still Pedro's team. Hideo Nomo threw a no-hitter in game two of the 2001 season. Still Petey's team. Derek Lowe threw a no-no of his own in 2002. Still Pedro's squad.
But after shutting it down after getting win No. 20 in 2001, the walls of his public persona began to crumble - people began to ask "Did Pedro quit, even when we still had a shot at the playoffs?" Then he got hurt and words such as "torn" and "frayed" and "lambrum" became part of the lexicon. Pedro seemed to become, gulp, mortal. But the feeling that anything could be accomplished with him on the hill never did. Expecting a 27 K game everytime out began to seem a bit lofty, so fans settled for 15+ through eight innings. Red Sox fans are realists, after all.
And in 2003, with Pedro still slotted as the Sox' No. 1 starter, the K count gave way to the pitch count. Never was this more evident than in game seven of the ALCS, Red Sox fans got to see first hand what Bill James and the statistics folks had been saying about opponent's batting average after pitch 100. (And again, if not for the 1-3 Foulke-Minky exchange on October 27, 2004, most folks would be convulsing right now).
The 2004 season was the final chink in the armor. Since 1998, Pedro had been No. 1. He began the season as No. 1. He ended as 1-a, or depending on whether you use past or present as the indication, 1-b. Pedro playing second fiddle? Pedro as Vice President? Pedro as co-pilot? Pedro as Garfunkel? Wow.
But it is what it is. And it is over. Pedro, depending on what the results of the sure-to-be strenuous physical that the New York Mets baseball club will subject him to, will be honing his craft in Shea Stadium or the next four years. It is done. It is reality. It is, in some ways, sad. I cannot remember who said it, so I will paraphrase. To measure the worth of a man, or in this case starting pitcher, take inventory of the way things were when he started and when he left. Pedro took the Red Sox to levels never before seen.
He gave the baseball world three of the most dominant back-to-back seasons by a right handed pitcher in modern history. He did it wearing a Red Sox uniform.
He went to Yankee Stadium and struck out 17. He threw inside. He threw outside. On occasions, he threw directly at the batter (Gerald Williams says hi).
He threw hard. He threw ridiculous change-ups. He threw them all.
Off the field, he was a private man. Never did you read about him in trouble with the law, being unfaithful or behaving inappropriately. With the exception of those lobster roll commercials for McDonald's, Pedro never embarrassed himself or his team.
Finally in 2004, it reached a point Red Sox fans had never imagined. Pedro admitted, in a post-game press conference after losing (again) to the Yankees, that he would tip his cap and call them his Daddy. Mystique and Aura had left the building (I think the were on the main stage at Scores at 11:30 that night...).
Someone just popped the balloon. It was the fly in the soup.
But in light of all this, Pedro had the ball in some of the most important October baseball tilts in the history of the game. He had the ball in the ALCS in Anaheim, in the ALCS versus New York and in the World Series in St. Louis. Despite evidence to the contrary, it seemed like it was 1998, 1999, and 2000.
It seemed like it was every year in the past where Pedro was on the hill and all was well with the world, kind of like how adjoining Patriot Nation feels with Tom Brady as quarterback.
We all know the ending. The Sox won the World Series and Pedro got his ring. He went to Disney World. He rode the float in the World Series championship parade.
But it was different. Pedro was different. He did not get the ball in game one in Anaheim, it was game two. In New York, he started games two and five.
In game two, he earned the loss in an eery replay of game seven of the ALCS in '03. And in game five, his seven inning, four run, six strikeout performance became a footnote to the David Ortiz blast in the 14th inning.
With Curt Schilling's game six heroics, pitching with an ankle that was sutured, stitched and stapled together, Pedro became baseball's version of Shari Lewis - playing behind a famous white tube sock. So in game seven, he came out of the bullpen to help put the finishing touches on the greatest comeback (or choke, depending on your point of view) and his one inning, three hit, two run stat line was hardly impressive. It was hardly akin to him jogging out of the bullpen at Jacobs Field in 1999, when you saw the faces of the Indians, their fans, and their managers just drop, as if to say "Great, now what?"
