The Dirty Diaper

Because the web is full of it.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


The Importance Of Sucking

Recently ESPN reported a woman in Boston settled litigation on baby bibs she was selling on eBay that had the phrase “Damon Sucks” on the front, referring to former Red Sox and current Yankee Johnny Damon. Damon’s agent, Scott Boras, complained to eBay that it “violated Damon's right of publicity.” eBay complied and removed the bibs, but since Boras couldn’t prove that she meant Johnny Damon—there are currently two players in the majors with the name Damon, the other being Damon Hollins of the Devil Rays—he dropped the complaint as long as she didn’t use any other phrase that would tie the bib to the obvious. She was able to return the bibs to eBay.

This woman has more brains than the attorney who aided her case.

“Sports figures like Johnny Damon are important people in our society, and the First Amendment protects the right of the public to freely comment on them," said Glen Beck, who works for the Public Citizen Litigation Group and helped the case.

Johnny Damon is an important person in our society? Pardon me?

Regardless of whether or not my reader is a Yankee fan, I have no problem writing that Johnny Damon’s importance in anyone’s life, except this schlub, ranks right up there with pencil shavings. And if Mr. Beck is my reader, then I suggest that the least he could do is add that he’s also a die-hard Yankee fan, because quotes like that are the reason we laugh at lawyer jokes.

Johnny Damon, along with every single professional athlete on the planet, would be nothing more than unemployed if we didn’t fork over excessive amounts of money to watch him hit a baseball. If Johnny Damon, Damon Hollins or Matt Damon or vanished from the face of the planet tomorrow, my life will go on, as hard as that may seem, Mr. Beck. The only people who would suffer would be Mr. Punchline here and the producers of Oceans 13.

And because he's the dork who said, “…and the First Amendment protects the right of the public to freely comment on them,” then I will not lose any sleep tonight by writing this:

Greg Beck Sucks.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Blissful Ignorance

Listening to a spirited debate among outrageously smart people is always fun because two things might happen: you might learn something you didn’t know and you might hear something really stupid.

An Ivy League professor is arguing for the enactment of a law based on a current cultural debate. The subject of the debate is not important. Her reason to enact the law is:

It is tradition.

Her argument is that laws should be passed to make permanent the accepted traditions of society, especially her side of society. Her winning phrase was, “Tradition is the collective wisdom of society.”

I’m not Ivy League. I’m not even in a bowling league. This is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard.

It’s also one of the scariest because it happens all the time.

Laws are beliefs and traditions. Enough people believe speeding is bad, so it is outlawed. Enough people believe in the tradition of taking the day off on major holidays, so laws are in place to protect that tradition. Our government worked so hard to get that day off that they made it mandatory for government employees. It’s an option for the retail sector. Our esteemed representatives need to get their booze somewhere on July 4th.

By definition, tradition is the passing down of elements of a particular culture from generation to generation, a culmination of trial and error, an agreed-upon event of significance that allows its supporters the gratification of routinely believing it. Most of these same supporters also use tradition as an excuse to avoid innovation or controversy, an easy rock to hide under. Tradition is the excuse when we won’t think for ourselves or change how we conduct our lives in our cultures. Not all traditions are bad, but all traditions are tried and safe. And if you have a problem with tradition, well, it is tradition. That is the way it’s always been.

Traditions are not practiced by every culture; different strokes for different folks. But they become so ingrained in the fabric that society can’t see the threads through the linen, respecting different beliefs. Supporters force them into law regardless of differing ideologies, especially problematic if the tradition is a stain on the culture to begin with.

Tradition is not a collective wisdom. Tradition is a collective ignorance.

And I bet I’m a better bowler than Ms. Ivy League.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Big Swing and a Miss

I’m a huge baseball fan, a student of the game. At this time every year, I get asked the question, “Are you going to watch the All-Star game?”

Nope. The All-Star Game is a joke and an embarrassment to the game.

The simple reason is Bud Selig is a complete moron. But what fun would a blog be if I didn’t explain myself?

Because of the current voting system, this is an exhibition. Who cares if any league wins or loses? Fans want to see Albert Pujols versus Curt Schilling, David Ortiz versus Pedro Martinez­­­, batter-pitcher matchups that occur only in fantasy leagues. Fans want to see what happens when the best home run hitters stand in the box and face the best strikeout pitchers.

We drag through a game where more time is spent between innings promoting the highest bidder’s product. During the game, we see players hug and laugh because that’s what makes the game so great, hugging and laughing. The dugouts are jammed with players because of the stupid rule that every team must be represented, and every manager feels that he should give playing time to as many as players as possible, the latter half of the game looking more like pity because the field is littered with the extra guys who have replaced the starters, the guys no one pays to see and no one will remember 10 seconds after the game ends.

Because a baseball game ended in a tie—oh no!—in Milwaukee, Selig felt he needed to make the game worth something, like giving home field advantage during the World Series to the team from the league who wins the game. How can you award something so important to something so meaningless? Well, he’s Bud Selig, and he doesn’t like tie games. This should go down in history as one of the dumbest decisions ever made by a human being.

Instead of watching a true All-Star Game, I get to see an All-Popularity Game. Instead of watching truly the most gifted ballplayers, I get to see a playground game where the managers get to pick from the pile. And, like those games, everyone has to be on a team. And instead of watching the best pitcher in the world face the best batter, I get to see hugging.


