Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ty Cobb's Diary

Reading has always been one of my biggest hobbies and anyone who has ever seen me can attest to this fact by noting that I have the body of a heavy reader. I have been dishonest in the past when I've described my physique on this website. I'm not a seven foot tall, bronzed Adonis, I wasn't the inspiration for the Statue of David and I wasn't named the handsomest lawyer since Abe Lincoln by the International Association of Swimsuit Supermodels. In fact that organization doesn't even exist and the ribbon I claimed to have won from them is really nothing but an elementary school track and field day participation ribbon. This was probably all patently obvious to anybody who saw the ribbon, which featured a cartoon girl jumping over a hurdle, but everyone was either to polite or to terrified to ever correct me. No, the truth is I actually have skin that's so pale it appears translucent, skinny arms, a sunken chest, thick glasses and an asthmatic cough that is stereotypical of a nerdy bookworms body. I may only be twenty-five but from the neck down I could be mistaken for a feeble octogenarian or that frightening Zelda from the first Pet Semetary movie, but I digress.

I wanted to keep this post short but I couldn't get through the opening paragraph without going off on some tangential nonsense. Regardless, the point of this post is that whenever I'm reading heavily I'll target certain genres and read as much as I can about them before I get bored. For example I've gone through phases where I've read nothing but Russian literature, British literature, baseball history, the Revolutionary War, the Sweet Valley High Series and numerous online slash fiction that revolves around the cast of "Roseanne". However my most recent area of focus has been on biographies of great historical figures namely, Peter the Great, Ty Cobb, Henry Ford, Andrew Jackson and most recently David McCullough's outstanding biography about John Adams. One common theme from all of these books is that the author relied heavily on the subject's personal diaries and journals when reconstructing their past. This was especially apparent in the aforementioned "John Adams" where McCullough excerpts whole passages from Adams' diary dating back to his days as a student at Harvard University. These detailed entries from a young Adams were awash in the lofty ideals and ambitions that would shape the future president's political outlook as well as shedding light on his bouts with melancholy and vanity that would continue to plague him throughout his life. However fascinating and illuminating these passages were in giving life to the subject, the more I thought about it the more I realized that only the best and most interesting diary entries made the cut and appeared in the biography. Of course this is common sense, as nobody really cares to read about Henry Ford's grocery list, but it did get me wondering what the more mundane entries in a famous persons diary might look like. Unfortunately I wasn't able to procure John Adams diaries because he lived way the hell out in Massachusetts and I'm to lazy to walk up a flight of stairs let alone travel all the way to Boston to read some dead guys diary. However I was able to come across Ty Cobb's personal journal and found exactly what I was looking for. I've posted his unedited entry below, which I believe has never been published before and was surprisingly overlooked in Al Stump's biography of the Georgia Peach. It offers a fascinating look into the day to day life of the Tigers most legendary player.
July 22, 1911: Detroit

