Sunday, April 29, 2012

Once Hittin'...Bryce, Why?

Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals’ highly touted hope for the future, recorded his first Major League hit last night at Dodger Stadium. Smashing a Chad Billingsley fastball to the centerfield wall, Harper flung off his helmet while racing toward second base—an action commented upon both by the Nationals’ play-by-play announcer at the time and the ESPN anchorman during highlights the following morning.

Let's set the record straight right off the metaphorical and literal bats: I did this habitually in Little League and Senior League—well, as habitually as a player who hit in the low .200s could—and more because the helmet just annoyed me rather than for any trace of flash.

Yet, incorrectly, this is now a signature moment in Harper’s just-begun career.

I feel a little bit like Sam Rice, the (ironically) Washington Senators' outfielder who made an incredible catch while falling into the bleachers during the 1925 World Series, yet whose accomplishment has faded into near-obscurity because no film or videotape of it exists, unlike Willie Mays' oft-seen 1954 World Series catch.

It would have been nice—and fair—had ESPN mentioned during the highlight that I was discarding my helmet in abandon more than a decade before Harper’s birth. Okay, perhaps the Elias Sports Bureau doesn’t possess documentation on this, but just ask any of my teammates during the 1980-83 seasons. Or better yet, ask Pete Belafsky, the opposing catcher whom I caught napping as he adjusted his gear after a play without calling “time,” while I sprinted to an undefended plate just ahead of the pitcher racing from the mound—throwing off my helmet halfway down the line and signaling myself safe before the umpire did.

It’s been done, Bryce.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Maybe Coke Does Add Life...Where Nature's At Fault

In February 2010, Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old woman from Invercargill, New Zealand, died of a heart attack. This past Thursday, a pathologist testified during an inquest that Ms. Harris probably suffered from hypokalemia, which can contribute to heart problems, and toxic levels of caffeine—both likely resulting from her excessive intake of Coca-Cola.

As the Associated Press reported:

Experts say a New Zealand woman's 2-gallon-a-day Coca-Cola habit probably contributed to her death, a conclusion that led the soft-drink giant to note that even water can be deadly in excessive amounts.

Two gallons a day—that's four to five 2-liter bottles of Coca-Cola from morning til night. Every day.

Now, I'm not one to defend giant, heartless corporations; however, considering that the life expectancy of a New Zealander is probably not much longer than 20 years because the nation is part of the Ring of Fire—the edge of the Pacific tectonic plate highly prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions—you could say that drinking all that Coke prolonged this woman's life by nearly a decade.

Rather than utilizing the sophistic and easily assailable claim that "even water can be deadly in excessive amounts," why is Coca-Cola not defending itself with my highly scientific reasoning?


(Photo of Coca-Cola bottles copyright Reuters; Ring of Fire map copyright BBC.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Which Is More Desirable: A High-School Suck or a Cup-Winning Puck?

This photo presently is making the Internet rounds. That's the Boston Bruins' Tyler Seguin grinning like he remembers those two pretty fans. Only twenty years old at present, that sweet memory should still be fresh in Tyler's mind.

I suggest that this placard be hoisted to the Boston Gahden rafters to hang alongside the retired number 4 of Bobby Orr.

Let's face it: Bobby Orr's Stanley Cup–winning leap is about on par with getting one's dick sucked by two high-school girls...

Monday, April 16, 2012

That's the Way Pittsburgh Became The Bylsma Punks

Game 3 of the Flyers-Penguins first-round playoff series degenerated into a barroom brawl between cross-state rivals that love to hate each other. En route to a third-straight loss that would put them on the brink of an early playoff exit, Pittsburgh got downright dirty, prompting several fights and ejections.

Sidney Crosby—long teased throughout the league as "Cindy" for his tendency to whine, and thus positioned in Cindy's square, at bottom-right—precipitated Pittsburgh's cheap play by jabbing several time at a puck already covered in goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov's glove. When Flyers captain Claude Giroux came to his goalie's defense and pushed Crosby, the Penguins captain—who missed more than 100 games over two seasons after suffering a concussion—shoved Giroux's head into the glass and, during the ensuing fight, took a swing at him while Giroux was wrapped up by one of the linesmen.

Then, after Flyer Brayden Schenn blasted Penguins defenseman Paul Martin with a booming hit, Pittsburgh enforcer Arron Asham (Mike Brady's spot, bottom-center) cross-checked Schenn under chin, sending him sprawling to the ice, pounced on him, and punched Schenn while he lay prone. Schenn clearly charged Martin, but for Asham—well known as a fighter—to cross-check a smaller player rather than drop the gloves...and then to hit a man as he lay defenseless on the the apex of cheap play. Asham received an immediate match penalty, and later a four-game suspension.

Early in the third period, James Neal (Peter Brady's spot, center-right) left his feet and intentionally blindsided Sean Couturier with a forearm to the head, leaving the Philadelphia rookie lying senseless on the ice for several moments. Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette was understandably furious with Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma (Alice's spot, center square) for allowing—perhaps even encouraging—his players to goon it up. Unbelievably, Neal received no penalty.

So, altogether now... 
Here's a story
Of a lanky lady
Who whines and moans and knocks away others' gloves
Cindy scores a lot of goals
But like her mother
She cries like a little girl

Here's a story
Of a coach named Danny
Who was bringing up two dozen boys of his own
They were twenty-five men
Skating all together
Yet by the Flyers they were all owned

Til the one day when Cindy came to Philly
And they went head-hunting and threw a sucker punch
That this group might play like the Corleone family
That's the way they all became the Bylsma Punks

The Bylsma Punks
The Bylsma Punks
That's the way they became...the Bylsma Punks