From Josh Reddick’s biker/philosopher goatee, to Joba Chamberlain-to-the-Giants rumors, to chilled beets staining your salad -– everything in life can be labeled one of two ways: Good For Ball, or Bad For Ball. It’s time again to check out what’s what.
… Reddick’s chin sock? Good For Ball. Especially when it’s paired with the slicked-back, serial-killer wig he’s been favoring. Menacing works in baseball, and given that Reddick looks like he weighs about a buck-fifty, it’s much-needed if he’s to be taken seriously as a legitimate power hitter (and not the one-season wonder his anemic first-half stats are suggesting).
Oh, and please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks Reddick’s a dead ringer for the pre-Mark-McGwire’s-obvious-influence-through-advanced-chemistry Jason Giambi. Same uniform number and oversized affinity for attention, too.
Giambi, by the way, is a prince of a human being. I covered the A’s for MLB.com during his MVP season, and a more engaging, gracious superstar you’ll rarely meet. I have nothing but great things to say about the man.
Doesn’t mean he wasn’t a lab beaker with arms and legs, though.
… Moving on to the Joba rumors: Ooooh. So Bad For Ball. Like, chilled-beets Bad For Ball. Call me crazy, but the Giants do not — repeat DO NOT — need an ineffective middle man. Isn’t that George Kontos’ role?
Anyway, remember when the hyperventilating New York media tried to force the phrase “Joba Rules” upon us? Yeah, that was when the big fella actually had promise. Now he’s pretty much the white Hideki Irabu.
… Speaking of Irabu, does anyone else miss George Steinbrenner? He was a colossal ass at times, no doubt about it, frequently morphing into a cantankerous caricature, but he was never, ever boring. Look around these days, and virtually every owner in every sport is less interesting than your neighbor’s blog about his rescue beagle.
George was volatile, dynamic, unpredictable, entertaining. And best of all, he poured a ton of his own money into his team in an effort to win for the fans of New York. A lot of people criticized him for trying to “buy” championships, but isn’t that what every team does on a fundamental level? Yes, it is. The Boss was Good For Ball.
… If the baseball gods were mocking the Giants’ recently pathetic offense by having a pitcher named Homer no-hit them, well, that sucks for the Giants and their fans. Good For Ball, though. Baseball is by far the sport most easily mined for humor, so it makes sense that its gods are a little bit twisted.
… The notion that Dwight Howard would destroy the Warriors’ admirable harmony is ludicrous. Bad For Ball. It’s also a slap in the faces of Mark Jackson and Steph Curry, the team’s unquestioned leaders. That Howard is a freakishly large man doesn’t mean he’ll be able to impose his seemingly petulant will on the Warriors.
If anything, what we know of Jackson thus far suggests he’s the perfect coach to turn Howard back into the humble, infinitely likeable young man who spoke so openly of his Christian faith upon joining the league as a teenager in 2004. That kid is still in there somewhere, and Curry’s general good-guy-ness would likely help pull him out.
And while it’s impossible be stoked on giving up Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes in a Howard deal, at this point Warriors fans should be pretty open to buying whatever Bob Meyers might be selling. A healthy and mentally rehabilitated Howard makes a second-round playoff team a conference finalist at worst.
… Still reeling from unthinkable tragedy, Boston didn’t just lose the Stanley Cup Finals. It lost by blowing a pair of two-goal leads before falling in triple-OT in Game 1, dropping another heartbreaker in OT in Game 4, and, worst of all, giving up two goals in the blink of an eye during Chicago’s Game 6 clincher.
Ergo, we can come to no other conclusion than this: Unlike the baseball gods, who rise to the occasion and give us moments such as Mike Piazza’s post-9/11 homer for the Mets and President Bush’s perfect strike at Yankee Stadium during the World Series, the hockey gods aren’t just Bad For Ball. They flat suck.
… I never let my daughters leave the basketball gym without making one last shot. It’s the same principle I apply in making “I love you” the last thing they hear from me every night: end on a positive. I’ll apply it here, too, because I don’t want “suck” to be the last thing I write before we celebrate the birth of this great country.
Joseph Zito, the father of Giants lefty Barry, passed away a couple of weeks ago. Barry, as many of you know, is a friend of mine. So Joe’s passing wasn’t just a few lines in my favorite newspaper’s “Giants Notes.” In fact, Joe played a pivotal role in my life.
Let me explain: I’m friends with Barry in part because when we first met, he was as comfortable in his own skin as anyone I’d ever met. He was a young stud with the A’s, rich and famous, with a ridiculously bright future — but he was straight-up normal. No airs whatsoever. What you saw was what you got, and what you got was a young man who’d clearly been raised right.
So when I got to meet Joe, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to pick his brain. I was about to become a father for the first time, and I wanted to do it right. In my opinion, Joe had done the Dad Thing right, so I asked him for advice.
He happily obliged, and his message was essentially this: Expose your children to as much as humanly possible, then hang back and watch intently. Just stay the hell out of it once you’ve presented them with the options.
Sports? Have ‘em play ‘em all. Music? Every genre. Art? Same deal. People? Ditto. Travel? High and low.
“They’ll show you what they love,” Joe told me. “And ‘show’ is the key word. Telling you they love something is one thing. But do they show it? That’s what you wait for, Wait for them to show you they love it, with their actions, with their passion. And when they do –- and only then –- you can step back in and encourage them to move in that direction.”
Best parental advice I’ve ever gotten. Good for Ball.
Thanks, Joe. Glad you’re Home.