Tuesday, April 14, 2009


A Cheery Look Into the Future...and a Rant

The Giants lost yesterday to the Dodgers. Never mind the details. Never mind that Randy Johnson looked every bit like a washed up 45-year-old pitcher. Never mind that Orlando Hudson joined Kevin Elster in the annals of Giant-Dodger notoriety. Never mind that the Giants scratched out six measly hits and struck out 11 times. Forget all that. It's over, done. Wednesday is a new day.

You know what's going to be funny? When, six months from now, the Giants are riding the high of a division championship, with four 20-game winners all sporting ERAs under 2. We'll look back at this mini-speed bump in the road, when the pitchers were all struggling at once, and we'll lean back, toast to each other, and think, my, wasn't that a scary two weeks. Here's how I imagine the future conversation will go...

Paulie: My, my, Nedley, do you recall that ghastly day when Randy Johnson rather sullied his druthers against that Dodger team and got us all in a tizzy? That was a redoubtable bit of claptrap. (adjusts monocle and sips martini)

Nedley (Paulie's rich dilettante friend with the thick Cockney accent): Mmm, yes, that was rather incommodious of the uncomely fellow. (twirls mustache with finger) Fortunately, he and his fellow confederates rejuvenated themselves to give their wayward adversaries a chapping good lashing. Here, here, young Paulie! To a fine conquest! (raises glass in toast)

Paulie: (raises glass) Well said, Nedley, my boy! Nyah!

Nedley: Nyah!

Paulie: Nyah!

Nedley: Nyah!

(repeat for two hours)

I'm sure that's exactly how it will go. This thing about some of the Giants pitchers struggling? Bah! Early season jitters. I'm sure they'll recover and everything will be alllllll right. Now excuse me, but that big dune of sand over there looks like a great place to stick my head in.

--Ok, now a rant. Some things just set me off, and people starting fistfights (or worse) over their favorite sports team is one of them. I don't know the circumstances of this stabbing outside of Dodger Stadium yesterday, but it appears it may have been a case of a Giants fan and a Dodger fan getting into it and the argument ending in violence. It certainly wouldn't be the first time.

Just last week, my friends and I were walking out of ARCO Arena after the Kings-Warriors game, when two fans, one for the Warriors, one for the Kings, started talking all kinds of loud shit to each other in the parking lot. Sure enough, the talk escalated into threats, and, faster than you could say "get a fucking life", the two idiots were circling each other, intent on coming to blows.

My friends and I just watched this display and laughed, knowing that most of these little tiffs fizzle out with macho histrionics and no actual bloodshed. Sure enough, the two morons eventually walked away without any punches being thrown, and sanity won another one. Sometimes, though, it doesn't, and you get scary situations like what may have happened today and what did happen a few years back at Chavez Ravine.

It basically comes down to this: if you're the kind of person who will pick fights with people because of some undying devotion to your sports team, you're a hopeless degenerate. I will never, to my dying day, understand this mindset. You're paying this large corporation a lot of money to watch and often advertise their product (by wearing jerseys and such), and yet you really believe that you're somehow a part of it because you root for them and wear their merchandise? Guess what, buddy. They don't care.

If you feel the need to defend your team's honor when someone starts dissing them, and you take pride at the end of the day because of it, that's wonderful. Give yourself a hand. Here's a clue, though: no one cares. Not the guys who work atrocious hours and make the big decisions in the front office, not the players, and certainly not the billionaire owners.

I have some friends who are Dodger fans, and some who are A's fans. As a Kings fan, I have a lot of Warrior fan friends. We rib each other, we talk trash, we even get into arguments that get a bit heated. What we don't do is start swinging blunt objects at each other when we point out the bad contracts each team has on its books. It's what separates us from the kind of people who show up on rap sheets because they have nothing better to live for than a sad obedience to their team.

It's baffling to me, it really is, how sensitive a lot of fans are about their sports teams, to the point that they'll get physical. It's a stupid game. It's entertainment. I personally devote far, far too much energy rooting for the Giants, and I get irrationally emotional when watching them play. It comes with the territory. We all do it, really. But starting fights? Threatening violence? Again, there are many, many more important things in life to worry about.

I'll never forget the Red Sox/Padres game I attended at PETCO where it took literally five minutes after we found our seats for a fat, belligerent Sox fan to start picking fights. I understand that he and his Red Sox Nation ilk suffer from a beer-induced depletion of brain cells and the undoubtedly related onset of obesity, but still, I was saddened by what I saw before me. Again, to those of you who act this way, just get a friggin' life.

--OK, that was your patented Paulie Rant for the day. I hope you enjoyed it. They're being sold on eBay and the bidding starts at only $4.95 a pop. Get 'em while they last!

Seriously, though, two sad losses in baseball today, in what is becoming a very down week. Harry Kalas, one of the great announcers of all-time, and Mark Fidrych, one of the most popular pitchers of all time, who had his career sadly shortened by injury. Fans loved "The Bird's" quirks, but watching old video of Fidrych, he seems less goofy than...genuine?

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