My daughter left for her freshman year of college today.
We drove her to campus, helped set up her stuff, grabbed lunch. Then pretty much left.
And I was fine.
Really, I was fine.
But now, sitting here at 9:10 on a Saturday night, I’m broken.
Casey is our first born, so I’ve never experienced this before. But I feel drained and beaten and battered. I feel as if a phase of my life has come to an end, only I’m not ready. I want to wake up tomorrow and have Casey walk down the steps, plop in her chair and scan Instagram. I want her to tell me about her plans, then get annoyed when I ask again an hour later.
I was never one of those dads who needed a son. I had my daughter, and I was all in from Day 1. Casey painted my nails, and I painted hers. Casey pretended to be my elementary school teacher. Casey let me take her on her first roller coaster, then her second and third. I still remember Casey, as an infant, noticing the breeze against her cheeks, and lifting her chin toward the sky trying to catch it. School plays, school concerts, field trips, lemonade stands, trick o’ treating, fun days in New York City.
On and on.
It’s all flashing before me now, in this endless nostalgic loop. I thought I was prepared for this, but I was not. I miss my daughter, and hate—hate, hate, hate—that the years have flown by and left me here, feeling this way.
If I had the time, and the energy, and the non-financial needs, I’d love, love, love to write a 5,000-word piece on the political radicalization of Mark Mulder, former (enjoyable, agreeable, friendly) Oakland A’s pitcher-turned-hard-right zealot.
In case you don’t follow Mark on Twitter, well, I wouldn’t start now (unless you’re a fan of Biden Sucks memes and ultimately debunked political “facts”). But, either way, this is a topic worth exploring. Because it’s so much of America: 2021.
First, to be clear—I have no problem with people thinking Joe Biden is a shit president. I have no problem with people thinking he screwed the pooch on Afghanistan. I have no problem with people thinking Nancy Pelosi is a liberal hack. I have no problem with people who are pro-life (I get it), even with people who believe marriage is a sacred church-ordained institution that needs to be specifically man-woman (I obviously strongly disagree. But if one was raised in the church, and this is what he/she was taught …).
I understand all of this, because it’s what politics used to be. I feel this way, you feel that way. You believe in lower taxes, I believe in higher (for some). You want to negotiate with Russia, I think it’s a bad idea. We’d argue, disagree, deliberate, then sorta walk off and maybe have a drink. No biggie.
Now, however, it’s personal. It’s a Civil War without the muskets. It’s “THE GREATEST THREAT FACING AMERICA ISN’T RUSSIA OR NORTH KOREA—IT’S THE LIBERALS!!!!!!!“
Enter: Mark Mulder.
Mulder’s feed is … I don’t even know the word. But I’ll say it’s a weirdly paranoid view of the country, with Donald Trump and Co. as God-like creatures and anyone affiliated with Biden/Obama/Harris/Pelosi cast as demonic spawn. Take a look …
And what fascinates me—truly, truly fascinates me—is you’d think Mark Mulder might know better, based upon life experience.
Example: Mulder is decidedly anti-immigration. The kids in cages didn’t ruffle his feathers. People seeking asylum—no empathy. In Mulder World, it seems, the only people worthy of being brought into this nation from “shit-hole countries” are … guys like this. And this. And this. And this. And this. In other words, men who gift our cherished nation with the import societal contribution of being able to throw a baseball really, really hard. In that case, “Welcome to America! Grab a uni!” Because, lord knows, Mark Mulder never uttered a peep when the A’s/Cardinals found a way to important that 17-year-old Dominican second baseman who grew up living in a shack without energy or running water.
Example: Mark Mulder is v-e-r-y anti-vaccination. A. Because he has a deep background in infectious diseases that brought him to this point. is a fool. B. Because he seems to genuinely believe everything Alex Jones says. So, in Mulder Land, you can’t trust the vaccine because you don’t know what’s in it. Which makes me want to know every supplement, vitamin, pill Mark Mulder took throughout his career. List them. Tell me the ingredients. Protein shakes. Powders. You’re the expert, bruh. What were you ingesting? What were the long-term impacts?
I don’t think Mark Mulder is dumb. I really don’t. I recall him as well-spoken and thoughtful from the times I wrote about the A’s. But something has snapped—not just with him, but America. Political figures have turned into villains. Everything you think is right. Everything they think is wrong. Mulder Tweeted about the stolen election—but seemed to have no opinion on Trump also accusing Ted Cruz of stealing the 2016 Iowa caucus and accusing Hillary Clinton of rigging 2020. Because it doesn’t fit the narrative of Evil (them) v. Good (us). It wasn’t solid material.
