Wednesday, March 29, 2006

AL Predictions

After watching Boogie Nights Sunday morning, I decided to have a fat Southern girl afternoon before the NCAA games started.

Eating ice cream, drinking sweet tea and watching Gone With The Wind.

Believe it or not, as big a fan as I am of the Silver Screen, I've never seen the movie considered one of the greatest in the history of film. And if you've ever met or seen me, the reasons should be obvious. So going in, I had no idea what to expect from the celluloid adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's masterpiece.

But I got to the intermission (the movie's almost four hours)pleasantly surprised. I'm enjoying the movie immensely. However, the reason's for my glee are a little different than a debutantte from Savannah's.

First off, Rhett Butler is a straight pimp. Clark Gable was the man.

While obviously he couldn't say "Bitch, say another word and I'll put my foot in your ass" or "Scarlett, you need some good d**k in your life." But he did express those sentiments in a Southern gentleman sort of way on several occasions. And when he had had enough of her drama, he said "I'm out...I'm done...Peace." Despite the fact that she finally realized that she was living a fantasy and pushed away the man who loved her. Good stuff.

But my favorite part of the movie was the suffering of all of those arrogant Southern slave owners. How they were stripped of everything. How the women had to read the death lists to see if their husbands, sons and brothers were killed. How they had watch the carpetbaggers jack all their land. And how they said those two sweet words to describe those who were responsible for their defeat and humiliation.

"Damn Yankees!"

Personally, I think the war would have ended a lot quicker if Palpatine was President rather than Lincoln.

Here's what President Palpatine would have told them at the beginning of the war.

Here's what he would have told them after Gettysburg.

And here's what he would have said to Jefferson Davis as he surrendered.

Not exactly the Gettysburg Address, but he gets the point across.

The war would have ended in a year had the Sith been running things, trust me. And Scarlett would have been in Darth Marc's harem. Back talk would have been met with a lightning bolt in the ass or me putting her in a force chokehold, the first time she called me a Darkie.

Oh well, I can only dream.

Let's talk some baseball. Here are my predictions for the 2006 season....

AL East
1)Yankees 101-61
2)Red Sox 92-70
3)Blue Jays 86-76
4)Orioles 75-87
5)Devil Rays 72-90

I think the Yankees will flirt with 1,000 runs scored barring any major injuries, but they will live and die by their pitching. Big Unit and Chacon (that's right, Chacon) will be the anchors of the staff, but Moose will need to rebound from a mediocre 2005 and Wang will have to have a solid sophomore year for the team to thrive. What we get from Pavano and Wright is anyone's guess. I think Carl will have a decent year, while Wright will be the long relief and mop-up guy. He'll be traded before the year's out. Our bullpen will be a strength this year and I expect big things from Farnsworth. The Red Sox will be dangerous and threaten for the division for most of the season. But I think placing all their faith in two 40 year olds and a flamethrower who has never pitched 200 innings will be their downfall. They are a much better club defensively, but they've lost some of their explosiveness. The Jays are much improved with additions such as Burnett, Ryan and Glaus. But they are awful defensively outside of Wells. Having Doc Halladay back will help but they are still a year away and a player or two from contending for the division. They'll make it interesting until late July, early August. After that, who knows? The Orioles are a mess. They can hit but their pitching situation is beyond awful. If Leo Mazzone is able to fix that mess, it'll be his best fix-it job ever. The Rays can hit and run. But outside of Kazmir, they have nary a pitcher worth mentioning. And they stink defensively. Expect a lot of 10-7 games in the Tropicana Dome.

AL Central
1)White Sox 100-62
2)Indians 90-72
3)Twins 88-74
4)Tigers 81-81
5)Royals 65-97

The White Sox are loaded and ready for another run to defend their title. They lost their best defensive player in Rowand but they might have gained a bopper worth fearing in Jim Thome. If he's healthy, he'll make everyone in that lineup better. This is a team with Javy Vasquez as their fifth starter and a very deep bullpen. It's their title to lose. The Tribe will make noise but I think they still need some more pitching to get over the hump. Whether they can trade for an arm either in the bullpen or in the rotation will be the deciding factor on whether they can grab the wildcard from Boston. If the Tribe had the Twins starters, they'd win the wildcard and quite possible the division. As it stands now, the Twinkies have the same problem they've had the last several years; not enough pop in their lineup to go along with their outstanding pitching and defense. They'll fall short once again. Jim Leyland will start the Tigers on the road back to respectability. That along with Jeremy Bonderman's arm and the Tigers offense. The Royals? What can I say about them that wouldn't constitute piling on? Zack Greinke will show flashes of brilliance. That good enough?

