So sorry, A-Fraud.  No all-time home run record for you.

[Certain people have questioned whether steroids are really, truly evil.  All I know is this: Alex Rodriguez is a New York Yankee.  This shall suffice for me.]


I still can’t believe I didn’t realize that former Dodgers closer Eric Gagne was juicing. The injury, the first one, should have tipped me off — the tendons can’t handle the tremendous power from the freakishly large muscles. When he was throwing 100+ mph heat at Bonds, it was juice vs. juice.

The Red Sox fan I work with literally danced.

I just presume every pro athlete is probably taking something to help with endurance, illegal or not, and keep a job until I hear otherwise or see physical evidence to the contrary, and I’ve been much happier in my viewing of sport since.

The puritanism surrounding baseball is a disgusting bullshit session cooked up by writers who persist in the fallacy of it as the intellectual game, despite the fact that a lot of the players are dumb as rocks, thanks to never setting foot inside a college classroom. Call this George Will Disease, if you will. Ring Lardner was correct when he noted that wasn’t anything more depressing than an old baseball writer. If you’re an everyday player for at least 140 games over six months (say you get the off-day every so often), I can’t imagine how you get through that without amphetamines, HGH, anabolic steroids, or EPO. Conditioning can only be so good.

That said, Rodriguez has never done himself any favors in the PR department to avoid the evident Schadenfreude here for the rest of us.

@Signal to Noise: For example, young Michael Phelps and the mary jane.

@blogenfreude: Perhaps the only person enjoying it more is Guy Ritchie.

This is all part of my evil plan to knock all professional ball players down, one by one, until the only clean team left – which by default will earn all those titles left unwon – will be the PittsSixburgh Pirates.

Call it the Reverse Curse of Barry Bonds; since he left the Bucs, ‘roids happened and they suck.

@Mistress Cynica: True that, because don’t the ‘roids shrink the junk, so to speak? No wonder Madge has already turned her attention to the 22 year old Brazilian boytoy.

(Yes, I read this week’s Us Weekly earlier today)

@Signal to Noise:
The most bullshit aspect of this, is that steroids actually saved baseball. Fans were still pissed off about the ’94 players strike and canceled world series. A lot of franchises were hurting financially. Then in ’98 we had the spectacle of the great Sosa / McGuire home run race. They filled ballparks everywhere they went.

Every time I hear Costas tsk-tsking about the “Steroid Era”, I throw-up a little bit in my mouth. He was complicit, squealing like a little girl every time one of those guy hit a home run, waxing poetic about their historical rivalry. Not a word about steroids passed his lips then. It was right there on the field to see. These guys turned into freaks of nature in a couple of years. Exactly how did he think that happened?

The owners and networks knew all about it, and they didn’t turn a blind eye, they encouraged it. Big ratings. Filled stadiums. Life was good. It is complete nonsense for the players to be taking the hit on this now. Everybody in the sport wanted them juiced.

BTW. I was there on September 8, 1998 at Busch Memorial Stadium when the Cardinals played the Cubs, McGuire hit #62, and Sosa met him at the plate. Still got the stub. Now the writers won’t put McGuire in the hall of fame, and the feds want to put Bonds in jail. It’s all bullshit.

Mariners fans haven’t had a lot to smile about lately, but at least we have something to smirk about.

Sport jock takes steroids! Oh noes! I’m so shocked. But more than that so disappointed on account of my dreams are now shattered to say nothing of the dreams of all the little children!!!

On a more serious note: TJ alert!!!

OMFG I saw the parrots, people!! The parrots on Telegraph Hill. I was beyond thrilled. I also saw daffodils in bloom, spring blossom on trees and fugly roses. But still. Roses in bloom in Feb. And then I saw the Golden Gate Bridge and I got more thrilled. No sign of Kim Novak however. What a beautiful city. Then I had to go to work.

OK. TJ over. Back to Sport.

@Benedick: eeeeek! [squealing like a little girl] The parrots!! I’m so jealous. And there are daffodils! I can’t wait.
ADD: The thing I liked best about living in LA: my February birthday fell in spring, with all the trees and bulbs in bloom.

@Hose Manikin: If you’d be interested in joining SFL, Benedick, and me for lunch on Friday the 13th, drop me an e-mail at cynica77 at gmail.

