Thursday, June 21, 2007

What do Sandy Koufax and Guns N Roses Have in Common?

Today marks the 300th post in the history of this blog. That’s a lot. Probably too many. Probably like 100 too many as this blog peaked a while ago and probably should have quit while I was ahead. But what occurred to me as I stretched this thing out for as much milk as I could get was this: The things in life that are truly great are short and almost perfect and stop before they create any other impressions. Now this can encompass a lot of things, but in the realm of sports and entertainment the prime examples, oddly, are Sandy Koufax and Guns N’ Roses.

Though Kofax played for twelve seasons, nobody really remembers much about him before 1961 when he won 18 games for the Dodgers. For the next six seasons, and especially the last four, he was far and away the most dominant pitcher in baseball, winning over 25 games three times, notching 3 Cy Young Awards (in an era when it went to only one pitcher in all of baseball) and one MVP. It is a legacy of domination that has never been matched in such a period, and may never be seen again. And then, after pitching in the 1966 World Series, a season where he won 27 games, Koufax called it quits citing his arthritic left arm. So while his career totals will never be on the level of Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson or Roger Clemens, all of them would gladly trade fifteen of their years in the big leagues for one of Sandy’s. What they wouldn’t trade, of course, is the $15 million they made in each of those fifteen season.

The point in Koufax was greater than anyone for a short period, and vanished before his legacy could be marred.

As for Guns N’ Roses, well, I have heard it argued that they are the greatest rock band of all time. And while I’m not sure whether or not I agree with that statement, there is a very simple reason why it is arguable: While some bands are great and continue to make music well after they are eligible to collect social security, most of them have had a bad album or five. As a matter of fact, I’d be hard pressed to think of a single legendary band that didn’t make at least one album that was wholly forgettable. Guns N’ Roses? They never even made a bad SONG. Essentially they came out with three albums (if you count Use Your Illusion as 2) and an EP (Lies) and I don’t think there’s a song on any of them that I skip. And after 1991 they never put out another record.

And not like Nirvana or Hendrix or Janis Joplin where they did it because someone died. No, they did it because Axl Rose is crazy. But maybe he knows something we don’t. Maybe he saw that his band couldn’t continue to make some of the most unique and hard-driving rock ever for decades, and saw no reason to keep on doing it. Or maybe he’s just an egotistical whackjob. Who knows? The point is Guns N’ Roses left us all with nothing but good music. There is no regrettable reunion album. There is no tour where they want to play some “new stuff” and everyone gets up to go to the bathroom. No. Guns N’ Roses made three and a half of the best rock albums ever and then said “Fuck it. We’re done.” So all we remember is the greatness.

I think money and greed keep a lot of people from going out on top. They see the opportunity to get more so they put out a mediocre product and their legacy is tarnished. I am not comparing myself to either of the aforementioned entities, by the way, just using them to illustrate a point. In my mind, the greatest things in life are almost perfect for a short period and then disappear. Leaving us with only memories of the good, and not holding on to create memories of the bad.

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9 Comments:

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a vain, egomaniacal, son of a bitch. I'll still miss your writing. Good luck...

 
At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Johnson said...

I agree with the GnR stuff, but we'll have to pretend that The Spaghetti Incident never happened.

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger minijonb said...

Wake me up when GNR release Chinese Democracy... I keep hearing rumors it'll be out this year...

 
At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Johnson said...

To paraphrase our buddy Klueber, Chinese Democracy is going to be out on the 12th...of never.

I've heard the demos for it and it sounds pretty good. Not nearly as good as the real GnR, but better than most anything else passing as rock music nowadays.

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger aikin said...

Damn Michael Jordan

 
At 3:13 AM, Blogger Dan-E said...

sandy koufax and guns 'n roses worship in one post. it's like i have brother.

 
At 12:53 PM, Blogger ANON1 said...

Good luck man! Welcome to the Jungle...

 
At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Jack said...

I was wondering if you can give us contact info (myspace, email, blog) for that "Hot Blonde Chick" in a previous post. I just saw it and I was shocked at the vulgarity and self-righteousness of this cunt. And then she has the gall to say that "etiquette is paramount" in the South, you know, while she can't even write a post without profanity and references to dick sizes. It surprises me that you would be friends with someone like this. Let us know who she is.

 
At 1:36 PM, Blogger David in DC said...

Koufax was unbelievable.

His picture has hung in Monkeyboy's room since before Monkeyboy could talk. It was in my room, from about age 7 on.

Sportswriter Jane Leavy has written a GREAT bio of Koufax. I heartily recommend it.

Of this GNR thing, I know less.

 

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