Casey Blake is my favorite baseball player. This is not the most common thing in the world of modern baseball, but I can't help it. I really like the guy. There are several reasons, but one above all others makes him truly awesome. Please allow me to explain. I promise you, this is going somewhere interesting.
At this point Casey blake is really little more than your average 3rd baseman on a Dodger team that is having a year we all hope will soon be forgotten. At the all-star break they are one game away from being last place in their division, opposing teams fans are getting beaten into comas in their Dickensian parking lot and the owner is a walking metaphor for everything wrong with not just sports owners, but everything wrong with rich white people in this country. People leveraging money they don't have in insanely complex ways to pay for things they really want and can't afford, all on the backs of hispanics may be America's #1 problem. Still, give the Dodgers players credit for going out there every night in a work environment that must be as bad as it get's in the MLB. "Play in a woefully outdated stadium in an unaffordable city for a fanbase of gang members and petty thugs were I might not get paid at all? Where do I sign?". Still they're out there every night, trying their best and between doing "The wave" and finding a stunning amount of entertainment playing with beach balls, the crowd seems to occasionally appreciate it.
Casey Blake is the centerpiece of the teams workman-like attitude. Firstly, the guy is from Iowa. Iowa, for god's sake. Now that's baseball territory. Didn't "Field of Dreams" take place in Iowa? Well, if it didn't, it should have. Another thing, Casey Blake LOOKS like a baseball player. He really does. If you're casting a commercial and you need a guy to play a Major League Baseball player and some guy that looks like Casey Blake walks into the audition, it's over. Send everybody else home, even the one guy who actually wore a real baseball uniform into the casting office. I know that it's superficial of me to like a baseball player based on pure aesthetics, but its the reason most ladies at Dodger Stadium like Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp the best, so leave it alone. Plus, I think that it's more important in sports than it's given credit for. To this day, I still say that the reason future NBA bust Kwame Brown was taken #1 overall in the 2001 draft is because it was a weak draft and he really LOOKED like a great basketball player. Really, he had corn rows and everything. Casey Blake is also a good journeyman player. In his eleven years in the league, he's played on six teams, mostly with the Indians. However, he seems to have found a home with the Dodgers since they traded for him a few seasons ago when they needed a power hitter to help them in the playoffs (How long forgotten a memory does that time feel like now?). I like guys who are workman-like in a job that could easily attract attention. He's a quiet but wise veteran leader on a team that is going downhill at such a rate that I'm surprised that James Loney has never had to ask a fan to borrow his glove for a few innings. The real reason that I love Casey Blake, however, all goes back to a single incident a few years ago.
This is Brian Wilson:
He's the closing pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. He's a three time all star. He won a world series last year. He has tons of endorsement deals and commercials. His jersey sells very well, as do t-shirts with his face on them (Imagine going around with THAT face on your shirt). He's grows and dyes that stupid beard because it helps him cultivate his image, an image which he cares for the way Japanese monks care for their bonsai trees. What I'm saying, in so few words, is that Brian Wilson is the very model of the modern major sports douchebag. However, none of these are the very worst thing that Biran Wilson does. The very worst thing that Brian Wilson does is this:
Brian Wilson does this ridiculous looking thing every time he ends a game. I'm not kidding. I was curious as to why this happens, what occurs in someones life that makes them think that this is something that looks OK to do on a pitcher's mound. Research yielded that he does this "As a tribute to his late father and his Christian faith". What? Say that again? I'm pretty sure that he just said something to the effect of "As a loving tribute to my dad and my lord, I'm going to act the way an angsty teenager in 1988 would when Metallica hits the stage". There is no justification for doing something like this in public, but this answer makes it so much worse. In a sportfield (metaphorical) full of people capable of stupid things while on and of the sportfield (actual), this thing takes the cake. I'm no theologist, but why don't you just point upward or something. If your dad taught you this, then he was stupid, too. Why don't you rebel a little? It's not like he's around to know you're not doing that stupid thing in his name, right?
This is where Casey Blake gets involved.
In May of 2009 the Dodgers were playing the Giants at Dodger stadium. The game was in extra innings and Mr. Douche Beard Metal Hands was pitching. Casey Blake comes to the plate (Thought I was too classy for a "Casey at the Bat" reference, huh? Guess again) and hits a home run off of him, putting the Dodgers up by one run. When Blake gets back to the dugout, he looks out at Brian Wilson and does this:
As someone who appreciates the fine art of ball breaking as much as anyone, this is a masterpiece. The story goes that when Brian Wilson (who was apparently too busy picking "Big League Chew" out of his beard to notice) learned of this, he was so mad that he had to be physically restrained from giving Blake a piece of his beard, I mean, mind.
It does not matter that Wilson is an All-Star who closed last nights National League win. It does not matter that Wilson gets endorsement deals and championships. It doesn't even matter that an inning later the Giants would score two runs and win the game. At this moment, if only for this moment, Casey Blake won. He won in a way that no pitcher could ever take from him. Way to go, hero. Sometimes you have to fight stupid with stupid. Bravo!
One final thing: Maybe you are on the fence about Brian Wilson's level of doucheiness. "A big beard does not an asshole make", you might say. Well, today, he wore this to the ESPY Awards:
You were saying?....