(above : documentary highly regarded in the Granderson household)
The 2015 rebound of Curtis Granderson is just one of several feel-good storylines for the NL East-leading New York Mets, but if you were hoping the outfielder would discuss something as benign as his auto insurance with the local press, you’ll be disappointed. On Sunday, the New York Post’s Steve Serby quizzed Granderson on a number of topics, including but not limited to the difference between the latter’s haircut and that of Jacob deGrom (“I wouldn’t go through the hat phase of it, so if I could wane up with a ’fro I would do it, but I don’t want to go through the in-between phase of it”), Alex Rodriguez’ unlikely comeback (” it’s a testament to how competitive he is”), bachelor life (“when marriage ready to happen, it’ll happen..no set time frame or timetable on that”), and most importantly, the phony fucking baloney Apollo moon landing!
Q: You’re one of the most polished, politically correct athletes I’ve ever dealt with. Now say something controversial.
A: Let’s see … I can probably go with … I had this conversation with people — if we landed on the moon, how come we’ve never been back? I think there might be some conspiracy stuff to that.
Q: You do?
A: We haven’t been back, it’s been  years, technology’s all gotten better, and I’ve actually looked that one up a little bit and saw something on the NASA website and it said something that that space shuttle that was made back then is no longer made any more. They’re making one now, but it costs $30 billion to be able to go there. And we’re constantly coming back, you always hear of spaceships landing: oh, so-and-so just got back from its mission … where’d they go, you know? No one else in the world has ever been, so…
A big part of that might be age and life and the way 518 losses in 5.5 years rewires your brain to spare you some pain. But a part of it is that we fell too hard for the idea that the right executive is all you need. That a General Manager can remake an organization, from top to bottom, relatively quickly and have everything just work out. We see this all the time – Cardinals fans believe in their org, and Astros fans will tell you more than you wanted to know about their vaunted Process. But the more you look into them, the more you see just how extensive change needs to be. The Cards aren’t the Cards because of their GM, they’re where they are because of dozens or hundreds of people. A leader can be vital in creating and nurturing a culture that works for player development or pro scouting, but it takes an entire organization to make it work. As fans, we thought at one point that Zduriencik was a kind of cheat code – his blend of scouting acumen and willingness to listen to newfangled metrics would blend the best of old school and new and make the Cardinals look like the St. Louis Browns in short order. Instead, what we saw was a front office that seemed to be at war with itself. Instead of creating a culture, the GM created a growing list of enemies. Nearly every group – from Pro Scouting to Player Development was overhauled, and nothing much seemed to change.
The M’s front office was incapable of building a team to reliably compete in the AL. The M’s realized this and made a change. Realistically, the M’s are further from their goal of competing in the medium term than they were before the year started, but even this helped clarify things and point a way forward. We knew before the year that the M’s had risks at the catcher spot, the bullpen and CF, and those risks have ended up sinking the season. The risks have turned into a shopping list or a player development challenge. Someone else will figure out what to do about these issues, and I’m excited to see what they do. I’ll just never be excited as I was in December of 2009 again.
“The more sports culture treats women as human beings with feelings and not as some caricature of what women are supposed to be, the more likely the space will become safer and more welcoming for everyone,” writes Vice Sports’ Stacey May Fowles, arguing, “as absurd as it might seem, the freedom to talk about desire without judgment and dismissal is definitely a part of that.” And she’s got a point — when have male fans been discouraged from expressing their true desires?
It seems that sports culture can’t reconcile female desire with knowledge, so if you’re admiring the finer points of Josh Donaldson’s unstoppable swagger—his “liquid hot sexual gold,” as certain aficionados have been known to call it—you can’t possibly understand the mechanics of his MVP-worthy work at third base. Logic would dictate that I can find him stunning and still understand how the game works, and even be an expert on it. Yet, for whatever reason, acknowledging that I notice how pretty he is somehow becomes a shameful admission. I am forever a guest in a man’s house, and am expected to watch what I say and police what I feel accordingly.
Quite frankly, I’ve grown real tired of pretending that Bryce Harper isn’t a scorchingly beautiful specimen of masculinity. I’ve become exhausted denying that Buster Posey has the most adorable, angelic boy-band face I’ve seen since perusing Tiger Beat as a teenage girl. I’m weary from saying that Justin Verlander’s pants look “uncomfortable,” or that Matt Kemp looks “like an athlete.” I’ve actually come to think that every time I deny my inevitable attraction to players—I’m only human, and you know what Matt Kemp looks like—I’m supporting that terrible notion that real fans don’t have crushes, or that crushes hysterically cancel out all other considerations, and finally that women should simply shut up about how they feel if they want to watch a game with everyone else. A more cynical observer might even wonder if this gag rule has more to do with a threat to the general fan base’s masculinity than any real “respect for the game.”
Mr. Levin co-wrote a study that found people have more empathy for dogs than for human adults, and he said that concern for what people see as vulnerable and helpless animals could be why the quarterback has been denounced by the “informal system,” even though he has endured the consequences of the criminal justice system.
