Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More Ozzies , less Harriettes

More Ozzies , less Harriettes

                   Derek Jeter is such a great guy, isn't he?I mean , just listening to him speak you can tell he is a decent, honorable man who always knows what to say when...I'm sorry , I fell asleep for a second there.Of COURSE Jeter's a great player and by most accounts, a good person , but MAN is he boring...I mean , so was Joe Dimaggio , and he was no slouch( however, he slept with Marylyn Monroe, which made him slightly more interesting) , but the problem these days is that there are way too many people in baseball who act like Derek Jeter. Meaning, they are bland. When I  hear most of these players and managers give an interview,  it's like listening to a robot... their responses are straight out of that scene in "Bull Durham" where Kevin Costner is telling Tim Robbins how to give an interview: "Give 110%", "We came to play" etc.Where are the Bill Lees? The Reggie Jacksons? The Mad Hungarians?...hell , I'd even settle for the early 90's John Kruk(who was hilarious as a player , but somehow forgot how to be funny as an analyst).Thank God for Ozzie Guillen.

        Yeah, I know he said those stupid remarks about Castro a while back, but baseball needs him now more than ever. He rarely thinks out what he's going to say, and that's refreshing in these days of Jack Webb impersonating , straight laced , "aww shucks"  baseball  "personalities".Ozzie's a throwback to the 70's, when players and managers didn't care what you thought , and would say what came to their mind. In 1976, when asked the question about whether or not The Yankees were really like the Bronx Zoo, Oscar Gamble replied , "They don't think it be like it is , but it do"...earlier in the decade, when asked if he smoked pot or not , Bill Lee was quoted as saying ,"No, I sprinkle it on my pancakes" could go back to the 30's(Dizzy Dean),50's(Yogi Berra)to get great quotes as well, but the 70's also had crazy people like Al Hrabosky , AKA "The Mad Hungarian", with his intimidating fu manchu and wild mound antics( he would turn his back to the batter, stew for a few seconds, then pound his glove and have the most psychotic look on his face).The closest thing we have to that today is The San Fransisco Giant's Brian Wilson, with his fake beard and even faker confidence(which is funny), but alas, he is out for the rest of 2012.

              Ozzie's managing the Miami Marlins now , which may bring his exposure down a bit. His years as the Chicago White Sox manager put his insane rantings in a large market town.(If he managed The Cubs , it would have been even  more out of control , as they  have a bigger following).Some of his rants are now legendary.His opinion of  the right field bleachers at Wrigley Field: "You're going to take batting practice and the rats look bigger than a pig out there...I think the rats over there are lifting weights"...On getting fired :"I'm not a quitter.When I want to quit , I'll do a lot of stupid things to make sure they fire me and get paid"... He's a quote machine...I can only imagine if they had Twitter back in Earl Weaver's day...that would be F bomb city.But of course, that's the problem, too much exposure.Everyone is in everyone's business, and are all too afraid of looking silly.Manny Ramirez never was afraid to look the fool, but he's pretty much gone now too.(well, he was always pretty much "gone" anyways).

            Now if we're just going to concentrate on manager's personalities ,there's a few that stand out: Bobby V from the Red Sox is quite a character, although they're ready to kill him in Boston because of their awful start.(maybe he should put on that disguise again).Jim Leyland from The Detroit Tigers is sufficiently crusty and old school.Charlie Manuel from the Phillies can be counted on for an entertaining ejection now and then.Joe Maddon from the Rays is pretty eccentric , I guess...There are a few more who veer from the norm from time to time , but the fact that I can't name a lot of them off the top of my head says something. I mean , not everyone has to be a screaming lunatic like Billy Martin or Earl Weaver , or throw out Yoda-isms like Jimy Williams , but a few more non-conformists wouldn't hurt.For now , we still have Ozzie , whose Marlins , as we speak ,  are in last place in the N.L. East., which might be a good thing for us(and a great thing for Nationals/Braves/Phillies and Mets fans), because an irritated Ozzie is an entertaining Ozzie, and after all , baseball is supposed to be entertainment.The ghost of Bill Veeck would agree with me.  

1 comment:

  1. I think you're right that exposure has a lot to do with it. If you do/say something nut-sauce, it's on ESPN for the next 24 hours, flies around the Net, ends up on youtube, then the Taiwanese make an animated parody. It's probably not worth it to a lot of these guys. There is probably a money issue here, too. You have to be really good to get away with antics these days -- Manny Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano good. Otherwise you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.

    I really miss the old characters, though -- Damaso Garcia setting his uniform on fire, Rickey Henderson, Joaquin Andujar.

    Oddly umpires seem to be picking up the slack. Country Joe West and Bob Davidson make more noise than the umpires of the '80's IIRC. Maybe because they don't make so much money.