Sunday, July 09, 2006

Shortstops: The boy band

No, Yankees fans, this is not a Photoshop. This is very real, and I can hear what you're thinking: "Quick, Joey, give Derek your wife beater so he can cover up! He looks so cold. And . . . vulnerable."

Seriously, this picture, from a mid-'90s Sports Illustrated story on baseball's young (and apparently topless) shortstops, never ceases to crack me up. These guys must have had immediate regrets about agreeing to this thing, right? I've seen Johnny Weir look more macho. They must hate it. Well, except for A-Rod. All these years later, he still uses it as his Christmas card.

While we're in the mocking mood, a couple of other factoids and rumors about Shortstops Gone Wild:

• Nomar was originally supposed to be in the photo, but he fled the scene roughly .00002 seconds after Jeter suggested they all take it to another level and compare (wink, wink) "intangibles".

• Legend has it that amateur photographer Tim McCarver took the picture in his basement studio, which also happens to where he keeps Joe "The Gimp" Buck in a cage with a rubber choker ball in his mouth. You can kind of see his shadow if you look closely.

• Jeter no longer dares to gently rest his elbow on A-Rod's back under any circumstances - he fears the incurable affliction chokeusintheclutchitis might be contagious.

• I'm pretty sure Ben Stiller patterned his Zoolander character after Capt. Jetes. That look on his face? Definitely "Blue Steel."

• Dude, Ordonez is jacked. Was he mentioned in Canseco's book?

• Then-White Sox shortstop Ozzie Guillen was actually invited to be in the picture. But word is he walked in, took one look around at his semi-nude peers, muttered something about Mariotti, and left.

• A-Rod was originally seated in Jeter's spot, but he graciously agreed to move over to his right after Jeter selfishly refused to change positions.

• The whole thing came together only after A-Rod plied a reluctant Jeter with a six-pack of Bartles & Jaymes Fruity-Tooty Berry and smooth-talked him into it: C'mon, dude, it'll be fun. The chicks'll dig it. You're buff, dude! You're buff! Look, even Edgar's cool with it . . . he's already got his shirt off and . . . (gasp . . . oh my) . . . Edgar, put your pants back on! EDGAR, PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON RIGHT NOW!!! EDGAR!!! YOU'RE FRIGHTENING REY!!!"

(New column coming Monday, peeps. In the meantime, please keep the comments on this one PG-rated. We're a family blog, remember.)

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