Friday, August 29, 2008
Great day at the PAD today. Not only did our beloved Grizz win a nailbiter 18-1, but I got to learn a new betting game today. It was a chilly day since it's still so early in the season, so Dad and UB came up with some new game to keep warm. They called it the "Mouth Heater". So I didn't catch all the details because I was too busy watching the game and finishing my Everlasting Gobstoppers, but from what I picked up, whenever one of them got too cold to keep sitting in their seats, they'd go to the bathroom to warm up. They kept talking about how warm the blows were in the bathroom, so I only can assume that they just stood under the hand warmers and got their hands to not be numb anymore. I think I ate 4 rolls of cotton candy. My tummy hurts b/c I ate so much. I wanted to share, but Dad and UB both had cold sores and didn't want me to catch anything. They said it was from being outside in the cold weather too much. They're always catching colds and getting sick around the same time too. They're such good friends. I hope I have a best friend like that when I grow up. Anywho Diary, I'm looking forward to this season and hope that the Mouth Heater game continues b/c Dad had a smile on his face the entire time. He must have been winning.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The years since the Grizzlies last hoisted a World Series trophy are soon to be numbered in triple digits. We all know that. Before our beloved Grizz can compete in the Fall Classic this year, their pennant drought will reach 63. We're aware of that too. In fact, that long, excruciating, glacial wait for October bliss is what makes us who we are. It's why we don the purple and pink every day of our lives and flock to The Pad to soak up the sun when we should be working or rather looking for work.
This wait is our thing and it's what makes us who we are. And while we hate it, we accept it as a part of our destiny, because we know without a shadow of a doubt, that someday soon that wait will be over. And we can celebrate like no fanbase has ever partied in the history of sport. We will destroy police cars, knock over telephone and light poles, smack the shit out of Sox fans young and old and urinate literally everywhere. It is written in our Grizzly Fan Handbook that all of this behavior and much worse will occur for 40 days and 40 nights following the end of our long insufferable drought.
Fans of other teams are aware of this promise of unbridled mayhem and according to a Sports Illustrated column by someone named Joe Posnaski they hate us for it. I'm not sure that I believe that people really hate the Grizzly fans but I've been called some not nice names by fans of other teams when I've shown up at rival ballparks with my entire body dipped in hot pink latex to cheer on my Grizz. I've had beer poured on me, punches thrown at me and once, in Cincinnati, a police dog tried to chew my pee pee off in the parking lot outside Great American Ballpark. That would have been a disaster if I weren't wearing my Bleed Grizzly Pink Jockstrap with steel protective cup. Instead it was kind of funny and wierdly erotic.
Come to think of it, I think maybe the fans of our rivals do hate us and our Grizzlies and as I type this a few decent reasons for their animosity are leaping to mind. Let's hash them out together, shall we?
1. Our colors.
Now I know that most people don't consider purple and pink to be a very masculine color combo. And that a swarm of 20,000+ screaming, bleating, half-naked Grizzly lovers invading an opposing stadium might cause some alarm for people in cities not as progressive as our fair burgh of Chicago. If other fanbases unfamiliar with the celebration of all lifestyle choices that we enjoy here, they might get a little uneasy about so many of us pinking up their stadiums on game day.
2. Our capacity for alcohol consumption.
I don't know about you, but when I watch baseball games in person I like to get my ever-loving drank on. And heavy. I usually carry a flask duck taped to my right but cheek filled with very dirty martinis. Either that or a colostomy bag filled with cabernet sauvignon or a thermos full of our famous Grizzly Pink Margaritas! Man, just thinking about it makes my mouth water and my liver twitch with excitement. But the fact that we can drink our opponents under the table in this manner might be a bit intimidating to opposing fans who not only have to watch their beloved nine get pantsed on the field by our Grizz, but their women saddling up next to the guy with the tasty pink margaritas while they slump helplessly in their seats as victims of the dreaded whiskey dick.
3. Organized Cheering.
Now when we get drunk, we get loud and we get loud we get nasty. We've long been known for our cheerleaders in skimpy pink outfits parading along the top of the dugouts at The Pad. And while exposing ourselves to them in the late innings of blowout losses seemed to be an acceptable way for us to blow off steam in the old days, the security guards seemed to frown on the all-out masturbation that would ensue during particularly percolating victories. But as the wins piled up and the cheerleaders got hotter and thicker, the team kind of let go of its hangups about fans constantly jerking off in the stands while being flashed by the talent on top of the dugouts. But again, in places where that type of thing isn't generally done in mixed company and with children present it can be more than a bit shocking. Hence the number of fights and ejections of Grizzly fans whenever that now-famous chant goes out from our faithful fans.
"Let's go Grizzlies!" (fap fap fapfapfap) "Let's go Grizzlies!" (fap fap fapfapfap)
4. The Time Honored Pre-Grizzly Game Tradition of Pouring a Hot Bowl of Diahrea Over One's Genitals.
Seriously, lighten up people. It's 2008 for cryin' out loud!
So there you have it. Four good reasons why we're hated everywhere we tread in this, the finest season in the history of Grizzly baseball. But we don't care. We are who we are and we're proud of it. We're going to win it all and there's nothing any of you can do about. And that, dear readers, is a beautiful thing.
Hopefully, the rest of the BGP stable will be able to contribute soon, although the first annual BGP Dometop game last Saturday at Shennany North took its toll on a lot of the contributors. RV and Felix were trying to order every single variety of Cosmo on the menu, Morpheus was ejected and nearly imprisoned when he threatened a waiter with his sword cane after being told the bar could not break a $10,000 bill, and Apex may or may not be in Guantanamo after a disagreement with a Washington Expo fan turned into a improvised rap duel in which he claimed the “White House walls are gonna run pink.” Who knew that the secret service was in town?
