The Greatest Break Up Letter Ever

With a million thanks to the good men over at The Airing of Grievances (who do fantastic work, check them out) I present you with the greatest post relationship e-mail exchange I have ever bore witness to. I don't care if it's real or not. It's funny and that's all that matters.

Also, if the girl who wrote the first half of this exchange is reading this right now (and I have no doubt she reads the FYC), my buddy Nate would like a beej the next time you swing through the midwest.


It would be difficult for me to be any more miserable right now, I feel like the worst person ever. First, let me start by saying that I am truly truly sorry, and I hate myself for hurting you. Of all the people in the whole entire world, you were honestly the last person that I would ever want to wrong in any way. There is no excuse at all for anything that happened, so I won't even try other than to say that all of us had WAY too much to drink, and I did a stupid thing.

I can handle you being pissed at me, I absolutely deserve it, I can even handle the ugly words that were exchanged between us, what I can't handle is thinking that you see me as a different person. It is weird, I feel like I just went through a horrible break up or something. The world looked funny yesterday, I couldn't crack a smile if you paid me, there are songs I can't listen to, and I just feel beyond crushed. Idon't know if you meant everything you said to me, and I am hoping that you didn't.

I know that I was wrong on many levels, but I am also hoping that this is something that we can deal with. I know it sounds totally crazy and stupid, but you have come to play such a significant role in my life, I can't imagine my days without you. It is totally strange and weird to say that, and you could say that my behavior didn't reflect that, and you would be correct. I hate feeling like youhate me, and I hate feeling like all of your friends think I am a terrible person, because I am not.

I know there is nothing I can say or do to take back what happened, but I just want you to know that fighting with you was just about the worst thing I could have ever imagined. It was right up there with one of the ugliest nights of my life, and I would give anything in the world to rewind and fix it.

I am not sure if you will respond to this, part of me thinks that you won't. If not today, then maybe some other time. Also, thanks for getting my stuff together, although I think my sunglasses are still at your house, if you could keep your eyes peeled for them that would be great. I can't even focus or work today, I can't eat, I seriously feel like it was an ugly break up, and I am hoping against hopes that itwas not that and you are not done with me. Please don't cut me off, I really don't think I can handle that.

I am so sorry.

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for your concern. I'll be sure to file it away under "L" for "Long-winded diatribes from drunken whores I couldn't care less about".

You did a stupid thing huh? No...doing long division and forgetting to carry the one is "a stupid thing"; Mixing in a red sock with a load of whites is "a stupid thing"; Blowing some guy in a bathroom for 45 minutes while I sit at the bar wondering if you're taking so long because you ate too much bran that morning isn't as much a "Stupid thing" as it is grounds for permanent removal from my social calendar.

To be honest, I'm not sure if it was more amusing that you went and degraded yourself in a public toilet not once but twice in a 2 hour span, or that you seemed to think that by saying "Well, I didn't Fuckhim" somehow gave you a clean slate.

So forgive me if I couldn't care less if the world "looked funny" to you yesterday. Since your world revolves around blow dryers, golden retrievers, Prada Bags and Jelly Beans, I'm sure it must have beenmost unsettling to actually have to consider someone else's feelings for 24 hours straight. The good news for you is that my friends don't think you're a terrible person, they just think you're the average runof the mill cum-guzzling blond who commands about as much respect as your average child porn collector.

I could be wrong but, it's pretty hard to respect some B&T chick who comes out to spend the night at my place even though she's seeing someone else in New jersey and winds up tongue-bathing the taint of anyone who decides 30 minutes of droning commentary on Colin Farrell's new haircut is worth putting up with for a hand and b-job in the men's room. The good thing about being a guy is that when I eventually bump into the young lad who finger-blasted you on top of a towel dispenser last saturday, we'll have a shot and laugh our heads off about the time it happened.

By the way, for the amount of time you claim to spend in spin class you really must be doing something wrong to sport the thunder thighs you do. Watching you parade around my bedroom in a thong was a little like watching sea lions mate. Thought you might like to know.

PS. I BCC'd about 100 people on this email.

Talk to you never,

Classic. Have a good weekend, everyone.



Credibility? No. Creepiness? Yes.

The next time you turn on ESPN and Jay Mariotti's smug, greasy face is on the screen, remember that he is the same man who wrote a column one month ago wondering openly whether or not the White Sox would win a single game during the rest of the season. If that wasn't bad enough, in the same column managed to poke fun at the White Sox midseason acquisition of Geoff Blum (which, obviously didn't pan out.)

Now, I've said it before and I'll say it again, when it comes down to it, I really don't know crap about sports. Yet somehow, someone who knows even less about sports than I do can make a living (and a comfortable one at that) as a sports commentator.

And still, I sit here unemployed.

Congrats to your 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox.
They Did It. Somehow.


Quick Thoughts: The Longest World Series Game Ever

Thought's running through my head while I watched a game which seemed to never end and drank a giant rum and coke which felt the same:

Ron Burgundy: Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast!

Champ Kind : It jumped up a notch!

Ron Burgundy: It did, didn't it?

Brick Tamland: Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart!

Ron Burgundy: I saw that! Brick killed a guy! Did you throw a trident?

Brick Tamland: Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident!

Ron Burgundy: Brick, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you're probably wanted for murder.



