Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Rogues Gallery

(Special thanks to my co-blogger for retrieving the majority of the images below.)

The Yankees are getting Randy Johnson for Christmas, albeit belatedly. Me? I was fortunate enough to find the first season of Batman: The Animated Series on DVD under my tree. I'm not here to suggest that the two acquisitions are comparable, and yet the intersection of these respective changes in fortune is suffusing my mind in a peculiar way. The Yankees have always been the bad guys, but which bad guys are they, exactly?

Jason Giambi would have to be Bane: steroidally fuelled, and only fleetingly if sensationally relevant to a larger pop mythos. Memorable Batman villains need reasons for their actions other than "I'm a Batman villain," and this crucial ingredient was left out of Bane's recipe. Like Bane, Giambi's place in the rivalry will seem odd, quaint even, before too many more years have passed.

Randy Johnson
is about to become the Scarecrow: lanky, sinister, and fear-inducing. One of the few Batman villains who was successful in other endeavors before turning to crime, the Scarecrow devotes considerable talents to a needlessly malevolent purpose. In migrating to the Bronx Johnson (as Eric Neel has so eloquently contended) is doing the same.

Gary Sheffield is Killer Croc: strong, violent (just check out that swing), intimidating, but somehow completely uninteresting. A prototype of Bane, debuting roughly ten years earlier, with slightly more staying power.

Mariano Rivera most resembles the Riddler. The Riddler bases crimes around hokey puzzles that most of us have solved or seen solved by the time we are ten, but he somehow makes us forget that we know the answer. Mariano Rivera bases his success around one pitch, but somehow makes hitters forget how he's successfully retired them the last seventeen times in a row. They're both brilliant within carefully delineated parameters, and they're both a lot more trouble than they should be.

Jorge Posada
is the Penguin, pre-Danny DeVito and with apologies to Ron Cey. An underrated member of the rogues gallery, the Penguin is both more dangerous than you think he is and less dangerous than he thinks he is. Suits Posada to a T.

I'm tempted to assign A-Rod and Jeter to Scarface and the Ventriloquist, respectively. Scarface is a loud-mouthed wooden dummy/"crime boss" and the Ventriloquist is his mild-mannered "assistant." Whenever A-Rod talked last year, it seemed like Jeter's lips were moving. Plus A-Rod played the last four games of the ALCS like he had a hand up his ... anyway, much as I loathe them both, I decided this parallel would be too reductive to insist upon, although not too reductive to mention.

, on *snicker* second thought, is Two-Face. He's the greatest shortstop to ever play the game! He's a greedy egomaniac! He's a former 40-40 man still in the prime of his career! He's a glove-slapping weasel who can't back up the trash he talks! Eh, flip a coin.

Derek Jeter, as might be expected, is the Joker, the first face you think of when you think of evil in Gotham. To be honest, this might be higher praise than ol' Blanche DuBois deserves. Menacing as he is--he was the only Yankee still putting up a fight in the last two games of the LCS--Jeter simply can't match the Clown Prince's macabre and inspired zaniness. Still, a history of inflicting pain counts for something. Besides, just look at that smirk. Tell me you haven't seen it on a Visa commercial.

The Bronx Zoo has closed, kids. It's Arkham Asylum now.


At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was retarded.

At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHA, that was soo random but funny. I was laughing the whole time. With every comparision being true... Good stuff man, just good stuff.


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