As for myself, I suppose drinking a Signature Grizzly Cran-Straw-Raspberrytini after ever run proved a foolish plan, as the Grizz was up by 48 in the fifth, which is the last thing I remembered before checking my email this morning.
Either way, it’s time to get to today’s BGP 2008 profile, the controversial first baseman, Derrick Li. We’ve already written of his son’s tragic battles with hemorrhoids (T-Shirts still available – we now take Certified Checks as well!), but what of his own struggles, triumphs, and scandals? Perhaps no other player embodies the inherent contradictions of our own “lovable winners” like Li.
Born in Pyongyang at some point in the Cold War (records are spotty), Derrick’s formative years were spent in the secret North Korean Super Soldier1 program. Kim Jong Il specifically mentored Li, attempting to mold him as the ultimate rebuke of Western Decadence. A child of African-American parents who succeeded (nay excelled) away from the supposedly racist Running Dog Imperialist America would be a feather in his wicked cap. To this aim, Li was dosed with any of a number of chemicals, received strenuous physical training, and studied political science extensively. While this developed his hand eye coordination, discipline, and strength, the brainwashing he endured in his youth has left a lasting legacy on his outlook on politics. Barely a week goes by without Li taking a swipe at U.S. foreign policy, American pop culture, or the Free Market in general. But most Grizzly boosters take that as Derrick being Derrick2, and smile.
Not so humorous were allegations held after the 2005 season by angry Idahoans that Li was clearly a Warsaw-pact built military robot prototype that the Grizzlies had re-engineered as a hitting machine. It wasn’t until extensive physical examinations and blood tests were done by the MLB offices that the White Sox finally agreed to stop attempting to have Li dismantled. Of course, the last time Grizzly fans gave a damn about the ravings of White Sox supporters was the 4th of Never.
But who could blame anyone for doubting if Li was human in 2005? Li was immense that year, leading the league in batting average, homeruns, and runs batted in for the 2nd consecutive year, prompting the late Dan Plesac to dub him “Conductor” of the fabled Big Pink Train. Like most Plesac-coined terms, this one did not stick.
Li’s 2005 season was, on some levels a letdown, though. He spent most of the season flirting with the Sabermetric Triple Crown (an achievement that has yet to be achieved by any baseball player who played after 1879). While Lee handily led both leagues in WARP-3 and FRAA, he lost out the third category when SABR poster boy Adam Dunn narrowly beat him in the All-Star Pie Eating Contest. This loss was made doubly tough by the debate in the stats community of the importance of BiGPAPi (Blueberries Ingested: Pies Adjusted for Park Index) to a baseball player’s overall value after the 2006 decision to outlaw the use of Rascal Scooters on the field, thus limiting Dunn’s range and speed immensely.
One upshot of the 2005 season: the blood tests done at MLB’s behest not only proved his humanity, but ultimately resolved the unstated issue of his paternity as well, which led to one of the most tearful reunions in Grizztory, when former Harlem Globetrotters star Meadowlark Lemon embraced his long lost son, who had been kidnapped during the filming of a TV movie with the cast of Gilligan’s Island, in the clubhouse at the Pad after the final game of the 2006 NLCS (a sweep of the hapless Cardinals, who had the nerve to think they could bluff their way into a championship after only 83 regular season wins). Oh, you could claim their faces were just drenched in white wine spritzers, but those were clearly tears of joy.
- A holdover from U.S. and Russian efforts during the 1940s to create national super heroes modeled after the popular “Captain America” comic book character. The U.S. program was discontinued quickly after Truman took office, as he deemed it “super gay.” The Soviets had many failed efforts, and their program was officially disbanded after Nikolai Volkoff, the only known test subject to survive past infancy, defected to the WWF.
- For the record, Derrick is a nickname given to Li when President George H.W. Bush compared the tall and lanky Li to an oil derrick during his much-publicized escape from Korea in 1990.
Good Morning Sir or Madam,
I am a longtime fan of your blog, despite being a Major Player in the Legitimate Sports Media Field. I just left an influential position as a writer for a prominent Boise newspaper covering the White Sox (for political reasons best left unsaid, but suffice to say Larry Craig isn't the only man in the state with a wide stance), and would love to bring my PROVOCATIVE, INSIGHTFUL style to your blog.
I have been an occasional fixture on CABLE SPORTS, and am a frequent (indirect) contributor to Fire Joe Morgan. I think I would add a cachet of NATIONAL INTEREST to your little internet operation.
If you are interested, please contact me (SOON) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you have a couch or day bed or know of any bath houses I can crash at until I get a place in Chicago, I would be so grateful.
Well, I'm not ever remotely sure who this guy is, but I'm tempted to see how this works out. Any advice, fellow Grizzsters?
Friday, August 22, 2008
Now, I know several other people on this blog have had opportunities to detail their experiences with the Grizz, and their history and the things they love most, i thought i'd throw my wooden nickel in as well. I'm a relative newbie to the Grizz fanbase, as i lived in Idaho for a short stint in my life. I'm not proud of the fact that i was a white sox fan there, but i voluntarily left the team when those two fans, Anthony John "AJ" Ligue, and his son, Jermayne, beat up that proud Royals coach Tom Giambi. My father was transferred to Chicago soon after that to teach in an "inner city" school. I say inner city, just to explain the joke a little more, when really its a quite upper class neighborhood that was only poor and downtrodden when That Other Team was in town here, before they were ridden out on a rail.