It was different. Pedro was different. He no longer set up his breaking ball or change with a 96 mph two-seamer anymore. The difference in velocity between the two is hardly noticable, especially to the major league hitter. As recent as the 2003 season, Pedro gave up seven homeruns the entire year, even through the playoffs. In 2004, he gave up eight in the first inning of his starts alone, en route to 26 dingers in total.
But this is not about the numbers. It is not to say he does not still have anything left in the tank or, dare I mention something about being in the twilight of one's career. It is about the end of an era - the greatest era in Red Sox history. It is not just a free agent leaving the Red Sox, like when Fisk, Boggs and Mo were all unceremoniously told to hit the road.
It is not seeing a Boston icon in another uniform in the Senior Circuit like Nomar. It is not even about being one of the best right handed pitchers in the game and a first-ballot entry to Cooperstown like Clemens.
For any of the recent stumbles or smears that he took on the field and in the press, it is undeniable that Pedro took a good baseball club and made it great.
He took fan dedication to the Sox and helped transform it to an undying passion. He took a historic old ballpark and helped it breathe new life. He made every fifth day bigger than the other four. He brought the diehard and the casual fan together.
He introduced those who were not big baseball fans to the game. He made good measure of his worth over the last seven seasons. Pedro left the Red Sox better than when he arrived.
Over the past few days, the computer-savvy have photoshopped Pedro's head into a Mets cap and uniform. Eventually, Omar Minaya and Pedro will have a press conference so that photographers can snap the real thing. They will make it all official. And that will be that, the Pedro Martinez Era will end.
It will be sad. It is sad. Not necessarily for Boston fans, but for those in Queens and the surrounding areas that call themselves Met fans. They will never have it like we did.
They will never understand. And, unfortunately I presume, neither will Pedro.
¶ 9:23 AM0 Comments
Monday, June 19, 2006
It Was 20 Years Ago Today...
...cocaine took Len Bias away.
And enough of the lame Sgt. Pepper's...
Here's a video - well done I might add - that I found on YouTube.
I actually grew up a Laker fan, but living in Celtics country, I remember how tragic this was.
I remember what a big deal it was for a team like the Celtics to have such a high draft pick...damn. Just thinking about that stuff - and I was 11 years old at the time, how are 11 year olds supposed to understand cocaine, overdoses, dying, all that shit?
This blog has written about a few too many young basketball players who have died way before their time. I recognize that young men (and women) who go pro in something other than sports die tragically everyday. But I take the ballers to heart. It's what I do for a living.
And everytime I read of something like that - or of the Oklahoma State tragedy on Jan. 28, 2001 - I think of my situation, my job, my career, and how I would crumble if I ever had to experience that first-hand.
Anytime my cellphone rings at an ungodly hour, thoughts of the worst-case scenario come to full fruition. A Len Bias situation would certainly be one of those.
Sure, Bias died of something he did to himself...cocaine is not an amazing drug, as the late Rick James would have you believe on his Chappelle's Show bit...but to imagine a young man with the world in his grasp dying as Len Bias did...it does not make sense.
Just as Hank Gathers...Reggie Lewis...George Jefferson...Richard Jones...all dying too young of enlarged hearts...
This blog entry doesn't flow that well. I can tell.
It doesn't have a cogent point, followed by facts backing it up. It doesn't make sense.
First, apologies for the lack of a Friday playlist. I do have a very special one coming up soon, so be patient.
Secondly, I'm pleased with the Red Sox (right now). Not just because of the wins. But because of the future implications.
Jon Lester won his first game the other night, with Jonathan Papelbon saving it. That's 22 & 25 years old, respectively.
Today, Josh Beckett won it, Manny Delcarmen got a hold, and Paps got another save. That's 26, 23, and 25.
