August 13, 2010
Trending Topics is a new column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?
Shouldn't baseball players be embarrassed at this point?
I mean, sure their sport is silly and all that, but I'm talking about this whole big to-do over the Cardinals-Reds bench-clearer the other day. Controversy! And from the memories welled up by this incident came talks of brawls past, and the lore that has swelled up around them.
For example, Deadspin leaned back in its chair and reminisced fondly about this good-ol-days dustup between the Braves and Padres, which featured Joe Torre jogging lazily toward the opposition. And the site deemed it "The Greatest Basebrawl of All Time." Without a hint of irony. Go watch that video and tell me you're not mortified that grown men -- grown men paid millions to be professionally athletic, in fact -- actually "attempt" to "fight" each other in this manner.
Maybe it's just that I'm a hockey fan or attended an elementary school, but when I hear the word "fight," among the many things I do not envision are: a) accusatory finger-pointing, b) grabbing opponents around the waist from behind, c) rolling on the ground in apparent anger, and d) milling about while people near you do all those things.
And yet baseball "fights" seem to contain these things exclusively. That video of the best fight in baseball history featured, by my count, three punches thrown. And only one connected when Kurt Bevacqua (No. 7) accidentally punches one of his team's coaches in the back as he trips over two players lying on the ground.
But the donnybrook earlier this week prompted Blues tough guy Cam Janssen(notes), veteran of something like 70 NHL fights, to comment that he would soon be signing for the Cardinals to sort out those Cincinnati punks.
It's a good thing for baseball players the league over that Janssen was "jk," because otherwise he would literally kill some shortstop from the NL West without even meaning to.
This prompted St. Louis Post-Dispatch beat writer Jeremy Rutherford to ask Janssen about baseball fights in deeper detail, and he noted that many baseball players are not unlike Steve Ott(notes) (though, obviously, he didn't use those exact words). Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto kicked Jason LaRue with his spikes and gave him a concussion, which is no joke.
Now, I understand that baseball players are probably some tough customers who can really knock the hell out of someone that badmouths them in a local watering hole, but all this shoving really makes them look like punks. There have been more unruly shoving matches at Justin Bieber shows.
Maybe hockey players are just tougher dudes, or maybe baseball is a more gentlemanly game; but if the biggest piece of sports news this week was 30 grown men standing in a big cluster against a fence while some middle relievers trot halfheartedly in from the bullpen then that, frankly, is a bit of a joke.
These fights don't need guys like Cam Janssen in the middle of them, raining wholesale carnage down on any 35-year-old utility infielder foolish enough to wander within an arm's length of him. Hell, we saw literally an infinite amount more punches thrown by Alex Semin in his fight than 25 roster players from each team and a whole slew of coaches threw earlier this week.
And it's important to note that this whole thing never would have happened in the NHL. It was touched off when Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips referred to the Cardinals as "little bitches."
We all know that kind of talk gets you suspended for six games and traded to the New York Rangers.
When rumors get started by idiots, idiots listen
Thursday there was a big fuss about a trade rumor. Kevin Bieksa(notes) to Washington for Jason Chimera(notes) and a pick! That was the rumored trade that Eric Belanger(notes) needed to get a roster spot cleared so he could join the Caps for another rodeo, yessir.
Except it turned out to not be true. Obviously. That much was evidenced by the rumor coming from Twitter but no one was really sure where it came from. And the fact that the pick quickly turned into of the first-round variety purple monkey dishwasher.
For those unfamiliar with hashtag memes, occasionally someone -- in this case some clown named Wyshynski -- will come up with a fun little idea for people to make up hockey-related puns and while away a few hours.
In this case, Gregory, being a new father, was likely looking for an age-appropriate hockey blog for Baby Wysh to look at (he kicked it off with "Pension Plan Puppies"). Many people were more than happy to help.
MolotovMaz: "Second Sandbox Hockey."
cellblock303: "St. Louis Blues Clues."
Tapeleg: "Johnny Has Two Puck Daddys."
BlackAcesBlog: "The Grinch Who Stole Kovy."
And your completely unsurprising winner:
If you've got something for Trending Topics, holla at Lambert on Twitter or via email. He'll even credit you so you get a thousand followers in one day and you'll become the most popular person on the Internet! You can also visit his blog if you're so inclined.