AL West
1)Angels 96-66
2)A's 90-72
3)Rangers 83-79
4)Mariners 81-81

If I wasn't a member of the Empire, I'd seriously consider becoming a Halos fan. I love the way they play ball. They pitch, get timely hits, run and play solid defense. I love their manager (although sometimes he has Bobby V disease at times and outthinks himself) and their owner is great for the game (although the LA Angels of Anaheim is a little annoying, you have to admire the fact that he's announced to Dodger nation that the battle for SoCal supremacy is on). If they had one more big bopper to protect Vlad Guererro, I'd make them the favorites to win the whole thing. The A's pitching will keep them competitive, but the inability to get offense(Frank Thomas? Are you kidding me? He'll break down before the All-Star break) will cost them the division and the wildcard. Zito is gone if they're more than 6 games out of the playoff hunt by the trade deadline. The Rangers will be a little better with the pitching additions, but I don't think they'll ever win in that park. The gulf streams during the summer make it hard to pitch there for 81 games. And don't think that free agent hurlers don't know this. The Mariners will be a little better. But not enough to contend.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thoughts To End The Week....

Despite the WBC embarrassment of the U.S getting knocked off in the second round by Korea and Mexico, you know Bud Selig is breathing a huge sigh of relief that Japan did our dirty work by beating Cuba in the finals.

Can you imagine if the inaugural tournament was won by a team that we tried to block from getting in in the first place?

For the record, I think that this tourney can work if they correct a couple of things.

Play it in either November or in the summer. That way you get players who are in game shape rather than guys who look like they're coming off three day bender in a Tijuana brothel.

If you have to do it in March, then make sure everyone reports for training camp in late Janauary or early February at the latest.

Stop the farce of trying to convince people that you're selling the game to the world. You're selling it to the coutries that already have a following. Do you think the Chinese were inspired by Japan's win in the WBC. They're still holding a grudge against them from the atrocities committed against them in World War II! Just admit that you're doing this to sell merchandise to current baseball fans and you'll be fine.

I don't know about you, but I like the fact that outside of the whole BALCO mess, I like that Yankee camp has been quiet. Just focus on getting in shape for the season. Leave the drama to Port St. Lucie.

One of the good things about the WBC is that we've gotten to see kids play that normally wouldn't have gotten the light of day. It makes me excited to see what they might do on the next level. Or it gives us some trade bait if we need to make a move somewhere down the line.

As for the BALCO mess, what is there to say? Until Sheff or Bonds test postive or someone provides video evidence of them shooting up, what can you do? Does it bother me that Sheff might be a bold-faced liar? Hell yeah. But anyone who says that this wasn't at least in the back of their mind as a possibility is a liar. The fact that someone is writing a book about it changes nothing.

Will I feel a World Series won with Sheff or Giambi is somehow tainted? Hell no. When fans of those Cowboy and Steeler teams of the 70's (Randy White admits experimenting with steroids and Jim Haslett says that the Steelers were among the first to use steroids) say that they're denouncing those teams, then maybe I'll consider feeling guilty if the Yanks win it all this year. But not likely.

Besides it's not like people need a reason to hate the Yankees. If the team was clean as a baby's ass, infidels would still find a reason to hate us. So why pay attention?

If we're fortunate enough to win this year, it'll be sweet just like any other year. I refuse to let any infidel take that joy away from me.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Grrr...Darth Marc Smash....

Forgot a big one....The Doobie Brothers and Michael McDonald....I'm going to stop now...Going to bed....

Rock And Roll Sham

I wrote a blog about the recent Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductions last week talking about how Blondie's induction was a tad premature considering the number of equally deserving acts that have yet to be nominated.

I named about 20 off the top of my head, knowing that I missed a few. Here are some more.

1)Harold Melvin & Blue Notes
2)Teddy Pendergrass (as a solo artist)
3)Chaka Khan & Rufus (or Chaka as a solo performer)
4)Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff & Thom Bell (Architects of the Philly Soul Sound)
5)Carly Simon
6)The Neville Brothers
7)The Stylistics
8)Kool & The Gang (before they went pop...a very influential funk band)
9)The Commodores
10)The Ohio Players
11)Frankie Beverly & Maze
12)Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson
13)Peter Frampton
14)Cheap Trick
19)Van Halen
20)Leon Russell

Another 20 off the top of my head. I'm not trying to show off. Really I'm not. I like Blondie. I really do. But this is ridiculous. I'm getting angrier just writing this. I'm going to stop now.