In any case, i floundered in a baseball team-less world for some time. When i went to college in 2003, i discovered the joy that is the Grizz. Their strong hitting, their coaching, their incredible pitching. And it was the incredible pitching that i noticed most of all. The Grizz had that wonderful pitching that i've only seen duplicated in the present team. But worshiping the present Grizz and their trio of Cy Young* candidate pitchers is for another post.
Now though, i want to talk of one man. One legend. One reason i put an asterisk next to Cy Young's name in my previous paragraph. There is one man that is the true embodiment of Grizz spirit. His name is used as a rallying cry for the Grizz before every game. I hear talk that whence he retires, the baseball overlords will do all within their power to change the name of the Cy Young award to his name. That's right. You all know him as Grant Madison.
Grant Madison has been voted by every sports journalist everywhere as the greatest player to ever play the game. Which stat should i talk about first, his record 6000 strikeouts, or his legend - wait for it - dary! ability to win every game he has played since 1988? Both are without a doubt true marks of glory, assuring him status as a first ballot hall of famer, destined to receive 110 percent of the vote. You may say to me, Ryan Gregory Beariot, how can a player receive more than 100 percent of the vote? Pure Madison Grit (PMG (copyrighted 1986)), that's how.
Madison's career started on September 3, 1986, a game i vividly recall as my first memory. In fact, my first words to my parents were "madison" followed soon after by "cardinals suck somefing awful." what can i say, my parents raised a smart kid. Madison didn't do too well his first game, though he did strike out 4 in 2 IP. the fact that he also gave up 3 home runs in those two innings didnt seem to bode well for Madison's future as a Grizz. However, legendary Grizz player Bert Brankles (of the famous Brankles Boulevard, you all know) saw something in the kid. That something, Brankles said in a post game interview, was PMG. Madison heard what Brankles said about him and his next game was an absolute gem. He struck out the first 14 batters he faced before being ejected. The situation has been widely analyzed but what happened seems to be clear. Cardinals pitcher Rod Anklebiter threw at Brankles at his second at bat, after Brankles hit his 9th grand slam of the year against Anklebiter. Madison had to defend the man who had stuck up for him, even though he was pitching a perfect game, so he threw at Anklebiter's groin. The fact that Anklebiter wasn't wearing a cup that day probably didnt help matters in whether or not Madison deliberately threw at Anklebiter. Even though the Grizz were up 5-0, since Madison didn't finish 5 innings he could not get the win.
When asked in post game interviews why he did it, Madison replied with three simple words. Pure. Madison. Grit. The reporters, especially Ray Marciatti, seemed confused at this statement. Marciatti in fact wrote a column the next day about how Madison was ruining the sport. After Madison won his next 8 games in a row, of course, Marciatti was laughed out of town. (interesting sidenote: he now works as a cabana boy at the Boise White Sox pool)
Madison's long and glorious career so far has been summarized in several books so far, namely "Pure Madison Grit" by Patty O'Murphy, famed Chicago writer, and "He Struck Out Jesus With His Curveball" by Bert Brankles, detailing their time spent together. Now, this entry has already gotten far too long, but for some highlights:
Madison's 1st no hitter against the Braves in 1989.
Madison's 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th no hitters against the Cardinals.
Madison's 6th no hitter against the Red Sox, where his home run in the bottom of the 9th broke up Red Sox pitcher Curtis Sockwuss's own third bid for a no-hitter.
Madison's 3 perfect games, the most of any pitcher ever.
All 4 19 strikeout games of his, only eclipsed by current Grizz pitcher Woody Kerry's 27 strikeout game, the first all strikeout game in MLB history.
But behind all of his superhuman abilities lied a teacher. A man who could help young pitchers excel in new ways never seen before. Speaking of that 27 strikeout game, it is rumored that Woody Kerry saw Madison working on a new pitch, called the Centrifuge Gyroball before one game. Madison taught him how to throw it, and Woody Kerry has been throwing 103 mile an hour strikes ever since. Grizz pitcher Ryno Dumpsy had been having a few law problems along with his control issues, until Madison straightened both of them out. Dumpsy's 2.00 ERA and two Roberto Clemente awards ever since that point shows the effectiveness of Madison's teaching methods. Madison even cleared Tad Flowers's name in the 2005 murder investigation of James "Joke" Bones, former Grizz CF. Madison investigated the crime itself and found the culprit to be none other than Cardinals manager Joey LaFemme. The fact that Madison was still able to throw 110 mile an hour heaters past batters as he worked the murder investigation shows just how awesome he is.
But there is one Grizz pitcher that I haven't mentioned yet. The one who has been impacted by Madison the most. That's right, i'm talking about Jorge Zammano, the best hitting pitcher the Grizz have ever had. Zammano's pitching ability is almost as good as Madison's is, as exemplified by his 4 no hitters against the Cardinals, second only to Madison. His hitting is also a product of Madison's teaching, as i'm sure we all saw in his batting left handed, into the wind, one handed bunt, directly to the little orphan boy in the wheelchair, home run that he hit yesterday off of the Reds. Zammano was once asked how he could exemplify True Grizz Spirit so much, and his only answer was those three little words: "Pure Madison Grit."
And so, before i get any more emotional here, let's all raise a toast to Grant Madison, the greatest Grizz pitcher of them all. May him and his Grit always light the way to the future of the Grizz. And your favorite Madison moments are certainly welcome in the comments.
