Whackos in a Ligue of their own
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

Sometimes we pretend otherwise in this space, but let's be honest:

We here at The Cooler live for the scene that went down at Comiskey last week.

Gamboa attack
This is not the type of father-son bonding we want to see at the ol' ballgame.
Yeah, yeah, we're supposed to wrap up the weekend in sports at The Cooler, we're supposed to nurse our Sparkletts and talk about Friday through Sunday happenings, and yeah, yeah, that Comiskey ambush went down on a Thursday night, but there ain't no way I'm passing this one up.

I see the Ligue family -- of the Chicago Ligues -- as the perfect weekend kickoff. Couple of shirtless cats with art-ridden torsos jump your basic big-league first base coach -- yeah, that's Cooler Central.

Immediately on Friday morning, the e-mails were burning up the Internet. I had to make contact with my braintrust on this topic, to dig up how my boys would assess a "Cops" episode breaking out at Comiskey. They did not disappoint.

By 9 am PT, T.C. had fired the first salvo to a few select recipients of the e-mail chain:

"Could you believe that crap in Comiskey last night? Check out the cat they arrested. Didn't De Niro base his 'Cape Fear' character on this guy?"

(At this point, the Page 2 editors should be kind enough to run the wire photo of Papa Ligue, shirtless, sporting his best "Coun'selllorr .. come out, come out, wherever you are!" look.)

Gamboa attacker
"Coun'selllorr .. come out, come out, wherever you are!"
The answers to T.C.'s "Cape Fear" gambit came immediately:

Wrote one buddy: "The first base coach said they were shouting something, but couldn't comprehend it. Turns out an audio analysis picked out that the cat was shouting something about 'Henry Miller's trilogy ... Sexus, Plexus and Nexus.' "

Perfect. The De Niro/Miller trilogy call.

Our boy Jay chimed in shortly thereafter. The word was out that the duo was father and son; Ligue pere and Ligue enfant, and Jay could not resist the enormity of this fact. He e-mailed:

"Father and son. Father and son! Not fishing, not building something, but getting obliterated on Southern Comfort and speedballs and going to the yard -- 'Come on, son, take your shirt off and let's go. He flipped us off.' "

(Let the record show that the boys in Bristol, Conn., understandably, are touchy about suggestions that someone might be using narcotics such as, say, speedballs. Let the record show, also, that we do not believe the Ligues were on speedballs at any time. It was merely fictional fancy by our buddy Jay, and we did not wish to alter his prose. But Page 2 does not have any belief that the Ligues were on speedballs. Southern Comfort, of course, is legally bought and sold in this country.)

William Ligue Jr.
William Ligue Jr. might be watching future baseball games from behind bars.
From down in L.A., our guy Sully overflowed with emotion on the scene.

Sully is the kind of guy who, like yours truly, lives for this stuff, lives for the seamy underbelly of American culture. In Sully, like in the rest of us, there is that recognition that, for all of America's constiutional liberties, for all of America's democratic ground-breaking as a nation some 226 years ago, there remains in America an element of trailer trash that no country on this Earth can touch. Should a Madison Avenue ad company be commissioned with marketing the topic, they could produce all kind of lowlights of our nation's lowest common denominator, with the catchy slogan -- "America: We Do Trailer Trash Like No One Else" -- in a sentimental, tear-inducing commercial campaign.

Sully chimed in on the e-mail, and in doing so, recalled a great moment on MTV a decade ago, when Lenny Kravitz, after some sort of man-made global disaster, uttered his analysis: "These are the last days, man. The last days." That's become a mantra for Sully.

"I told my buddy," he wrote, "that the video from Comiskey last night was one of the Top 10 greatest highlights of all time. I mean, a father and son? Are you (kidding) me? It's the last days, man. The last days. Hey, nothing like finishing up a three-day crystal-meth binge with an unprovoked attack on a major-league coach."

(Again, Page 2 is in no way intimating that the Ligues were on a crystal-meth binge. It's called poetic license, and we're sure that the Ligues were on nothing more than milk and cookies when the incident occurred.)

So that's how we saw the Attack of the Ligues -- the Chicago Ligues -- here at The Cooler. We can now scoot on to the Weekend List of Five, if only we can stop laughing in the meantime:

1. California ball
Do the rest of you outside of the Pacific time zone understand what's going on here? I realize that elsewhere on Page 2, many fine scribes have penned words about this Giants-Dodgers/A's-Angels scene, but I'm not sure you Eastern Standard Time guys understand. While you're sawing logs, sipping warm milk, or dreaming about Serena Williams and massage oil, we here on the West Coast are sweating out some outstanding stuff on the diamond.

Pac Bell fans
The fans at Pac Bell Park have caught a serious case of apathy.
What's most amazing, it pains me to admit, is what's going on down in Lotusland. The Dodgers, of all teams, showing a ticker! What in the name of Gary-Sheffield-Tanking-It is going on here?

The 2002 season has proven to yield an enormous sociological development, namely that Dodger Stadium has become Candlestick South.

And I'm extremely jealous.

