Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Children Of The Corn

Check it out: The next time that you're pelted with any one of the several dozen promos for Frosted Flakes cereal during this, the 60th edition of the Little League World Series, take a closer look at the famous breakfast-food logo.


Thanks for clearing that up, Tony The Tiger.

If that "... of corn" tagline wasn't there, we might assume that that Kellogg's was giving us frosted flakes of asbestos.

Or "Kellogg's Frosted Flakes ... of Lead-Paint Peelings."

Actually, lead paint tends to "chip" more than it "flakes" -- w
hich is why the Mrs. always keeps the Haystack pantry stocked with Kellogg's Crispix.

Because Crispix is crispy times two.

Anyway, we've just concluded a mostly ho-hum pool-play segment of this LLWS, so, unless ESPN's Erin Andrews is planning to do her interviews topless (she's halfway there already), then the only way to liven up this tournament is to see some kick-ass aluminum ping-fests during the next two days.
That's right: It's nail-bitin' semifinal action on Weds. and Thurs. for the children of the corn.

And, just who are these children of the corn?

Well, in the U.S. semi on Weds., it'll be Lemont's Andrew, Austin, Zack1 and Zak2 vs. Beaverton's Austin, Corey, Jace, Devon, Perry, Trevor and Toma -- which'll, no doubt, serve as a delicious prelude to the Thurs. night semi between Columbus' Matthew I, Matthew II, Kyle I, Kyle II, Cody, Brady and Mason vs. Portsmouth's Connor1, Conor2, Pierce, Keegan, Matthew and the much-feared, twin-assassin combo platter of "Bean & Button."

Yup ... Jordan Bean and Sheldon Button.

Or, if you'd prefer that matchup modernized: "J-Bean" and "Shel-Dawg."
Fuh reel!

Oh, and while you're at it: Go ahead and hand the championship trophy to Kawaguchi City right now.

That is, after Gary Thorne and Brent Musberger and Orel Hershiser and Orestes Destrade dumb it down for the American cable-TV audience for the umpteeth time with that reminder that "they only play six innings in Little League."

Oh, yeah ... and every player must play three consecutive outs in the field and get at least one at-bat.

And ... the outfield fences were moved back from 205 feet to 225.

Which sucks for Austin, Austin, both Zacks, both Connors, both Matthews, Keegan, Pierce and Jace -- not to mention all the scrawny, milky-skinned X-Games diehards named "Ethan" and "Blake" and "Tanner" and "Gabriel" and "Nathaniel" and "Sebastian" and "Hunter" and "Tate" and "Dylan" and "Seth" and "Aurora" and "Dustin" and "Sterling" and "Nicholas" whose LLWS dreams died either in the district, state or regional tournaments.

It's weird (almost unconstitutional) how kids with names such as "Rick" or "Doug" or "Mike" or "Jeff" or "Steve" or "Tom" or "Bobby" or "Billy Jack" (if kids like that still exist) are required to obtain a waiver from Mom to be called something other than "Richard" or "Douglas" or "Michael" or "Jeffrey" or "Stephen" or "Thomas" "Robert" or "William Jonathan, III."

There is no Jim.
Or Jimmy.

And, back home on the island of Curacao, Jurickson Profar and Sorick Liberia (members of the 2004 LLWS champions and 2005 LLWS finalists) looked at each other and asked, "Where did American Little Leaguers get those pussy, glee-club names?"

True dat, Ronaldo.
Double true, Ronaldinho!

Also, lucky for you if you were not victimized by watching/listening to somebody named "Orel Hershiser" stumbling all over the pronunciation of the name "Kalen Pimentel" (the star from Vista, CA in last year's LLWS).

Meanwhile, back on the island, Jurickson Profar and Sorick Liberia watched in horror during the top of the sixth inning during the Curacao-Japan game when their little buddy -- microscopic CF Rayshelon Carolina -- drifted back on the deep drive by Go Matsumoto before reaching up, getting a glove on the flyball and then watching the ball tick off the leather, momentarily land atop the outfield fence before trickling over for a grand slam.

