Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ding Dong the Yanks are Dead...

This was just a beautiful day.

The bane of my baseball life is now eliminated from the American League Division Series. Yes, I am talking about the NY Yankees (also known as the Motherpuggin' Yankees everywhere else in the country).

Last night, the Detroit Tigers defeated them 3 games to 1 in the ALDS, sending the Yankee hellspawn back to the Bronx with a $1.2 billion dollar receipt over the last 6 years and no World Series championship to show for it. It goes to show that you cannot throw money at the wall and expect a world championship to grow out of the dirt just because you collect all the good players from across the league and around the world.

The Yankees line-up reminds me of that kid in the neighborhood who SOMEHOW got all the good baseball cards while you were stuck with the 13 copies of some Red Sox guy who only lasted 2 innings back in 1982. This kid would have whole team sets and rookie cards of dudes who became genuine superstars. This kid would stick his cards in your face and demand that you trade him the few good cards you managed to find over the last 6 months AND some cash OR some really hot G.I. JOE or Transformers figure. All so you could get that rare Bucky Dent or Reggie Jackson or Jim Palmer card you needed so badly.

That kid grew up to be George Steinbrenner.

Other than the fact that Steinbrenner was a close friend and contributor of Richard Nixon's, there are lots of good reasons to hate that man and his misbegotten baseball franchise:

You can't buy a championship. Baseball, like life, is very unpredictable. Tiger's manager Jim Leyland said it best, "Sometimes you never know what is going to happen. Sometimes, you can get a couple of friends together, and a few more people show up, and you wind up having the biggest party of the year. And sometimes, you can plan a party for two months, and then no one shows up."

Steinbrenner hasn't learned that there is one constant factor that creeps in that no sabermetrics, no expensive payroll, and no amount of double-dealing can duplicate: Heart. The Yankee teams that won the World Series between 1996-2000 had heart and money. And there ain't much that's going to stop heart and money working in sync. Unless you count the 1996 ALCS and that bastard punk Jeffrey Maier and that infamous call that kept my beloved Baltimore Orioles out of the World Series. Speaking of...

The 1996 ALCS -- Baltimore Orioles vs. NY Yankees. I love my Baltimore Orioles like no other sports team. I have been an Orioles fan since 1979 and was there for their 1983 World Series win. I have followed them through their highs and lows and back again and will never stop loving them. So of course, when they put together that awesome squad back in 1996 that included Robbie Alomar, Brady Anderson, Cal Ripken Jr., etc, I was certain that they were going to go all the way. Until that awful night when that bastard punk destroyed everything.

Before I continue, you can see it here for yourself: ORIOLES GET SCREWED BY A BASTARD PUNK.

Bottom of the 8th inning, Orioles leading 4-3, Armando Benitez pitching to Derek Jeter. Benitez deals and Jeter hits it to the right field wall. Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco drifts back to the wall and raises his glove to catch the ball, only to have another glove block the ball and deflect it into the stands. The umpire rules it as a HOME RUN despite the CLEAR EVIDENCE that a fan had reached into THE FIELD OF PLAY.

I am not a baseball genius, but I do vaguely remember that if a fan reaches into the field of play during a baseball game, then either the play is invalidated or ruled an out depending on the circumstances. At the very least Jeter should have been made to redo the pitch with the original pitch count restored.

That didn't happen. Why? Because the Yanks get away with too much.

Bizarre umpiring calls. Anyone who has ever watched a baseball season revolving around the American League East will tell you that the Yankees get away with entirely too much. You will see umpires continually call opposing pitches well inside of the strike zone as balls, and if a Yankee pitcher throws the ball into the dirt 20 inches off the home plate, that somehow becomes a strike.

There was this one time a few years back when the Yanks were playing the Red Sox, and a Yankee infielder completely MISSED the guy he was supposed to tag by about 5 feet and this was called an out. The thousands in attendance, the millions watching the TV, the players, coaches, and just about every sports reporter in America saw this except for the umpire standing no more than 10 feet away from the incident.

That's just one of many, many times the Yanks have gotten extremely questionable calls in their favor. Which, in itself, isn't the worst thing in the world if it didn't happen all the time and during crucial moments like, say... the 1996 ALCS vs. the Baltimore Orioles.

