Tag Archives: roger clemens

Up the Middle with Skitch Hanson: Shoebox Greetings for the Hall of Fame

Scratchbomb hands over the reins to nationally syndicated sports columnist Skitch Hanson, as we’ve done many times before. You may know Skitch as the author of the highly popular syndicated column “Up The Middle.” You may have read his best-selling book Why Eckstein Matters. He’s also a frequent guest on ESPN’s sportswriters panel show Mouth-Talkers! You can follow Skitch on Twitter here. Without further ado, here’s Skitch.

I apologize that my Hall of Fame column came later than usual this year. I actually handed in my ballot at the last minute. I was searching all over the house for it, then my wife told me she lost it. And while she told me she lost it, she lit the ballot on fire right in front of me. I told her tampering with a Hall of Fame ballot was a federal offense. She said it wasn’t at all and that she was leaving for Ibiza for two weeks with her special friend Marco.

Luckily, I was able to send my choices in by teletype. It’s good to know that the BBWAA still uses the latest technology. Do you know it took me forever to find a teletype machine in my newspaper’s office? And when I did, it was covered in dust, banana stickers, and somebody growing a potato in a jar. When I started in this business, we used teletype to send info back to the newsdesk, and as far as I’m concerned, no machinery has improved on it since. You can keep your Blackberrys and iPans and whatnot. Also, my editor won’t let me get one because the last time I was issued a company cell phone, I gummed up the keys with Mallomar residue.

When Jack Morris failed to get into the Hall of Fame yet again, I poured out a bottle of Yoo-Hoo in his memory. In truth, I knocked over a bottle of Yoo-Hoo onto the hood of my editor’s car, but I retroactively dedicated it to his memory. That and the sizable repaint bill, which is coming out of my paycheck. I had no idea Yoo-Hoo was so caustic.

It’s too bad that we’re letting so many people vote for the Hall of Fame that didn’t watch some of the eligible candidates play. If you look at Morris’s pure numbers, of course he doesn’t belong within a mile of Cooperstown. In order to understand his greatness, you had to have seen him in action, and then remembered that action many, many years later, when most of the finer details are rather hazy in your memory and mixed up with other things you’ve seen on TV. I, for one, will never forget that time I saw Morris pitch a 15-inning complete game and knock in the winning run to save an inner city rec center, aided only by his grit and determination and most of the Harlem Globetrotters.

I truly believe that you can only judge a player if you’ve actually seen him on the field, preferably from a press box view, while ingesting a Skitch Special. That’s when you anchor two hot dogs and a hamburger together with a shish kebab skewer, then drop it into a deep fryer. Some stadiums were better than others in making it for me. The guys at Wrigley were the best; they’d always have two Skitch Specials waiting for me when I showed up at game time, along with a fully charged defibrillator.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite players was Jimmy “Shoebox” O’Leary, backup utility man for the Senators. No one really knows how he got that nickname; some say it’s because he was born in a shoebox, others say it’s because he lived in one. I can’t tell you now why he was my favorite player back then. His batting average always hovered around the Mendoza Line, he couldn’t field worth a lick, and he got a nosebleed every time he ascended the dugout steps.

Still, I thought he was the greatest player in the world when I was six, and to honor that memory, I vote for his induction into Cooperstown every year. My fellow writers keep telling me I’m insane, that he’s not on the ballot, and that they’re going to drum me out if I don’t stop doing this and also bringing my homemade scrapple to the meetings.

If I’m disappointed that Morris failed to get in, that’s how pleased I am that Jeff Bagwell was also denied. As I’ve discussed before, there’s no hard evidence Bagwell ever did steroids, or soft evidence, or even some sort of evidence-mist. However, he did play at a time when many other people may or may not have done steroids at some point or another, and the fact that he didn’t speak up about it is a mark against his character. If someone was around that much cheating at that time and said nothing, they’re just as guilty as those who committed the act. If there’s anything I’m sure of after spending most of the last 30 years in locker rooms, it’s this.

I’m not looking forward to next year’s ballots, full of proven cheaters like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, cheaters by association like Mike Piazza…now that I think about it, it will be easier to vote than ever before. I’ll just draw a huge frowny face on my ballot, check off Morris, write in Shoebox, and be done with it. More time for homemade scrapplin’.

