Category Archives: Sports

WHY RUDY GIULIANI REMINDS ME OF LEO DUROCHER

 Mon, 21 May 2007 15:57:07

Damn Yankee FanDurocher
L: Mayor Combover   Yankee Fan. R: Leo the Lip Giants manager.

Don’t be fooled by the smiling faces above. Neither Rudy Giuliani nor Leo Durocher was/is or could ever be described as a nice guy. Leo the Lip’s most famous snarky sound bite was aimed at NOLA’s own Mel Ott: “Nice guys finish last.” He believed it too y’all.

I guess I should backtrack and tell the non-baseball fans in the crowd and those too young to recall Leo Durocher who the hell he was. As a player Leo was the prototypical scrappy lippy good field-no hit shortstop who was best known for playing with the world champion St Louis Cardinal team nicknamed the Gashouse Gang. They were a bunch of roughnecks and Leo had the roughest neck of all. Durocher later managed the Brooklyn Dodgers New York Giants Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. He was still kicking dirt at umpires insulting his players and leering at strippers when I was a tadpole. There’s nobody in modern baseball to compare him to: nobody would stand for Leo’s antics. Crazed Yankee skipper Billy Martin was the last manager to be Durocheresque but Leo was like Billy Martin with roid rage. (Local connection: Billy Martin was a close friend of former NOLA Council President Eddie Bad Hair Sapir.)

Back to the Giuliani-Durocher analogy. Here’s the bottom line: Leo was an asshole and so is Rudy. Calling them jerks would be an insult to jerks which is why Rudy Giuliani will never be President. It has nothing to do with his trying to be Dick Cheney on defense and Barney Frank on social issues. Rudy Giuliani will never be President because he is an asshole and proud of it which is why he gets on so well with fellow creep Louisiana Senator David Vitter.

In my lifetime we’ve only elected one raging gaping asshole to the White House and that was Richard Nixon in a year that any Repub could have beaten any Democrat. It’s true that LBJ was an asshole 60% of the time but he knew how to hide it. Then there’s the Current Occupant who bamboozled many voters into thinking that he was a goofball instead of a creepy and cretinous frat boy. In short we may elect a covert creep but never an overt creep absent historical imperatives and 2008 will likely be a Democratic year. Thanks President Beavis.

Back to the Lip/Mayor Combover analogy. There’s a wonderful quote from the great baseball writer Bill James about Leo Durocher that fits Rudy Giuliani by analogy as well:

“Durocher didn’t give a shit what you thought of him. He didn’t make any pretense to being a nice person. <snip> He was a rogue. He dressed in flashy clothes drove flashy cars drove too fast took a punch at anybody who crossed him made a pass at every woman he took a liking to and bragged when he scored.”

Leo or Rudy? You decide. 

Finally, in the early days of television Leo Durocher was a coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Leo always liked the show biz life so he did several cameos on some camp classic Sixties sitcoms. It’s hard to imagine Mayor Combover with Mr. Ed or Herman Munster BUT he is fond of wearing a frock so ya never know. Heeere’s Leo:

Herman Munster and Baseball MonsterLeo	 Mr. Ed and Wilburrr

OF BARRY BONDAGE

Mon, 29 May 2006 05:00:00

I’m a lapsed baseball fan. The 1994 strike/lock out diminished my lifelong passion for baseball. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area as a fanatical Giants fan. I’m just old enough to have experienced the end of the MaysMarichal-McCoveyPerry era. As a mere lad I saw Bobby Bonds hit a grand slam home run in his big league debut; he’s still the only player to have ever done that. As a result I’ve always had a soft spot for Bobby’s son Barry.

Yesterday Barry Bonds hit his 715th homer and passed Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list. To say that Barry’s pursuit of the Babe has been controversial is an understatement. Barry has never exactly been a warm and fuzzy press friendly superstar. Plus he’s been under a cloud of suspicion because of his alleged steroid use. There are many people who think that steroids are the *only* reason Bonds has attained such dizzying heights. I’m not one of them.

