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Rickey Henderson – Hall of Fame Linguist

Part Cobb, Part Satre

Part Cobb, Part Satre

The 2009 MLB Hall of Fame class will be announced later today and one thing is for certain; Mr. Rickey Henderson’s name will be announced.  Thank the heavens.  The numbers don’t lie.  First in all-time runs.  First in all-time steals.  First in leadoff homers.  First in third person references.  Before Rickey, the word “I” was the most common word used by athletes.   Now the time has come to salute Rickey.

Without Rickey’s groundbreaking reconstruction of the English language by means of shunning the first person where would the sports world be?  Bo Jackson would have just been a stuttering bull from the Deep South had Rickey not paved the way.  Manny Being Manny?  Rickey Being Rickey is the only “being” that matters.  Put all of the on-the-field excellence Rickey exuded aside and ponder how it really feels when someone you’re speaking to refers to themself in the third person.  It’s quite odd, and furthermore, it’s a little intimidating.  When a person answers a question in the third person it completely removes the question asker from the conversation.  Thus, it is no longer a conversation, but instead a monologue of the most disassociated sense.  Example: “How’ve you been?”  “FlyMaster’s been working on his type speed and FlyMaster’s font choices are improving.”  See, that just sounds cool, yet removed.

Rickey’s gifts to our cultural lexicon do not end with his mastery of the third.  No, he also made the non sequitor, the double entendre, malapropisms, and syllogistic arguments forms of art.  From standing in his New York condo and saying he could see the “Entire State Building,” to telling the A’s “if you want to pay me like Mike Gallego, I’ll play like Mike Gallego,” Rickey channeled the best of Ty Cobb and Jean-Paul Satre.  A philospher capable of creating poignancy from simplicity.  Who can’t appreciate a man who would stand in front of the mirror, nude and repeating “Rickey’s the best” for several minutes with the asceticism of St. Augustine before games.  That, my friends is a higher calling.  Rickey’s philosophical genius bears itself in his reaction to becoming Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th strikeout victim.  After fanning Rickey said “Ryan just blew it by me, but it’s an honor….Rickey will have another paragraph in the baseball books….Rickey already is in there three or four times.”  Genius, plain and simple. 

Here’s to the greatest leadoff player in history, the first left fielder to be inducted since Yaz, the man who could not recognize John Olerud after playing with him on two teams, and the “symbol of great base stealing.”  All hail Rickey.  Rickey hail Rickey.  FlyMaster can’t wait for the Hall of Fame speech.

FlyMaster Signing Off…For Now!

January 12, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, Major League Baseball, Talkin Trash | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment