Its a mailbag....Your feedback addressed, or undressed as it may be

On occasion I’m going to read some mail and respond to you, my readers.  Remember, nothing is too much or too little to discuss, and keep the feedback coming!
            Hey Busdriva, how awesome would it be if J.P. Arenciba wins Rookie Of The Year this year, and Brett Lawrie wins it next year?  Has that ever happened? And what do you think the chances are?

              First of all that would be amazing.  But it’s not going to happen, for a couple of reasons.  Primarily, that average (.222) is too low.  While the homeruns (23) and the RBI’s (78) are great and fine, and he has worked tremendously on getting better at both calling games, and keeping baserunners in check, he’s at this point, an all or nothing hitter.  Had he come in around at atleast the .250-.270 range, I would have thought he would get a lot more ROY recognition, but as it stands, I think he will garner a handful of second or third place nominations, but not many firsts.  Besides if you look back at the last few years, the only position players to win ROY have been Dustin Pedroia, and Evan Longoria, and while I am a firm J.P. supporter, and I think he will bloom into an amazing catcher, hopefully for the jays for a long time, I wouldn’t go as far as to say he is in either one of those previous winners category (yet).  If I got a vote, and sadly I don’t, I would say Ivan Nova, at 16-4 with a 3.62 ERA, playing on a Yankees Team that is under the spotlight every day, every game, and constantly in playoff contention since opening day, should get the award.  As much as it pains me to vote for any Yankee, for any reason, especially one with the audacity to throw at Jose Bautista’s head (payback for that was sweet thought, wasn’t it), Nova stepped in, and some would say rose to number two in that rotation, behind Biggie, oops, I mean C.C. Sabathia.
               As for Lawrie, well, truth be told, as fun as it has been, A.A. didn’t really do him any favours bringing him up at the point of the season that he did, from a hardware perspective that is.  I believe the minimum at bats for a full season is 110-125, somewhere around there, and Lawrie had that up in late August, early September, which will make this his rookie season, as opposed to next year.  Lawrie should have been up here opening day, except that we needed a spot for a guy named Bautista, so we could finally get to see the real Travis Snyder, whom for the record I am over.  Rest assured though, if Lawrie, as stated in a previous blog, by a very intelligent, and good looking man, can maintain at atleast a 75% clip of what he has done, and the Jays continue to build around him the way they should, and have, then number 13’s trophy case will fill, just won’t contain the “you only get one chance at this one” Rookie Of The Year. 

                As far as it having happened before, the only time I can really think of, off the top of my head, would be Bobby Crosby (04) and Houston Street (05) both with the Oakland athletics.  I don’t know if it has happened before that, or in any other sport, and quite frankly, I don’t put enough stock in the award to even bother looking it up.  You can feel free to, and let me know though…..  

                Wait, I actually got curious, and found something I should have known, but for some reason didn’t, the Oakland Athletics from ’86 to ’88 had three Rookies of the Year.  Drum roll please…………………  Jose Canseco,  Mark McGwire, and Walt Weiss.  I’m not going to lie, that is pretty impressive.  But looking back, who would have thought Weiss would have finished up as the most reputable.  That’s all the research im prepared to do on this subject.        
             "Busdriva, I enjoyed the PAC post. Always thought the Outlawz were some guys who worked at a Carwash and Pac let them be on Hit Em Up so they wouldn't steal the change out of his ashtray. In the end, Pac's anger is what made that track, you are right But, FYI, Dear Mamma is officially in the Library of Congress at D.C. as an example of modern music."

                "Busdriva, are you prepared to handle all the death threats you are going to receive after making a statement that Pac wouldn’t make your top 20 list?" 
                I will address both these at once since they are related.  For starters, I did not know that Pac’s Dear Mama was in the library of congress, that’s actually really interesting, but I did know that they study some of his work at the University of Berkeley.  I believe there is actually a course dedicated to him, as part of another course dedicated to creating your own curriculum.  When last I read about it, it started off as a dream for some foreign kid, no disrespect, I just don’t remember where dude was from, and after a short period of time, they were above capacity in enrollment.  But I don’t think it’s about him poetically, as much as it’s about him poetically and sociologically.  Again though, that will require some additional research, that I’m not prepared to do at this point, and will possibly investigate further and blog about independently in the future.

