Opening Day Assterisks

Michael Cox

Watching games and highlights (mostly highlights, thanks to Seattle post-game traffic) on Opening Day, my thoughts drifted occasionally from “how much beer can two people drink while still complaining that it’s $8 per cup?”

Could the Anti-Bonds “fans” in San Diego be any more embarrassing? Tossing a syringe? “Assterisk”?? (In a humorous sidelight, Baseball Tonight aired that sign with a straight-faced commentary that leads me to believe spelling isn’t one of the courses available at Bristol U.) In honor of these brave souls who dare to diverge from the conventional media wisdom (cough, cough), I offer a few “assterisks” of my own:

* What someone who just awakened from a six-month coma might say:

– “Frank Thomas in Oakland? Get out.”

– “Jim Leyland back in baseball? No whey.”

– “Carl Everett not only still gainfully employed, but making 4 mil? You are shitting me.”

– “Rebecca Romijn has her own sitcom?? No. Fu. Wa.

* Here’s a photo taken before the Mets’ home opener, showing not only Darryl Strawberry glad-handing a fan who looks suspiciously Marge Schott-like, but two guys capturing the moment on their cell phones. “Dude! I thought he was in prison! Man, that’s what I get for reading old Smoking Gun archives.

* The latest in Baseball Tonight‘s revolving door of retired mid-level players, Tino Martinez, looks like he’s ready to soil himself. But he still beats Tim Kurkjian, who now seems to have found a new “whiney drone” knob that goes to 11.

* Albert Pujols: still really good. Day One and already the home-run leader. Three years ago, everyone would be accusing him of being on steroids.

* Pro wrestling moment: the Mets’ new C Paul LoDuca tagging out Nats OF (OF!) Alfonso Soriano at home plate — then dropping the ball, in front of not only Soriano, but several thousand paying fans. Realizing umpire Tim Tschida was behind him, LoDuca picked up the ball and raised it into the air, after which Tschida promptly made the “out” call. It’s fortunate that the Mets were the “face” team, or steel chairs might have been introduced.

* As far as my home team’s opener was concerned, with their fan base dwindling down to Kingdome-era levels, the Mariners’ most desperate attempt yet to hook kids (and thus their parents) is the “Play Ball Kid” — literally, a kid designated to say “play ball.” That’s in addition to the Kids’ Inning (featuring the Kid Cameraman/Kid Scoreboard Operator/Kid DJ/the ever-“popular” Kid Announcer), video races, the “Hat Trick,” the Mariner Moose, and the ceremonial Kid Who Gets to Run the Bases.

Speaking of the Mariners, Tejada, and kid-friendliness, the M’s should trade for him and Adam Dunn, move Ichiro to CF and put Tejada and Dunn on both sides of him. Then, each time the corner outfielders bungle routine plays, allow Ichiro to hit them with his cap, a la the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island. I’d pay to see that.

In fact, I’d pay to see Ichiro hit anyone with his cap. Especially Carl Everett.

Published April 4, 2006

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