Craig Biggio

The Old Curmudgeon In Me

BUT OMG WHAT WILL WE TELL THE KIDS????!?!?!?!

Grinds my gears Welcome to an episode of “Coopie is an old curmudgeon,” where I don’t talk about things like my stool or my heart meds, but I talk about things that piss me off in sports.

I’ll state for the record, that PEDs, steroids or HGH never bothered me in baseball. You’d think it would, since I do talk about things like “keeping the sanctity of the game” by not having instant replay (I have modified my stance in certain situations).

Sure it bothered me a little in 1998, when I knew Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire had to be using. But you know what – no one gave a shit then, only when it was confirmed. Then EVERYONE talks about sanctity of the game. Because they all looked like assholes supporting it when it was under their nose. And dropped the scoop of a lifetime.

Then we have Barry Bonds and the HR record (both single season and overall record), we have the Mitchell Report, Congressional hearings, Rafael Palmeiro, more shit hitting the fan.

I didn’t care anymore.

You know why? Because cheating in baseball is as American as Chevrolet, apple pie, hot dogs, and yes…baseball.

And I’d be a hypocrite if I thought PEDs were any different for this era.

BUT OMG WHAT WILL WE TELL THE CHILDREN????!?!?!?!

I grew up in an era where the heroes I idolized did coke (Keith Hernandez and Dwight Gooden), greenies (most of the 1986 team), binged on alcohol (Darryl Strawberry), or killed innocent kittens (“allegedly” Kevin Mitchell). I grew up in a rough-and-tumble family where shit happened, and you learned to fucking deal with it. My parents didn’t feel the need to explain everything to me. Maybe things were different in that we didn’t have the connectivity that we do today. But we heard all sorts of things — especially relating to Keith Hernandez, and this coincided with the “Just Say No” era of Ronnie and Nancy Reagan. And drugs were bad, m’kay?

I guess there is something to be said about not being raised in a fucking bubble where everything was all Ward and June Cleaver and hunky dory and peaches and every other cliche you could think of.

Shit, maybe that was why I liked guys like Gary Carter and Cal Ripken growing up.

Yet it was not for me to judge.

BUT OMG WHAT WILL WE TELL THE CHILDREN????!?!?!?!

Here’s an idea: maybe we don’t have to explain shit to our kids. They can figure it out on their own. They should instinctively know right from wrong or learn it by fucking up every now and then. Instead of this “everyone gets an award” bullshit. You didn’t get a participation award back then, you had to earn that shit. Everyone does not get a trophy for just showing up in life.

So you know what grinds my gears? This idea that baseball players are supposed to be perfect. Here’s a newsflash: players have cheated since the beginning of time. Does it make it right? Absolutely not. But to think this is some kind of isolated incident is foolish.

BUT OMG WHAT WILL WE TELL THE CHILDREN????!?!?!?!

Let the children make their own decisions. And by the way, if you are not your child’s “hero,” then you are doing something wrong. (Yes, I just judged you, a little bit.)

Here’s the deal: I grew up knowing my heroes were not exactly heroes. I turned out okay. I realize that athletes are people, they are not perfect. While there is an obligation to hold yourself to a higher standard as a public figure, there is also the human element that comes into the game or all sports that we also must acknowledge.

BUT OMG WHAT WILL WE TELL THE CHILDREN????!?!?!?!

The Hall of Fame committee missed the ball a few months ago. What we had to “tell the kids” when no one was voted in, was that all of a sudden, due to years of lazy journalism and putting on pedestals the very players they are now vilifying, that all of a sudden, players are now guilty until proven innocent.

So Alex Rodriguez is facing a year-to-lifelong suspension, and Ryan Braun is out for the year despite neither of them failing a drug test. Bartolo Colon is under suspicion. Barry Bonds is still a dick. Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza, despite decorated careers, are kept out of the Hall (for at least a “statement”) because they might have done steroids.

I say let ’em all in. Believe it or not, there is a level playing field, throughout baseball history, because cheating is as “pure” as the game itself.

