Just a place for random rantings and ravings.....

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Viva "El Picante"

I know most of you don't care about baseball, and honestly, except for SportsCenter highlights and the playoffs, I don't either. Too many games, not enough excitement. Though I'm complacent about the sport, I can't help but wondering if the baseball powers-that-be are subversively weighing in on the immigration debate. Now I don't have a problem with individual players having political opinions and expressing them- (e.g. Mike Lowell just said he hopes Fidel Castro dies, ouch)- but the organization that is baseball should keep it's opinions on, well, baseball. If you've ever been to any professional sporting event, you've seen various mascots carousing the stadium entertaining the crowds and making the game that much more interesting. In Milwaukee, they have the famed "sausage races" during breaks in the action where four different types of sausage mascots race around the field to the cheers of baseball fans- the American hot dog, Polish sausage, Italian sausage, and the bratwurst. Funnily enough, each sausage stereotypically resembles the culture they come from (i.e. the Italian sausage has a tall chef's hat, looking like your local Italian pizza cook, the bratwurst wears leiderhosen). I know, I know- Who gives a shit! What's your point?- just hear me out.

El Picante

Last week to much fanfare, the Milwaukee Brewers introduced the newest entrant to the race, El Picante- a chorizo. For all of you French, Swahili and Japanese students, chorizo is the Spanish word for sausage and as you can see, he wears a sombrero and gotee to "identify" himself as Mexican. What would a Black sausage be? A hot link with an afro? Give me a break- who comes up with this shit? Anyway, El Picante got deported today. Er, let me rephrase. Big Brother (Major League Baseball) allegedly told Little Brother (the Milwaukee Brewers) that the chorizo would no longer be allowed to run in the races during Major League games because the chorizo was not "registered by the proper channels". Hmmmm. That sounds like an encoded phrase for "the little Mexican sausage doesn't have the proper papers to stay here so he must go!" I can only imagine that the Minute Men and the KKK are swigging moonshine and dancing circles around the fire (yeah THAT fire) in celebration of the latest high profile deportee from the country. Honestly, it sounds like the makings of someone's cruel and sick joke concocted over brandy snifters in the Brewer's executive suites:

Bob- (Brewer's exec): "Hey Jim, we want to introduce a Mexican sausage to the race. Give it a little diversity. It'll boost ticket sales."

Jim- (MLB rep): "I've gotta better idea Bob. How about you introduce a Mexican sausage to the race, let him race for a while, generate some profit and then tell him he can't stay because he doesn't have his greencard. Ha ha ha!"

Bob: "Ha ha ha, swell idea, but we can't use the word 'greencard' can we?"

Jim: "No, we'll use 'papers' instead. Ha ha ha!"

Bob: "Ha ha ha! You slay me, jolly good!"

Or maybe it's something else......Remember now, the U.S. p-p-p-president (that's a hard word to get out these days) was SO concerned about the baseball that he had to start talking shit about steroids in his State of the Union Address a couple years ago. Maybe Bud Selig, the commissioner wanted to overshadow Bush and send him one big fuck you showing that he knows how to (symbolically) extricate illegals better than the pres and his excuse-ridden administration. If baseball really wants to make a statement, how about bustin' up in the locker rooms like Crockett and Tubbs and doing random drug tests for steroids and everything else- but that would be too much like right. El Picante's plight, my friends is a microchosm of good old fashioned American judicial futility- putting all the focus on the little insignificant things to take our minds off the real problems of the day. Viva El Picante!!!!!

RIP Carl Brashear

Today, I read that Carl Brashear had died. Who? you ask. Bear with me a second and learn who....If you think about it, celebrity deaths in the news have never been anything new- and in some cases they're expoited- but for some reason, I always seem to hear about those certain individuals who were important to me and/or inspired me in some way right after they have passed. I can't remember the last time I said "OH WOW! I didn't know they died!" after seeing one of those December "roll calls" where they list all the celebrity deaths of the year. Among others, Howard Rollins, Jacques Yves-Cousteau, Richard Pryor, Peter Tosh, Jim Henson, Sammy Davis Jr., Florence Griffith Joyner, Miles Davis, Ibrahim Ferrer, and Compay Segundo are all people whose names just happened to flash across the screen when I had a moment of inadvertent attention to the tv or flipping through the meandering pages of local newspapers. Carl Brashear was no celebrity in the way most people view the word, however he WAS an important figure in history so much more than Brangelina, Bennifer or their damn offspring. His story is one of those stories in the Civil Rights era that wasn't nearly as celebrated as the marches, protests and sit-ins but equally as important.

To make a long story short, Carl Brashear fought against many hurdles of racism and injustice in the South and the military to make a name for himself at the top of the list in the American Armed Services. In 1970, Brashear became the first Black Master Diver in the Navy. Until 1954, the Navy had NO Black divers and Brashear and two others became the first. Now, that may not sound all that extraordinary considering all the social changes occuring during that time in American history, but this cat earned the rank of Master Diver- the highest diving rank in the Navy - while missing the bottom half of his left leg. In 1966, he became an amputee when a cable on the U.S.S. Hoist snapped and a loose pipe crushed his leg. After two years of rehabilitation, he became the first ever amputee to become a certified diver, and two years after that, he earned his place among the best the Navy has ever had to offer. He continued to dive for the Navy for TEN MORE YEARS and eventually retired from the military in 1993. Now you know who Carl Brashear is and the next time you want to fret about something you think you can't do, think about his story....

My man, you have given this blogger a depth of inspiration that is immeasureable. Rest in Peace Master Chief Petty Officer Brashear. I salute you.