Mark Mulder seems to have a nice life. Wife. Kids. Golfs a lot. He comes from the entitled perch of a man who fulfilled his dreams in a nation that allowed him such a pleasure.
But, as a consequence, he’s sheltered as fuck.
And excruciatingly simple.
PS: Here’s the tell-tale: Had Donald Trump taken the steps Biden took in Afghanistan, Mulder would have praised him. Decisive leadership! Finally got us out! Cleaned up the mistakes others wouldn’t! That’s a guarantee. (and, to be clear, I think Biden did a shit job—and I voted for him).
In case you missed the news, Greg Abbott, the Texas governor and all-around twat of a human slug whore, tested positive for Covid today …
… less than 24 hours after the above photograph was taken.
Yup, that’s Abbott, sans mask, waving to a bunch of Texas seniors—also sans masks. Cough cough, sneeze sneeze. A little spit discharge there. A little nasal flare here. The event was a fundraiser for the Republican Club at Heritage Ranch, and while it appears sorta ill-advised, at least Abbott was wise enough to keep his distance from …
I honest to God no longer know what to say. Seriously—watch the video. How many seniors are in that room? One hundred? Two hundred? None with masks, all in close quarters, all fully aware that there’s this thing (rhymes with “Patonakirus”) that’s turning the once-vibrant Lone Star State into a Covid conga line. And it’s all happening because Greg Abbott, garbage pail maggot, refuses to do anything. There’s no urgency. No sense of community. Hell, the guy’s top two priorities are: A. Running for president in 2024; B. Making sure as many school kids are exposed as possible.
I’m not rooting for Greg Abbott to die, or for any of those in the room to become ill.
In case you missed this, last night a school board meeting in Franklin, Tenn. went bonkers/crazy/off the rails when a bunch of anti-mask parents continued the right’s “I Am Legend”-esque zombie movement.
Here’s a clip …
And … yeah. i wish I had something profound to say—but I really don’t. Not all that long ago I believed people could be reasoned with; that two sides could sit down over tea and vanilla wafers and discuss their differences. Maybe not come to agreement, but at least see where one another derive perspectives. But, alas, just like the Will Smith film teaches us all, zombies cannot be placated. They charge and scream and live for the attack. And the people last night—yelling at health care workers who spoke in favor of masks for schools—are zombies. Lost. Gone. Forever.
It’s sad. Because the guy pictured above; the one who pointed at a car and yelled, “We know who you are! We will find you!” is probably a father, a husband, a normal dude generally going about his life.
But, then–the outbreak. Of MAGA! Of No Masks! Of Kill the Libs! And suddenly you’re this flesh-eating thing, threatening well-intended medical professionals trying to do the right thing.
Not now. Not after all these years. Not after you failed and failed and failed and failed. Not after you brushed the matter aside, stammered and stuttered, but never did a damn thing. Certainly never did the right thing.
J.R. Richard is, arguably, the greatest pitcher in your franchise’s history. The numbers speak for themselves: 107-71, 3.15 ERA, 1,493 strikeouts in 1606 innings pitched. He led baseball twice in strikeouts (with 303 in 1978 and 313 in 1979) and once in earned run average (with 2.71 in 1979). A 20-win season, followed by three-straight 18-win seasons. An All-Star Game start. Even a cameo appearance in a Bad News Bears flick. He was, along with Nolan Ryan and Goose Gossage, the most feared pitcher of his generation. A legitimate ace.
But after his career ended thanks to a debilitating stroke, you kicked him (and his legacy) to the curb. All of us in the baseball media heard the whispers—he was using drugs when he played; he sued us; he wasn’t appreciative, grateful, etc. All the old, familiar blatherings of a white, conservative business kicking a lowly ex-employee (a black one) to the curb. Meanwhile, your hall of retired numbers features such luminaries as Larry Dieker, Don Wilson and Mike Scott.
Then, J.R. Richard died. And you saluted him with press releases and the inevitable moment of silence. Perhaps you’ll add a No. 50 patch to your sleeves. Name a stadium BBQ stand J.R.’s Heat. Whatever.
Do not retire his No. 50.
To retire his number now would be to commit the same bullshit the Pro Football Hall of Fame did when it inducted former Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler after he died. You can play all the triumphant music you want; have legends from team lore speak in hushed tones of a great man; even drop a, “We just wish J.R. was with us …” line.
But, truth be told, he was with you. For more than 40 years since his last pitch.
I’m a few days behind on this one, but only because I needed to process the jarring audacity of Elise Stefanik, Republican congresswoman from New York/GOP conference chair, deciding the best play for her party would be to blame (wait for it) Nancy Pelosi for the Jan. 6 Capitol siege.
