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Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

The steroid era is officially over.  The two biggest figures, Clemens and Bonds have both been through perjury trials and both acquitted.  Juries found both not guilty of lying under oath about using steroids.  Attorneys from the United States Department of Justice were unable to show that either man used steroids.  In short, there is reasonable doubt that either man ever used steroids despite any other information to the contrary.  Baseball’s Steroid Era exists in a cloud of loud shouts and quiet disappointments.  We will never know definitively just how many major leaguers took PEDs and how it effected their statistics.

If nothing else, the steroid era in baseball reminded us of a few simple truths about the game.  The increasing emphasis of numbers by management led players and coaches to abide in them.  Fans re-discovered the ugly side of baseball as enterprise.  Yet we also enjoyed the potent offense and dominant pitching the steroid era provided.  We also had to begin questioning the legacy of the game we loved.  Where does this era fit?  How do we judge the achievements?  Here are the truths we learned and how I think we should view it.

Baseball is more than numbers.  The business of baseball is all about stats, but the memory of it disregards them.  Bob Costas said recently that Maris and Aaron had “lost their rightful place in history” because of the “inauthentic” numbers put up by McGwire and Bonds.  That’s not true.  Maris and Aaron have a mythic quality to their names, yet no one my age ever saw them play.  Our knowledge of them is in grainy television footage and grandpa’s recollection.  We learned about those men from our mothers, fathers, teachers and coaches.  Our forebears cared enough about these ball players to tell stories about them to their offspring.  Storytelling creates heroes, not statistics.

Baseball is a business.  Professional athletes are just that: professional.  Adults need to get paid.  Without my job, I can’t pay my rent and I’m living with mommy and daddy.  The vast majority of professional baseball players live around the poverty line.  Most professional ball players are in the minor leagues and live hand to mouth.  Hit more homeruns and you’ll get more money.  The incentive is clear and the assistance is available.  Baseball is a boy’s game played by men but men aren’t boys.  Money matters.  Being a ball player doesn’t make that any less true.

Baseball is entertainment.  Baseball, whether watched or played is a diversion from the monotony of the daily grind.  Watching a baseball game, no matter how boring, still beats standing on your feet all day taking shit from your boss.  During the steroid era, we got to see more homeruns than ever before.  Homeruns are awesome.  Seeing Pedro Martinez shut down hitters throughout the peak of the steroid era was even more entertaining.  Even if we think that steroids are awful and that taking steroids make you a cheater, it doesn’t change that baseball was simply fun to watch during their reign in the majors.

The Hall of Fame is Overrated.  There are hundreds of players in the Baseball Hall of Fame I’ve never heard of and dozens more I don’t care about. There are a few baseball legends that everyone knows, Ruth, Gehrig, Mays, Aaron, etc.  But ask your Average Joe who Christy Mathewson is and he won’t have a fucking clue.  People remember their personal favorites.  Scott Brosius is a god to any Yankee fan under the age of 40.  He’ll never be in the Hall of Fame, but I’ll always know his name.

The Steroid Era is over.  We’ll be arguing for generations over the authenticity of Barry Bonds’s homerun record against Hank Aaron’s.  We’ll still pay top dollar to go see the best baseball players in the world ply their trade and be rewarded for it.  The players we’ve always loved will forever hold a special place in our baseball hearts regardless of their steroid use.  No matter what sports writers may say, the steroid era didn’t really change anything.  Inflated numbers and deflated trust can’t stop us from loving baseball.  No one statistic, no one player, no one owner, no one scandal is bigger than the game.  The greatest truth: Baseball is a game, don’t take it too seriously.

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It has now been five years since Dave Chappelle left the entertainment world to go chill out on his Ohio farm.  At first, his absence from Comedy Central simply meant a lot of unsuccessful sketch shows in his former time slot.  Now, the lack of Chappelle in the social commentary is hurting out country.  No other black comedian since has had a similar television show, and those that do (Tyler Perry) aren’t funny and show white America the “Family Matters” side of black America.  Chappelle made us all laugh at the blatant racism and bigotry that still exists in our country despite all the talk of equality and a “post-racial” society.  Whether it be the Gay KKK, Friday Night Sissy Fights, Real Real World, The World is Not Meant for Us, or any other sketch, Chappelle was not only making us laugh but also making us think just a little bit.

Alright, I’m not going to go into some diatribe about the socio-economic importance of black comic commentary in America, although I could, but that wouldn’t be in line with the Ranty McRanterson policy on seriousness (none is allowed).  So, Mr. Chappelle, if you’re listening…PLEASE COME BACK.  Here is a list of possible sketches I thought of for you.  You don’t have to pay me for them, just come back.  If you don’t, the possibility exists that Demetri Martin or Carlos Mencia would get a show again.  Do you really want that on your conscience Dave?  Do you?

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[Editor’s Note: quikstop85 is an old friend but a new ranter, this post is from his Quikstop Blog. He has previously posted on our blog with the Octo-burner. I’m looking forward to material from quikstop85 to suppliment my otherwise weak posting schedule. Enjoy!]

