Sunday, May 28, 2017

Lest We Forget

When I was a misguided 20-something, I quit my job, got out of my apartment lease, and moved to Paris.  I bought a one-way ticket for $99 on a long-defunct airline named "PeoplExpress".  I didn't speak a lick of French before I went.

I managed to teach myself French (which I spoke horribly), somehow got a job without working papers ("Local Bargain Jerk's Cash Consulting!"), and even introduced a few of the locals to baseball.  A friend was kind enough to carry a whiffle ball bat and a sleeve of whiffle balls on the plane when she visited me in late spring.  The French really liked the game.

A few years ago, I went back to Paris for the first time in about 20 years and I had a strange experience.  I saw a car just off the Champs-Élysées with a logo on it, but no other markings, and no lettering that would let you know the name of the manufacturer.  These cars were everywhere and it was like having a non-stop senior moment; For the life of me, every time I saw one, I could not remember the damned name of the damned car manufacturer that I'd seen all those years before.  

In times like these, my father's voice pops into my head.  In this case, his voice was saying "Stupid bloody Frogs!  They can't even put the stupid name of their stupid cars on their stupid fenders!"  I inherited his worldly and all-inclusive outlook, in other words.

I thought about this for a little while and was amused that this manufacturer was so confident in its marketing and branding efforts that they believed their logo alone was enough to cause people to stampede into their showrooms.  I was also amused that it was all lost on me, because even if I liked one of their cars, I wouldn't know where to go buy it.  "Smug damned Frogs," I thought, "they won't get any of my money."

I felt quite superior about this until I realized that plenty of American companies do exactly the same thing.  There's no name of the restaurant on the box or bag of fries on the right, but we all know where to go to get them due to the ubiquity of the company's marketing efforts.  Strange how that works.

Believe it or not, all this has a point that very much relates to IIHIIFIIc.

Like many of us, I was greatly amused when, on May 1, 2017, El Duque observed that the Yankees' loss the day before was one of those "pineapple-up-the-keister defeats".

This simple five-word phrase had an immediate and electrifying effect and Alphonso wasted no time latching onto it.  Just four hours later, he authored a post entitled "Okay, We Have A Name Now ; Pineapples".  The first sentences of his post put into words what many of us were thinking:
Duque's magical imagination has now given us an important, and long-lasting, new bit of baseball rhetoric;  The Pineapple. 
A loss that hurts so badly, it is as if......well, he has articulated the rest.
Since then, MANY writers and commenters on IIHIIFIIc have embraced this vibrant new means of expression.  Contributors have moaned that "we fans have to endure a 'pineapple' of a loss" ... that we have "no recourse but to bend over and enjoy the pineapple" ... that the team's performance in a certain game was sure to make this "another 'pineapple' day" ... that our bullpen's recent tendency to implode turned yet another game into "a true pineapple loss."  And on and on.

Even during the short-lived "OFFICIAL "Hey Juju Gods, is this working?" IT IS HIGH Game Threads", someone requested the other participants to "pass the pineapple" ... right in the middle of the game.  (I assumed that he wanted everyone else to share an extra pineapple if they had one and not actually "pass" a pineapple that had previously been ... well ... never mind.)

Which brings me to yesterday's game, a game that was NOT terrifically satisfying.  Yeah, yeah, we won and all, and that's great, but we only won because we somehow managed to score three runs on two hits.  On the way to our "victory" we blew a lead, struck out all over the place, nearly got no-hit by Jharel Cotton (no, not the purveyor of designer bedsheets, the other Jharel Cotton) ... a pitcher who, btw, is sporting a 5.56 ERA ... and who still almost managed to no-hit us.

After the game, my girlfriend and I went to the store to buy something to cook for dinner and she saw an item in the produce aisle that made her laugh.  It was a miniature pineapple.  I said, "Yes, that's like today's game."  She looked at me blankly, so I had to explain ― with as much gentility as I could muster  why the miniature pineapple was like a Yankees game the Yankees barely won.  She just sort of stared at me, the way females do.  Because I'm a dinosaur and do not carry a cellphone, I also had to ask her to take a picture of it which certainly didn't improve my standing.

The miniature pineapple is shown in my hands on the right.  The thing was about the size of a MLB baseball.

To put things in perspective, I decided it would be a good idea to find a full-sized pineapple so that everyone could compare the two and marvel at how small and less painful yesterday's victory really was compared to many other games we've suffered this month.

