Friday, August 17, 2007

STUART SCOTT: Not Jiggy Wiff Black Little Leaguers

Does this have anything to do with the fact that, for the umpteenth year in a row, the largest continent in the world (Africa) will NOT be represented in South Williamsport by either Zimbabwe, Mozambique or Djibouti for this, the 61st edition of the Little League World Series? Is THAT the reason why Stuart Stooge took out his frustration on "the world" last night when he used the Worldwide Leader's airwaves as a platform to vent? If it was, then why was it at the expense of his adorable chocolate-skinned bruthuzz from the Caribbean?

Stooge, in a mini-promo for a first-round matchup, referred to Japan's opponent as "kerr (momentary pause) occo" - - when, at the same time, the on-screen graphic for that just-before-midnight SporkCenter could not have been clearer. In capital letters, the viewer saw that the matchup was JAPAN vs. CURACAO - - not "the Japs vs. Kerr-(pause)-occo."

Most of us are too put off by Stooge's recitation of the Ebonics Glossary to axe why he be all frontin' and playuh-hatin' and dissin' small (yet powerful) island nations which, square-mile-wise, are dwarfed by several African nations.
African lands such as ShaquilleTown.
And the Kingdom of Tupac.
And the Queendom of Latifa.
Near the Province of Moesha.

Still, that's no excuse for calling it "kerr-(pause)-occo." When a brutha disses a brutha-from-anuthuh-mutha like that, we, as a society, are inclined to yell, "No, you DITT-INT! No, you DITT-INT!" before grabbin' a 40.

Since we can't read Stooge Scott's mind, we can't accurately assess if he's hatin' because of the Carribean's involvement in the three-way deal which took place 300 or so years ago when a young America sent molasses to the West Indies, which, in turn, sent rum to Africa so that America could receive future ballplayers such as Mookie Wilson and Pokey Reese and Blue Moon Odom and Oil Can Boyd.

One day, Stooge might find it in his heart to forgive and forget that indiscretion, erase the hate and shelve the bias by embracing the dark-skinned natives of Kure-uhh-sow, particularly Jurickson Profar and Sorick Liberia, two Curacaoans who this Planet paid homage to last year ("Children of the Corn" -- 8/23/06).

Profar and Liberia were super-studs for the '04 Curacao team which beat the 21-0 Thousand Oaks, CA All-Stars in the title game and then played for the '05 championship - - although, it was Profar and Liberia who wore the expressions of disbelief and anguish when they were three outs from a 6-3 win and back-to-back titles when the nation of West Oahu, Hawaii rallied for a 7-6 victory w/ a walk-off home run (in the greatest game played, at any level, in this millennium).

Logic would seem to dictate that Stooge Scott might realize not that Sorick Liberia's last name is the same as an actual African nation (inagine that ... "Liberia") -- or that Jurickson Profar and Sorick Liberia have little brothers (Juremi Profar and Rileyson Liberia) playing for this Curacao team.
Then again, we have no way of knowing is Stooge has a hidden agenda - - one which barely conceals his contempt for the fact that Jurickson and Juremi Profar and Sorick and Rileyson Profar are governed by Dutch rule as they live in the Netherland Antilles.

Usually, the only geography Stooge knows pertains to Carolina - - which is ANOTHER reason why he should be givin' major mad props for little Ryshelon Carolina, the tiny outfielder from last year's Kerr-(pause)-occo team.

It's not completely Stooge Scott's fault, though.
You'd be pissed, too, if your great-great-grandfather's tribal name was Boumtje-Boumtje Mbah a Moute Mfume - - and then Whitey came along and Americanized it to something like "Scott."

This is upsetting to Ogun, the African god of iron.

Still, when Stooge was "corrected," he did mention that he was going to invent his own nation ... apparently forgetting that he already had done so some years ago.
It's known as "The People's Republic of Ebonics," fo shizzle, ma nizzle ...