That reminds me of the Friday adventures of my youthhood. Every Friday from the time I was age 2 until the tender age of 14, my daddy, me, and Unkie Bruce went to watch the Grizz deliver a beatdown of a lifetime. EVERY FRIDAY. Can you even fathom that? That's at least 4 Fridays, yet not more than 2 billion. So for your pleasure, and to shut my therapist up, every Friday I will bring you yet another window to window memory. Just sit back, shut your mouth holes, and enjoy.
Friday, June 4th, 1989
The Three Amigos went to the PAD again today. Such a gay old time was had. I know I've gone to many a game in my day, but I still don't understand why we have to kiss after every strike is thrown. I mean, I don't mind it, but when it's just the three of us and nobody else is, we get some stares. I can't tell if people are being mean or just jealous. I'm assuming jealous. Anywho, after Li hit his 45th home run of the year onto Shaveland Avenue, the wings on the PAD almost blew off. I got soooooo super excited. Hugs were given, shoulders were rubbed, boners were waistbanded. I think dad had one too many Chocotinis. I had to go to the bathroom and knew that him and Unkie Bruce had been in there for awhile already, and I heard him in the stall. He kept yelling "I'm coming! I'm coming!" I just assume he was having a fight with mom on his new cellular telephone and she wanted him home soon. I was tired anyway from the previous night's game of Risk, so if mom wanted us home, I was happy. When dad and Bruce finally got back to our seats, they told me that as soon as they stopped sweating we could go home. "I just want to eat a wiener before we go", I said. They smirked at each other.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Now, we as a fanbase have grown accustomed to winning. Ever since Lee Elia's fabled 1983 tirade convinced the Tribune Company to sell the hapless Cubs to Smilin' Sam Zeeck (the marketing genius who got rid of that hideous, disease-ridden ivy and silly nautical scoreboard1 at Old Weegham Park before it was gutted to add the retractable Dome and Skymall we all love today), the newly rechristened Grizzlies have never gone under .500 (heck, there are only 3 seasons that they dipped below .575). In fact, though some diehard fans of the "Kubbeez," as they were once nicknamed, threatened to boycott games at The Pad until the old blue uniforms were restored, the winning ways of 1984 soon made them "come around."
[As an aside, I'm barely old enough to remember a time when "Bleeding Kubbee Blue" wasn't Chicago slang for refusing to be happy unless everything was going your way. Apparently Mike Royko coined that delightful expression during the week-long citywide celebration of Grizzly Pride after the 1984 World Series - right after Houston Pink set fire to an effigy of Dave Kingman. Per a champagne-drenched Royko: "If all those idiots want to bleed Kubbee blue over the loss of Ding Dongs like this, let 'em move to Boise."]
So yes, we have a strong tradition of winning. But we have to remember that the baseball season is not a sprint, it's a marathon. A marathon with lead weights on your legs and wild dogs nipping at your heels.
Which leads me to last night. The first home loss of any season is tough, and it's made doubly tough by the fact that the Grizz were working on an overall 32-game winning streak, dating back to that tough loss the day before the All-Star break when the entire team accidently left a day early for Detroit, forcing the emergency call-up of the Iowa Grizzlies roster (who managed to take the Giants into the 14th inning before losing on a controversial strike call).2 It's okay to be upset by the fact that "Little Big Klusz" Mark Fontegna went hitless, ending his streak just three games shy of DiMaggio's record (the only major record in MLB not held by a Pink-Hatter, after "Slammin'" Sammy Soto retired with 1,567 home runs).3
However, it is not okay to accuse the Grizz of throwing the game. Even great teams get beaten. Sure it's suspicious that Derrick Li hit into his first double play in 2,553 at bats. Yes, it seems highly unlikely that Grizzly starter Lyle "Lily" Delano Roosevelt would fail to make his 5th consecutive no-hitter. And the hacking swings from Alonzo were a far cry from his usual disciplined plate demeanor. But these things happen, even to the very best of us. And Reds starter Balki Cornrowyo stunned us all by not pitching like the glorified mop-up man his career stats indicate.
Remember, all you DOOM-sayers who live and die by every loss, fearing that no team this good could lose unless it is deliberate: Chicago is a city that WILL NOT STAND for corruption. The last time a Chicago team was suborned by amoral, lawless gangsters (way back in 1919, mind you), we ran them out of town on a rail. And frankly, Boise can keep their "White Sox." Chicago is a one-team kind of town, anyway.
The Grizz lost. Just like they have on 5 previous occasions this season (leading sportswriters to joke that they're a "awful, awful road team"). And it's entirely possible that they may lose again before the season is over. But don't let your fully justified confidence and pride in this team lead you to believe the worst. This is easily the 3rd or 4th best Grizzly team of my lifetime, and I have faith that Grizz manager Jim Essian would never allow the Pad to soak up any of that kind of filth.
I'm glad I got that off my chest. Thank you for bearing with me on this post. Now that I've cleared the air, let's jump back onto the platform, let the conductor punch our ticket, and ride that Big Pink Train to VICTORY!
- I bet someone could make an hilarious photoshop with a Jolly Roger on top of that thing - but why would the Grizz have a pirate theme anyway? We're certainly not in Pittsburgh! ROFLMAOWTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ONE!!!!!!!!!!
- I, of course, do not consider that a home loss, as the game was relocated to Des Moines due to minor-league superstar left-fielder Jackson DuPage's fear of air travel.
