Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Salacious Posting

August is traditionally a time for quiet reflection, meditation, and installing seatbelts on your couch before spending the rest of the autumn rocketing around your living room from the endless excitement of Northwestern football action. But this August has been chock-a-block with innuendo, Zambrano meltdowns, and scandal so salacious that it would even raise the eyebrow of the most inbred Bourbon aristocrat preternaturally inured to acts of drawing-room depravity beyond comprehension in the New World.

I speak, of course, of the quashing of the plan for Northwestern to intimidate basketball opponents with a hideous all-purple basketball court.

Behold! Who dare enter the Wildcats' fearsome Fortress Dimetapp?

This abomination came from that hated scourge democracy when the athletic department gave fans a chance to vote for their favorite of several new court surfaces. The purple court naturally grew popular as the Internet invariably gravitates toward the ridiculous or the potential site of a Grimace atrocity. The athletic department, however, got skittish and approved a more traditional design that looked more like a basketball court and less than the last thing seen by Mike Teevee. This engendered speculation that the department gleefully ignored the results of an online poll, like a group of Facebook Soviets. Lake The Posts reports that the poll was close enough to run lighting tests on the purple court, which turned out unfavorably because have you taken a look at this thing, it's a giant purple eyesore.

Northwestern's bland new court, shown next to a picture of Leonid Brezhnev,
someone who (like Northwestern's athletic department) would also disregard an online
poll with an iron digital fist, although admittedly my evidence of vote meddling is based
entirely on how much I enjoy using the word quash and socialist-realist paintings of
Brezhnev


Regardless of the courageous attempt by the athletic department to prevent Northwestern from becoming a national joke in basketball with a garish court design, let us not forget the fact that Northwestern is already somewhat of a college hoops punchline. After all, Northwestern basketball is known for the following things:

-Never appearing in the NCAA tournament
-Playing home games in a rustically charming barn
-Fraudulently claiming victory in the 2011 NIT

Therefore, why not gain some national notoriety by playing home games on a fruit roll-up surface (let's assume it's a Fruit Roll-up with a really 1990s-sounding flavor such as BlasterBerry Xtreme Blast)?

YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE LAST OF CARLOS ZAMBRANO (THAT IS WHAT CARLOS ZAMBRANO THINKS)


This could be the last opportunity to bust out this classy Zambrano Meltdown Recap graphic as the once-brilliant, now mediocre, always entertaining right-hander may have tossed his last pitch as a Cub. Let us remember by clumsily ruining:

Zambrano!

Big Pitcher for the Cubs,
Switch-Hitter, Clubber of Balls,
Player with Rosin and the North Side's Ace Hurler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
Pitcher of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your two-seam fastballs under the park lights luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the bats smash and go free to smash again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of beverage dispensers I have seen the marks of wanton anger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my pitcher, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another pitcher with pointed hand yelling so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic bee bees amid the toil of piling pitch on pitch, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft rubber;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a batter pitted against the gatorade,
Blonde-headed,
Arguing,
Whacking,
Planning,
Fanning, breaking, re-fanning,
Under the vines, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant umpire laughs who has never lost a strike zone,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the bleachers, Laughing!
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, blue-jerseyed, sweating, proud to be Big Pitcher, Switch-Hitter, Clubber of Balls, Player with Rosin and Ace Hurler for the North Side.

A MOST CURIOUS SCANDAL

The last BYCTOM entry featured a list of phrases that it would take to get my attention in an NCAA scandal, callously dismissing NCAA scandals as unworthy of my Victorian outrage. A few days later, Charles Robinson broke the Miami scandal, describing a spectacular set of allegations set amongst a swashbuckling display of NCAA-defying derring-do.

This a photo of me after neglecting to mention that
I'm also interested in articles about allegedly using
a yacht to facilitate off-shore prostitution


My favorite of the allegations involves the bounty system--not only because I enjoy bounties on both the Lee Van Cleef level and as the setting for coconut-based mutinies (according to Arthur Herman's To Rule the Waves, the mutiny on the Bounty ignited after Captain Bligh antagonized his crew with the accusation "Damn your blood, you have stolen my coconuts!"). Devin Hester, now on the Bears, allegedly racked up thousands of tainted booster dollars as a reward for returning kicks and celebrating excessively. I fully support compensating players for drawing hectoring celebration penalties from zebra-striped killjoys, a practice I will encourage when I start my own doomed upstart football league and force boring players to wear jerseys bearing the slogan "HE CELEBRATE INADEQUATELY."

I don't particularly have an interest in the consequences for Miami; I'm mainly enjoying the brazenness of the (alleged) defiance and reveling in the (alleged) sordidness of the whole affair. It would be horrifying to live in a time when a credible fictional scandal concerned the King of Bohemia attempting to cover-up a dalliance with a profligate opera singer that would dash his betrothal to a Scandinavian princess on the rocks of Victorian propriety.

In this Josef Friederich illustration
from A Scandal in Bohemia, Wilhelm
Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein,
the Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein
avoids notice with this casual
diguise.


ALL OF THIS IMPROPRIETY IS MAKING MY HEAD SPIN

NCAA enforcement is part of a long tradition of trying to make some sort attempt to define amateur sports; after all, even the great shamateur cricketer W.G. Grace had been bankrolled with pound notes secreted in his spectacularly bushy beard, and I would be shocked if there wasn't some sort of outcry over a fin de si├Ęcle rugby scandal involving illicitly attained top hats, monogrammed handkerchiefs, cane toppers, fox hunting privileges, dirigible tours, or seigniorial rights. Somehow, we will solider on, burdened by the shocking revelation of (alleged) booster malfeasance in college football, brave baseball less a Zambrano, and futilely pretend to enjoy basketball without a garish purple court to serve as the landing point of a thousand Wildcat dunks.

1 comment:

Irishjohn said...

Got to love your ode to Zambrano. I want to have been a Cubs fan for the last decade just to truly appreciate what a complete madman he is.