@Hose Manikin: It certainly encouraged fans who love slugging. It turned me off. All that shit about livelier balls, or how pitchers are some kind of endangered species and as standards get higher pitchers can’t keep up, all those explanations for what happened, was it an intentional smokescreen?

The last baseball game that had me totally in the moment was Mookie Wilson and that poor Boston first baseman. Was that 1986 or 1987?

I have to say it, my favorite sport lately is ultimate fighting, mixed martial arts. God, the sheer guts and athleticism and skill and intensity. Its amazing. And when you learn a little about whats going on, most of the champions practice Brazillian Ju Jitsu, its a totally defensive art, it focuses on grappling, defensive grappling, and then, joint twisting to cause pain. These little guys will beat these great big hosses who have these amazing kicks and punches, the little guys drag them to the ground and make them cry. Its amazing.

If I ever go for learning a martial art for defense, it will be this brazillian Ju Jitsu. They had to make a new rule in ultimate fighting, to ban a common ju jitsu move, grabbing someone’s finger and dislocating it. Its a dirty, dirty method of fighting, its all about twisting and dislocating joints to immobilize your attacker with pain. Just a more disciplined method of what my Dad taught me, he always said, grab what you can, and bite it off.

Bill Buckner on first. Ex-Cub. Confirmed the Cub Curse Theory for predicting World Series outcomes. Count the ex-Cubs on both teams. The one with the most lose the Series. I think ’86.

I remember the “juiced ball” controversy. It all sounded like bullshit to me. All you had to do was look at those guys. They looked balloons in the Macy parade.

I am a fan, a fanatical fan, of college football. I can hardly watch the pros anymore. Same with basketball, I love college basketball, can’t watch a minute of pro basketball. So much more intensity, so much more variability, more interesting all around. And there are even great underdog stories.

@Hose Manikin:
I was a baseball fan, though not a fanatic. Listened to Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, and Lindsey Nelson doing Mets games as a kid, and actually went to Shea a few times to see the Mets play. From the late 70’s on I used to go to ~10 A’s games and a couple of Giants games every year. I watched baseball on TV and listened on the radio. I loved the sound of a good play-by-play announcer.
Then 1994 happened. The owners and the players killed baseball. Hey, who the fuck won the 1994 World Series, huh?
I have not attended a game since then. I have not watched a game on TV or listened to a baseball game, either. I couldn’t even tell you what teams are still in business. Don’t care. Some bloody tourist came up to me in Italy in Oct 2002 and told me with excitement that the A’s and Giants were playing each other in the World Series. I told him he was crazy, the last World Series was in 1993.
Fuck “Major League” baseball.

Understandable. But your 1969 “Amazin’ Mets” scarred me for life. I was in high school in the Chicago area. Used to cut school to sit in the right field bleachers wearing a plastic yellow hard hat. Kessinger, Beckert, Williams. Banks. Santo, Hundley….

10 games in first place in late August.

The greatest choke in the history of the universe.

Fucking Mets.

I stopped being a Met fan after that. I’d followed them since 1962 and figured they no longer needed me. I had other things (College, Sex, Drugs, Rock’n’Roll, Revolution) to occupy my time.
It wasn’t until the late 70’s, after I’d move to the Bay Area, that I became interested in baseball again. There was something about those A’s playing Billy Ball that just couldn’t be denied.

One of the things that really rankled about 1994 was the transparent manipulation of events and the public by MLB. As you recall, that was the year of the first appearance of the “rabbit ball”, so-called because it would just fly out of ballparks. Although MLB denied it, it was obvious to everyone that the balls in use had been altered at the factory (wound tighter, etc). MLB deliberately had the ball changed, in order to get an advantage during the upcoming CBA negotiations. This dovetailed with the rise of bulked-up players to yield unbelieveable (at the time) power and home run numbers. McGwire was on a pace to eclipse Babe Ruth. The owners counted on the public pressure on the players to cave in. The players did not. The owners locked them out, rather than bargaining in good faith, and they killed baseball. Everything since then has been a sham, a pale imitation of what was once the National Pastime.

@Promnight: Was a time I couldn’t stand to watch college football. It always seemed like a contest between teams with two-good-players-and-a-bunch-of-slugs. In the last few years, however, the supporting cast in most programs has become much better. I’m still not addicted to the games, but they are more entertaining. Oh, and Go Falcons and Go Vols.