Here. Take a look …
I’ve been thinking about this one—a lot. In the aftermath of the attack, there were plenty of people to blame. Trump, obviously. But also Mo Brooks, and Jim Jordan, and the dude with the horns. You could blame society, you could blame violent television, you could blame Satan, Natalie Portman, the number 6, the Keebler Elf, former Twins outfielder Hosken Powell. Seriously, there was a limitless supply of folks for Stefanik to go after.
But … nope. The congressman went after a woman whose office was attacked; whose staffers were hiding beneath desks; who was the target of people cruising the hallways with nooses while asking, loudly, “Where’s Nancy? Wheeeere’s Nancy?”
This is who Elise Stafanik went after.
I seriously can’t even digest it. I know politics are rough and tumble and cruel. I know Nancy Pelosi equals big fundraising dough for the Republicans. But last I checked, not one Capitol infiltrator was spotted wearing a PELOSI IS THE BEST cap or carrying a NANCY PELOSI/JIM FREGOSI 2024 sign. Again, these people wanted her dead—and had they found her, I have little doubt we in the media would have been busy typing Nancy Pelosi obituaries and front-page news pieces with headlines akin to, NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE LEADER, MURDERED VIA HANGING.
Of this, I’m not joking.
Hell, it turns out even Stefanik’s bullshit reasoning is wrong. She says this is on Pelosi because the house leader was responsible for Capitol security. This, of course, is a lie—and has now been debunked about 765 times.
As we speak, Elise Stefanik is pregnant. One day, not all that long from now, her child will ask about the days before his/her birth; will ask what was going on in the world and why Mommy is in all those old photographs.
If you’ve read this blog of late, you know I’ve written a fair amount about Tanya Esposito•Tatiana Ibrahim •Tanya Brahimi•MC Mellie Slick, the Carmel, N.Y.-based mother who is my home region’s face and voice and mouth of Critical Race Theory resistance.
Now, she’s jumping into a slightly different arena—deciding which books are OK for children to read …
And, on the one hand, I admire Tanya Esposito•Tatiana Ibrahim •Tanya Brahimi•MC Mellie Slick’s devotion to the triple exclamation mark. It’s bold, it’s creative, it screams I’M YELLING!!! LISTEN TO ME!!! I’M A BOT!!! WHITE POWER!!! STILL YELLING!!! And yet, I’m also a bit bewildered. I mean, if you’re going to back someone’s judgement on, oh, literary endeavors, shouldn’t that person (at the bare minimum) know how to spell and punctuate? Shouldn’t you know the difference between “then” and “than”; between spaces and commas? Shouldn’t that person grasp the correct usage of the word “entices”?
Call me a skeptic, but I sorta kinda definitely doubt Tanya Esposito•Tatiana Ibrahim •Tanya Brahimi•MC Mellie Slick has ever read “The Hate U Give.” One, because it’s 444 pages, which is about 150 stacked issues of The National Enquirer. Two, because it’s not illustrated. And three, because it’s not anti-police. It’s actually one of the best books I’ve ever read, and an insanely important here’s-what-the-world-looks-like document for the geographically sheltered kids of Putnam County, N.Y.
And, really, that’s the greatest harm being committed by amateur dolts like Tanya Esposito•Tatiana Ibrahim •Tanya Brahimi•MC Mellie Slick. Because she’s a sheltered half-baked ham with on fleek eyebrows and an IQ of seven (OK, OK—five), she doesn’t realize that the kids growing up in towns like Carmel and Mahopac and Brewster need access to diversity; that it’s not enough to watch a Will Smith film and call it a day. You can be a #MAGA lemming like Tanya Esposito•Tatiana Ibrahim •Tanya Brahimi•MC Mellie Slick and still (I suppose) acknowledge that once your daughter graduates high school, she’ll encounter people from myriad countries, religions, races, creeds. And that—even if you disagree with them—it’s important to at least understand whereof they speak.
Not to get all Me-Me-Me, but one of the greatest things to happen to me as a kid was Jonathan Powell, my boyhood friend, introducing the music of Public Enemy. My first favorite song was a little Tanya Esposito•Tatiana Ibrahim •Tanya Brahimi•MC Mellie Slick ditty called, “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos,” about a prison riot involving black inmates and white guards and a racist governmental system. It’s powerful and intense and fucking jamming—and at no time during or after listening to it was I inspired to start a prison riot. See, that’s the bullshit about people like Tanya Esposito•Tatiana Ibrahim •Tanya Brahimi•MC Mellie Slick. They’re terrified of their kids—in “Truman Show” speak—seeing what awaits beyond the bubble. So they cocoon their sons and daughters by turning everything into an Us v. Them jamboree. They (in this case—educators, liberals, black people) want to change things. They want to infringe. They are trying to brainwash our precious little ones, and we won’t let them.
