Frankly, Brett, I Don’t Give a Damn

I don’t give a rat’s wide receiver whether Brett Favre plays football for Green Bay, Minnesota or Manchester United. This Hamlet in a helmet has dominated the so-called news for weeks.

Who bloody cares? It’s baseball season, we’re in a pennant race, the Twins have a cool little team of overachievers who are grossly overpaid by human standards but a skinflint’s blue-plate special by pro sports standards. The Twins have lost what seems like half their fast slap-hitters because these guys slide into bases hands first, so not the way we were taught in park-board baseball. The Twins lightened their financial load by tossing overboard a great center fielder and the best pitcher of the last half-decade, and yet they’re in first place today, playing with heart and duct-tape. You gotta love ’em. If you can get to the baseball news through the NFL police blotter and the histrionics about the head cheesehead.

It’s summer. Let’s pay attention to the grace of baseball, and let these cretins in shoulder pads haul their BGH masses into training camp in the obscurity they deserve.

We’ve got a presidential campaign going on, which seems as if it will be decided by whoever has the slimiest ad creators. Maybe we should be paying some attention to who these candidates are and what they are really like so we don’t buy another Texan in a poke. Let’s lighten up on the sports coverage and take in the great story on Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the Chicago Tribune, reprinted in the Strib today. The story quotes Solzhenitsyn saying “A great writer is, so to speak, a secret government in his country.” You go, Sy Hersh. Great writers can, given time and courage, pierce the Orwellian PR screen of a Soviet Union or a Bush-Cheney administration.

Yes, we need sports and movies and tunes and the latest James Lee Burke book to take our minds off the serious stuff. But let’s not go bananas over the second coming of Brett Favre. I’d go see him if he was playing at Pearl Park near my house, tossing the ball around with neighborhood kids. But — oh well, Liriano’s back, and Morneau’s swing is so whip-fast and level, and it’s wonderfully muggy, and the last tomatoes are getting red, and I’m tuning Brett out. I’ll watch C-SPAN tonight, but right now I’m reading the box scores on the patio.

–Bruce Benidt

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11 thoughts on “Frankly, Brett, I Don’t Give a Damn

  1. Dennis Lang says:

    Beautiful! You’re reading box scores–always pleasurable especially when the home nine is contending (magically)–and I’m reading you guys. I better go earn some money. Arrivederci.

    PS: And what is Span’s current On Base Percentage by the way?

  2. Bruce Benidt says:

    Brother Lang, always great to hear from you.
    Span’s OBP is .403, below only Mauer among starters (.410).
    Gomez is only .287 — but Scott Baker is .500 — one for two.
    Casilla is .351 — ooh, we miss that guy. He’s the sparkplug.

    You’re a student of the game, Dennis.

  3. Dennis Lang says:

    Since we’re on the topic, ironically, as we speak, I’m attempting a story on the late Bob “Hurricane” Hazle, the journeyman outfielder who for several surreal months in the Milwaukee Brave pennant run of 1957 hit a staggering .403. A year later he was out of the game. He died in 1992. This may end up being a story about the failed attempt to do the “inside” story of Bob Hazle.

    (Really wish Gomez could hit.)

  4. Coming from a guy who enjoyed the hell out of slapping a double to the left-center gap in his last men’s league game of the season yesterday, thank you, Brother Bruce.

    When you say “the best pitcher of the last half-decade,” you’re not referring to LaTroy Hawkins, are you? 🙂

  5. Joe Loveland says:

    Amen Benidt. I’m such a sap that I had my Twins flag up yesterday. Rare is the evening when the game isn’t on in the background in our beige plastic house.

    But I must admit I’m also a sap for the Brett threat fret. What theater! Sure it’s not the mideast peace talks, if we still had such things. And sure lots of us make too big of a deal out of it. But it’s great melodrama, and that’s what I value about sports. Some get their escapes from soaps, romance novels, pro wrestling or NASCAR. I get mine from the misadventures of tragically wealthy athletes. And on that front, it doesn’t get any better than this Favre thing.

    There’s always a danger that we allow escapism to drown out reality in our lives. Been there. But as long as you maintain some balance, there’s no harm in occassionally caring a little too much about either the state of Go Go’s mojo, or the number two Number 4 is taking on the most neurotically loyal fan base in the land.

  6. Bruce Benidt says:

    Isn’t it horrifying, Mike, that the Twins were thinking about bringing Hawkins back? Next it’ll be “bring back Carlos Silva.”

    Joe, “Tragically wealthy” is such a great phrase for all celebrities. And your “number two” image is also perfectly proctological for all of this.

  7. Gazzer says:

    Yes, yes, yes.

    But will Niall Quinn extend Roy Keane’s contract before Sir Alex swoops for him — and can they land a top-notch striker before the transfer window closes?

  8. I was wondering when we’d get a soccer/football comment (that’s what the nonsense above refers to, right?). With Hornseth on vacation, it had to come from someone else. Thanks, Gazzer.

  9. Joe Loveland says:

    Hornseth is such an anti-American Europhile soccer lover that he probably even eats FRENCH fries instead of freedom fries. How can anyone even call that a “sport” with no performance enhancing drug scandals???

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