Sunday, March 12, 2006

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.


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