What do you tell the kids? Get over yourselves, really, because the sanctimony isn’t helping the game either.

Now get the FUCK OFF MY LAWN!!!!!

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Larry’s Fine

I leave town for a few days and the shit hits the fans with some of my teams doings in play and outside of the box.  The Mets made a kerfuffle though, when there was news that hit that they would honor Chipper Jones on his retirement tour.

I can’t really find anything sourcing it for sure (the announcement certainly didn’t come from the Mets directly), but the reaction to it was quite strong.  Mostly of the “let’s not do it” variety from the Mets fans population.

Let me tell you something.  I’ve spent a good amount of time in my Mets fandom dreading when Chipper Jones comes up to bat at a critical time against the Mets, and I cringe usually because the story seems to set itself.  Perhaps we dread him though being a Mets killer because we would see his team 18 times a year.  And let’s be fair, the Mets usually beat themselves at those times, not the other way around (Sorry to bring that up, but ’tis true).

But let me go on record to say how much this rumored honoring actually doesn’t bother me.

1.)  Larry Jones didn’t just kill the Mets.  Did you know he had better career numbers against the Phillies?  It’s just that when it counted, Larry would come up huge against the Mets.  But as I said before, those Mets teams generally beat themselves with shitty bullpens and bad thought processes.  Also, let’s be real the Braves were really really good in the 1990s.  I always felt that rivalry was more of a big brother/little brother variety, like “Why are you guys always picking on meeeeeee?”

2.) Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn.  These guys were not only baseball legends while they played, but were lifers with one team.  Those guys are hard to find nowadays. When they retired, every single baseball park practically gave them a send off that would rival any of their own players I’m sure.  It’s a respect thing.  And Larry Jones is Hall of Fame material, with or without the Mets killing.

3.) It’s not like the Mets haven’t done shit like this before.  They’ve honored Bobby Cox with a bottle of GTS wine, and Craig Biggio with a video montage prior to his retirement.  It’s a respect thing.

4.) It’s a respect thing.  Hey, you don’t have to like Larry.  But you have to respect him.  Kind of like the Yankees.  Okay, maybe not.  The Rangers fan base still uses “Potvin Sucks” as a chant for a guy that hasn’t played in like 30 years.  It’s a RESPECT thing at this point.  But at least Larry didn’t use PEDs or steroids or anything like that.  He doesn’t beat his wife, use drugs or drive drunk.  He just likes H00ters waitresses and sex.  Nascar too probably.

5.) He gets it.  Larry gets the rivalry.  We talked about this on the KinersKorner.com podcast, and that there was some awards ceremony and Larry had to give a speech.  He thanked the New York fans for reminding him what his real name was.  Though I hated him for his “Put on their Yankee gear” quote in 1999, he came around and gave the fans here a nod in the rivalry.

6.) They’re not giving a statue, people.  If they do honor him, it will be a video clip montage and his GTS wine.  Some have pointed out that the Mets never properly honored Gary Carter, but they’d honor Larry.  I disagree.  The Mets have always done right by him.  They didn’t retire his number, so what?  He had two good years and helped win a championship.  I get that.  He also had admittedly better years outside of a Mets uniform.

Let’s be fair folks: maybe the Mets have a tough time honoring their history because some of the players just weren’t good enough.  I mean, who will we put on a pedestal?  Tom Seaver is the only player wearing a Mets cap in the Hall of Fame, and potentially Mike Piazza will be too.  I guarantee his number will be retired one day, so what’s the harm in waiting another year to officially do so?  My point is, we need to take a reality check here and realize that we’ve honored the players we could with our version of the ring of honor in the Mets Hall of Fame.  For me, that’s good enough for the players who were good enough as Mets but not Hall of Fame material.

I have done my fair share of Larry Jones mocking, but he gets the rivalry and realizes his place.  He’s comfortable with it.  I’m comfortable with some kind of send off.  Let’s be nice and give him his due, but also never let him forget his name again.