Goodnight, Sweet Princess

With a heavy heart, The FYC says a sad farewell to civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who passed away this evening at the age of 92.

All apologizes to John Carlos and Tommie Smith, but Rosa has always been my favorite figure from the 1960's civil rights movement. Why? Because she was tired...and she wasn't going to give up her seat to some damn cracker-ass-cracker. Right on.

It really sounds like the kind of stance I'd be willing to make. The stance to sit.

Of course, she probably should have been put on Alabama's state quarter, instead she finally gets her due here on The FYC, becoming the third celebrity (along with Rick James, Old Dirty Bastard, and the legendary Gary Wayne Rodgers) to receive an official send off. For some reason, I think that Ms. Parks may be in different company than Rick, Gary, and O.D.B. right now. Just call it a hunch.

And, although she was never too fond of it, Rosa Parks was perhaps most famously (to my generation, at least) immortalized in the all-time great hip-hop recording, Outkast's "Rosa Parks", which was the first rap song which my father would admit was actually quite good. He later went on to admit that he enjoyed Tupac Shakur, for not only his music catalog, but also for his thespian skills in "Above the Rim."

"And with that... (s)he was gone."



"Mind if I do a J, Man?"

As the immortal Jeffery "The Dude" Lebowski once muttered, "That's a bummer man...that's a bummer."

Is this the ending for Busch Stadium that I had asked, nay, prayed for? No. Not at all. But, did the best team win? Absolutely.

And when it comes to sports, that's all you can really ask for.

After The Pujols Home Run, I thought that this year could be it.

Destiny? Maybe? Nope.

Not quite.

But hey, thank you Albert Pujols. Thank you for giving me one last great highlight from the 2005 Cardinals season. I will be seriously pissed if nobody makes a DVD with this year's Cardinals highlights on it. SERIOUSLY PISSED.

Anyway, about the game...Um...Mark, that wasn't exactly was I was thinking when I said that we needed you to come up big. But...whatever. That's behind us now.

It's time to give props where props are due: Roy Oswalt. That was a gem. THAT is how a dominating pitcher pitches in the playoffs.

Congratulations, Houston.

Now that's it finally over, at least my nerves aren't so frayed that I can't eat. And I'm going to relish this here slice of sausage pizza.

But, shit man, what a heart breaker.

I believe it was the fifth inning of the game when my heart stopped working for a few seconds. The Cards had runners on first and second with nobody out and I started to feel the life come back into my body.

That was quickly followed up by a horrendous call by the second base umpire, saying that Yadi had been tagged out by Adam Everett. It was then that I was once again quickly submersed in a cloud of death. THAT was the ballgame.

Sometime around the seventh inning, I realized how much fun it must be to be an Astros fan at that moment. Sitting in a bar...counting down the outs. I remember that feeling from last year's Game 7, and it's feeling that will stay with me for a long, long time. Goosebumps just thinking about it.

I hope you guys are having fun with this. You deserve it. You not only beat, you destroyed, the best team in baseball, the Saint Louis Cardinals.

There's a lot to be said about the old system. Regular season winner of the NL faces the regular season winner of the AL. And while I'd like to see that come back into fruition (simply because the Cards would be in the World Series time and time again) the system is what it is, and even if it literally kills me one of these years, I still love it.

Again, congrats to the city of Houston. I'm sure you guys are going to be out all week, celebrating, and doing the stuff that Texans do (ie. Eating really fattening foods, executing innocent people, and building baseball fields which have hills on them....sorry, that was cheap. You guys won, fair and square. Celebrate however you see fit.)

So, where do we go from here? I, for one, am taking the cowards way out. I'm leaving the state for a few days and going off to the woods. Seriously.

The Lady Friend and I are taking off for my Grandparents lake house in Indiana this afternoon to do a little bit of drinking, maybe some fornicating, and definitely watching some "Wake Up Ron Burgandy." I'd like to say that we planned this trip as soon as the final out was made and I couldn't stand to be in the city of Saint Louis any longer, but alas, it had been in the works for the last few weeks.

But you can bet on this...at some random truck stop on my way driving on I-70 across Illinois, I will be picking up a White Sox hat. I finally feel comfortable enough with myself to admit it in public, but back in the early-90's, I was a HUGE White Sox supporter. Shocked? You shouldn't be.

I still cared about the Cards, but when one team has Todd Zeile, Felix Jose, Mark Whitten, Bob Horner, and Donovan Osbourne...and another team has Frank Thomas (who, for the record, was Albert Pujols before Albert Pujols was Albert Pujols...let's just hope the injuries stay away from Pujols), Robin Ventura, Jack McDowell, Bo Jackson, Wilson Alverez, Alex Fernandez, Jason Bere...well, I'm following the team with the studs, not the team with Luius Alicia.

I'm sorry, but I was 13. I also thought that "Tesla" and "Hootie and The Blowfish" were the best bands since "The Who" and "Pink Floyd." I was young and confused.

Conclusion: Al Fritz as a 13 year old was one dumb bastard. Although, I could have out-masturbated anyone this side of Minneapolis.

But I'm still cheering for the White Sox. I can't just not cheer for anyone, so why not bring an old flame back into my life?

I know my buddy Gene would be proud.

