Before we get to the long-awaited installment of Heckle Stories—why anyone would click the Fantasy Baseball link for anything else is beyond my comprehension—I have to get something off my chest.
Before I do, though, I’m giving you the opportunity to use the scroll button to skip over my drivel and head down to the “funny.” Don’t worry about scrolling too fast, either. You’ll see it. I’ll put some lines or something down there that’ll signify an end to the scrolling. Make your decision quickly. Time is running short. The ranting is about to commence.
As of today, the team that I’ve loved my entire life, the Chicago White Sox, have a record of 62-29. Best in the majors.
They hold a .681 winning percentage, along with a 13-game lead over the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central.
They have two pitchers (Buehrle and Garland) who are currently in the Cy Young race. They have Freddy Garcia, who is quietly having the best season of the trio. As a team, they have allowed 350 runs all season, second only to the Cardinals with 349. They have one of the best bullpens in the league, despite missing a true closer.
Their offense, while not league-leading, has been clutch. While they won’t hit the same amount of home runs as last year, they’ve been hitting them in spots that count. And besides, you don’t need many runs when your pitching is so dominant.
Despite all of this, not a single sportswriter, prognosticator, $4 psychic, homosexual hairdresser, garage-band lead singer, or beautifully jowled man named Gammons have picked the White Sox to get to the World Series. Hell, they’ve barely even mentioned the fact that they’ve already all but clinched the division.
And while I do enjoy the fact that the Pale Hose is falling under the radar (all the better to win oodles of monetary and/or pride-based bets, my dears!), it’s time for that ignorance to come to an end. Right here.
The Sox will play in the World Series.
Book it. Go ahead, I dare you.
(Actually, I do dare you. As much as I’d like to believe it myself, I have low self-esteem and constantly doubt myself when it comes to “guarantees.”)
Will they win it all? Well, Internet Reader, that’s for God, Buddha, fate, ka, or Joe Pesci to decide. In any case, it feels good to put myself out there on a limb. Sure, if the White Sox end up losing in the first round, I’ll suffer the backlash of e-mailers laughing and mocking me. Of course, if the Red Sox make it instead, I could tell them to reread the prediction.
But if I’m right, and my White Sox actually do make it to the Fall Classic, well, that’s something no one will ever forget. I won’t let them.
Enough with the rants—on to the heckles!
This past summer at a Pirates-Angels game, my friends and I had managed to work our way to four rows back from the dugout—prime heckling area. As Vladimir Guerrero stepped out of the dugout to take some practice swings, I realized something funny: Vladimir is a Russian name. Immediately, I shouted, “Hey, Vladimir, why don’t you go back to Russia? COMMIE!” He paused for a second, but didn’t give us any recognition. After he went down swinging, my friend shouted, “Nice cuts, comrade!” That got us a big, fat middle finger. Needless to say, it made the night complete.
My A.P. American History class was playing softball against a P.E. class (don’t ask). When a friend of the left fielder came up to bat, he stopped, cupped his hands, and yelled, “Your mom!”
A couple of years ago, the Yankees were playing in Philly. Near the end of the game, when the Yankees were blowing out Philly, most of the people at the game began to leave. My friends and I moved closer to the field. My one friend, who’s just as loud as he is fat, decided to demoralize Scott Brosius. “Hey, Brosius—look at Jeter. You’ll never be as good as him!” Or “Your wife should have Jeter’s children!” It went on for about five minutes. At one point Jeter looked over, covering a grin with his glove, either because he was laughing at the nonsense or simply at the fact that the nonsense was coming from a huge fat kid. (I like to think it was the latter.) About a minute later, my friend yelled, “I’m just kidding, Brosius. You’re on my fantasy team. I like you.”
Back in the day, when the Ravens graced New Haven, Connecticut, a young outfielder named Quinton McCracken played left field. A friend and I would frequent Ravens games, and we sat on the left-field foul line. When Quinton would jog past at the top of every inning, we would lean over and yell, “Phil! Phil!” At first, he took no notice. He’d trot by without so much as picking his head up. Upon noticing that we were staring and gesturing directly at him, he promptly began ignoring us, no doubt assuming we were just drunk or imbeciles who didn’t know his name. Over time, the call must have started an incessant nagging in his mind, like a grain of sand in an oyster. You could see him mulling it over in left field. If you listened closely you could hear the argument he was having with himself: “They’re calling me Phil McCracken, aren’t they? No, they must mean something else. Or have me mistaken …” He visibly wrestled with the heckle. We grew louder. At one point he stole another glance over at us. My friend locked eyes with him, pointed straight at him, and yelled “You are Phil!” The chant came to an end when, after he made an error, the “Phil!” chant was especially loud. He actually took a menacing step toward us, and we bolted. It was just a step, mind you, but nevertheless we scattered. As much as two people can scatter, anyway. I just hope the Arizonians are on to this one.