ESPN and the bandwagon fans. That's actually redundant. There is nothing more sickening than watching those "broadcasters" at ESPN kiss the Yankees' asses year after year. They behave as if it is impossible for the Yankees to lose. If Baseball Tonight is on for an hour, expect about 22 minutes of Yankees and Red Sox footage before you hear about other teams and scores. And if the Yankees lose, they never say the OTHER TEAM was better, they make remarks like, "Boy, the Yankees definitely let this one slip away."


They didn't LET IT slip away, they lost to a better team that night. Remember... baseball? Life? Unpredictable.

Then, compounding the sociopathic syncophantic urges of ESPN's biased journalism are the endless throngs of people running around wearing Yankees hats, jackets, glasses, sneakers, backpacks, wristwatches, gloves, scarves, and wristbands. These people make me sick. Not because they are Yankee fans, but because they have become Yankee fans only in the last ten years.

You see, whenever any team in any sport wins a world title, the next year, you see a conspicuous rise in the amount of jerseys, hats, jackets, etc. bearing that team's logo. It happened with the White Sox and the Miami Heat last year, and it will happen again over the next few months. With the Yankees, they won the World Series from 1996-2000, each year, gaining a massive number of new fans who previously didn't watch sports, or were too busy following another winning franchise.

Now, all of a sudden, Yankees fans are all over the place. People who knew NOTHING about the Yankees before 1996, and know nothing about baseball except for the Yankees. Sitting around these people at live games is the most excrutiating thing you can imagine next to having to clean up behind Britney Spears and her kids.

People say to me, "What about the kids who grew up here? How can you be angry at them?" First off, who cares what kids think? They're KIDS! America is the only country in the world where kids have rights. In most of the world, kids don't go to school, have to pray they ain't gonna be sold off or stolen into sex slavery, have to dodge bullets in war-torn nations, school teachers are encouraged to beat them senseless, and have next to no options. Here, kids have fast food meals named in their honor as well as entire days at ballparks dedicated to them.

Kids have no real excuse to be Yankees fans after a certain age. Let's say 12. At 13, they should have the good sense to support a team that usually tries hard but doesn't always win. The Mets, Cubs, Orioles, Reds, Angels, Athletics, Giants, Marlins, Indians, Twins, Bewers, Diamondbacks, Mariners... and the list goes on and on.

Yankees fans are also silly. They behave like gorillas except without the manners. I have been to Yankee games and have seen fans turn on each other, the players, and the coaches all in the same breath. They boo the most expensive player in history (A-Rod) because he doesn't always come through in tight situations or makes errors at 3rd base a lot.

Guess what, A-Rod isn't a third baseman, he is a SHORTSTOP. But because the Yankees have an overrated, whiny, pretty boy at shortstop already, it goes to show that Steinbrenner made yet another dumb mistake. A-Rod puts up amazing numbers year after year. But because Derek Jeter whines and complains, A-Rod is put into a position that he isn't suited for. And god forbid someone makes Jeter upset.

Supporting the Yankees is like supporting the rich kids in those 1980's college movies. They were always blonde, racist, jerky, mean, and snotty. They were always played by that blonde bad guy from the Karate Kid. And the loveable band of losers somehow finds a way to beat them at their own game at the last minute. Oh wait, that did happen in real life. It was called the 2004 ALCS vs. the Red Sox.

Back to money issues. Steinbrenner has destroyed the free agent market. Almost every star player and his agent knows that they can use other MLB franchises to leverage or set the market cost too high while the Yankees will come along and pay $10 million more than the highest offered contract. It's happened repeatedly over the last 7 years. And if they don't wind up signing with the Yankees, they end up on a team that just spent too damn much for one man. (I.E. Hard throwing left-handed closer B.J. Ryan to the Toronto Blue Jays. $40 million for a closing pitcher? You gotta be kidding me.)

Then when you look at who he has on the team: Jeter, Giambi, Sheffield, A-Rod, Posada, Johnson, Mussina, Abreu, Matsui, Cano, Williams, and Melky; it somehow become much less fair to the rest of baseball. Even when teams have to re-adjust to being in a reduced market with less talent available, whomever they develop get signed away to the Yankees, committing that team to spend another 3-5 years working their way out of the cellar.

