Friday, June 03, 2005

The Captain & The Bee

How cool is the ampersand? Seriously, how cool is this & fuckin' thing? The ampersand on this page isn't as cool as the one on Word, but it's still cool nonetheless.

And you know what, if you look at it from the side with your head tilted to the left, and if you get really, really close to the screen, the ampersand kinda looks like Gonzo the Muppet. I'm not messing around about that, although I do genuinely hope some of you just got way too close to your monitor and then asked yourself what the hell you were doing like I just did. Anyway, this is pointless, let's just move on...

I haven't been pulling up at all lately. Beisbol's the only sport that matters to me right now, and I get all my news through the CBS Sportsline fantasy league site. But last night I surfed on over to the Worldwide Leader, and whoooa boy, lookey what we got here: If you enjoy watching Derek Jeter receive some Grade-A media slobknobbity as much as I do, then this is the article for you. And there ain't nobody better at it than Timmy K, 'cuz he always remembers to cup the balls.

Here's my favorite part: "Jeter wants none of the attention, but it comes because of the way he plays. Three of the most memorable plays of this decade belong to Jeter, and all because of his hustle. There was the famous backhanded flip to the plate in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS against the A's. There was the running catch, and subsequent bloody tumble into the stands, on July 1 last year against the Red Sox. And this year, on May 25, there was the diving catch he made – jumping over rookie second baseman Robinson Cano, a play filled with symbolism – in shallow center field."

Now some of you would have good reason to dismiss that final catch over was indeed nothing short of stellar, but I wouldn't call it the third most memorable play of the decade. The first two, however, are indisputable. The Flip and the Dive are undeniably the two best defensive plays of the decade (I'd argue the third was Brian Giles scaling the left field wall at PNC Park in 2003 to rob Brandon Phillips of a homerun, but feel free to populate your own lists).

And that's the thing about Derek Jeter. Say what you will about the Yankums and their gargantuan payroll, but the heart of this team never stops beating for a second. He's the Charlie Hustle of this generation, a guy whose motor knows only two speeds: all-out and cool-under-pressure. I'll admit I think Manny Ramirez might be the best hitter not named Bonds of this decade, but the most lingering images I have of the slugger are of him either charging Clemens for no reason, dropping cans of corn or doing the Abu Ghraib (as evidenced here and here).

That's really the point here. I love the fact that the great player I've spent years watching is associated with making two of the most memorable plays in recent history. I'll have those images burned into my memory and my illegitimate grandkids will surely hear about 'em. And I think it's our job as intelligent humans to recognize greatness and aspire to achieve it, not bash it or mock it or dismiss it because of personal biases and petty jealousies.

It's the exact same reason I watch every hour of the televised Spelling Bee. While it may be en vogue to poke fun at the kids in this competition, it's these very kids that are striving for greatness, mastering an underrated skill. Sure they're tremendous nerds that may not hump a member of the opposite sex for a long time, but these kids are what's right with the world.

So I want to send out a hearty "Congratulations!" to the kid who won this year's Bee, Anurag Kashyap, whose name I can't even spell (I had to cut and paste). We may not have had a fainter, or a screamer, or even many moustaches, but there was one highlight I wrote about in the comments section yesterday that deserved its own graf:

A girl in the early rounds broke up the crowd when after asking the typical questions -- country of origin, definition, etc. -- she queried the judges, "Can you spell that for me?" The audience loved it, which may have led another contestant to think the crowd was primed and ready for some comedy.

As this doofus stood at the mike a few contestants later, he asked a slew of questions, then followed with, "Do the chickens have large talons?" in a pretty damn good imitation of Napoleon Dynamite. Dead silence from the crowd. The pronouncer and most visible member of the judging staff, Dr. Jacques Bailly, responded, "Um, what was that?" And one of the announcers, confused, simply asked, "I don't know, was that secret code?" A priceless Spelling Bee moment.

Also, I like Dr. Bailly. He's more accomodative to the kids and a helluva lot nicer than the old pronouncer, Dr. Alex Cameron, who really didn't take no shit from nobody. I think the Bee is a bit brighter with Doc Bailly at the helm. That's my confession of the day.

For other startling confessions, I point you once again to the Post Secret blog, a site that hosts postcards of people's darkest secrets. It's incredibly captivating, whether they're true or not, and I really do think almost all of them are. Here's my favorite one. Here's my second favorite. And my third favorite, which really might be my first favorite. I'll sort it out later.

P.S. Did the Yanks really get swept in Kansas Fucking City? For real? Wait, who hit back-to-back homers off the $10-million-per annum Carl Pavano? Matt Stairs and Terrence Long? What is this, the fucking 2000 A's? We couldn't punch a few runs in off guys named Ryan Jensen, Mike Wood, Andy Sisco, Leo Nunez or Ambiorix Burgos? Goddamn we're awful. Just terrible.


At 3:17 PM, Blogger ethan said...

two thumbs up for the spelling bee. i caught the last 1/3. there was also a point where the 11 year old who took 2nd heard the word and instead of asking for a definition says "oh does that mean [something about the fingernails but i'm not sure what because i was too busy eating waffles]?" and the judge goes, "um...yes." i almost spit my eggo's across the room. i'd also like to point out that of the final 4 contestants, 3 were of full middle eastern descent, and the last was half cracker-half middle eastern. i'd say it's pretty damn certain that the white man's dominance in academia is all but gone.

and two thumbs down for the yanks. what did they score, five runs in that series? matsui has to be moved to the 7 hole. i know that messes up the hole lefty-righty alternating scheme that mr. torre loves but cmon. your cleanup hitter has to slug more than .400.

new lineup:
jeter ss
bernie lf
sheff rf
arod 3b
posada c
tino 1b
matsui cf
giambi/sierra dh
cano 2b

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Agreed on all counts. Including waffles.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger jp said...

I'll break this all down in 3 easy steps for you:

1. Anurag Kashyap = future millionaire;

2. Derek Jeter = Winner

3. Yankees = Suck

You're welcome.


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