Arnold McRease refused to tie his shoes inside; only on the sidewalk or the street, the grass, beside a porta-potty….wherever the odds were higher of someone bumping into him. There were no accidents. Arnold always threw the first punch.
The locals called him a demon, but Arnold didn’t call himself anything except pissed off. He pulled the trigger sending a love jealous bullet into Lymon Bystock’s right temple.He nosedived the planes carrying Roberto Clemente and Thurman Munson to their death. He moved the pen banning the Black Sox, banning Pete Rose. He stopped the heart beat of then commissioner A. Bart Giamatti, just 8 days after Rose was banned.
Arnold McRease remembers it all, remembers it like saline solution shooting through his veins. He’s haunted and tormented, but the feeling won’t stop.
He cut the lines of cocaine sniffed by Keith Hernandez and Paul Molitor. He waved the machete of Uguethe Urbina attacking five Venezuelan farm workers. He was the doubt in Dan Thomas’s prison cell on June 12, 1980 when the former Milwaukee Brewer hung himself.
Arnold McRease was the run that didn’t score for Harvey Haddix at County Stadium on May 26, 1959. Arnie was the 45 consecutive hitless at bats for Craig Counsell in 2011. He was the tarp that swallowed Vince Coleman during the 1985 NLCS.
Arnie didn’t mean to do any of it. He had no idea he was a demon. The real ones don’t. Same thing for the saints. But Arnie was there during every god damn gash in the milk and honey of baseball innocence. He was there pouring black tea on the fire. He couldn’t help himself. No one could help him.
But of all the despicable acts Arnold McRease committed, he was proudest of the Montreal Expos. It wasn’t their best record in baseball during the season ending strike of 1994. It wasn’t the fire sale of players that followed. It was in 2002 when baseball’s owners voted unanimously to sell the Montreal Expos to major league baseball.
Arnie was there the following winter to remind the artificial brain trust led by Omar Minaya that Puerto Rico loved baseball and so the MLB sent the Expos on the road to play 22 of its home games in Hiram Bithorn Stadium-Puerto Rico. Oh, but of course. The well dressed men promised Montreal might break even with additional revenue. In reality, Montreal was the perfect guinea pig for the MLB to test its product in the Caribbean.
No one in their worst nightmare expected the Expos to be in serious contention for the Wild Card as late as August 28, 2003. But there they were in a five way tie for the last playoff spot.The same team that won in 1981 during baseball’s first strike and again in 1994 during its second was winning again while playing on the road, 1,926 miles away from home. Can you say exhausted?
But what perfect timing. It was almost September 1st. In baseball that’s an important day. Rosters can be expanded from 25 to 40 players. But not the Expos. Bud Selig and the MLB handed down a decree saying “Sorry, our team-Montreal can not afford the $50,000 to call up players and so they didn’t. The Expos went 12 -15 the rest of the way. The following year was there last in Montreal.
I remember Arnie in 2003. I bought tickets before the season to see the San Francisco Giants, second row down the left field line, Barry Bond heckler seats. Major league baseball rescheduled the series and sent it back to San Francisco; three more home games on the road.
The fake owners promised we could trade the tickets in for any regular season game. But it wouldn’t be the same. I had a plan and Barry Bonds was a big part of it. He was gonna sign his 2002 Strat-o-matic baseball card-the greatest card in the history of strat-o-matic after the greatest season of any player all time.
Barry was already under the hecklers curse at that point so I would have had to do something outrageous, but pleasant and calm to convince him I wasn’t another self-righteous prick throwing stones from my glass house. I never got that chance, but what the hell, it probably takes just as much temptation and trespass to tango this crazy world round and round as it does discipline and love, this crazy baseball world.
Happy New Year Arnold.
January 1, 2014 at 7:26 pm
I find your writing interesting; it’s never dull, that’s for sure, Steven Myers!
January 1, 2014 at 7:29 pm
Hey, where’s my Webb Pierce gravatar??? That means i have to put a Webb Pierce song on here.
January 1, 2014 at 8:07 pm
Anyway, I liked it. your thing that you wrote. I’ll spare you the Webb Pierce song. That’s Webb Pierce on my gravatar. It’s not me.
I had trouble for some reason getting a song on here.
So no Webb Pierce music today!!!!!!!!!!
January 2, 2014 at 3:45 am
Well, I’m brand spanking new to this here country gentlemen Webb Pierce, but I done some listening these past few 45 minutes Glen and I sure would like to thank you.
I reckon some gold done struck my ears with “Drifting Texas Sand.” And I got me another hankering for that song right about now. So here goes.
January 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm
Well, Steve, that one that you posted of “Drifting Texas Sand” by Webb Pierce was from 1960. A different approach to the same song.
This one was was recorded by Webb Pierce when he was the lead singer of Tillman Franks and his Rainbow Boys, from 1950……
and he recorded it again, this time in 1951. I can’t decide which I like better, the one in 1951 or the one he recorded in 1960. I think that this one is my favorite version of it that he did. And here it is………. NOW!
January 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm
Hey, wanna hear something cool? Listen to all THREE of ’em at the same time! I just did!!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!! GROOVY!!!!! Especially if you’re smokin’ some real good shit, man!
January 2, 2014 at 12:26 pm
Innovative and clever, fun too, but it gives me a headache. I guess i’m too traditional, sticking with one at a time.
January 2, 2014 at 12:23 pm
Man, check out THIS! I think it was meant to be a little bit satirical. This is a guy named Ray Campi, and he is pretty WEIRD, man!
This guy is, like, flipped OUT, man!
He be makin’ fun of Webb Pierce! How DARE he!
January 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm
I take that a nice tribute. He musta really liked Pierce’s music. Seems to be having lots of fun.
January 2, 2014 at 2:08 pm
So when Jagger sang “Pleased to meet you…won’t you guess my name”, I had no clue the correct answer was “Arnold.”
January 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm
W.K., isn’t that funny? I was thinking the same thing, that the stuff about Arnold reminded me of that song by the Rolling Stones!