Only, exposure isn’t brainwashing. It’s exposure. You can read, say, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and not walk away yelling, “All whites are evil!” You can read “The Hate U Give” and think, “Wow, I never know this is how [fill in the black group] feels.” Fuck, you can read a book about the rise of the KKK and not wind up joining the KKK.
Ultimately, it’s all about exposure. Life is about exposure. Tasting different foods, hearing different voices, visiting different lands, listening to different viewpoints.
Unless you’re Tanya Esposito•Tatiana Ibrahim •Tanya Brahimi•MC Mellie Slick.
Whose life is merely about scaring the shit out of her followers!!!
PS: Sister Genius posted this on her Facebook page. It’s always 1956 in Tanya Esposito•Tatiana Ibrahim •Tanya Brahimi•MC Mellie Slick World …
This morning I saw your courageous Tweet about NFL teams requiring COVID bracelets to identify those who have been vaccinated and those who have not. Here it is …
Again, thank you.
What this world needs, now more than ever, is yet another white guy/arch-conservative/self-identified “Christian,” explaining to us how some element of COVID vaccinations relate to the Civil Rights movement. This comes right on the heels of your brethren in Critical Race Theory angst explaining that the lessons of Martin Luther King are being slashed from the classroom.
Anthony, what you’re doing is courageous. It takes a special man to stare down a global pandemic—one that has killed roughly 660,000 Americans with a new variant that spreads like chickenpox—and say, “Fuck no!” And it takes an even specialer (I invented a word just for you) man to then compare that stand the “the evils of segregation.” I’m not actually sure what that means, but I’m guessing you heard Alex Jones rambling on about the Montgomery Bus Boycotts being organized by space aliensand thought, “Wow. That sounds smart.”
Keep up your stand, Anthony. Join together with your fellow un-vaccinated teammates and visit Mississippi ASAP. Take your message to the people! Shake hands! Hug! Lick telephone poles and kiss these folks.
We need bravery in these tough times. We need people who will defend and stand up for the sanctity of America, the flag and all it stands for.
To say I love this e-mail is to delve into the greatest of understatement. It features all the hallmarks of excellence. In no particular order …
• Irrational and inexplicable capitalization.
• “Friends” “in” “quotes.” Are they not my friends? Or “friends”?
• A whole lot of anger.
• Best of all—irony. I’m the pussy? R-e-a-l-l-y? I’m the pussy? My name was attached to the words I wrote. There are no less than, oh, seven identifiable ways to contact me. You know my name. You can get my bio on Wikipedia. My Facebook page is there. My Twitter page is there. But … I’m the pussy? Me? Jeff Pearlman? Not anonymous firstname.lastname@example.org loser?
What’s wrong, buddy? You too scared to put your name behind your words? Your feelings a little hurt? You afraid an unarmed 49-year-old writer is gonna beat you up?
So earlier today the Chicago Cubs sent pitcher Ryan Tepera across town to the White Sox, in exchange for a lefthander named Bailey Horn.
I have never heard of Tepera. I have never heard of Horn. But I’m 100 percent all in on this deal.
In short, as a native New Yorker, I’ve always looooooooooved crosstown trades. The first time I experienced one was in the lord’s year of 1987, when the Mets sent shortstop Rafael Santana (one of my all-time favorite players) to the Yankees for a trio of minor leaguers—Darren Reed, Phil Lombardi and Steve Frey. On the surface, it wasn’t much of a swap. Santana was the weak link of the 1986 Mets—a solid-field, weak-armed, .218-hitting shortstop who (as reported in my book, “The Bad Guys Won!”) once got so wasted he took a piss on a bus seat. Reed, Lombardi and Frey, meanwhile, were fringe dudes. Reed played 26 games with the 1990 Mets, Lombardi 18 games with the 1989 Mets and Frey, well, Frey actually had a lengthy and productive career.
I think what I’ve always enjoyed about the same-city swap are the attached mental images: Finding out about the deal, suffering through a moment of sadness, then realizing, “Wait, I don’t have to move.” Entering the clubhouse for the first time and having someone say, “Uh-oh–the enemy has arrived.” Comparing notes between Yankees and Mets, White Sox and Cubs, Angels and Dodgers (though, really, the Angels are not in LA—so this one barely counts).
So the Jets got the picks, the Giants got Williams …
And, well, Williams is fantastic. He signed a new contract, he recorded 11 1/2 sacks last season. He’s pretty damn phenomenal. All it took was a change of scenery. Or, truth be told, a change of locker-rooms and uniform colors.
So, mazel tov to Ryan Tepera, mazel tov to Bailey Horn.