Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Same Old (Looney) Tunes

Last Thursday, SI.com did the unthinkable: they placed the anonymous and forgotten Padres atop their power rankings, lording over the dueling AL East behemoths and, obviously, the rest of baseball.

The venerated site did this, apparently, because for the previous two and a half weeks the Friars had beaten up on 2010 lowlifes Arizona, Chicago and Pittsburgh (with a few Ws over the Giants and Brewers thrown in for good measure). Either way, at one point San Diego had won 10 of 11 and seemed like an unstoppable machine.


Not content to merely let their cover jinx extend to the power rankings on their website, the blurb within the power rankings alludes to the Padres' 96.7% chance to make the playoffs; according to Baseball Prospectus, best in baseball at that time. These two factors put the Padres in rarefied air - nothing but air, unfortunately.

Know how in the old Looney Tunes cartoons, a character - usually Wile E. Coyote - can run off of a cliff and continue running on air, but only until somebody - usually the Road Runner - points out the situation? Of course you do. That's where the character, succumbing to physics and a huge "Look Down!" sign, plummets comically to a dusty and deserving death. (Ok, not "death" per se, but you get my drift.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Play, in One Act

The setting: an upscale house in Kohler, Wisconsin. A little boy named Dusty enters and encounters his mom, Pag (it's an Irish name). She is unhappy.

Pag: Dusty, where have you been?

Dusty: I've been playing with some friends. It was really fun! In fact, I just came in here to get a drink, then I'm going back out to play with them again!

He moves toward the refrigerator, opens it, and gets a Gatorade. As he heads for the door, Pag stops him.

Pag: You're not going anywhere. You're grounded.

Dusty: Grounded? For what? For how long?

Pag: For two weeks. And you should know why I'm grounding you.

Dusty [lip quivering]: I ... I don't ...

Pag: Before you went out to play a few days ago, I posted a note on the garage stating where you couldn't go with your friends. One of them was a hazardous place, the dirt hills behind the bowling alley. That's where you went, and that's why you're in trouble.

Dusty: But ... but ... I didn't see any note. You didn't tell me about it. And it's not hazardous! It's just dirt! And if it's so hazardous, how come dozens of kids were playing there? And why did the Petroskeys move their weekly flea market there?

Pag: It was clearly posted.

Here they walk out to the garage. Taped to the side of it - the side facing the neighbor's fence, the side where nobody goes because there's only about 18 inches of space - is an index card with minuscule type which reads ...

Pag: "...furthermore, the dirt hills behind the bowling alley shall be off-limits, but only if the security cameras from the Conoco across 68th St. happen to place you unequivocally at the scene." Plus, your Uncle Walt knew these rules, and was out there watching over you.

Dusty: Yeah, I was going to ask about Uncle Walt. If he was out there and he knew I was breaking a rule, why didn't he tell me?

Pag: Because he can only tell you if you ask him first.

Dusty: So ... if I had known that I had to ask for help I didn't know I needed, I wouldn't be grounded?

Pag: Exactly.

Dusty walks sadly up to his room, alone.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Oh, Jesus

Well, I told you - those Muslims are tough. Damn free will. Next to the platypus, it's been My biggest mistake.

I thought you didn't make mistakes, Father?

Everyone makes mistakes, Son. It's part of life. Speaking of which, remember how we were talking about how angry We get when athletes invoke Our names after wins, but never do it after losses? As if We actually cared about those games they play?

Yes, Father. I specifically remember talking about a young man named Tim Tebow.

Precisely, Son. We were fine with his outward praising of Us in college, but now that he's a pro, I've decided to show him and his Denver Broncos teammates that they should keep his deification to a minimum. Hopefully, I'll have rectified that mistake.

What did you do, Father?

Well, I ... I decimated his team.

You crashed their plane?

No, no, no. Nothing like that. I just tore their best young offensive lineman's knee apart back in April, put down their entire backfield in the span of 10 minutes on the first day of training camp, and then - this one's the kicker - took out their best defensive player just a few weeks after they signed him to a five-year extension.

Wow. That should teach them. Hey, hold on - I'm getting a picture message from a friend of mine. He's a Belgian monk, makes some great beer.

/checks phone

Oh, Me.

/shows to his Father

They should really, really think about taking the bus from now on.

Actually, Father, you know what would be worse?


Turn them into Cleveland.

C'mon, Son. I'm not that mean.