The George Lopez Show stuff from the last post inspired an offline conversation with someone who wondered whether people might think that Brian Wilson has gone overboard or jumped the shark or whatever.
To this I have to offer an emphatic no. Wilson may be completely over the top, but I don’t get the sense that he’s putting on some act simply to get noticed. I get the sense that he is truly a goofball, and is simply enjoying himself now that he’s learned that people don’t mind it when he lets his freak flag fly. It would be totally different if he was a phony who was out to get attention. I don’t see that at all.
Not that this will stop someone — be it a blogger, columnist, radio show host or whoever — from soon declaring the shark jumped. That’s just what we do. Indeed, when Brian Wilson loses effectiveness as a closer — as all closers inevitably do — I am 100% certain that someone will write the “perhaps Brian Wilson should have been working on his game more than his act” column. And when I read it I’ll die inside a little.
By its very nature — by virtue of the development process and the kinds of guys who are drawn to it — baseball lends itself to way more conformity than other sports. The stuff Bouton described in “Ball Four” wasn’t just a 1950s-era hangover. There’s a big premium placed on not sticking out. There are more coaches who are ex-players who — accurately or not — will say that when they played things were “done the right way” or whatever. As a result I get why ballplayers are more conservative than their NBA or NFL counterparts.
But there are hundreds of normal workaday ballplayers in the game. There’s usually only one Bill Lee, Mark Fydrich, Jose Lima or Brian Wilson going at any given time. When one of them comes along and adds some color, our lives are better for it.
I hope no one gets their nose out of joint over the George Lopez thing. Or the Showtime Series featuring the Giants that will air later this year. Even if it’s too much for some, it’s enjoyable as hell for a lot of us, so let’s just let it be, OK?
People have been drinking in Wrigleyville since before 8am this morning. There are throngs of people out on the streets and packing every bar in the vicinity and it’s still four hours until first pitch. I realize I’m an old man who rarely leaves his home, but that looks exhausting even by the standards of normal degenerates. Be safe, everyone!
As for the game, the Indians are doing it: Carlos Santana is playing left field, keeping his bat and he bat of Mike Napoli in the lineup. I mentioned this morning that Santana has played exactly one game in the outfield in his career, and that that came four years ago. Allow me to reiterate that. And to remind everyone that, in baseball, the ball tends to find you. I can picture a sinking liner to left right now and it’s not a pretty picture. If you’re an Indians fan, pray that I’m wrong, but don’t act like you can’t picture it too.
Of course, this being baseball, he’ll probably rob someone of a homer and hit two himself while Napoli goes for the cycle. Never try to predict this stuff, folks.
1. Carlos Santana (S) LF
2. Jason Kipnis (L) 2B
3. Francisco Lindor (S) SS
4. Mike Napoli (R) 1B
5. Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
6. Lonnie Chisenhall (L) RF
7. Roberto Perez (R) C
8. Tyler Naquin (L) CF
9. Josh Tomlin (R) P
1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
5. Willson Contreras (R) C
6. Jorge Soler (R) RF
7. Javier Baez (R) 2B
8. Addison Russell (R) SS
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) P
For reasons that are not entirely clear to me the governor of my state, John Kasich, was on The Dan Patrick Show today. He had some bad news, unfortunately. According to Kasich, “baseball is going to die.”
It’s based mostly on his belief that, because some clubs are rich and some clubs are not so rich, and because players make too much money, poor teams cannot compete and fans cannot find a basis for team loyalty. He cites his boyhood rooting for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the ability for fans to root for players on the same teams year-in, year-out and claims that, if you don’t root for a high-payroll team, “your team is out before the All-Star Break.” Which is demonstrably not true, but he was on a roll so Patrick let him finish.
The real issue, Kasich says, is the lack of revenue sharing in the NFL-NBA mold. He makes a reference to “my buddy Bob Castellini,” the owner of the Cincinnati Reds, and says stuff about how the Reds can’t compete with the Cubs on payroll. His buddy Bob Castellini, by the way, is worth half a billion dollars, purchased the Reds for $270 million, they’re now worth an estimated $905 million, and they just signed a lucrative new TV deal, so thoughts and prayers to his buddy Bob Castellini and the Reds.
Kasich is right that baseball does not have straight revenue sharing like the NFL and NBA do. But he’s also comically uninformed about the differences in financial structure and revenue sources for baseball teams on the one hand and other sports on the other. He talks about how NFL teams in small towns like Green Bay can do just great while the poor sisters in Cincinnati can’t do as well in baseball, but either doesn’t realize or doesn’t acknowledge that local revenue — especially local TV revenue — pales in importance in football compared to baseball. If the Packers had to make all of their money by broadcasting games to the greater Green Bay area their situation would be a lot different. Meanwhile, if the Yankees had to put all of the revenue they receive via broadcasts in the greater New York area and give it to the poorer teams, it would something less than fair, would it not?
Wait, that’s it! I realize now why my governor did not do as well in the Republican primaries as he expected to! HE’S A COMMUNIST!