The Dangers Of Waxing Nostalgic, A Teeny Bopper Leaves Beantown

It seems that our friends in the rebellion don't quite know how to take Al Leiter's departure from the good fight.

Metstradamus seems quite annoyed about the whole to-do of Al retiring after a spring training game with the Yankees. While our friends at Faith and Fear In Flushing seem torn in how to feel about a player who on one hand was an important cog in their playoff runs in 1999 and 2000, but was such a divisive force as lockerroom politician toward the end of his run at Shea.

While I would never try to interfere in the internal affairs of my sworn enemies (Who, me? Never!), I do know how it feels to see a former friend playing with your sworn enemy and I can relate to the confusion that it creates within your baseball psyche.

My personal feeling about Leiter was that I never wanted him to leave us in the first place. I thought it was a huge mistake to trade him for Jesse Barfield. You don't trade young southpaws with stuff like his. You exercise patience. Mets fans like talking about how bad the Zambrano for Kazmir trade was a couple of seasons ago. Well, Leiter-Barfield has its place in the pantheon of bad trades as well. Yeah Barfield was an established slugger, but this was a trade that was the result of Billy Martin's impatience with young pitchers and King George's desperate need for Star power. This had nothing to with good baseball sense and building a potential winner for the future. What we needed back then was pitching not offense.

It killed me watching Leiter win two titles in Toronto. I know it was wishful thinking, but can you imagine a staff of Leiter, Cone, Key, McDowell and Pettite in 1995 vs Seattle? Or Cone, Leiter, Wells, Andy and El Duque in 1998? Wow.

He should have been one of us. It was sad for me that Leiter had to be the one who lost game 5 of the 2000 World Series for the Mets. Why couldn't it have been Mike "Good School Districts" Hampton or Armando Benitez? Why did Bobby Valentine have to leave him in in the ninth? I know Mets fans are asking the same question for different reasons.

I'm glad Al came back to have his one shining moment in Yankee uniform at Fenway last July. It was nice to see what could have been. The banished son was back home in the fold.

Do I want to see an Al Leiter Yankeeography? Hell no. He played with the enemies of the empire far too long and there are much more deserving subjects who haven't been covered. But it was nice to have him back wearing pinstripes...wearing "Rags" old number. Hopefully Mets fan will appreciate what they had in Al as time goes on.

Speaking of the Mets....Let me go on the record by saying that I can't wait to see this new ballpark built. It will be a great thing for New York Baseball and sports in general to see two modern ballparks in town. If for no other reason than not have to see that eyesore of a stadium on the Grand Central anymore.

But I'm still trying to figure out this nostalgia kick with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Ebbets Field.

I live not too far from where the old ballpark used to stand. So I'm somewhat intrigued by the idea.

But the Mets have over 40 years of history of their own to draw inspiration from. Why wax nostalgic over a team that didn't even want to stay in New York? I understand both sides of the argument of why the Dodgers left town. I understand wanting to recreate some of the passion from what Roger Kahn affectionately calls "The Era".

But the Mets will never be the Dodgers or the Giants. Nor should they want to be. If they ever want to be revered and looked at with the same respect as those teams were and are...they have to get out of their shadow and stop evoking the names of Robinson, Reese, Mays, Irvin and Snider. And start focusing on names like Carter, Seaver, Hernandez, Gooden, Strawberry, Backman, Piazza, Franco and Knight.

Embrace their past, the good and the bad, in the way fans of the Reds, Pirates, Red Sox, Orioles and yes, the Yankees do. Then maybe, they'll stop feeling like second class citizens in their own town and in the baseball world.

Stop hating my team more than you love yours. Then maybe, you'll realize that actually have a team and a history worth rooting for.

Red Sox fans might hate the trade right now, but the Pena for Arroyo deal was a good baseball move.

Pena has got some pop in his bat. Yeah he's streaky and he won't remind anyone of Clemente in the field. But this kid could potentially wreak havoc in that park.

