SPORTS

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November 8, 2002

I hate Barry William Zito

All right: pasta doesn't make a last name, right? Even if you change the last letter. Here are some names that don't exist:

Joe Linguino

Frank Mostacciolp

Tony Tri-Color Spiralr

Rudy Angel Haiø

Sam Cous Couf

Billy Gnoccha

Rick Dinosaur-Shaped Macaroni and Cheesk

Similarly, Barry "baked" Zito does not exist, yet he insists on existing. I need not illustrate this point any further. You don't give Cy Young awards to pastas, nor do you offer them to biscuits or white raisins or instant Quaker oats. This is the first argument for why Pedro Martinez (NOT a pasta) should have won the Cy Young this year. There are others, but I can't think of them right now because I hate Barry Zito.

Barry Zito is probably a good guy, and is a weirdo. Unfortunately for Zito and other weirdos who happen to be major league pitchers, the "quirky pitcher" angle was exploded by Bill "Spaceman" Lee, whose list of accomplishments follows:

1. Hating the DH

2. Talking to animals

3. Sprinkling marijuana on things (including buckwheat pancakes)

4. Giving his young daughter a box of baby animals for her birthday

5. Actually thinking he was from outer space

6. Being awesome

Barry Zito's weirdness is limited to playing the guitar, wearing girl clothes and talking to his arm. Talking to animals > Talking to arms. Barry Zito doesn't even have a young daughter or daughters to whom he might give a box full of baby ducks and chickens, so it looks an awful lot like the score is Spaceman 2, Zito -24.

Back to the fact that Pedro Martinez should have won the Cy Young award again this year. A statistical breakdown is necessary. First, Pedro's numbers:

E.R.A.: 2.26

Strikeouts: 239 in 199 1/3 innings

W-L: 20-4

Babies kicked: none

Families saved from burning buildings: 500

Now Zito:

E.R.A.: 2.75

Strikeouts: 182 in 229 2/3 innings

W-L: 23-5

Babies kicked: hundreds

Arson attempts (unsuccessful) on Boston area family-owned buildings: 500

Gravesites of D-Day casualties defaced: 4700

Orphanages dynamited by ZitoCorp: 54

Special Olympians mocked: 8

Al qaeda members harbored: 3

Some may argue that Barry Zito is a team player, an excellent competitor, and the possessor of the best curveball in major league baseball. These may all be excellent arguments, but they don't mean that Barry Zito isn't a total jerk, a terrible competitor, and the worst thrower in the game today. Those same people would point out that the only three things explicitly meant by their first three points were the things we say they didn't mean.

Some things need to be set straight. Barry Zito plays for the A's, who are a bad organization, for various reasons. Most prominent among these is that the A's are choke artists. They tried shipping out Jeremy Giambi for not sliding last season. Didn't work. They still choked against the Twins, paving the way for the Angels to win the World Series. America is not over that, in case you were wondering. Oh, and who coughed up game three of the A's-Twins Series? That would be number 75, mister kooky curveball good competitor, Barry William Zito. It might not be entirely Barry Zito's fault that his team let the Yankees and the Angels win the World Series, but as my dad used to say, "If it's not Barry Zito's fault, blame him anyway."

The case that controls the bar for I Haaate versus Zito is not, as certain idiots might think, the People versus Randall D. Johnson. The People versus Johnson is a case of people hating a guy who is extremely good at baseball for being ugly and really too tall, and also killing birds. The precedent that we, the thinking sports media, need to consider in our case against Barry Zito is that of Greg Maddux. By all accounts, Greg Maddux is one of the best starting pitchers of the last 25 years, yet not one person in America likes him. This is because Maddux is a dork, from Las Vegas, his dad was accused of fondling a hotel employee, and sources have speculated that Greg Maddux gave his tacit approval to and may have abetted ESPN commentator Gary Miller's peeing out a window onto two Cleveland police officers, which we can all agree was the worst thing ever to happen. My point is, we don't have to like Barry Zito just because he is a good pitcher. There are plenty of good pitchers who spend their entire careers un-liked, many of whom are better people than Barry Zito in that they don't wear women's clothing. Prominent examples include Erik Hansen and Tom Candiotti, who are not cross-dressers as far as anyone knows. More names on that list: Charles Nagy, Matt Morris, Sidney Ponson, Brett Tomko and (probably) A.J. Burnett.

To recap: Zito is an arsonist who hates his non-existent daughters. Zito is neither a pasta nor a baseball player. I hate Barry Zito.