Let’s get the loaded question out of the way. Do I think he took steroids? Yes he probably did and he lied about it too. I don’t think taking steroids without close medical supervision is a good idea. The side effects are nasty indeed: I believe that if steroids were called “ball shrinking juice” very few young jocks would take them. I think that steroids have probably played a role in Barry’s numbers BUT they’re not the *only* reason he has excelled. First, 6 years ago Barry went from a pitcher’s ballpark (cold windy Candlestick Park) to a park that was tailored to his swing. Second, the new aerodynamic whippet thin bats help *all* hitters; especially the great ones like Barry Bonds. Finally, the man he’s now chasing Henry Aaron had his best home run years at the end of his career after leaving cold Milwaukee and moving to a hitter friendly stadium in Atlanta. Sound familiar?

In short, I think that lazy sportswriters and even lazier fans have fixated on steroids as the sole explanation for Barry’s success because it’s easier than looking at the complexity of the situation. It’s just like everything in life: people crave simplicity and loathe complexity; that’s the kind of thinking that elected and re-elected the Beavis-Duce ticket. Al Gore and John Kerry are complicated men and George W Bush is a simpleton. Electing the idiot was easier than thinking…

Finally I believe that there’s a lot of humbug and hypocrisy surrounding the issue of steroid use in sports. Imagine hearing that you could take a pill that would make you the *best* at what you do. Who wouldn’t try such a pill at least once? You might not keep doing it if the side effects were spooky BUT if say a surgeon could pop a pill that made them the best in the world they’d do it in a heartbeat. That’s what Barry Bonds and the others have done. It’s called human nature.

Blogging Impressionism: Ice People Olympics Opening Thingee

Sat, 11 Feb 2006 07:29:33

Some of you may think that I have better things to do on a Friday night than to mock the  Ice People Olympics opening thingee. Nope a blogger’s work is never done. Besides I love camp both high and low and the opening thingee is campy indeed. Mind you the Torino opener could not top the magisterial gooniness of Athens 2004 but it tried. Nobody can out cheese the Greeks although one would think that mozzarella could top feta under the right circumstances. On a salad for example…

Anyway I’m feeling lazy so I’m going to jot down a few random thoughts. (Even more random than planned I lost the most of the notes I took on my laptop during the show. Alas I’m painting from memory.) I’m not sure if it’s really impressionism or pointillism or maybe even cubism. But I’m certain that it’s not Maoism. I just know that it’s some sort of ism. Ism you is or ism you ain’t my baby. <rimshot> End of Shecky Green interlude or is that Henny Youngman? Take my blog please.

The start of the opening thingee was even goofier than C Ray’s chocolate city gaffe. There was a large man in a red Daredevil outfit beating the bejesus out of a fire breathing anvil with a big ass hammer. Hmm maybe it was Thor and not Daredevil. Thor was the mythological dude with the mythological hammer after all. End of Marvel comics digression or is that regression? Actually Doc Ock would have been mighty useful with that anvil beating thing: 8 arms are better than two.  I’m more of a Dr. Doom sort of villain myself: I’ve never been handy. Down Shecky; begone Henny. That’s what 3 or 4 glasses of wine and thoughts of Bode Miller’s hangover can do to a fella. I’ll try and behave…

The theme of the 2006 winter games is passion. I don’t know why but Bob Costas told me that and I believe everything Bob says; he’s my countryman after all. (The word countryman must be pronounced with a pronounced Greek accent.) Unfortunately Bob was joined in the broadcast booth by Brian Williams whose job was to be pompous and annoying. Well done Bri. He drove me batshit. Brian baby please stick to calling your junkie pal Rush Limbaugh and leave me alone. If I want to hear a lecture about Bosnia I’ll deliver it myself or invite Paddy Ashdown over for drinks.

Back to passion. A bunch of dancers in red tights joined together to form a beating heart. Then for no apparent reason two guys with flaming heads skated through them and broke everyone’s heart. Holy St. Valentines Day Massacre Batman. Those flameheads were real heartbreakers.