And eventually, they have to cut their ties with Trot Nixon. I know that saying that in New England is punishable by death. But this guy is useless versus quality southpaws. Useless. He's average fielder at best and has no speed on the basepaths. And while everyone loves bringing up the usual suspects up when it comes to the juice....I wouldn't be surprised if Nixon has or had a fondness for needles as well.

You got a good young power hitter who could really develop into something with Manny and Ortiz as his mentors. And you gave him up for a soft throwing righthander who has a penchant for hanging curveballs to A-Rod and Sheff.

I know all the infidel girls loved "Brandon" and his guitar. But he was never going to be more than a number five starter or long-reliever in the American league. Too many good hitters who will eventually catch up to his stuff. Jim Kaat says that once a hitter knows that you can't blow it by him, than all he has to do is wait for his pitch. And when you hang curves and sliders like Bronson does, they won't have to wait long.

This works out well for both teams. The Reds get an experienced starter who is used to pitching in a bandbox of a park while the Red Sox get someone who can hit against good lefties like the Big Unit and Johan Santana.

And on top of that, it's great for the Yankees because it hurts the Sox starting pitcher depth. Now the Red Sox have a 40 year old coming off of a bad ankle and a flamethrower who has never thrown over 200 innings in year anchoring their rotation. With a 40 year old knuckleballer, a 43 year old southpaw with a bad back and a kid who has started a full season in the majors to back them up.

I love trades like those.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Hate Is A Wonderful Thing In Sports

"Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny and take your father's place at my side!"

"Good. use your agressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you."

"Good. I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon - strike me down with all of your hatred, and your journey to the Dark Side will be complete!"

What do sports fans and Sith Lords have in common? They're the only ones who can honestly say that hate is a healthy thing for them (If the Sith existed, that is). If anyone else talked about as much about hate as we do as sports fans, we'd have them commited.

But in our world, hate is the food that fuels the fire of the multi-billion dollar business that is the sports industry.

Do you honestly think that Yanks-Sox or Yanks-Mets would be the cashcow it has become if the fans of these teams only "mildly disliked" their rivals? Or if it was filled with people who (groan) root for both teams? That it would evoke the same sort of passion among the masses? Please.

That's why I love hate. I embraced the hate in my heart like a mother would her newborn. I nurture it, let it fester and spread like an infected wound.

My hatred for the Red Sox and Duke kind of looks like the hole in Tony Soprano's stomach. Only I never change the bandage. I expose the wound to the world, wearing like a badge of honor. Allowing the polluted air to infect the wound.

And apparently, I'm not the the only one who feels this way. Because while I was looking for calendar in Barnes & Noble, I came across a book that might have the greatest title ever.

To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever


Former Esquire editor and Tarheel fan Will Blythe penned this instant classic about the Duke-UNC rivalry. A rivalry that is every bit as passionate and obsessive for the folks in that region as Yankees-Red Sox is for us.

It shows us how our hatred for our rivals can truly set us free if we let it. That's it's ok for us to allow as the Emperor says "our hate to make us powerful".

So to all the people out there who think that hatred in sports is unnatural and that you can root for "Duke & Carolina" or "The Yanks & Red Sox". That I have to get along with Metstradamus, the Metsmaster, the Boston Dirt Dogs and all their infidel Yankee-hating scumbag cronies....I say this. There is a special place in hell for you. Our Wars end when all wars end. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

More on this later...

The Mets have released Design plans for the new Shea Stadium.

Looks great although anything compared to Shea Stadium would be like the Taj Mahal.

Since Shea looks like it was designed by Picasso after week-long speedball binge, I'm glad the folks who designed went back in the past to the old Ebbets Field for inspiration.

If they play their cards right, this new park can become the kind of draw that Camdem Yards has become in Baltimore.

However, I already have Met fans telling how it will be a fun place to watch a game. Unlike the cathedral that is Yankee Stadium.

You know what "fun place to watch a ballgame" is code for? "We don't care if our team wins or loses, we won't hold our team accountable for sucking. It's ok if we go 72-90 every year. It shows that we're loyal fans...who cares if we blow money that could go to our kid's college education. We're loyal."

I am so tired of infidels who think that just because their team stinks that it's a sign of character that they root for them. That they don't switch sides in the middle of the war.

I can't wait when the Mets stink in this new park and you hear "Let's Go Yankees" reverberate through Queens because Mets fans allowed to Imperial forces to take over their stadium once again.