Guess everyone has nodded off.
Good Night, then.

I’m around, I just care nothing about Sport in general and baseball in particular.

@SanFranLefty: that’s a little different. Despite my personal belief that getting riled up over weed is complete bullshit, the media hawk in me would like to see Phelps hauled in on possession charges, or at least pilloried a bit more. If Phelps were black and played basketball or football, he’d be portrayed as everything wrong with professional athletes. Could you imagine if, say, Terrell Owens smoked weed? The outcry would be deafening.

@Hose Manikin: nearly every baseball writer should have turned in his computer and resigned for the hagiography they performed in the Summer of the Chase and then played the shocked fools after McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Palmiero, and everyone else was suspected as closet juicers. Again, I don’t give a flying fuck about who’s doing what, but the butthurt espoused by sportswriters about steroids in baseball reminds me of the Washington press corps who fawned at the foot of Caligutard, yet are already sniping at Black Eagle, and it’s not even a month in.

It would have been nice if they all had checked the purse for their balls before typing.

@Promnight: You totally do not fit the demographic for ultimate fighting/cage fighting, but I don’t fit the demographic for video games, so we can be outliers together and let our freak flags fly.

One of my brothers (he’s 30 now), grew up loving fake wrestling and moved on to cage fighting back when it was still banned by the FCC (or whomever), and he had to buy the videotapes. I watched some of it with him, and I was horrified by the brutality. But NB: I also have a visceral aversion to boxing, which my dad loves (the boxing, not my aversion), or used to love. I don’t think he watches it anymore.

This visceral aversion to boxing did not prevent me from hanging out at Joe Frazier’s gym on Broad St in Philly when I was 19 years old. There’s a story behind that — I was kicked out of the gym by Joe himself one day. He used to toddle around wearing an unbuttoned vest (always a vest) gripping a wine cooler. We’re talking late 80s here. I was cool with him until one day he got some wild hair up his ass and kicked me out. Sad day.

ADD: I was listening to NPR in my car last week, and I hear an interview of a guy who just wrote a book about ultimate fighting. Sounded very interesting, and I thought about buying it for my bro. But I’ve forgotten the name of the book, the author and even the show he was on. So sorry. If I do some Googling and figure out the title, I’ll let you know.

oh my, i was in joe’s gym on broad street too!
and toddle around is the word! the man is a walking vegetable!
his son had to answer every question i asked as i was interviewing him.
he seemed to understand the questions, can’t be sure, but his responses were entirely unintelligible. i understood the true meaning of “punch drunk” how did he manage to form the words to kick you out? i picture him gesturing wildly toward you and making chewbacca noises.
it was the same era, and he was practically terry shiavo.

@Mistress Cynica:
i enjoy mocking the guys watching sport. can football be any gayer?
there’s more ass slapping than porn. and my fave:
“he’s penetrating the tight end!!!”

@baked: The thing about football you need to understand is that they don’t run any plays that my friends and I didn’t run when we were 8 years old, playing on vacant lots.

I don’t watch pro basketball any more. It’s a circus, with tall black guys in funny pants doing trick to amuse the rich white patrons. I feel differently about college basketball, even tho I know it’s a total joke that the players are really student-athletes. And hey, can you believe that Coach K’s team is getting whupped by the press (defense)?

@baked: he was practically terry shiavo. Haha! Indeed! His sentences sounded like, “Mumblemumblezibzibzizz.” Here’s what happened: I knew this guy from Altoona (God, they talk funny there!), and he was scouted by Joe and became part of Joe’s stable. So, this kid invited me to the gym to see them work out. I liked it there. There were a shitton of buthisfaces, but some of the boxers were actually very handsome (I guess they hadn’t had their noses broken yet). I was a groupie, I guess, and I was invited to BBQs and stuff, and it was a fun place to be in general.

Well, I had my eye on this one boxer, but for some reason Joe thought I had my eye on this other boxer who already had a shitton of illegitimate kids Joe was supporting. I think Joe was related to him somehow. So, seeing me as the hoochie I was, Joe kicked me out to protect his seed-spreading nephew/cousin/whatever from fathering any more babies out of wedlock. I did end up hooking up with the boxer I did like, and he gave me crabz. Fucker! But quite honestly, it could have been a lot worse, and I count myself fortunate.

