Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Brother From Another Planet

He is a behemoth among men, a country power incarnate, and thirty years ago, if Ryan Howard had already hit 53 homers with 24 games to go in the season – before cable television was as common to households as toasters, ten years before personal computers were brought to market and twenty years before the masses had heard anything about the internet – baseball fans would be listening to most games on the radio and running down to the end of their driveways the next morning for the newspaper to relish the stat in the boxscore that said: HR-Howard(53) rather than read sports writers question whether his historic season was the product of chemical enhancements to his physique.

Instead, thanks to the three guys who shot juice, puffed up like parade floats and proceeded to surpass the Holy Number of 61 homers in a single season, Howard is quickly becoming an innocent victim of their chicanery and the self-styled cynics who make a living spinning shit like this:

“There is no reason, no whisper, no allegation that suggests Howard is cheating. In fact, there is plenty of talk that he is clean. But how can you blindly trust anyone anymore?”

This is what Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports, wrote as what the newsbiz calls his “nut graf” – the distilled message of a story. (Note: Editorial shorthand always struck me as a pretty queer flourish – why not just spell “graph” correctly?). His “nut” shortly followed his “lede” – the first sentence – a fairly direct question:

“Is Ryan Howard juiced?”

Jesus on a popsickle stick, Wetzel, are you married? Do you blindly trust the bitch? Is she juiced?

It seems perfectly ironic that Howard plays in Philly. The mass consciousness here has always tended to believe the rest of the world has been out to get us – they are, I tellya! - and now, the world wants to taint our innocent Howitzer, who points to his chubby gut and big butt as evidence his power was a product of Mom’s home cooking and exercise rather than the lazy, ego-crazed, sinister shortcut of steroids.

You know, playing it “straight” like this chump Wetzel makes me fucking puke. Really, the whole journalism business makes me upchuck with its pretensions to authoritative wisdom. Believe me, his editors are happy he threw this slop on the table for publication. Gets people talking. Stirs the pot. Let the chips fall where they may. Then the booming voiceover: WE LET YOU DECIDE.

I’ll give the news business this: They know a lot of people are suckers. They will believe anything because they know next to nothing. They can name the Three Stooges but not three Supreme Court Justices. As Wetzel writes, how can you blindly trust anyone anymore? Well, dear reader, you can trust me. We suffer the Phillies together, holding hands in misery. So gather ‘round, and I’ll tell you a bedtime story.

It happened one horribly hot and humid summer’s eve during the small hours. As was his custom, young Ryan Howard was sleeping blissfully under the St. Louis stars in a pup tent, his dreams weaving pleasantly through his superego, unconsciously preparing his instincts for his big future in Philadelphia.

At least he thought they were dreams. But they weren’t. He was receiving an implant below his earlobe from the Zeta Reticuli, visitors from another planet who have been trying to manipulate the Phillies’ destiny for 123 years.

The Reticuli were assigned the Phillies as hosts for their experiments. Other alien races, such as the Reptilians and the Grays, were designated to manipulate the destiny of other teams; the Reptilians have met with great success implanting various Yankees, while the Grays have done well with the Cardinals.

As a Phillies fan might guess, the Zeta Reticuli have had a bad track record in its selections -- up until they picked Howard.

In 1918, they surgically implanted a gelatinous device in the pubescent Chuck Klein’s testicle. Ten years later, he was in the big leagues and scorching baseballs over the tin right field fence at the Baker Bowl. But something went terribly wrong with the implant six seasons into Klein’s career. It came oozing out during an all-night whore session after he was traded to Chicago in 1934. Talk about busting a nut. Klein was shipped back to the Phils and never was the same hitter; the aliens assumed he would never be traded, but when the Phils dealt him, he met up with the fateful hooker.

At least Klein got some great seasons in before that disaster and was elected to the Hall of Fame. But other hosts they have manipulated didn’t pan out as well, to say the least.