For the Yankees not to win over the last 6 years proves that having all the money in the world doesn't buy you happiness. Just ask George Steinbrenner, he is out $1.2 billion with nothing but a bunch of excuses and a compliant media sharing in his emptiness.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

My Friends are Jerks...

There is one thing I have learned about our society, and that is some people take themselves too damn seriously. I got some funny responses to my blog and then I also got some truly ridiculous responses. I was even accused of having "animus" towards women.

Even though I do know what that word means, it sounds like something Harry Potter would say in a magic spell. It doesn't belong in a critique of a silly blog called the "Fool's Crusade." Its some strange folk out there. I will post these responses next week because you wouldn't even believe how silly they were.

Anyways, I find myself missing my friends quite a bit. They are all spread out over the country and I don't make new friends easily. Mainly because I am surrounded by people who have no personality and cover that up with endless conversations about their bland children, or folks who talk about Jesus all the time, or folks who find ways to further segregate themselves away from the rest of society (black fraternity/sorority members, cops, military, and fake intellectuals).

So the pickings are slim for a dude who likes talking about politics, video games, breakfast cereals, and old TV theme songs. I believed I was alone in the world for many, many years, because even the dudes I grew up with were a bit too preoccupied with sports and fake gangsta life for me to share all my interests with.

I didn't really connect with other folks who shared my interests until I moved to Boston after undergrad. I will go on record to say that there are some great people in Boston, but the majority of the population are people who hate anything that isn't white. Even the black Bostonians hate everything non-white. Its the racial Twilight Zone of America. More on that in a future blog.

Anyways, while working at a Japanese animation spot and a comic book store while in grad school, I met a bunch of guys who are the coolest people I have ever known. Sure, most people would call them unrepentant geeks, but damn, if I would start singing the theme song to "One Day at a Time" those bastards would chime right in with me.

That's a damn rare thing.

I won't give you their real names, but I will start with a short rundown of their personalities and quirks --

BDB = Asian guy who loves Boston almost as much as I love Baltimore. Has a problem understanding how much Boston sucks as a city in terms of personality. BDB stands for Back Down Buddy, in the sense that he is that friend who pulls out of major plans at the last minute because he is afraid of his parents. Mind you, he is in his late 20s. Needs to get laid in this century.

August = Funny, white, yuppie guy like those dudes from the movie WALL STREET. Loves money. Talks about his conquests with women ad nauseum. Some of these stories are fabricated. I call him "august" because his best woman stories seem to happen in the month of August.

NoBankAccount = Good Salvadoran guy who has no bank account despite being in his mid-20s and this causes him lots of trouble whenever he needs to cash his paycheck. Spends about 60% of his income on video games and the like. Because of some issues growing up, NBA didn't learn the basics about how to conduct personal financial business. Things that should come to people immediately take about 3 months for NBA to process. While it doesn't really affect me in my personal life, it gets hard to make plans with a guy who may or may not have the money whenever you want to go out and have fun. Desperately needs to get laid on a regular basis.

Leech = I couldn't make up a name for this guy because that's his nickname. He got it because he never had any money, hung out at a comic book store for years living off the kindness of the employees. Great dude, but has a very unhealthy desire for young girls. I have tried to ween him off of this fetish, but I figure he will stop when he ends up in prison for statuatory rape sharing a cell with a guy who hates child molesters. Some people have to learn the hard way -- no pun intended.

JailHouseMike = One of the guys I grew up with. Love him like a brother. Problem is, he seems to have lost the ability to experience joy in his life. He was always a dour kind of guy, but if it doesn't relate to sports or disfunctional women, he ain't really interested. Recently, I became the potential godfather for his new son. This has changed a lot in his life, although he still doesn't get excited about much.

MovieUsher = Another guy I grew up with. He is probrably the closest of all of them to having my exact same personality. And for that reason, we have been at odds for quite a long time. MovieUsher is intelligent, funny, and hard working. But what separates us was my educational ambitions vs. his desire to have fun when graduating from high school. I went straight into undergrad, he spent that summer having sex with a girl everyone warned him about. So of course, she gets pregnant, and to this date, he hasn't earned a college degree. I only bring that up because he talked about it being a personal goal 15 years ago. We are all in our early 30s.