Hee! The Toronto Canada City Blue Jays forever! If only.

Yeah, I know. Dream on. If there was a WS in 1994, it might have been the Montreal Expos Washington Nationals. RIP Youpie.

As to the story, A-Fraud, indeed.

The thing about A-knob is that from what I’ve “read” and from what I’ve seen him (The Jays play them 18 times a year) is one sees that Alex is an incredibly narcissistic, vain and self centered individual even for a ball player.

Everything has to be perfect for him or it just doesn’t work. He’d rather fail than look bad at doing something. Despite all his talent and “talent”, here is a guy who doesn’t understand the basic sports maxim as coined by (the now feeble minded) Al Davis, “Just Win Baby.”

It doesn’t matter how good you look.

Napolean said it best, Heart is to Three as Material is to One.

For all of A-Knob’s considerable baseball talent, he has no heart. That is why he chokes when the game is on the line. You need talent to get to the majors, but if you don’t have heart then you aren’t going to win.

@Benedick: @Mistress Cynica: You can always find the parrots at dusk in the little park across Clay St from Embarcadero 3. Some entrepreneurial street folk were feeding and attracting them for tourist pics until the supes outlawed it. It was best, they were getting too tame, landing on heads and shoulders for the handouts.

The film “Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill” had it’s premiere at the Embarcadero. We didn’t go to the premiere, but were there that first week. Walked around in the park and watched the parrots. Then across the street into the theater to see the movie about the parrots. SF is a great city.

@Ewalda: “Twats,” that brings back memories. You hang in there. Seriously. And, we should get together, I promise I won’t twat out at 1 AM, we will do it right.

@Hose Manikin, @Benedick: The Telegraph Hill parrots fly over by my place about once a month. They hang out in the eucalyptus trees by the dog park and raise a ruckus yelling at the dogs, and then a few brave ones venture to the juniper tree in my backyard and make a mess of the juniper berries. About 20 feet from my deck. They are so damn noisy and messy, and so damn cool. I love San Francisco.

@Ewalda: @Hose Manikin: You two should come have lunch with me, Benedick and Cynica on Friday the 13th. If you’re free let me know so I can make a ressie. Maybe LuxMentis and Mrs. Lux can make it too, I’ll see if they’re free from the book fair.

@SanFranLefty: You are too late. Cynica already invited me and I’m in (I think). I thought you were on your way to Australia. From the news reports, the whole continent will be a blackened cinder by the time you get there.

@Hose Manikin: Excellent! We can plan our en masse move to France over a bottle of wine and steak frites at Cafe Claude. I am going from lunch to my house to get my bags to go to SFO.

Going to New Zealand, the more verdant island in the South Pacific. I’ll have some good photos for the next Stinque jam. It’s horrifying what’s happening in Oz. I have friends in the Melbourne area who are nervously watching the progress of the fires.

@SanFranLefty: Well, I gots to tell my SF story, I only visited SF once, in 1985, I was thinking of moving there, an undergrad buddie invited me out, he wanted to recruit me for his firm, he worked for a total bucketshop precious metals futures broker, and he was making money. Only later would I learn what a bucket-shop is, and what he was doing, I am so glad I passed up that opportunity. But I spent a few days with him, he lived north of the bay, I am trying to remember the name, started with a B, I think, town named after the spanish governor’s wife, I think, anyway, he would take me in to the city when he went to work, he’d go to work, and I would go wander the city.
One day I walked up telegraph hill, and even at 23, that knocked me out. I wanted to head down to the bay, I wanted to get to like the embarcadero and the area north and west of there, so I didn’t want to walk all the way down that street, and I see the strangest thing, basically a staircase down a cliff, but there are housed clinging to the cliff, and the staircase has a name that says its a street, so, its pointing in the direction I want to go, so I start down. And I am walking down the stairs, and there are landings and stairways to houses perched on the hillside, and I am thinking I am in heaven.

I had never read about this place, I had not read guidebooks, i was just wandering at random.

I walked past every place I later saw on “tales of the city” by somerset Maugham, and also everything in the parrot documentary.

I was blown away, I was still ignorant of what a recognized treasure this staircase I had discovered was.

@JNOV: Yes, thats it, Benicia. My friend was “big Al.” A larger than life character. I got stories. He might be the most interesting person I have ever known.