- A moment made even more poignant by the fact that his retirement was due to the fact his PED-induced brain tumor was finally obscuring his vision so badly that during the retirement party, Sammy couldn't see well enough to symbolically smash the "Lucky Boombox" that Soto used to increase team unity through sing alongs (for those new to the Pink Party: every year, Soto would destroy the season's boom box, while laughing and saying "New Year, New Song, New Radio" in his never-perfect English). Woodrow Kerrigan finally had to borrow one of Soto's famed Cork Clobberer's to finish the job. The picture of Woodsy holding the splintered nubbin of the bat, with tear-stained eyes, is one of the most moving images in Grizztory.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
4.) Grilled Pineapple Wraps and Appletinis. I used to drive out to the Pad often throughout the summer, bask all day in the seemingly endless mirage of asphalt pavement and work on my tan. The smell of Pineapples and Apples would fill the massive parking lot as Shenanagins would open for the day. I would anxiously wait until my father would give me clearance to start running towards the gates.
3.) Advertisements. Baseball is such a boring game, that it is nice to have interactive advertisements littering the stadium. From beer to electrical contractors I can find it all at SFM Field. I especially enjoyed the notion of painting all the bases green to allow them to superimpose advertisements on TV.
2.) Tradition. While the GRIZZ truly have become a powerhouse of their own right this year. It's hard to forget all the great GRIZZ traditions that are celebrated. Singing of the Seventh Inning stretch was boring, replacing it with the song of the year (this year, Quad City DJs) has really spruced the place up. I also enjoy the Lil' Wayne remix of "Go Cubs Go."
In memory of our beloved post-game studio commentator, Dan Plesac, creator of our favorite celebratory lament, we at Bleed Grizzly Pink have declared the Quad City DJ's classic club anthem "C'Mon N' Ride The Train" as the team's theme song for this year. Plesac truly loved that song and he quoted its refrain every night on the air following Grizzly triumphs. His passion for both our Grizzlies and hot, sweaty, juicy, bootylicious club babes was so much a part our Grizzly-watching experience that a win just wasn't a win until we'd jumped off the couch to "RIDE THAT TRAIN! WOO!! WOO!!"
That metaphysical connection between our Grizzlies and hot, pulsating, soaken-wet derrieres in motion set our minds ablaze with wonder about what might have been if Plesac had come along in time to set our favorite Grizzly teams ever to music. And so in his honor, we've done just that. Since Hip-Hop doesn't date back to 1945 and neither do any of our contributors, we feel that 1984 is the proper jumping-off point for this slammin' project. So sit back, get your clicker ready and prepare to move to the grooves of the Greatest Grizzly Anthems Ever!
For the contributing members of Bleed Grizzly Pink, the magical season of 1984 marked the first time our heroes had won any sort of championship in our short lifetimes. We looked on in awe as Manager Jim Freeze led a motley crew of veteran ballplayers assembled by savvy G.M. Houston Pink to the National League's Eastern Division Title. At the time, Carl Sundburg was rising to fame as one of baseball's premier second basemen and mid-season pickup Stu Sutcliffe dominated as a starting pitcher without peer. When the season was finished, those Grizzlies were rewarded with hardware. And fans with enough trips around the sun to be permitted into after-hours drinking establishments were treated to the magical sounds of Whodini, who symbolized the nocturnal emissions experienced by many of our members with his timeless classic, "The Freaks Come Out At Night."
We had to wait five long years between the magic of 1984 and the sprouting of our next prolonged engorgement of fandamonium. In 1989, about the time we at Bleed Grizzly Pink were beginning to find hair in places we'd always dreamed about, the Grizz were on the way to shocking the world with another Eastern Division title. This time, Freeze was the G.M. who enlisted the help of his longtime friend and ally Popeye Simmermaker to lead the troops into battle. Sundburg and Sutcliffe were still leading the charge along with the oft-injured but ever-dangerous slugging outfielder Andrew Calrissian. The rest of the league cowered in fear whenever mercurial stopper Rich "One Eye'd Dick" Willikers took the bump with a lead in the ninth. Ol' Dick only had one eye and often closed it before he pitched. That meant the ball had as much chance of ending up in the batter's ear as it did the catchers mitt. The fans were so enamored with the zany lefty that they eschewed the traditional foam fingers for big foam rubber dicks that they wore on their fists when Ol' One Eye'd Dick made his entrance to the fray. They didn't have the elaborate sound system at the ballpark that they have today, so Dick usually entered to some lame organ music. But if they did, there's a safe bet he'd have entered to the pulsating sounds of that year's smash hit, "Me So Horny" by the world famous 2 Live Crew.
By the time the next great Grizzly collective came about, the old-school players and managers were long gone. They were replaced by a new crop of heroes like the phenomenal rookie fireballer, Woodrow Kerrigan who struck out 20 batters in a single game before tearing his right elbow ligaments to shreds and continuing to pitch in the playoffs at the behest of erstwhile skipper Phil Wiggleroom. But the big story from that amazing summer was the historic power display put on by chemically-made-awesome right fielder Peralta Souzer. Souzer obliterated the team home run record with 66 en route to winning the National League's MVP award. His tit for tat battle with St. Louis Cardinal Candy Ass Red McRedass, was the stuff of legend. And Souzer would go on to top the 60 plateau two more times to become the only player ever to do so. He was a Big Punisher, indeed. Not much of a player but he did like to crush. A lot. Sing it, Grizzly fans!
It took another five long years for the Grizzlies to hit paydirt again and they did so this time on the considerably strong backs of ace righthanders Kerrigan and his brother in sore arms Marigold Pryor. Along with the last hurrahs of Dominican greats Souzer and Jesus Aloyisius, the Grizzly pitching staff was second to none in 2003. And while the dog days of August and September wore on, the evil Cardinals as Asstros kept the heat on our boys to the very end. But this team led by toothpick-chomping, Bible-thumping skipper Busty Flaker eventually beat the heat thanks to an influx of Latin American and African American ballplayers. But Grizzly fans are mostly white and privileged as everyone and his momma knows. So how did we beat the heat? Why, we took our clothes off, natch!
