August 26, 2011

“Kick ass. Pop champagne. And get some ho’s:” The Yankees, Hideki Matsui, Matt Holliday and his moth friend, and the LLWS

Well, it is the week of pending northern natural disasters here in the Big Apple.  Who would have thought that we would be gearing up for both an earthquake and a hurricane within a five-day period?  I love big storms (as long as no one, you know, dies or anything).  I also live smack in the middle of a flood/evacuation zone in lower Manhattan.  After spending a decade in the South, however, I have been through my fair share of hurricanes; I can’t help but think that by the time Irene hits New York, it will be no scarier than a big rain storm with a lot of wind.  I am more bummed that baseball games will be canceled and the subway will be shut down.  
Speaking of baseball games, the Yankees dominated in grand style last night, beating the Oakland Athletics 22-9, while hitting three grand slams in the process – the first time in baseball history that it has ever been done.  Robbie Cano hit a bullet to right in the fifth inning, Russell Martin followed with another grand slam an inning later, and Curtis Granderson put the icing on the cake with a third one in the eighth.  The last time that the Yankees hit even two grand slams in one game was over 75 years ago, but they made it look easy last night.  They came to the plate 17 times with the bases loaded, which is simply ridiculous.  That said, they can also thank the A’s pitching staff for issuing 13 walks.   It was also good to see ARod back; he had two hits and didn’t injure any body part, so all-in-all, it was a successful day for him.  Weather permitting, the Bombers take on the Orioles this weekend, with A.J. on the mound tonight (god help us) and a double-header Sunday.
Okay, so this may seem somewhat random, but did anyone hear Ken Singleton’s story about Hideki Matsui during Tuesday night’s game?  I wish I could find the clip, because it was so entertaining.  I don’t even know that it was Ken Singleton; however, by process of elimination, it did not sound like Paul O’Neill, John Flaherty, or Michael Kay, so we are going with good old Ken.  I was only half paying attention.  Listen, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, even on second reading, was more enthralling than the YES pre-game show. Nevertheless, it has been well-established that Hideki Matsui mashes the ball on his birthday.  He hit a grand slam on his 34th birthday in 2008 and a three-run shot the following year on his 35th.  This apparently became an inside joke amongst his teammates.  Ken (or whoever was speaking) named a bunch of random games where the Yankees wished him a “fake” happy birthday and Hideki proceeded to hit homers.  It became such a “thing” that before Game 6 of the 2009 World Series, the Yankees actually pretended it was Hideki’s birthday – to the point that they bought him a cake with “Happy Birthday Hideki” on it, lit candles, sang to him…the whole nine yards.  He obviously went on to hit a home run and six RBIs.  Absolutely ridic. So, apparently before this week’s series against the A’s, Kevin Long asked Hideki to sign some baseballs for a charity function.  Matsui agreed with one caveat: Long must wish him a Happy Birthday.  Knowing the strange history of Hideki and his birthday, Long could not do this, now that he plays for the Athletics; he was afraid to awaken the Beast from the Far East.  Long still sent over a box of balls to Matsui and hoped he would sign.  And he did.  But when Kevin Long received the balls back, written on top of the box was: “Happy Birthday to me! Today, tomorrow, and Wednesday is my birthday!” 

How amazing is that?  I mean, this is coming from the guy who has a collection of 55,000 porno tapes.  Hideki is known for being a character.  He was the Baseball Jesus’s favorite teammate, partly because he is secretly hilarious.  He apparently understands English fluently, but chooses to give interviews in his native Japanese.  For example, before Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, Joe Torre asked the Yankees “What are we going to do?!” And Hideki responded, “Kick ass. Pop champagne. And get some ho’s.” God bless you Godzilla. 
While we are on the topic of amusing baseball players, Matt Holliday may have just become my new favorite player on Joe Girardi’s Braces.  And not because of his .307 batting average and 19 homers.  By now, I have to assume you all heard about the moth incident on Monday night.  After the moth was extracted from his ear, Holliday was not really in any condition to speak to the press.  That said, he absolutely made up for it on Tuesday.  Some Holliday gems, courtesy of the Big League Stew:
On what happened: "I was just standing there and all of a sudden there's a moth fluttering in my ear like crazy. I started shaking my head, like you do when you have water in your ear but I said, 'That's not working.' I don't think my glove was on for one pitch because I was trying to get it out ... But it was like, 'I can't handle this.' That's when I called time out."

On if he felt pain: "It wasn't killing me, but if you can imagine something that far in your ear fluttering the whole time, it's not comfortable."

On if he was worried the moth would do some real damage : "That was my concern — that it would eat through my brain. But Dr. (George) Paletta assured me that that was not possible."

On how the moth died: "There was so much wisdom that was passed on to him that he died of the overflow of wisdom from being inside my head."

On if he'll be OK going forward: "As long as there's no larvae remaining. As long as they didn't lay babies while it was in there, I'll be OK, I think."

On why he saved the moth's corpse and put it in his locker: "I figure we're friends. We've bonded."
And finally, as if we needed another reason to watch the Little League World Series:

Fucking priceless.  I miss being 13-years-old.  So I am going to finish this bottle of bubbly and rock out like it is 1996. I hope you all have great, safe, non-natural disaster weekends.   

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