These are the social ramifications which don't get discussed much when the boys come from halfway 'round the world to convene in South Williamsport.
For those of us who are hardcore LLWS addicts, we pray that Stooge Scott - - the guy with Kerr-occo/Curacao problem - - is nowhere near the highlight package when Chinese Taipei is in the field and a little looper lands on the outfield grass between LF Chun-Jen Cheng, CF Chung-Yen Chen and SS Chi-Yuan Chen as coach Chen-Jung Chen looks on in frustration because, only moments earlier, Chen-Jung Chen had instructed Chun-Jen Cheng and Chun-Yen Chen to play a little deeper after Chen-Jung Chen had told Chi-Yuan Chen to move back one or two steps.

Nobody knows if Stooge realizes that Chinese Taipei is what used to be universally known as "Taiwan" (an island nation which Stooge could peace-out-ize by calling "holla fuh Ty Juan, all y'all").
Then again, the only Asians that Stooge knows anything about are Ichiro, Yao, Eldrick Woods and Hines Ward.
However, as black activist/ex-Little League hero Gary Sheffield suggested (in reference to Derek Jeter), Eldrick and Hines may not be "all-the-way" Asian.
Or all-the-way black.
Or 100-percent moron (like Sheff).

Luckily, the little lads from various corners of the globe will gather and refuse to acknowledge African-American contempt for their sport (while many completely-African kids living in Africa will resist the urge to play Little League baseball so that they can clock 15-hour days - - maybe taking a bullet in the kneecap or the shoulder - - while mining diamonds so that White America can enjoy the cut, color, clarity and carat).

The Disneyland Sports Station (ESPN/ABC) always tries to peddle this yearly event as a big-time fun-filled funfest, but let's face it - - as we examine these brackets for our office pools, the consensus is that if the tykes from that island nation (Japan) located not far from Ty Juan in a different ocean than Kerr-(pause)-occo don't bring home the title, they will have disgraced their proud heritage.

During the past 17 months, it's been a real roller-coaster ride for the Land of the Rising Sun. Japan won the World Baseball Classic in March '06 -- but, five months later, Columbus, GA's Kyle Carter outdueled Go Matsumoto in the LLWS title game - - the Japanese children crying BEFORE the final out was recorded in the 2-1 ballgame.

Even though St. Louis Cardinals outfielder So Taguchi gained a measure of redemption by becoming the first Japanese player to have his name engraved on the U.S. Pro Baseball Championship trophy after the S-T-L defeated Detroit in The MLB Championships (a "world" title would include opponents from all around the world, no?), there was no escaping the humilation that Japan felt when, a little more than one month ago, Super-Happy-Fun-Eating-Hero, Kobayashi, was defeated by San Jose State student Joey Chestnut in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest (66 dogs to 63 in the 12-minute pig-out).

Nobody has adequately explained the inner-workings of Joey Chestnut's gastric rapcity - - and nobody really knows why those kids from the Kawaguchi City LL All-Stars were bawling their eyes out before the game had concluded.
Maybe it's a Kawaguchi City thing.
Maybe they're wusses.
Or maybe they were fed up with American imperialism.

Either way, Little Leaguers from prefectures in Takarazuka and Ushibuka will be pulling for Tokyo's Kitasuna All-Stars - - the baseball machine which samuraied Hachinohe Aomari, 39-2, in pool play of the Japanese qualifier for South Williamsport.
As any under-aged drinker will tell ya, "Takarazuka Ushibuka" is a great name to have on a fake I.D. (that's to say, it's better than what happens in Taiwan when your name is either Chun-Jen Cheng or Chung-Yen Chen and your fake I.D. reads "Chen-Jung Chen").

Since Stooge Scott's "Hooked On Ebonics" cassettes didn't inform him that most of these international rosters have players with colorful names which are, phoenetically speaking, very easy to pronounce, we're on our own (thank God) to I.D. these kids - - even if that means recognizing those players with chocolate-brown faces, who might have names such as "Jurickson" or "Sorick" and come from an island nation which Stooge Scott can neither pronounce nor identify as the one which produced not only Andruw Jones but also Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens.

