Originally written on Extra Pine Tar  |  Last updated 5/9/12

I feel like my judgment on everything is clouded these days by the Red Sox, but I promised that I wouldn’t use this space to vent about Bobby Valentine or the 50,000 things that make me angry about that team. That’s what my Friday column is for. Instead, I’ll see if I can channel the rage that I feel towards the Sox into some good old fashioned negative discussion about a few other things happening across the sports landscape.

1. Cole Hamels

I’m all in favor of going out and hitting somebody if there is reason to do it. Watching two teams that don’t like each other go back-and-forth throwing at each other’s players is one of the more entertaining elements in all of baseball. It adds that edge, the element that we want in all our sports teams. When there is a brawl, or even just when the benches clear and nothing happens, it reminds as that players on opposite teams don’t always have to be best friends. They’re allowed to genuinely hate each other, and that makes us not feel so bad for  genuinely hating athletes that we’ve never even met.

But there has to be that reason. Cole Hamels just hit Bryce Harper the other day because he felt like it. That’s it. There’s no background, no history, no bad blood. Instead, Hamels just peered in – in the first inning no less – and said “**** it, why not,” then proceeded to drill Harper in the lower back.

I remember when the Rays used to try to drill Brian Daubach every time he stepped into the batter’s box for the Red Sox in the late 90′s. He had pissed them off somewhere along the line, so they were trying to get even. That was awesome. Hamels’ move was not. But he didn’t just hit Harper and then move on. Oh no.

He compounded the situation with these comments after the game:

“That’s something I grew up watching, that’s kind of what happened. So I’m just trying to continue the old baseball because I think some people are kind of getting away from it,” Hamels said Sunday. “I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything because that’s the way baseball is.

“But I think unfortunately the league’s protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball.”

Thank God we have Cole Hamels to police the game. Man. Where the hell would we be without the sheriff? I always knew that Hamels, the long-haired, perfectly-manicured surfing enthusiast from San Deigo, was the baddest man in all of baseball. He’s just taking his rightful place in baseball history. Think about it: Ty Cobb, Pete Rose, Roger Clemens, Cole Hamels. It just works.

So what if nobody else in the all of baseball just hits 19-year-old rookies out of he blue in the first inning of a scoreless game. Nobody else in all of baseball is Cole ******* Hamels. He’s from the old school. He probably dips and doesn’t spit. You want something done? Get Hamels on the line. What’s that? He’s surfing? Oh…well just wait until he gets through hanging 10. He’ll bring down the hammer.

What a joke. Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was right when he called what Hamels did chicken ****. He also called Hamels “fake tough,” then made some weirdly veiled threat about how Hamels “doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.” I don’t know if the last part was really necessary – is Rizzo going to break into Hamels house and leave a dead body in his kitchen or something? – but he’s right about the rest of it. It was a gutless, chicken **** act. It was Hamels trying to act like he’s tough when I’m sure he shaves his arms. You can’t have it both ways. If you want to be Cole Hamels, be Cole Hamels. Don’t try and act, all of a sudden, like it’s your duty to uphold the way the game is supposed to be played, which apparently revolves around hitting rookies the first time you face them.

By the way, does Hamels feel obligated to hit all rookies when they step into the box, or just the highly-heralded ones? If a team trotted out a lineup of nine rookies, would Hamels “introduce them to the game” by hitting each one in the ass and forcing in six runs? Or would he try and get them out, like everybody else does? Only the fearless, heartless, cold-blooded machine that is Cole Hamels can answer that question honestly, but my gut feeling is that Hamels would tie up their families and kill their pets to show them “how we do it around here.” It’s the only way these God damn rookies are going to learn a thing.

So really, we should be thanking Cole Hamels for keeping baseball pure, and safe. Without good Samaritans like Hamels – replete with balls of steel and a steady diet of raw meat – the future of baseball might be in jeopardy.

Take that, rookie.

2. ESPN’s new NASCAR promotion

Coming from the same people who wrote the “***** in the Armor” headline about Jeremy Lin, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, but isn’t ESPN’s new NASCAR’s promotion a little… discriminatory?

