June 26, 2009

Manny & Joe Plus 24

Manny Ramirez is making news again as he gets into playing shape in preparation for his return to baseball from a 50-game steroid suspension.

Ramirez tested positive for the female fertility drug known as Clovid. Which means Ramirez is one of the most feared hitters in the history of the game with a breast pump. Is that why it was such an issue for Manny to cut her beloved braids?

When the season began, everyone in the clubhouse must have wondered why Manny's locker was filled with onesies, diapers and pacifiers instead of cleats and a uniform. 

But Manny's ability to distract team-mates by nursing them to sleep with warm milk and lullabies must have had something to do with their silence.

Never doubt a she-man on Clovid. 

Listening to Joe Torre apologize for Manny's transgressions, giving preferential treatment to the favorite son, the Dodgers should have their own reality show called 'Manny & Joe plus 24'. Jon and Kate eat your heart out.

Manny's dysfunction in the Dodger family is just as absurd as the one in the TV show. One notable difference is that Manny is actually being welcomed back after the separation.

The Dodgers have been criticized for being young and brash. Which means that Torre, like Kate, needs to give his kids an occasional nap and burping.

But fortunately, when the Dodgers white pantsies suddenly get a brown stain, its usually from a stolen base, and doesn't necessitate a diaper change. 

Meanwhile, Manny's suspension has given him time to think. He's angry and tired of the jokes. Hell has no wrath like a woman scorned.

Interestingly, the young Dodgers remained in first place during Ramirez's absence. So, Manny's hitting skills may have suffered, but his mothering skills improved.

Is that such a bad trade?

June 19, 2009

Baseball Managers - a weighty issue

It used to be easy to pick the manager out in a dugout. He was the only one with white hair, an enormous belly and orthopedic sneakers instead of cleats.

Now Major league baseball is gradually shifting from older managers to younger ones, and the same trend is occurring with coaches in the NBA.

Many of the old school managers had a big boiler, something that reminded you what happened to a man whose daily diet consisted of fried chicken steak and beers from the clubhouse spread.

But back in the day, waistline equaled wisdom. Current Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu looks like a model from a Bowflex commercial. This is wrong. The presence of a pot belly in the dugout is part of baseball.

I enjoyed when managers made their way to the pitching mound, where the pot belly was on full display. To me, they always looked like an old man in a Halloween costume.

Tommy Lasorda, Don Zimmer, Lou Piniella and others would often unbutton the bottom two snaps of the warm up jacket in an attempt to mask the expanding waistline. This classic boiler-hiding method is still employed by managers and portly pitching coaches today.

Only a svelte skipper like Sparky Anderson could button that elastic lining around his hips and not look like the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Joe Maddon, the Tampa Bay Rays manager, had an old-school beer belly going for awhile, but slimmed down. I was very disappointed. His horn rim glasses and big gut were a sight for sore eyes. Very 1968.

Other current managers, like Wakamatsu and Jim Tracy, look like they could run a marathon and have energy afterwards for a game of horse. These guys need to cut the aerobics and go back to whiskey and chewing tobacco.

No-one defies the mold like Washington Nationals skipper Manny Acta, who looks totally bad-ass, like an ultimate fighting champion or the head of a Colombian drug cartel. 

Which reminds me, has anyone checked the outfield lining at RFK stadium for heroin? I'm just saying ... ya' never know.

Finally, a manager's trip to the pitchers mound, once an opportunity to fix a sandwich, is now a brisk one.

It used to be a test of a guy's hip replacement and pacemaker. But the new managers sprint. That leaves no time for fans to boo.

I wouldn't trust a manager without white hair or a beer belly. At the very least, they have to take Flomax. Or wear a pair of orthopedic sneaks.

June 12, 2009

New Nike NBA Playoff Puppets!

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Forget Lebron and Kobe. I want to see NBA players as puppets in the rest of the league. We've been force fed King James and the Black Mamba all year, so its time to spread the wealth.

Spurs guard Tony Parker's smooth French accent and ability to romance Eva Longoria make him an ideal match for sassy skunk Pepe le Peu. And both share the distinction of having unpleasant post game body odor.

Pau Gasol, the Lakers' bearded beast, is a dead ringer for Popeye nemesis Bluto. Furthermore, the bulked up, pasta-eating Pau and Bluto both have a great fondness for Olive Oil.

Lamar Odom would play The Cookie Monster, allowing the Laker forward to continue his non-stop ingestion of sweets.

Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu would portray Snow White's 'Sleepy'. While Sleepy may not be capable of an alley-oop, he and Turkoglu both have a lovable mug and eyelids that are perpetually at half mast.

And Orlando Coach Stan Van Gundy would be Yosemite Sam. Both are short, have a big moustache and love to scream at full volume.

With his feather-like blond hair, Denver's Chris 'Bird-Man' Anderson gets the nod as Big Bird. Bird-Man and Big Bird may look like chickens, but both are courageous underdogs adored by millions.

And finally, gone but not forgotten, is Dennis Rodman, who bears a striking resemblance to Miss Piggy. Both have lovely, long red hair. And Rodman, like Miss Piggy, has an appetite that is seemingly never satisfied.

So lets see some puppetry variety from Nike. The current spots should be whistled for a violation. Especially since Lebron looks like Urkel and Kobe sounds like Redd Foxx.

June 5, 2009

Baseball's Ugliest Uniforms

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When it comes to uniforms, the Cubs, Tigers, Yankees, Cardinals and Red Sox come to mind as teams that have generally stuck with tradition, with few fashion miscues. The same cannot be said for the rest of baseball.

The Tampa Bay Rays early uniforms were appalling. They looked like wet-suits a dolphin trainer would wear at Sea World. Blame the Charlotte Hornets, who in the early 90's made teal a popular jersey color.

Greg Luzinski (bottom, right) was known as 'The Bull'. But no bull would be happy in a powder blue clown suit. Luzinski had to suffer the indignity of wearing two of baseball's worst uniforms - the aforementioned Phillies disaster and a White Sox polyester costume with stretch waist.

Notice how Astros spit-baller Don Sutton (bottom, left) feels right at home in his synthetic, stretch-waist slacks. The Astros uni features horizontal rows of loud, colored bars, the baseball equivalent of the Denver Nuggets' striped travesty. (top)

Rollie Fingers and Dave Winfeld also pull off the double-buttoned stretch waist look with great aplomb. It clearly allows extra flexibility for their long, lanky limbs.

The Padres, once owned by the McDonald's kingpin Ray Kroc, used to roll out unis (top, left) that looked like they were hand-me-downs from a Golden Arches deep fryer. Come to think of it the HamBurglar blouse could pass for a ref's jersey in the NBA.

To honor their local military, the San Diego Padres occasionally wear camouflage unis. This always seemed strange for a team that, when it comes to offense, is incapable of breaking out the artillery.

But the Pads didn't stop there. They got punch drunk with couture, and a few years ago introduced what I consider to be the most hideous uniform color of all time - an algae champagne ensemble that has a kryptonite effect on me. (center)

Indescribably awful, it can only be a secret attempt by the Padres to nauseate their opponents. I would prefer anything else, even the Bill Veeck-era White Sox line that featured the open pimp collar pullover jersey with black shorts.

Honorable mention goes to the Oakland A's (top, right) green and yellow ensembles under Charley Finley, and the Blue Jays (bottom, center), who somehow won a World Series wearing a turquoise Pret a Portez monstrosity.

Read my post about NBA fashion.