In a role reversal to make the screenwriters of "Trading Places" envious, the Giants have become the team with the packed ballpark of blasé late-arrivers, and the Dodgers have become the team with the half-full yard of animals and ne'er-do-wells.

Used to be, Dodger Stadium was apathy personified, while Candlestick was filled with hardy souls, braving losing seasons and sack-shrinking cold breezes just so you could enjoy shouting profanities at L.A. when the Dodgers came to town. Now, since 1997, the Giants have been in contention every year, while the Dodgers have been, plainly, sucking eggs. This has made Giants fans, unbelievably, tame. This has made Dodgers fans, unbelievably, intense.

Now, they chant "Giants Suck!" or "Barry Sucks!" Now, they throw water bottles at Bonds. Now, Paul LoDuca dives into a dugout to catch a foul pop.

All the while, your average Pac Bell fan reaches for his cell phone.

I find this distressing.

2. Tiger and Ireland: hell of a deal
That there has developed a kinship between Tiger Woods and the Republic of Ireland is the damndest thing. Both are near to my heart -- Tiger as the reason I get to bleed the travel budget of the San Francisco Chronicle; Ireland as the ancestral homeland that overserves me to blissful states upon my rather frequent visits.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has become a real fan favorite in Ireland.
So Tiger went out in Co. Kilkenny this past weekend and hung another huge "W" for the pink-faced lads and lasses of Eire. I find this highly amusing, mostly because if a cat who looked like Tiger walked into your average Co. Kilkenny pub, the place would fall as silent as an Old West saloon when the out-of-town gunslinger rolled in. Mainly because Tiger is mostly Asian and black and Native American and ... well, let's just say that's not your average pub-dweller in Co. Kilkenny.

Thing is, Tiger seems to love Ireland. He goes there every year before the British Open, he chops it around at Adare Manor and Ballybunion and Limerick and Waterville and Royal County Down and Portmarnock, and he gives major pub to a country that's usually only known for, well, its major pubs.

So there they were on TV again, the Pink Faces cheering on Tiger; Tiger making all sorts of birdies for the Pink Faces. If only Tiger was a bigger partier. They'd love him even more if he walked into a pub and dialed up pints of Guinness until the next day's tee time beckoned. Instead, the farthest Mr. Discipline will go would be to order:

"Milk ... and put it in a dirty glass."

3. The 49ers got sick
The 49ers beat the Redskins 20-10. That wasn't the story, though. Story was, 17 members of the 49ers, including eight starters, got some sort of Satan Virus before the game, and were vomiting their guts out before, during and after the game. They even told us about having the runs.

Jeff Garcia
Jeff Garcia's stomach flu was so bad that he missed most of the second half Sunday.
Nice. Vomit, and the runs. The imagery would make Yeats blush, make Monet toss away his brush forever.

Bummer, right? Who wants to play an NFL game with the runs? It's hard enough meeting the league's stringent uniform requirements without worrying about stains.

Here's my take: Why tell us about it? Come on, man. If this was Old School NFL, they'd be dealing with loose valves all game, then not say a peep to the fedora-wearing reporters afterwards. You think Johnny U. would talk about the flu? Hell, man, Johnny U. would tear up a piece of turf, eat it to calm his stomach, then puke it right back up. Like a cat. Only Johnny U. would then lead the Colts on a touchdown drive. Afterward, you think he'd want an IV? He'd say to the team: "Boys, see you at the corner bar. Tell 'em to have the Jack Daniel's open when I get there."

Now, that's an IV.

4. Prep Glory -- live, from Hawaii
Local TV in Northern California provided live coverage Saturday night of the De La Salle-Saint Louis high school showdown from Honolulu. A high school tilt, on your cable box, at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night? Lord, being a sports fan doesn't get much better than this.

The only thing missing was a point spread.

See, De La Salle happens to be this Catholic school from Concord, Calif., about 30 miles east of San Francisco, and the Spartans happen to have won 126 consecutive games going into this showdown with the Plate Lunch Posse. I don't know about you, but a midnight snack of a high school going for win No. 127 against a pack of Samoans who average about three bills is my idea of Saturday Night Live.

Of course, De La Salle won, because they execute with the precision of Alexander the Great's army. They've now gone to Central California to take on the farm boys, Southern California to take on the big boys, and Hawaii to take on "da Islanders." They've come up aces every time.

You should have seen these prepsters, though. Big tackle, they've got a dance for it. Big catch, they're shimmying some sort of boogie. Touchdown? They've got the choreography clicked.

And to think, in high school all I wanted was to dance at homecoming to David Bowie's "Modern Love" without looking like I had a neurological disorder.

Times have changed, dweller. Times have changed.

5. A peek ahead
Just to let you few readers still left know -- next week's Cooler is live, from the Belfry, where the Ryder Cup is set to go down. The U.S. vs. Europe; Europe vs. the U.S. The big showdown. Don't worry -- I've got your back, my fellow Yank. I'll be wearing running shoes, fanny packs, baseball caps and talking as loud as I can throughout my entire stay in Europe, baby. And meals? If it ain't McDonald's, it's crap.

Come on. I've got my pride.

Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every Monday for Page 2.



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