Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Morning: The Deadliest Catch and A-Rod's Blog

I bet you thought the first part of that title would be some kind of baseball pun, but you'd be wrong. It's actually just an homage to The Deadliest Catch, a tv show whose fifth season premiered last night on Discovery.

Have you guys seen this show? It's incredible. A documentary crew follows these crab boats while they go out for weeks at a time on the Bering Sea, dropping pots and trying not to die. They're all very roughneck and working class, which is something you basically never see on television. As my girlfriend pointed out, this particular show won't get corrupted. It'll never attract the obnoxious fame-hungry types who get on most reality shows, because they couldn't hack it on a fishing boat. Shit, I couldn't hack it on a fishing boat, and I'm a huge badass who doesn't give two shits for fame (my Real World application just got rejected for the 14th time).

Believe it or not, I don't watch much tv outside of sports.* Which isn't to say I don't watch television shows. I just can't stand commercials, and I hate that after watching a new episode, you can't move on to the next. So I wait until seasons are over, then I download every episode and binge. My favorite shows are pretty predictable; The Wire, Sopranos, Friday Night Lights, The Office (both versions), Arrested Development. Those are the only ones I've watched end to end. To sum up: not a big tv guy.

*Granted, this takes up its fair share of tv time.

But last night, when I saw the commercials for The Deadliest Catch set to the tune of "Rise" by Eddie Vedder, I had to watch. I stopped what I was doing and plopped in front of the tv for the full hour. And I wasn't disappointed. It's one of the few times you get to see 'real' people on tv. There's real drama, real danger, and real triumph. The documentary crew doesn't have to manufacture anything, and they do an awesome job just letting the story play out.

Last night, they even managed to splice in cell phone footage of a rescue mission near a sinking cod ship. They interviewed the four crew members after, all of whom survived by waiting on a life raft (the cod ship capsized within ten minutes, and if they hadn't inflated the raft in time, they would have died real quickly in the icy water), and the camera lingered on their faces for a while. You got to study these dudes who had just survived by the skin of their teeth and were legitimately shaken. The best part was that two of them had mohawks. You can imagine them doing it on a lark before they went aboard the ship, two young guys having fun. Now they were staring out at the water, picturing what it might have been like to die.

It's fucking crazy! But even in the tamer moments, it's fun to see how the crew interacts, and how they fare with the crabs. They're the kind of men it would be fascinating to speak with as a journalist, but with whom it would be real awkward to sit down and share a beer. They have all beards and tattoos, and some of them are kinda fat, but they're all ridiculously strong. And it's a kind of thick, endurance strength; they can do the required heavy labor without tiring. The captains all have a kind of hunched posture, and seem like reluctant leaders. They know what they're doing, but you can tell they started as deck hands and weren't born to positions of authority.

They introduced a new character yesterday. His name was "Wild Bill," and he turned out to be this captain with long gray hair and a gray beard who looked exactly like someone named "Wild Bill." Early on, one of his crew members messed up a knot attaching a crab pot to a crane, and it fell, crashing hard against the side of the boat. Nobody was leaning against the rail, and nobody got hurt, but it could have been ugly. Wild Bill got on the loudspeaker and yelled. "That's how somebody gets killed, you fucking jackasses!" His eyes were burning. Later, he turned to the camera. "Day one, and we've already got a close call. Welcome to crabbing, I guess."

Jesus, did I just spend that long talking about The Deadliest Catch? Between this and the stuff about David Samuels yesterday, I'm starting to lose track of the beaten path. Okay, so: watch The Deadliest Catch.

It's time to start something new on this ole blog. In the afternoon posts for the foreseeable future, this will turn into an A-Rod Blog. A Yankee blog should be about Yankee players, and what better way to make that come true than conceding some space to let Yankee voices be heard? Well, it turns out A-Rod used to blog for a now-defunct website a while back. He's a fascinating dude, and after we catch up on those old posts, we'll get back into his head and learn some surprising things about his personal life here on SCSD (it turns out he's huge into rollerblading, for one). For the next week or so, I'll get everybody in the mood by re-posting those old ditties. Without further ado, here's his first post.

The A-Blog: 8/17/07


Yesterday sucked! We got beat up pretty bad by the Tigers, which I guess is annoying. But the worst part of the day came in the afternoon, before I went to the stadium, at the grocery store.

Food shopping is usually pretty sweet. I go to a joint called Topps, and most of the time I can just relax, check out some good eats, and maybe meet a few cute girls ;). Grocery stores are great for that. But yesterday’s trip was terrible!

It started off well enough, with a quick stroll through the cereal aisle to pick up some Cinnamon Life. They had plenty in stock, and I tossed a couple boxes in my basket and headed for the vegetable section.

There, they have these huge rolls of plastic bags on top of thin metal stands, and you have to rip each bag off individually. You’ve all seen them before. One thing I like to do is tug real quick and then rip the bag dramatically. That usually impresses the ladies if they’re standing nearby.

Well, it just so happened that two pretty hot chicks were looking at the Braeburn apples a few feet away. I coughed loudly so they’d look my way, and executed my pull and tear move. But the stupid bag didn’t break! I ended up pulling out like six feet of plastic. The girls looked at me and kind of giggled. I knew I had to save face, so I tugged again at a hard downward angle.

Disaster. The whole stand came crashing down. I had to jump out of the way so it wouldn’t hit my foot, and I kind of stumbled into the heads of lettuce. A couple fell to the floor, and I may have kicked one in frustration. Lettuce really explodes when you kick it! One of the girls said “what’s he doing?”

A manager came up after that, and made me leave the bag. Plus, I had to pay for the stupid lettuce, which was probably rotten anyway. Before I left, I let him know in no uncertain terms that the metal stand wasn’t heavy enough to support the bags, and that I wouldn’t hesitate to report them for a safety hazard if they didn’t get new ones within a month. I marked the date on my calendar right in front of him, so he knows I won’t forget.

Later, at the check-out, still pretty upset at the sub-standard bag system, I noticed the woman ahead of me had a jar of dill pickles. They looked awesome — like something that could really cheer me up. I knew I’d lose my place in line if I went back to get some, though. I’m a Yankee, and I don’t have time to waste. Torre always yells at me for being late, and I was already cutting it close. Thinking fast, I offered to buy them from her at double price. But she was a stubborn, horrible woman who probably didn’t even know who I was, and she kept saying I should just get some of my own. People around me were whispering, and I saw the manager start to come over, so I upped the ante and offered her a thousand dollars for the jar. “That’ll teach her to refuse an offer from A-Rod,” I thought.

Finally, she agreed, and I bought the pickles. The people around me stopped whispering, and I gave them my patented “I told you so” smile. If they thought A-Rod was the kind of dude who messes around, they learned an important lesson.

Afterward, though, a thousand dollars seemed like an awful lot to spend, and I got so mad that I just threw the pickles into the gutter. It was a pretty crappy day all around, and then the Tigers thing happened.

Talk to you guys soon,


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