A 3-1 game mushroomed to 7-1.

Damn shame ... because, when we first saw him in last year's tournament, Rayshelon Carolina was all of 4-foot-7, 75 lbs.

Now, he's listed at 4-9 / 82 ... which means that Rayshelon Carolina did not take advantage of an off-season weightlifting-and-hGH regimen.
It also means that it takes three Rayshelon Carolinas to make one Aaron Durley.

Durley, of course, is the spectacle from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, although he's neither Saudi or Arabian.

Like Rayshelon Carolina, Aaron Durley is a few inches taller and a few pounds heavier than last year.

In '05 (when he played against Curacao), Durley was 6-5 / 226. Now, that he's 6-8 / 256, it seems likely that the All-Stars from Kawaguchi City (when they see Durley on Thurs. nite in an international semi) will set aside their biases and racial "profiling" once they see Durley's jet-black skin and bleach-blonde hair, which belies the Saudi stereotype.

Fan reaction: "Look! Is G'zilla!"
Ohhhhh, noooo ... there goes Tohhh-keee-yohhh ...

That's right, geisha girls ... Aaron Durley could kick Mothra's ass.
Rodan's, too.

In Los Estados Unidos, there's nothing on the L.L. ballfield quite like a Rayshelon Carolina or an Aaron Durley. About as close as we came to apple pie and stars-n'-stripes is one "Frank Smith" of the Staten Island All-Stars.

It was almost too good to be true ... a young baseball player with a legit baseball-playin' name such as "Frank," a la Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch ("The Fordham Flash"), future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas ("The Big Hurt"), home run hero Frank Howard ("Hondo" ... "The Capitol Punisher"), Frank Chance (of "Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance" lore), fireballin' Frank Tanana, Frank "Sweet Music" Viola, Frank Torre (Joe's bro) ...

It was asking too much.

Like a return to the days of acceptable names such as "Preston" or "Ward" or "Dennis."

This alarming trend of softening the hardcore ballplayers might be different if there was a Little League All-Star who introduced himself to his teammates thusly:

"The name's Francis Soyer, but everybody calls me 'Psycho.' Any of you guys calls me 'Francis' ... and I'll kill ya. And I don't like nobody touchin' MY STUFF! So keep your meathooks off. I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I'll kill ya. Also, I don't like nobody touching me. Any of you homos touches me ... and I'll kill ya."

Which is when the manager -- a gruff man we know as "Coach Hulka" -- restores order with, "Lighten up ... Francis."

Those were the days ... when we had team captains like John Winger and Russell Ziskey and role players such as Francis Soyer and Dewey Oxberger.

Some of us actually had a Little League teammate named "Dewey" ... on a roster with no guys named "Matthew" or "Austin" or "Pierce."

It's not like that any more. In between the incessant reminders of "we only play six innings! every player must play three consecutive outs in the field and have at least one at-bat! the fences are 20 feet farther back!" there was a mighty controversy about a Staten Island kid who dropped an F-bomb (accidentally) in the dugout and manager Nick Doscher giving the kid a slap.

Without seeing that incident, it's difficult to determine the context of said F-bomb and said slap.

Does anyone else see the irony here? Baseball in NY has sucked since 2000.

Do the math: The Yankees haven't won a World Series since their subway triumph over the Mutts in '00.

A year later, America was divided by the Danny Almonte/Bronx scandal -- and a year after that, the Little Leaguers from Harlem were widely criticized for being hotdogs and posers.
Who's next?

Not to knock the islanders of Staten, but the only thing that isle will be remembered for is producing NFL'ers Adewale Ogunleye and D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
Now, THOSE are quality first names.

If it takes some of the sting out of Staten Island being the only one of the eight U.S. teams to finish winless in three contests, it should be pointed out that receiving NO publicity is what occurred Monday night when Beaverton manager Jeff Keller walked to the mound and, recapped the umpire's strike zone by telling his pitcher Jace Fry, "he (the ump) is pinching the shit out of you."

