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Cal Ripken rips Orioles' management
- it's about damn time! Oh yeah, happy birthday, Ian Paice.
by Jim Sells
Good God, what a day. Rod Beck, one of my favorite players ever and a helluva character, was found dead at age 38. That's a year younger than I am (insert a BLAST of sudden mortality here). Also, Chris Benoit and his wife and son were found dead Monday, June 25, at their suburban Atlanta home, a suspected double murder/suicide. There are also reports, unconfirmed as this goes to press, of copious amounts of steroids being present in the house . . . I know many people look VERY far down their collective noses at professional wrestling and they can go perform the usual anatomically-impossible act. I've been a lifelong fan as I mentioned in an earlier burst of bad craziness. There is something to be said for a violent, acrobatic soap opera for men and that is what pro rasslin' is. And small guys usually never are the big dogs of the show; most don't generate enough "pops" from the audience. This was never true about Chris Benoit, who wrestled in his native Canada, Japan and the United States. At 5'11" and 234 lbs, Benoit packed a lot of muscle into a small frame which, when combined with his arsenal of aerial offense, made for a hell of a show. His upper-rope Flying Headbutt was famous around the wrestling world and his ability to sell a match was matched, maybe, but never equaled. Whatever the cause of his demise, I prefer to remember the Rabid Wolverine as a great performer who realized his lifelong dream of being a champion professional wrestler - RIP Chris Benoit.
Rod Beck was an atypical closer, all location and precision, not heat and bluster. The mustache was really the only typical "closer" part of his look but a solid low 90s heater mixed with a nasty forkball allowed him to be dominant when healthy. He was a vital part of three postseason teams (Giants, Cubs and Red Sox) and also managed to return from Tommy John surgery late in his career to have a Comeback Player of the Year season (2003) with the San Diego Padres. Lord, was he fun to watch. The sport needs more people like Rod Beck . . .
Cal Ripken, God's Own Baseball Player if you believe the PR flacks, has expressed displeasure with the merry-go-round that is the Orioles' management. He is on record as saying that the constant shuffle of personnel is distracting to the team . . . well, no shit, Cal. Captain Obvious notes his respect for Andy Macphail, who drank the kool-aid and was named President of Baseball Operations this past week . . . "white night, white night". Welcome to AngelosTown - there will be self-criticism meetings and ritual worship of the Godhead that is Big Pete. Christ . . .
Random baseball babblings: the Cards are promoting Troy Percival, hoping he can settle a pen that is in shambles; the Red Sox are a lock and the real action is gonna be on the wild-card slot with Cleveland, Seattle and maybe Oakland hooking up in some serious deathmatch-style shootouts; 'Bye, Ozzie - enjoy anonymity, you zero; the Brewers will have to go over the cliff to miss out on the NL Central title and the NL West will be gory; the Bravos have two problems: they need another veteran starter BAD and Tim Hudson is schizophrenic, with Good Tim being dominant and Bad Tim being essentially league-average. He is also getting hammered at Turner Field (.272 BAA and .681 OPS). God help . . . Joe Torre will be enjoying dark chocolate and Italian dessert wines this time next year. You can make book on that.
The Band No One Here Gives A Damn About this week is the Manic Street Preachers who emerged in '86 from Wales with the following manifesto: release one album that would outsell "Appetite For Destruction"; tour the world; play Wembley Stadium for three nights; and subsequently break up. Their first LP, "Generation Terrorists", is all bluster and energy with "Motorcycle Emptiness" leading the way. The band carried on quite well in the 90s (except for here, of course) and then the sky fell in. Richey James, the troubled heart and soul of the band, disappeared in February of '95. The band debated whether to continue or not and returned with a sonic blast equal to "The Holy Bible" (the last album with Richey James) - "Everything Must Go", which contained "A Design For Life" which may be the most powerful statement of melancholy purpose I have ever heard . . . I could go on and on about these guys - they're THAT good. Listen to the music and, for once, read the bios. It's worth the effort.
I gotta go and read some more Nicky Wire interviews.
Later taters (Go Braves/Go Tribe!)