* * *

And now it’s time for Some Things I Think About Things I Think!

  • Tim Tebow has brought joy back to the NFL. Anyone who says something bad about him should be caged.
  • In this strike-shortened season, the play in the NBA has really fallen off, based on what I assume from not having watched a single game so far.
  • Love him or hate him, Shia LeBoeuf is here to stay, folks.
  • I’ve started an online petition to keep egg nog lattes at Starbucks all year round. I have 12 signatures, each from someone named Mike Rotch.
  • Alex Ovechkin is going to have to do a lot more to get my attention. Like play a sport other than hockey.
  • I don’t care for that “Partying Rock” song by L.S.M.F.T. Give me the Little River Band any day of the week.
  • Albert Pujols’ decision to leave St. Louis for the glamor of Hollywood is truly selfish, as it means I will probably have to drive from LAX to Anaheim several times this upcoming season.
  • Insider’s tip: Take a bag of microwave popcorn, poke a tiny hole, pour M&Ms inside, and seal it up before you pop. The result is a delightfully gooey mess and it tastes a bit like metal.
  • Have you guys heard about radishes? Crazy!
  • Stayed up late last night to watch a few old episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati. I really think that show holds up, and the roaring laugh track really helped mask the sounds of Marco and my wife upstairs.
  • Treat yourself to some fried spaghetti this week. You’ll thank me.

The Sports Media DSM for PED Use

pettite.jpgWhen Andy Pettite turned in yet another dominant postseason start last week, many sportswriters praised his determination and consistency and leadership. One word I didn’t see in any of their reports was “PEDs”. (I guess that’s more of an acronym than a word, really, but bear with me.)

After all, he was named in the Mitchell Report, and subsequently admitted taking something or other. Most players who’ve been caught red-handed like he was have been raked over the coals in the press–including his ex-teammate/probable connection Roger Clemens. And yet Pettite’s use barely gets mentioned, if ever.

Personally, I don’t care about steroids, HGH, horse tranquilizers, or anything else of that ilk. My feelings have evolved on the subject, and I feel that so many people were using them, rooting out “cheats” is pointless. Especially since MLB’s PED policy was such a joke for so long, you can’t even say players were “getting away with it”, because It was a “crime” nobody was being punished for.

I also think that PEDs can’t make you a major league baseball player. They can only make a major league baseball player perform at his best–and isn’t that what we all want as fans? Performance enhancement has been going on in the major leagues since day one. Players in the 1960s and 1970s took amphetamines to deal with the brutal traveling schedule and day games after night games. The league itself “juiced” the ball at various times to drive up home run numbers, and therefore interest in the game. (MLB has never admitted to doing this, but the anomalous spikes in longball numbers in pre-steroid times have virtually no other explanation.) Not to mention how many players’ performances were enhanced because they never had to compete against black people.

Considering how much we enhance our bodies with pills, medications, surgery, all for non-life-threatening conditions (i.e., boner medicine, Botox), I think it’s hypocritical to hold athletes to higher standards of physical purity. I also think that, in a few short decades (or even sooner), the banning of PEDs will seem as silly as Prohibition does to us now.

That’s just one man’s opinion, of course. If you think PEDs = cheating, no ifs, ands, or buts, I recognize that as a legitimate argument. What I don’t like is the idea that some “cheating” is okay and some isn’t. Usually, that means the cheating is excusable if the cheater plays for your team.

When I pointed out the inconvenient fact that Pettite kind of totally did PEDs on the Twitter and the Facebook, I was accused by Yankee partisans of just being a bitter Mets fan. (Hey, I may be bitter and a Mets fan but…what was the third thing you said?) I have a feeling their reaction would have been different if I’d made comments about Manny Ramirez.

I didn’t understand the cherry picking; either it’s wrong or it’s not, right? But as it turns out, there are different levels of PED use. The members of the sports media are well trained in psychological diagnosis, and have compiled a matrix for identifying who fits into which categories, including recommended treatment. No really, they have!

