Archive for The History of History

Years Later, Everyone Would Prefer to Forget Bartman

Bartman

As noted by MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat earlier today, it’s been years since the Bartman incident — and yet, it persists as one of those unforgettable moments everyone would rather forget.

“We didn’t really understand that The Simpsons was going to become a thing,” says totally not fake TV writer Jake Sharkfins. “We were poor and young and poor. The idea was to extract every last dollar out of the Bart character as was humanly possible. That’s the only reason we condescended to write that shit song.”

While never officially released as a single in the United States, “Do the Bartman” topped the charts in a number of English-speaking countries and also New Zealand. The next year, it was nominated for an MTV Music Award award.

“Ugh, it was terrible,” recounts Sharkfins. “That shit was so annoying. And remember: I’m a person whose not-fake surname is ‘Sharkfins.’ My threshold for being annoyed is pretty high.”


This Is Mike Shannon’s Pencil

This is Mike Shannon’s pencil:

Mike Shannon was here

This is the very pencil that Mike Shannon used to bat .288/.339/.462 during the course of the 1966 season.

This is the very pencil that Mike Shannon used to captain a gondola — a gondola handsomely crafted from the very same pencil — along every nautical spice route. All the while, Raquel Welch felt safe. She found the turmeric soothing.

This is the very pencil that Mike Shannon used, in 1932 in Greenwood, Mississippi, to write the lyrics, “You’re closer to me, baby, than Jesus to the cross.”

This is the very pencil that Mike Shannon, son of Denethor, used to avenge the death of his brother, Boromir. On the plains of Rohan, Mike Shannon and his pencil trenched many an orc.

Mike Shannon’s pencil likes “Disease Monsoon” to place in the third race at Conestoga Park. Mike Shannon’s pencil, without prompting from its master, has made notes to this end in Mike Shannon’s copy of today’s Daily Racing Form, which Mike Shannon’s pencil will later copy and preserve in Mike Shannon’s Scriptorium of Gambling Documents.

This is also the very pencil that Mike Shannon uses to toll the cathedral bells in every belfry across Christendom. The chimes rise and melt to form what sounds like a human voice, what sounds like Mike Shannon’s voice. “Baseball without ceasing,” the voice says.


The Charlie Manuel-Charlie Manuel Duel

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is known in proper quarters as “Uncle History,” and there’s a reason for this. The reason is that Charlie Manuel is history made noble savage. Charlie Manuel, you see, will use the tools of rational inquiry to rebuild your transmission …

Charlie Manuel vs. Charlie Manuel

As you can see, in the morning mists of July 11, 1804 at Weehawken, New Jersey, Charlie Manuel was felled by Charlie Manuel. The fatal hostilities traced back the Senatorial election of 1891, in which Charlie Manuel defeated the father-in-law of Charlie Manuel. From that point forward, Charlie Manuel relentlessly feuded with Charlie Manuel, often over the direction of the Charlie Manuel’s (and, by extension, Charlie Manuels’) Federalist Party. It all grimly culminated in Charlie Manuel’s sanctioned murder of Charlie Manual, all as a number of Charlie Manuels and at least one wet nurse looked on in mute disbelief. “Got damn,” the lot of them muttered in unison, most especially the assailant and victim, who have each been identified as Charlie Manuel.

Charlie Manuel is Uncle History.


Claude Raymond Is Ready for Love

English rock-and-or-roll supergroup Bad Company, who combined with Foreigner to encourage sex in hallways and multi-purpose arenas across Christendom, once queried: “Are you ready for love?” The aria is a tale — a necessary tale — of the everyman who is rendered urgent, turgid and veiny for immediate and driving coitus.

As it turns out, “Ready for Love” was inspired by right-hander Claude Raymond, who pitched to middling effect in the major leagues from 1959-1971. Bear nubile witness:

A Rumor of Pecker

As implied by his 1966 and 1967 baseball cards, Mr. Raymond walked around for two full years in a state of partial and suggestive undress. This is because he was ready for love.

Chroniclers of Raymond’s day took to calling him “The Un-Bezippered Corsican Rogue.” While such a sobriquet misstated Raymond’s origins, the prevailing incrimination — that of a pecker lurking in wait — could not plausibly be denied.

Just two years after Raymond retired from baseball, he served as a session bassist for Bad Company’s self-titled debut album. It was during those boozy marathon studio conclaves that Raymond’s story was told and subsequently put to vinyl.

While modern society has forced Raymond to leash his organ, he remains ready for the possibilities — love among them.


It is May 3, 1994 and Scott Erickson is Afraid

IMG_0001

Scott Erickson is afraid of many things. It is 1994, the age of having a surplus of hair and of wearing one’s cap backwards, and Scott Erickson can do this. He has spent hours in front of the mirror, perfecting the exact level of carefree indifference he wishes to project upon the world. But there will be a day when it is no longer acceptable to wear one’s cap backward, and when one’s hair becomes something one must attend to. Scott Erickson fears for that day.

