New York Yankee third baseman Alex Rodríguez, who is facing a lengthy suspension (and possibly even a lifetime ban) for acquiring performance-enhancing drugs from the Biogenesis clinic in Miami and then lying to major league baseball about his activities. Mr. Rodriguez has admitted to juicing during his three-year stint with the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003 when his homerun totals suddenly went off the charts. But the management of the Rangers expected big things from Mr. Rodríguez when he jumped ship from his original team, the Seattle Mariners (where he was never paid more than a paltry $4 million a year), by signing him to a 10-year, $252 million contract; vastly more than any baseball player had been paid up to that time and reportedly tens of millions more than any other team was offering for his services when he declared free agency. It gradually dawned on the Rangers that the deal made no financial sense so they unloaded him on the lordly Yankees, the only team that could afford to pay his contract. But A-Rod wasn't content to simply be the highest paid player in the history of the game for his steroid-enhanced heroics, so he opted out of his dream contract after being convinced by his agent that he could make even more on the open market. He quickly realized his mistake when it became obvious that no other franchise could even match his existing contract so he came crawling back to the Yankees with his tail between his legs and was punished for his disloyalty by being signed to a new 10 year, $275 million dollar contract which the slugger has lived up to with six years of diminishing numbers, long stints on the disabled list and constant controversy over speculations of his steroid use. Just as the Yankees put their foot down with him by giving him such an inflated contract that it will forever screw up the economics of the game, Major League Baseball has had enough and is reportedly considering banning Mr. Rodríguez from the game for two years. Since the Yankees wouldn't have to pay him during the suspension it means that he would be out some $34 million in salary and after already sitting out the entire 2013 season with hip injuries, it's unlikely that he would ever come back. That means that after the suspension was over, the Yankees would still owe him $61 million for sitting on his ass on the ludicrously bloated contract they foolishly agreed to in 2007. I don't have a lot of use for Mr. Rodríguez; I think he tarnished the integrity of the game forever with his steroid use and diminished the feelings fans once had for players as a result of his baldfaced greed. But after considering the outrageous amounts of money that baseball teams were throwing at him that not even Babe Ruth could have possibly warranted, I have to wonder who was on drugs in the first place.
Speaking of baseball players, Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw. An acquaintance of mine on the social network posted an article about Mr. Kerhsaw on his Facebook wall titled 22 Reasons Clayton Kershaw Would Be An Awesome Best Friend. It was a puff piece about how fun, altruistic and lovable Mr. Kershaw is and after perusing it, I have no doubt that most people would consider themselves fortunate to be his BFF. But when it was first posted, it had 23 reasons why Mr. Kershaw was a dreamboat and the item which was later deleted sent my spidey sense tingling. That was when when the fawning author of the piece wrote that a reason Mr. Kershaw was a perfect man was that his wife is "the grand-daughter of Cy Young winner Ed Melson." For those of you who aren't aware, the Cy Young Award is given to the outstanding pitcher in the two major leagues every year and it is kind of cute to think that this generation's predominant pitcher is married to a blood relative of a previous generation's predominant pitcher. There's just one little problem with that statement: no one named Ed Melson has ever won the Cy Young Award. In fact, my operatives (some of whom are statistics geeks) inform me that no one named Ed Melson has ever played baseball at a major league or minor league level. Mr. Kershaw is related to the astronomer who discovered Pluto but the rest of the list is pretty average behavior on the part of anybody whether they're an elite athlete or not (okay; I suppose he does earn points for building an orphanage in Zambia). But I really think that Matt Kiebus (the guy who wrote the article) has a man crush on Mr. Kershaw simply because he's a great baseball player who isn't an egomaniacal dick the likes of Alex Rodríguez and he just wanted to believe that his boy had married into baseball royalty, making him kind of a male version of Princess Kate Middleton. Merely being a combination of a millionaire ballplayer and a relatively down to earth dude made such an impression on Mr. Kiebus that he's willing to perform cunnilingus on Mr. Kershaw simply for not being a jerk. It makes me long for the days when ballplayers were looked upon as ordinary Joes. Where have you gone, Ed Melson? The nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
My beloved pug Winston, who inexplicably went ape-shit with anxiety on Tuesday by pumping his leg up and down and running all over the house. Everyone I know had a theory for what was irritating him; from a bug bite to an unwelcome noise to his needing to have his anal glands expressed (by far the most popular hypothesis). But I've taking Winston on enough walks to know that he's never had a problem expressing his anus on his own and whatever demons were torturing him were exorcised about an hour later, when he was back to his laid-back self. I may never know what was troubling Winston but the most likely explanation came from the stern and intimidating Heather McSiegel, who opined "hmmm... I think it's because HE'S A DOG!" It turned out that Ms. McSiegel's reason was the only one which held up because an hour after the freakout, Winston continued to be a dog. It's not unlike when Ms. McSiegel shoots me an icy glare which deflates my very soul. The only explanation I can ever provide for her sadistic powers is that she's Heather McSiegel, a motive which everyone who knows her fearfully accepts without further clarification. Even so, I don't think it would do her any harm to have her anal glands expressed.
