Pulling Some Chin Music From My Collection

Thursday, March 13th, 2008, 11:26 am

The Yankees play the Pirates in an exhibition game today and Billy Crystal is going to be in the Yanks’ lineup. Yes, that Billy Crystal, the actor-comedian-director-Oscar host. Crystal is a lifelong Yankee fan and, to celebrate his 60th birthday, they’re giving him a chance to fulfill a childhood dream. This is, on the face of it, a fun little stunt that adds some sweetness and light to a game that’s been dragged through the mud lately thanks to Messers. Bonds and Clemens.

But.

These are the Pirates we’re talking about here. They stink. They’ve stank. They’ve stunk. They’re the laughingstock of the major leagues. And the fact that the Yankees picked THEM as the team Crystal plays against speaks volumes. I’d say that it’s an insult but I don’t think the Yanks would consider insulting the Pirates worth their time. Which is an even bigger insult.

Even more disgusting, according to the ESPN article, "Commissioner Bud Selig approved this appearance and the Pirates sounded fine with Crystal’s guest shot." The Pirates sounded FINE with it? Just because you’re a periennial doormat doesn’t mean you have to ENJOY people wiping their feet on you. "He’s been a big ambassador for baseball," Pittsburgh manager John Russell said. "It’s a kid’s game at heart and he has loved it since he was a kid. I have no qualms about it whatsoever."

Oh, I’ve got me some qualms. Baseball is a kids game at heart? Well, guess what, John? The kids in Pittsburgh have NEVER HAD A WINNING TEAM TO ROOT FOR. The fact that are actually kids who still go to Pirate games speaks to the horriblly addictive properties of Cracker Jack. How about we think of the children, for once?

And let’s face another ugly fact here–this will probably be the only time this year the Pirates are mentioned on ESPN. What with their endless Yankee-Red Sox circle-jerking there’s precious little time left for the Worldwide Leader to spend even on teams that play competent baseball. The Bucs need to take their shot, right now. Look at what’s happened the last couple of days on ESPN–a Tampa Bay Devil Rays player bowled over a Yankee catcher at home plate, breaking the backstop’s wrist and causing a minor brouhaha. Yesterday a Ray got beaned and then a tasty brawl broke out when a Yank slid into second spikes-up. Tell the truth–you didn’t know that Tampa Bay still had a team, right? You certainly wouldn’t know if you got all your baseball info from ESPN. The only way for the bottom feeders to get any ink is to step into the spotlight ESPN slavishly shines on the Red Sox and Yankees.

So when Paul Maholm takes the hill today, and Billy Crystal steps into the box, at the very least Maholm has to brush Billy back with a 90mph eye-level fastball. If Crystal doesn’t spend at least part of his at-bat tucked in the fetal position and writhing in the dirt, the Bucs should demote Maholm to PNC Park popcorn vendor (like that’s really a demotion). Would Maholm be ripped to shreds in the media? Would Pardon The Interruption spend Five Good Minutes pontificating about his manhood and fitness to be play in the big leagues? Yes…and SO WHAT!? Someone in the national media would actually be TALKING ABOUT THE PIRATES! For the first time in 15 years! So what if it’s because a Bucco threw at the head of the 60-year-old man who gave us Miracle Max in The Princess Bride? Remember, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Just ask the young lady who was sleeping with Eliot Spitzer.

Sadly, it sounds like Maholm lacks true vision: "It’s a no-win situation for me," (Maholm) said, smiling. "I’m supposed to get the guy out. If he gets a hit off me, though, I might to have hang ’em up after the game." No, Paul, it’s a no-lose situation. You get Billy Crystal out, no one cares. You let Billy Crystal get a hit off you, you’re a laughingstock. You thunk a fastball in the meaty part of Billy Crystal’s leg, and everyone will know the name Paul Maholm. People will be talking about you, and they’ll be talking about the Pittsburgh Pirates. Think about how much national attention the city would get when the Yankees come to Pittsburgh for an inter-league series this summer.

It’s time to take one for the team, Paul. Believe me, of all people, Billy Crystal would understand.

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One Response to “Pulling Some Chin Music From My Collection”

  1. Darx Says:

    I had no idea you were so ruthless! Should someone warn Billy Crystal?

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