When you wear ridiculously flamboyant clothing into a baseball clubhouse where the players are celebrating an ALDS victory by spraying each other with champagne, ginger ale, and beer … well, you run the risk of catching some liquid shrapnel.
And as Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com writes, that’s exactly what happened to TBS sideline reporter Craig Sager after the Rangers’ win over the Rays last night:
[Tommy Hunter] grabs several cans of Bud Light from the neatly stacked coolers on wheels stationed around the clubhouse for easy access. Then Hunter made his move. He stalked Sager, and once he got within firing range, he shook and fired. Like a fire hose of barley and hops, Hunter doused Sager, spraying him from his neatly brushed hair down to his some-sort-of-animal-skin loafers.
Sager, at a total loss, took the soaking without saying much of anything, seemingly stunned with a look on his face that said, “Hey, what’d I do?” Then came the kicker. Hunter, his beer barrage finally over and Sager literally drenched, gave a whoop as he turned away from Sager and then shouted: “I don’t even know who you are!”
On one hand that wasn’t very nice of Tommy Hunter. On the other hand, anyone going into the clubhouse mid-celebration has to expect to be doused in something and presumably a big part of the reason Sager dresses like he does is to be noticed when he walks into a room. He got his wish.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrate. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.