I don’t think Albert Belle will be attending any social functions with Omar Vizquel any time soon. No baby showers for little Joey to tear into one of his patented temper tantrums.
Put a bib on him, Omar. OK, not that tight. OK, that’s going a little far.
“The problem, of course, was that all of Albert’s bats were corked.”
That is what brilliant Gold Glove shortstop Vizquel slipped in the 10th chapter of his new autobiography, “Omar! My Life On and Off the Field.”
Oh my, Omar. Soon, you might not have much of a life off the field if the former Indian, White Sox and Oriole slugger finds a more practical use for his favorite corked bat, Louisville “Joey” Slugger 007.
This is a heavy duty – Armor All sprayed-thick-until-your-gums-bleed heavy. Heavy as in play-it-hard-till-your-spleen-bursts heavy. Heavy like Duracells from the Reagan era still running your walkman. Heavy like a Freebirds burrito sloshing in your gut after a 2 a.m. grub run where you survived two keg stands, 12 Slippery Nipple and some twenty-odd cups of Natty Ice.
Do you want a side of guac with that?
Vizquel is accusing Belle of betraying one of the most important codes of ethics in baseball. Batters are supposed to rise above dainty pitchers who dally onto the diamond once every four or five days.
Hitting is still an art form that literature envies. We have “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest L. Thayer or Bernard Malamud’s “The Natural” gracing our bookshelves. Heard any piece of fiction extolling the pitcher lately?
Pitching is besieged by snot-nosed hurlers who have more emotional psyches than a ‘Nam vet who’s been in Colonel Kurtz’s pitching camp one summer too many. Most pitchers probably use their own snot to put some mustard on that dying curveball. Pitchers make excuses: sluggers put up or shut up.
Joey Belle is the exception. Baseball’s quintessential jerk, Joey deserves no respect from Vizquel or anyone else. He betrayed teammates, fans and management alike with his boorishness. Belle’s a disgrace to the game.
You can smile as Vizquel did and say, “I don’t care what Albert thinks.”
I don’t think any baseball fan does.