Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Single Greatest Column In the History of Sports Journalism

This article, by Seattle Mariners columnist Art Thiel, may be the greatest column ever written, and I don't feel bad typing this, because if a more ridiculous column does exist out there, my mind would instantly explode, thus giving me no time to regret the title of this blog post.

Thiel combines all the wonderfully irrational sportswriter hyperbole - in this case, arguing that the season-opening three-game series between the Mariners and Oakland A's will determine the Mariners' ENTIRE SEASON - with a heaping helping of confusing, dated, and irrelavent pop culture references packed into (and sometimes wholly comprising) paragraphs. Here are some of the highlights, though picking highlights from this article is sort of like coming up with a tracklist for a Beatles' "Best Of" album (see, I can reference pop culture too!)

If the A's sweep the Mariners -- The cataclysm, as predicted in the movie "Ghostbusters": "Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling. Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together -- mass hysteria."

As if it's not far enough off the deep end to equate losing three baseball games to the rapture, Thiel doesn't even just say "the end of the world," or describe it, he instead draws on Bill Murray's quote from "Ghostbusters" about the rapure. That's like saying, Facing Albert Pujols is like that part in Jurassic Park: "Oh my god, that dinosaur is coming after us!!"

Nothing has been more intensely urgent since the paternity line formed for Anna Nicole's baby. This team, in this circumstance, is the personification of the Rev. Leroy and the Church of What's Happenin' Now. No green-bananas outfit here, baby.

His rate of references per second is unquantifiable by standard methods. Either he's joking about how serious the Anna Nicole thing is, or he's using a fake serious thing to show how serious this A's series is? Followed by an amazingly specific "What's Happenin'" reference, then a casually worded non-reference to a "green-bananas outfit," which I guess refers vaguely to the idea of not being ripe? What is going on here?'

These Mariners are so in the moment that they nearly will be out of date before today's national anthem, which, by the way, better damn well be sung by Mick Jagger, accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma and backed by the New York Symphony Orchestra. This is no time for KazooKlub.

How does the singer of the national anthem correllate to the specific urgency of this series? It's just Thiel making outrageous demands for who he wants to see sing the anthem. Or maybe, it's an excuse to jam some references together? And "KazooKlub"... just...amazing. A completely meaningless reference to nothing. You starting to see why I'm confident this is the best column ever?

Last year, the A's were the organ grinder, the Mariners the monkey. The A's were George Bush, the Mariners were Tony Blair. The A's were Penn, the Mariners were Teller. Not since Moe last frying-panned Curly have we seen such a cringe-inducing tribute to dope-slapping.

The A's played the Mariners like an instrument, the A's commanded a more powerful nation than the Mariners and the Mariners therefore followed suit with Oakland's political actions, the A's are a magician who speaks, the Mariners are also a magician but they do not speak. Also, he couldn't think of a more recent reference to getting nailed in the face, or did he think about it and conclude that the Mariners losing to the A's was, in fact, the greatest comic violence to occur in the last seven decades?

I suppose some crank among the readership will say I'm exaggerating the importance of the series, reminding me that there will remain 159 games. Well, thanks for that, Alex Trebek. Let me save some time by having you talk to the hand while I explain.

"Alex Trebek" takes a very rational approach to evaluating a baseball season. And "talk to the hand." Good ol' "talk to the hand." How I missed you.

This isn't just "Git 'er done," an expression so yesterday. This is "Git 'er done -- yesterday."

Sometimes, you can't explain certain great works of art with words. I'll just step back and admire.

Thanks, as always, to for being on top of all things awesome.

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