I was born in New York City in 1992 and have for the most part lived here all my life.
Growing up in the Big Apple, people tend to tell you not to leave, and so your knowledge of other cities is molded mainly by stereotypes told through accent-laced, overpriced hotdog-chewing teeth. For example: L.A.’s beautiful lethargy, where the sun is always setting and Snoop is on every corner offering you a J; Boston’s awfulness, in every aspect of life; Philly’s cheesesteaks.
It makes for a pretty limited world view. As for Pittsburgh, PA – just a stone’s throw from Gotham in the grand scheme of things – here are the only things I know with confidence after twenty years:
- Residents eat, live and breathe steel. Or they used to, or something.
- Somewhere between there and Williamsport you’ll find the Amish, who charge $80 for horse-carriage-tours through their field-villages, and have no problem taking your money but still resent you for watching them from your car like tourists through a safari jeep on the savannah.
- It is where the scariest man on the planet does these jaw-dropping, make-you-feel-emasculated workouts
- Wiz Kalifa is solely responsible for keeping the place’s tattoo parlor industry afloat
- And lastly, it’s the one place on Earth – even more so than Kansas City – where year after year you can guarantee nothing if not that the baseball team will really, really suck.
If you’re like me, you play fantasy baseball (you can also procrastinate with the best of them and tend to tear up every time you see Mustafa fall into that wildebeest stampede, but that’s neither here nor there).
And if you play fantasy baseball you probably don’t have three of baseball’s biggest superstars – Joey Votto, Jose Bautista and David Ortiz – in your lineup right now. Not because you didn’t draft them, or because you were an idiot and traded one of them in a package for Jason Bay. But because of what happened a few Mondays ago.
Something was in the air a few Mondays ago, flying around and shooting down at the diamond. There’s no other way to explain why all over the baseball world, for no apparent reason, superstars seemed to be dropping like flies.
The Washington Nationals made an annoucement yesterday.
The team told the masses that Ian Desmond, their 26-year old All-Star shortstop, has an injured oblique and will not be healthy enough to play in Kansas City Tuesday.
Then he went out against the Rockies and hit a home run.
Earlier this week Manny Ramirez and Vladimir Guerrero, two of the greatest hitters ever to step in the batter’s box, in what seemed like some sort of sick, twisted joke by Father Time, were mashing in the minor leagues, hitting home runs out of Candyland parks off pitchers half their age. Now it seems as if both of their careers may be over.
Ramirez and Guerrero both asked for their release this week after Oakland and Toronto would not guarantee a major-league call-up in the near future. It’s not that they weren’t hitting or would be making too much money, not at all. It’s merely that emptying a roster spot for a 37-40 year old DH – even if both of those DHs are both possible Hall of Famers – is not something that fits into the immediate or long-term plans of rebuilding clubs like Oakland or emerging ones like Toronto.
So where do Manny and Vlad and their 1,004 career home runs combined go next?
Johan Santana’s no-hitter Friday night was absolutely incredible. It was ridiculous, fantastic, beautifully gut-wrenching, magnificent, stupendous, bewildering and flat out inspiring. To feed the cliche’, truly Amazin’.
Santana silenced a lot of critics and answered a lot of questions on what is now the the most famous night in the history of Citi Field, mainly on the subject of the health of his shoulder, which he underwent surgery on and missed all of last season because of. He needed an eye-popping 134 pitches to go the distance Friday, not one of which cracked 90 mph, proving that although Santana may not be the power pitcher he used to be, that doesn’t mean he can’t still be the dominant one the Mets signed to be their ace in 2008.
He proved that he is still someone Met fans can believe in, and that their ragtag team of wall-slamming no-names and David Wright can be one to rally behind. Johan’s performance was great for Johan, it was great for baseball and it was great for the Mets. Because now they can trade him.
Now they should trade him.
We were there for the first Strasmas.
All religions have their pilgrimages and their pilgrims. So there we were that night in June of 2010, carless and stranded on Independence Avenue thirty minutes before first pitch, the Three Wise Kids, holding pink scraps of paper with the words NEED A RIDE TO NATS PARK sharpied on the back, waiting on a miracle.
Would you believe we got one?