Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Baseball is Not Unlike a War"

The title of this post is a quote from Tigers great Tyrus Raymond Cobb. Ty certainly did play the game like it was a war--spiking opponents ruthlessly, spewing racial epithets, and generally pissing off the baseball world at large. Watching a small portion of Ken Burns' baseball documentary, I got to thinking about Cobb. His otherworldly stats inspire pride, but everything else about him makes even hardened convicts blush. Thankfully, the Tigers have a host of solid, good-guy Hall of Famers too, to stand in stark counterpoint to Cobb's many iniquities. Al Kaline leads the pack, qualifying as a gentleman of the highest order.

Don't get me wrong, I don't require my ball players to be choir boys. In fact, Kirk Gibson was my original Tiger. No altar boy, he. I love Gibson's fire, his drive for winning. It fueled many a clutch knock. It propelled a player that didn't have the most talent to achieve gargantuan feats on the field. Cobb, however, redefined thug. He threatened to shred a man at second if he tried to block the base. He stabbed a black hotel worker who dared to ask him for identification.

Lou Gehrig may have best embodied Cobb's contemporary antithesis. Gehrig's idea of "raising cain" was having a beer with dinner, and Gehrig had his mother travel on the train with him early in his career. Adorable.

Whatever our likes and loathings of Cobb, his statement about baseball is true. We are currently waging war in our division. It's rather telling that the Tigers are playing the Twins this weekend, and the Sox are going against the Tribe. Although today's game marked the first Twins win against us in 12 games, it is so gratifying to have had 11 straight go into the W column against the Twinks. A great satisfaction settles down over my soul. Another tight race appears to be in the cards, but if we have to participate in another Game 163, I may not survive.

On a final, but unrelated note, how funny is it that Adam Dunn is laying a giant, rotten egg for the Sox? I would like to draw your attention to the fact that I stated my marked preference for not signing Dunn last off-season. Thank you. Thank you. /bows melodramatically

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