But there are, as always, two sides to the story. Although those against the quarterback have been active on social media and made an impromptu protest of about a half-dozen people at the Steelers’ practice facility Wednesday afternoon, there are many in support of him and how he can help the team. One commenter on Facebook said, “He paid for his mistake, so doesn’t he deserve to make a living like everybody else?”
“Those who are forgiving see Michael Vick as having paid the penalty, and they also may see him as remorseful, a man who understands that he did the wrong thing and won’t do it again,” Mr. Levin said. “And ideally, that’s really the way the criminal justice system should work. People go to prison, they pay for the crime that they committed and then they should be able to live a life pretty much like everyone else.”
Putting aside for a moment whether or not there’s something screwy about Vick’s abuse of dogs being more offensive to some than Rothlisberger’s alleged treatment of women (you’ll note Rothlisberger’s never been charged or convicted), surely Professor Levin is not so naive to think that Vick simply aspires to “live a life just like everyone else”. The Steelers are one late hit on Big Ben away from Vick essentially being the face of the franchise, a face that’s still synonymous with animal cruelty. In the unlikely event Aaron Hernandez were released from prison while still in his athletic prime, would Levin argue the former returning to an NFL roster was simply a matter of not denying him a right to work? If Jerry Sandusky somehow manages to live to be 107 years old and is granted early parole, is a major college football program obliged to help him “live a life like anyone else”?
There’s no shortage of persons with criminal records who struggle to get second chances, who find empathy in scant supply. By contrast, Michael Vick’s last contract with Philly included $40 million in guaranteed cash atop a $16.5 annual salary (he earned a subsequent $5 million in 2014 with the Jets). There’s no evidence he’s suffered any sort of unjust career setback since reinstatement and if he’s not universally popular…what exactly do you expect, Professor Levin?
(EDITOR’S NOTE : folks keep circulating that silly Buzzfeed “How Much Of A Music Snob R You?” quiz circa 2014, and I only scored a 59 out of 100. That’s a pretty fucking mediocre score considering I’m one of questions, and I will KNIFE FIGHT anyone who challenges my snob credentials, musical or otherwise. But let’s face it, the quiz is ridiculous — LOTS of non-snobs have purchased import titles or can identity John Peel.
So with that in mind, I’ve prepared a “THIS IS HOW MUCH OF A MUSIC SNOB YOU ARE (YOU FUCKING SNOB)” quiz that I’m certain will set the internet aflame and probably result in my server company (finally) giving me the boot later today. I’d say it was nice knowing you, but that would be a lie – GC)
HAVE YOU EVER…
Stopped fucking someone because you found a DMB CD in their house?
Told a prospective employer and/or parents of a fiancee they were total morons because they didn’t know which member of Bush was in Transvision Vamp?
Told a member of Transvision Vamp they were a total moron?
Spent a wake flipping through the deceased’s record collection?
Masturbated to discogs.com?
Told a Holocaust survivor, “at least you didn’t have to go to Burgerama”?
Compared Burgerama to Record Store Day?
Launched an unsuccessful Kickstarter to fund a Dylan Cohl doc?
Started a gofundme to finance a Dave Bass doc (and used the money to buy records for yourself)?
Repeatedly friended/defriended Henry Owings just to try and get his attention?
Possessed a driver’s license or birth certificate featuring the name “Ned Hayden”?
Refused to pose for a photo with George Wendt because he likes Buffalo Tom?
Heard the opening notes to “Rhiannon” and immediately started thinking about The Rotters?
sold Todd Benzinger a Skrewdriver record on eBay (NOT AN EARLY ONE, EITHER) and then ratted him out online?
Found whoever was responsible for some “musical guilty pleasures” clickbait/slideshow and planted shit on their computer making it appear as though they were plotting to blow up a government facility? (TOP THAT, MR. ROBOT)
Disowned one of your own children for posting the H.R./Brooke Shields pic weeks after everyone else did?
Refused to write about food and/or write appointment TV recaps simply because you’re terrible at transitioning into adulthood?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above, you are absolutely a music snob. If you answered “no” to any of the above, I don’t know what your problem is and really can’t relate to you at all.
Most mornings when XM 175’s Larry Bowa, Buck Martinez and Mark Patrick are doing their thing, I’m sawing logs and dreaming of well…let’s say something other than Larry Bowa, Buck Martinez and Mark Patrick. However, about once a week I’m up bright and early and driving to an airport somewhere, and each time I tune into the trio’s chit chat program, I’m treated to something almost as amazing as the following :
Larry on C.C. Sabathia wearing his hat sideways :
I read somewhere where he said he doesn’t even know how he puts it on, it just ends up that way. That’s a lie. No one has ever put on a hat without knowing which way it faced. You know where the brim is. He’s a liar.
Bowa went on to suggest that opposing managers should use Sabathia’s cap as a reason to insist on a balk being called. “He’s trying to deceive the runner.”