The recently released “No No: A Dockumentary” uses Dock Ellis’s 1970 no-hitter against the Padres — twirled while the Pirates’ right-hander was soaring on LSD, true lore has it — as a fulcrum. However, the film, as you might expect, is about more than “just” that subversive instant of baseball culture. It’s about a flawed figure, Ellis, whose human weaknesses and neglected importance place him at once in and beyond his times.
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In the dual interests of news cycle observance and amateurish, hot dog-fingered use of photo editing software, I present to you — without pride or any sense of agency — an image of an ice cream sandwich festooned with tiny Jesus Montero heads …
This has been what it has been.
In base-ball circles, Yankees backstop Brian McCann is known as being a man of substantial left-handed pop, superb defensive chops and a polo-ist’s sense of propriety. He is also — as we have previously explored in this very electric newspaper — prone to strobe-lit glimpses of the yawning void that lies beyond.
Know that it — and “it” is the unnameable thing that harrows Mr. McCann down to his primordial essence — has happened again …
Brian McCann knows what awaits us all. Such burdens are enough to buckle a thousand Frodos.
And yet … “a sanitorium in San Antonio.”
At least there is melody in that,
And in melody, there is sometimes mercy.
You could fit his desires in a pillbox —
Trinkets that shone and crude origami
Made from his paychecks.
That should makes these moments
Simpler and less freighted.
With the blood wrung from his lips,
And his lungs as fat as an archdiocese.
We take him to be wreathed in unknowing,
And for us, the living, the full of mind,
Nothing quakes us like a man
Who doesn’t grasp that he should be afraid.
Perhaps, though, the hushed features
Belie the knowing.
Maybe he is a beast who wanders off to find
A dark and final thicket. This is
What passes for a wish.
Or perhaps his only regret is that
He can’t rise from this bed and
Drop the ball once more,
Let it roll dumbly and elegiacally off the mound,
Swivel his head toward the road
And hurtle through the outfield and over the fence
After the passing fire engine,
His cap fluttering behind him like a wasp,
Which is the other thing he liked to chase.
His bones shall make a fine mill whistle.
What follows is not poorly conceived so much as it is barely conceived. Lo, in the interest of improving the author’s workflow and with a nod to This, Our Lassitude, I opposite-of-proudly present the first episode of “Animal GIFs as Baseball Metaphors.” Let us begin with an animal rendering of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series and the smith-forged absurdities therein.
You’ll recall that the Rangers in the course of Game 6 against the Cardinals managed to fritter away a ninth-inning WE of 96 percent or so and then contrived to do the same to a 10-inning WE of 93 percent or so. For the Rangers toiler and or rooter such events were presumably unpleasant in the extreme.
In essence, bliss became undignified agony in an instant …
Sheep-assed. In Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, the Rangers were unsuspectingly sheep-assed by the Cardinals.
This has been “Animal GIFs as Baseball Metaphors.” This has been Appointment Internet.
Adrian Beltre crested the hill in front of Rucker. He scanned the tree-line for the white throat of the buck. That, or the eyes, was what you usually saw first. Nothing moved except the leaves, which seemed to rustle themselves. There was no wind. His next step was on a mossy stone which slid underfoot. He fell on his hip. He dropped his rifle and rolled on his back. “Goddammit,” he muttered.
“You OK, old man?” grinned Rucker as he clasped his forearm to pull him up. “Better let me blaze the trail.”
After Adrian Beltre got on his feet, Rucker barged ahead. Rucker swayed when he walked, as though slow-dancing at that club up on the highway. His broad hips never tapered. He had such a wide base that falling seemed impossible. His feet, in those trail boots, looked as heavy and sturdy as flagstones.
Adrian Beltre jammed the gear stick into park and sat in his truck until the song finished. Once it was over he sat another moment. The street lights weren’t yet flickering on, but they would soon. He grabbed his thermos from the front seat, climbed out and snapped the padlock on his toolbox in the bed of the truck. Inside, something — maybe the way his footfalls echoed too deeply on the linoleum — told him no one was there.
