Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thoughts From a Drug-Addled Brain

Okay, the little insomnia outcropping from my flu bug impels me to post some garbled and unintelligable thoughts on how certain Chicago teams are fairing right now. Usually, we like to be flippant here at Fleece & Flog, but a semi-serious -- albeit rambling -- post is from time to time a necessary evil. And I know I'm as far from Hunter S. Thompson as the earth is from the moon, so don't give me any crap about the Fear and Loathing vibe. In the throws of a Young Guns-like peyote (the pic on the left) vision quest my mind is wandering to places unforeseen.

Where will the vision stop first?

Join me to find out...

I'm driving northwest on Archer avenue turning right onto to 35th street when I start seeing flags and flaggers. Park here for cheap, avoid the mad scramble at the regular lots, get out quicker, get out quicker, get out quicker. And then I see the grand facade of the US Cellular Field still a mile or so away, but still "get out quicker" runs thru my mind.

Get out quicker.

Neal Cotts got out quicker; he was traded to Cubs. Mark Beuhrle tried to get out quicker; he was seen at Busch Stadium during the World Series wearing a backwards St. Louis Cardinals hat, his wife being overheard to have said they couldn't wait for him to pitch in St. Louis. Brian Anderson is getting out quicker; he alienated himself from team management by being a headcase, hard to work with.

Who else will get out quicker?

Jon Garland is rumored to be heading to Texas since one of the starter has to go to make room for Brandon McCarthy. Scott Podsednik is surely leaving town with a ring and a wife and a tail between his legs. Juan Uribe too may be headed for the Kenny Williams scrap heap if KW can pry Michael Young from Texas.

Get out quicker.

The list of 2005 White Sox is dwindling and I'm wondering who'll be the next to get out quicker.

Freddy Garcia was terrible for much of 2006, Jose Contreras had injury troubles again as did Bobby Jenks, and Joey Cora won't be waving Paul Konerko around 3rd on any more bloop singles.

The fanciful, unexpected happiness the 2005 season provided only made the failure of 2006 more devastating. Get out quicker.

World Series championships don't come along very often, certainly not in Chicago, so don't expect a repeat performance anytime soon is the prevailing notion. Get out quicker.

Living and dying with a team and players holds nothing in the way of loyalties as older generations' teams did. Why care about Scott Pods when after one bad year he's traded or let go? Why scream for Jim Thome's return knowing Frank Thomas is just let go after years of hard -fought, if somewhat petulant, service. Get out quicker.

The last flagger on 35th and Normal avenue passes and instead of parking I head straight for the ball field, the ball mall, the distraction in action. Maybe I'll just drive on past so I can get out quicker by not getting out at all. I mean, who's playing for the White Sox this week? Who's still around even from a 99 win team in 2000?

Change is constant, chaos has its merits, and nothing is as bewildering and wonderful as it was as child. Well adjusted people are just that -- people who don't fear change, but can all change be good? My father talks in reverent tones about players he grew up with. I followed Harold Baines and Ozzie Guillen with a hero-cult passion as a child. But nowadays, the most time any fan can expect a player to stick around for is five years in one city. It's the state of economics in baseball, and unless Derek Jeter is on your team, expect your favorite players to leave.

Subconsciously, I wonder what sort of an affect the constant flux of player movement has on the youth of our nation. Nothing is sacred anymore, certainly nothing as arbitrary as sports and sports figures (remember, a Chicago kid uttered the words, "Say it ain't so, Joe"), but what kind of message is being sent to our children when their favorite player leaves town? Get out quicker? What underlying principles are being undermined by seeing players and GM's bowing down to the almighty dollar? Get what you can and run?

But the stadium is now in my rear-view mirror, and I'm turning onto the Dan Ryan Expressway to escape the flaggers and their "get out quicker" subliminal message. If only I would have thought of that before going to a White Sox day game in the middle of the week. Oh, the gridlock.

(Author's Note: The original thought for this post started in my mind as a bitch-fest about the Bulls and Blackhawks and somehow morphed into a diatribe about the turnover rate of baseball players. See, I told you I was shiftless tonight from all the drugs. Stream-of-consciousness writing is just so damn lazy it cries out for times like these.)

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