Rest in peace, George. Let us know how that worshipping the sun thing turned out. May Joe Pesci hold you unto his bosom while you ascend to heaven, my good man. You were... no, are brilliant. A real member of the Pantheon of Badassery.
Normally, the Pantheon of Badassery is reserved for guys who overcome insanely difficult odds, painful injuries, or near-crippling injuries to succeed in sports, but this guy's story was just so awesome I had to share it with the class.
In today's day and age, anyone with balls huge enough to get through dozens of security checkpoints to hang out with a team full of gigantic men who could easily kill him and people rich enough to hide all evidence of his existence. This guy not only got into the locker room, he got onto the team bus with the Mara family, onto the field for the celebration with the Lombardi Trophy, back into the locker room after the celebration, and best of all, he didn't get his head bashed in by angry security guards! The sheer fact that he got away with it and kept getting away with it is nothing short of pure, unadulterated Badass.
Check out his whole story at Deadspin, and if you need more proof, go to his Snapfish picture gallery. This guy is apparently the son of James Bond and Catwoman thanks to his ability to sneak around under the nose of extra-tight New York City security.
The big deal is, John Q. Public. That's the date that one of the ballsiest and best players in the history of the MLB world broke the "color barrier." On April 15th, 1947, Jackie Robinson was hired by Branch Rickey to be his 1st/2nd Baseman for the then Brooklyn Dodgers. Needless to say, many a good ol' racist bumpkin in the South and otherwise hated this move. As the one man who brought the style of the Negro Leagues to the forefront, Jackie is remembered as two things to everyone now. Hall of Famer and a Legend.
When he was in his prime, he said this one statement. "I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... all I ask is that you respect me as a human being." Many people did just that. When the Phillies and their manager spouted out the n-word every chance they could get at Robinson, all 30 Dodgers united as one to shove a win down Philadelphia's collective throats.
Also, Pee Wee Reese was the one man on the Dodger team who stood up for the young Jackie, daring any bigot to come through him if they had anything to say. Considering the man was from Ron's hometown of Louisville, KY, that was saying a hell of a lot. This would later develop Jackie and Pee Wee into the SS/2B double play combo that everyone feared playing against.
To tell the whole story of 9 years of greatness, that would take too long on this site. Also, to be honest, we couldn't do any of it justice.
On April 15th, Dodger Nation will see an entire team of just one number for one day. One player from each team will be wearing this same number for this one day. In my opinion, about time Selig did something right.
So, to commemorate this event of the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's start, we're posthumously putting in Mr. Robinson in the Pantheon of Badassery. And on the fifteenth, only one number needs to be said and seen to tell you what impact that one brave man from Cairo, Georgia had on MLB...
New Induction to the Pantheon of Badassery: Jon Lester
It's been a while since we've had this. Mainly it was laziness. Otherwise, there's probably no real excuse. But, we do have a grand candidate for the Pantheon today. Jade might not like this choice because of the team this man is on; however, she'll like the choice because of the fact that she is still able to root against him. About six months ago, this was a pipe dream.
Jon Lester is a Washington State native who attended Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma, Washington. He achieved a three-time MVP and all-area in his high school career. Also, he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2000 for Washington. All those stats pretty much give you a clue on why the Red Sox grabbed him in the First Year draft of 2002.
Achieving major success in the minor leagues, including a nod as the starting pitcher for the Eastern League All-Stars, he almost didn't stay in Boston. The Rangers wanted him as a part of a deal for A-Rod. Also, the Marlins tried to wrangle him away for Josh Beckett. We know how those deals went. After many of the starters for the Red Sox went lame, Lester was called up in June 2006 for the big show.
After over a month of solid starting, Lester started developing severe back pain. They put him on the DL to see if the condition got better. When the pain got worse during the road trip, Terry Francona sent Lester back to Boston. He asked the doctors to check him out. Lester thought a previous car crash was the cause. The doctors then told him, his lymph nodes were enlarged. Time to worry.
As the reports go: On August 31st, it was reported that Lester had been diagnosed with enlarged lymph nodes and was being tested for a variety of ailments, including forms of cancer. On September 1st, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital confirmed that Lester has a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
In December, the doctors tested him for any signs of cancer. The announcement: Lester was clean. Now after a wild ride of weight loss and chemotherapy, he's back for spring training. Oh, by the way, he started a game today.
Jon, welcome to the Pantheon. No fear anymore, man. You beat cancer, and after that, I don't think anyone else is going to intimidate you.
Previously in our Pantheon, Ronald honored the gutsy son of Phil Simms. Chris Simms etched his way into the Pantheon by playing through a game not realizing that his spleen has ruptured and failed. He ended up leaving that game needing a blood transfusion. Now that we have our bust of Mr. Simms, it's time to add a new entrant. However, this time I'm adding two entrants. These men are from two SEC teams. One from Auburn. The other from U of Georgia.
Quarterback Brandon Cox and Defensive Tackle Dale Dixson are beasts on the college football field. Cox might be on an 6-1 Auburn team that lost to Arkansas, but the score doesn't matter to him. Being upright is all that matters.
Dale Dixson also shares this thought. He's in an even worse position to be in. Dale is the starting Nose Tackle on a fierce UGA defense that's going 5-2 this season. Although his UGA Bulldogs lost a couple of heartbreakers to the TN duos of UT and Vanderbilt, the score doesn't matter to him at the end of the day.
So, you ask, why doesn't the score matter to either man, because they've been playing a life or death game before they even thought about getting into college...
So, Im sure youve all heard about Chris Simms by now. For those of you that havent, heres the gist of what went down.
During the entire Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panters game, Chris Simms, since hes on Tampa Bay, got beaten up pretty badly. He took some big hits really early, and he was kind of laboring the whole game. He looked like hed hurt his ribs, and his teammates even said he looked hurt from the first quarter on.
Well, as we all know now, it turns out Chris Simms may have played basically the entire Tampa Bay/Carolina game (aside from part of the third quarter) with a ruptured fucking spleen, in addition to suffering from vomiting and dehydration (which might have to do with, I dont know, blowing out an internal organ?).
It got so bad he left the game during the third quarter for treatment, then came out in the fourth quarter and led a scoring drive. Then they took him to the hospital, gave him a blood transfusion, and removed his spleen.
You think you would notice if you blew out your spleen, wouldnt you? Even if it came on that vicious hit in the fourth quarter (which seems to be the common belief), he still finished the game out despite the fact that, had things not gone right, he could be dead right now.
Maybe Chris Simms is tougher than I could have ever imagined. Maybe hes just that fucking stupid. Or maybe these guys spend so much time hurt whats one more new ache and pain? Either way, I have a new level of respect for Phils son.
Speaking of Phil and the inevitable comparisons to the old man, could the old man have blown out an internal organ and still played the game? Im not sure; its a hell of an injury to withstand. I guess it depends on if Lawrence Taylor switched water bottles with him.
Playing with a ruptured spleen is pretty fucking amazing, but not nearly as amazing as the fact that Chris Simms is able to stuff his gigantic balls into his pants without the aid of a crowbar. My hats off to you, man.