MLC sent along this link about Jonathon Papelbon ragging on Boston Red Sox fans. Well, to be fair, he didn't quite rag on them, he just said they were "a little bit more hysterical" than Philadelphia Phillies fans, who "tend to know the game a little better." That's provocative enough.
Two things: One, it's important to suck up to your new masters, and if nothing else, Phillies fans love to be told they're intelligent. Now, Philadelphia will never be mistaken for Oxford or Cambridge or Alexandria or anything but they'll always have sports intelligence.
Believe me, I'm not trying to minimize this form of intelligence: As a Diamondbacks fan, I freely admit that the fans in Phoenix could use some remedial baseball classes. Mom always talks about how the D-Backs fans not only like to do the wave but they also do it at the wrong time — I can't quite make out when there is a correct time: Is it meant to distract the hitter or the pitcher? Doesn't it distract both of them? The mind reels.
And two (I almost forgot that I said there would be "two things"), given all this, what does it mean to be intelligent about baseball in the first place? I mean, when people praise a town's collective baseball intelligence, aren't they just saying that it's nice that the fans rise to their feel on an 0-2 pitch? And how smart do you really have to be to count to two?
Now look, I've watched enough Joe Morgan to understand that there is much I don't understand — or at least wouldn't immediately put together — about baseball. (Funny, I didn't realize there was so much animosity pointed toward Joe Morgan; Tim McCarver I almost understand, but Joe Morgan? Guess I haven't been paying that much attention.) But people talk about "baseball intelligence" like it's a matter of not going apeshit over a lazy fly to short right, or maybe being able to explain the infield fly rule without having to Wikipedia it.
But like I said, I'm just being a goof — I definitely value and respect a municipality's baseball intelligence. Clearly, I'm just jealous.
But that's all neither here nor there. The buried lede in the ESPN piece is actually this:
Dropkick Murphys front man Ken Casey caused a bit of a stir earlier in the week when he said Papelbon, whom he calls a friend, couldn't come out of the Phillies' bullpen to "Shipping Up To Boston," the popular Dropkick tune Papelbon used for years with the Red Sox.
Papelbon on Thursday would not reveal his new entrance song, but did say it wasn't by the Dropkick Murphys.
Setting aside the foolishness of Papelbon continuing to use a song titled "Shipping Up To Boston," he can't do much worse than Ryan Madson's entrance music from last year: Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'". Because nothing says "game-tying base hit to center field" like this namby-pamby bit of 1980s nostalgia. (And I say this "believin'" that this YouTube video of that song being played during the 2010 NLCS Game 5 is the greatest one of all time.)
So if Papelbon is looking for some good-timey, vaguely intimidating entrance music that also contains some sort of local reference, there are some options.
If he wants to build on Madson's namby-pamby 1980s nostalgia — and I'm not suggesting he do this — he could use Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger", which isn't the worst guitar riff in the world, and also has a nice Rocky tie in.
Some other local favorites might include the Dead Milkmen's "Bitchin' Camaro" or perhaps even "Big Lizard In My Backyard". The Hooters' "And We Danced" (the open sort of evokes the bagpipe in "Shipping Out To Boston," though ultimately this might be too pussy, although the league needs a new Eric Byrnes). How about Cinderella's "Nobody's Fool" (I totally didn't know they were from Philadelphia)? And then there's P!nk's "So What", an idea so dumb it might actually work.
Another bank-shot idea: Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy wit It". Not exactly "intimidating," but doesn't Joe Morgan always say that it's important to stay loose or something?
And then there's Boyz II Men's "End Of The Road", which although on the face of it lacks an intimidation factor is actually a bigger "fuck you" to an opposing team's 3-4-5 hitters. In addition to the obvious lyrical content, there's kind of a quiet brilliance in a player coming in to shut down the visitor's side of the ninth to a song you'd hear at a middle school dance. It's got a sort of Quentin Tarantino vibe going.
Another outside-the-box idea: Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom". Another "fuck you" in the sense that you're so convinced you can shut down the opposing team that you are comfortable enough to enter to Elton John. If I were an opposing batter, I'd be pissed. Another reason I like this idea — the lyrics scream "high-priced free agent":
I used to be a rolling stone
You know if the cause was right
I'd leave to find the answer on the road
I used to be a heart beating for someone
But the times have changed
The less I say, the more my work gets done
You could always get a harder-rockin' band to do a cover of "Philadelphia Freedom" — we could get something done during Spring Training. Maybe even the Dropkick Murphys themselves? Just a thought . . .
Posted: March 9th, 2012 | Author: Scott | Filed under: FW: Link, Jukebox, The Thrill Of Victory And The Agony Of Defeat! | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks Fans Should Be Graded On A Curve, Baseball, Baseball Intelligence, Dropkick Murphys, Entrance Music, Eric Byrnes, Jonathon Papelbon, Philadelphia, Red Sox Fans Are Not Only Insufferable But Actually Hysterically So, Reeling Minds, The Greatest Philadelphia Music Of All Time
So here's someone I haven't thought about since probably 1991:
After being selected No. 1 overall by the Yankees in the 1991 MLB draft, Taylor was expected to take the Bronx by storm.
A shoulder injury suffered in a bar fight derailed the left-hander's pitching career and, despite a then-record $1.55 million signing bonus, he never made the majors.
On Thursday, Taylor was arrested on drug charges in Carteret County, N.C.