One final thought...As I was driving back home from Hammerstone's bar after the game, TLF and I were listening to Mike Shannon do the post game and he was obviously choked up, and rightfully so. The last ever game at Busch II, the place where he has worked every day since it opened in 1966, and also his last ever sign off on the mighty KMOX. A very emotional moment, all around.

His last words (as best as I can remember them):

"Well folks, we just couldn't pull it together for one last win brought to you by the Wheezy Company tonight.

The final out was recorded at 10:22 and 15 seconds...and with that, we say goodbye, for the last time, from the lovely, the beautiful Busch Stadium.

Good night."

And I swear to god, you could hear the tear run down his cheek and hit the microphone.

Mike Shannon, coolest man ever.



Quick Thoughts - Game Six, Baby, Game Six

About Monday night....

I'll be honest with you, I'm still riding a pretty decent wave right now.

A 26 hour freaking high...I love it.

One strike away from the season ending. One strike. And yet, we live again. Unbelievable.

Just like Jimmy's Game Six walk off last year, everyone is going to remember where they were for "The Pujols Home Run." My favorite reactions so far have been Julia's, Scott from Cardnilly (I can't say enough about the quality of work that Scott puts out on a daily basis), Josh Bacott's, and this guy from VEB.

Priceless, man. Priceless.

Again, I just need to get this off my chest: "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Allright, press the reset button, Al...back to all systems normal.

By the way, check out how close The Pujols Home Run came to the DK Sign in left field at Minute maid.

It reminds me of last night's "My Name Is Earl" when Jason Lee called out for karma to come and help him. And Karma came through in the clutch, just like it should.

I just can't help but to think that one of these years... Jack, Darryl, Kelli, and everyone else out there that Redbird Nation has lost, maybe, just maybe, they're going to help us out.

Karma...It's a funny thing.

My buddy Dave (you've read about him before) dropped Derrick Goold a note, asking why the Cardinals have not retired Willie McGee's #51 yet. DG kind of skirts around the issue, but it's a decent read, regardless.

The great thing about Dave is, it seems like at least once a week he'll bring up retiring Willie's number while we're out drinking. I normally rebut that we should retire #22 with a banner that says "White People" underneath it (Jack Clark, Will Clark, Mike Matheney, David Eckstein...is that number inherently racist or what?) or retire Felix Jose's number...whatever that may have been.

Dave really wants that #51 banner up at the new Busch,though...And I think I'm going to have to agree with him on that one. Your thoughts?

Man alive, is this deja vu all over again or what. Cardinals down 3-2, leaving Houston and heading back to Busch. And, possibly, facing Roger Clemens in Game Seven. I seem to remember a remarkably similar scenario last year about this time. How did that one end up again?

What really seems strange is that last year the Cards, in theory, had much more life to them. They were still hitting the ball (the hitting wouldn't go out for a few more days. Damn that World Series!) and they had not already played in a high pressure elimination game.

This year, after that Pujols jack, we have more momentum than any team I can remember. I'd say that we have even more mo' than we did last year after the Edmonds walk off homer in Game 6. Now that's a lot of freaking mo'.

But there's a funny thing about momentum...I believe Earl Weaver put it best when he said, "Momentum is only as good as your starting pitcher."

That's where you come in, Mr. Mulder. The franchise gave up a quality reliever, a promising young starting pitcher, and a young hitting phenom to pick you up last December. And now it's time for you to earn your keep. Lock down that lineup.

Get us to game 7, Mark. That's all I ask of you.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "What can I, Joe Q. Twelvepack, do to help my team?" Well, that's easy. If you're lucky enough to be in attendance for the game, make as much noise as humanly possible (and if you have an extra ticket, I know a certain unemployed 25 year old that would love to accompany you...hint, hint.)

If you're like me and will be watching the game via TV or listening to Shannon on KMOX, do yourself a favor and grab some booze, and get ready for a ride.

This should be a good one.

So...does everyone else get as choked up as I do when the ESPN commercial comes on...and it's baby being wrapped up in a Cardinals blanket, followed by a young man sitting on the same Card's blanket, playing the drums, followed by him moving off to college, then meeting the girl of his dreams, having kids of his own, and them using his Card's blanket?

It gets more than a little dusty when I hear those piano chords strike. Great ad.

"Without Sports...What Else Would We Hold On To."

To get you even more pumped up than you are right now, going into Game Six...if that's humanly possible...I give you this.


I got a lot of reactions from yesterday's post. Nothing makes me happier than hearing back from you all about my posts. Truth be told, it just makes me feel warm. Like when I used to climb the ropes in Boot Camp. Really fuels the fire, you know?

Anyhoo, almost all of the feedback was extremely positive, but there were some negative e-mails (apparently Houston fans really do like that jungle gym of a ballpark and feel the need to defend it. I say, if you've got a flag pole on the field, let alone a flag pole on a hill on the field, you and your park deserve to be made fun of )

My overwhelming favorite reaction was from my buddy Jim, who sent me the following e-mail:

"Dear Al,

[You're right] Busch stadium is not our house.

Busch stadium is baseball.

Busch stadium is that anxious feeling when you first see the top of the arch coming down the I-55 hill at Collinsville on a clear day.

Busch stadium is the buzz outside the Marriot, the tickets being sold, and the scary looking bums who are just as much a Cardinal fan as you are.