Just as Stooge Scott doesn't know jack about what transpires beyond the borders of the United States of Boo-Yaw (he hates it when you pronounce "boo-yeah" as "boo-yaw" instead of "boo-yeah"), the foreigners who are taking the ferry to South Willy may not know much about the U.S. - - other than it's the land of terror, fraught with bridge collapses, coal-mine cave-ins and the simultaneous collapse/cave-in of Lindsay Lohan's mental stability and acting career.

If Stooge DID try to connect with a Little Leaguer, he might try to approach Kentaro Ii, offer one of those soul-brother handshakes and say, "Go, Japan. Peace out."
Which would be a shame - - considering that Kentaro Ii (pronounced "eeeeeee") is a Japanese kid who plays for the Netherlands.

If that's confusing to anyone, then get ready for another "go"-'round with another Japanese kid named "Go."
Last year, it was the previously-mentioned Go Matsumoto pitchin' for Kawaguchi City - - this year, it's Go Matsumori on the Tokyo roster.

It's symbolic in the sense that, "yes" ... it's go time for Japan, a team which HAS to be geeked about playin' in the '07 WS with the best-lookin' uniforms in the tourney (white w/ red trim).
Apparently, Russell has outfitted the 16 teams with a new (and sharper) look for '07 after three years with the uniforms that the boys had been wearing.
And New Era has a new (and smarter) look for the ballcaps.
So, for those of us who had come to know Kerr-occo players with their maroon caps and maroon tops trimmed with white, we must now transition to a team with bright yellow tops trimmed with black and bright yellow caps.

Sadly for Kentaro Eeeeee, he and his purple-clad Dutch teammates are going to get their purple doors blown off (the European representative always does, notwithstanding the Netherlands' qualifying victories over baseball factories from countries which Stooge Scott can neither pronounce nor find in an atlas - - Moldova and Lithuania).

Another bummer is this: The past two years, Stooge and the black youth of America had that gigantic, black American kid - - Aaron Durley - - to look up to as he was playin' (not all that well, though) for the Saudia Arabian team.
Durley was 6-5/238 as an 11-year-old ... 6-8/253 as a 12-year-old ... and now, as a 13-year-old, probably no longer playin' hardball.

For those young black kids aspiring to become the next Milton Bradley (one of the 8 percent of American-born black players on rosters in The MLB), there appears to be no LLWS role models (again).
Except one.
That would be Dominique Reff, the kid for the Coon Rapids, MN All-Stars who, in the five games he started in the Midwest Regional, hit five homers and drove in 16 runs.
Kid was ballin'.
He was "REFF"-resentin'!
(That's a play on words for "representing" - - not meant to disparage Reff with some form of resentment misconstrued as "resenting REFF")

Despite D-Reff's baseknockin' acumen, it's impossible NOT not to select one of those chocolate cherubs from Kerr-occo as our black "pick to click."
By perusing the most-excellent site, we can access the team photos and the mug shots and determine that Rudson Pietersz (all 4-9/90 of him) might be the most-angelic-looking of the bunch.
But that's a tough call.
Based on actual ability and leadership, however, catcher Kirvin Moesquit might be our pick to click.

"Kirvin Moesquit" is such a vintage Caribbean baseball name.
Right up there with Sixto Lezcano.

The U.S. cannot hang with such cool names - - mostly because our modern-day Lyman Bostocks, Heathcliff Slocumbs and Terrmel Sledges are playing other sports.
Which is why when an all-star team from Warner Robins, GA - - hometown of ex-Florida State Seminole football stars Ron Simmons (a future pro wrestler) and Willie Reid (a current Pittsburgh Steeler) - - advances to South Willy, the names on the roster are Stooge Scott-friendly.

Seriously ... a "Hunter" AND a "Hunt"?
That makes no sense at all.
And what's a Payton Purvis? Isn't he that dude who's a co-defendant in that Mike Vick/dogfighting indictment? (Actually, that's Purnell Peace, so settle down, America)
Furthermore, what's with a kid using the totally-made-up last name of "Umphreyville, Jr."?
That makes about as much sense as gettin' a fake I.D. with the name "McLovin" on it.