As he made his way into the kitchen, though, he saw the backdoor open, and through it he saw Glenda hanging wash on the line. At the table was her half-eaten salad — iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, carrots with Wesson and sugar as the dressing. She thought losing some weight would help her find work, but she wasn’t losing weight. Or finding work.
He stepped out on the back porch, and she turned to him. “Hey, she said, and turned at once back to the line.
“Work was fine,” Adrian Beltre said.
“Work,” he said. “I figured you were about to ask.”
“Oh,” Glenda said. “How was it?”
“It was fine.”
“I’m almost done,” said Glenda.
He eased back into the house and fished a Miller out of the crisper. The first sip grabbed his throat going down, and he coughed into his fist. He started to reach for the stack of mail on the counter but stopped. He set the beer down and pulled off his work boots and dropped them with a tough thump in the utility closet. If he didn’t put them there, she would, and then he wouldn’t be able to find them.
In the living room, he parted the curtains. A puff of dust made him start to sneeze, but then he smothered it. He watched it get darker out. Slowly? It seemed slow to happen. Or faster than it should, maybe? Earlier that day, he’d thought about the evening for some reason. Not this evening, but any of them. When it got darker did the change drift in, like fog across a field, or did it come down to them, like a rain in the middle of the night? He didn’t know why he’d thought about that today as he’d loaded totes onto a trailer bed. It wasn’t the kind of thing he usually thought about, but today he did. He told himself to watch and see how it happened when he got home that night — if he got home in time. And he had gotten home in time. So he lit a cigarette and watched the yard and the trees at the darkened edges. Was it easing in across the walk? Was it dropping in through the maples? A sprinkler hissed down the street, and the hostas next door seemed to wave to the sound. Was it night yet? Is there an instant when it goes from evening to night? If there is, was that it right there?
“Did you hear me?” Glenda said from close behind him.
He had not heard her. Adrian Beltre kept watching without quite knowing what to watch.
A recent and actual baseball headline:
“Adam,” said Colette. “What ever is the matter? You are more distant and brooding than even your usual distant, brooding self.”
Adam Dunn stooped to extinguish his cigarette in an exquisite coil of hound poo. Ce que je viens de faire est le seul art dans le monde, he thought to himself. “Colette,” he said. “The boulevards at once console and mock me.”
“I have a searing love for you,” she said.
“Meaningless,” said Adam Dunn. “Let us make love for no other reason than force of ritual.”
(Curtsy: @LukeHoekstra, for bringing the abovely linked dispatch to the author’s attention)
Owing largely to the symptoms of oppressive ennui, this scribe and his open sores have assembled an All-Star team of players based upon the calculated inversion of the first letter of said player’s first and last names. Please regard the following outputs:
C – Krik Eratz
1B – Gaul Poldschmidt
2B – Greddy Falvis
3B – Yevin Koukilis
SS – Cack Zozart
LF – Yelmon Doung
CF – WeWayne Dise
RF – Byle Klanks
DH – Billy Butler
RHS – Foug Dister
LHS – Hole Camels
RHRs – Fanny Darquhar, Beath Hell
LHR – Plen Gerkins
Top prospect: Mommy Tendonca
Emeritus: Few Lord (citation: @neal_kendrick)
Manager: Suck Bhowalter
This has been the Stupid “All-Inverted First Letters of Names” Team. Thank you for your squandered time.
It is not presently important how the author came to possess a Leisure Card of both former Reds right-hander Mario Soto and Grammy-nominated R& or B recording artist Al B. Sure. What is important is that these cards may be arranged in such a way so as to give the impression that Mr. Soto is about to heave the ball at an unsuspecting Mr. B. Sure. Please observe …
Note two things: First, that the author’s moron’s feeding table serves as our backdrop and, second, that the author couldn’t even be bothered to take a decent photograph with his dolt’s telephone.
After that note that Mario Soto is throwing the ball at Al B. Sure. Sure, Al B. looks self-impressed right now, what with his album sales and Wikipedia entry of Cistullian breadth, but what happens when Mario Soto hits him in the neck with a baseball? What then?
When Sartre called us “useless passions,” he wasn’t talking about this, that’s for damn sure.