Boring is a virtue
Dull people only safe ones in tell-all age, All-Happy baseball team and more items of disinterest
One of the bigger dates on the theological calendar is Judgment Day, when you and everyone who ever lived are scheduled to stand before the Great Cosmic Magistrate and account for every last rotten, low-down, petty, damn-fool thing you ever did, said, thought, or even thought about doing. Apparently, there's no need to wait as we're already living it.
The flapdoodle over Joe Torre's new literary opus and its unflattering disclosures about Alex Rodriguez and Brian Cashman is just the latest example of this modern Groundhog/ Judgment Day -- the revelations, accusations and explanations flying every time a tell-all book is published, and that's just about every day. Twas ever thus since Jim Bouton uncorked Ball Four way back in 1970, and then its aptly-named sequel I'm Glad You Didn't Take It Personally -- a title Torre could have used for his next outing, given A-Rod's reported laughing response to the current one.
It's been clear for a long time that whatever is seen, heard and said in the clubhouse has a snowball's chance in Beelzebub's charbroiler of staying in the clubhouse, but greatly compounding matters is the fact that this is also the age of computers and camera phones when everything you do and say is being recorded and readily revealed to your embarrassment, detriment or both, as this lovely little soccer incident in Iran drives home.
If you want to discreetly scratch your caboose these days, you can head for the wilds of Wyoming, but you'll still be caught by satellite and available for viewing on Google Earth. If you're anyone of any stature, especially an athlete, you can be drop-dead certain that your every utterance, wheeze and soak in a hot tub full of co-eds will be noted, recorded and used against you, often by your own friends, teammates and coaches, even ones like a Joe Torre, who was widely presumed to be above this kind of soil-dispensing. Heck, even Mark McGwire's brother Jay is peddling a little tome entitled The McGwire Family Secret: The Truth About Steroids, A Slugger and Ultimate Redemption.
The ultimate lesson in all these Good Books is that it behooves one to be as near-death boring as one can possibly be for as long as possible unless one enjoys explaining why one hung a longtime "friend" out to dry, made those unflattering references to someone's character or perceived lack thereof, cheated at sports and the game of life or generally behaved like an atomic-powered boor and buffoon. And even if you didn't actually do what they said you did, heaven knows you're still gonna have some 'splainin' to do in the court of public opinion.
Hoo-doo works both ways
In a metaphysical vein, you no doubt heard about the goat that was detained by law enforcement authorities in Nigeria under suspicion of being a thief who transmogrified himself to avoid capture. Over in this neck of the woods, goats have frequently transformed themselves into athletes as Bill Buckner, Bob Stanley, Scott Norwood, Ralph Branca, Chris Webber, Leon Lett, Jackie Smith, Mickey Owen, Johnny Pesky, Steve "Own Goal" Smith and John Kasay among others attest.
In other spooky hookie dookie, Mexico is taking a page out of this space's prediction by urging fans to purchase voodoo dolls in an effort to defeat the United States in an upcoming World Cup qualifying match. And in Florida, a substitute teacher was bounced from his gig after being accused of wizardry by the Pasco County School District. Apparently, Hogwarts naysayer Dolores Umbridge is in charge down there. One wonders how long it will be before Ken Whisenhunt is dismissed on similar charges in Arizona.
Several readers availed themselves of the Epistle Portal (see below) to comment on this space's All-Surly baseball team chosen last week in honor of Jeff "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" Kent's retirement.
Mark D. Glaenzer of St. Louis, MO wrote: Loved the MLB "all Surly" team, but John Rocker? John Rocker???? At least the other guys on the team could play. John Rocker doesn't belong on this list because he is worse than a has-been. He's a "never-was." Surely you could find a surly closer who didn't suck.
Getting Loose replies: Rocker was chosen mainly for his misanthropic notoriety and not so much his skill, which pales in comparison to the other grouchy luminaries on the team. But if you want an accomplished crab in the pen, how about Al "The Mad Hungarian" Hrabosky, a top closer of the '70s who relished the fire-breathing villain role and once brought a live hand grenade to the K.C. Royals' locker room and told his teammates that if they didn't play better, he'd blow up their sorry rear ends.