Same players, different address. Nothing will change once the Mets move. This will be a Yankee town as it's always been.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Here Are My Picks For The Final Four....

Texas, UCLA, UConn, Boston College

Possible Darkhorses: LSU, West Virginia, UNC, Georgetown

I have spoken....

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Is Lord Vader Gonna Have To Choke A Bitch???

I know that I used this phrase or a variation of it in my other blog recently. But it perfectly describes how I feel tonight. Sorry.

Anyone who takes the NYC Subway knows that the only thing that makes the ride bearable somedays is common courtesy. The last thing you want to deal with after a hard day's work is some Jesus Freak who sounds like Pepe-Le-Pewe on Helium telling you about how Christ's love is the only way to avoid a fiery demise. Thank god for headphones and walkmans. I was listening to a horrible CD that I picked up from Virgin (Ben Harper...some clown who sounds like a poor man's Tracy Chapman...and not even the good stuff from her first two albums...last time I buy a CD without ever hearing the artist), but at least it kept me from being subjected to the Haitian Billy Graham.

But nothing short of clawing out my eyes with a icepick could have saved me from the horror that I was forced to witness today's ride on the Q.

Some Bow-Wow wanna-be was decked out in Infidel Red Sox paraphenelia. Not just the Hat. No, this tool had the friggin entire Red Sox catalog. The hat, an obnoxious jacket that had "six time world champions" on the back and little pennants of every title they've won. Unbelievable.

I wanted to get up and pummel this punk kid and say, "You've won once in 88 years!!Get over yourself!"

But something tells me this kid has no clue of what he was wearing and why someone would want him dead for it. I think this jackass was wearing it as a fashion statement. Because the jacket matched the hat or vice versa. And that makes me more crazy. I could actually respect if he was a real infidel who was being true to his school. I'd still hate him, but at least I could respect that he had the balls to wear those disgusting colors in the heart of the empire.

But this jackass probably has never even been to a baseball game, much less the Cathedral or Castle Grayskull. Burns my arse.

The Crips and Bloods were on to something when they decided to kill anyone who wore opposing colors in their hood. I wouldn't mind seeing something like that instituted here. Drives me nuts seeing all these B's in the Imperial City.

A-Rod just can't win.

First the tabloids and Imperial enemy #1 Bill Simmons start calling him Mr. May after the U.S' controversial win versus Japan this week. Now he has to deal with having horrible game as Korea put the Americans on the edge of oblivion Monday.

The Koreans lose to the Japanese and it's sayonara to the Boys in Blue. Even before they play Mexico today.

The sad thing is that if the U.S loses, half the fans in this country won't care. Either because they're boycotting the tournament all together, or they're rooting against our boys because they hate the players on the team because they play for teams they hate. I know most Mets and Red Sox fans are rooting for either the D.R or the P.R. I don't blame them. I don't think I could root for a team with A-Rod, Jeter, Chipper Jones or Roger Clemens if I was an infidel. It's asking way too much.

MLB wants that anyway because they want the infidels to buy Big Papi or Beltran WBC gear. Sad, they're selling the game to everyone but the U.S.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Confession Time

I've been watching some of the WBC.

I watched the Cuba/Venezuela game today flipping between that and the Dook/BC ACC tournament final.

Gotta admit that I am intrigued by this tournament. Just a little bit.

I still hate the time of year it's being played (they should take a month off to play in the sunmmer)and I'm deftly afraid of someone getting hurt(which could happen during spring training i.e Carl Pavano).

But it is an interesting concept seeing all of these guys playing together. The interesting thing is to see if they can sustain interest with the players and the fans. The crowds have been pretty substandard and I'm wondering how the crowds in San Diego will be if the U.S doesn't make it pass the second round.

But it is nice to see meaningful baseball games in March. For now.

Crack-O-Matic, Wearing Masks

For those of you who read Metstradamus regularly and wondered who's the Yankee fan who told him "you know, I can't get into spring training baseball. Don't get me wrong, I love's my crack cocaine. But spring training is like methadone. I mean, it's okay...but it's not crack."

You need look no further.

Because we're blood enemies, he couldn't admit to associating with someone who's sworn to see him and everything he loves smoldering in a fiery smoldering grave.

But since being a Sith Lord means never having to say you're sorry or be modest, I've decided to take the credit rather than wait for an infidel to give me my due.

