So I was forced to miss the first half of the Yankees-Red Sox Game yesterday because I was busy watching Sam Shepard’s new play “Kicking a Dead Horse,” which might have been more appropriately titled, “Ninety minutes of My Life I’ll Never Get Back,” “I wonder if I can Check the Score For the Game on my Blackberry Without Anybody Noticing” or “End. Please. Just End.” In the spirit of full disclosure, before I proceed with my review, I feel it’s only fair that I tell you that I was sleeping for a good chunk of the performance. I would gladly have slept for more but for the fact that my slumber was continuously interrupted at random intervals by the sound of the play’s disgruntled protagonist kicking the horse to which the title refers. I don’t know what it sounds like to kick a horse because it somehow just never felt right to try, but I suspect that real horses—alive or dead—do not produce the annoying, disruptive-to-sleep, clanging, metallic sound that this fake one did when kicked repeatedly and for no reason by the play’s main character—it’s only character.
I was awake for enough of the play to have gathered that the hero had set out on what was supposed to be a life-altering journey until his plans were thwarted early on by the unexpected death of his horse. Having dug a hole in which to bury the horse, he spent the duration of the play trying unsuccessfully to get the horse into the hole, kicking the poor thing out of frustration and talking endlessly about boring stuff like his new cowboy hat and what a good person he was and the need for “authenticity.” Shepard, to his credit, must have realized at a certain point how dull his play had become and decided that, in order to make it more interesting, he would engage his character in a dialogue with an alter ego of sorts. Unfortunately, just because you have a guy onstage talking to himself in two slightly different voices, one voice being kind of annoying and one being really annoying, it doesn’t mean that you can trick the audience into thinking that something is actually happening. If you wanted to have people onstage talking to each other, Sam, you should have written a play with more people in it. True, it would have to have been a different play entirely, but maybe that play would have actually been a good play.
If you’re reading this and thinking that the reason I didn’t like the play was because I didn’t get it, don’t underestimate me. I enjoy existentialism as much as the next person. (In my vision, the next person is a fan of existentialism.) I just happen to be able to discern between the clever and the pretentious. I won’t be tricked into feeling dumb because someone told me that this play was supposed to remind me of Beckett. The reason I like Beckett is because he delivers his points through the use of witty banter and repartee rather than instilling in the audience the sense of interminable hopelessness to which his plays allude. Call me crazy, but my feeling is that just because a play is about the sometimes futile nature of existence doesn’t mean that one should experience a sense of futility while watching it.
Speaking of plays about guys throwing temper tantrums, is it just me or did Mike Lowell go a little crazy guy trying unsuccessfully to bury his horse on Marty Foster when he called that third strike in the ninth last night? That Mike Lowell. He sure has a lot of heart, doesn’t he? My feeling about Lowell has always been that, while he’s not my least favorite of the Sox, he’s the one I would least like to run into in a dark alley. Or a light alley. Or anyplace without lots and lots of witnesses.
I kind of feel it unnecessary to say that Joba Chamberlain is a genius and a gift from someone up there in baseball heaven who loves the Yankees very, very much, but I will. For anyone who had their doubts, I think it’s safe to declare that Joba is officially a starter. And by the way, let me take a moment to address all you chowda heads who can’t stop slinging accusations in Joba’s direction for coming too close to Youkilis and his stupid head with the ball, claiming that he has too much control for it to possibly be considered an accident. Now, I get that this has happened more than once, and I’m not going to say that it’s a coincidence. But just because it’s a coincidence doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not an accident. I think we have to consider the very strong possibility that, despite the fact that Joba is a master at precision positioning, Youk’s disgusting facial hair may well be getting in the way of Joba’s ability to focus. I know that if I had to throw the ball in his direction, one look at that disastrous situation on his chin, and I would be distracted beyond all measure.
Now, Red Sox are famous for having bad facial hair. They are famous for being dirty and gross in general. It’s part of the screening process or something. But I have to say that Youk’s facial hair reflects such unfortunate decision making skills that it will almost certainly go down in the annals of history as the worst facial hair to have ever inflicted itself upon the sport. Not since the days of Bronson Arroyo’s braids have I seen hair of any kind that was so mismanaged. Joba Chamberlain is a sweet kid with Midwestern values. Ask any of his hundreds of friends and family members who have been paraded onto YES Network for an interview in the past few months. (It seems to be the YES Network go-to when they have a blank space in the schedule. That or, of course, an interview with Yogi.) All of them, from the mother, to the prom date, to the Indian Chief from his local reservation, will tell you the same thing. Joba’s a NICE GUY. A little overzealous at times, and a heck of a kidder, but not one to go for the jugular unless accidentally blinded by the horror of some truly alarming facial hair. So, sorry, Youkilis, but that's what you get. The bottom line is that that facial hair was never going to go unpunished by the universe. It sucks. And so do you.
While I’m normally not a fan of mortgaging the farm, I feel good about our trades. Nady? Marte? How can I complain? We need a left arm and Nady’s bat couldn’t hurt us either. Slightly bummed about Tabata and Ohlendorf. But not like traded Soriano for A-rod bummed.
I wanted to wait to make sure it was real before I said anything because (no offense) but I didn’t think it would last. However, it’s official now: the Mets are back on top. Hats off to our boys in Flushing. Reyes still doesn’t suck. And neither does Pelfrey. If I were to say that Coco Crisp does would that just be kicking a dead horse?