The always-opinionated Ja'Son Fogelson, who took issue with a mini-review I offered of the summer dramedy The Way Way Back, which I referred to as "a tiresomely derivative coming-of-age comedy/drama in which a self-indulgently brooding teenage boy overcomes living amongst a society of cartoonishly insensitive adults by taking a summer job and being befriended by an older guy with a Peter Pan complex. Sam Rockwell is unfortunately not on the same level as Bill Murray in Meatballs as the mentor while (equally unfortunately) Liam James is precisely as morose as Chris Makepeace as the kid."It turns out that Mr. Fogelson attended the same screening as I did and countered that I was "a little too harsh on this pleasant, heartfelt dramedy. Sure, the ground has been trod before - but this is a better film, start to finish, than Meatballs. Go back and try to watch that one again -- if it wasn't for Bill Murray's lunacy, it would be unwatchable, and the production values are lackluster at best. The Way Way Back looks good, has some resonance, and is full of nicely tuned performances. Toni Colette, Steve Carrell, even Amanda Peet are better than the material, which elevates the whole. I liked it." Fair enough (he's certainly right about Meatballs, which is infantile crap) but I stand by my initial opinion, especially since The Way Way Back's plot centers around a morose and socially awkward 14 year old boy being befriended by a bikini-clad smokin' hot year old girl (played by 19 year old AnnaSophia Robb) who ultimately (I guess I should announce a spoiler alert but anyone who's seen a summer teen dramedy in the last 30 years shouldn't be surprised at this) admits that she has the seedlings of romantic feelings towards him. Listen, I actually was a morose and socially awkward 14 year old boy and I can tell you from experience that there is no possible scenario within the laws of physics that a bikini-clad smokin' hot 19 year old girl is going to notice that such a creature exists, much less have the seedlings of romantic feelings for him. That gaping scientific hole ruined the movie for me but I can't hold it against Mr. Fogelson for liking the film, since he was once a morose and socially awkward 14 year old boy and I suspect he spent so much time
Jonny Award winner Jesse Merlin, who I saw last night played the aged exorcist in the delightful musical parody Exorcistic: A Rock Musical Parody Experiment. The show was an hysterical send-up of the 1973 horror classic with a stellar cast led by Mr. Merlin and Laura Sperrazza in a tour de force as the kinkily possessed little girl, but the most prominent feature of the evening was not on stage. It was the man seated next to me who had a laugh which sounded like a combination of an 1860s Gattling gun and an air horn used at Super Bowl XLVI. I cannot lay blame at this poor man who possessed such a grating laugh that I endured the second half of the show with my head throbbing and my ears ringing from the constant assault of high-decibel screeches constantly being pounded at my cranium; it was clearly a challenge he'd suffered with from birth and there was nothing he could do to stop it. But as the evening wore on and his deafening cackles bore more deeply into my brain, I realized that there were supernatural forces at work. And as I looked up at Mr. Merlin on the stage just a few yards away from me armed with an arsenal of crucifixes and holy water, I couldn't understand why he wasn't using his standing as a make-believe exorcist to try and drive the demons from the poor dude's funnybone so that he might at last be able to lead a normal life. Mr. Merlin inexplicably shirked this responsibility and only employed his holy relics on Ms. Sperrazza's erotic gyrations, which had the result of making my dilemma worse as the poor man's shrieks at her antics soared to the rafters, bounced back and punched me in the face. Finally the show ended, Mr. Merlin's rosaries and Sham-WOW for cleaning up pea soup vomit were packed away, and the tortured soul was allowed to disappear in to the night, the evil spirits still inhabiting him. The church may have failed him last night, but I'll never forget his suffering. It resulted in a 35% loss of hearing in my left ear.Exorcistic: A Rock Musical Parody Experiment performs Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. and runs for two more weeks. Tickets can be ordered here.