Howdy there folks. Been some time I know and I apologize to the 3 people who actually check this blog. My bad, but I’ve been busy. I’ve talked a lot about politics and some of the generally horrible stuff going on in the world, but for this post, I’m going back to the one thing I know really well: sports. This year, the sports world has been shocked by the allegations and confessions that both Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez are (and most likely were) steroid users. Talking heads talk of their “disappointment” and “dismay” that players of their stature would even consider using steroids. When it comes down to it, however, it doesn’t really matter. Steroids or no, , the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL and even the MLS are as exciting as they’ve been as least in my 23+ years on this planet. Professional sports are, have always been and always will be a diversion; an organized form of entertainment. Regardless of the health and moral issues associated with steroids, have you not been entertained during the so-called “Steroid Era”?

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     As I mentioned in my Don’t Call it a Comeback post, I had previously written a guide for driving in the snow. It was a scathing masterpiece of epic proportions and I had everything that I wanted in it. I lost it, but here is my attempt to recreate the post. Keep in mind, this is occurring in March and we haven’t had decent snow since, well, I can’t remember the date but it was a long time ago. When I had previously written the post, I had just come back from a trip on the Eastern Shore in the snow and all this was fresh in my mind. I’m going to try to hit on all the topics that I had written in the original post, but I fear some of the topics and most of the fire will be lost. I hope this turns out okay.

     For some reason, although it gets hit with an average of two moderate snowstorms a year, no one in the DC area seems to be able to grasp the fact that when there is snow on the road it’s wise to change one’s driving habits. This is evidenced by the number of car accidents that inevitably accompany any amount of snow falling in or around the area. I thought it might be a wise idea to put out a comprehensive guide on what it takes to handle this wacky and unheard of thing they call snow.

#1. Do not properly clean the snow off your car. This one is almost a no brainer. In low visibility conditions like falling snow, you want to make your already hard to see vehicle is invisible to other cars. This will allow you to elude the other drivers. As an added bonus, huge chunks of snow flying off of your car can cause other people to crash, clearing more of the road for you.

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Little Annoyances

     If you haven’t been able to tell by other posts on this blog, I’m an irritable person. Small things various people do throughout the day make me angry, and by the time the day is over, I just want to sit back, and watch some television in peace and quiet. Sometimes I just want to be left alone. I don’t give a shit about what happened in your day, just like you really don’t give a shit what happened in mine. Shut up and let me watch my stories. Needless to say, this does not bode well for any future serious relationship I may (or may not) have. I’m trying to work on it. Venting the small stuff that pisses me off on the interwebs seems to be a safe alternative to a murderous rampage. I’m thinking of starting a feature titled something like “Things that shouldn’t really make anyone mad, but set me the hell off for some reason.” If I do decide to do that, this will be part one in a many part series. Chances are, though, I’ll get lazy and this will just be a stand alone.

     I came to a conclusion the other day. There are two types of people in this world. Normal people, and people who back their cars into parking spots. I have no idea why this makes me so angry, but it does. To be clear, I’m not talking about a parallel spot where backing in is the right and socially acceptable move. I’m talking about normal parking lots where the car is perpendicular to the driving lane. (On a side note; if you’re nosing into parallel parking spots, you have no earthly right to be driving.) At our rental house we have four cars. Three of us park like human beings, the other one throws caution to the wind and backs his car into our driveway. I don’t think he knows I have a blog and if he’s reading this he might not know I’m talking about him. If he is and does, sorry. I like my driveway to look a certain way, and your car facing the other direction than everyone else’s really screws up my qi.

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     “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “A rant bitches!”

     So I’ve pretty much been a science guy all my life. My dad is a middle school science teacher so I guess we could blame that, but really its because science seems to make sense. For the most part. Neither here nor there. In science we use something called the metric system. If you don’t know what that is, it’s time to leave. NOW. Seriously, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, go directly to elementary school.

     Okay, for those of you still with us, use of the metric system started with France in 1791. A strike against it, I know, but France has had some gems. Remember the Maginot Line? Wait, what? There have been many versions of the metric system but the one we currently use is the International System of Units (SI). It’s base ten, making conversion from unit to unit as simple as moving decimal places. Unfortunately, many in this country still use the English units.

Now THAT'S how you make an outdated defense system!

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     For work I tend to drive enough to span several media markets, making it a necessity to spend most of the day searching for tolerable radio stations. A helpful note, once you get onto the Eastern Shore of Maryland, good music seems to dry up quickly. Why one area needs five hundred country music stations and only one for classic rock, I’ll never know. Anyway, I’ve become very familiar with the different types of radio stations out there, and I found one that pisses me off more than any others. You might be thinking that I’m about to go off on a rant about country music, but you’d be wrong. That would be too predictable and everyone knows I like to keep it fresh. As much as I despise country, the mix station wins my award for crappiest type of radio station out there.

Dumb.

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