Thursday, January 19, 2006

In Which Rose Recommends A Book

"You never know what's going to save you..."

Everybody should read John Albert's Wrecking Crew: The Really Bad News Griffith Park Pirates. It's a simple story, really: Sex (some with hookers), drugs (name it), rock 'n' roll (heavy on the punk), and the redemptive power of baseball. Join writer, occasional punker and recovering addict John Albert as he and his buddies cobble together a team of exactly the sort of people you'd never think of as likely to form a baseball team in the L.A. parks league -- and read it before the movie comes out (yes, it's in the works), because this is a great piece of writing. It's the sort of story that really needs to be told by someone who's lived it, because I don't think anyone outside of the crew would have been able to paint such a complete picture. No words have been minced, and judging from their presence at the event at which I met them last summer, the team members wouldn't have it any other way.

Give it a try. Let me know what you think.

(Bonus points if you buy it at your local independent book store. If you're not sure where that is, check Book Sense.)


My name is Tony. I'm 35 years old, am a flaming heterosexual and hate the taste, smell and sight of beer. The consumate baseball fan normally enjoys a hotdog and a beer. But alas I can not drink the mixture of marley, hops, oats and urine. I have tried to enjoy many beers. From Bud to Miller to Michelob to Rolling Rock to Heiniken to Bass to Guiness, etc. There is something in the beer, some horrible ingredient, that does not agree with my innerds.

Now I do enjoy a good strong drink with Vodka or Tequila. But it's not the manliest of drinks to be throwing back Margaritas at the old ballpark. Which I have done and had to stop in the 5th or 6th inning when I realized that I didn't know the score or the inning.

I look on in envy of my fellow men and women that drink beer at the ballpark. I don't envy the $6 to $10 that they pay but I'm sure it dulls some of the pain. Especially when you sit right next to the guy that has no clue about baseball. Yet explains it to his girlfriend for the entire game thereby making your head want to explode.

So next time you see me in the cheap seats at Turner Field raise your cup and salute me. For I am the one that is not drinking your share. And don't laugh when I raise my drink and the umbrella falls out of the cup.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Idle Threat or the New Cuban Imbecile Crisis

The first shot was fired over the World Baseball Classic bow by everyone's favorite dictator, Fidel Castro. I know you're thinking, "Isn't he dead, yet?" Well, he's not. You would think that smoking Cuban cigars for 50 years might do some harm but it must be medicinal marijuana to dull the pain that is his brain.

Today, Fidel comes out with this nugget of joy. "We aren't afraid of anything," Castro said in a wide-ranging speech late Tuesday. "It's very difficult to compete against us in any area ... not even in baseball do they want to compete with Cuba."

Fidel may be on to something here. We can't compete with Cuba when it comes to technology. Our 1950 automobiles can't float across the ocean with 30 people on it. Our televisions don't transmit in black and white and in mono sound. So he may be right about that one.

As for baseball, it's doubtful that any player from our major leagues to minors to college level would not want to play against the best from any country. Personally, Cuba should be allowed to participate. But if I were Fidel, I'd worry more about the defectors. Hasn't he learned from past experiences that the Cubans want to play in America. We are the land of the free. The "home of the long term contract*"

Once in America the players may take the field with "Defector" on the back of their jerseys instead of their actual name. This would also give the Yankees another reason to hike their payroll after they signed the entire team to multi-year deals.

In closing and in summation, America is not scared of Cuban baseball players and neither are any of the other teams. Fidel is attempting to take pot shots and run his mouth so that his teams can play with the big boys. Let them play and hopefully they'll get beaten like the oppressed peoples that they are.

* "home of the long term contract" Copyright by Scott Boras, LLC. (not really but someday it may be true)

Update: Cuba gets to come to America.

No Pepper Games

* Jon Daniels' big winter adventure continues, as the Texas Rangers came to terms with four of its seven arbitration-eligible players. The biggest news was Mark Teixeira's two-year deal, but the sum of the work Daniels' team did with the group impressed me the most. Both Teixeira and Brad Wilkerson are Scott Boras clients. I may be reading too much into it, but that Boras was willing to deal readily with the Rangers on both gives me a little bit of hope for 2008, when Tex's next contract comes due.

Kevin Mench's arbitration hearing will be the toughest thing for Daniels to deal with next. With all of the frustration Mench has had in contract dealings with the Rangers in the past, I'm willing to bet it won't be a pretty conversation. Civil, but not pleasant. I really hope they work something out for a decent amount of time -- not just from a blind fan's standpoint, but from a stats perspective as well. Shrek produces from anywhere in the order you place him, and his fielding has only gotten better while he's been roving the outfield.

* The fine, upstanding young men and women who make up Hank's Homies have a petition site up to try and convince Roger Clemens to make Arlington his home for the remainder of his career. had over 300 signatures at last glance, and with the pub the site got from the Star-Telegram today, that number should sky-Rocket! Rock me.

* I know I should be more excited about the coming inaugural World Baseball Classic, but I'm simply non-plussed about it all. I guess a lot of it has to do with the Alex Rodriguez circus. "Will he play?" "What country will he play for?" "What did he have for lunch?" Spare me. I hope I can get into it more once the tournament kicks off. The concept is sound, and I hope it will kill off the goofy-ass Home Run Derby trickery of "North America Against The World." Blergh.

* I do occasional work for Jamey Newberg, getting his annual Bound Edition book ready for prime time. I'm trying to drag him into more ventures, and my latest bright idea is developing a podcast for My hope is that it will be a good combination of his insight into the Rangers' organization, and interviews with players and staff. More details as it gets closer to launch in the next couple of weeks.

* My big wish for the 2006 season (other than an ALCS berth for the Rangers) is a complete lack of steroid drama. The 2005 post-season was an amazing one, and yet all I can remember is Rafael Palmiero wagging his fingers at the Congressional dog and pony show in March. I almost typed, "With luck, players will figure out how to stay off the juice," but the tears from my hearty laughter were too hard to ignore.

* 28 days.