Daze of miracles
Cardinals just the latest natural wonder, baseball's all-surly team and the best sports brews
These are the days of miracle and wonder
If you don't believe it after seeing Barack Hussein Obama sworn in as President of these United States, or the Arizona Cardinals -- the Arizona Cardinals! -- grab a Super Bowl berth, or the Tampa Bay Rays -- the Tampa Bay Rays! -- win the American League pennant, then Jack, you dead.
In fact, the last five years have featured a motherlode of miraculous events, including the Red Sox busting their 86-year Curse, then winning another Series for good measure, and the White Sox getting off their 88-year title schneid. To a lesser degree, the Giants upset the 18-0 Patriots with a Houdini escape by Eli Manning and a supernatural catch by David Tyree's helmet.
All this who-woulda-thunk-it should be of good cheer to the downtrodden masses who invest emotional and fiscal capital in the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Islanders, Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Maple Leafs, LA Kings and any other entrenched doormat you care to mention. This space suspects the key ingredients are parity, a decent coach, some halfway decent kids, free agency's delivery of steeled veterans like a Kurt Warner and, perhaps most of all, the modern well-paid athlete's total disregard for a franchise's sad history (see: Anquan Boldin's I-Me-Mine antics despite the momumental momentousness of the moment in Arizona last Sunday). Self-centeredness may provide a nifty shield against the whim-whams and hoo-hahs of making history.
Whatever the reasons, Lazarus acts in pro sports are more possible than ever -- unless, it seems, you're the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Eagles or New York Jets. The NFL's answer to the Atlanta Braves no doubt made their fan base, not to mention the New York Giants, cranky by pulling that el-fold-o in Arizona to lower their mark to 1-4 in recent NFC Championship Games. But on the bright side, the always-competitive Iggles give their faithful a fighting chance each season -- and that's all a fan can really ask for, isn't it? Meanwhile, the Cubbies still have their romance and the perennially starcrossed Jets are hoping their hire of The Rexorcist will do the trick.
Baseball's All-Surly Team
In honor of Jeff Kent's retirement, and acknowledgement of the Cooperstown-worthy debate that's already in progress, Getting Loose is confident the surly second-sacker already has a glowering bust waiting in the national pastime's Sweet Disposition Hall of Fame. Kent, who was known for his Mister Rogers-on-'roids demeanor, takes his place at second base in a starting lineup that includes such other all-time diamond charmers as Barry Bonds in left, Ty Cobb in center, Albert Belle around in right, Dave Kingman at first, Leo "The Lip" Durocher at short, Dick Allen at third, Thurman Munson behind the plate, and Randy Johnson on the hill with Jim Rice at DH and Kevin Brown, Burleigh Grimes and John Rocker out in the pen. The bench is a happy place with Roger Maris, Ted Williams, Jeffrey "Penitentiary Face" Leonard, Eddie Murray, Milton Bradley, and George Bell warming it while the cheery bunch is managed by Billy Martin.
Where would surliness and baseball be without beer? So in the spirits, so to speak, of that question, we draw your attention to merrie olde England -- the ancestral home of our national pastime (rounders, anyone?). It appears there's a brew-ha-ha about some suds called Speedball, which the drink industry's watchdog feels is wrongly but enticingly blurring the line, in a manner of speaking, between Bacchus and the mix of heroin and cocaine that did in comedian John Belushi and actor River Phoenix. A spokesman for maker BrewDog counters that Speedball, like the manly classic Butz, is "for those who enjoy a quality beer responsibly."
Responsibly or not, Speedball is one of the more evocative names for beer, which is and shall always be the lifeblood of sports. We also tip our helmet (the one with the 16-ouncers attached to each side) to such sports-appropriate brews as Schlitz ("Aw man, that SOB can't hit for Schlitz!"), Blatz, Matts, Skull Splitter, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Moose Drool, Backhand of God Stout, and Blithering Idiot Barley Wine, which may just be what got into that chap up in Providence, who brashly stormed onto the court in a righteous rage after his brother's face was scraped in a game against Marquette last Saturday night.
