Cuba

Is anyone else really enjoying Cuba’s success in the World Baseball Classic? Not from a political perspective, obviously — even those of us who lean to the left have no fondness for Castro’s regime. But the players themselves. It has been, to me, a great treat to see these guys accomplishing something that means so much to them.

(By the way, check out this excellent piece on the topic by my friend Jeff Passan.)

Ultimately, that’s why I watch sports. It’s why I love sports. The sporting events I enjoy more than any others are the ones where guys (or women) would give multiple toenails, or even toes, to win. ("You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me.")

That’s what’s so great about the Stanley Cup playoffs, and about the Olympics, to name two favorites of mine. You see someone hoist that trophy, or that medal, and you know that has been that person’s singular goal since he or she was old enough to have any idea what it was. That’s exciting, inspiring, uplifting.

And that applies with team Cuba’s performance in the World Baseball Classic. Not that they’re the only ones — clearly the tournament meant a ton to the Dominican Republic, to Venezuela, to Puerto Rico, to the countries where baseball is a central facet of life. But to no one does it mean as much as it does to the Cuban players, it seems to me.

Come Monday night, I won’t be rooting for Castro or the Cuban government. But I’ll be hoping those players win.

Currently playing on the iPod: Modest Mouse’s The Lonesome Crowded West.

-M.

9 Comments

I am so sad that the Dominican is out. I was sure that they would win. They had a variety of talent and potential. This tournament is not what I expected it to be.

Isn’t that great, though? If it had gone totally according to plan, what fun would that have been?

Moreover, to me, it says something really important about baseball — something I’ve believed for a long time. There’s more unpredictability in a single baseball game, or even a baseball series, than in any other sport. South Africa can scare the bejeezus out of Canada, just like the Royals at some point this year will sweep the Yankees or A’s or White Sox.

-M.

Aaahhhh, The Lonesome Crowded West. Top twenty record of the 90s? I vote yes! They should get to goto indie heaven for that record alone.

Like Stevie Wonder and Cheap Trick, they could make a hundred Ebony and Ivorys/The Flames all would be forgiven because of Budokan/Songs in the Key of Life.

The Lonesome Crowded West is a true get-out-of-rock-jail-free card. It doesn’t get much better.–Steve

That’s a great concept. As a High Fidelity fan, what about the all-time, top-5, get-out-of-jail-free cards? I’d definitely include the Faces’ “A Nod Is As Good As A Wink” for Rod Stewart. Though I would also argue that no one has tested the theory as rigorously as Rod has.

I remember the first time I heard “Polar Opposites” on the radio in Seattle. I was absoutely mesmerized. Saw them live in a bar somewhere on Capitol Hill (the one in Seattle) in like 97 or 98 or so. I’ve dug them ever since.

-M.

I’ve loved watching the Cubans and other teams. I even wrote a post on the “International Language of Baseball” http://www.misschatter.com/janf/index.php/2006/03/17/the-international-language-of-baseball/

It’s been very cool.

So, I’m to assume these are bands which have had major musical transgressions after former greatness. The Faces are the perfect choice. I don’t know if I can come up with five as good as that. I will take the liberty of including bands along with specific records.

This is kind of tough, but here goes, in no particular order.

1). Liz Phair–Exile in Guyville. Second record is 50% superb, too. Everything else is unlistenable.

1.5). Stones–Exile on Main St. and too many others.

2). Aerosmith. Everything up to and including Night in the Ruts was awesome. Everything else is dreck. Lesson learned = STAY HIGH. One record–Toys in the Attic.

3). Van Halen. First record is perfect. Sammy is poison. Dave is God. One record–VH1.

4). Elton John. Honkytonk Chateau, Although others are nearly as good. Lesson to be learned….Hairpiece/Wig with keyboards = I’m Still Standing. Ugh.

5). New York Dolls. David Johanson can make 1000 “Hot Hot Hot(s)” and he’ll still be The Dolls.

errrr, ***** Chateau.

So, h***y is a bad word? Now I feel dirty and ashamed.

Me : I’m a bad h***y

Backup Singer : Hush your mouth!

Me : I’m just talkin’ about Shaft!

I’ll take “Toys in the Attic” and “Captain Fantastic”

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