Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Number of Days Until Spring Training: Phil Rizzuto (#10)

10 World Series Titles despite spending three years in the Navy. TEN. Ten. 10. Diez. Dix. Dieci. Scooter played for 13 years and won the World Series in 10 of them. Unfathomable.

This is how his playing career ended.
The end of the line for Rizzuto as a player came on Old-Timers Day at the Stadium Aug. 25, 1956, the same day the Yankees claimed outfielder Enos Slaughter off waivers from the Kansas City Athletics. Rizzuto met with club officials, who were discussing ways to get Slaughter on the 25-man roster that had to be cemented within the week for his eligibility for a possible World Series.

Rizzuto realized that he was the player the Yankees intended to release, which they did. He maintained that Stengel and general manager George Weiss reneged on a promise that if the Yankees made the Series, Rizzuto would be put on the roster as the backup for Gil McDougald, the regular shortstop, but Hunter was kept instead.

The part that doesn't really come across in that piece, is that Stengel kept going through the roster and making Phil suggest people, until he finally settled on himself. He was justifiably fuming mad that the organization would go about letting him go in such an undignified fashion, but never burned that bridge.

Rizzuto went on to spend 40 years in the broadcasting booth endearing himself to Yankees fans with a very unique and quirky style, leaving early to beat the traffic and saying "Holy Cow!". I'm a little to young to remember his broadcasting style, but most older Yanks fans I know say that he came across like your favorite Uncle.

In the weeks after he passed away in 2007, a squirrel made several appearances on the right field foul pole, leading many to make the the connection and call the squirrel Scooter.

If he wasn't universally considered one of the nicest guys in all of baseball, maybe he would have spurned the Yankees after the way they let him go and never came back to the organization. Who knows? It's late, but it's probably good that Phil provides some good karma at the end of an angry Tuesday.

More Disgraceful: Smoking Crack Or Going On Dancing With The Stars?

According to Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News, Lawrence Taylor, one of the baddest men to ever walk this planet it going to go on Dancing With the Stars.

It was first hinted at on Ashton Kutcher's Twitter feed:
Just met LT, the old school, Lawrence Taylor. Expect to see him in prime time soon. Can’t say where, but he better work on his foot work.

Wow, stealthily cloaked, Mr. Kutcher. You sure you aren't a covert agent for the NSA? He's going to make a guest appearance on The Office, right?

LT, don't take it from me, take it from Jerry Rice.
Was in hotel bar lobby where Jerry Rice was having a few beverages and when he walks by a woman who says “That’s the guy from 'Dancing with the Stars!'"

Just to refresh every one's memory, the man who committed the heinous act below is going to be participating in a ballroom dancing competition in front of a national audience.

[Warning: The video below may be disturbing if you are Joe Theismann's leg]

The Worst Halftime Show Ever

From Deadspin comes footage of by far the worst halftime show ever:
The Oklahoma City Thunder turned that concept on its head when they recently hosted a Houdini-style underwater escape act. Kristen Johnson is a professional escape artist whose specialty is getting out of handcuffs and leg irons while being fully submerged in a tube of water. Since that one trick is more thrilling than anything the Thunder have done on a basketball court this season, they booked her for the January 16th game against Detroit.
Let's just say things didn't go as planned. It took her longer than anticipated to get out of the handcuffs and ended up having a seizure before she was pulled from the tank. Video below.

[Warning: The video gets disturbing around the 3:00 mark]


It's only natural that comparisons between baseball and football start to pop up this time of year. In recent years, Hardball and Pigskin have begun to separate themselves as the two most popular sports in the US, and writers are looking for a way to transition from the Super Bowl into Spring Training. As you may have noticed, all of the contributors on this blog are big fans of both sports.

Via IIATMS, Richard Justice gives 10 "reasons" why baseball is better than football. If they were good, I probably wouldn't have bothered to write this post.

2. Skill level

Hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. Throwing a baseball from 60 feet, 6 inches is the second-hardest thing. The NFL has some phenomenal athletes. None of them is[sic] as gifted as Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt.

I would say getting past a guy who runs a 4.4 40 yard dash and catching a 45MPH pass in the corner of the endzone while still dragging both of your feet on the ground is probably harder than either of those things. This is just a dumb argument made by average-sized white people to explain to themselves that if they only were born with more skill, they could have cracked the Bigs. And Lance Berkman is a fat shit. If we are talking about being "gifted" Justin Tuck is Christmas and Lance Berkman is Easter.

3. Diamonds - It's[sic] still one of God's greatest creations. It's perfection on every level. Next time you walk into Minute Maid Park, take a moment to appreciate it. From the perfectly trimmed grass to the raked infield dirt to the chalked lines, it's about the base[sic] place on earth to spend a few hours. No matter how bad a day I've had, stress flows from me when I see a big league diamond.

Actual diamonds may or may not be "God's creation", but a baseball diamond is most certainly man's creation, unless there are some naturally-formed infields along a deserted stretch of the Chilean coastline no one has ever told me about. And you really picked Minute Maid Park, the same place with a fucking ramp in centerfield?

4. Ballparks - Baseball's worst parks are better than football's best. If you've ever spent an evening at Dodger Stadium, you'd understand. It's both tranquil and energizing if one place can be both. If you're really lucky, you'll someday stand on the right-field concourse at AT&T Park and admire the view of the bay, the odor of garlic fries, the majesty of the place.

So the HHH Metrodome or fucking Tropicana Field are better than Gillette Stadium or Qwest Field? Football stadiums sell out almost every game all season long, with crowds of about 70,000 people. I like baseball's venues better too, and hardly ever go to football games, but that is some ham-handed hyperbole. And I'm not quite sure "the odor of garlic fries" at one place really factors into a comparison between roughly 60 stadiums. There are probably NFL stadiums that have pretty good culinary options as well.

And you really put those two back to back? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say you probably could have combined "Ball Park" and "Diamonds" (part of a ballpark) into one point.

7. Cheerleaders - Football has 'em. Baseball doesn't.

Rich... you're making the case for baseball, remember? Are the cheerleaders so offensive that you can't stand the 12 second clips they show of them coming in and out of commercials? And not every football team "has 'em"; the Giants don't. I'll take cheerleaders over fucking Cotton Eyed Joey twelve times out of ten.