Tampa Bay Rays "closer" Grant Balfour blew a save Thursday afternoon against Oakland in what turned out to be an 11-inning victory for our beloved bunch. Balfour was booed when he was pulled from the mound. And he had a problem with that, apparently. Punctuating with delightful Aussie-flavored expletives, he explained that it doesn't help him or the team. He attempted to articulate in what sounded like a Stuart Smalley rant after one too many Bloomin' Onions that everybody needs to be pulling for the team and booing is "not a good vibe." Want some cheese with that whine, Crocodile Dummy? You've had more walks than any reliever in the American League and your panties are in a wad over a few boos? Suck it up and get better. Fans boo. It's included in the ticket price when you play like doo-doo. It's called negative reinforcement. If you want a congratulatory slap on the ass after you fail to do your job, run for congress (Hey-ohhh!)
Cleveland draft pick and future flop Johnny Manziel won't be asked to bring hot dogs to the Memorial Day cookout this year. It appears a woman filed a (pinkie to the lips) $25 million sexual harassment lawsuit complete with details that are specific, graphic, disturbing and hilarious. Among the charges, the plaintiff has alleged that Manziel sent a "naked photo of him with a ruler next to his erect penis measuring 4 1/2 inches" (well below NFL standards, but ranking about average in most JV locker rooms), has asked for a threesome with Dr. Drew (longest hernia check ... ever), asked her to strip with LeBron James watching (4 1/2 inches never looked smaller than when alongside the "Akron Hammer" — don't look at me, I didn't give him that nickname), said something about cheating on exams at A&M (now, THAT'S hot) and, of course, sent a picture of his Chapstick dingaling between two hot dog buns. In a tweet, the plaintiff claimed that the lawsuit is a complete hoax. The point is, whether it's true or not, you believed it, didn't you?
Honorable Afterthoughts: The next opportunity to host a Super Bowl in Tampa won't be until 2019 (The upside? That's when Blade Runner happens!); future Buccaneer Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks posed for the sculpting of his immortal bust for Canton on Wednesday (judging by previous likenesses, it will probably look more like Mister Clean passing a kidney stone); and finally, Denver Bronco safety TJ Ward appeared in court Friday on charges that he allegedly threw a mug at a bartender in a Denver strip joint after he was told he couldn't bring in a drink from outside the club — which is understandable, because those drinks are, like, super expensive. Cut the guy some slack. $22.5 million over four years doesn't buy as much as it used to.
Now if I may, I'm going to close this Binge out on a serious note. Because if not for the significance of this weekend, I would never have been able to write it in the first place.
Memorial Day Weekend — a time of barbecues, "Big Sales" with "Big Savings," and sleeping in on Monday. Which is fine; there's no shame in enjoying life under the comfortable blanket of liberty. But it is also a time that we all, at least once, need to take a moment, either by ourselves or with loved ones, glance up to the heavens, and thank God for each and every man and woman who selflessly made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can all continue to live in freedom in the greatest country in the world. Freedom is all too often overlooked and taken for granted. It's easy to forget how easy we have it. Small problems become big problems and petty issues can ruin our days to the point we can convince ourselves our lives are rough, even oppressive. But we have no idea what it's like to be oppressed. No idea at all. Thanks to the soldiers who died to keep us from knowing.
To the heroes who paid the ultimate price and the families they left behind, it would be a humongous understatement to say thank you. But thank you. Our appreciation knows no bounds, and the gifts their sacrifices yield are beyond our comprehension. They're heroes, all. God bless them.
Happy Memorial Day.