Busch stadium is the smell in the corridors of hot dog smoke and spilled beer soaked into the concrete for the last 40 years. It's the way the sight of the field explodes into your vision as you walk from the concourse to the loge level.

It's the old black Jerry-curled beer vendor with the front gold tooth screams out "cooldbuschcoldbud", the story he told me last year about how he started as a kid at the old sportsman's park in 1960.

It's the one armed old timer that watches the field level exit in the Red Bird inn. It's the buzz in the streets after a Friday night win as you walk from the park to your hotel, bar, or parking deck.

It's going to St Louis every year in the middle of June for my birthday. It's the childhood memories of going to games with my parents and grandparents, swimming on the roof of the Holiday Inn all afternoon, then falling asleep in the stands at night only to wake up to a Tommy Herr double down the line.

It's that hollow sound of hearing Jack Buck's voice while you're in the bathroom. It's the memories of listening to Shannon do the post game as your staring out the rear window, watching the stadium shrink as you pull away.

It's watching Todd Worrel break the save record when I was six. It's driving from Peoria to St. Louis and back three nights in a row to see McGwire hit no 500 only to see Tony Gwynn drive in the winning run with hit no 2,999 and receive a standing ovation from the classiest fans in baseball.

It's going to 30 games in one year as a
broke college student.

It's even the ticket stub I still have from a game at Wrigley that was never played on an afternoon in June when DK never showed up to the park.

And most of all it's thinking that up until that Pujols AB last night that I had seen the last game ever in person and it was a loss. But now even though I wont be there, the place that is home to almost all of my childhood memories, will live another day."

I couldn't have put it better myself, Jimmy.

Have I mentioned how much I love October?

And how much I love the Saint Louis Cardinals?

Game Six, Baby. Game Six.




Not Today, Reprise

I am glad that the Cardinals won.

I realize that's hardly a surprise to any of you. But, it's not so much that they won. It's how they won. Like men.

I hardly even remember it, but we were one strike away from the season being over. One strike. Then an Eckstein single. An Edmonds walk. And a Pujols bomb. Against Brad Fucking Lidge.

We won like men.

Becasue they didn't let the fucking jungle gym that is Minute Maid Park lose the game for them.

318 foot home runs? This is the fucking playoffs, Berkman, I'm sorry that you have been playing on a god damn little league field these last few years. And I hope you took notice when Pujols came up in the ninth.

That is a fucking home run.

No ticky-tack bull shit. A straight up, 400-some odd foot home run.

And you know what?

You're coming back to Busch.

You, and all of your bitch ass team-mates are coming back to Busch.

If you thought you had a home field advantage, with your imitation of Harry and Lloyd from "Dumb and Dumber" yelling "BUZZZZZZZZZ" and doing the most annoying sound in the world, and your stupid fucking dome...well...welcome to Busch Stadium.

We have real fans. We know when to cheer.

And you know what? These drunk ass midwesterners are going to be in to it.

Redbird nation:

Pumed up.

Busch Stadium farewell tour.

On steroids.

I can't say enough about how pumped up this town will be come Wednesday...So, I'm going to pull a reprise on this one, because it's more than fitting:


Busch Stadium is not our house.

So I will not waste your time this morning talking about the importance of the Cardinals protecting our house in Game 6 of the NLCS.

I will not broach the obscenity of seeing Houston players spilling champagne on our living-room carpet.

Busch Stadium is not our house.

It's much more important than that.

It's where many of us watched our first game, caught our first foul ball, begged for our first autograph.

It's where Gibby ruled the mound, where Brock ran like the wind, and where Ozzie made all the folks go crazy.

It's where the El Birdos dominated, where Sutter struck out the last batter of 1982, where Mike Shannon has worked since the joint opened in 1966.

The Ol' Redhead managed there. Stan the Man played his harmonica there. The White Rat led us back to glory there.

This is where Gussie drove the Clydesdales, where Willie McGee tracked down fly balls, where Joaquin Andujar summed up his philosophy of life in one simple word: Youneverknow.

This is where Big Mac smacked No. 70, where Tommy Lawless flipped his bat, where GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY...BRUMMER'S STEALING HOME!!!!!!!

This is where the greatest St. Louis team in Busch Stadium's history performed. That's right, the 2004 Cardinals.

They had the best home-record, the best record in baseball. Right on that field. Not far behind them, the 2005 version.

Ted Simmons played there. Kenny Boyer managed there.

And a beloved old man in a bright red jacket told a mournful nation why it was good and right to play baseball after Sept. 11.

My friends, Jack Buck's coffin rested on that field.

Daryl Kile pitched his last game there.

And many of us cannot walk into that stadium without thinking of loved ones who are no longer with us.

Not today.

We don't lose today.

Not against the Houston Astros.

Not even against Roy Oswalt and Roger Clemens.

Not against a wild-card team.

Not in Busch Stadium.

No, it's not our house.

It's simply the place where our memories congregate, where our baseball dreams are stored, where the voices of millions of fans and the ghosts of seasons past await their call to arms.

Folks, it's time to wake 'em up.




Damn You, Sports...Damn You to Hell

Last weekend was supposed to be one of those weekends. Joyous. Boisterous. Unforgettable.

