Gastelum: Kanye West and the MLB (Sept. 21)
By Andrew Gastelum | Thursday, September 20, 2012
Many of today’s young sports writers are heavily influenced by the culture-meshing Grantland and the godfather, himself, Bill Simmons.
Today, this column is.
September and October – and just fall in general – represent the best season of the year for two reasons: baseball’s playoff race and major music releases. And with the release of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music album, “Cruel Summer,” we get the most anticipated release of the year at a time when baseball and its new playoff format are telling other sports to Watch the Throne.
Although it’s not the good ol’ days with N.W.A. and A Tribe Called Quest, rap groups are making a comeback – see Rick Ross’ Maybach Music or Lil Wayne’s Young Money. G.O.O.D. Music stands far above both with Kanye at the helm, and the group reminds us of Wu-Tang Clan’s top-notch stable of already-popular rap superstars all coming together for our audio pleasure.
And, naturally, when we all think of Kanye West, baseball immediately comes to mind. Well, maybe just for me, but if the MLB were the G.O.O.D. Music crew, this is what it would look like.
Miguel Cabrera is baseball’s Kanye West. As the undisputed center of attention, Migs can do whatever he wants and is doing just that, except take a microphone from a Hall of Famer in Cooperstown. Cabrera leads the American League in batting average (.334), RBIs (130) and slugging percentage (.615). One more home run and Cabrera would have the AL Triple Crown, something that hasn’t been done since former Domer Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967.
The third baseman single-handedly has the Detroit Tigers on the edge of a playoff berth, sitting two games behind the White Sox in the AL Central. In the past week alone, Cabrera is batting .483 with five home runs, 10 RBIs and 11 runs. Prince Fielder is simply lucky Migs hasn’t had Tigers coach Jim Leyland drop him from the team. And if his performance results in some bling, Cabrera could be a superstar all from a World Series.
Derek Jeter is baseball’s Jay-Z/Common, the battle-tested, smooth and steady veteran with a legendary rep. Jeter is 38 and still hasn’t slowed down, batting .322 on the season including his current 13-game hitting streak. And in his Empire State of Mind, the shortstop tied Lou Gehrig on Wednesday with his eighth season in pinstripes with 200 hits. If Jeter helps the Yankees fight off those pesky O’s, nobody will be messing with his “Clique” come playoff time.
Mike Trout is baseball’s Big Sean, the up-and-coming youngster filled with an insane amount of talent who is finally famous. Trout is a shoe-in for AL Rookie of the Year and a Gold Glove, while some have him slotted for MVP. And understandably so, as the 21-year old center fielder is second in the league in batting average (.327), first in runs (118) and first in stolen bases (46) despite spending the first few weeks of the season in the minor leagues. It’s pretty safe to say Trout has been working long nights on the baseball diamond to get a payday. Swerve.
Kris Medlen is baseball’s Pusha T, the highly intimidating and just plain mean sidekick making moves under the radar (definitely someone you don’t want to run into at any time). The Braves are 21-0 in games Medlen starts dating back to last season, and Atlanta fans surely must love the spirit of this young righty like 2Pac at Coachella. Medlen simply has no Mercy on opposing teams, going 7-0 in his last eight starts and putting up 125 innings and a 1.51 ERA just a year-and-a-half removed from Tommy John surgery. And Medlen’s variety of pitches represent stuff opposing hitters Don’t Like.
And to round out the crew, the Baltimore Orioles are baseball’s 2Chainz, an entity with hardly any talent that has suddenly blown up – but we all love them both anyways. The Orioles are at the top of the AL Wild Card, yet they have one hitter above .300 and their top starting pitcher has an ERA of 3.98 Their money – and payroll – is the farthest thing from being tall like Jordan, yet it doesn’t affect the team’s impressive 85 wins. If all goes well, these lovable O’s could be drinking champagne on an airplane while on their way back to Baltimore with some hardware.
It has, indeed, been a Cruel Summer, but it’s fall now and it’s all about that G.O.O.D. Music.