Last year's team was unlike all the others on this list in that they really never captured our imagination in quite the way their predecessors had. Their starting pitching wasn't that good, their bullpen often scary and bad. Their lineup was streaky and impatient and their record wasn't that impressive. They did manage to outlast a dopey and baseball-challenged Brewers squad and a laughably weak Cardinals team. So there's that. But we fully expected them to be pantsed in the playoffs and their three-game sweep wasn't really the kick to our collective penis tip that it might have been. This this team was probably a poor imitation of the great Grizzly teams past (and the truly dominant one of the present.) What kind of theme song should such a team take on? How about a cheap knock off of a timeless Hip-Hop Classic? Sounds about right to me.
Dan Plesac, R.I.P
Except me. I love those GRIZZ! It's also fun for the players. You can tell my favorite players by the ones that are having the most fun and are the most fundamentally sound. It's no coincidence that the first 3 letters of fundamentally sound are f-u-n, which, coincidentally, spell fun. Also, m-e-n-t-a-l is in fundamental which spells fundamental. Wait, I mean it spells mental. And mental is what basketball players need to be fundamentally sound.
Do you see what I'm saying? It's like the WEbster people took words that make sense together and put them together to make a bigger word that means what the smaller words mean on a larger scale. It's probably why the Webster people get so many specialty books published. I happen to have their 4th edition sitting on my insurance work desk.
THe point is that it really warms my heart to see a professional basketball star playing the game the right way fundamentally-wise and having fun doing it while doing it the right way. Sometimes it even makes me tear up some. That just makes my sniffles worse, too, which is not more fun for anyone.
Except for me. And blowing my nose a few times during the game isn't going to stop Morgan G. from rooting for all those hard workers and wearing his Grizzly tank top to take out the trash no matter how cold or how much my nose is red. I owe it to the team. They support me as much as support them. With all our hearts. We're in it to win it and have fun and do it the right way. I love them. They're a part of me like us fans are a part of them. I'll be cheering through sickness and health. It's a marriage of love that's right on par with the marriage between a man and his wife. If I have to explain it to you, then that means you don't understand and, therefore, aren't a true fan.
A true fan understands.
I'm so ready for this season. It's gonna be better than fresh funnel cakes. I can't wait.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
At the ripe old age of 84, Lonnie Jasper and his great, bushy beard are still going strong. Lonnie’s deep, gravelly voice and his trademark home run call (That’s a Paddlin!) are instantly recognizable to any Grizz fan. Lonnie has made millions from his Lonnie’s Loose Meat Sammiches franchise and his line of That’s a Paddlin! Whoopin’ Paddles. Fortunately, Lonnie’s business successes haven’t changed him one bit – he’s still the humble student of the game that he was when he took the job.
Lonnie’s partner, the young and virile Brent Bonely, adds a little bit of analysis and a lot of sass to the broadcast. Brent is always ready with a humorous quip, no matter what the topic. My favorite Bonely-isms?
1. “Give it to a pervert!” (when a fan catches a foul ball)
2. “Anywhere but the nards!” (when a player fouls one off himself)
3. “Chain her to the radiator!” (Brent’s famous marriage advice)
Pre- and Post-Game
The passing of Dan Plesac was a shock to everyone in the Grizz organization. Many had a hard time accepting the circumstances of Plesac’s death - he was crushed to death when his model train set collapsed on top of him. As with most Grizz-related tragedies though, there was a silver lining. Scientists were able to salvage Plesac’s Eyebrow from the wreckage, and the brave Eyebrow took over Plesac’s old role as studio analyst. (Thanks to our esteemed colleague Chuck Dickens for digging up the photo from Plesac’s memorial service).
It’s safe to say that the Zubaz Pregame Show and the Empire Carpet Postgame Show presented by White Castle haven’t missed a beat. The Eyebrow has continued all the time-honored Plesac traditions – the singing of “C’mon Ride It (The Zeppelin)” after a Grizz victory, the insightful and ‘no-holds barred’ analysis of the team, and the playful banter with his co-host, Gail Pincushion.
Most Grizz fans are familiar with Gail’s history with the ex-Grizz Patterberg brothers, so I won’t re-hash that sordid tale here. I’ll just say that I admire Gail’s honesty. She’s been upfront and open with her viewers when she has to miss time to attend a bris or bar mitzvah for one of her 12 kids with the Patterbergs. In any case, Gail’s chemistry with The Eyebrow is obvious – when he does the old “Smack Gail in her pregnant stomach with a broom” routine after a Grizz sweep, you know they genuinely enjoy each other’s company.
The royal we will be back before too long with a look at our Grizz radio team. In the meantime, to quote Lonnie Jasper’s famous sign-off line, “Keep your beard finely manicured and don’t zip your wiener up in your jorts.”
Thursday, August 14, 2008
My Brother: I like the moves they made this offseason, for the most part. I really wish they would've kept Kevin Love, though. His outlet passes give old Southern women the vapors.
Me: That's exactly what I was telling one of my internet friends the other day. Not about the vapors thing, but about not giving up Kevin Love, no matter HOW much potential OJ Mayo has.
My Brother: Internet friend? Wow, Morgan. I didn't know you had it in you. You got me intrigued in a really particular way. Spill it, little brother. You know I like to get a good sweat in the middle of the day.