Nothing but good times, all around.

It started Saturday morning with a mix of booze, celebration, and confidence...all to be defeated by the bastard which is sports.

Saturday was set up to be an unforgettable day. University of Notre Dame v. University of Southern California at 2:30. St Louis Cardinals v. Houston Astros, Game 3 of the NLCS at 3:30. That's two of the most compelling sporting events of the year, side by side, on the same glorious Saturday in October. I had only one option: Cook up a shit load of chili and have a few dozen people over to the house. I wanted as many good folks around me as possible at the moment that the Cardinals took a 2-1 lead over the Astros and the Irish took down the number one team in the land.

By the time kickoff in South Bend rolled around, spirits were high and beer was flowing. Within a few hours, the spirits would be down, but the beer would still be flowing.

It became apparent when Hector Luna threw a ball to home plate and looked more like Smalls from "The Sandlot" than a major league baseball player, that the Cardinals were not going to win. By the time Brad Lidge got the last merciful out, I was way too many beers deep and ready to watch the kids in South Bend party.

A few minutes later, after USC recorded one of the luckiest fumbles I have ever witnessed, Matt Leinart snuck his way into the end zone with three seconds left on the clock. Ballgame. And my teams went 0-2 on the day. Anyone want to guess what I did after that? Yep...drank an amazing amount of whiskey and ended up dancing in my living room like a maniac to "Moving Out" by Billy Joel. Sweeeet, Al.

Sunday could have brought redemption. If the Cards tie their series up 2-2, it's still good. At least that means the series is going back to Busch. But, alas, around the same time Jim Edmonds is taking the worse strike ever called and getting run out of the game, I realized the 'Stros weren't losing that one. The umps just weren't going to let them.

Even down 3-1, I'm not willing to say that this series is over. Why? Because it's not fucking over.

I remember 1996 pretty well, and I remember a Cardinals team choking away a 3-1 NLCS lead to the Braves.

I remember 2003 pretty well, and I remember the Marlins coming back from being down 3-1 in the NLCS, and they were also going up against a fantastic three-some of pitchers, albeit Chicago Cubs pitchers.

And I remember 2004. And I remember the Red Sox being down 3-0 to the Yankees in the ALCS. And I also remember the Red Sox, not the Yankees, eventually winning the World Series.

This ain't fucking over.

What can the Cardinals do to get back in this thing and really give them a chance to win?

Simple. Quit sucking.

It really is that simple. This is far and away the worst three games the Cardinals have played in succession all year. You want to win? Quit playing like crap.

And if they go out like whimpering little bitches again tonight (yes, I'm talking about Albert Pujols not power slamming Brad Ausmus at the plate last night in the ninth inning. If you're 6'4", 220lbs, don't do a fancy-dancy slide around the catcher...Railroad that son of a bitch) I'm enacting a month long moratorium on myself from watching sports, beginning post-World Series.

Because I am sick and fucking tired of sports kicking me in the nuts.



The Curse is Reversed

Baseball, or at least baseball on television, loves curses. Loves the very thought of them.

Last year, according to FOX at least, the Curse of the Bambino was lifted off of the Boston Red Sox. This year, if the White Sox make the World Series, I would imagine that FOX will invent a cleverly worded phrase to somehow imply that Shoeless Joe Jackson cursed the franchise. They will then attempt to kill the audience by overdosing them on a lethal cocktail of dynamic graphics, clips from "Field of Dreams," and promos for "Kitchen Confidential." Sweet.

And we all know about the supposed Curse of the Billy Goat which has plagued the Chicago Cubs for years (yeah, like it's really about a fucking goat and not about poor management and crappy baseball players. Damon Berryhill? Get bent.)

So with all of the love for curses going around, I am a little confused that FOX (or F/X?) has not picked up on a curse which has left the Cardinals without a World Series title since 1982:

The Curse of Keith Hernandez

Although he was not the first to mention The Curse, Dan O'Neill at the Post-Dispatch documented it last year. If you are unfamiliar to the story, here's the synopsis:

After the Cardinals won the World Series in 1982, they, like most ball teams are prone to do, celebrated on the field. Unfortunately, first baseman Keith Hernandez was caught trying to snort the first base line (or so legend has it. In his defense, it was the '80's. I bet he was trading junk bonds on his huge cell phone, too. Isn't that what everyone did in the '80's?)

During June of the next season, Hernandez was traded to the Mets for players who frankly stunk, but were not so obviously addicted to cocaine (Neil Allen and Rick Owenby.

Hernandez went on to not only lead the Mets to the World Championship in 1986, but also to team up with Roger McDowell in an elaborate plan to spit on a heckler who had poured a beer on McDowell's head during a game at Shea Stadium (the heckler was later identified as one Cosmo Kramer.)

The Cardinals, however, have not won a single championship since Hernandez was sent packing. They have consistently come up short. Over and over, the Cardinals have had key players go down to injuries just before the postseason begins, and normally in bizarre fashion. For example:

Clearly, Keith Hernandez was not happy with his departure from Saint Louis. And we have been one cursed franchise since then.

This year, Rolen was nice enough to go out early in the season. That left plenty of time for Abe Nunez to get adjusted to the hot corner, and become not just adequate, but down right good

Reggie Sanders went down with a broken leg, but he came back. And came back huge

Larry Walker was bothered by injuries all year, but he's old and Canadian. These things happen.

