There are just some days when you want to look up at God, or your version thereof, and say, "OK, OK, you are funnier than Lewis Black. And crankier, too."
I mean, even if your God happens to be no God at all (we are nothing if not inclusive), you have to see the cosmic smirk in a week in which one man (Ryan Freel) can credit his imaginary friend (Farney) for making him one of the most exciting Cincinnati Reds, while another man (Eddie Johnson) can credit another guy with his name (Eddie Johnson) for a good hard day of hell.
|'Nice catch, Farney. Pujols must be pretty ticked off.' (AP)|
Freel told the Dayton Daily News' Hal McCoy (at least; there may have been others as well) that in the moments after a spectacular catch off Albert Pujols that "not even Farney believed he made the ... catch." He then goes on to say that Farney is "a little guy who lives in my head who talks to me and I talk to him ... Everyone thinks I talk to myself, so I tell them I'm talking to Farney."
Now, ignoring the possibility that McCoy might have this confused with the voices in his own head (years in the Cincinnati press box will do that to you), what we have here is a man who is either a charming little imp, a publicity slut who has come up with a new gimmick, or someone who might just be bats. If the Reds get to the playoffs, Farney will become a bigger deal than Bronson Arroyo, and at this point, the Reds would take that deal without hesitation.
In either event, it certainly puts into a new perspective Cincinnati general manager Wayne Krivsky's complaints about being hoodwinked by Washington's Jim Bowden, who allegedly knew that pitcher Gary Majewski had a bad arm when he traded him to the Reds. I mean, if Krivsky knew he had been playing 26 men all year, he'd be in no position to complain about procedure.
On the other hand, there is the Eddie Johnson story, in which Johnson the Phoenix broadcaster and 17-season NBA star steps off a plane from Hawaii with his family and finds out that he has been confused (again) for his namesake, who is being accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl and a 25-year-old woman.
Now Eddie Phoenix Johnson (the blameless one) has been confused for Eddie Auburn Johnson (the not-so-much one) before, but this is raising the ante quite a bit. Phoenix Johnson is by all accounts an exemplar, while Auburn Johnson is a rap sheet with feet, but when Phoenix Johnson comes off the plane to learn the hot water he has been dropped into again is now at full boil, well, you see the problem.
The Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune and ESPN, among others we suspect, made the error, and though the Tribune delivered a forthright and even noble apology the next day, the damage was done.
Well, some anyway. As it turns out, if you are coming off a plane from Hawaii with your family, and someone says you've been accused of molesting an 8-year-old in Ocala, Fla., you at least have your first alibi: "Honey, I was with you, and we were both 5,000 miles away." If nothing else, he's immediately clear with the wife.
The rest of it gets chalked up to journalistic haste, as well as the natural impulse of forgetting that there was more than one Eddie Johnson (I mean, there's only one Eddie Johnson I think if when I think NBA players, and that's Good Eddie).
Anyway, the lesson is this: One man's multiple personality is another man's cross to bear, and we still haven't gotten to Maurice Clarett.
And frankly, I don't think we'll get to Clarett right now.
That's a story that is going to get a lot darker as soon as we learn more whys to go with the whats, and there is no thigh-slapping, commode-hugging good-time laugh-fest to be found here. It's a train wreck that won't get better on any level unless Clarett recognizes this as rock-bottom and changes his direction. It's an old Alcoholics Anonymous philosophy that you can't help someone until they've hit the earth's crust, and while it seems like that to us, it is far more important for it to seem that way to Clarett.
And as for Ryan Freel, I hope they are very happy together.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.