Cosmic mystery revealed
In other beverage news, NASA thinks it has discovered the origin of all that methane on Mars and the meaning of those mysterious commericals for something called G -- which, as it turns out, is good ol' Gatorade rebranded and not some hallucinatory alien joyjuice. Alas, the family of Dr. Robert Cade, the former University of Florida professor who helped create the famed athletic elixir in 1965, is none too happy that Gatrorade's makers are trying to "take it to the next level" which, they have to hope, won't be New Coke territory.
PETA wants Vick's head...examined
In what should be the set-up to the hoary joke "they x-rayed his head and found nothing," the good folks at PETA are demanding that NFL Czar Roger Goodell require Michael Vick to submit his noggin to a scan test for psychopathology before ruling on whether the currently-caged Falcon can return to flinging pigskin on a professional level.
PETA feels that Vick fits the profile for someone afflicted by something called antisocial personality disorder. Persons with APD are what you call your "psychopaths" and they tend to be male, prone to lying and manipulation, and seem to take an inordinate pleasure in cruelty. (Sounds like more than a few players and owners we know.) They can't feel genuine remorse, they answer to names like Hannibal, Dexter and Freddie, and they usually end up playing for the Dallas Cowboys or the Oakland Raiders.
Shiny new suit for Pacman
In one of the week's more wrenching stories, it appears that Pacman "Black Cloud" Jones is being sued by his lawyer -- or one of them. At first, this space thought the plaintiff was Robert Langford, who so artfully kept his hand up the back of Pac's shirt as they made the rounds of TV interviews two weekends ago. Pac, a veteran of six arrests and a dozen incidents since 2005 that have attracted the attention of law enforcement agents, went before CBS's James Brown and ESPN's Stephen A. Smith to sound like he didn't have enough sense to come in out of the rain. Alas, it turns out the suit was filed by Manny Arora, who claims he's been stiffed of more than 10 grand's worth of legal fees for representing Jones family members or friends against charges ranging from speeding and kidnapping to simple battery and murder. Fine company that Pacman's been keeping. Someday a nice girl's gonna bring him home to meet mama and mama's gonna have a coronary infarction.
Those of you who long for the golden age of Classic Comedy might want to tune in to ESPN's Jim Rome is Burning program as Harpo Marx seems to have become a frequent guest. And damned if the old funny man isn't looking remarkably good after 60 years out of the limelight. He's even up to date with his sports, too!
Hit by the schtick
Danilo Gallinari of the New York Knicks is not amused by the music played in Madison Square each time he drops a bucket. It's bad enough that the PA announcer assumes an "atsa fine!" accent, but then come the strains of That's Amore or Volare. One assumes that Funiculi, Funicula, the theme from The Godfather, and Luigi Prima belting out Zooma Zooma are at the ready. Even this politically correct age, Italians are still fair game as a source of stereotypical mirth, although in all due respect, there is a buoyant charm to Italian accents and mannerisms -- The Sopranos notwithstanding -- that is apparently irresistable to arena programmers and PA announcers. Nevertheless, Gallinari's feelings should be honored and the schtick given the boot -- map of Italy pun not intended.
Unfounded Rumor of the Week
Continuing on a musical note, this space's tin ear and gut instinct have detected rumbling -- probably because it's lunchtime -- that the Greater Sheboygan Opera Company has signed Arizona Cardinals wideout Anquan Boldin to perform the part of The Countess in its upcoming production of The Marriage of Figaro.
No small company Boldin's in. Famous divas who have graced the big stage in Sheboygan include Terrell Owens as Marguerite in Gounod's Faust, Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson, who dazzled as Madame Butterfly, Plaxico "Boom Boom" Burress in the title role of the classic melodrama Lucrezia Borgia, and Randy Moss as The Fat Lady With The Viking Horns in Gotterdamerung. Not for nothing, these guys have caused many a coach and fan to say "Gotterdamerung it!" after one their temperamental performances. Sorry...just a weak little attempt at some opera humor there. Ahem.
The Epistle Portal
All hail and welcome to the place where the world gathers to dish hot buttered scorn. Merely shovel yours into the handy space-time portal on the right to give this space an earful. We're happy to hear from everyone except unwanted relatives and will make every reasonable attempt to respond in a responsible, even-handed manner (provided we've had our daily flagon of Moose Drool).
NOTE: No trees died during the making of Getting Loose, a not-for-profit affront to the senses, although several shrubs were maimed in the course of the author attempting to hide from editors and creditors.