CATEGORY VI

Criteria: Took PEDs to hit more home runs and therefore rob us all of our childlike innocence; may also be referred to as History’s Greatest Monsters; PED use a sign of enormous, sociopathic character flaws since none of us would ever have done the same thing in their shoes
Examples: Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa
Treatment: Constant hounding, to remind them of the torments of hell that surely await them

CATEGORY V

Criteria: Took PEDs to make them pitch better; since pitches aren’t home runs, we don’t really know
how to feel about this, but the tabloidish nature of their downfall makes for
great headlines
Examples: Roger Clemens
Treatment: Snarky comments as needed, i.e., Congressional hearings, accusations of statutory rape

CATEGORY IV

Criteria: Perform at such a high level that they surely must be on PEDs; though there is absolutely no evidence, solid or circumstantial, to support such an accusation, we feel they should confess their horrible crimes while they still have a chance to save their immortal souls
Examples: Jose Bautista
Treatment: Fleeting but pointed and irrevocable

CATEGORY III

Criteria: Admitted PED user and former Category VI member whose personal and spiritual deficiencies have been completely conquered by winning a championship
Examples: Alex Rodriguez
Treatment: Only if you want to look bitter

CATEGORY II

Criteria: Definitely took PEDs but only to recover from injury and help their team win; even though that’s essentially why anyone takes PEDs, a Category III “offender” is such a nice guy that he surely can’t be in the same class as Category VI scum
Examples: Andy Pettite
Treatmant: Ignore and it will go away

CATEGORY I

Criteria: Men who take PEDs to attain the unnatural combination of speed and bulk needed to play modern football
Examples: No idea; we don’t bother to ask any NFL players if they take PEDs
Treatment: None needed

Roger Clemens: Portrait in Hatred

nixonrocket.jpgRoger Clemens has been indicted for perjury. On the one hand, I think this is a huge waste of taxpayer money. While lying to Congress is a serious crime, the likelihood of conviction seems iffy at best. The feds have been trying to nail Barry Bonds on a similar charge without success for years, and the evidence against Bonds appears to be much stronger than that against Clemens.

On the other hand, Roger Clemens is one of the worst human beings on the planet. Not enough bad things can happen to him to sate my schadenfreude.

Last week, in a post about Chipper Jones, I wrote about how I can usually separate my personal feelings from objective reality. Emphasis on usually. I could cast a Hall of Fame vote for Chipper Jones. I don’t think I could do that for Roger Clemens. And not because of steroids. Simply because I hate him with a white hot passion. I hate him more than some people who have done actual, tangible wrong to me. If I could harness this hatred and turn it into energy, I could power a steel mill for a year.

The worst thing about Clemens (even worse than the fact that he literally tried to kill Mike Piazza by throwing a 95 mph fastball at his head): His craven, psychotic need to be not just loved, but worshiped. That is often the sign of a man who deep down knows he is horrible, and thus demands love from others. All so he can say, “How can I be a bad person–look at how many people love me!”

In another life or another nation, Roger Clemens would have been a crime lord or a dictator. Someone who snatched power by force. Someone who demanded absolute fealty and craved absolute love from everyone. Someone who can never be told that he has done wrong, for it is impossible for him to be wrong.

I can easily imagine Roger Clemens commanding cowering citizens to perform grand, choreographed games in his honor, as North Koreans do at Kim Jong Il’s behest. That is exactly the kind of sick, depraved person he is.

Keep in mind that the Congressional hearing from which the perjury charge stems would never have happened in the first place if he hadn’t demanded one. It wasn’t good enough for him to quietly deny the charges of the Mitchell Report. No, he had to loudly protest his innocence to the nation’s lawmakers and force us all to shower him in love once again. This maniac was so obsessed with being adored, he laid his own trap.

Joe Posnanski wrote an amazing column (as usual) about Clemens at SI.com, in which he takes us back to the infamous Game 2 of the 2000 World Series, when the Rocket flung the bat at Mike Piazza. Posnanski’s observation: Clemens has no interest in smoothing things over with Piazza, but instead focuses on proclaiming his innocence to the home plate umpire.

That is the essence of Clemens. He had no desire in doing right or being right. His sole focus was on getting over, being absolved. It reminds me of Pablo Escobar, the infamous Colombian drug lord who could have lived fat and happy on his cocaine billions, except that he had an insane craving for respectability. He desperately wanted to be elected to Congress, and didn’t care how many bribes he had to hand out or judges and policemen he had to kill in order to do it. As if becoming a Respectable Person would somehow erase the fact that he’d murdered his way to the top.

