Tuesday, February 26, 2008

F@$% Mike Lupica

Did I spell that right up there? Or is it supposed to be "F&!#"? Sorry, I don't know my comic book swearing nearly as well as I should (and believe me, I googled "Superman swearing" for quite some time to try to find an answer...because I care about the research). My real point is...fuck Mike Lupica. Seriously.

We already know that Hank Steinbrenner has inherited the spending gene from his father. He has also inherited the back-page gene, though even the old man in his prime didn't take his own temperature for the media as often as Hank has since becoming the out-front, return-all-phone-calls Boss Jr. of the Yankees.

Yes, yes, Hank Steinbrenner is a colossal ass. Any sensible person knows this. Not really worth writing an entire column about, I think, because what are you going to do beyond write a "He so crazy!" piece that either unnecessarily attacks the man or just coddles his idiocy (you know, like with Ozzie Guillen). I guess you could write a moving human interest piece about how difficult it is to emerge from George's shadow, but honestly...who gives a shit about how hard it's been for a billionaire punk who has never had to work a day in his life? Well, clearly Mike Lupica doesn't but I think you already knew that.

On the other hand, something you might not know...Mike Lupica is a major league asshole. He's the kind of guy the Toledo Mud Hens playfully offer a contract to just to mock the very idea anybody, even the New York Daily News, could afford an asshole of such gigantic proportions.

But perhaps the strongest pull of heredity involves the area that was always George Steinbrenner's strong suit, at least back in the day:

I'll get to the meat of Lupica's argument (if you can call it "meat" - we're talking common shrew quality meat here, people) in a moment, but first I'd like to point out that that constitutes an entire paragraph of Lupica's article. That isn't a sentence; I was tipped off by the colon. You see, Mike, people who are, you know, literate - or, as I prefer, liter-fucking-ate, because the presence of the interfix "fucking" makes it sound cooler - tend to end sentences with periods. Hell, they also tend to put more than one sentence in a paragraph, but baby steps here. Let's see if the next sentence helps us out any.

Second-guessing his Baseball People.

THAT...THAT is your sentence? That is the combination of words you felt deserved rewarding with a period? That's not a sentence. It doesn't have a subject and it barely has a verb. That's a gerund and a direct object, and a randomly capitalized direct object at that. At least the previous line was basically a sentence, even if it was horribly clumsy and difficult to understand.

Wait, I think I've got it. Mike, I see what you did wrong here, and it's a very understandable mistake. You see Loopy - I can call you Loopy, right? - you think that any old set of words can become a sentence just by putting that "." thing at the end. You're halfway there, and I'll give you points for trying. But you thought that that other collection of words, the one that really was a sentence, was so sentence-y that it needed two of those "." thingies, didn't you? And when you found that ":" thing on the keyboard...well, that must have been twenty minutes well spent for you, wasn't it?

Problem is, ":" isn't just a double ".". Nope, it does totally different things. It's a little bit like how "w" - you know, the letter that goes "double u" - isn't exactly like two "u"s. This is why your assistants always look bewildered when you give them notes asking for them to "vacwm this fucking disgrace for a set." Well, that and the fact you're throwing feces at them. Sorry, "throuuing feces."

Man, I really am a tenth grade creative writing teacher. And I thought I was lying in that other post.

As if those Baseball Peeps are working for somebody else.

Again, not a sentence; that would be a dependent clause, although that's probably way too difficult a concept for you to grasp. Let's just call it a "no sentence". When you write a "no sentence", you don't get to give it a "." until you make the "no" go away, OK? And only when the "no" goes away and you have just a "sentence" can you give it the "." and try again with another set of words. It's a lot like Hungry, Hungry Hippos, in the sense that if you practice really hard and never give up, someday you might be marginally better at it than a five-year-old.

Also, I'm going to combine those three separate paragraphs into a single, grammatically correct sentence on the off-chance that this will turn Loopy into a master of prose.

But perhaps the strongest pull of heredity involves the area that was always George Steinbrenner's strong suit, at least back in the day: second-guessing his baseball people as if those baseball peeps are working for somebody else.

Much better. Now it's just horrendously hacky and boring.

It is abundantly clear now, before a spring training game is played, much less a baseball game that counts, that Hank is having non-buyer's remorse about Johan Santana, New York Met.

Right, precisely because no games have been played. The Steinbrenners are infamously proactive owners - even if that means occasionally reaching horribly with the likes of Jaret Wright or Carl Pavano - and they tend to always want activity. This isn't just old news; I'm pretty sure you can find that on the Dead Sea Scrolls. I think the specific lines were discovered in Cave 5, but honestly I get my scrolls mixed up after awhile.

Anyway...this isn't really newsworthy, because Hank Steinbrenner has already established that, much like his father, he would like to sign every player in the league except a couple who aren't "True Yankees." And judging by the A-Rod deal, he's flexible on that last part. So yeah...this is nothing anyone with even moderate baseball knowledge doesn't already know.

Oh, but wait, this is all about how he's like his dad? Do tell, Mike, do tell.

He really does get that from his dad's side of the family. If you don't believe that, ask Brian Cashman sometime how often he heard the name "David Ortiz" after the Red Sox got him from the Twins and he turned into a Boston baseball legend known as "Papi."