@Promnight: Armistead Maupin, not Somerset Maugham. I adore those books.

@SanFranLefty: I spent an hour on the phone this afternoon with one of my best friends, who grew up on a farm outside of Melbourne. The area where his parents are got off pretty lightly, but the wine country of Victoria has been completely destroyed. Two of the towns that were centers of the wine industry are entirely gone. One of his cousins, who has a special needs child, was in the hard-hit areas, and hasn’t been heard from for several days. All the cellphone towers have melted, and communications are in chaos. Last death toll was 112, and it’s expected to go higher. Many people are dying from the heat (there’s a heat wave, with temps up to 119F, and 70-80 mph winds).

@Mistress Cynica: I’ve been glued to the Sydney Morning Herald and BBC websites – it’s traumatizing to read the stories, and to realize that places I’ve been to are completely gone.

Has Cheap Boy (who I think is in Sydney) checked in with his update?

@redmanlaw: @SanFranLefty: It’s just more horrifying than anything else I can think of. People are dying in their cars trying to escape, or finding the heat has warped the doors to their houses so they can’t get out. And the wildlife and livestock… I just can’t bear it.
The PM has called the arson mass murder. I think if they catch who did it, it will be amazing if the guy doesn’t get lynched.

@Mistress Cynica: Also, remember the long-term drought there is so bad that they were urging people to cut down on showers . I though that’s what climate change might have in store for my beloved Southwest. I’m going over to the Tool fan page to see if an Australian friend there has checked in.

@redmanlaw: And while Victoria burns, Queensland is hit with flooding. But no impending climate disasters, nosirreebob.

@Mistress Cynica: I can’t think about the little fuzzy koalas in the trees.

jeebus. i feel safer just dealing with suicide bombers.

Comments ate my comment!
@SanFranLefty: I’ve emailed you regarding the Alstinquen Roundtable meeting this week.
@Mistress Cynica: Lived in the East Bay hills until the Oakland Firestorm of 1991. Folks, you never want to be caught up in something like that. Still find it difficult to talk about.

TJ/ A-Roid admits to using the juice, but only when he was a Ranger. Sez he’s sorry, hopes all will forgive/forget. Contract conveniently has no language about ‘roid use voiding same.


I loathe the NY Post in general, but occasionally they do hit one out of the park.

nabisco: Phony as a $3 bill. Was: “Talk to the Union, not me.” Now: “Please don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” Wanker!

@chicago bureau:
One would think that if A-Hole was on ‘roids in 2004 then he would have thrown something more than pissy slap at Bronson Arroyo.

@ManchuCandidate: That’s delish. Heard Dan Patrick’s boys thumbing through the stats book from 03 to try and figure out who else is on that list. Jason Kendall, C-Pirates, may come out all right once all the asterisks have been assigned.

Re: wild parrots

There was a flock of wild parrots that flew in every afternoon to hang out in the trees behind the house we were renovating for a week in St. Bernard Parish, NOLA. I was obsessed with them. When they would arrive, I would stop work and go stare up into the trees for a while. Every day. I would eventually get back to work, but the other people in my work group thought I was a bit nuts. They were right, of course, but I couldn’t help being awestruck by them like a little kid.

A man had 50-yard line tickets for the Super Bowl. As he sits down, a man comes down and asks the man if anyone is sitting in the seat next to him.

“No”, he said, “the seat is empty”.

“This is incredible”, said the man. “Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl, the biggest sport event in the world, and not use it?”

Somberly, the man says, “Well… the seat actually belongs to me. I was supposed to come here with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first Super Bowl we have not been together since we got married in 1967.”

“Oh I’m sorry to hear that. That’s terrible. But couldn’t you find someone else – a friend or relative or even a neighbor to take the seat?”

The man shakes his head , “No. They’re all at the funeral.”

@baked: Sugar, did you get any sleep this morning? Take lots of pictures of hot Israeli men, regardless of your sleep schedule. That will keep you alert and awake.

yes i did darlin. i took your advice and melted the sleepers under my tongue. slept til noon! but it’s pouring today, and i’m huddled inside…but alert! great tip! went on a cleaning binge, good therapy.

ooooh wait til you see cappacino man. even rat noticed him giving me the eye, and you know i was giving it right back!
kid in a candy store. fuck rat, figuratively.

waiting for my KB delivery any minute, oh happy day.

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