Which leads me to the first subject I'm addressing in this post. With the season still a couple of weeks away and my lack of interest in the WBC and spring training (although I did watch some of the DR-Venezuela game and some Yankee spring training on YES)the crackhead in me needed a fix in the worst way. And I needed somthing a little stronger than methadone this time around.

So when my friend Steve asked me to join his Sporting News Strat-O-Matic Back to the 80's league, I jumped at the chance to possibly get the old season high a little early.

I accidently bought a team for 2005 Strato-League instead of the 80's league and when I realized that I couldn't transfer or cancel the sale, I joined a public league. My man needs 12 teams to start his 80's league and his boys are too cheap to ante up the 25 bucks to join.

Best decision I've made as a baseball addict since becoming a Yankee season ticket holder in 2001.

My only question is...where the hell have I been? I've been doing fantasy football for the last couple of years and have been hooked on that like DeNiro on black chicks. Started doing NBA and while it requires more attention than football, it's not as addictive because I'm not as into the NBA as I was 10 years ago.

But I've always avoided baseball league because I never thought I had the time to devote to it. I didn't want to admit it to myself at the time but I had a feeling that I would become a full-fledged junkie and tried to resist the temptation.

Well resist no more. I've totally embraced my Dark Side. My inner baseball crackhead. And I'm ok with him. I really am.

How can someone resist a league where you play a 162 game season in something like three months. Where the site provides you little write-ups like this as if they were real games?

Confederate Grays VI sweep 3 from Imperial Sith Lords

Confederate Grays VI 4, Imperial Sith Lords 3
Game 18

Grays VI........ 0 1 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 - 4 7 0
Sith Lords...... 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 - 3 8 0
Win:Ramirez(2-2) Loss:Peavy(0-3) Save:Wagner(2nd)
Homeruns- R.Barajas(3rd), C.Biggio(4th)

The Confederate Grays VI edged the Imperial Sith Lords at Yankee Stadium by
the score of 4 to 3.

Imperial never recovered after Confederate took the lead in the top of the 2nd
inning scoring a single run on 2 hits. Adam Dunn doubled. Vinny Castilla
struck out, unable to help the rally. Juan Uribe was the next batter, but he
struck out. Ruben Sierra came up and he laced a base-hit scoring the run.
Confederate finished with 7 hits in the victory.

Horacio Ramirez(2-2) picked up the victory, allowing 3 runs in 7 innings.
Billy Wagner earned his 2nd save. Jake Peavy(0-3) absorbed the loss.
Despite the loss, he struckout 12 Confederate batters in 9 innings.

In case you're wondering...I'm not the Confederate Grays.

I'm tied for last place and I don't even care. Well I do care, but I'm just happy that I've found a clean diamond hypodermic for my fix. I also know that my team is too good to stay in last for long so I'll turn it around soon enough.

I'm this close to dumping my buddy's league and joining another public league so I can my 80's fix on. A team with Dave Winfield, Mike Schmidt, a pre-coked out Doc Gooden and Kirby Puckett? I'm so in.

Speaking of Kirby, his passing brought to my mind one of my favorite poems. It's by the 19th century Black poet Paul Laurence Dunbar;

WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

Now I'm not trying to equate what Puckett went through with what my great-grandparents dealt with during Jim Crow (which was the time when this poem was written). But I think that there is more of a pressure for black athletes to be liked by the public than their white counterparts. To not speak their minds. To shut up and play ball. To not be controversial. I'm not talking about the obvious assholes like Bonds and Belle. But why aren't there more Jim Browns, Arthur Ashes or Bill Russells? Players who take a stand on issues.

I could be totally talking out of my ass...but maybe the pressure of being the Happy-Go-Lucky leader all the time took a toll on him. Not allowing himself to be pissed off every once in a while was what eventually did him in.

Not allowing himself to take off the mask was what suffocated him after his career was tragically cut short.

I don't know, maybe I'm talking out of my ass. But when I hear everyone say that he was always happy, always had a smile in the lockerroom, was that people just being nice and saying positive things after someone passed on or was it an image that Puckett perpetuated?

Maybe he was this complicated person who saw baseball as his fortress of solitude and decided to always present a positive outlook about the game to his teammates and fans? Regardless of the personal consequences?

All I do know was that we lost one of the best ambassadors the game of baseball will ever know. One of the great Prime Time Players of his eras. And he will be missed.

Here's hoping he'll be remembered for that rather than the sordid affairs of his baseball after-life.