Since the Yanks did a solid job holding a 9-2 lead, and the Blue Jays are perennially doomed due to their short-sighted view of their Spring Training operations, the Sox might well win the AL East. But don't expect it to be easy, as Tampa Bay is a real resurgent due to the return of Rhode Island's own Rocco Baldelli.
Third off, I took in my rooftop pool/sun deck today. I applied sunscreen. I missed a spot. Or two. Or three. And they're all in a line. My face now has a halfcourt line.
(uno, dos, tres, quatorce)
40, going to Vegas next weekend for 2006 Summer Bachelor Party #1. Haven't been to Vegas since 1996, when I was out as a 20 year old junior with a then-UNLV dobo come Division I head coach at Club Drink.
Apparently Drink is closed. But if anyone has Vegas suggestions, send them to the comments or to email@example.com. I'm looking for a good buffalo wing joint, as well as a good spot to catch the Fox Game of the Week on Sat., June 24 (Philly @ Boston). I'm thinking the Mirage Sports Book. Do they have good cheeseburgers and what does it take to get Miller Lite gratis?
(and apparently this isn't going to be a short post...woo-hoo, aren't you lucky I decided to make it another of my patented Milwaukee nights where I stay in, drink a few bottles of wine, listen to music, and blog...)
A few quick notes and thoughts I had today:
** Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys is pure musical genius. Brian Wilson ranks in the top 3 or 4 of "Most underrated musicians in the last 30 years."
** So does Bob Marley. Got a chance to listen to my favorite rendition of "No Woman, No Cry" this afternoon while taking the opportunity to give my face an international date line.
Bob sang: "Everything's Gonna Be Alright." He's right. I hope.
** We still have the song crush on the Gnarls Barkley tune "Crazy." But I also have a crush on the covers by Ray Lamontagne and Nelly Furtado.
I also also have a crush on Nelly, but she likes Steve Nash and while I'm prettier than that greasy haired Canuck, he can dribble with his right hand.
I'm like a bird.
** Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic death of Leonard K. Bias.
For as powerful as the English words "What if?" can be...and I ask myself that two-worded question everyday - maybe every hour as the human struggle between finite and infiniteness sends me into a spiralling abyss - can you imagine Len Bias wearing #34 instead of, say, Kevin Gamble?
** CS(N)Y on the iPod right now: "If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one your with..."
I'm with me, leather. But I while I love me, I don't like it.
** The referee in today's US/Italy was straight-up cheating.
Three red cards in the World Cup? Are you shitting me?
That's like having Artie McDonald, Joe DeMayo, and Bob Adams (yeah, I'm calling you out) working a Final Four.
Human decision making the call on human action will ALWAYS result in fault, as, well, because. That's how it goes. And if you play sports, or merely observe, you enter that "agreement" knowing full-well of human failty.
But cheating, well, that just sucks.
** Never mentioned it in an earlier post, but there was a line from Bob Dylan's song "Isis" that floored me for close to 36 hours: "What drives me to you is what drives me insane"
G-D, Bob, where were you in 2002?
** I love wine.
** Watch the movie/documentary "The Smartest Guys in the Room." Then you decide whether this is true, or just some pathetic fucking (and normally it's "shampoo," but not for this prick) attempt to gain sympathetic P.R.
I say: "make sure you get your whole face in front of the shotgun." Ok, on that note, I sign off. Time for sleepy.
Yeah, OK, This is Weird.
Ok, so you need to check out this story.
And for some reason, the three previous times I tried to post on this shampooing Blogger website today, it shampooed up my shampooing post (I'm a little shampooing annoyed today, so shampoo...whatever) ...but there's really no explaining or making any sort of sense about that story. I mean, yeah. Wow. Here's some YouTube for that one:
I'm also starting a "Which Shampooing Minnesota Twin Will Crush a Grand Slam Tonight?" pool. Torii Hunter is the early leader.
And I'm making my first visit to a dentist in over a decade today. Ought to be swell. Can't wait for the news.
Australia's World Cup soccer team - down 1-nil in the 82nd minute, put one on the boooooooard (YES!). And then another. And then another. Three goals in the final seven minutes and change to beat Japan, 3-1. It's their first trip to the World Cup since 1974. Exciting stuff.