There was Mike Anderson. Remember him? He was supposed to be the second coming of Klein. But his implant was crushed in the minors after teammate Greg Luzinski (not implanted) rolled over him while both slept on the team bus as it headed back to Eugene, Oregon. The Reticuli also had inserted a modified version of the implant into John Vukovich’s lower back; that was a disaster. His Serbian genetic structure rejected the node after incubating for ten years. Not only did “Vuke” have a worse career batting average than Mario Mendoza, he became so well-liked by the team’s Les Invisibles owners (whose genes have been mutated by The Reptilians) he’s still hanging around the front office fucking things up. It was Vukovich, working with the Reptilians, who orchestrated the Bobby Abreu trade to their Yankee abductees.

So the Zeta Reticuli are involved in a tricky business. They got involved with Philadelphia, after all. And after communicating telekinetically with my hosts, I have on authority they are not the least bit pleased with this steroid talk about their masterpiece, Ryan Howard.

Sleep well and fear to dream, Dan Wetzel.


Anonymous ChuckM said...

Looks like Wetzel must have been reamed as his current article is now touting Howard as legit HR champion if he reaches 62 and he even went and got a hold of the Maris family. What bugged me about his original commentary was the laziness and predictability of another "Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire have tainted all future sluggers" essay. Its like going to a club to see a band and hearing the inevitable "FREE BIRD!!!" from some dumbshit.

6/9/06 12:46 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Ryan Howard is like no other. He's wonderful to watch & I believe all of his numbers and power are legit.

6/9/06 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

I'll always hold the single-season homerun record as the property of Barry Bonds until someone hits 74.

Even if Howard gets to 62, I'll still have him in seventh place behind Bonds, McGwire (twice), and Sosa (thrice).

These writers are only speculating because it sells. It brings readers to their website, and it sells newspapers and magazines. Do you think that for a minute any of these steroids-speculating writers really believe that Howard is juicing? Absolutely not.

6/9/06 3:07 PM  
Blogger Tacony Lou said...


Bonds, McGwire and Sosa are as innocent as O.J. Simpson. All four of them wander the earth free, but that doesn't mean they didn't do it.

As far as I'm concerned, once Howard passes Maris, there will be a new single-season homerun champ, and his testicles will not be shrunken for his natural effort.

6/9/06 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Lou, you probably didn't know that I'm a proponent of steroids unless you caught me in my limited action on the Philliesphans forum.

The record is Bonds' until someone hits 74 or until his record is expunged from the books, and that will require some work. I doubt he'll ever get punished for using steroids because you can't prove it in a court of law. And we all know the court of public opinion holds no water. Selig can't just revoke his accomplishments because John Q. Public doesn't like his attitude.

Personally, I think Bonds took steroids and I couldn't care less. Athletes should be allowed to abuse their bodies with steroids the same way they're allowed to abuse them with legal prescription drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, skydiving, motorcycle riding, et. al.

And steroids are no more performance enhancing than Adam LaRoche's Ritalin, or Julio Franco's egg whites-only breakfast.

Some day in the very near future, there will be a steroid very similar to the steroids of today, only they don't harm the health of the athletes, and sports will have no choice but to legalize them.

6/9/06 5:56 PM  
Blogger Tacony Lou said...


As the politician once said, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they're not entitled to their own facts.

To say Franco's egg white diet is equivalent to shooting 'roids is just factually wrong from many angles, not the least is the undeniable fact that steroid use can lead to deformity and early death (Lyle Alzado and a few pro wrestlers come to mind) while egg whites might lead, at worst, to a bad case of gas.

6/9/06 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Yeah, steroids are damaging to your health, but so are cigarettes, alcohol, unprotected sex (I'm looking at Baby Girl Burrell), sky diving, motorcycle riding, etc.

Steroids also enhance the performance of an athlete, but so does Ritalin to Adam LaRoche, and so do egg whites, weight lifting, etc. =)

7/9/06 12:04 AM  

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