But this is not the fault of the players or managers or fans. This is Selig’s fault. He’s put the responsibility of home field advantage on 90 percent of players who won’t be there in the fall. Do you think Pittsburgh’s Jason Bay, one of the starting outfielders for the National League, cares at all about getting home field advantage for the N.L.? There’s no way Pittsburgh makes it to the post-season, much less the fall classic. How about Mike Redman, the lone representative from the lowly Royals? When he gets his share of an inning to do nothing spectacular, do you think he’ll care if the American League gets the win? The answer is no. Not one bit. And if the players say they care, they’re lying to save face.

Major League ballplayers aren't born with some extra competitive “major league” emotion. Anyone who has ever played on a terrible ball team knows the feeling. You start the season and lose so badly that you know you won’t be going to any playoffs. And you don’t care if anyone else makes it either. Maybe you get to play spoiler, but a fat paycheck doesn’t change that.

If Selig were to put that kind of responsibility on the players, the least he could do is take the voting away from everyone and put it in the hands of statistics that would award the best performing players to date to create the best competition on the field and possibly provide the best chances for each team to win.

Let’s take a look at some of the statistical jokes through July 4th, one week before the All-Star Game. Taking the two most popular offensive categories of batting average and home runs, the American League boasts exactly no starters that are leading their league in both at their respective positions. Boston’s David Ortiz gets to play first base because he got so many votes that he has to go somewhere since the game is in Pittsburgh and there’s no DH—boohoo. He doesn’t even rank among first baseman. Two starters, Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki, are the only starters leading the A.L. in their respective positions in batting average, and Manny Ramirez is the only player leading the league in homers at his position.

In fact, the only starting position player who actually leads his league in both batting average and home runs is the Marlins’ Paul Lo Duca. He got the N.L. nod at catcher with a .292 average and three home runs, numbers that would never put him in any category of greatness. He certainly wasn’t voted onto the team because of his propensity for throwing out base stealers, which ranks near the bottom right around 22 percent.

What’s more interesting is that some of the players leading the league in a certain statistic aren’t even going. Jason Giambi? Leading the A.L. in home runs for first basemen, and sitting on his couch on the 11th. Bill Hall? The shortstop for the Brewers has clubbed 17 dingers, but will be drinking alone, because David Eckstein, the killer clubber, has four, yes FOUR homers.

Even though hitting prowess is the primary reason for being an All-Star, taking a peek at defense shows even worse discrepancies. Only one starter from either league is leading at his position in defense: Ivan Rodriguez. Detroit's human backstop has not only posted a perfect fielding percentage, but has also thrown out over 50 percent of would-be base stealers. There are 17 other guys who can't use defense as a reason to be an All-Star.

Finally, Alfonso Soriano is starting in the outfield for the National League. This is the same guy who refused to take the field during spring training games because he didn’t want to play the outfield. Soriano is a selfish player who does not care about what’s good for the team. His reward? Starting for the National League in the All-Star Game.

Those who voted for Soriano should never have children. Big mistake.

Looking at pitchers, it seems this was done right, except for an absolutely blaring and stupid move.

Pitcher Mike Redman was voted by his teammates to be the representative to the All-Star Game from the Royals because the Royals couldn’t generate enough fan interest to get anyone voted on. Redman is ranked 30th in the A.L. in strikeouts and 41st in ERA. Yet he’s there. Who isn’t? Francisco Liriano, the rookie pitcher for the Twins who is currently leading the league with a 1.99 ERA. Redman can barely hold a job in the major leagues, yet he’s getting the privilege over another pitcher who is getting dangerously close to Bob Gibson-esque numbers.

Fortunately, the fans can be spared on this pick. This was the pick of the Royals team. If the best they can do is throw this guy to the wolves, then perhaps it is time to fold up the Royals so other teams can stock their minor leagues.

You’re going to pin the hopes of World Series home field advantage on this?

If the game means so much, why doesn’t MLB make sure the absolute best from each league plays? Because, that would be boring.

Everyone knows that good pitching beats good hitting every time. Most of these hitters have not seen these pitchers on a regular basis, so chances are good the pitcher will win the duel. Which, in some sort of ironic twist, would benefit the game. The game would go about two hours, instead of the marketed four, and be a true nailbiter. How empty would the watercooler be the next day if the game, and the World Series advantage, rested on the final out between Albert Pujols and Mariano Rivera? Instead, it may very well be decided by Redman and Lo Duca.

Yet 1-0 ballgames are boring, right? We want a home run barrage, right? Then let the home run derby determine the World Series advantage. If you’re going to put that kind of responsibility in the hands of the most popular statistic today, the home run, then line up the biggest sluggers and let ‘em duke it out.

The current state of the All-Star Game is sad, to say the least. Instead of watching the best ballplayers on the planet battle for the right to have one extra game at home in October, we get to watch a lot of commercials and we get to listen to Tim “I’m Profoundly Smart And Will Prove To All You Idiot Fans” McCarver.

And hugging. We always see hugging. It’s like the game is a long lost reunion for these kids.

Every day fans shell out the big bucks to go see their favorite baseball players. This game was designed to reward the fans by putting the best against the best. Until it gets back to that kind of competition, I’ll pass. And judging by the TV ratings from the past few years, some of you agree.


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