I spent most of this past weekend watching it. Why? Because it's compelling. And rich. It's a month full of Super Bowls. For instance, how about Trinidad & Tobago tying Sweden? That's a big deal! It's almost Princeton/Georgetown in 1989 big.
You can scoff at the World Cup and ESPN's seemingly tireless self-promotion of it, but for my viewing dollar, it's pretty simple: anything that slows the global economy by almost 20% for a month is worth my time.
On an aside, let's not all jump off the U.S.' bandwagon because they got beaten by the Czechs, 3-nil yesterday. The Czech-mates are ranked #2 in the World, according to the FIFA rankings, and the U.S. still has a terrific keeper in Kasey Keller.
Now, if his backline could stop leaving him naked out there, giving the opposition point-blank looks, the U.S. will be fine. Oh, they're playing Italy next?
Shampoo. ----- I like Ben Roethlisberger (except when he lines up against the Pats, of course) and we here at TLBR wish him a speedy recovery.
And I also hope he learns whatever lesson you're supposed to cull from hitting a windshield with your face.
On a related note, I'd like to see the Manning brothers on matching Vespas.
Or, like my man Jeffy so succinctly said: "There's one more thing that Tom Brady is better at: driving." So wrong. But so right. ----- Back to the World Cup - a TLBR loyal made a comment about the large Korean contingentcy at the Korea-Togo match: "Man, there are a lot of fruit stores closed right now."
(Ok, fine, the comment was mine)
But a real TLBR loyal sent me this link about a similar comment from Roger Clemens, during the World Baseball Classic: "They said, ‘You’ve got no chance,’ they told me,” Clemens said. “I said, ‘I’m going to get it tomorrow, right?’ And then she goes, ‘No chance, we’re going to the game.’ So we couldn’t get dry cleaning done out there, but I guess the neatest thing about them was there were about 50,000 of them at Anaheim Stadium, Korea and Japan."
That got swept under the rug, eh? ----- Yet another TLBR loyal sent me this link.
For those who don't know, Geno's is one of two prominent cheesesteak places in Philly. Pat's is the other, located in the same general locale as Geno's.
Ironically, when ordering at Geno's, the English you use is bastardized. "Cheesesteak wit" (or "Whiz wit") means you want a cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz and fried onions. An "American wit" is a cheesesteak with American cheese and fried onions, while a "Provolone wit" is, well, you get it. Don't want onions? Say "witout" (for those who speak the King's English, that is roughly translated into "without") instead of "wit."
Bottom line: screw the Xenophobes at Geno's, forget Pat's, and go to Jimmy's.
And they have a lot, a lot of culture there. They've got the Liberty Bell...it's like a baby New York. ----- Every time "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan comes on the radio (wmvyradio.com), I close the door to the office, turn it up to 11, and forget about the world for a little less than three minutes. ----- Today's YouTube clip: the trailer for the upcoming movie "Borat."
I'll be the first in line for this one. Jagshemash.
Kinda Like the Round Mound of Rebound, But Better (And Chewie's playing the drums)
I'm mentioned this before: if the Gnarls Barkley tune "Crazy" was crack, well, I'm Tyrone Biggums.
Well, here are a few videos of the song. The first, is, well, saturated with awesomeness. I mean, Chewbacca is playing drums. Boba Fett is playing keyboards. And Borat introduces the band.
And if you'd like a mellowed out, chill, "Love Boat" version of the tune, check out this performance on the UK's "Top of the Pops."
And for you purists, here's the "original" MTV version (that is, if MTV still showed videos.)
On an aside, I'd like to congratulate Iona distance ace Richard Kiplagat on a tremendous career for the Maroon & Gold.
The Kenyan native capped off his outstanding run (pun intended) with his 10th All-America plaque tonight at the 2006 NCAA Championship in Sacramento.