Me: What? It wasn't...what? Sweat? No. It wasn't anything dirty. You know I don't like it when you talk that way, anyway. No, I was just talking about the Grizz with some like-minded guys
My Brother: Like-minded guys? You serious? I REALLY didn't know it was like that. I guess Uncle Pete was right. He almost always was, though. About stuff like that, anyhow. I gotta tell ya, Morg, I'm a little less intrigued now, but there's still an itch for information. I mean, back when I was really into the internet porn and had all those accounts, I went to one of the gay sites by accident one afternoon. While Helen and the kids were gone. Geez, I must've blacked out or something because the next thing I know, Helen's yelling at me to go take a shower before the cops show up and now we got that block thing on the internet. You know, that program that's supposed to be for kids. Only this one's for me and the pornography and what not.
Me: I'm not really sure what to say...about that...that stuff you just told me, I mean. I, uh, really just wanna talk about the Grizz.
My Brother: Yeah, it's a sad state of affairs around the house now. I can still get on Hollywood Tuna, though. I like that one. I'm not sure how interested you'd be in it, though. It's pretty much all broads. You and your like-minded friends probably got your own sites, , though, don't ya, Morg. Some night when it ain't so danged hot, I might come over and check it out on your internet. It could be fun. Get some beers, have some laughs, real "guy" stuff. We'd probably have to look at some broads towards the end to get my head straight before I went home, however. You be okay with that?
Me: Hey, I like the broads as much as the next guy. I see that site everyday. Sometimes twice. It's good. I like to look at the broads on it. You ever wonder why they call it Hollywood TUNA? Seems odd.
My Brother: Beats me. I think it's because they're always on the beach or something. Hey, Morg, you know what goes great with Tuna?
Me: No. What?
My Brother: Mayo.
(We both laugh a lot. Like brothers will do.)
My Brother: (sigh) Oh man, that was choice. I been savin' that one, Morg. Man oh man, it's gonna be a great season. I really like our chances.
Me: Me, too, brother. Me, too.
The season will be here before you know it! GO USA! Try your hardest Olympians!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Grit. Determination. Playing the game The Right Way. Not being afraid to get your uniform dirty.
These are just a few of the things that Grizzlies fans are relatively indifferent to. We hold our players to different standards than other teams. We want patient hitters with a lot of power, cannon arms, and natural athletic ability. Just like Ryne Therroyo, the slugging shortstop and #2 hitter for the 2008 Grizz Machine.
Don't let his small size fool you, "Ryngo" (as he is playfully known to the Grizzly faithful in his hometown of Liverpool, England) is a coiled spring of pure hitting power. His frozen rope line drives and opposite field home runs are already the stuff of local legend, as are the slick double play partnership with fellow Liverpudlian slugger Mack "Little Ted Kluszewski" Fontegna.
Indeed the Mersey Marauders, as "The Royo" (the nickname Grizzly color commentator Brent Bonely is contractually obligated to call him after losing a bet with colorful owner Sam Zeeck during a charity pie eating contest) and "Little Klusz" were known when they starred together on the Cambridge University American-Style Rounders Team before signing with the Grizzlies after matriculating, are inextricably linked in the minds of The Fabled Box Bums. Even as undergraduates, when "Ryngo" lead the Cambridge Seven in Metric Homeruns with 37.4 and Fontegna posted a European Record 14 Dodekacouples (a particularly exciting offensive play exclusive to the British version of the sport whereupon the "batsman" advances 2 bases on a ground rule double, then rolls a pair of dice to see how many additional bases he is allowed to reach, provided the left fielder was unable to outrun him in a foot race held prior to the match), the fans were so worried that the duo might be split that a group of rowdy Rounders Hooligans, blasted out of their minds on room-temperature stout, attempted to sew them together with fishing line. Thankfully, the fan's tailoring was mostly as poor as their dentistry, and both men managed to recover with minimal injury and one heck of a good story to tell at GrizzlyCon '08.
The Royo's other major claim to fame is that it was his genetic code that was used to crack the Human Genome Project, which led some wags to joke about a fanciful cloned "40-Therroyo Roster" which would dominate the National League handily. While Sabremetricians are largely in agreement that a lineup consisting entirely of Ryne Therroyos would handily defeat any other proposed lineups in history, such as the 1927 Yankees, the 1975 Reds, the 2005 Grizzlies, and even the fanciful All-Satchel Paige Replicants Barnstorming team dreamed up by Sci-Fi visionary Philip K. Dick, the odds of such a lineup being stable enough to complete a season without imploding and forming a neutron star are up for serious debate in the field of Theoretical Particle Physics.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
9.) The Neighborhood. Once upon a time, this franchise was plagued with a neighborhood filled with bars, over-price restaurants, and frat-boys wearing half-shirts. I have horrible nightmares of trying to navigate through the rancorous crowds cheering for the previous team. Now, it is much better! Clark Street is a magnificent site lined with Petite Sophisticate, Lane Bryant, and Stay-Free Maxi Pad vending machines. Now my horrible memories are replaced by venturing out to the ballpark, and instead of waiting in anticipation to fill out my scorecard, watching my mother try on the latest safari wear for the Petite woman.
8.) The Fans. This franchise used to be mocked due to the surrounding gay community. After the new sponsorships, it was a great experience to wash away all the negativity towards the gay community and welcome them into the park with open arms. I remember crying after seeing Samwell's (pictured below) performance of What What (In the Butt) in centerfield of SFM Field.
7.) Rooftop. With the addition of the stain glass roof at SFM Field, never is there a threat of a game rainout. Coupled with the lights and artificial turf, all the games can be played at nighttime. However, the best part of the new stained glass rooftop is not the way the light reflects onto to the field, but those pesky across the street rooftops aren't getting rich of off our team.