To this day, I’m still infuriated by the thought that Clemens received absolutely no punishment for this bizarre, dangerous act. (As Posnanski points out, Piazza very easily could have been injured by the shattered bat.) No ejection, no fine, not even a tsk-tsk from Bud Selig. It still blows my mind that someone did this in a World Series game and was allowed to continue to play in that game.

Karma might not really exist, but I like when it makes a select appearance in the lives of folks like Clemens. His life is over, for intents and purposes, and he’s not even 50 yet. Even allowing for Americans’ microscopic memories, and even if steroid use becomes accepted in the future, I can’t imagine his image ever recovering. God, that’s beautiful. There are people more deserving of cosmic payback than him, but he’ll do until they get theirs.

In honor of another instance of Clemens’ spiritual de-pantsing, here’s a trip down Scratchbomb memory lane of The Rocket’s various falls from grace.

Take Your Medicine, 12.13.2007
Wherein I discuss the Mitchell Report and touch on Clemens being exposed for the fraud that he is.

60 Minutes with Roger Clemens, 01.03.2008
Mike Wallace interviews a not-at-all contrite Roger Clemens, with a guest appearance from Hank Steinbrenner.

Roger That, 02.08.2008
An attempt to understand Roger Clemens through old clips from a baseball special called Grand Slam, which you can not watch because Clemens helped shut down my old YouTube account.

Joe Torre Revisits History, 02.04.2009
While promoting his book on Mike Francesa’s show, Joe Torre rethinks his opinion of Roger Clemens, using an amazing piece of equipment called his brain.

Michael More, Roger, and Me, 03.26.2009
Wherein I discuss why I can love Mike Piazza and hate Roger Clemens.

Michael More, Roger, and Me

piazza_si.jpgA recently leaked excerpt from Jeff Pearlman’s upcoming book on Roger Clemens (The Rocket Who Fell to Earth, which sounds less like a sports tome and more like a David Bowie album) alleges that Mike Piazza used performance enhancing drugs. And by alleges, I mean Pearlman says Piazza totally did them.

Although–unless there’s more in the book than the excerpt contains–the accusations come mostly from unnamed sources, all of whom say some variation of “Yeah, we’re pretty sure he did it,” without any specifics. Same goes for the one former player who went on the record: Reggie Jefferson, who’s most famous for having a hissy fit and quitting baseball for good when the Red Sox left him of their playoff roster in 1999.

And if you want an idea of how much of a douche Jefferson is, consider the first line of the article linked above: “This is not how Reggie Jefferson expected to begin the playoffs, taking care of his newborn infant daughter in Tampa.” ‘I coulda been playing against the Indians right now, but NOOOO! I just had to come home and take care of this stupid baby!’

However, according to Pearlman, Piazza confided that he used PEDs on occasion to reporters off the record. Pearlman’s theory is that Piazza did this to make it an open secret and thus cut off further questioning on the subject.

Bottom line: You can’t imply something like this in a book and not be damn sure you won’t get sued over it. And the best way to ensure you won’t get sued is to print the truth. So I felt it only fair to address this subject, since I’ve hammered Roger Clemens at every opportunity. And hammered. And hammered.

Part of me wants to split hairs and say that it’s unclear when Piazza used PEDs and for how long, whereas Clemens’ use is pretty well documented: the post-Boston tail-end of his career, when it looked like his career might be over.

I’m tempted to say that you could jam needles in your ass til the cows came home and it still wouldn’t enable you to differentiate a fastball from a changeup in a split second, while Clemens used PEDs to pitch effectively way beyond retirement age.

But who’s to say that PEDs didn’t help Piazza recover more quickly from the various dings and cuts associated with catching? And how do I know it didn’t help him bat better (as opposed to slug better, which I’m sure it did)?

So am I now forced to admit that Mike Piazza is really no better than Roger Clemens? No, I am not.

First off, the use of PEDs doesn’t upset me. As far as levels of cheating go, I put it below spitballers and bat corking. To me, it’s more like the widespread use of amphetamines in baseball, which goes all the way back to the 1950s. They’re both artificial chemical means to improve one’s performance.