Then, on the final day of the regular season, at the final regular season game ever to be played at Busch Memorial, something strange happened. Al Reyes, the Cardinals most effective relief pitcher all season long, hurt his arm doing something (what did he do, anyway? Does anybody know?) Not only will he miss the playoffs, he'll miss all of next year, too.

The Curse of the Keith strikes again, I thought.

I was wrong.

Only a few minutes after Reyes went down, the ball game was over and the Cardinals organization began one of the most ridiculous and elaborate farewells which an inanimate object has ever had (the crowd was cheering a dead guy's hat which was being pulled by horses, for crying out loud.)

And who was there to take part in the festivities? Keith Hernandez himself. And let me tell you, that man's moustache hasn't aged a day since 1986.

Keith, apparently, has made his piece with the Cardinals franchise. I've even heard rumors that if he ever makes it into Cooperstown, he'll go in as a Cardinal (in fairness, that rumor may have been started by Roommate Matt - the staunchest Hernandez supporter you could ever meet.)

And just like that, The Curse was lifted.

The freak injuries started hitting the other team.

Jake Peavy breaks a rib while celebrating the great achievment of the Padres winning 82 games in a season.

Andy Pettitte gets drilled in the knee with a line drive during batting practice, just hours before he starts a less than effective game one of the NLCS.

These are the types of injuries which used to only happen to the Cardinals in the playoffs.

Not any more.

The Curse, it appears, has finally been reversed.

(And if Reggie Sanders goes down with a broken hip during tonight's game, we'll just pretend I never wrote this.)
UPDATE (10/14/05)
Sorry about that, Reggie. My bad.
I will now take some good advice and quit predicting things.



Talkin' Baseball...

How about those Angels last night? Obviously they were at a competitive disadvantage and the game probably should have been moved back a day. Good call, ESPN pundits. Bunch of damn dumbasses. As long as methamphetamines are still legal according to MLB's drug testing policy, travel fatigue and lack of sleep will never be an issue in baseball.

Before I go any further...

Has anyone else ever gotten Billy Joel's "For the Longest Time" stuck in their head before? It's been playing on loop in my brain for the last two hours and I feel like shooting myself.

Anyway...Back to the matter at hand: NLCS, Game One.

I don't have much to say about this series that has not already been said. From a Cardinals standpoint; Cardnilly, The Reasoning, and VEB already have written better previews than I ever could, so just go read theirs (if you want to, you can read them in my voice to make it seem like I wrote them.) Also, if you want to find out what the fat asses down in Texas (hey, don't blame me for your obesity, Houston, I'm just calling it like I see it) check out The Crawfish Boxes.

What I basically think is going to happen this series? A nearly identical series to last years NLCS, minus a few runs (both pitching staffs should be better than last year's) and I think the Cardinals might steal one away down in Houston. Final outcome: Cards in Six.

Meanwhile, over at the Post Dispatch, overweight sports writer Bernie Miklasz is being too cool for school and picking the Astros to win. His reason: because the two teams pitching staffs are lined up so that it will be Roger Clemens v. Matt Morris if it goes to seven games. That's a valid point if it wasn't for the fact that Clemens lost to Jeff Fucking Suppan in last year's game seven. Precedent, Mr. Miklasz, has been set in this argument and Clemens does not, in fact, always win in the playoffs. Also, Bernie would like to remind everyone that while he is a total douche, he's not the guy in the Fredbird costume.

Speaking of ass-hats, as I was watching the White Sox-Angels game last night on FOX, I was stunned to find out that the announcing crew of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver was being joined by hot head extraordinaire Lou Piniella. "Strange," I thought "but, hell, maybe he's going to give us some good insight. He couldn't possibly be any worse than McCarver, right?"

Wrong. He STUNK.

Case in point: During the third inning, Sweet Lou questioned Sox manager Ozzie Guillen calling for his infield to do a massive swing right shift on Garret Anderson. Lou claimed that Anderson was the type of hitter who could find any hole that you give him. Right on time, Anderson grounds precisely to where second baseman Tadahito Iguchi was stationed in shallow right field. That right there, Lou Piniella, is a huge reason why your team lost 95 games this year. Sometimes, you need to think outside of the box.

Also, since Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are doing the ALCS, that basically ensures that the NLCS will be covered by T(h)om Brennaman and Steve "Dumbass" Lyons. Brennaman isn't too bad, and yes, Lyons isn't worse than McCarver by any means (is that a compliment or not? Discuss.) but, really, this is what we're left with for television announcers?

Can't FOX bring in some fresh blood. Maybe someone with some talent? Steve Stone immediately comes to mind. That man has forgotten more about baseball than Steve Lyons will ever know, plus he doesn't talk to the audience as if they are eight-year-olds watching their first ever baseball game (I'm looking directly at you with that one, McCarver.) What about Bob Uecker? Joe Magrane? Anybody else!

Anyhoo, I digress..Hopefully Al Leiter will be in the booth as well for the NLCS. He was pretty solid last year in the playoffs.

To be truthful, I don't really care who's announcing tonight, as long as they call a winner for the Redbirds.

I'll be down at Busch Memorial in the great Standing Room Only section, drinking beers and making noise.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love October?