6.) Touchscreens. With every seat/couch supplied with their own touchscreen monitor the day at the ballpark is SO much better. From watching E! News, to playing interactive games, and even filling out an electronic scorecard, I love the new touchscreens. I can't believe people once would fill out scorecards by hand! LOL!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Forgive me for waxing so poetic, but it’s been a good life as a Grizzly fan. So many memories, almost all of them positive. After Ryan’s stellar post about his favorite memory, I thought I’d talk about one of mine. I can’t say it’s the best, because as I’ve said my whole life as a Grizzhead has been “all good.”
I suppose I could talk my first trip to The Pad at age ten, walking up those steps to the field. Everything was so pink. Pinker than the pinkest bottle of store brand Pink Bismuth (compare to Pepto-BismolTM) in my mother’s medicine cabinet. Pinker than a strawberry JelloTM Brand Gelatin pop. Pinker than a pinafore dress in the pinkest closet of BarbieTM’s Dream House, viewed through a pink filter by an albino with pink eye. Brother, that place was pink. I can barely remember the game (other than that we won on a squeeze bunt by “Ring “The Ringo” Sandler), but I remember the almost womblike tranquility of Stay FreeR MaxipadTM FieldTM, R.
Or I could talk about watching “Swattin’” Stevie Sota hit his 63rd and 64th home runs of the month of June in 1998. That was the year Bud “The Rooster” Selig caved to pressure from the players union and made PED’s mandatory. Second baseman Mickie “Mickey” Morandinelli hit for the cycle twice in one game for the second time of the season, which was cool, but totally eclipsed when Sota’s second home run of the night landed in the middle of Irving Park road, leaving a dent in a CTA bus stop sign that to this day is still called “The Sota Transfer.”
Or maybe the game I watched from the Upper Upper Tier Reserved Box of The Pad, just outside the freshly built “Shenanny North” (as The Fabled Box Bums insist on calling the second Shenanigans that was built on top of The Pad’s semi-retractable dome). The Grizz has just won a bidding war with the Cardinals to sign Jim “Kid Chicago” Edmonds (They still called him “Hollywood” at the time of signing, but 5 homers on his first day in the Grizzly Pink half-shirt soon changed that) from the Angels on the on the same day they extended Grizzly lifer Greg “Maddux” Maddog’s contract for 5 more years, and aside from the aforementioned 5 doggie dongs (I’ve never known why we Grizz fans called them that, by the way. Just part of the Grizzly traditions, like returning foul balls for the $5 deposit or booing the setup man for exactly 27 seconds at the top of the 8th), seeing “Maddux” pitch his 6th no-hitter in a row to break his own record from the previous season was the high point of the day.
Really all of these moments are near and dear to me, but really there is no one moment that stands out. Just a feeling. A feeling of Grizzly Swagger. You taste it with every Appletini in the Grizzly Mall Shenanigans (Or “Triplenanny,” to the Box Bums), located on what used to be called “Waveland Avenue” back before “Padtown” was leveled and rebuilt in the mid-80s. You hear it every time a child sings “Funkytown during the stretch, trying to do his best impression of longtime Grizzly Announcer Howie Mandel’s delivery of the classic rallying song of the fabled “Big Pink Train” team that annihilated the Boise White Sox in the 2005 World Series. You feel it in the artificial turf every Mother’Day when The Pad opens the field for the Bjork ‘n Friends Eclectic Folk Revue Concert Series.
My favorite Grizzly memory? It's a Pad-Tie (if you'll excuse the pun stolen from the noodle shop at the Grizzly Food Court) - ALL OF THEM.
But one evening in particular sticks out in my mind. I was 8 years old, and the only thing I loved more than my collection of ALF pogs was my favorite Grizzlies player: Andrew Dawsum. #8, affectionately known as “The Hunk” to his adoring fans. The old man worked his tail off at the coal mine 6 days a week, but as a special birthday treat, he took me to my first game at SFM Field.
Prior to the game, we stopped off at the brand new Shenanigan’s. As I savored my corn dog smothered in ketchup and washed it down with a Crystal Light, my dad pointed up at the glass ceiling. The Grizzlettes were doing their warmup routine in the outfield above us, and my pre-pubescent eyes were treated to their very first upskirt peep show. A strange feeling started to stir in my loins. This new and wonderful sensation was quickly interrupted by the sounds of my dad choking on his loose meat sammitch. I was worried about the old man for a second, but he washed it down with a swill from his Crystal Pepsi and was none the worse for wear.
I vividly remember the cornucopia of sights and sounds as we made our way up the Zayre Escalators to the Bud Light Pavilion. The Bugle Boy Jumbotron! The luxurious, padded seats, each with their own personal monitor! The scent of the artificial turf!
None of these wonders could compete with the sight of my idol, The Hunk. My hero, looking dapper in traditional Grizzly pink, casually throwing warm up tosses to his teammate, Jerry Dalton. He was even more graceful and athletic in person than he was on my transistor radio. As the warmups came to an end, The Hunk glanced into the stands and casually tossed me the ball. A real live baseball! For me!
Just when I thought my heart would explode with joy, The Hunk yelled up to me:
“Yes, Mr. Dawsum?”
“You can be my wingman any time.”
I’ve grown older, and maybe a bit cynical, since that night. But I’ll never forget the evening of my first Grizzlies game, and the moment of my first boner.
This blog is the home of anyone who loves to eat a delicious loose meat sammitch in the Bud Light Pavilion of Stay Free Maxipads Field with the Grizzlies annihilate the competition!