Siberian Baseball

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Contact the Pulitzer committee, we have a live one here

(Note: In a rare crossover post, this also appears today at the Siberia, Minnesota site as well.)

Newton had his apple.

Benjamin Frankin had his kite.

I had ribs for dinner tonight. It's serendipity, bitches.

In a stroke of genius so stunning that I nearly vacated my bladder, things couldn't have been more clear than when I put down a quarter slab of pork ribs and suddenly found the perfect description of how I feel about Barry Bonds and his quest to become the all-time home run king.

Without further ado, I give you the Barry Bonds/spare ribs corollary.

My grandfather was a butcher. My parents were both excellent cooks and my dad more than knows his way around a grill. I'm old school and wouldn't trade my Weber for the newest outdoor kitchen that passes itself off as a grill and a lifetime supply of propane.

Hank Hill can kiss my ass.

I grill on Sundays, making enough for a minimum of three or four meals during the week. My thinking is that if I'm going to have a sausage or a burger on Wednesday, it might as well taste grilled. It takes no significant increase in time or effort and helps keep cooking to minimum when we're busy during the week.

Despite my love of the grill, I have a dirty little secret - I rarely make my own barbecue sauce. I lean on Sweet Baby Ray's and use the stuff as a catch all condiment. It's my opinion that a meal can always use a little Baby Ray's.

In addition to making things easier, I can't come close to preparing ribs that are as tasty as slathering on some Ray's. Now, if I took the time, tried recipe after recipe and weekend after weekend to perfect a sauce, I'd probably come close or even beat the store-bought stuff, at least for my tastes.

Hell, I'd go so far as to say the when friends and neighbors came over after a summer or two of tinkering, they'd say, "Good God damn, that's some tasty sauce! Where'd you get it?" and I'd laugh and tell them I make my own because I'm hardcore like that and then tell them if they wanted I could send them home with some.

Then I'd bask in my own smugness because I'm a prick like that.

The bottom line is that I didn't really "make" the ribs. I bought the meat, threw some store-bought sauce on them and added heat. Not a ton of work considering.

Sure, I have a good family background like Barry and those base skills enable me to get as far as I do and perhaps keep me at better than average. Without an understanding of meats, convection cooking and the difference between direct and indirect heat, I'd be sunk.

While Barry's pedigree helps him hit a baseball as well as he does, it's his grasp of fundamentals that has kept him in the game this long. It's great to hit a ball 550 feet, but if you don't consistently make contact, you don't set single-season walk records and force discussions about rule changes with regards to intentional free passes.

Now, we can all agree that Barry used some combination of steroids, HGH, cream, clear or whatever to get where he is today in the home run pantheon. While not technically "illegal" in baseball, there was something more than milk and Flinstones chewables going into Barry's body.

Like my ribs, Barry had a lot of help in getting the desired results.

I like the ribs I cook. The Girl loves the ribs I cook. I see nothing wrong with serving friends these ribs with pride, but there is no way in a million years I could stand back and say, "These are without a doubt the best ribs on Earth. Behold, I make the greatest ribs on the planet! I am the all-time rib king!"

I didn't raise the hogs, select the hogs to be served or slaughter said hogs. I didn't dress the meat, ship the meat or package the meat at the supermarket. Likewise, I didn't select the spices, cook the sauce or anything remotely close to "creating" either ribs or sauce.

Do I make good ribs? Yes. For this house? Without a doubt. In the neighborhood? I'd take the Pepsi Challenge with any of the weekend warriors firing up their grill on this block. I make really fucking good ribs.

Do I make the greatest ribs of all time? Hell no! Not when I didn't really "make" much of the ribs myself when it gets down to it.

Can Barry outhit the rest of the Giants? Yep. The NL West? Can't see why not. Is Barry one of the better hitters of his generation? Why not, let's give the man that. Barry Bonds is a good hitter.

Is Barry the best home run hitter of all time? Hell no! Not when he didn't really hit the home runs himself when it gets down to it.

So while baseball purists and even casual fans will scream that Barry has no place in any record book and should be banned for life, I will sit quietly, wrapped in my newfound perspective on the subject.

While Barry may bring his ribs and blow everyone away at Grandma's 85th birthday picnic, you and I will know better. His ribs have been store-bought, which is fine as long as he doesn't start claiming that he alone makes the best ribs in the history of outdoor cooking.

Even a little bit of bottled magic disqualifies you as the greatest of all time regardless if you're slugging or grilling.

(Image from /


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