Cinco de Janquis: Wang Maos 'Em Down
A perfect day nearly begot a perfect game. If I may paraphrase the philosopher Al Czervik: "Hey Wang...don't tell 'em you're nasty."
But our story doesn't begin with the Taiwanese sinkerballer's mound mastery on this warm Saturday afternoon in the Bronx. The day originally had designs on being a grande Cinco de Mayo celebration, and we were the 10 Jerks to do it, and do it right. So in honor of the great Battle of Puebla victory over the French in 1862, the motivated duo of Handstand the Elder and Witz organized a trip to Yankee Stadium for a beisbol-related fiesta.
As has been the norm on past Jerk Tours, homemade custom T-shirts became item Numero Uno on el agenda. Subconscious and/or overt racism notwithstanding, the 10 of us sent in our requests to Handstand and His Heat Press weeks before gameday so we could each don the jersey of our favorite, mostly terrible, Hispanic Yankees of all-time. Were any of them actually from Mejico? No, but in our defense, neither Erubiel Durazo nor Elmer Dessens ever played for the Yankees, and I'd say at least six or seven of us think all brown people are Mexicans (even the Indians (both kinds)).
Despite the fact that none of us drove a car, we met on the roof of the parking garage with a platter full of Jersey-style Sloppy Joes and two packed coolers full of cerveza -- Tecate, Sol y Dos Equis -- for three solid hours of tailgating. Shortly after our arrival the official ceremony began, a beautiful affair narrated by our own Yankees radio announcer, Juan Sterling.
We sat in our makeshift dugout on the ledge of the garage, and Sterlinguez called us up one by one to accept our jerseys and pose for an official photo. "Los fanaticos del Yankees, saludan Alvaro Espinoza, Oscar Azocar, Cecilio Guante, Jose Vizcaino, Ruben Sierra, Luis Sojo, Jose Cardenal, y los hermanos Melido y Pasqual Perez." Gotta love that Señor Cardenal was strictly a first-base coach on the Yankees and yet he still gets the jersey respect. Wave 'em on, Jose.
We all took a ceremonial double-shot of Jose Cuervo before heading in, 'cuz as I've often said, I like my tequila to be warm, and to be Cuervo. We entered just before the first pitch of this 3:55 matchup of Chien-Ming Wang and former terrible Yankee Jeff Weaver. We could tell things were gonna be interesting on this day when catastrophe struck almost immediately. Our seats were second row from the top behind home plate, and I knew for sure one member of our crew would be drunk enough to fall over and cause serious damage.
Turns out, Handstand almost imitated his moniker when he lost his footing stepping down a row and fell straight down. Thankfully something broke his fall; unfortunately it was a large woman that didn't suspect the hit. For them it was scary, but for us, oh good lord. Picture for a second sitting there as your drunk stocky friend in a gheri curl wig and a Pascual Perez shirt loses his feet and throws a vicious blindside hit on a heavy-set woman in a Giambi jersey. And this sack was mean, like LT on Jaworski as Donnie Fiedler put it.
At first we winced and grew concerned, but when they both seemed okay, and when Handstand couldn't get his foot unstuck and laid on this woman's back for a solid 25 to 35 seconds, we started to giggle. And if you can even half-imagine this scene in your head, you can also imagine how intense our laughter eventually became. I couldn't breathe at one point. My ribs began to hurt. Even when we stopped we'd continue again in quick spurts, prompted by nothing. That was the physical comedy we needed to welcome us to el dia perfecto. Handstand eventually bought her a beer, and they posed for a couple of pictures. Good sport, that Giambi.
Like our drinking, Wang was dealing all day. I've never been to a game in which anyone came close to going the distance like this, and the buzz was palpable. Throwing fastballs almost exclusively, not only was Wang tossing a no-hitter, he hadn't walked or hit a batter, and nobody had reached. The no-no was one thing, but we all knew this was more special than that. Inning after inning went by and we cared less and less about the offense. Apparently I cared less and less about baseball altogether, seeing as I took 30 seconds to take a picture of this woman's jacket with my friend's camera and then used it in the next shot of her jacket I took with mine. I like it. I think I can win something cool with this shot. Don't fight me on that; I'll cut you.
The Yanks broke it open in the sixth and the only thing left to do was sort out the whole Perfect Game nonsense. It was around this time that three members of Team Jerk left to hit up the Pinstripe Club for the Kentucky Derby. One's an Alabaman and our only non-Yankee fan, but the other's bona fide, pinstripes through and through. This is a perfect fucking game in the 7th inning and you're gonna change shit up right now? You're gonna walk out on this?
I heard afterwards that Fox did everything they could to jinx Wanger. But if C-M-Dubs wants to blame anyone for the Ben Broussard homerun, it's those kids, our so-called friends. You just cannot walk out on what could have been just the 18th perfect game in MLB history for a two-minute horse race that most definitely would be played in its entirety some time later. That's inappropriate, that's inexcusable, that I don't forgive (J. Dignan, 1996).
Although now that I look back, maybe I shouldn't have said "This fucking guy is batting .188 this year" before the pitch.
The disappointment sank in pretty quickly, but we couldn't frown for long. What a day for us, just a perfect outing for a group of assholes on a sunny sports-dominated day in May. Mayweather and De La Hoya would get us through the night, but the day belonged to the best Asian pitcher in the American League East (that's right, I went there). Wang may not have been perfect on this day, but aside from the blindside tackle and the beer Witz poured on the FBI Special Investigator, we surely enjoyed one of the more perfect days on record.
Slack Post-Script of the Day: The Yankees also added Roger Clemens to the mix the following day, making this weekend more than just a momentum builder for the ballclub. I love the people filing out of the woodwork to claim this does nothing for the Yankees and how much money they're wasting. His ERA will go up for sure, but you're crazy if you don't think this was a total no-brainer, a real Schiavo. Clemens, Andrew Buttchin, Wanger, Moose and Hughes when he's healthy? Get the fuck right out of here with any talk that this is a bad move.
Slack Two Cents of the Day: Yeah, so maybe Mayweather "won" the fight. I'd agree with that. But there's something wrong with a sport where the overwhelming non-aggressor can win like that. Oscar took the fight to him, and Mayweather one-punched and ran like a seventh grader in a bitch-fight. This is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world? I gotta say, I was a much bigger fan of Floyd's before this boring un-spectacle. Boxing needs an enema.
Slack Video of the Day: We all love the "Montgomery Flea Market: Just Like a Mini-Mall" dude, a true Internet celebrity if ever there were one. Apparently this guy randomly made it onto a Jay Leno segment, and while it's not particularly funny, nor does it directly reference his sicky sicky dance moves, but it's the Montgomery Mini-Mall Man, and we should all support him. Peep this.
Slack Song of the Day: This morning I'm lookin' at Big Red and Big Nerd, the wonderful Trey and Phil combo -- here's a sweet They Love Each Other from 2/12/06 at the Beacon.