Plus, MLB’s anti-drug policy was such a joke for so long that it practically dared players to do steroids. It was like putting a sack of money out on the street, with a sign that said PLEASE DON’T STEAL.

Granted, I like baseball better now that it welcomes Good Pitching again. Now that batters no longer look like overstuffed sausages stitched together. Now that we have fewer of the Mark McGwire style players–guys who can hit titanic homers and do absolutely nothing else. Now that players no longer shorten their lives to hit a few more dingers.

But I’ve never gotten fist-shakin’ angry over the whole steroids thing. Because first of all, baseball ain’t the only offender on the PED front. How many linebackers you think aren’t juicing? Football fans don’t give a shit, though, because no one cares about numbers in football. No one cares about the players in football. Fans just wanna see Football:The Sport presented to them every Sunday in the fall, by any means necessary. Sometimes I wish baseball fans could look at their sport the same way.

And if you know anything about the history of baseball, you know that steroid use is way low on its list of crimes. For 15-20 years, tons of guys did steroids. And yet the game endures.

What tons of guys didn’t do is try to end other players’ careers by throwing at their heads, because they couldn’t get them out any other way. Or start some weird drama by hurling a shattered bat during a World Series game–and somehow not get kicked out of that game because they’re too big to get kicked out of such a huge game. Or get all their reporter buddies to write glowing articles about how they owe all their success to an intense workout regimen. Or protest their innocence when all the evidence pointed elsewhere. Or cajole Congress into giving them hearings to prove their innocence because they’re tight with the sitting President’s family.

Nope, last I checked, there was only one very special breed of asshole who did that.

There are several levels of Sports Hate. Lowest are the guys you really don’t hate, you just hate the fact that they always beat Your Team, and your hatred is actually a sign of respect (for me, this would be John Smoltz).

Then there are guys who you hate because they always beat Your Team, and who you can’t prove are douchebags, but you just know they’re douchebags (Greg Maddux, Derek Jeter).

Then there are guys who you hate because they always beat Your Team and you know they’re douchebags because they’ve provided ample evidence (Chipper Jones, Barry Bonds).

And then there are enormous douches whose douchiness breaks the lowly bonds of douchery and passes into supervillainy. Roger Clemens resides in this pantheon, and I have no problem singling him out for an extra fiery, hellish hate that rages like a thousand suns.

If I have to readjust my thinking on anything, it’s my attitude toward fans of players on other teams who juiced. We all know the obvious offenders, and I’ve wondered to myself, “How could those morons root for [fill in the blank]?”

I now realize I was one of those morons. I mean, I always knew I was. I just never had to confront that reality head-on like other fans did.

As usual, Faith and Fear in Flushing said it much better than I could. Ultimately, what did any of these players really do, other than hit baseballs really far and make people happy? And how many of them jacked those homers off of players who were just as “dirty” as them?

So if you cheered for Bonds or Sammy Sosa or Mark McGwire or Brady Anderson or Ken Caminiti, I won’t judge you for that.

In turn, don’t judge me for rooting for someone who almost single-handedly willed the Mets back from the dead in 1999. Someone who put the capper on a 10-run rally on our Most Hated Rival. Someone who hit the most titanic homers I ever saw, and the most important one I ever saw.

So, we got a deal?

Joe Torre Revisits History

fran1.jpgWelcome b-hack to the Mike Francesa program. My guest is Joe Torre, who wrote a book that’s pretty interestin. Pretty interestin. If you like books that are interestin, you will like dis book. Lotta headlines outta dis book. Lotta big news. It’s a book with a lotta stuff in it. A book made of pages.
torre2.jpgThanks, Mike, I think you summed it up pretty well.
fran1.jpg
So Joe, has the passage of time led you to rethink certain things about your years as a manager?
torre2.jpg
Well, back in 2000 I defended Roger Clemens pretty hard when he beaned Mike Piazza, and when he threw a bat at him in the World Series. I now have some reason to suspect that steroids might have had something to do with his behavior.
fran1.jpg
What l-hed you to that conclusion?
torre2.jpg
I watched the World Series footage. With my eyes.

Continue reading Joe Torre Revisits History

Roger That

New Site Update: Them YouTube clips below will totally not work. Not sure who’s to blame, MLB or the Rocket. In either case, this post is provided for historical purposes  only.