He came to America with a dream, worked his tail off, and now he can fulfill those NCAA commercials to a tee. He will go pro in something after sports...that is, when he's done making his name on the roads and the track for a bit.
He's the kind of individual who will excel at anything. He's that smart, he's that driven.
And when he's the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I'll say I knew him when. All the best. ----- Peace. One. (speaking of one, Vice TLBR Muse Scarlett Johansson is ranked number one. Click here.)
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Why New York tabloids and Rhode Island Natives RULE
One of the many things I miss about New York are the tabloids. Thanks to Al Gore's non-Social Security lockbox pet project - the intranet - I still get to read them.
Most notable of the Daily Rags are the gossip pages, which keep me in line with all the news regarding Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and various other celebrity and intelligensia.
In today's New York Daily News,Lloyd Grove's Lowdown showed a picture of Rhode Island native James Woods and his new girlfriend, Ashley Madison (click the link to see her).
Woods is 59 and graying. Madison is 20 and blonde. (I also forgot to mention that Woods is friggin' awesome.) ----- And for my dollar (or 50 cents, which is the cost of the paper), no tabloid stateside has the best headlines than the New York Post. There were two events yesterday that I was quite happy about: the Red Sox' 9-3 victory at Yankee Stadium, and the big bomb that went boom outside of Baghdad (you like the alliteration, don't you?) on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's head.
The Post was able to take both events and highlight them on their front and back pages.
(the word balloon kills me)
(nice of the Captain to ring the bell)
Ok, catching up on a few other things: Still have not heard from my friend and future benefactor, Mr. David Major.
I hope that my $26 million is still waiting for me because I'm almost done spending it.
I called the Chili's in OshKosh and ordered boneless buffalo wings for everyone in town. ----- I have a Friday playlist for you because, well, it's Friday.
No real theme to it, but I bet it would be good on a roadtrip, except for a few of the sappy tunes when you could do some heavy petting.
To download the third installment - which I played around with to ensure than all tracks are "downloadable," click here. It's a .zip file, so just right-click, wait a few minutes, unzip, burn, enjoy. ----- That's it for now...oh wait! I haven't done a YouTube bit in a while. Ok, here's a blast from the past, as detailed in the Oz blog...
On the final segment of the trip home - from LAX to JFK - United showed "Inside the Actor's Studio" with muse Natalie Portman.
At the end of the show, she recited her favorite swear word - a word whose etymology can be traced to Arabic, but is used as slang in Israel.
Joe Morgan Is So Unbelievably Bad It's Not Even Funny
Watching the Sox tonight on ESPN because the MLB Extra Innings feed is the YES Network and, well, I just say no to YES.
Well, ESPN has the broadcast team of Dan Shulman, who has grown into one of the most versatile and well-rounded play-by-play guys in the biz. He's great in college basketball, very, very solid in baseball, and pretty much anything else he calls.
Now, those kind of niceties do not extend to Shulman's partner - Joe Morgan.
Morgan, at one point in the game, went on a rambling, incoherent diatribe about HGH, drugs and baseball. Now, when his colleague Rick Sutcliffe goes on incoherent rants, it's usually about George Clooney, Congress, solving that thing (man), and Mud Grant. It also follows 36 holes of golf and 36 beers with Bill Murray.
For Morgan, it's just commonplace. There is a site, Fire Joe Morgan.com, which details some of the asinine verbiage from ESPN's "Hall of Fame" color commentator.
And it's brutal. And it's ruining a nice Red Sox blowout for me.
But here's a slice of what Joe had to say about pitchers (of which he's not quite an expert, being a 2B and all):
"If you're a starter you have to pace yourself out there, but if you're a one-inning closer, you can just let it all go."
"I've always said that starting pitching is key in baseball. And if you're a starter, the team is going to get more out of you than a closer because starters pitch 200 innings and closers only 70 or so. So starters give you more innings."
(I can't quite possibly make this shampoo up)
I can see Joe Morgan on the Food Network...