Scott Erickson is afraid of failure, but he is more afraid of success. It is May 3, and in his previous start he has just pitched the first no-hitter in Metrodome history. He knows that he can never achieve those heights again, that he has only added a new layer of fraudulence to the fiction that is his life. Expectations swell. Children will ask for strikeouts to cure their cancer. Men will want to talk to him in hotel lobbies. Women will expect a few extra seconds of sexual pleasure.

Scott Erickson is afraid that when it comes down to it, our whole lives are really just small sample size.

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A Call For Civility

This picture, which I cannot source because I cannot find where it came from, and google image search cannot find it for me, speaks to me on many different levels:

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Charlie Manuel Tries Corpse of Pope Formosus

As droned on about at torturous length during the most recent Perry-Cistulli Hootenanny of the Preposterous, history teaches us that Pope Stephen VII tried the decaying corpse of Pope Formosus way back yonder in the year 897 — when even those who weren’t coconuts were coconuts. However, as the history of history teaches us, it was not Pope Stephen VI but rather Charlie Got Damn Manuel who presided over the Synodus Horrenda.

So stand down, Stevie Seven, Charlie’s got it from there …

Charlie Manuel and His Popery

Dead Popes of the world, be admonished: Charlie Got Damn Manuel will get to the bottom of this yet.


Boughten: Walter O’Malley’s Marijuana Bong

As you have no doubt learned by now, I recently was the winning bidder of the Sotheby-auctioned marijuana bong that formerly belonged to Walter O’Malley. Please do admire my purchase:

This is Walter O'Malley's marijuana bong

Lost to history is just what a relentless weed smoker O’Malley was. Sure, every baseball fan knows that Walter O’Malley burned through a lot of herb, but none but the most devoted historian recognizes the depth and breadth of his beloved habit. But that’s not why I was happy to secure ownership of the bong at a cost of $6.28 million in unmarked bills.

You see, upon O’Malley’s cherished bong, which for years served as the Dodgers’ “Vice President of Velvet Easy Time,” is the patina of not only heavy and unqualified use, but also the forces of consequence. As William Manchester wrote in his 1971 opus on the life of O’Malley, The Felis Leo of Our Brooklyn Hearts, Times and Honor and Valor, it was O’Malley’s zeal for the kine bud found in the roadside ditches of the Inland Empire that prevailed upon him to move the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Manchester writes …

The Felis Leo of Our Brooklyn Hearts, Times and Honor and Valor (Google Books excerpt)

Much as Walter O’Malley could never resist the invitations of a stupendous doobie, so it is that I am unable to resist an artifact such as this.

I shall admire Walter O’Malley’s marijuana bong stationed upon my mantel and think fondly of his listening to Steely Dan somewhere in tangled Heaven.


Jim Palmer, Near-Framer of the Constitution

It is an unassailable fact of the historical record that Jim Palmer was tasked with writing very specific passages of the Constitution. “But James,” Gouverneur Morris cautioned him, “pen only the sexy parts.”

Jim Palmer, framer-to-be, was en route to the Constitutional Convention to fulfill his obligations as a member of the Patriotic gentry when the urges of Jim Palmer, passionsmith, took firm yet tender hold. “Milkmaids,” he said to them, “when the loins speak, the heart can’t help but listen.”

No one ravished another, yet there was ravishment …

Jim Palmer, Passionsmith

In Philadelphia there was heard the unmistakable click of many fingernails against a single headboard. Hamilton sighed resignedly. “Lord Palmer will not be joining us, it seems,” he said. “Jefferson, you may write the soiled parts.”

On this, that and every day and night, Jim Palmer set these prairies ablaze with dirty rapture.


How to Defeat the Detroit Tigers

Milwaukee’s Brewers once shared a league with the Tigers of Detroit. They don’t any more, but sometimes, under cover of night, they still play each other in the darkened streets of the American Midwest. Third-generation Poles part their bungalow curtains and watch, and they smell bad as they watch.

Across all such contests, whether sanctioned or questionable, the Brewers are 1,005-0 against the Tigers. To what is their rousing success against the Jungle Cats O’ Michy-Gan owing? Crippling alcoholism.

Witness this revealing pen-and-ink dispatch:

Drunken louts

The Tigers, miserable sots one and all, are unable to resist the foggy inveiglements of the tipple. “Firewater, as fresh as it is cold? The promise of a teeming pour? We are stinking with foretaste!” The Tigers say in benumbed unison. “On this day, death to all other toil!”

Then they get drunk and lurch around those Michigan towns named after dead Anglicans and boot in mullioned windowpanes in a red-eyed search for copulus — a search they’d dare not abate even if they had the will, which they do not, on account of their intemperance.

The villagers are left ensnared in that very moment when they can’t tell whether the hoof-beats are approaching, or passing them by.