Open Letters, Playoff Edition - Losers

To the Boston Red Sox,

After a year of putting up with a "Queer Eye" special, 39 different books written about one season, and enough Curt Schilling opinions to kill a horse, it's over.

Being swept by the White Sox? That's what we like to call come-up-ins.

You won the World Series last year. You are not allowed to be sad. Heck, John Miller called you "The Greatest Champions in the History of Sports," you should still be celebrating your first championship in 86 years. (Also, apparently John Miller has never heard of the real greatest champions ever, George Wright's hard-charging Providence Grays, the National League Champions of 1879.)

Also, most of America (at least those not in the North Eastern Megalopolis and those who are not executives at FOX) are sick of watching you playing the Yankees.

Granted, the last two years were pretty cool, but let's face it...it's over.

As Jim Caple at Page 2 wrote: "Enough already. How could a third episode match the first two? It was rough enough last year without Zim (the Sonny Corleone of the rivalry, always flying off in a rage) but this year there would have been no Pedro to fend off attacks from Bob Sheppard or wax poetic about mango trees. Another Yankees-Red Sox sequel without Pedro? It would have been like Francis Ford Coppola's decision to film "Godfather III" with his daughter but without Robert Duvall."

And yes, I just quoted from Jim Fucking Caple. I am that lame.

Alex Fritz

To the Atlanta Braves,

Kyle Farnsworth? Really? That's your closer?

Sure, the guy has a huge crotch, but his fastball has less movement than...I don't know...something that...doesn't... move...very much (good lord, I suck at analogies.)

What did you expect, then, Atlanta?

You don't win in the playoffs relying on Chicago Cub castaways (Greg Maddux, Mark Grace, and The Eck are exceptions.)

Hell, I'm a little worried about having Mark "Lazy Eye" Grudzielanek and Julian Tavarez on the Cardinals.

And neither of them (hopefully) will be playing as important of a role against the Astros as Farnsworth did.

Kyle Farnsworth? You guys got what you deserved.

Eat it,
Alex Fritz
To the San Diego Padres,

First of all, I'm sorry. That wasn't very nice of the Cardinals, was it?

However, knowing the good people of Whale's Vagina, I'm sure they're already over the loss.

But if you're not over it already, here's what I want you to do:

1) Sleep in a little bit, get yourself together, and head down to El Zarape's for some fish tacos.
2) Go surfing.
3) Go down to the Gaslamp. Get some dinner at Croce's (the New York Prime is superb) and then go out and get some drinks.
4) At some point in time remember that you live in the coolest city in America, and that the people in St. Louis may have a better baseball team, but they are all freezing their asses off and they are most definitely not surfing.

Then, I am quite certain you will feel better about yourself.

Alex Fritz
To the New York Yankees,

Tough loss. Sometimes, even the best of us get beaten.

On the bright side, it's not like you guys spent $230 Million to put this team together. If that was the case then losing in the first round would simply be un-fucking-acceptable.

Wait? What's that?


Alex Fritz

Good first round, people. The non-excitement generated in both the Cardinals and White Sox series was basically white washed by an unbelievable 18 inning extravaganza between the Astros and Braves, plus an epic Game 5 featuring the Yanks and Angels.

This should be one hell of a LCS in both leagues. The Cards and 'Stros locked up in a classic last October and they know each other well.

Meanwhile, the Angels take on the White Sox and God only knows what will happen in that series (I'm going to guess that the Ligue family will somehow get involved...somebody warn Bud Black.)

I am, however, looking forward to the talking heads on "PTI" and "Around the Horn" tomorrow debating whether or not it's bad for baseball that the Yankees aren't playing the Red Sox in the ALCS this year.

Get a clue, ESPN. There are people who dislike both the Yanks and the Sawx. Sometimes, in fact almost always, change is good.

It's the number 2 market in the country against the number 3 market. Not exactly Kansas City v. Tampa.

Plus, it's the two teams who have been far and away the best in the league all freaking year. People will care about this series.

Plenty of people will care.



Quick Thoughts : NLDS Game One

Thoughts from the Standing Room Only section of Busch Stadium:

Dear Saint Louis,

It's October. There is no need for the temperature to be in the upper-80's. Good Lord, I did some sweating yesterday.

Sweaty fat guy

Yesterday was probably the worst performance I have seen by the vendors at Busch Stadium. They've been dealing with sellouts all year, right? They know how to handle bunches of people. Then why, on a day when everyone is pumped up to be at the Stadium, with the temperatures in the upper-80's, am I not seeing a beer man for innings at a time?

Perhaps with all of Sunday's festivities some of the Busch employees thought they had already attended their final game at Busch and did not feel the need to show up to work.

Three vendor lowlights:

  1. After not seeing a beer man for about half-an-hour, Roommate Matt and I wondered off to the nearest beer stand to get some suds, and had to wait through an entire inning while the dude was pouring beers for eight people. Speed up!
  2. A vendor carrying 2 warm bottle of Sprite and three bags of peanuts and mumbling "soda...um...peanuts" to himself as he wandered aimlessly around Busch.
  3. Jason Isringhausen. What's that? He's not a vendor? Well he sure as shit pitched like it.