                Now, as for the death threats, lol, this is the movement I spoke briefly about on that blog.  Only Pac fans would even think about death threats based solely on one man’s view of a rhetorical all-time top 20 lyricist list.  But that’s what he was about, and that’s how you feel.  I respect and appreciate both.  I’ve actually had this debate with a few people personally, since that blog went up.  And after some thought, and work, I could adequately provide them with a list of 20 rappers who belong on that list, ahead of our beloved Shakur.  Some of them suspect some of them no brainers.  And while I’m not in the business of rescinding anything I say, it’s just not what I do.  I will go on record with an amendment, so as to appease the faithful, and so I don’t have to look over my shoulder more than I already have to.  Pac could be in the top 20, he had the ability to maybe even reach the low teens.  Had he been more diverse, and concentrated more on the lyrical delivery he displayed on occasion, as opposed to constant anger and, dare I say, shock value, he would have been on that level.  And that’s enough said on that subject, let the man rest in peace, or in Mexico, depending on what you believe.
                "Busdriva, I love your blogs, I look forward to reading them every time you write them.  I also creep you on facebook and twitter, although I’m not on either one as a follower (you should really up your privacy levels).  I think your adorable, and smart and funny as hell.  Can I have your mailing address, I want to send you a pair of my panties……"

                Where to begin here?  I know neither why you would want to send me your panties, nor why I would want them.  But since I am the peoples blogger, who am I to say no?  Email me, I’ll give you the info you desire, unless of course this is the I.T team screwing around again, in which case, well played, retaliation for this one will not be minimal……    
                And that’s the mailbag folks, what fun we had.  I assure you we will do this again, and soon. I love the feedback, and love hearing from everyone. I have to honestly say, I didn’t think it was going to get as big as it has as quickly as it has, but my promise to you has and always will be, you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.  Feel free to send questions, comments, fodder, and musings to, and follow me on the twitter @busdriva23.   


What do you do when it consumes you?  When it becomes everything you think about?  Somehow dwells in everything you do.  When all of a sudden listening to your favorite music isn’t enough to get your mind off it? When coffee in the morning doesn’t wake you up like it once did?  When your hobbies and interests are constantly interrupted to the point where you simultaneously aren’t enjoying them, and aren’t even doing them to the extent of how they are supposed to be done.  They have just become routine, where they once stood as a backbone to your ever increasingly busy day, regardless of whether or not that “busy” had been fabricated by you purposely to divert your ever wandering attention away from it. You fought it for so long, yet it won’t dissipate, regardless of what you partake in to occupy your mind.  It drifts back and forth, much to your regret.  The subconscious is a powerful thing.  It can be beaten.  It has been beaten before.  It will be beaten again.  But this is different.  You try to convince yourself, just don’t think about it.  Not once are you allowed to.  You challenge yourself.  First step is to go an hour.  The next step will be a morning.  Then onto a day, and if you can get to a day, then three days should be plausible. What’s next? A week?  Two, maybe three? Walk before you run you tell yourself, this is achievable.  Then you realize a cold hard fact.  For the last twenty minutes while you were hatching this unassailable plan, you haven’t stopped thinking about it once.  This is a tall order.  You can’t recruit, because you’re strong, and refuse to bring people into your problems.  They have their own tribulations to deal with, you convince yourself.  You shouldn’t even feel this way, why is it their problem?  You spend time trying to persuade yourself into believing that.  They are friends of the highest caliber, battle tested and proven, yet you continue to refuse.  Humility and pride are your downfall.  Discussing it will show your weakness.  You’re in isolation for this one.  That’s when it happens.  You start to become moderately comfortable in desolation.  You look forward to your down time, because at least you get to remember.  But remembrance slowly turns to malevolence.  Sorrow replaced with anger.  How? Why? You fathom any rationality you can think of.  You demand atonement.  You deserve this, is your reasoning.  But there is none.  No answers, no explanations.  Just remoteness.  You and your thoughts.  At this moment they are your single greatest foe.   How much longer will this go on for?  You can’t really take much more.  You miss being happy.  The happy you display on a very semi regular basis is fictional.  But people know.  Regardless of how much you try to suppress it, it’s written all over you.  It has been for a while. You haven’t been here before, well, you have, but not like this.  Such is the difference between sympathy and empathy.  You can relate it to other situations you’ve endured, but you’ve never endured this.  Go to sleep, or at least try too, maybe when you wake up it won’t be as caustic.  That’s what you said last night.  And the 2.5 hours of interrupted sleep you got didn’t do a thing.  Tonight will be different.  At least you hope so.  It has to be, because you don’t think you can take much more.   The one thing you do know for absolute sure, the past is the past, the present is harrowing at utmost best, and the future is unsure. What do you do when it consumes you?