The producers of the opening thingee also felt compelled to restage the legendary Ricola commercial; the one with the alpine pipers in lederhosen. It *is* the Ice People Olympics so having cough drops around could come in mighty handy. I didn’t expect to see a group of Italian men in lederhosen though. It shook me to my very core. Thank god they weren’t Neapolitan. That would have been unbearable; sort of like seeing Laura Bush and Cherie Blair sitting together. I believe that they were discussing the merits of the cartoon controversy: Laura is a Beavis and Butt-Head fan of course but Cherie prefers watching “Futurama” repeats. I think Cherie identifies with the one-eyed super vixen Leela

Then came Dr A’s favorite part of the opening thingee: the bovine interlude. For no apparent reason skaters wearing cow bespotted outfits appeared pulling cows on snowboards. It was surreal dude. For some reason I started to crave Laughing Cow cheese and Brown Cow yogurt. Where the hell is Elsie when you need her? She probably ran off to Switzerland with Elmer…

The parade of nations at the Ice People Olympics just isn’t as kooky as it is at the summer games. I suspect that it’s harder to come up with ridiculous costumes that are warm as well. The women bearing the national placards were however decked out in skirts shaped like the Alps. That was a bit skewed as Johnny Carson would have surely said at this point. I miss Johnny at moments like these: he could tell an alpine joke with the best of them.

The music that was played during the parade of nations was as Bob the Greek put it random American pop music from the 1980’s. I particularly enjoyed watching the Mongolian and Nepalese teams enter to “Video Killed The Radio Star.” I don’t know about you but I always think of the Buggles and Genghis Khan together. Another good one was the entry of Serbia and Slovakia to “YMCA.” What’s an Ice People Olympics opening thingee without the Village People?  It would be like the parade of nations happening without a single country that ended in stan. What’s your favorite stan folks? Mine is baseball hall of famer Stan Musial.

Other tunes that turned up were: “Long Train Running ”  “Sweet Dreams ”  “Disco Inferno” and Homer Simpson’s favorite song “Funky Town.” Bob Costas was hoping to hear “Betty Davis Eyes” and I was waiting for “Invisible Touch.” We were both disappointed. (Yeah I know Genesis are Brits but I’m trying to be artsy fartsy and foreshadow something.)

Another musical moment: The dread Yoko Ono popped out onstage to read what was billed as a “psalm to peace.” Her English remains incomprehensible but at least she didn’t sing “Imagine” (my least favorite famous John Lennon song) she merely quoted it. Peter Gabriel was the one who sang “Imagine.” I did not know that he was Italian. I guess his presence explains why “Sledgehammer” wasn’t one of the random pop songs played earlier. It really would have fit the part where the guy in red tights beat the crap out of that fire breathing anvil.

Yet another musical moment: Luciano Pavarotti an actual Italian did sing but did not serenade us with any ‘80’s hits. Too bad. I’ve always wanted to hear his version of “You Better You Bet” or “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”

Finally there was a long boring and incoherent section that paid tribute to Renaissance art Fiat cars and the early 20th century Italian Futurist movement. It made absolutely no sense but neither does my favorite quote from the founder of Futurism. F.T. Marinetti liked to claim that he came up with Futurism after driving his car (a Fiat presumably) off the road into a ditch: “Oh maternal ditch ”  he moaned.

I told ya it made no sense at all. And neither did most of the Ice People Olympics opening thingee. Hey it beat watching “Good Times” re-runs on TV Land. I’ll take Yoko over Jimmie “JJ” Walker any day. I cannot believe that I said that. I’d actually like to place the two of them on Exile Island and see who survives. That would truly be dyno-mite y’all.”

BITE ME, BYRON

Fri, 27 Jan 2006 00:46:12

Here’s one  from the kicking us when we’re down department. Hornets Coach Byron Scott did his best Tom Benson impression last night and said that he wants the NBA team to stay in Oklahoma City because attendance is so good.

