Thursday, June 4, 2009

MLB Tonight: Glenn Beck Deconstructed

"I'm terrible with sports."

One wonders why Glenn Beck bothered with the preposition and direct object at all. He uses the fact that Sonia Sotomayor once issued an injunction that ended the 1994 Major League Baseball strike as an excuse to try his hand at extended sports analogy, while analyzing anything that occurs to him. It's the same sort of word salad that ensues when you take the elderly out of hospice care for the day and they editorialize about every thing they see outside the car. Only in this case the person who shits himself and operates barely above a signals-recognition level has the second-highest rated cable opinion show.

I'm not even sure why he writes. The pieces are too short to make a point, let alone five. If they're an advertisement for his ad-libbing on TV, they're remarkably faithful to the content but misguided as brainbait. I suppose these things could just be the 30-second homily that ends his show, or he could legitimately be blogging these things intentionally. That seems hard to swallow, though, because of the the last two dramatically carriage-returned microparagraphs in his piece from May 27 (emphases mine):
In honor of President Obama's new Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, who saved the world by ending the Major League Baseball strike of 1994, I'd like to end with a little baseball analogy.

(I'm terrible with sports, so bear with me.)

Our government needs to keep their eye on the ball when nominating Supreme Court justices. We shouldn't be looking for someone who shows "empathy." Making decisions based on empathy is a violation of the Supreme Court justice's oath and it would lead to some horrible legal decisions based on feeling, not law.

We need China to stand up to the screwballs in North Korea and Iran over nuclear weapons and we need them to buy our debt. In other words, China holds the key to our economic and military future, so why are we talking to them about global warming?

And finally, the gay marriage debate in California: Instead of focusing on this as a states' rights issue, we are making a huge error by looking to international courts to form opinions.

Right now, it's the bottom of the ninth and we are down to our last out and our last strike.

Will our government take strike three looking? Or, will they wake up and save the day with a heroic three pointer on a penalty shot?
It's just a fuckup of such majesty that I literally cannot deal with it. I don't have the brainpower to navigate these kinds of mixed metaphors. Reading this is like doing one of those children's mazes on a McDonald's placemat, only no matter where you turn your pen, someone punches you in the fucking face. Your brain slams against the inside of your skull trying to process it. You get concussed.

Because I can't deal with that, I thought I'd turn to two people who didn't have that kind of problem, two men who really know their way around both punditry and the sports metaphor. Please welcome our guest analysts, Hall of Fame second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds' "Big Red Machine" and host of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, Joe Morgan; and former catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and host of FOX MLB Saturday and The Tim McCarver Show, Tim McCarver.


See that's the thing. Glenn Beck gets it. As a ballplayer, as a pundit, it's times like this in life that you've just got to dig in, hunker down in the trenches and step lively. The dustoff pitch might be coming, but when it does you've got to dust yourself off and be ready to do the little things, make the sacrifice and swing for those fences. Keep your eyes on the prize and the ball. The left eye doesn't see what the right eye is doing.

You know, he's a real hard-nosed and small-ball and rough-'n'-tumble scrappy player, Glenn Beck is. This is going to surprise you, but the person he reminds me most of is David Eckstein. Believe it. Really scrappy, small guy, tries hard, albino, cries a lot but they're tears that wet down the infield and keep the dust down. Glenn Beck is a cry-hard hitter, because he hits cries a ton and doesn't back down.

I know what you mean, Tim. I do. I believe in saying what you said. You look at Glenn Beck and his tears are something that don't show up in the statistics. There's no crying statistic in baseball and there shouldn't be, because you can literally tell a computer or a robot to cry and they have to because you programmed them to do it, which is actually what makes them explode, because they're electrical. But David Eckstein—and Glenn Beck, I mean—is a machine. Not a Big Red Machine, like I played on, but a crying machine. He really makes Team America better because he pulls them up by their heartstrings.

That is what I have meant for a long time, Joe. You can't look at the box score and talk about tearing up the way Glenn Beck does it, because the box score doesn't talk about crying, doesn't talk about how he's willing to look America in the eyes, in those calm eyes he has. The box score doesn't talk at all. They're just printed words. You have to get a person to say them out loud, and you can't hear a person from a basement. But when you hear them said, you have to read between the lines and examine the fine print. You know what's printed there, in the mind's eye?—heart.

I'm reminded of that movie about the women's baseball team. Remember that one? Starred Tom Hanks, who was in Big. In Big, he put a quarter into a machine and made a wish and became an adult and he learned something about being an adult and a child. I love that movie because he learned to work harder, to get from first to second—in life. You know who sometimes looks a little bit like Tom Hanks? My friend Dave Concepción.

Glenn Beck's got a babyface, but you know who else did? Don Drysdale. Don Drysdale used to say that he had a big babyface. That's what the other teams used to call him, Big Baby Drysdale. They say he sharted once into second base in the 1963 World Series but was called out on interference for being too adorable. Classic case of throwing out the baby with the baserunner before the barn door could come home to roost like a prodigal wolf in sheep's clothing.