Here’s the deal: the video is a mix-up of some NASCAR highlights with the song “Kiss My Country Ass” by some chump named Blake Shelton playing in the background. I couldn’t find the actual promotion online, but I could find the “Kiss My Country Ass” music video. Why don’t you go ahead and take a listen.

Nothing says “We’re ESPN and we’re neutral” like a song built around guns, drinking beer, smoking Marlboro Reds, dipping, moonshine, cowboy boots, fried chicken and defending our freedom. Hot damn! ESPN knows their audience huh?

Look a the ******* lyrics to this song!

 Tearin’ down a dirt road 
Rebel flag flyin’ 
Coon dog in the back 
Truck bed loaded down with beer 
And a cold one in my lap 
Earnhardt sticker behind my head 
And my woman by my side 
Tail-pipe’s poppin’ 
the radio’s rockin’ “Country Boy Can Survive” 
If you got a problem with that, ha ha! 
You can kiss my country ass 

Well, I love Turkey calls, overalls, Wrangler jeans 
Smoke nothin’ but Marlboro reds 
Tattoos up & down my arms, 
And deer heads over my bed. 
My Granddaddy fought in World War Two, 
My Daddy went to Vietnam. 
And I ain’t scared to grab my gun, 
And fight for my homeland. 
If you don’t love the American flag, 
You can kiss my country ass. 

If you’re a down home, backwoods redneck, 
Hey come on, stand up and raise your glass. 
But if you ain’t down with my outlaw crowd, 
You can kiss my country ass. Aw yeah! 

Aw yeah… 

Well, there’s a whole lotta high-class people out there 
That’s lookin’ down on me 
Cause the country club where I belong 
Is the Honky Tonk till three in the mornin’ 
Don’t wear no fancy clothes 
No ties or three piece suits. 
You can find me in my camouflage cap 
My t-shirt and cowboy boots 
If that don’t fit your social class 
You can kiss my country ass 

If you’re a down home, backwoods redneck 
Hey, come on, stand up and raise your glass 
But if you ain’t down with my outlaw crowd 
You can kiss my country ass 

Well I’m a front-porch sittin’, 
Guitar pickin’, moonshine sippin’, 
Backer juice spittin’ country boy from the woods 
And I love fried chicken & blue gill fishin’ 
And outlaw women, an’ I wouldn’t change if I could. NO! 
I ain’t tryin’ to start no fight, but I’ll finish one every time 
So you just mind your own damn business 
Stay the hell outta mine. 
If you got a problem with that 
You can kiss my country ass 

I said if you got a problem with any of that 
You can kiss my natural born, Redneck to the bone 
Ever-lovin’ country ass.

ESPN is running a song to promote a sport that they air nationwide that starts off with a verse about the Confederate Flag! Yes, the flag from the South, where the entire economy – and premise of the country – was built on slavery! Yee-haa!!!!

Does nobody else find this offensive?  Is ESPN going to start broadcasting Br’er Rabbit cartoons or Eminem’s “Kim” on Sunday afternoons? Someone is going to have to explain to me how any part of this ad is justifiable.

First of all, looking beyond the overt racism in the song, the name of the song is “Kiss My Country Ass.” That’s so sweet, and certainly nothing if not kid friendly. I know the majority of NASCAR fans are from the South, and they probably like country music, but isn’t there another song out there that isn’t going to make everybody who’s not from the South Google the lyrics to find out if the song is actually real and not a parody designed to make fun of people?

Essentially this is what ESPN is saying with this ad: If you like NASCAR, you are also an avid smoker of the harshest cigarettes in the world, you own a truck, you specifically wear Wranglers, you hate black people, you don’t have a job and instead spend a large portion of your time sitting on your front porch, you hang with a crowd of outlaws, you don’t own any nice clothes, you support the Vietnam War, you’re covered in tattoos, your house is littered with the spoils of your big-game hunting, you eat exclusively fried chicken and blue fish, and will not hesitate to get into a brawl. Oh, and if you don’t like any of that? Kiss my country ass, will ya?

In other words, ESPN is saying that if you like NASCAR, you’re the little kid playing the banjo in “Deliverance.” 

Way to really speak to your audience, Worldwide Leader. This is the stupidest thing to come out of your network since Steve Phillips cheated on his wife with a rhino.

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