Results tagged ‘ Mitch Williams ’

Chicago, Chicago

Was it Mitch Williams on MLB Network who last night suggested that if Jerry Reinsdorf and Kenny Williams were smart they’d choose as Ozzie Guillen’s successor, former Cubs’ great (and jilted would-be Wrigley skipper) Ryne Sandberg?

It would be a brilliant stroke in terms of stealing some of the Cubby fan base, but it comes up against two realities. The Cubs themselves will probably be looking at Ryno again (and everybody else) this winter after the unhappy realization that Mike Quade is a great guy and a great baseball man but not a long-term Cub manager. Meanwhile, Sandberg – judging by his prominent in-dugout role in Spring Training and September – would appear to be Charlie Manuel’s heir apparent in Philly if he wants to wait that long.

He might. The Cubs have to be looking closely at the FenwayPocalypse – the tendency to panic in Boston is decades old and burns below the surface of recent success. It is just the kind of place to run either Tito Francona and/or Theo Epstein out of town and either or both to say ok. As the great Boston sportscaster Clark Booth told me 25 years ago, you have to remember that the fan mindset is simply this: if the Sox win today, it’s only because losing tomorrow will hurt MORE.

Lastly I’m not so confident about Ozzie Guillen in Miami. He is the perfect Marlins manager – for the fans. For an owner who found Joe Girardi too filter-free? Every night could be fireworks night in the new ballpark.

The Odd Inspiration Of Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen is doing an impersonation of Brian Wilson.

Not
the Beach Boy, the San Francisco Giants’ relief pitcher. The one with
the beard dyed so absurdly dark that light will not escape it. The one
who hit the late night circuit over the off-season dressed up as a kind
of SoCal/Rex Harrison version of “The Ghost” from “The Ghost and Mrs.
Muir.”

At the start, I want to promise I am rarely going to devote
space here to Charlie Sheen. On the other hand, I’m
technically on vacation and this rather important sidelight to an
enduring, and enduringly strange, story, has not gotten much attention.

This “Tiger’s Blood” stuff Sheen keeps spouting? That’s a line of Wilson’s.The original “Duh! Winning!” That’s some more of Wilson’s act/personality/delusion/repertoire.

The
Wilson-Sheen connection has gotten some national attention but not
nearly enough. Wilson visiting Sheen at his home last month received the
usual tut-tutting and ‘it’s not a problem – right at the moment’ from the  Wilson and his team have insisted there was no wine, no women, only baseball (no Tiger’s Blood) - and fictional baseball at that:

“They
could’ve asked any other closer, but Rick Vaughn asked for me,” Wilson
said. “When Rick Vaughn picks up the bullpen phone, you answer.”

That’s
the deal here, of course. All Charlie Sheen ever wanted to do was be a
major league baseball player. He has portrayed at least two of them on
film: ‘Rick Vaughn’ from “Major League,” and one of the ill-fated
corrupted players of the 1919 World Series, Happy Felsch, from John
Sayles’ “Eight Men Out.” Vaughn was the fast-throwing, fast-living
relief pitcher who entered each game to the sound of The Trogs’ ’60s hit
“Wild Thing.” 

This unleashed the proverbial life imitating art
stuff. Soon, actual relief pitchers began to be accompanied by their own
songs. Mitch Williams of the Cubs and later Phillies became known as
“Wild Thing.” Brian Wilson’s entire ‘weird reliever’ persona owes in
some part to Sheen’s portrayal. Now, in life imitating imitated art,
Sheen is issuing online videos faster than Mubarak or Khaddafi, and
trying to act like Wilson:

One of the people he said he wished he could be for ten minutes was Giants pitcher Brian Wilson.

Sheen went on to mumble something about Wilson delivering “fury,
vengeance, hatred and absolute world domination,” then bowed his head
in silence for the man, for some reason.

At one
point in his life, in what in retrospect seems like an almost tender
time, Sheen got as close as he could to baseball by trying to buy up all
the great memorabilia. In 1992 he outbid several collectors (myself
included) for the baseball that went through Bill Buckner’s legs and
decided the 6th Game of the 1986 World Series. Less publicly, he amassed
an extraordinary card collection and had most of it housed in
individual plastic holders made in the form of richly-bound books. Then
there was a divorce or something and he wound up selling nearly all of
it (the “Buckner Ball” included) at a loss.

I’d like to thank him belatedly for the T206 Collins Proof card, by the way.

But
back to the point. There is something bizarrely baseball-related to
this Ultra Mid-Life Crisis through which Charlie Sheen, or Charlie Sheen
as Rick Vaughn, or Charlie Sheen as Brian Wilson, is passing.

I’m
not blaming Wilson or anything. I just think we need to remember that
when you grow a beard that looks like it was a prop discarded by Monty
Python’s Flying Circus, you never know what the consequences might be.
The Giants’ reliever might just want to warn people – especially Sheen -
not to try drinking Tiger’s Blood at home.

A version of this has been cross-posted at my news website, FOKNewsChannel.Com

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