On Monday, the United States of America turns 240 years old. In celebration of the freedoms and rights we assured ourselves by Brexiting before it was fashionable, many people across this nation will take advantage of their day off by, presumably and in no particular order, consuming equally astronomical amounts of beer and processed meat, wearing comically large, themed sunglasses indoors, firing off possibly illicit explosives, sporting the stars and stripes as poolside attire, getting into arguments over Wiffle ball and not once, not ever mentioning professional football’s relationship with CTE, all while blaring Rick Derringer’s “Real American”.
Among these and the many other truths the writers and signers of the Declaration of Independence held to be self-evident in July 1776 lies the freedom to watch a cherished pastime in a live, nationally-televised broadcast. Though its life as a television spectacle started as a midsummer novelty, meant to alleviate the tedium of baseball highlight after ever-loving baseball highlight, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest has quickly entered the lexicon of Great American Things™.
The Greek tragedian Sophocles is credited with having said, “There is a point at which even justice does injury.”  Sophocles was making a point about well-intentioned people making decisions on behalf of others, seemingly in the best interests of those people, but too often in ancient Greece those intentions went by the wayside due to the people making them – namely, warped, frustrated old men in positions of importance whose self-importance far outweighed the capacity with which they would be able to conduct their due diligence for the greater good.
In news abstractly related to that last part, about warped, frustrated old men and the power they recklessly wield, the New York Knicks traded for Derrick Rose on Wednesday, a move that suggests reaching for a broken jar in order to catch a lightning bolt from a storm long since passed.
On paper, this is what the 2016 New York Mets look like. They’re just numbers, sure, but in the era of sabermetrics, these are some damn good numbers. These numbers represent the skills and know-how that, we hope, will bring us glory this fall. These are the players who carry the promise of greatness, the clubhouse that could win it all. All of our hopes and dreams, summed up in two innocuous spreadsheets – fourteen players, nine positions, 140 statistics.
Do you feel the tables mocking you? Those perfectly ordered, neatly typed grids? Those consistently high batting averages and promising ERAs?
Do you have nightmares about Daniel Murphy in a Nats jersey? Is Chase Utley’s arrogant smirk burned into your retinas? Do you shudder when you think about having to watch Royals players receive their rings – while our team stands just yards away?
No? Okay, maybe it’s just me.
Ode to Earl, we hardly knew ye.
History is not kind to losers. History will not remember the 2013-’14 New York Rangers. The names of the Los Angeles Kings will be etched into the Stanley Cup ring, and eventually that ring, and those players’ names, will find their way into an eternal resting spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame. These Rangers will not have that luxury. There might arise a Wikipedia page detailing their abysmal start, the mid-season trade of a beloved captain and their improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals, but that’s the best anyone can hope for now. Poetic justice means nothing on the ice, and even if these Rangers deserved to win the Stanley Cup, or at least to suffer a slower death than the five games they got against the Kings, they found themselves in this reality, in this dimension, with nothing but a stream of black-and-white ticker tape and the memories of a wild season to welcome them to obsolescence.
Author’s note: This post includes a graphic video of a Caesarean section. It’s for context, so I’m not sorry. But, anyway, reader discretion advised.
Just when you thought it was okay to enjoy sports debate again, (Hahaha, there’s never a time when you can enjoy sports debate—I just wanted to see how silly that looked in print) David Murphy decided to be a good husband and father*. Let’s give this story the proper background: Murphy plays for the New York Mets. Murphy left the team Monday to be with his wife, who gave birth to their first child (a boy, because I know you wanted to know that). Now, the collective bargaining agreement between the MLBPA and the MLB owners allows players to take 1-3 days of paternity leave for situations just like this. (Let’s keep that factoid in mind). Now, Murphy re-joined the team Thursday (and went 1-3, getting on base twice and scoring a run). So, it’s time to put a bow on this story, right?
If you read TwH, you’re probably familiar with Boomer Esiason. He’s got a radio show on CBS that is (for some reason) aired nationally. When they got on the subject of Murphy, Boomer went on to spew many senseless things (which is sports talk on the radio in a nutshell, obviously). His
highlight signature line came when he mentioned that he would tell his wife to have a C-section so that it won’t interfere with, um, stuff. Yes, these were things that were said:
Courtesy of Verbicide Magazine
To call Lou Reed a pioneer is to do a disservice to him as well as elevate other so-called “pioneers” to an undeserved status. To call him influential, the same. So few people in the history of music actually, really changed the way people listened to and created music. As the principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, Reed did just that. He did it again as a solo artist, repeatedly re-inventing himself and ostracizing his own fan base, which made them love him all the more. He became an urban spokesman, the Bizarro Dylan whose sordid tales of debauchery, sexual ambiguity and repentance gave a window into the twisted, all-too-real world of Warhol’s New York City in the 1960s and 70s.
Many Saturdays ago (because I’m horrible at timely blog posts), Rory and I decided to take advantage of the great weather and venture forth into the greatest city in the world. Living in New York means that you’re never at a loss for something to do, so we hit up the Twitter Machine to see what adventure our day could be, and BOOM.
Intrigued, we set off to Tompkins Square Park for what would prove to be an afternoon of pure bliss. We walked into the park to find . . . people doing tricks on Pogo sticks. I don’t know what I expected, but somehow, the absurdity of the afternoon swept me up, and I was cheering my heart out for “Wacky Chad,” “the Man Child,” and some kid whose name I can’t remember but was never mentioned without also mentioning that he was “all the way from Saint Petersburg, Russia!” I’ve never been one for “X-TREME” sports (I prefer the slow, steady rhythm of a baseball game), but I was completely fascinated watching these young men who clearly trained for and were passionate about X-Pogo.
After the “Big Air” qualifiers, it was time to break some world records. Yes, we actually watched people break world records. Try it sometime. Even if it’s something as ridiculous as ten guys on pogo sticks doing a backflip at the same time, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of watching something that’s never been done before.
I didn’t feel qualified to write about this unless I tried pogo-ing myself, so I tried it. Note: It is very difficult, I was not very good, and I sustained some large bruises in strange places. But anyway, since the internet is an asker, and I’m a giver, here is a picture of me on a pogo stick:
“The first game you got in on this court right here and played like a bum, you was a bum.” – Richard ‘Pee-Wee’ Kirkland, from NBATV’s The Doctor
From its humble beginnings as a playground for New York City’s P.S. 156, Holcombe Rucker Park has become the singular epicenter of layman basketball, particularly streetball and its derivatives, as well as a proving ground for rising stars and established legends alike. Located at the corner of 155th St. and 3rd Ave. in East Harlem, Rucker Park grew from one man’s vision of getting kids off the streets when it was opened on February 23, 1956. When Holcombe Rucker established a basketball league for the neighborhood children when he worked as a playground director in the Parks & Recreation Department for the city, he could not have anticipated the symbolism which the park attached to it would eventually carry. Perhaps no single place on earth is more closely identified with a sport than Rucker Park is with basketball, and for good reason. The people there are more passionate about basketball than most political revolutionaries, and without the unnecessary violence. Mostly. Read More
Egon Schiele – Agony
“You can’t win ’em all,” so the adage goes. While the application of this saying has extended to the subjects of romance, academic pursuit, flying standby at the airport and khaki sales at Kohl’s, it is safe to assume that the most practical sense in which someone can say this to a fellow human being occurs when engaging in sport. You hear it all the time, and no matter how diluted those words can become, they still retain truth, and the truth behind them is difficult to accept when you have spent the majority of an athletic season buffered by a sense of invincibility. Read More