November 22, 2005

Who's The One You Call Mr. Macho, The Head Honcho, Swift Fists Like Camacho...

I could never get into the posthumous releases from Biggie. I think it really all came together on Ready To Die. Life After Death has some rock solid hits, but Born Again doesn't have the same quality that RTD had. I think basically, Juicy is like the story of Notorious B.I.G. It's damn near a perfect rap song. "Blowin up like you thought I would, color "crip", same number same hood, it's all good..."

All that said though, Dead Wrong knocks you the fuck out. Relax and take notes...

Anyway, thanks to that panhandled segway, I guess we can get into the purpose of this post.

Sometimes, I need to just admit that I'm wrong about sports.

I am rarely one to really jump out there and give bold predictions. I content myself to make comments on the current condition of the sporting world, make snide observations about local athletes and sports celebrities, and generally just say shit that everyone else knows anyway. To the tune of rap lyrics. But there are occasions where I will go out on a limb and profess to know something about sports that few others do. It is in these times that I feel a sense of power, like I'm telling people something they don't know, and above all, I'm RIGHT, and they know I'm right, and there's no way to disprove it because it hasn't happened yet.

The problem, Jack, is that usually, I end up wrong about things. I'm only forgiven from being wrong by the fact that the people I give my predictions to have very bad memories. But I remember. And it tears me up.

I'll give you a brief example. In October 2004, after game 3 of the ALCS, I wrote this to my friend:

I'll say this about the Yankees and Red Sox, and you and I have different perspectives: The Yankees are all about winning. For the purity of the game, they represent the closest thing to perfection there is. They are built to win, always. They are the alpha and the omega. Now, most other teams in baseball have figured this out, and have gone about their business in their own way. It's like the Yankees are the Romans, and most of the other teams are content to just carve out their piece of land, try to prosper, have a good time, and occaisionally make an effort to take down Rome. But they don't obsess over it. Then there's the Red Sox. This is a team, an entire CULTURE built SOLELY for the purpose of defeating the Evil Yankees. They have the inferiority complex to end all inferiority complexes. Their entire existence is defined by the Yankees. Yankees get A-Rod, they have to go get Schilling. Yankees get Olerud, they have to get Doug from the Twins. Everything they do, every action they take is viewed through the lens of defeating the Yankees. But here's the thing: They're not as good at running an organization as the Yankees. Nobody is. Their culture breeds incompetence. Why is their manager so stupid? Why do their players act like idiots? Why are their fans so completely insane? Because their culture is so atomistic, so intensely focused on the Yankees, they don't ever stop to think about, oh, I don't know, PLAYING BASEBALL LIKE ITS SUPPOSED TO BE PLAYED. Now you've got the long hair, the beards, the goofy handshakes and the general clown-ness of the team. And that's all good and everything, but I think they're selling their fans out. The fans in that city expect them to eventually, some day, best the Yankees. But the players are playing the role of the stoner going in for a job interview. Yeah, to the stoner, even if he doesn't get the job, he's still living his life and having fun, and that's great. But he's being selfish. It would be great to win a world series with a team full of clowns and long-haired hippy types, but it's not going to happen. So just cut the fucking mop and stop whining, Damon. Derek Jeter is better than your whole team because he's more of a professional than anyone you have. Now, this isn't a ringing endorsement of the Yankees, it's more of "What are you doing?!?!?" to the Red Sox. Nobody on the Yankees gives a shit about a curse or the past or being superior. They just care about winning. Isn't that the purity of sports? I understand there is a lot to be said about the way you play the game and if you have fun, but at the end of the season, there's only one team left. That's why you play. Or, at least, that's a big reason why you play. To paraphrase Notorious B.I.G.: The Yankees tell it how it is, the Red Sox tell it how it might be.
Ok, that's just wrong. Wrong wrong wrong, and I feel like a moron for ever thinking it. Yeah, in retrospect, nobody predicted The Comeback. But still, it was stupid stuff to say, and had no logical bearing. I learned from that incident to never form an opinion about something until there has been resolution, one way or another.

Here is a short list of things I have to admit that I was wrong about.

  1. The Chicago White Sox
  2. The Minnesota Twins in 2005
  3. Larry Brown
  4. Dirk Nowitzki
  5. Pau Gasol
  6. Grant Hill
  7. Eli Manning
  8. Brad Johnson
  9. Tony Dungy
  10. David Ortiz (oh god, it still hurts...)
  11. Chauncey Billups
  12. Dan Monson
And, I know there will be more. These tend to be in the "Thought that person/team was going to suck royally, and later had to accept that they were decent" category, but I've been wrong the other ways too. I was sending emails like a nuthouse mumbler when I found out Jordan was returning to play with the Wizards and I kept pimping him, even though it was obvious that he sucked. It wasn't until after he retired again, for the first time for the last time, that I realized how stupid that was, and how I should've just looked at his stats and examined his game, instead of cheering for him like some child. I guess the point is that I wish I could learn to not judge players/teams until a rational opinion about them can at least be formed. For example, the reason I thought the White Sox sucked this year is because "The White Sox always suck". The reason they were going to choke in the playoffs? "They always choke in the playoffs". But there is no evidence for this. There is no logic behind it. It's time to view things more objectively, and stop attacking players that I don't like.

What spurred all this? Mostly Brad Johnson. I watched the game last night and fondly remembered when my cousin and I would mercilessly tease and berate Johnson to one another, when he was a backup quarterback for the Vikes. I can remember dropping back, throwing a pass, and having my cousin tell me it "looked like a Brad Johnson pass". That hurt the most. He was nothing, he was a nobody, he never played, so we thought - naturally - that he would never be a starter, and certainly never be any good. 14 years later, he's a super bowl champ and a solid quarterback. Meanwhile, I type this in between phone calls with batshit loonballs. So, Brad Johnson, you won. Drop it.

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