I’m disappointed in Byron. I was pleased when he was hired to coach the Hornets in 2004. Why? I was a big fan of the great 1980’s LA Lakers teams that featured Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Michael Cooper, and Byron Scott as the Beaver. I made that last part up but the Beaver was a knucklehead and Byron is being one right now. And who the hell wants to be compared to the Beaver? Actually now that I think of it Pat Riley reminds me of Eddie Haskell…

Back to my slow waltz down memory lane. The Lakers championship run/rivalry with the Boston Celtics coincided with my early days in Louisiana as a student at LSU. I felt like the only white person in Baton Rouge who rooted for the Lakers against the Celtics whose star the great Larry Bird was a white hick from French Lick Indiana. I was also one of the few to have a Mondale-Ferraro bumper sticker on my car which got my tires slashed. Baton Rouge has always been a very red city and living there gave me the blues.

Anyhoo back to the Hornets. Yes their attendance is up in OK City BUT they were horrendous last year with an 18-64 record. This season they’ve already won 20 games and have the probable rookie of the year in Chris Paul. Last year’s team was not only awful but we had to put up with the incessant whining of Baron (Bombs Away) Davis; one of the worst outside and foul shooting guards I’ve ever seen. Baron wasn’t happy unless he brought the rest of the world down and only played when he felt like it.  I pity the long-suffering fans in the Bay Area: Baron is being semi-good right now but you know what they say about leopards and their spots. And Baron is a big whiny leopard *not* a Warrior.

So Byron listen to your owner. George Shinn knows what it’s like to be run out of town (Charlotte) on a rail. (He’s also got a son with a mohawk big ass tattoos and multiple piercings so he knows from pain.) If the Hornets leave New Orleans he’d rather it be *after* giving us another shot. Besides Byron the decision is NOT yours and if you shut up you might not get booed the next time you show your face  in Crazytown in March. It’s not that far away so why give the term March madness an entirely different meaning.

Oh and Byron one last thing: Bite me.

 Ice, Ice, Baby In The Bank, Bank, Baby

Tue, 10 Jan 2006 03:53:52

I had a busy day running errands, hatching political conspiracies and meeting the Dentist and the Super-Tech’s newborn baby. But the bloggin’ itch came over me much to your despair.

Item-1 Ice, Ice, Baby In The Bank, Bank, Baby: Lines at Debrisville banks are long and slow so I have time to do some people mocking…I mean watching. There was a high school senior/college freshman age guy behind me in line today, he was very white, white, baby. But like so many other suburban youths (pronounced yoot a la Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny) he was wearing the Gap version of gangsta rap clothes: baggy pants and sideways cap. The thing that tickled me was that he was wearing a Boston Red Sox cap.  That made him mos def more Vanilla Ice than Eminem. Hey, Vanilla Ice, the Red Sox were the last team in the big leagues to have an African-American player, the wonderfully named  Pumpsie Green in 1959. I swear I am not making that name up.

At one point Vanilla Ice’s cell phone rang and here’s how he answered: “Yo what up.” All the black people over 30 in line fell out laughing as did your humble blogger. The laughing stock didn’t even notice he was too busy being faux cool. It reminded me of the parody on “In Living Color” with Jim Carrey gyrating to the sound of backup singers going: “He’s white white baby.” That’s right right baby.

Item-2 Hilton University: Historically black Dillard University has re-opened here in Topsy Turvy Town. The Dillard campus was devastated by the storm so the University has taken possession of 30% of the Hilton Riverside Hotel downtown.  Many classes will be held there and 800 students are living at the Hilton. How the hell are they ever gonna get those kids out of their hotel rooms and back to the dorm?  They may have to promise them free beer and iTunes downloads.

Item-3 FEMA Trailer Site Update: Governor Meemaw met with Council Clown Batty on Sunday. They played rock paper scissors: he lost and was obliged to allow trailers to be placed in City Park to house displaced cops and firefighters. Governor Meemaw has yet to meet with the most recalcitrant clown Nimby Clarkson but she’s routed all the others.

As someone who believes in local self-government I  wish that the college of clowns had had the decency and foresight to do the right thing voluntarily without Gubernatorial arm twisting. Give a Louisiana Governor an inch and they’ll take a mile: Huey Long effectively abolished local rule in New Orleans in the 1930’s. If C Ray and the Clowns don’t get their act together federal relief funds might flow exclusively through Baton Rouge which means that our relief money could end up building tennis courts in Shreveport or Bunkie. Wake up and smell the Community Coffee y’all.