That dude was real.

Being the fifteenth anniversary, (wow, 15 years already) I thought I would briefly reflect on the enigma that was Pac. My first experience with him was on a mix tape that I found at the Baif half court that I practically grew up at. I found the tape under a park bench, I suppose someone had dropped it, and it turned out to be one of the single greatest finds in all of eternity. Up there with the fact that our planet is round and the earth isn’t really the epicenter of the universe. I was about 13 years old, and in that time, when the internet was just a pipe dream, good music was very very hard to come by. The tape was simply titled “the SHIZNIT” and from front to back was nothing but pure bangers. Who ever made that tape was clearly a clairvoyant, because looking back, almost every song on those 90 minutes of ear heroin could easily make any purists top 20 all-time list. A stand out cut on the tape was Tupac’s “I get around”. I didn’t know who this guy was, but after that song, I knew he and I would get along just fine. From that point on, I can honestly say I enjoyed a lot of Pacs music. “Me against the world” start to finish is a classic, cuts like the title track, dear mama, and old school are in heavy rotation on my YouTube account. And the Makeveli album, well, when that album comes on my iPod at the gym, let’s just say I’m extremely sore for a few days. But let’s look deeper into what made Pac, well Pac, and what his place is in the pecking order that is the hip hop icons list.


I’m going to say it, and 90% of you, which is what 4.5 of you, because I probably don’t have many more then 5 followers, are going to bug the fuck out. Pac was a slightly above average rapper at best! Those of you who say he was the greatest of all time, well, you can probably park real close to malls and community centers and stuff, cause your clearly handicapped. Now, occasionally Pac rips something word wise, like in the aforementioned “me against the world”, “changes”, and “thug mansion”. You could probably debate too, that if “all eyez on me” were slimmed down to a single cd, it could presumably be one of the best albums ever, and Pac absolutely killed, lyrically, tracks on it, “can’t c me”, “only god can judge me” and the title track “all eyez on me” are from a rhyme standpoint, Pac at his finest. But there was way too much filler on that album. Again, delusional Pac fans will insist that Pac and filler should never be used in the same sentence, everyone just calm down. What Pac lacked in lyrics though, he more than made up for, with raw emotion, and passion for his art. He couldn’t paint a vivid mental picture like a B.I.G. or a Pun, nor could he make you dwell deep into your mind to figure out what he meant, ala Rakim, or Kane. But he could get you amped up. Got a ball game? Throw on Pac. Amped up. Got a party? Throw on Pac. Amped up. Want to fight? Throw on Pac. Amped up. He more than anyone, could get into your heart, blood and head. He was like M.O.P times Freddie Foxx Times 25. When you hear the intro to “can’t c me” “The blind stares of eyes, lookin hard but won’t realize”, you’re ready to do just about anything. I remember seeing 5’7 guys dunking basketballs, people who had nothing act like they were kings, hell, I once saw a midget knock out a giant with that song in his Walkman. Dude was that real. From a compensation stand point, there is nothing that makes up for not so strong lyrics like the angst and rage of a poverty stricken young black male. (I usually make it a point to not associate young rage, youthful pain and poverty with being black, because I believe that circumstances like such are not pertinent to any certain ethnic background, but this after all Pac we are discussing, so it stays). His emotion and talents to motivate is his greatest asset. Not his lyrics.

Battle Rapping, Beef.