"You see, food is really what you want to eat when you're hungry. Because when you're hungry, it means that you haven't eaten and the best way to cure that, in my opinion, is to eat food. Food will cure hunger, I've always found." ----- Ok, that's about it for now. After nine innings of Joe shampooin' Morgan, I'm going to get a beer.
Things to Do With $26,000,000.00 Dollars
1. Pay A-Rod for a season. 2. Buy 86,666 iPods. 3. Or 3,270,440 orders of boneless buffalo wings from Chili's. 4. Put a down payment on a house in Rhode Island, the Cape, Sydney, Melbourne, Dublin, and Amsterdam. 5. This, times 26. 6. Three words: custom. made. suits. 7. Something sensible, like pay off my student loans and car...split the cash with my family and friends...invest a chunk in a long-term, high-yield CD while saving a bit to play around in the stock market.
Now, I'm sure you're asking yourself "why is he making grandiose plans with such a bundle of cah?"
The answer is simple: I got an email from a most trusted friend this morning. His name is Mr. David Major.
According to Mssr. Major, there was a terrible accident in January of 2004, and an individual died while leaving behind a tremendous fortune of $65,000,000.
Major emailed me today on my Hotmail account and wished for me to share in this great fortune. Take a look:
From : Mr David Major Reply-To : firstname.lastname@example.org Sent : Tuesday, June 6, 2006 11:23 AM Subject : PLEASE GET BACK TO ME My Dear Friend, I am Mr. David Major, the Auditor of United Bank for Africa Plc (U.B.A). I have an obscured business suggestion for you. One of our clients/personal friend, Late Mr. Kim Sean unfortunately lost his life in the plane crash on January 31st 2000 including his wife and his only daughter.
Late Mr. Kim Sean is a foreigner and the manager of Granite Minning Nig, a chemical engineer by profession and he died since the year 2000. No other person knows about this account or anything concerning it. After further investigation it was also discovered that Mr. Kim Sean's next of kin is his daughter who died with him, hence the account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proves to me as well that his company does not know anything about this account and the amount involved is US$65m [Sixty five million Dollars].
I am contacting you to stand and act as the next of kin to Mr. Kim Sean. At the conclusion of this business, you will be given 40% of the total amount, while 60% will be for me, and any expenses which you and me may incur during the process of this transaction will also be reconciled afterwards.
Let me have your confidential Telephone, Fax and mobile Numbers.
Yours Truly, Mr. David Major
I wrote Mr. David Major back, telling him how delighted I was that he would pick me - ME! of all people - to be given $65,000,000 dollars.
I do not quite know how he will transfer the money to me. I'd best be sure to give him my social security number, as well as my bank account numbers and personal-identification number (aka - PIN).
Anyways, I replied to him just now and am now anxiously awaiting his instructions. So none of you greedy folks better mess this up for me. If you email my good friend Mr. David Major and attempt to usurp by money, by offering a better split (38/62, or 26.3/73.7 perhaps), I'll be wicked mad.
More details to come as Mr. David Major gets back to me.
As Dave Chappelle is wont to saying...I'M RICH, BEEATCH!
I've always said that if I met Dave Roberts, I'd buy him a beer. Or whatever he drinks - diet coke, carrot juice, gin n' juice, gin n' carrots, whatever - and just say thanks.
Not "thanks, beautiful." (see right.) Just, thanks.
And in case you've been living in a cave since Sept. 2004, and that cave is the only one without Fox or ESPN or NESN, then I'll give you a refresher course about Dave Roberts.
The Red Sox acquired him in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers, in exchange for the immortal Henri Stanley.
Roberts served as a 4th/5th outfielder for the Sox during the closing days of the 2004 season.
He appeared in 45 games, but saw limited action at the plate - just 86 AB.
In the ALDS & ALCS, he had zero at-bats.
But he did pinch run.
In the ninth inning of game four of the ALCS, Kevin Millar walked. He was replaced by Roberts, who proceeded to, well, take a look.
After the steal, Bill Mueller came up with a basehit, scoring the speedy outfielder from second. People seemed to enjoy this.