When I was an MFA student, one of my workshop leaders, a writer of some renown (brag), told me that villains must be understood. Our class was wondering out loud if there could ever be a Great Bush Era Novel. He said that if such a novel were ever written, it couldn’t be an angry screed or political tract.

Even if you were no fan of George W. Bush (which I doubt anyone in the room was), your book couldn’t succeed on blind hatred. You could not portray Bush as a mustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash-type, or an incurious dolt. For such a book to work, he said, you would have to find some way to sympathize with him. Anything less would both fail as fiction and
trivialize an entire administration.

That doesn’t mean pardoning or condoning The Evil That Men Do. But villains in black hats are boring. Gray is much better, if scarier, because it makes us realize that given the right circumstances, virtually anyone can find themselves doing unspeakable things.

I dredge this up in the wake of the Roger Clemens debacle. Anyone who reads this site should know my feelings on the Rocket. I’ve poked him with a stick once or twice. Several times, in fact. In my mental Hall of Infamy, he’s one of a very select group of people I’d like to go away and never see again. If he became a hermit and lived out the rest of his days in a cave somewhere, I wouldn’t shed a tear.

Continue reading Roger That

60 Minutes with Roger Clemens

wallace.jpgRoger Clemens, you insist that you’ve never taken any performance enhancing drugs.

clemens1.jpgMike, I would never do anything to endanger my Hall of Fame chances and sadden my millions of adoring fans. Before we cut to this interview, you saw footage of me smiling, holding hands with my loving wife, and playing catch with how ever many kids I have. That footage clearly proves that I’m a good person who would not do bad things.

wallace.jpgBut you’re accused of doing steroids in a federal affidavit.

clemens1.jpg
I’m accused by Brian McNamee, who is a lying scumbag. No one should believe any words that come out of his mouth. Unless he says, “Roger Clemens is awesome,” because those words are very true.

wallace.jpg
If McNamee lied to federal prosecutors, he would face serious jail time. Why would he take that risk?

clemens1.jpg
I told you, he’s a scumbag. Scumbags love jail time. Science has proven it. I read it in last month’s Soldier of Fortune .

wallace.jpg
McNamee was your trainer for many years. You even insisted the Yankees hire him when you were traded from Toronto. So obviously, there was a time when you trusted him.

clemens1.jpg
Mike, sometimes we misplace our trust. I trusted McDonalds when they came out with the McRib. I believed in the McRib. Then without any warning, they took it off the menu. A little piece of me died that day. Although sometimes the wife will get these barbecue sandwiches at Sam’s Club that are almost as good. They come in packages of ten. Sometimes I throw all of them in the microwave at once, pierce the plastic sleeve, and inhale the bounty’s sensuous pork mist…

wallace.jpg
So you’re saying that McNamee never injected you with anything?

clemens1.jpg
No, I did receive regular injections from him. I was told these injections were a mixture of St. Joseph’s baby aspirin and orange Tang. He said that the combination of ibuprofen and citrus flavor would prevent a build up of lactic acid in my muscles, and also make my pee smell like orange juice. I only began to suspect something was wrong when my nads shrank to the size of Tic-Tacs.

wallace.jpg
I find it hard to believe that a professional athlete such as yourself would allow himself to be injected with something, yet not know what it is.

clemens1.jpg
Mike, I only took these injections in order to recover from injuries, which makes it totally okay. If I didn’t do everything in my power to pitch my best, I would be letting down my team and its fans, whoever they might be at the time. For some pitchers, this means adhering to a strict workout regimen. Me, I chose to be stabbed in the ass with mysterious fluids.

wallace.jpg
If these mysterious fluids were really okay, why didn’t you get the injections from a doctor? Why trust them to your trainer, who was not licensed in any form of medical treatment?

clemens1.jpg
Mike, I’m a simple guy. I come from simple people. When I was growing up, my momma taught me that doctors are actually evil trolls in disguise who want to steal your pee-pee and put it in a little jar in their basement. Say what you will about that ol’ folk wisdom, but I still have my pee-pee. Sort of.

wallace.jpg
What do you say to the people that believe these accusations taint your legacy?

