Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MLB: Characters of the Game

Baseball season is just a few days away. The game doesn’t hold me as it once did, growing up and playing at every opportunity. It used to be that I'd go to a newspaper's Sports section first, but that was a long time ago - a lifetime, really. I tired of reading about salary caps, trade deadlines and even designated hitters. This said, one particular player has kept some spark of my old interest in the game alive : San Francisco's young pitcher Tim Lincecum.

A few years back while in a hotel room flipping channels, I saw this kid throw one pitch and was immediately taken. His delivery was unlike anything I'd ever seen .. a stride that defied physics. In the two years since he's logged up two Cy Young Awards and a pot bust, and I'm a big fan. In truth, it wouldn't have taken much more than that first pitch. This long-haired, flame-throwing Freak (not just my word, but the nickname bestowed upon him by teammates) is something to watch. I'll leave it at that.

Back to baseball. Lincecum certainly isn't the only character to grace the game over the years. Being a Cubs fan ( a trait I inherited as did 99% of the population - by virtue of being my father's son), I have a soft spot in my heart for the likes of Joe Pepitone, Jose Cardenal, and "Wild Thing" Mitch Williams. But my fondness is not limited to former Cubs, and I also think back on Bill "Spaceman" Lee, Mark "Bird" Fidrych and Bo Belinskly (who pitched a no hitter in his fourth start for the '62 Angels and was soon up to his knuckles in Hollywood starlets.) Yogi Berra, John Kruk, Jim Bouton, Earl Weaver - these names all make me smile. I still have a video of Weaver, the Baltimore Manager, losing his shit after a first base umpire ruled against him. Watching this tape brings guaranteed laughs from me and anyone else in the room. The hapless ump ejects Earl and then watches as he retreats to the dugout at least a half-dozen times before spinning on his heel to march back out and deliver a few more choice words. Any fan of the game will tell you that the mere mention of certain names can bring back a flood of thoughts, emotion and memories.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on the South Side is a character, as is the Cub's Lou on the North Side. (Though Lou's a bit more literate and therefore not quite as much fun.) For sheer spectacle though, Oz has the edge. A middle aged homophobic greaser pimp in a baseball uniform who will say anything is an indisputable entertainment value. Throw a twitterball into the mix and you got some good reading. That’s right .. Ozzie tweets. With this in mind let’s take a look into some of the all time best manager quotes over the years. Yogi Berra always merits first mention. "Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical" and "Nobody goes there anymore - it's too crowded" come to mind among many. But Ozzie is no slouch. And so, without further ado..

I call this game . . .
Ozzie quote or Not an Ozzie quote?

1. “Most ball games are lost, not won.”

2. “Good seasons start with good beginnings.”

3. “Going to get my chevy transverse dark blue grey interior nice wheels luck good for the summer”

4. “Win any way you can as long as you can get away with it.”

5. “Humanity is the keystone that holds nations and men together. When that collapses, the whole structure crumbles. This is as true of baseball teams as any other pursuit in life.”

6. “let's eat suchi now”

7. “The Yankees don't pay me to win every day, just two out of three.”

8. “Why I love this town so much very cool town very calm to bad is my last to game fort me hear for now lol”

9. “There is but one game and that game is baseball.”

10. “My fav you tube video is ced the entertainer on zab judah don't ever play with matchessss”

11. “People who live in the past generally are afraid to compete in the present. I've got my faults, but living in the past is not one of them. There's no future in it.”

12. “I want a corona polar presidente now please this trafic lord”


1. Casey Stengel
2. Sparky Anderson
4. Leo Durocher
5. Connie Mack
7. Casey Stengel
9. John McGraw
11. Sparky Anderson
12. OZZIE!


RM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

*LIKE* Miss you, Coleman.