This is a winning post for the Alex Lewis Memorial Auction. This is also the toughest post I'll have to write for the Alex Lewis Memorial Auction. The winner was user Rob_Frazer, who was one of Alex's best friends in real life, and he chose to commission a post peppered with inside jokes for Alex's closest friends. It's also supposed to be (mostly) coherent for the rest of you, with twin themes of "Why the National League is better than the American League" and "the glory of the Giants."
And, of course, it's supposed to make us remember Alex fondly. As if there were any other way.
It will be a mess to do all of this in one post. There will be a lot of good things that aren't going to make sense when you jam them together, which means it will be like stuffing your mouth with Flamin' Hot Cheetos and sipping Johnnie Walker Red at the same time. Except I'm going to make it work, dang it. The paprika of the Cheetos can bring out the smokiness of the scotch if you aren't so damned close-minded. Swish it in your mouth a bit. Think about it.
We'll split the themes in two:
1. The National League is clearly superior to the American League
This is empirically true, and it is my pleasure to back it up with FACTS. Things you will find in the American League:
1. Hawk Harrelson
2. A.J. Pierzynski
Done in two, if you want. That's the only list you really need. Harrelson and Pierzynski were even associated with the same organization for a long while, secret samurai lovers of awfulness who are eternally committed to making your life miserable. Their existence makes you want to consider disliking baseball, though you'll never be able to go that far. It's kind of like the Ewoks making you evaluate your appreciation of Lucas's entire universe. Nothing can be that bad, but if there were some awful, hairy things that could put you close to the edge ...
3. The Angels
4. The DH
5. No double-switches
The Angels are responsible for Barry Bonds not getting a ring. In alternate universes, they're responsible for Jon Dowd, Wes Mailman, Joe Young, Dean Gibeau, and Reggie Stocker not getting rings. The Angels are patently evil.
The DH is boring. If the NL had the DH, you would have to watch a lot more Brett Pill. A ton more Brett Pill. All the Brett Pill you can handle. And the DH also means no double-switches, which is something all National League fans love. Like, really love. Carnally, even. There's just something about a shortstop coming out so another shortstop can hit in the #9 hole. Mmpff. American League fans will never be able to understand.
Yet more problems with the AL:
6. Two parks with fake grass
7. The horrid stadium that was supposed to house the Giants in 1993
8. People who will take a day off work to yell things at you about San Jose if you give them the chance
9. The Yankees and Red Sox
10. The Indians
The Yankees and Red Sox make the list because they're the Hydrox of baseball rivalries, and they annoy me. The Indians make the list because they haven't won a World Series since before the Giants beat them in '54, and that depresses me. Stop making me so sad, Indians! For some reason, the Cubs don't affect me in the same way. It's probably a Scott Hairston thing.
Mostly, though, the DH and the fake grass. Gross. Get it out of here, American League.
2. The Glory of the Giants
Now you have a Peter Cetera song stuck in your head. Good. Run with it. ♪♪Because we did it all for the glory of the Giants. ♪♪
The Giants didn't used to have this "glory." I think that's the appeal of this topic. To think of the Giants as a glorious, enviable franchise is still hard to believe. The Giants used to be a baseball team that pretended to give you a fighting chance at glory. But it would only come through with a glory-like substance that would almost make you think you were getting the real thing. The next thing you know, you got something sticky on you because the glory-like substance was toxic and leaking and awful, and it was clear that you were duped. This isn't glory? What is this?
It's not just Bobby Richardson catching a ball that wasn't two feet higher, Candy Maldonado's ill-advised slide, or Jose Cruz, Jr.'s muff that kept the Giants from legitimate glory. It was things like 1,000 people showing up to watch a bad Giants team in a wind-frozen game that was played on Astroturf in a toilet bowl that smelled like the inside of a tauntaun. The Giants used to be the least-glorious franchise in sports, perhaps. Between Willie and Will, there wasn't much glory to spare, if there was any at all.
Alex came around at the right time, then. He came around at the right time to make all of our lives better, certainly, but he came around at the right time to experience the glory of the Giants. He saw Bonds do amazing things against bad pitchers, and otherworldly things against good pitchers, over and over again. He saw the toilet bowl replaced with the envy of baseball, a park that somehow made a perfect game even better.
He saw the first World Series win. And he was intimately involved with the second World Series win. Without Alex hanging around the ballpark, the ball hits Hunter Pence's bat twice and sails gently to Pete Kozma, you know.
3. Throwing things at your privates for no good reason
Lastly, I was instructed to include something that followed this progression:
- Someone asking for something you were holding
- You handing over the "something"
- The original requester winging this something at your junk
I could not work this in. At least, not organically.
However, this suggestion leads me to believe that this is something Alex frequently did. Hey, lemme see that, he'd say. And then he'd wing "that" at your junk.
Nothing that I've read over the past year -- in the archive of Alex's comments, or in the grief-stricken memorials to Alex -- made me think, "Man, he sounds like someone i would have loved to hang out with" more than that image. Not because I love things being thrown at my crotch. But because the idea of a friend good enough, comfortable enough, and offended by your personal space enough to do that is something we all need more of in our lives.
Alex was that friend. He couldn't wing things at you on the Internet, so he did it twice as much in real life to make up for it.
I miss Alex. I can't even fathom how the loss feels to the people who knew him, who knew his voice the second he picked up the phone, who knew his quirks and foibles intimately. I can't pretend to miss him on that level. But, damn, I do miss him. That cat was funny. And he knew his baseball. He was the perfect contributor here. He was as pretty as Princess Leia and as smart as Yoda.
Miss you, Alex. We all miss you, dang it.