clemens1.jpg
All I can say is, I’m not the only guy who allegedly used “performance enhancing substances”. Did you know Mike Piazza used to come to the batter’s box holding something called a “Louisville Slugger”? And that he actually would hit “home runs” off of me? Does he have a death wish or what? I’m gonna aim a pitch right at his dome. AND THEN I’M GONNA RIP HIS HEAD OFF AND DRINK BLOOD STRAIGHT OUTTA HIS GAPING NECK HOLE!

wallace.jpg
Roger, your answers to these serious allegations strain credulity, and certainly warrant further questioning.

clemens1.jpg
But I swear I’m telling the truth! Jeez!

wallace.jpg
Oh, you swear? I’m very sorry. You couldn’t possibly be lying. Please forgive my impertinent queries. Could you sign this baseball card for me?

hank.jpgHey, Hank Steinbrenner here. Just wanted to let you 60 Minutes viewers know that the Yankees are still in the Johan Santana race. Those deadlines I mentioned during the Winter Meetings were deadlines only for the year 2007. I guess I kept talking after all the reporters left the room during my press conference. I do that sometimes. Anyway, we are totally done dealing with the Twins.

wallace.jpg
I thought you just said you were back in the race for Santana.

hank.jpg
Yes, we are totally not continuing with trade talks, but Santana will be in a Yankees uniform by next week, except I’m okay with our staff as it us, but we like our chances to acquire Santana, that is, he’s not on our radar, but he totally is.

wallace.jpg
  …

hank.jpg
See, I’m hoping that my crazy talk will confuse Minnesota so much that they’ll let us have him for Melky Cabrera, Latroy Hawkins, and a picture of Rudy Giuliani in a Yankees hat (unsigned, of course). I also hope this will prevent the MLB head office from slapping me with tampering charges. Although it would be kinda cool if I could be just like Dad and get banned from the game for several years.

clemens1.jpg
I would love to see Johan Santana in pinstripes. AND THEN I WILL FEAST ON THE SPLEEN THAT I’VE CARVED FROM HIS FLESH WITH A RUSTY BOATHOOK!

Take Your Medicine

Fellow baseball fans, I say this with love: grow the fuck up.

If you think the Mitchell Report is the worst thing to ever happen to baseball, that tells me two things about you.

(1) You have not even skimmed the report, because if you had, you’d know that it hardly names any major player we didn’t already know about. Aside from Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite–and if you had two eyes and an ear for gossip, you’d have known about them already, too.

(2) You know nothing about the history of baseball.

Continue reading Take Your Medicine

Up the Middle with Skitch Hanson

Lots of stuff has been going on in the sports world lately, and the one-man editor’s board of Scratchbomb can’t cover it all. So we’re delighted to welcome Skitch Hanson to our fold. You may know him as the author of the highly popular syndicated sports column “Up The Middle,” the six-time winner of the AP’s Fence Sitter Award for “Writing Least Likely To Offend Anyone”. You may have read his best-selling books “Your Eight Heavenly Visitors: The Afterlife Made Easy!” and “My Saintly Mentor”. You may have seen him on ESPN’s “SportsCranks,” where he’s often seen debating against his “urban”
counterpoint, b-ball pundit Hoops Washington. Without further ado, here’s Skitch.

It’s Super Bowl Week, and everyone who’s anyone is in Miami. Since I’m somebody, that’s where I find myself now. My employers at the syndicate have put me up at the Jupiter Best Western, a mere 2 hour drive from Dolphins Stadium. Perks abound for media types like myself. For instance, you know what the breakfast buffet in the hotel has? Those tiny little poppy seed and orange muffins. All you can eat.

I love tiny muffins.

But I am not in south Florida for muffins. I am here for Super Bowl XLI. The Colts versus the Bears. These two teams have never faced each other in a championship game. But there’s an even bigger first that will happen for the first time on February 4th.

A first so big it warrants a one-sentence paragraph.

Possibly even a sentence fragment.

This Sunday, for the first time in the history of the NFL, both Super Bowl teams will be coached by Afro-Americans. Those two coaches are Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears and Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts. And typing out their full names and team names has allowed me to fill precious column inches.

Precious, precious column inches.

Continue reading Up the Middle with Skitch Hanson