Pissing Off the Baseball Gods Vol. VI: A Cadre of Assholes

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January 9, 2014 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

Baseball is an incredibly superstitious sport; from players such as Wade Boggs and Justin Verlander, and instances like a black cat walking across Ron Santo in the one deck circle, it’s a sport that is steeped in superstition as much as it is rooted in tradition.  The reason for such is that much the same way that the course of the NBA is dictated by David Stern, the MLB is governed by the baseball gods.  They are the committee that controls the flow of the game and the outcome of events.  Like the gods of ancient mythology however, they are not infallible and from time to time have been stymied by the actions of a certain player or team.  As such, there comes a price for crossing the gods and their plans for baseball.

Pissing Off the Baseball Gods: is a 30 part anthology wherein I will go through each of the 30 franchises in the MLB and give an example of how they crossed the baseball gods, and give the ensuing penalty that arose from their transgression.  Essentially, a gigantic dose of karma, each team has had to pay for a victory they shouldn’t have had, or having unfavorable players on their team.  Most of the examples provided may seem disassociated and incongruent, but given the superstitious nature of baseball, chances are it’s just the price to pay for pissing off the baseball gods.

As a diehard Yankee fan, there are few teams that I will sympathize with or expend any sort of emotion on beside utter loathe.  One of the teams that have earned the slightest shred of pity from me is the Cleveland Indians.  For the majority of their existence they’ve just sucked, as in 40 years from 1955-1994, they only mustered 7 seasons with a winning record.  But adding insult to injury, they are a team that should have won more World Series than they actually have, unlike the Pittsburgh Pirates, where the opposite holds true.  There was a time however, from 1995-2001 where the Indians were in serious contention for a championship.  Trying to somehow fathom a reason as to why the silver age of Cleveland baseball ultimately failed to culminate in a World Series victory, only one reason presented itself-some of the guys on those teams were just unlikable douchebags.

Even though the Indians boasted Jim Thome, who was voted the nicest guy in the MLB, that still wasn’t enough to counter the massive amount of asshole-ity.  Because the team was littered with such gigantic dickheads, the baseball gods had to intervene and punish the Indians for this motley assembly of unlikeables.  Now at times I can be a relentless and merciless prick, but even I wouldn’t do to the Indians what the baseball gods had fated for them.

Now before I get into the vindication, it’d be prudent of me to explain who exactly composed this meticulously crafted assortment of jerk-offs.  During the seven seasons from 1995-2001, the silver age of Cleveland baseball, Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Sandy Alomar Jr., David Justice, Jack McDowell, and Omar Vizquel were all members of the Indians, and as such, this gross congregation of unlikable baseball players apparently insulted the baseball gods.  In Jack McDowell and David Justice, you have one player who once gave fans the finger as he was taken out of the game, and another who’s been accused of spousal abuse.  Sandy Alomar either is in love with the fact that he’s Roberto’s brother or that he managed to hit a home run off of Mariano River, neither of which justify his ego which is only second to Ricky Henderson’s.

Rounding out the lesser four is Omar Vizquel, who despite his vast humanitarian efforts, broke the cardinal rule of baseball: Never throw a teammate under the bus.  In his 2002 autobiography, he blatantly and vividly blamed relief pitcher Jose Mesa for their loss in the 1997 World Series.  This is why Mesa would intentionally hit Vizquel every time they faced each other once they were on opposing teams.  And it’s for being a shit teammate that everyone who played with Curt Schilling hates him.[1]

The two who most cultivated this air of unlikability were Manny Ramirez and Albert Belle.  We all know about Ramirez, who in most states would probably be classified as legally retarded, from the on field laziness, to his habitual lapses in rational thinking, to the steroids, and his spats with the media, there’s really no way that Ramirez can endear himself to anyone anymore.  If your manager or coach has to come up with a phrase with your name in it to constantly describe your constant intellectual and social failings, there really is no hope.[2]

Oddly enough, in the bigger picture, Ramirez was more of a sidekick to the biggest prick on a team filled with jerkoffs.  Perhaps only second to Bobby Bonilla, Albert Belle would probably have been unanimously elected as the least liked player in the MLB.  An avid fan of corked bats, Belle once threated and then forced a teammate to go through the stadiums ventilation system (a la Mission Impossible) to retrieve one of his confiscated bats.  Besides trying to piss off everyone he ever made eye contact with, running over trick or treaters, and tackling random second basemen to the ground, Albert Belle was an unrepentant agitator and a surly bully who would bullishly ram over anyone in his way.  You could understand why the baseball gods would want to see him and any team he played on fail.

The silver age of Cleveland baseball is highlighted by two trips to the World Series in 1995 and 1997, and to be honest they should have won one of those (1997!).  Even though they won 100 out of a possible 144 games in 1995, the Braves were going to beat anyone they faced that year.  By 1997, the Indians, relegated to an anemic 86 wins bested two better teams in the Yankees and Orioles (who should have gone to the World Series that year) en route to the World Series.[3]  All that stood between their first championship since 1948 were the Marlins, the fucking Marlins, who even though they yielded a very unlikable and synthetic team, were still slightly more redeemable than the Indians.  For the gods, there really wasn’t any right choice to be made in the 1997 World Series, so they just chose to tear out the heart of every Indian fan through their anus.

With the lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning in game seven, the Indians were on the verge of their first title in almost 50 years.  Then the Marlins, the fucking Marlins, came back and won the game in extra innings.  Having to choose who’d you rather have win the 1997 World Series is a lot like asking “Who’d you rather be stranded on a desert island with, David Berkowitz or Jeffrey Dahmer?”.  There’s no right answer because both answers are inherently wrong.  None of those teams should have been in the World Series, but the fact remains that the Indians should have won that matchup.  Chalk it up to divine intervention that they lost.  This is what happens when 1/3 of the team is made up of assholes, you piss off the wrong people, and unfortunately for the Indians and their fans, they pissed off the baseball gods.

Next Week: The Detroit Tigers


[1] I just wanted to throw that in there.

[2] This is also the same person who didn’t possibly think that erecting a giant sign in Los Angeles that said “Manny Wood” could possibly be misinterpreted.  Ok Tobias Funke.

[3] Mike Mussina was on an absolute tear in the post season that year and would have torn through the Marlins.  Fact.

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