"Today I came closer to crapping my pants than I have at any point in my life. That's not the way I typically start one of these journal entries so let me do a little explaining. The day was already off to a bad start as we had dropped our third straight to the visiting New York Highlanders and saw our lead atop the American League diminish as we learned via the wire after our loss that the hard charging Phil(adelphia) A's had gained on us in the standings thanks to their smiting of the hapless Wash(ington) Sens. I was already feeling somewhat ill from having to frequently look at Hal Chase's disfigured pox marked face as I safely reached first four times this 'noon. After the game had finished I retired to the clubhouse and was surprised to find that our miserly, penny pinching bastard owner (Frank) Navin had actually sprung for a post-game buffet. I was immediately suspicious of this unexpected generosity bestowed on us by this owl looking Shylock, but my spirits were low and my body was famished so I partook in the spread of fruit and fish. I instantly regretted this decision and it later came to my attention that Mr. Navin had procured these provisions after he had passed a local market and saw the help disposing of the spoiled fish. Mr. Pinchfist couldn't stand the fact that the fish was going to waste, so he had his driver circle the block before he sneaked upon the trashcan, fended off a swarm of alley cats and made off with the rotten fish. Unfortunately these facts did not come to light until after I had eaten a substantial proportion of the fish. I immediately felt queasy and sat quietly in the clubhouse waiting for my insides to calm down as the rest of my team mates departed. I read the local papers and (racist comments redacted to protect the interests of this blog and it's proprietor). Finally feeling settled I gathered my things and hopped in my shiny, new Chalmers Touring Car I received for winning the batting title in 1910, despite the best efforts of that swarthy Frenchman Nap Lajoie and those sad sack St. Louis Browns. Little does anyone know that we ourselves cheated in an effort to get me that batting title, counting my stats twice from a game earlier in the season to boast my average upward. It's not like anyone will ever find out, I mean unless there is some nervous, sweaty jerk with no life perusing 75 year old box scores in some library will anybody ever know, and nobody in the future will be wasting their time looking at old stats, by that time everybody will be living on the moon and making love to beautiful moon women. Sigh...I wish I could live in the future, but I digress. Anyways I turned north on Trumbull on my way back to my nice little home over on Commonwealth, when, a little less than halfway to my apartment I felt the entire contents of my stomach drop into my ass. Not good. I spent the next two minutes focusing in a desperate attempt to turn the contents of my bowels from imminent diarrhea into a series of farts. Driving was of secondary importance at this moment in time as a much more serious and earnest matter was at hand. So the farts came slowly and they were "roll down all four windows" level of vile. I pushed this to the brink and it wasn't until the last fart seared my leg like hot steam escaping from a blast furnace that I decided to stop passing them. Luckily this had bought me enough time to get to the driveway of my residence. However, I feared that if I moved, even slightly, the floodgates would open and wouldn't cease and I would be stuck in my brand new touring car with pants full of feces. So I had to put myself in a trance, slow down everything that was happening around me and focus intently on not crapping my pants, not unlike the level of concentration required when staring down a Walter Johnson speedball or a knee buckling Chief Bender jughandle curve. After a few moments of meditation I was ready to calmly walk up to my residence, go inside and proceed to the bathroom. However, much to my infinite consternation, part way up the stairs the family mutt barked (note, make young Tyrus dig a hole in the back yard and shoot the dog he wanted in front of him as a lesson for not keeping his infernal beast quiet and angering his father. Also include this in your planned upcoming instructional guide to parenting tentatively titled "How to Raise a Son to be a Doctor but Still Make Him So Ashamed He Turns into a Suicidal Alcoholic.") and snapped my concentration and a cold sweat instantly poured over me. I sprinted for the front door with such fury that I would've assuredly beaten Don Lippincott in a foot race at that moment. I was simultaneously fumbling for my keys and disrobing on the front porch in full view of all the neighbors before finally getting inside. This led to a long turtle walk down the hallway and past the missus to the toilet where I was finally able to unleash all of my glory upon the porcelain throne. After a solid minute of such wrath I was contemplating if this was the end of my days and was embarrassed that the headline off tomorrow's Times would certainly read, "Baseball's Georgia Peach Found Dead After Crapping His Brains Out His Ass." Fortunately the terror soon stopped and after a quick cleansing I retired to my bedroom for the evening where I plotted a plan to make Wild Bill Donovan suffer what I had gone through this eve."


Tyler said...

Wow, my eyes crossed when I saw the layout change. This has to be the first MTMO change since I began reading in '06. I like it.

Dr Huxtable said...

This is the greatest thing that I have ever read.

beefshower said...

@ Tyler: Thanks. I've been thinking about changing the layout for awhile. Blogger sucks in that regard because they only have about 10 templates to choose from. I also put a twitter feed up and tried to get a facebook link but couldnt figure it out. Any help would be appreciated.

@Dr. Huxtable: Thanks. I'm glad to see your still checking the site.

Tyler said...

Yeah aside from the whole "free" thing, there aren't too many options. I guess you get what you pay for. I've been trying to convert to an actual site for some time now but I'm horrible at committing to anything.

With sidebar links, we have a twitter link on our site and I used a "blog list" for the "add page element" thing to do it. We just use Blog List for any side bar stuff, because for some reason that other shit doesn't always work.

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Anonymous said...

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Rudy said...

TWO posts? 2? since the beginning of the season? Come on, you don't get paid the big bucks for blogging to leave all of us out in the rain.

Get back to work.