There's a thrill in knowing about "tomorrow's stars today" and before Royce Clayton, I think the first person I thought to pay attention to might have been Brien Taylor. This was back when I started to conceive of baseball as I would, say, a record collection. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't go down that route. I would have probably wasted a lot of time on stuff like fantasy baseball or something.
That's not to say that a little part of me feels like I want to know about the stars of tomorrow. It's a latent impulse in everyone, but probably mostly male collector scum types. I continue to indulge this impulse: I'm still waiting to see what happens with Dellin Betances — if we position him right, he could do for the Lower East Side what Jeremy Lin did for, I don't know, the continent of Asia, I guess. Speaking of Linsanity, even the president has a bit of collector scum in him:
[Bill Simmons]: So you're catching up, obviously, on the fact that you had been surpassed as the most famous person who was a Harvard graduate.
Obama: Jeremy is —
BS: Jeremy Lin.
Obama: — doing good. And I knew about Jeremy before you did, or everybody else did, because Arne Duncan, my Secretary of Education, was captain of the Harvard team. And so way back when, Arne and I were playing and he said, I'm telling you, we've got this terrific guard named Jeremy Lin at Harvard. And then one of my best friends, his son is a freshman at Harvard, and so when he went for a recruiting trip he saw Lin in action. So I've been on the Jeremy Lin bandwagon for a while.
BS: Are you taking credit for "Linsanity"? It kind of feels like you are a little bit.
Obama: I can't take credit for it, but I'm just saying I was there early.
It's an intoxicating feeling, knowing something most others don't. And it's even better in baseball, because so few players in the minor leagues make it to the majors, so knowing about tomorrow's stars today is an especially satisfying feeling.
Which is to say, I remember thinking something along the lines of, "Oh, I should remember Brien Taylor because he's probably going to be awesome." That was of course the last time I thought about Brien Taylor. I could never be Tim Kurkjian, much, much less Will Leitch.
Here's a selection of Taylor stories from the New York Times archives:
And then now he may go to jail for dealing cocaine.
Posted: March 4th, 2012 | Author: Scott | Filed under: M+/MR, The Thrill Of Victory And The Agony Of Defeat! | Tags: Baseball, Brien Taylor, Collector Scum, Dellin Betances As The Jeremy Lin Of The Lower East Side, Depressing Stories Of Baseball, Stuff That Makes George Will Smugly Peer Into The Mirror As He Tightens The Knot On That Goddamn Bowtie, What If The President Is Just A Yobbo?, When I Say That I Find Bill Simmons' Wry Style Annoying It's Probably Only Because I'm Being Jealous
When we moved into Kawama we were excited to see that one of our neighbors was a Phillies fan — at least that's what we assumed by the car and its Phillies license plate holder and window stickers.
I think Goober was the first to approach the owner of the car. We were all curious how someone so deep in Mets country could be a Phillies fan. He said something about vacationing in Clearwater, the Phillies' spring training home in Florida, and developing an affinity for the team. Over the summer we'd chat every now and again about the Phillies, say, about Michael Martinez's first big league home run or whatnot.
If the Phillies had gone to the World Series against, say, the Yankees, I hoped a writer would find one more Phillies household on the block and then we'd be profiled as the block in Queens with the most Phillies fans.
That, of course, didn't happen ("We dared for a single season to behave like Yankees fans, to cheer for our team with a swagger instead of hesitation, and in the end we took a kick to the stomach"), and within days of the Phillies' season unceremoniously ending in the first round, the guy across the street replaced his Phillies license plate holder and window stickers with a New England Patriots license plate holder and window stickers.
It's one thing to root for the Phillies because you vacation in Clearwater — even though the Mets are the home team, you have this special link with a different team — fine, I get that. But rooting for the Jets' arch-rival can only be construed as a blatant fuck you to New York City. In my mind this started when Bloomberg announced he was running for a third term, or perhaps when Con Ed couldn't figure out how to get the electricity back on for like a week back in 2006. That's what I'd like to think this is about.
But just the idea that there's one guy in Queens who not only roots for the Patriots but who is so flashy about it is of course really funny to me. Look, New York is a wonderful city. I feel very fortunate to live here. I enjoy living here. But one thing I am physically incapable of ever doing is rooting for its sports teams. I used to say that I only miss two things about my home town: My family and the sports teams. That's still the case, but there's something else at play here when it comes to supporting New York's teams.
One, they don't need me. There are more than enough fans in the 40-million-plus Metropolitan Statistical Area to support two NFL, MLB and NBA franchises, and three NHL franchises. For the most part, those teams dominate if not in wins than at least in financial resources. They could succeed without fans at all.
No, it's something else, which just could be that there's just something really unappealing about latching on to New York teams. I can't quite pin it down. If I moved to Cleveland I might start rooting for the Cavaliers. If I found myself in Vancouver I might bring myself to cheer for the Canucks. But the Yankees? The Giants? The Rangers? The Knicks? God, no.
Maybe one day I'll figure out what it is exactly but for now, I'll just chalk it up to an innate contrarianism.
Which is why tomorrow I sort of want to bring a dozen chicken wings across the street, just as a little wink, like "I feel you, bro." Because the only thing this could possibly be is a Class A Contrarianism, and if we find one more example we could be written up as the most contrarian street in Queens.
Posted: February 4th, 2012 | Author: Scott | Filed under: The Thrill Of Victory And The Agony Of Defeat! | Tags: 2011 The Year In Sports, Decorating Your Vehicle, Finding A Reason To Be Interested In The Super Bowl, Kawama