Friday, April 25, 2014

Honey Pots & Other Sticky Wickets

In case you missed it, earlier this week the Chicago Cubs celebrated the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field.  I have never been to Wrigley.  I have never rooted for the Cubs - other than when they played against Will Clark's San Francisco Giants in the 1989 NLCS.  I have no actual affinity for Wrigley.  If you do, then I heartily recommend Tom Verducci's piece on SI's web site:   http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20140423/wrigley-field-100th-anniversary-chicago-cubs/

Candidly, my favorite thing about Wrigley Field is its role in two of my favorite films, Ferris Beuller's Day Off and...

...The Blues Brothers Movie


Who among us does not hate Illinois Nazis?

In true Cubs style, the franchise that has last won a World Series eight years before it started calling Wrigley home (let that factoid rattle around inside of your skull cap for a couple of minutes) tortured their fans on 100th Anniversary day.  The Cubbies entered the ninth inning ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks by three runs - and proceeded to give up a five spot.  They lost 7-5.  

On Wednesday night, Michael Pineda and his good friend P. Tar took the mound against the Red Sox in Fenway Park.  Given that when he last pitched against Boston in New York on April 10, Sox Manager John Farrell raised questions about the rather obvious glop of pine tar that Pineda had all over his pitching hand, one might have thought that (a) the Sox would be on the lookout for any hanky-panky; and (b) the Yankees would tell Pineda to cut the shit and pitch "au naturel".  You would have been half-right.  

Pineda toed the rubber to start the bottom of the second - after having surrendered two runs in the first - with a rather obvious glop of pine tar on his neck.  Yep.  His neck.  Upon "discovering" it (giving that word its broadest possible definitional scope), the umpires threw Pineda out of the game.  While I like Joe Girardi quite a lot and think he has done a good job managing the Yankees these past five-plus years, his claim after the game that no one in the Yankees dugout saw Pineda go out on the field slathered in the stuff comes dangerously close to insulting even my intelligence.  And I am not very bright. 

Unless someone looked at Pineda and thought that he had rubbed the remnants of a pack of Rolos that had melted in his pants pocket on his face and neck on his way out to the mound to pitch the second inning, what other explanation was there for what was there?  Perhaps in the off-season the same contractor that retrofitted the Alamo for a basement at Pee Wee's request


spent a day or two in Boston and created a secret passage from the visitors' clubhouse to the pitcher's mound that bypasses the visiting team's dugout entirely, thus enabling Pineda to emerge from underground standing atop the rubber with none of his coaches or teammates being any the wiser?  Absolute idiocy.  

Pineda keeps this up and MLB will require him to pitch wearing a "wife-beater" t-shirt (navy blue pinstriped for home games and solid gray for road starts) and Bermuda shorts just so they can be certain he is not hiding anything on his person.  Recommendation for Joey G.:  Tell Pineda to cut the shit and stop dabbing himself with pine tar.  Tell him if he does it again, you will dock him his game check.  I am fairly confident that once you explain to him that you shall take money out of his pocket, he will stop putting pine tar in it.  

It seems simpler than trying to teach him how to be smart about it while hoping you actually learn how to lie convincingly.  I have little hope for the former and, based upon Wednesday night's performance, no hope at all for the latter. 

-AK       

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