Not afraid to get a l'il dirty. That's how you play the game right. Gritty. Shitty.

I'm sure the jukebox jackdaws and the statistics nabobs will tell you that sharting into the bases results in a 3% reduction in headfirst slides, but not when Charlie Hustle was playing. He didn't care if he had just stolen second and laid down a hershey highway coming into the bag. That's the kind of player he was. Hard-nosed and head first and that's what really inspires a team — that and crying.

I had the chance to play with him on the Big Red Machine with him and Davey Concepción, and I have to say, I think it made him faster. He launched like a bat out of hell into the wild second yonder like a rocket from the crypt, and you could tell when he felt the need for that speed he would sometimes show up at second base before the pitch was made to home, and the pitcher just didn't know what to do because you can't go home again.

Did I ever tell you about the time Whitey Herzog and I were in a Cadillac and thought we saw a portal opening up to the steaming feculent maw of Hell? We were so drunk — this was back when you could be drunk on the road as a ballplayer, not like now, when you have to do more training — I tried to drive into it because I thought I could destroy The Devil with Detroit steel. I couldn't, it was a roadside callbox, but that's especially true today. Right now the two devils are socialism and statistics, because they say the devil is in the details and in his bargains. Right now we're replacing our steel resolve with a weak hand that we've dealt ourselves into a corner. The only thing that can break us out is hustle.

Speaking of hustling, I think Beck makes a good point there about getting gay sex and sex before gay marriage. I think about gay marriage as like the infield fly rule, when you have a man on first or second and then another MAN comes up to bat, he either has to get a new base or he's called out. Unless he's really committed to that new base, and it's a woman base, and that's why they don't have that rule in softball.

Gay marriage is gay marriage, and straight marriage is straight marriage. I don't think anyone believes that gay marriage is the same as straight marriage. California isn't going to call straight gay or gay straight, and it's going to be fine. You're not going to see any lifestyle more taxing to live than an another.

That's where you're wrong. I think that—I think taxes are like the sacrifice fly. I think you've got to take yourself out of the game a little, but it lets the team win. But you can't get over the top of the ball. You've got to go deep. No one ever paid an estate tax taking a walk. Is there such a thing as On-Tax Percentage? No. You try walking in a tax. Rich people do all the little things. Go from first to third on a single. Steal. To be honest, most rich people remind me of my friend Dave Concepción.

When the Game of Life gets confusing like this, a lot of the times you'll see a player call for time in this situation, which is funny, because of course they can't stop time. Some have theorized there may be beings who can experience the whole timeline all at once, like seeing the ninth inning at the same time as the first and thinking they exist at the same time. That would be a VERY confusing way of looking at a ballgame, but I think if anyone could handle it, it'd be Bob Uecker. Speaking of Bob reminds me of a TV series called Out of This World, about a girl who could stop time. Amazing fact about that: the concept was revisited recently in the movie Clockstoppers. Which was directed by Johnathan Frakes.

Commander Riker.

Yes! Who I believe used radiation from the Duane Kuiper belt to accomplish that effect in the movie. Of course, it could harm the brain waves of the actors, making them erratic. That would be very similar to what happened to Joe Theismann, when he killed that guy.

Shhhh. I'm Billy Beane. I'm wearing Joe Morgan's skin like a suit. I get pulled over all the fucking time now.

Reminiscent of the movie Dragon Hannibal.

You can't tell me how much that movie made at the box office. It FELT real. To me. To Me as Him. The world he saw around him was imperfect. He saw the game — America's game — broken in two. Rogers Hornsby, greatest second baseman of all time, and he knew he was a racist, that that wasn't the way it is and that things didn't have to be the same, and he had to unite them, the Two Americas. He devoured the evil of The Other in Blake's vision. He became The Dragon. He had to father and give birth to himself. Self-Concepción. He became the Big Red Machine.

I disagree, Joe. There aren't Two Americas. You can split anything with numbers, but we're a whole. Three-hundred years ago a beautiful negress knelt at a crossroads outside New Orleans and wept to the night sky as she held a single rose close to her bosom, vowing to catch in it moonlight as it fell to earth like celestial nectar. Later she drank from it a tonic of her own tears and the night's gentle dew. Near her, in the brush, stood an Indian chief transfixed by her visage, who eventually girded himself to bring her another rose sweetened by the contents of a found honeycomb. The two later married and the child they bore was the first of generations of a tribe that eventually sired me, The St. Louis Cardinals.

Fuck math, fuck numbers, fuck everything. I want to drink blood. I want cum, piss, shit. I want to fill my pants with my piss and squib down a child's playground slide and fire out of it like a lubricated golf ball going *PUH* and launching out a whore's ass. Fuck truth, fuck a flag, stick your dick in a terrarium and fuck a whole microecology, fuck this gay Earth. I will EAT it. I will cut open a still-living bird and put my face inside it and try to snort out its fucking life essence. This is why I should represent YOU as Alameda County Supervisor of Elections.

Thanks to e-crony Rigamarock, who wrote about a third of the chat bits (the bad parts).