Jason Levine, Milwaukee, WI had this to say: To round out your all-surly rotation: Bob Gibson. He was even surly with his own catcher. And Steve Carlton -- assuming silence counts as "surly."
Gettling Loose replies: Sure, why not? Now it only seems right with jolly Sean "The Mayor" Casey's decision to hang up his bat that we present our All-Time All-Happy team comprised of players who enjoyed a reputation as nice guys, Cheerful Charlies or just plain funny flakes. Note: selections are based in part on this space's personal experience with said players and this space fully acknowledges that any member of the team could very well have been maliciously pulling the wings off of flies once out of sight of the prying public.
Luis Gonzalez (LF), Willie Mays (CF), Tony Gwynn (RF), Sean Casey (1B), Ryne Sandberg (2B), Ernie Banks (SS), Don Zimmer (3B), Mike Sweeney (DH), Gary "Hey, Cheer Down!" Carter (C), with Mark "The Bird" Fidrych on the hill and Luis Tiant, Moe Drabowsky, Roger McDowell, Dontrelle Willis, Bill "Spaceman" Lee and Oil Can Boyd out in the bullpen while David "Big Papi" Ortiz, Dave Roberts, Joe Garagiola, Bob Uecker, Mickey "The Great Gozzlehead" Rivers and Kevin Millar ride the pine with the whole jolly crew managed by Yogi Berra.
No Nudes Is Bad News
Taking these joyous proceedings down a peg, this space shares your mourning at the cancellation of this year's Lingerie Bowl -- the saddest news in sports since the World Series of Strip Poker failed to launch in 2006 when the sponsor got cold feet. In the case of the frilly things bowl, it seems the participants were more than a tad squeamish about holding the game, so to speak, at a Florida nudist colony -- which strikes us as akin to canceling the The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest just because it's going to be held at a restaurant. But surely the winter just got colder and Super Bowl XLIII's halftime a lot more mundane. Best the prurient-minded can hope for now is that Bruce Springsteen's wardrobe malfunctions.
Not for wussies
Interesting Supreme Court decision out of Wisconsin where cheerleading has been ruled a contact sport. Insert your own joke here. We'll wait . . .
The upshot is a cheerleader can't sue after sustaining an injury in the course of his or her chosen activity because "a significant amount of physical contact" is expected (insert joke here) unlike in, say, the NHL All-Star Game or Pro Bowl. The court's decision apparently means that cheerleaders can be sued only for acting recklessly. (Insert joke here.) Nevertheless, researchers at the University of North Carolina found that two-thirds of the nearly 100 cases of "catastrophic" sports injuries suffered by high school girls since 1982 have been in the course of cheerleading and that's not even including the damage wreaked by demented moms like Wanda Holloway.
In Case You Missed It
National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day was this past Monday (Jan. 26). This solemn national holiday, launched eight years ago by a radio station in Bloomington, IN with a Bubblympiad featuring a wrap popping relay, Pop-a-Mole game and fashion design contests, is intended to honor the wondrous and endlessly-amusing invention that came out of Hawthorne, NJ garage in 1957. The sporting world observed this year's edition as the New York Islanders had chronically-injured goaltender Rick DiPietro wrapped in it, the better to ensure his return to the ice next hockey season.
Unfounded Rumor of the Week
And to think you thought this space is nothing but 100 percent unadulterated nonsense. But as our voodoo doll prediction made painfully clear, Getting Loose has its sticky digit on the pulse of the Zeitgeist. Thus our "medical expert" in the supply closet at Montefiore Hospital asserts on good authority that the alarming report that obesity is transmitted by an airborne virus has caused none other than the New York Yankees to spring into action with preventative measures now that they've invested $161 million in 290-pound hurler CC Sabathia. Concerned that the corpulent moundsman will infect the pitching staff and cause his hurlers to balloon like pus-y toads, Yankees co-poobah Hammerin' Hank Steinbrenner has outfitted them all with special "inaugural season" masks they'll be wearing in honor of the team's pricey new ball orchard in the Bronx. As always, you read it here first . . . and last.
The Epistle Portal
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