Thursday, September 11, 2008

Summer of Sam (and Mac)
By Kevin Smith Clark

When Ken Rosenthal makes a reminder that this is the 10th anniversary of the McGwire-Sosa battle, all it does is tell me, “You’re getting old.”

Believe me, I was completely caught up in the hoopla that summer. Living one hour (sans traffic) from Wrigley definitely added to the excitement. We’d never seen anything like this in baseball (some may argue 1961 Maris-Mantle, but that was an age of single-camera baseball coverage and no internet), and fans turned out in droves. I went to see the Cardinals at Comisky (now US Cellular) in July because McGwire would be there (he didn’t disappoint, hitting #32 that evening). It was all surreal…and then…

Canseco. Caminiti. Congress. Cowardice. Here I am, 10 years later, hoodwinked, bamboozled by two guys who will (whether or not they ever confess) a huge asterisk on their careers because of a lack of integrity. Two guys sealed their fates when they wouldn’t just own up to the allegations. “I’m not here to talk about the past.” Well, I am, Mr. McGwire and Mr. Sosa. I quote Jimmy Gator from that beautiful film Magnolia, “The book says, ‘We might be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.’” What sucks is every time a Ryan Howard, Josh Hamilton, David Ortiz, or Albert Pujols goes yard, the past ain’t through with us. Every time another player gets suspended, the past ain’t through with us. McGwire and Sosa ignited the fuse of our suspicion, and, henceforth, every Home Run champ will be placed under a microscope. His blood, urine, and hair will be examined. His former high school coach and his baby’s mama will be questioned. I can’t enjoy the long ball like I used to…perhaps it’s God’s way of forcing me to enjoy great pitching…and BTW, when did a 3.75 ERA become good? Where are Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax when you need them? Sorry, there I go talking about the past again.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bled State
by Kevin Smith Clark

In late 2000, my mentor, Dr. John Castelein, wrote the following: "In the 2000 presidential election, truth is not non-partisan."  It took me eight years to fully appreciate this line.  Living in a battle-ground state has been nothing short of exhausting.  I'm sure you all remember Ohio's role in 2004.  Shortly thereafter came Coingate involving a trail of Republicans that led to Columbus (for more info, google "coingate" or "Tom Noe"...that should do it).  But, in this state, the truth is anything but objective.  I can't tell you how many ads I see on a daily basis..."John McCain is more of the same"..."Obama wants to tax you more"..."McCain wants to sodomize your mother while pouring sugar in your gas tank"..."Obama is a closet terrorist"..."McCain will ship your job to Mexico"..."Obama will drive your job to Mexico".  Somewhere in all of this is the truth.  And, literally, only God Himself knows it.  It's extremely difficult in my hometown where the most important issues are (in no order): stance on abortion, stance on gay marriage, stance on prayer in school.  And there's not much audience for dialogue (let me be crystal clear on this: I'm against the first two and think the third is irrelevant).

We are approximately 60 days from Bipolar National Showdown III, and I'm sick of the smack-talk, endorsed and unendorsed commercials, "eight is enough", "raisin' McCain", Sarah Palin (yes, she does look look like Tina Fey and yes, I hope they totally lampoon her on 30 Rock this year), Joe Biden's bad hair (we know you have plugs...i remember your hair during Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill), and ANWAR.  I think I'm sick of the Kingdom of America.  I'm returning to the Kingdom of God.

That's what living in a Bl-ed State feels like: a large family of manic depressives who forgot to take their crazy pills...because John McCain won't provide them for free.