To be fair, Brian Cashman was engaged in a heated affair with Joan Steinbrenner back in 2004 as part of a sexually-charged revenge plot against George that involved role-playing as the various Red Sox, hence why Brian heard "David Ortiz" shouted so much (Joan was Dave Roberts, of course). What can I say, Closer was big back then and using sex to destroy people's lives was all the rage.

You know, sometimes I really miss 2004.

What was my point? Oh, right, it's possible Hank's proclivity to scream baseball players' names at Brian Cashman comes not from his idiot of a father, but from his trollop of a mother. Right right.

Man, I'm really hope none of the major western religions are right, because I know where I'm going to after writing that paragraph. And that's the toned-down version.

So if Santana, another ex-Twin, the one the Mets finally got for a bag of balls, pitches the Mets to the World Series this season, pitches them all the way to the Canyon of Heroes, Hank has made it pretty clear that it won't be his fault.

Eh, I think I'm going to take it easy this paragraph and just snicker at the phrase "a bag of balls." Heh, heh...heh.

I can't believe I'm barely a third of the way through this thing. Time to crank up the jets, methinks. I use "methinks" to show you I'm pretentious, by the way.

It will be Cashman's.

"Hopefully, (trading for Santana) is not a move we should have made that I'm going to be ticked off about," Hank Steinbrenner told the Daily News.

"If Santana could have made the difference for us and the young pitchers aren't ready, people have to be held accountable," Hank Steinbrenner told Newsday.

Those aren't just predictable quotes from a Steinbrenner, they're practically like a home movie.

Don't the Steinbrenners strike you as the kind of technologically backwards idiots who still use a Super-8 camera with no sound? I only mention this because I feel like comparing those quotes to a home movie is asinine, and that's the best reason I can come up with as to why. Also because that particular metaphor doesn't really make sense. Home movies generally record unusual events - birthdays, vacations, etc. - and aren't always the best indicator of an average day in the life of a family. And even if that were so...who quotes a home movie? So maybe that's the second-best reason why that quote is asinine. Did you know the word "asinine" sounds like it's got "ass" in it? There's a reason this blog isn't going on my resume, people.

But here's a question: If Hank Steinbrenner thought Johan Santana was worth the money and the prospects, why didn't he overrule Cashman and tell him to go make the deal?

True, but you've got to give Steinbrenner some credit for listening to Cashman. At least, I think you do. Either way, it seems like you're pretty seriously prejudging the dude. If he made the deal, he's an idiot (which he is). If he blames Cashman for not making the deal, he's an ass (which he is). If he doesn't blame Cashman, rest assured Lupica will think of something wrong with that. My guess? Hank's secretly a werewolf, and you know werewolf owners can only blame GMs for bad trades under a full moon. This is why William Clay Ford hasn't gotten around to firing Matt Millen, because Millen always does super awesome work when the moon is full like dumping bad contracts and stockpiling draft picks and stuff. You can look it up if you don't believe me (please don't look it up).

When Hank decided that all was forgiven with Alex Rodriguez and that he wanted to give A-Rod a contract that will eventually be worth $300 million, who stopped him? It was quite an honorable thing for Steinbrenner to give A-Rod the deal the Yankees were prepared to give him before he opted out during Game 4 of the World Series. But it is still a fact that when the time came to make the deal Hank acted as if A-Rod were the one with all the leverage when the Yankees had it all.

Wait, what's the problem here? Steinbrenner acted like an ass, but he looked past his own intrinsic assholishness to recognize A-Rod would be a tremendous asset to the team, and so he made the deal he had to make. Considering how much of a jerk Hank Steinbrenner is, that's about as laudable as he's going to get. Why do you have to tear the man down when he gets it basically right?

(I didn't notice the presence of my new favorite word when I typed "asset", but I feel very happy my subconscious is working with me on this one. All about following the Tao, I guess. Be one with the way and all that shit.)

Nobody got in Hank Steinbrenner's way then, not Cashman, not any other of the other Baseball Peeps in Tampa. The way nobody got in Hank Steinbrenner's way when he overpaid to bring back Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.

Right...these were reasonable moves considering the Yankees have an unlimited budget. They aren't the Royals, for goodness sake, and you can't really evaluate their contracts based on cost-effectiveness. I do know that between A-Rod, Rivera, and Posada, we're looking at almost sixty wins above replacement players over the last two years. I'm not claiming that's rock-solid analysis (I'm kind of looking past Rivera's 5.6 WARP-3 last year to make a general point), but basically these are three guys who are worth the sort of investment the Yankees are prepared to make.

Hank threw money at A-Rod and nobody got in his way, he did it with Posada, he did it with Rivera, even though it is fair, no matter how much you admire the last two guys, to wonder what kind of bang Hank is going to get on his buck at the back end of their deals.

Yeah, but if they win a World Series or two before the end of their deals, that's all that'll matter. And it's not as if the Yankees are unaccustomed to eating bad contracts. Seriously, I have no strong feelings either way towards the Yankees - I used to hate them, but I must have been a bandwagon hater 'cause since around 2004 I can't muster up much energy for the hating - and I think Hank Steinbrenner is a dickish moron, but Mike Lupica is making me defend him. The only thing this reminds me of is when Geraldo Rivera interviewed Charles Manson...and you come away rooting for Manson.

By the way, if you're wondering whether Hank Steinbrenner is Charles Manson for the purposes of this metaphor...maybe, but really Lupica is both Geraldo and Charles Manson.

I think that says it all.

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