So as the Padres open up a three-game series here in Brew City, the goal is to meet Mr. Roberts, shake his hand, thank him for sliding away from the intangibly Jeterian tag, and then for his hustle to score on Mueller's base hit, tying the game and helping to set up the first of two consecutive, heroic game-winning hits for David Ortiz (one and two).
That's about it. Hope Beckett doesn't throw the straight fast ones tonight and remembers what it was like to shit on the Yankees in the Toilet, circa 2003.
Friday's are for PLAYLISTS
I've been away for a bit with the updating - a week for that matter - because I had a nasty combination of writer's block and that "not-so-fresh feeling."
I sat in airports and my apartment, racking my brain for something remotely fresh and entertaining.
On Thursday, I wrote a 250-word essay, but opted not to publish it. It was basically the word "poop" 245 times, followed by my usual "To the next step" and "One" signoff.
I tried poetry, nothing rhymed.
I tried sonnets, but nothing worked.
I even tried limericks, but even the Man from Nantucket wanted no part of TLBR.
So I listened to music, wrote down some songs that caught my liking, and even found a way to make a week's worth of "ooh, I like that one's" and made them flow.
Because, of my many gifts, mix-tape making is one of them.
Some readers chimed in last time, saying that some of the songs did not work on their computer or on some of their portable music devices. And for that, I apologize. What you should do to ensure that "the deuce" works is:
- download it on your computer - make a playlist on your iTunes (and if you don't have iTunes, download it, and then proceed to make a playlist...) - convert it to AAC (for ease in playback on your iPod) OR just use the iTunes burn capability and it will convert the tracks for you.
Here is the tracklist (with explanations): Montana - Rocky Votolato Found Rocky a bit ago. Just a solid singer/songwriter. I'm A Long Way From Home 2:15 Shooter Jennings Waylon's son; this tune is from the movie "Walk the Line." Change The Game 3:07 Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, And Memphis Bleek I know all the words to this. And I'm ever at a karaoke bar and they have it, you'll see. The Weight 4:34 The Band Yeah. The Band. Do I need to explain? All Things Must Pass 3:47 George Harrison Yeah. George Harrison. Do I need to explain? Burn 3:59 Ray LaMontagne I've written a lot about Ray. First time I heard this, I had to pull the car over and settle down. The first time I saw it live, it was cathartic. This time, it's ruined by a bunch of screaming 19-year old girls. But still ok. Superstition 4:00 Stevie Wonder Yeah. Stevie Wonder. Do I need to explain? High Drama ft. Mike Zoot 3:08 Mos Def Might not be a better lyricist than Mos Def. Listen and decide for yourself. Landed (iTunes Originals Version) 4:18 Ben Folds Another song that usually I need to stop what I'm doing and collect myself. This version is from Apple's iTunes Essentials. Favorite T 2:59 The Lemonheads Whatever happened to the Lemonheads and Evan Dando? They were good as hell. Smile 3:49 The Jayhawks An optimistic song, disguised as a sad tune. One 4:20 Mary J. Blige & U2 U2 is arguably the best rock band ever. Mary J. is, without argument, the best female hip-hop vocalist ever. One is arguably one of the best songs ever. Put it altogether and you get...voila. I Try 3:48 Ben Taylor/David Saw Nothing like two white guys on an acoustic guitar covering Macy Gray. In My Life 2:21 The Brian Jonestown Massacre There will be an upcoming blog post dedicated to my new "next best thing" - the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Come Around 3:41 Rhett Miller The Old 97's rule(d) and Rhett is(was) the lead singer. Transitive property applies. Do The Devil 2:45 Amazing Royal Crowns Providence-based rockabilly band. Always Royal to the Loyal. Jack-Ass 4:11 Beck Yeah. Beck. Do I need to explain? Dirty Water 2:52 The Standells The anthem of every April-October, when the good guys score more than the bad guys. Click here to download.
Have a great weekend, enjoy yourself, and wear sunscreen (something I haven't done in quite some time...)