The Dreamer = I met this dude at Ithaca College. He is like a much more idealistic, bright-eyed, and naive version of myself. He is a very talented writer and he has the exact same taste in women as I do. Problem is, there was a point in time when I stopped being naive and idealistic and started to practice a cautious optimism that has served me very well in the last decade. The Dreamer still hasn't developed that necessary survival skill. So he jumps headlong into things under the umbrella of being "romantic" but careful examination reveals an overall laziness at attacking a situation from the most logical point of reference. Moved out to Arizona on a whim. Still out there comprising 25% of the black population of that state.

I do have quite a few women friends whom I haven't dated or slept with. But they usually get insecure boyfriends who have issues with them having a male friend so I don't push the issue too much and I hear from them about every 6-8 months when they break up with those losers.

But for all their quirks and percieved lunacies, I really love these people. Sadly, we are all over the country, so whenever I get to hang out with them, its an event and we try to bring the house down wherever we go. Problem is, the roof usually ends up on our collective heads.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Here we go...

I don't even know where to begin with this stuff. The basics... my name is Brandon Easton... born and raised in the greatest American city on Earth: BALTIMORE, MARYLAND. Went to Ithaca College, Boston University, and Lehman College (one of the shittiest schools in the world) and I am now a teacher and professional writer living in the Bronx.

I have as many enemies as friends. I don't know why. I am a nice guy. But I don't like stupid people. And the world is overpopulated by underachievers, low-brows, and people whose depth of thinking include reality television and arguments about that dumb ass Flavor Flav show.

I love science-fiction and tend to believe that people who don't like science-fiction are idiots. Why? Because they are. That's all I have to say about that.

Let's see... what else?

I am damn tired of a lot of things.

I am tired of people being afraid of disciplining asshole teenagers, I am tired of people who use those annoying two-way radio cell phones (since when did everybody become a fucking paramedic or police officer?). I am tired of Republican neo-conservatives who pretend NOT to be bigoted, classist, sexist, materialistic, and war-mongering jerks who only care about their own empty, closeted, and shallow lives.

I am tired of men becoming metrosexuals or whatever the hell that means. It sounds entirely too gay. And on that note, I am tired of people accusing black men of being on the "down low" all the time. Black guys who might be secretly gay DIDN'T start this situation. Men have been gay for centuries. Thousands of years actually. Black guys didn't start it, didn't perpetuate it, and certainly aren't the only ones.

In fact, I have heard stories of white guys being on the "down low" for a long time *cough cough* BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN??? DUH! You think that was an isolated story? Think again. That "down low" crap has been around for a long, long time, and it wasn't Black men who perfected it. I know lots of black dudes, and if any of them are secretly gay, they are doing a fantastic job of hiding it. Either way, I ain't gay, so it doesn't really affect me after all.

And of course, I save my considerable wrath for the fairer sex. Yes, women, you have a lot to answer for. First off, why the hell have women become stupider than ever before? I don't mean that in the sexist way it sounds. I mean it in the sense that I grew up around intelligent women. I saw my mom, grandmothers, aunts, etc... not make incredibly stupid choices in their personal lives.

Why is this an issue with me?

Because women GIVE BIRTH TO OTHER HUMANS! And if that woman is an idiot or has sex with an idiot and gets pregnant, there is another idiot bastard walking around who makes life harder to live for everyone else.

First off, ladies, if you need to know how to avoid a man who is a bum, please follow this simple guide to AVOIDING MEN WHO WILL TREAT YOU LIKE CRAP:

1) If he doesn't have a job, leave him.
2) No matter how hot his body or face is, if he can't hold an intelligent conversation with you, leave him.
3) If he spends too much time working out or has been in prison, he probrably has sex with men, leave him.
4) If he has a lot of kids by a lot of different women, why are you giving him a chance to make you the next disgruntled chick? Leave him.
5) If he does drugs other than weed and alcohol, leave him.
6) If he seems needlessly violent, or gets upset quickly over nothing, leave him. Don't think he will change just because you sleep with him whenever he wants sex.
7) If he seems jealous of your success in life, leave him.
8) If he lives with his momma at the age of 30 or above, leave him.
9) If he is married, leave him.
10) If he is slightly overweight, has multiple college degrees, loves science-fiction, and is somewhat funny, give the guy a chance. You never know how good he might be in bed.

In any case, I probrably made a few more enemies. But hey, Bill Cosby was right!