Mere seconds later, ESPN's over-microphonization of the LLWS was in momentary mute mode.
Perhaps it was because Coach Keller meant to say that the ump was "squeezing" -- not pinching -- the shit out of Jace.

Or because Coach Keller meant to say, "he's squeezing the (fudge) out of you."
Or because Coach meant to ask, "What kind of a (fudging) name is 'Jace'?"

For sure, when Jurickson Profar and Sorick Liberia heard Coach Keller, they nodded and muttered, "(Fudging) Americans."
True dat!

On Coach Keller's subsequent trip to the mound, he was grumbling and growling instructions to his team and ESPN went mute seconds after Coach uttered the word "crap."
The word that Coach was seeking there was "crapola."
Buy a (fudging) thesaurus, you (fudging) meathead.

Coach could've scored big points and kept it clean if he said to his pitcher, "What did one shepherd say to the other shepherd? 'Let's get the flock out of here!' "

But, he'll likely give us guttermouth when his team tangles with Lemont on Weds. nite.
That's right ... those farging bastages from Lemont, IL.

Profanity aside, some might find it odd that, in a year in which the 8,000 Frosted Flakes commercials feature an American-born black man named Derrek Lee ... when 17 Negro League players were recently inducted into Cooperstown ... when the ESPN/ABC LLWS "memories" clips are of black players such as Lloyd McClendon hittin' those bombs in '71 or Gary Sheffield rippin' one down the line in '80 ... when the black announcer (Harold Reynolds) isn't present ... the only ebony-hued players are playin' in the international bracket.

It's nuthin' new ... but, it was cool when those sun-tanned lads from Ewa Beach, Oahu were flashy and fun while winning the championship last year.

There HAD to be good ol' American folks either in Williamsport or watching on TV who saw Vonn Fe'ao and his terrific hairstyle highlights and homerun hijinks and asked, "Ma, I'll be golldarned if I knows wer t'find that nation of them colored boys from Oahu."

Even though this is the lilywhite-est of all lilywhite LLWS, we should tip our cap to two white guys who went mano-a-mano Tues. nite -- Kyle Carter of Columbus, GA and Josh Ferry of Lemont.

Kyle, who plays it wayyyyy cool with the tough-guy face, wears his cap askew, a la black players such as Dontrelle Willis or C.C. Sabathia.

And, Josh Ferry? Well, he has the same first name as the greatest ballplayer ever (Hall of Famer Josh Gibson ... who was so good, he made Babe Ruth look like frickin' Mookie Wilson).

No one knows if Portsmouth's "BeanButton Attack" can avenge the tough luck of Columbia, MO stars Landon Clapp and Ford Zitsch, but, not to fret ... Japan's gonna bitch 'em in the title game.

Or didja not see the bomb blast that Naruto Fukuyama hit over the ESPN camera-tower in CF on Monday?

Using the popular (but scientifically-useless and bogus) equation which EspyTime does (like when a pitcher throws a 73 MPH pitch from 46 feet and announcers rave that the conversion from a pitching rubber 46 feet from home plate to 60-feet, 6-inches is 98 MPH ... which is the same as saying that a sunflower seed spit to the dugout floor travels at roughly 695 MPH), the Fukuyamaian Quotient for a ball that travels roughly 80 feet beyond a 225-foot barrier means ...

Well, let's just say that 305 x 400 = 225x (find "x") means that Naruto woulda jacked that pitch 542 feet at PNC Park on the shore of the Allegheny River.

So, we're left with no other choice, but to pull out the Magic Markers and make a sign praising Matsumoto.

"Let's go, Go!"

Maybe Aaron & The Arabs will make some noise.

But, only if they eat many bowls of frosted-corn flakage.

That's the only way they're takin' down Monster Zero.


No comments: