Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm Da Butcha, and I'm a Baseba-holic

You might be asking yourself, "Why the fuck do I care what a dude who doesn't drink has to say on a blog titled "Drunk Phils Fans?" And, you may answer yourself, "Absofuckinglutely nothing." First, stop talking to yourself, you goddamn lush. Second, give me a shot (not Vodka, you douche bag) and let's see if I can keep you mildly entertained; at least long enough to let your dry heaves subside and you finish your ginger ale.

Baseball is an addiction for many the American man. We grew up playing, watching, sleeping, breathing, shitting, pissing, and any other verb-ing the national pastime. You could say it was our first exposure to the world of obsessive, compulsive behavior. I, of course, am no exception. Long before I hid booze by my bedside, I went to sleep with my glove under my pillow, two baseballs inside, rubber bands wrapped tightly, forming the perfect pocket. I would play alone if the situation called for it, seeing no shame in it. And let's not forget the fantasies. Oh, the fantasies. When baseball was on my mind, everything else faded into oblivion and I became someone completely different: I could run, throw, hit, field, and pitch. I knew more about the game than anyone alive. And I was the youngest person to ever play in the major leagues, all with one hand, long before Jim Abbott.

Then there were the baseball cards. For years, we flipped Topps, Donruss and Score cards, perhaps a precursor to heavy drinking games like Asshole, Zuma-Zuma, Circle of Death, and Mexican, among many, many others. The stakes were high, and losing left you feeling nauseous and full of remorse. "How the fuck am I going to recover from this?" I remember losing my coveted '86 Topps Wade Boggs thinking it was the end of the world. My friends teased me, since it was Boggs 3rd or 4th year in the league and worth a grand total of $3.50. They may as well have been standing over me as I puked out my entire dinner after being Asshole for three or four straight hands. This, of course, would come a few years later... So we cruised along, flipping, trading, studying baseball cards.

Topps were the best because they contained the players entire career statistics, whereas the other companies only displayed a few years. I actually wrote a paper in Honors English (Dr. Mecherly, anyone?) comparing Steve Carlton and Nolan Ryan using nothing but the latest Topps cards for each pitcher as my sources. I think I got a 90 or better on it! See, my addiction to the game was causing me to lie and cheat, just as would booze soon thereafter. Then, in the summer of 1989, a new company changed the face of collecting. The first time I laid eyes on the 1989 Upper Deck Card #1, Ken Griffey, Jr., I knew my life was about to change. It was just like the first time I saw a 40 of St. Ides. And I had to have both, simply because they were cool. I spent every penny on baseball cards, completely disregarding food, clothing, and shelter. My hierarchy of needs consisted of Rated Rookies and Topps Traded sets. I was a whino, and my beverage of choice was the baseball card.

As was the case for the majority of men, my once-promising (ha!) baseball career ended entirely too prematurely, thus thrusting my drinking career into full-swing, with many bad loads under my belt involving the Game: the one and only Phillies Spring Training game I saw, despite living in Florida for 16 years; sitting alone, bombed, in my room, shouting, "FUUUUUUUCCCCKKK!!!!" as Lenny Dykstra struck out in a key at-bat in the fateful Game 6 against the Blue Jays in '93; yelling, "you think you're better than me?" to that douchebag Barry Bonds during Kevin Millwood's Veterans Stadium no-hitter... The list goes on and on. I was an all-star boozer, and I co-mingled my first two loves with tremendous gusto.

But, like every boy who has to eventually come to grips with the fact that baseball just wasn't going to be his meal-ticket, I too accepted the fact that drinking simply didn't work for me. Despite my clear skill in the field, my tremendous ability to hop bars like superstitious pitchers hop foul lines, I gave up the dream and put down the sauce. I handed it over to the bullpen, and, after a quick shower, I will watch the rest of the game from the dugout. My fellow Drunk Phils Fans have more than enough to carry the load. Consider me the designated driver.

Besides, someone has to be able to tell everyone what really happened.


  1. Did you have any particular players you liked to collect? For some odd reason I collected Gary Sheffield cards.

  2. I collect Topps sets still to this day. I have every complete set from 1981 until the present. I used to go and buy/trade cards at this place called The Baseball Man on Rising Sun and Cottman Avenues in NE Philly. I picked up a 1961 Roger Maris Card there for 6.50 (alot for a 10 year old kid) and used to just love to go there for hours and talk baseball with whoever would listen. He also had a store in the Pennsauken Mart at one time. I probably have more Nolan Ryan cards than any other player.His 1968 rookie card is one of my favorites. It is him and Jerry Koosman. The thing that makes me sick to my stomach is that he was a Met on the card. There was also this special Ryan's Express Card set I put in those plastic protectors that I then put on my wall when I was a kid.