It's a disturbing situation for the Southeast Region champs - - although not as unsightly as gold shirts (with red trim) clashing with gray pants.
Hence, the Southeast kids will be named "worst dressed" while the Southwest kids will be best-dressed with their navy blue tops trimmed in gray.
While the Southeast has a Zane (Conlon), so, too, does the Southwest ... that kid with the Jeromy Burnitz swing, Zane Ancell.

Ancell and his mini mates from Lubbock, TX got to this point by batting .407 in their region, led by Bryndan Arredondo (3 HRs, 2 2Bs, 13 rbi in 5 games) and Tyler Thorne (4 HRs).

With those wide, round eyes and those pudgy cheeks, Arredondo is going to be driving the 14- and 15-year-old girls 'round South Willy crazy (even if teammate Garrett Williams is the future teen idol).

What's more, the city of Lubbock NEEDS Zane and Bryndan and Garrett because, let's face it, there are hundreds amongst Lubbock's thousands who find it unacceptable that, year in and year out, Bob Knight and Mike Leach take fifth-place talent and turn it into a fourth-place finish before everybody from the coffee shop to the O'Reilly Auto Parts is praising the great coaching job those two did.

Of course, we have the celeb/coach w/ son scenario for two teams - - Neil Lomax's kid playin' for Lake Oswego, OR and Clay Bellinger's kid playin' for Chandler, AZ.
Neil Lomax sits in the stands while his 6-foot-2 kid unleashes his mediocrity on an unsuspecting baseball landscape.
Clay Bellinger, though, coaches the Chandler, AZ team - - and the .200-hittin' ex-Yankee will probably have about as much success as the last time that a Chandler team with a weak-hittin', ex-MLB middle infielder with a no-talent kid came to South Willy (back in '03 when Mike Benjamin and Mike Benjamin, Jr. went to the LLWS and scared nobody).

Clay Bellinger is worth a chuckle, though - - merely from the standpoint that he can say he won two World Series rings with the Pinstripers.
Bellinger was a defensive replacement in LF for David Justice (the ultimate postseason zero) in all five games of the '00 Subway W.S. - - one year after Bells had no ABs in the least-remembered World Series in the history of the universe (almost as memorable as the '94 World Series, which, as we know, was cancelled).

People often forget that in Game 6 of the '01 World Series, Clay Bellinger was allowed to bat when the Yankees were winning the Series, 3 games to 2, but losing on the scoreboard, 12-3.
Bellinger struck out when the score was 12-3 in the seventh, then he struck out to end the 14-3 loss.

Vintage Torre managing, though. It's the ol'-school method of "Don't-let-this-benchwarmer-get-anywhere-near-the-batter's-box-unless-we're-up-by-eight-runs-or-losing-by-eight."
It's how Joe won all those pennants with the Mets, Braves n' Cards.

The good thing about Little League, as we've come to learn, is that it doesn't matter how much nepotism pervades the game, Clay Bellinger must allow everyone on the roster - - be they not as handsome, powerful and hygenic as The Adorable Cody Bellinger - - a chance to play.

Sometimes, the strategy backfires - - such as when West Salisbury manager David Yingling tells a TV audience that his favorite player is Gavin Yingling.
Only Gavin is right in the middle of one helacious slump which has him going 1 for 11 during pool play and then 1 for 6 during the regional semis and finals.

A 2-for-17 slide is no way to enter LLWS play.
Then again, nobody's expecting much from West Salisbury.
Just as no one expects much from Sean Salisbury.

Salisbury, as America knows, is the vanilla version of Stooge Scott - - y'know, thinks he's "down with it" when, in fact, he's a square from Umprheyville with no discernible talent whatsoever.

Basically, that leaves us - - fans of Kerr-occo and the LLWS -- with only one option: Sit around, take in the action and wait for Stooge to call it "Howard J. Lemonade" Stadium ...

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