What you see above and to the left are the same set of hands holding two different pineapples.  I'd rather have the former than the latter and, while yesterday's game was a win, it was a pineapple all the same.

I started all this by talking about companies that are overconfident about the public's awareness of their marketing campaigns.  I wanted to make the point that new readers of the IIHIIFIIc blog might be confused when many of us talk about "a true pineapple of a game."

There's a story that Hall of Fame broadcaster Red Barber kept a 3-minute egg timer in front of him during games. Every time the grains ran out of the glass, he would tell his listeners the inning and the score and then he'd flip the glass over to start the cycle again.  

Red Barber was a pro and so are the readers and contributors of IIHIIFIIc.  I think that, every now and again, if we're still using the word "pineapple" to describe a miserable game ― and I share Alphonso's opinion that we'll be using this expression for a long time ― someone should include a link to where it all started, or at least where it was all codified.  We might even consider incorporating "The Pineapple" into the IIHIIFIIc logo, marketing brochures, and television commercials so that everyone is aware of what it's all about.

It's also important to note that, In addition to its IIHIIFIIc context, the pineapple symbolizes a sense of welcome.  The last thing we friendly Yankee fans want is to alienate or disenfranchise some new reader who might have some colorful opinions to offer.  We don't want to be like those smug Frog car makers who assume that everyone just "knows" who they are.  We need to remind everyone of the origin of this colorful expression, lest people forget.

We're winning 5-2 in the third as I type this, so hopefully this will be one of those "file for future reference" posts.  Or, at least we can file it until the next time one of our starters breaks down and/or our bats go silent and/or we strike out with runners in scoring position and/or Joey Binders sits a guy who had four hits the day before and/or Cashman trades youth for Lance Berkman in his 'Fat Elvis' period and, aw shoot, just pass the pineapple now.

The small one.  Please.


Rufus T. Firefly said...

I remember getting a McBeer on the Champs Ilysees about 25 years ago. The French were pisses that Mickey D's had soiled that boulevard.

You had to buy food to get the beer, so I got some fries. Wanted to cross off McBeer from my bucket list.

Now there are automated kiosks to order and mubbly-bubbly down the street for the middle eastern crowd that has taken over (in what would have been outdoors 'smokers' cafes). Thankfully the left bank hasn't succumbed as yet.

Alphonso said...

And let's all notice the size, ferocity and quantity of those needles on," the bigger one."

Great photo essay, LBJ.

DutchFan said...

I read this post during the game. A warning "longread" might be in order. One is not used to so many words anymore. It also made me forget to remember the things the Master said hat needed to be saved for generations to come.

On topic: The fact that Renault is a struggling brand with motors that tend to blow-out (Alonso) merely using a logo might not be the best marketing tool. Small sample size.

Paris is somewhat overrated.
Yesterday I saw a young man biking through Rotterdam wearing a Jeter Yankees shirt.

Just some highlights.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


Sorry for the length of the post, but I believe your technique might need a little work.

Whenever I sit down to read something, I look at how long it is before I start. If it looks like a short piece, I take a beer from the refrigerator.

If it looks like a long post or article, I take out two beers and put one in the freezer. When I finish the first beer, I get the second from the freezer and enjoy a colder beer while I finish reading.

Please try it and let us know how it works.

P.S. As an alternative, you could not read the post and/or not drink beer, but I wouldn't recommend something so drastic.

el duque said...

I think posts about pineapples could be the juju this team needs.

DutchFan said...

Interesting options - I wonder if it works with different kinds of liquor too.
Please write a new piece during tonight's game, maybe even a bit lengthier and I will give it a shot. Or two.

Thanks for the help!

Alphonso said...

Just as an international aside; Lot's of products Europeans refer to as, " other kinds of liquor," are frightening.

I mean they are designed to taste like peppermint or Belgian chocolate with a nougat flavor. The liqueurs are viscous and smarmy which, when consumed without ice, are like drinking cough syrup laced with an egg cream.

Stick with beer.

When you come here, we'll give you " jack and coke."

And sing with you.

Dutch beer. How can you beat that?

John M said...

Vodka and gin should be stored in the freezer as standard procedure. If you have the tonic in the fridge you can actually make drinks that stay cold without watering them down with ice.

I study these things.

This was a great post, LBJ. Thanks.