Since Roommate Matt and I were going to the game, and hence, not working on Tuesday, Monday night we went out and did some drinking. (Did you know that I drink? I can't remember if I had mentioned that before.) We ended up doing some serious damage to our respective livers. Big time.

As we sat around the bar, watching football and drinking pitchers, we started doing some friendly wagering. One of the categories was "First Curtain Call at Busch this Post Season."

I went out on a limb and said "Reggie Sanders after hitting a home run in the fifth inning tomorrow." Maybe it was the three pitchers of Budweiser talking, or maybe it was the Jack and Diet's...but I had a hunch. A drunken hunch, maybe, but a hunch, nonetheless.

Fast forward 14 hours, it's the bottom of the fifth, and Reggie's up with the bases loaded. On a 3-0 count...TLR gives him the green light...and he hits a booming shot to left field!


And viola, I made the coolest prediction of all time. (In fairness, it makes up for earlier this week when I made the lamest and most incorrect prediction in history.)


A few hours after the game, The Lady Friend and I went and had some dinner in the Loop and then went down to The Pageant for a lovely and intimate evening with Doves (many thanks for the tix, Dana and Jan.)

Unfortunately, as my big day wound down, I hit the proverbial wall. Sometime during the fifth or sixth song of the night, I drifted off to sleep. When I realized that the concert I was viewing could not possibly be real (there was a beagle playing drums) I snapped out of it and TLF and I hazily made our way home.

"Too much for a Tuesday?" you ask.

"Perhaps," I respond. "Perhaps."


Mark Mulder v. Pedro Astacio tomorrow afternoon. While that match-up hardly seems fair, I'll wait until post-game for comments.



UPDATE (10/6, Pregame)

I found out why the Busch Stadium Vendors got so damn lazy (read: cocky): Fame

Also, there is a fabulous read about the man, the myth, the legend that is Mr. Ernie Hays over at the RFT (via Cardnilly) That man not only tickles the ivories, it apperas that he likes to be tickled as well.



Playoff Baseball Preview

October. It's here. Finally.

Playoff baseball, ladies and gentlemen. Perhaps my favorite time of the year. If it's not, it is somewhere near the top (March Madness, Thanksgiving Week, 4th of July...they're all up there somewhere. It's easier to just not rank them.)

And with that said, it's time for The FYC's Annual Playoff Preview (as a disclaimer: I am the same guy who drafted Dauntee Culpepper with the first pick in his fantasy football league, so hear me now and hear me loud when I say: "I have no idea what I'm talking about. There is a reason I never bet on sports: Because I am always wrong.") I'll go ahead and make some picks on who I think will win, along with what will actually happen.

ALDS: The Bronx Yankees of New York v. The Las Angeles Angels of Anaheim

I jumped on the Angeles bandwagon back in early June, and I'm not jumping off now. They've got K-Rod, Vlad, a guy who looks suspiciously like Keifer Sutherland (Jarrod Washburn) and Big Fat Bartolo Colon. They can win. The Yankees? Not as good as a team's whose payroll is around $230 million probably should be, but they're still pretty good.

Prediction: Angels in 4
What Will Happen: Fox refuses to allow an ALCS not featuring the Yankees. Yanks in Four.

ALDS: Boston Red Sox v. Chicago White Sox

Wait...The Red Sox made the postseason? I had no idea. Of course, I have been living on Mars with my fingers in my ears for the last three months. Actually, if that were to happen, ESPN would probably send Buster Olney off in a rocket ship to tell me about the Sox (and either Pedro Gomez and/or Joe Morgan would be accompanying him to give me a Barry Bonds update.) Fuck 'em both.

Prediction: Red Sox in 3
What Will Happen: I really won't care who wins. But, it will probably be the Sox. Yes, the Sox will definitely win.

NLDS: Houston Astros v. Atlanta Braves

These games should be a real slugfest ("slugfest" meaning a bunch of 2-1 final scores.) Pettitte, Clemens, and Oswalt pitching against Hudson and Smoltz (no Hampton, though) and both teams have had trouble scoring runs for extended periods over the season. This one is totally up in the air. Absolute crap-shoot.

Prediction: Houston in 5
What Will Happen: This will be a good series. And by good, I mean boring.

NLDS: St. Louis Cardinals v. San Diego Padres

The Cardinals clinched their division early and went on cruise control towards the end of the season to finish with, or as some would say stumbling to, a 15-13 record in September.

The Padres, however, had some tough luck through out most of the regular season, only to surge ahead of their division, getting hot in September to finish with a 16-14 record.

Conclusion: Both teams have been mediocre in the last few months, but only one of those teams was being mediocre while starting the likes of Skip Shumaker, Hector Luna, So Taguchi, Scott Seabol, Mike Mahoney, Einer Diaz, John Mabry, Chris Duncan, John Gall, and John Rodriguez.

Prediction: Cardinals in 4
What Will Happen: Chris Carpenter's right arm tears away from his body during the second inning of Game 1, landing in section 354, row 2. Padres win it in 5.

Playoff baseball, folks. It doesn't get any better than this. I'm heading down to Busch Memorial tomorrow morning for Game One, NLDS. Carp v. Peavy. Let's hope it's a good game (and that Carp exits late in the game with all of his limbs attached.)

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"I'll be dead in the cold, cold ground before I recognize the state of Missouri."