If there is one thing I can assure you of, it’s this. You don’t want a feud with Pac. He somehow single headedly divided an entire country into two coasts. That’s the kind of emotion and motivation I spoke of earlier. Do you think that, when Jay and Nas were beefing, that they were actually looking around corners to ensure that they didn’t bump into each other? I doubt it. But if you were in a rap feud with Pac, that’s what you had to do. Not since the NWA days did anyone believe more of what a rapper was saying, when it related to criminal activity. Mobb Deep said they were going to shoot you, you brushed it off. Pac said he was going to shoot you, you stayed home. Dude was that real. This is a guy who had a shootout with police for Christ sake. He talked it and lived it. Now as far as actual battle rapping goes, he was again, alright at best. I can only imagine the day he had when he went in to record “hit em up”. You know there was no juice in the fridge when he woke up. Didn’t have any clean socks when he got dressed, and hit every red light on the way into the studio, only to find that someone was in his parking spot. To top it all off, he probably got one of those really annoying carpet shocks when he tried to open the door to the lab. There is no reason for anyone to be as mad as he was that day. He was charged up enough because of the whole bad boy beef, but he was on some other level shit there. But let’s say this about “hit em up”, if it was by anyone other than Tupac, that shit would be whack as hell. It’s off beat, it’s a jacked melody, it has no flow, and did you know there are other guys on that song too? The Outlawz were garbage on that track. Solidifying that Pac rules everything with what he is saying, not how he is saying it. “Hit em up” will go down in the pantheons of history as one of the best diss records off all time, but I think it should be used as an example of how not to make a song.

Message and Motivation.

Pacs political messages were both rampant and divided throughout the ups and downs of his career. One moment he had you thinking he could have been the first black president, the next moment you were thinking, when is he getting locked up again. From swearing off thug life, to reinstating it, to worrying about the youth of that day’s society, Pac was everywhere. And while some say that’s an ingeuine stance to take, I’ll tell you this, you are that way too. None of us are completely left wing or right wing. But what most people do is they promote what they believe in, and accept what they can’t change or fight. Pac wasn’t about that. He believed that violence couldn’t be avoided at any cost, yet he also had a firm stance on single teenage mothers. He carried a gun everywhere, but told the youth to stay in school. And whether you remember this or not, he switched sides regularly. Most people, when they think of Tupac, they immediately throw up a west side. But Pacs roots were in Baltimore, and later Oakland. However most of his younger work had east Coast written all over it. It wasn’t until he got bailed out of jail, did he become the matriarch of the West Coast. That’s a lot of flip flopping both demographically and politically, but it was never questioned as far as authenticity was concerned. Because his authenticity was never in question. He never lied to us. Dude was that real. Could rep one
hood, then bounce to another, because that’s what the situation called for. So when you are listening to any particular album, and you hear a melodramatic track about the up movement of the youth tied in metaphorically to a rose in cement, then two songs later you hear Pac calling woman nothing but bitches and hoes, you don’t wonder where his head is at, because his head is everywhere, and he believed everything he said. You should too.

In conclusion, I’ll leave you with this. Anytime someone dies at the tender age of 25, that’s a travesty. But, and again, here comes the commentary from the cheap seats, Pacs death was necessary. Not only for the fact that not even he could keep up the image he created for much longer, or the fact that getting shot, again, and finally succumbing to a hail of bullets solidified his street credibility, but from a sociological stand point as well. Pac had such a following of young angry teenagers waiting for his every move, hanging on to every word he said, and following everything he did, that when he died, hopefully their eyes were opened to the dangers and tragedy that come with that lifestyle. If Pacs life reached out to millions and millions of listeners, then hopefully his death can reach out to a small percentile as well, and it’s a sacrifice that society has taken since the day Jesus got pelted to death on the cross. One man in exchange for a greater good. There’s no telling what Tupac Amaru Shakur could have lead these followers to accomplish, if given the proper amount of time and resources. We could very well have had a revolution of societal upheaval and seen a generation of youth advance well beyond what their circumstances dictated. But it could have very well gone the other way too. As for his place in history, from a rapper standpoint, lyrically I’d be pressed to get him into the top 20 all time. But from a legacy standpoint, and what he brought every day and every night, his leadership, and message (sometimes), his passion, and his changing of the game forever, he belongs in the high teens, at max. Go fourth and play 6 or 7 of your favorite Pac tracks, get “I get around” in there somewhere if you can, just for me. And big, BIG shouts to the homeboy Treach for making one of the best tribute songs off all time, “mourn you till I join you”, have a listen wont you.

