Baseballhead: Paging Dr. Wacky

Michael Cox

Ed. note: At press time, Michael Cox is stuck in customs after returning from his vacation in Basra with a few "artifacts." (He swears he picked them up at the duty-free. He just lost the receipts, that’s all.) Until his release, filling in will be his good friend Dr. Wacky, who has a B.S. in baseball.

This week I thought I’d dig into my mail bag and offer my professorial insights to the issues which weigh heavy on your minds, thus alleviating several potential hematomas. Let’s dig in with this one from Mitch Sessions, from Saginaw:

Dear Dr. Wacky,

Ever since Sammy Sosa was caught corking his bat, I’ve seen endless columns and TV analysis asking whether the media has been racist about the corking coverage. I think it’s strange, because while everyone is talking about the potential racism, no one seems to have time to be the racist everyone else is talking about.

Please advise.

Well, Mitch, this is actually a common phenomenon in the media. After reporting a provocative story, the reporter will immediately ask whether it’s right to report the story he just reported. Other reporters join in, and soon the entire media community is hard at work debating, arguing, making points, counterpoints and counter-counterpoints, and most importantly, providing online polls so that you, the media consumer, can feel like they actually care what you think. (Silly media consumer!)

Finally, the reporters all proudly agree that they did the right thing, and they buy each other tequila shooters before moving on to the next provocative story. In times such as these we must support our reporters and analysts in their efforts to keep the media robust and thriving. If they were to only report the actual story, unemployment in the sports media would skyrocket. The streets would be filled with slightly overweight guys with disheveled hair, sweater vests and loud voices, begging for change and arguing with the other vagrants over whether they shouldn’t just get jobs at Wendy’s.

So, go vote in those polls, and support your sportswriter when he questions the story he just wrote as if someone else wrote it. It’s the patriotic thing to do.

Now, this from Nancy Boii from Berkeley:

Dear Dr. Wacky,

After all his failed attempts at winning games no. 299 and 300, didn’t Roger Clemens’ eventual win seem awfully anticlimactic? And do you think he really will boycott his own Hall Of Fame ceremony over whether his plaque has a Yankee cap or not?

Huh? Dr. Wacky was busy with an important pizza last Friday. I assumed Clemens’d wait until he was on FOX, or at least Sunday Night Baseball. It’s what Gaylord Perry would’ve done.

Yes, by waiting so many starts until his historic win, Clemens faced what scientists call the Law Of Diminishing Returns, which says that as more time is wasted watching games that turn out to be unimportant, the number of fans who return begins diminishing. Nielsen estimates the audience for the 300th win consisted of a bunch of guys who thought they were watching the PGA Seniors tour and a retirement home in New Jersey.

As for the Clemens hat spat, I have it on good authority that Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon would like him to go into the Hall as a Yankee. Therefore, he will be inducted as a Blue Jay. That’ll show those pinkos. Ha.

Finally, I got this, scrawled on a candy wrapper from Elron D. of Scranton:

What up Dr. W.,

During last Sunday’s ESPN game between the Mariners and Braves, they kept referring to it as a potential World Series preview. Don’t you think it’s a little early to be making statements like that?

Elron, rest assured that when a statement like that is made, there was considerable thought and research behind it. ESPN is a major media enterprise, operated from its offices deep within Disneyland’s Matterhorn ride. There, supercomputers crunch every number imaginable, from Ichiro’s average time in the 100-yard dash to the results of Bobby Cox’s last proctological exam.

Then, a phalanx of unpaid college interns takes those figures and double-checks them, not receiving food or water until the numbers are verified. Mistakes are punished with the sting of the masked middle manager’s lash. The results of this combination of high technology and slave labor are relayed by telegraph directly to the announce booth. (Next time you’re dissing Joe Morgan, ask yourself who the hell else can do color commentary and decipher Morse code.)

It is estimated that ESPN’s predictions have a 91.79363 percent likelihood of becoming reality. Unfortunately, interns occasionally collapse from heat stroke, and the computer technicians must also seat patrons on the Matterhorn cars when Kenny Mayne is out of town.

So as they like to say, that’s why they play the games, as evidenced by last year’s surprise World Series, where as we all know, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays defeated the Milwaukee Brewers. Good thing too, because at the last minute Vince McMahon added the stipulation that if Milwaukee won they’d get to change leagues back.

Well, it’s nap time. Ta-ta for now, and remember – leave baseball to the scientists!

about the author

Unfortunately, has refused to give Dr. Wacky his own mailbox. However, you can send your congratulations for a job well done via Michael Cox using our contact page. Just skip the anthrax this time, ‘kay?

Published March 13, 2006

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