Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Do Not Push Scott Olsen's Buttons

Whenever I see that a player was suspended for "insubordination," I'm intrigued. Usually, we find out the "insubordination" was something like arriving to the ballpark late or cutting in line for the post-game food spread. But once in a while, something good pops up.

It seems the Marlins' Scott Olsen isn't the easiest gent to get along with. During his three-year major league career, Olsen has gotten punched in the face by one teammate, poked in the head by another, and been grabbed by the front of his jersey by his manager.

So what was the latest incident that forced the Marlins to suspend Olsen for two games? Well, he got into a spat with Sergio Mitre in the dugout. But hey, that happens. Boys will be boys. Sometimes, guys are so competitive that they can't keep that energy restricted to the field. That's probably what this was all about, right?

Eyewitnesses, who asked not to be identified, said Mitre was trying to calm Olsen, who was upset over a broken button on his uniform top.

Um... wow. Was his belly button showing or something like that?

I guess if you're Olsen's dry cleaner, you should watch out.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

You're Still the Man, Rickey!

Just when I thought I'd be starved of non-Tigers material to post here until football season began, Rickey Henderson comes to the rescue. With the news that Rickey has been hired as the new hitting coach for the New York Mets, I thought I'd blow the dust off something I wrote more than two years ago after Rickey signed with the San Diego Surf Dawgs.

Most of this post will be relatively common knowledge to baseball fans, but this was for my personal blog, and people didn't seem too interested when I wrote about sports over there. Look where that got me.

But I love hearing Rickey Henderson stories, even if they're not true, and wanted to post something about them. One story that wasn't included is something I heard from Harold Reynolds about a month ago on MLB.com's Fantasy 411 show. A lot of you have probably heard this one, but it was new to me.

For a 12-year span through the 1980's and into the early 90's, Rickey owned the American League stolen base crown. The one year he didn't get it was 1987, when he played in only 95 games because of a hamstring injury. So Harold Reynolds was the final season leader with 60 steals. And after the season, he got a phone call from someone:

"Reynolds! This is Rickey."
"Oh, hey Rick."
"60 steals, huh?"
"Yeah, I can't believe it. It was amazing."
"60?! Rickey had 60 at the All-Star Break!"

Awesome. Okay, let's take the Wayback Machine to 2005 for more of Rickey being Rickey.

# # # # #

Yesterday, 46-year-old Rickey Henderson signed with a minor-league baseball team, the San Diego Surf Dawgs, in yet another attempt to prolong his athletic career. And what a career it's been. I'd argue Henderson is one of the best baseball players I've ever seen. He could seemingly do everything on the field. He's Major League Baseball's all-time leader in career stolen bases and runs scored, holds the record for most stolen bases in a season, and had the most career walks until Barry Bonds passed him in 2001.

He's the greatest. Just ask him.

But Henderson is probably best known for his eccentric personality and an ego that a ballpark could barely contain. There have been some great stories attached to Henderson over the years, many of which were retold in response to yesterday's news.

Immediately after breaking Lou Brock's stolen base record, the Oakland Athletics held an on-field ceremony commemorating the occasion. Rickey ended a relatively gracious speech by saying, "Lou Brock was the symbol of great base stealing. But today, I'm the greatest of all time. Thank you."

Henderson often referred to himself in the third person. He once called the general manager of a baseball team, looking for a job, and said, "Rickey wants to play another year and he thinks he wants to play for you."

While playing for the San Diego Padres late in his career, Henderson got onto the team bus and was looking for a seat. A teammate, Steve Finley, said, "Sit anywhere you want, you got tenure."

Rickey's response? "Ten years? What are you talking about? Rickey got 16, 17 years."

This one apparently isn't true, but it's so funny that it should be: While playing for the Seattle Mariners, Rickey approached John Olerud, who wears a batting helmet on the field because of a brain aneurysm he suffered, and said "I used to play with a dude in New York who did the same thing."

Olerud's response? "That was me." Olerud and Rickey had previously played together with the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Gorging Ourselves on Wieners is America's Birthright!

At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I didn't think it was too big a deal that a Japanese dude held the world record (53 3/4) for eating hot dogs. I guess I was just awed by Takeru Kobayashi's magnificent gift for scarfing down sausages. If somebody wanted to do that to himself... hey, we all have our different callings in this life, right?

But it didn't quite seem right that an American couldn't eat more hot dogs than anyone else. I mean, if there's one thing we should be good at, it's shoveling down tubes of unhealthy meat parts. How many of us did that yesterday? I'm not raising my hand, only because I sadly had no cookouts to attend, and even more sadly, I am currently without grill.

Thanks to Joey Chestnut, who the hilariously/disgustingly hyperbolic ESPN announcers called a "hero," the days of finishing second in hot dog annihilation are over. The 23-year-old Californian inhaled 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes (that's one every 11 seconds) to dethrone Kobayashi and reclaim the title of "Guy Who Can Eat a Lot of [insert item here]" and the Mustard Yellow Belt for the nation celebrating its independence yesterday. What were you doing when you were 23, bucko?

66 hot dogs, man. Eating 66 of anything seems kind of revolting, though I'm sure I've unwittingly done it a few times in my life. This morning, I ate 26 almonds, which I read is the ideal amount to eat in a day, and I don't really feel like eating any more almonds today.

In fairness to Kobayashi, however, the dude might have been playing hurt. There was some doubt as to whether he'd participate in this year's Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest because of a sore (arthritic?) jaw (Occupational hazard, I imagine) and recent wisdom tooth extraction. After help from a chiropractor(?) and acupuncturist, however, Kobayashi manned up to try and defend his title against his newest challenger.

Was the jaw the difference in the three additional hot dogs Chestnut was able to consume? Maybe, although Kobayashi apparently had some difficulty keeping that last one in, but the rules say as long as it doesn't hit the floor, it's all good.

"Kobayashi appeared to spew hot dog out of his mouth at the end, but caught it in the air and clamped his hands to his mouth, which kept the hot dogs in play, so to speak..."

You're not eating as you read this, are you? I think I'm about to experience some "reversal of fortune" myself. I think I'll be eating fruit for dinner. Maybe blueberries and raspberries, in honor of our new American hero.

Deadspin was live on the scene (as I hope to be one day), and posted a "plausibly live" blog, complete with photos.

And The Fanhouse has footage of Kobayashi's "reversal of fortune," which reportedly won't be seen in ESPN's re-broadcast of the contest tomorrow night.