R.I.P. Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996),

See you in Thug Mansion

Brett Lawrie. The next A-rod, or the next Hinske

Ok, well, maybe A-rod is a little extreme.  No one deserves that pressure no matter how big their “phenom” tag is.   Rodriguez may very well be the last player in a long, long time, to make a run at the homerun record (and don’t start with the steroids either, it’s an era people). Conversely, Erik Hinske may not be completely deserving of the other end of the spectrum.  Yes he went from rookie of the year to 8 year journeyman, but he also holds the distinct title of the only man to appear in three consecutive World Series’.  Winning two.  Not a bad career by any stretch of the imagination. 

So, 30 games into his career, it’s time to have a look at Brett Lawrie.  I’m not going to talk about his year in the minors, because, well, it was in Vegas, and in the Pacific Coast League, where even I could hit .330 with 25 jacks.  We will just look at his numbers from “call up” time.  After 107 at-bats, “Kid Canada’s” stat line is as follows, .318 BA/.381 SLG/1.064 OPS.  8 homers, 21 RBI’s, 7 doubles, 4 triples, and hell, let’s throw in 5 steals for fun.   Take a second and read that again.        Let’s assume 535 at bats is a regular season, it’s probably close anyway, but for the ease of math we will use that number.  So pro-rated, his line would read (slash stats stay the same), 40 HRs, 105 RBI’s, 35 doubles, 20 triples, and 20 stolen bases.  That’s ridiculous, and if pro-rated numbers were honest, hell, punch his ticket to Cooperstown now, retire his number and raise it to the rafters, because every jays record is about to crumble.  This is where everyone needs to calm down, because anyone who knows baseball, knows those numbers won’t hold up.  They can’t hold up.  If they do, then all of a sudden I don’t miss Shaun Marcum half as much as I do.  In reality though, if number 13 can even produce at a 75% clip of his current torrid pace, then I’d be emphatically impressed.  But Lawries talents reach further then his stick.  It’s been well documented that his forte is that of an offensive force, and his defense is supposed to be secondary.  Secondary to the point it may even be thirdly.  But from the sample size portion I’ve seen thus far, that could be the worst scouting report ever had.  Just this weekend, I saw him involved in 2 separate double plays, one starting, and one finishing, via the run down, that could easily make sports centers  DP’s of the year (hee hee).  I’ve also seen him bound to the left and the right to rob base hits with diving stops, and when fielding, he takes his time and fires strikes to first base with an arm that more resembles a canon, then an appendage.    

But what I saw on Sunday may be the best measure of his hopefully soon to be grown into talent.  Two separate plays showed what this kid is made off.  First, in the middle innings of a no run ball game, a line drive one hopper was rocketed at our hero.  And as sometimes is done, especially by rookies, it was slightly misplayed.  Not booted by any means, but mishopped, and flipped in the air in front of him.  But Lawrie didn’t kick dirt, grimace, or slap his glove.  In what seemed like a single motion, he snagged the flipped ball out of the air, as if it was by design, and launched a rocket to Eddie at first to still get the runner by a step.   Composer.  Pride.  Most importantly, respect for the game.  The seemingly unheard of hybrid of extreme talent, and the ability to play the game the right way.  Sort of like a John Macdonald, with all the tools Johnny Mac didn’t get blessed with.  This kid has heart.   This brings us to the second play I witnessed.  In the ninth, Lawrie came up to the plate, and Allan Ashby commented that just about the only thing he hasn’t don’t yet, is get a walk off.  Well, maybe ol’ Ash jinxed it that at bat, because Lawrie struck out.  But don’t fret.  Our protagonist had his chance to add to the resume in the 11th.  And with two outs, and Dan Wheeler looking to extend the game, Lawrie hit a Delgado, rookie season era, type blast off the formerly known as Windows Restaurant windows.  It was hit so hard, that the Red Sox infielders were in the dugout before the ball even landed.  First walk off homer in the books.  Heart. Respect for the game.  And viscous, viscous numbers thus far.  The next year or 5 will certainly be something to see, especially if he keeps this up.  It will be exciting, it will be action packed, and most importantly, it will be winning baseball.  Yes one player can make that much of a difference, if used properly, and built around the way he should be.  I highly doubt Brett will be the next A-rod.  I’m almost certain he won’t be the next Hinkse.  But if, like I said, stats at 75% and playing the game the right way, like he has shown as the only way he knows how, the question in a few years may very well be, “who will be the next Brett Lawrie???