August 23, 2005

The Big 4-7

There is no other way to put it – this, the 23rd of August, is a momentous day. It is the 47th birthday of ageless Brave and remarkable baseball relic Julio Franco.

Quite frankly, if you haven’t grown to love or at least appreciate Julio on some level over the past few years, you have issues. This season, his 21st in the major leagues, Papa Franco has hit .299 with 9 homers and 40 RBI’s in just 187 at-bats for the Atlanta ballclub while using – and frequently flinging into the stands at the end of his swing, to many fans’ peril – one of the largest bats in the league. Better yet, most observers actually thinks he’s older than his reported age of 47 because of dicey birth records in his native Dominican Republic, and he wants to play into his 50’s. Quite simply, you gotta love him. Feliz cumpleaños, Julio.

Actually, I should be careful with the birthday wishes – apparently Julio isn’t the world’s biggest fan of such holidays. In an article appearing in today’s AJC, he had this to say when asked about his 47th:

“Just another day. Cakes? I don’t eat cake. I don’t celebrate birthdays. Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the Christmas tree at Christmas time...All man-made holidays.”

He continued, “I don’t need to wait for someone to tell me it’s a holiday or a day to eat turkey; I eat turkey almost every day.”

You tell ‘em, Julio! “I don’t need to wait for someone to tell me it’s a holiday or a day to eat turkey” – classic. Honestly, this is Julio’s finest work since he responded to steroid allegations from former Pirates’ outfielder Andy Van Slyke by saying, “Next time you talk to [Van Slyke], tell him the steroid I’m on is Jesus of Nazareth.”

Whatever your religion (or lack thereof) may be, you have to admit – this is pure brilliance. Here’s hoping Julio is still running his mouth, accidentally chucking his bat into the stands and lacing line drives to right field at age 50.

Assuming he’s not actually there already.


A couple other things on my mind:

-In response to – well, my own ongoing and frequent irritation with the self-proclaimed "Worldwide Leader in Sports," I’ve decided to start up a regular feature on the site I will be calling ESP-aNoyance, where I and we collectively will vent on those things that most irritate us about that network we love to hate but as passionate sports fans really have no choice but to watch. Today’s gripe: the gradual but steady changing over of virtually every important article on to requiring an ESPN Insider membership, which costs $6.95 a month or $39.95 a year. This – for lack of an intelligent way of putting it (because it’s really not necessary) – is crap. It’s one thing to make some of the premium content on a site require a membership, but can’t you see where this is going? Recently, all of Peter Gammons’ columns became Insider access only; soon, all of your favorite writers – and as an added insult, many of the ones you hate – will require a pay subscription. Making matters worse, the Insider subscription comes with a free, and essentially mandatory, subscription to the dreadful ESPN The Magazine, which I am soon going to ask to start paying me rent, as the behemoth magazines are essentially taking over my apartment with their insane and inexplicably large pages. Why must they make the pages abnormally sized? Sometimes (and by "sometimes," I mean "often"), ESPN tries to reinvent its own wheel to a crippling fault.

-I know what you’re up to, Sports Illustrated. Don’t think you’re fooling me for a second. Putting Braves’ rookie outfielder Jeff Francoeur on your cover just in time for his long-overdue slump (foreshadowed by his 1 walk and 27 strikeouts thus far) ensuring that the myth of the SI Cover Jinx lives on. Well I for one will not be buying the whole “cover jinx” thing when Francoeur hits a skid, and frankly I don’t appreciate you trying to pull this nonsense over on us.

Thank you and good day.


Blogger The Bird said...

I sincerely look forward to your ongoing ESP-aNoyance feature. It helps ease the pain.

Thankfully, there are alternatives to ESPN Insider content. There's a positive way to look at the fact that most sportswriting is trivial crap--it's not hard to produce. So you can go to Yahoo, or CNNSI, or better yet, sports blogs like this one, and get the same or better commentary than there is on ESPN. Whose columns are you afraid of missing? Joe Morgan? (excluding Gammons, obviously)

11:40 PM, August 23, 2005  
Anonymous Jack said...

Was that spanish coming from the OCC? Wishing Julio a happy birthday in his native tounge. Well done!!!

I also loves that you go after ESPN and SI in the same blogspot. You show no fear!

"The next time one of the primary sports news sources wants to charge me for articles, you tell them the only steroid i'm on is the OCC, bitch!"

11:43 AM, August 24, 2005  
Blogger The OCC said...

Josh -- throw Chad Ford in there with Gammons. No one has the scoop like those two.

Jack -- high five.

12:29 AM, August 25, 2005  

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