The Can, Adam, Dee Dee, and the Dude (Links)

March 25, 2009

To be honest, I hate where Major League Baseball has gone. It’s so straight-laced and business-oriented. There’s no interaction with the fans; no joy and passion and excitement. I might be old, I might be odd, I might be a strange story at first glance. But any team that takes a shot on me will find someone who’s doing it for the right reasons. For the love of the game.” – Oil Can Boyd

You heard right, ladies and germs. The Can is on the comeback trail, and Jeff Pearlman argues that someone should take a chance on him.

The idea of someone doing something “for the love of the game” is very near the core of why we are drawn to sports in the first place. We love to see the players who seem driven by a passion for the sport that transcends a greed for great riches. This time of year especially you will hear fans and pundits comparing college basketball favorably to the pro game, saying that the amateur version is more enjoyable to watch because the players involved are fighting their battles out of love for the game and perhaps for their teammates and coaches instead of out of cold lust for the dollar. However, as Dave Zirin points out at Edge of Sports, college basketball is every bit a big business enterprise, and there is a glaring exploitative hypocrisy to the practice of excluding college players from sharing in the gushing rivers of revenue that they generate.

Or am I just bitter because I picked Wake Frigging Forest to go to the Final Four? My god, what a dolt. Anyway, this year’s bracket is in shambles for me because of my habit of always leaning toward a middling ACC team to outperform their seeding. So what’s left for me?

I don’t know. I guess I’ll keep watching and hope I find a player to latch onto. I haven’t settled on anyone yet. Last year it was Derrick Rose. The year before? Who knows. But thanks to the great Jonah Keri, I am reminded of the college player who was my favorite of the last several years. Though Keri doesn’t mention one of the key factors that drew me to Adam Morrison—that he bore a resemblance in appearance and careless, headlong, loose-limbed affect to Dee Dee Ramone, bass player for the Ramones—he otherwise does a great job of not only celebrating the brilliantly compelling college career of a player who clearly played for the love of the game, but also of analyzing why someone who loved the game so fiercely might burn out rather than being able to take the next cold-hearted step into the big business of the NBA.

Keri, never one to keep his head buried in the sportsworld sand, also has a more recent post on the so-called war on drugs. This grisly subject gets a harrowing, heart-breaking human face in Eric Nusbaum’s Pitchers and Poets blog, in an essay entitled “Death of a Pitcher.”


But let’s end on an up note, so here are some links to an enjoyable ongoing collaborative project among some baseball card bloggers. I may well have this wrong, but I believe the project got its start at Achiever Card Blog and Cheese and Beer and then got a boost from the photoshop master at Punk Rock Paint along with other contributions from Tastes Like Dirt and White Sox Cards. (Another, unrelated, baseball card photoshopping project is also going on at More Hardball.)

As visitors to the old Baseball Toaster site may recall, Bronx Banter’s Alex Belth had something to do with the movie that has inspired all this baseball card fakery. Here’s Belth’s 2003 interview with his old boss Ethan Coen. More recently, and off the subject altogether, Belth dug up some of his old notebooks and discovered they still smelled like Dorito breath.


  1. RIP to George Kell who, along with Al Kaline, was the voice of baseball for my youth.

  2. My condolences, kieser78. He had a good run, to say the least.

  3. RIP also to John Brattain, who was one of the funniest posters on Baseball Think Factory and The Hardball Times.

  4. I didn’t know Brattain died. Was he an older guy?

    I have to give Oil Can credit: He really does seem to love the game. Those ’80’s Red Sox teams had some memorable nuts (Boggs, Clemens, Oil Can, Mike Greenwell). One of my favorite baseball quotes was Oil Can saying, after Wade Boggs went on TV to claim he was a sex addict, “And they want ME to go see a psychiatrist.”

  5. Brattain was only 43. There’s a pretty good thread going on, hopefully in the style he’d like, at http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/discussion/tht_studeman_terrible_news/

  6. Thanks for passing along that thread, piehead.

  7. I obviously have no idea what Oil Can’s skill level is these days, but I don’t know if baseball upper-Upper management ever really appreciates the value of guys like Can. As a Tiger fan, I’d be thrilled to see him on the mound when they played Boston and as much as I’d want Detroit to win, I’d always want him to do well, like maybe leave in the 7th inning with a scoreless tie and then have the Tigers kick some reliever’s ass. There’s not a lot of opposing players that inspire that kind of affection. I sure never felt it toward Roger Clemens, for example. As much of a long shot as Boyd’s return would be , I hope someone gives him a serious look.

    Hey kieser78, I’m old enough to remember when Kell and Ernie Harwell were a team. In fact, I believe at one time, they did both radio and TV broadcasts, rotating innings, but I could be wrong.

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