March 2008

Fields of Dreams

It should be noted that although I love playing catch and had a pretty good season as the starting third baseman for the Zagat Survey softball team last year, I am not a very good baseball player. In fact, I stunk. I played some third base and a little left field and although I was a decent fielder, I couldn’t hit to save my life. I think I may have had a couple walks and a bloop single or two during my little league career but that was it. I think this is why two things struck me in the past week.

36720063Number one: Even though I hate the Yankees, a true fan getting the chance to play for his team, even if it’s a gimmick, is something I could only dream of. So, cheers to you Billy Crystal. Yeah, you may have struck out. Yeah, you may not have made a decent movie since City Slickers. And yes, you may be supporting the Evil Empire (NYY not HRC). But, you’re a fan and you got to live out every fan’s dream. I can’t hate you for that.

N116702353_30664147_9714_1The second story warms my heart to the cockles because it comes from the team I love. Again, yeah, I know he didn’t make it and maybe it was just a blogger gimmick. But still, trying out for a Tiger’s minor league affiliate is pretty outstanding. The best part about this story is how out of place this guy looks but how he makes the best of it anyway. Kyle, you’re an inspiration to us all.

So, that’s what I have to say. On a side note, how do you think Haiti is this time of year?


New York State of Mind

Obama08_1Ah, being a grown up is so much fun, isn’t it?  Really powerful, historical, ground-breaking adults have been making all kinds of dumb moves in recent days.  And the pundits will never get tired of these goings on.  Really, they won’t.  Ever.  I know because I’ve been listening to them all evening.  I even got to see Pat
tell a female panelist on MSNBC’s Live with Dan Abrams to
"shut up" so he could go on to say Ferraro was absolutely right…and then over on CNN, Anderson Cooper interviewed a P.*.M.P. (a real live one) to get an inside look at the world of executive women of the night and their frequent high-profile political clients.  Ah, thank the gods we can always get away from it all with baseball…

…unless you’re watching the Yankees.  Yes, they’re up to their old tricks again.  Does anyone really wonder why so many people hate the Yankees?  No one loves to hate the Orioles.  No one loves to hate the Padres.  The Reds?  No.  Seriously, that malicious take-out slide (in a spring training game!) by Shelley Duncan just days after they nailed Eva Longoria–er, I mean, Evan Longoria, sorry…one-track mind–was more than just trying to break up the play; it was trying to break up Aki Iwamura’s kneecap.

But we’re used to seeing these kinds of antics from the Pinstripes.  And I’m not saying that poor sportsmanship doesn’t happen on other teams; I’m sure it does, but because it happens in Pittsburgh or Oakland or Minneapolis, where the BIG MEDIA MACHINE doesn’t care or even know that baseball exists, we’ll never hear about it.

Instead we’ll be fixated on Duncan cleating Aki, or A-Rod’s sleezy "I got it!" move in Toronto, or Clemens throwing a bat shard at Piazza, or A-Rod slapping the ball out of Arroyo’s glove, or Zimmer taking a swing at Pedro, or Hillary (who was born and raised in Chicagoland) saying "I’ve always been a Yankees Fan."  Ah, the Yankees.  Gotta love ’em.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.



I’m Jeff Lung and I Approve This Message


The whispers are getting louder regarding Tony LaRussa’s
controversial plan to have the pitcher bat eighth in the lineup.  The idea here is to generate more runs as well as more RBI opportunities for Albert Pujols.  Having first seen this implemented with some success
during the ’98 season and used sparingly last year, it appears that TLR will be
more stringent with his approach during the 2008 campaign.

Fear NOT Cardinal Nation! Though this teeters against the baseball machine of purism, I would like
to reassure you that this does indeed work. In fact, to prove it, for the last seven days
I have batted the pitcher in the eight-hole on my MLB 2K6 video game for the
Xbox and the following data has been collected for that stretch:

  • Record: 8 Wins, 0 Losses (had a doubleheader in one of them
    due to a previous rain-out in Cincinnati)

  • Ave. Runs per Game: 17

  • Total Runs Scored/Total Runs Against: 157-23

  • Albert Pujol’s HR total: 13

  • Pujol’s Total ABs with RISP: Every single time

So, clearly you can see that this is a valid baseball move,
just like the wheel play or the hit and run or the suicide squeeze.  Naysayers, shame on you.


And speaking of shame, it appears that the Evil Empire’s
immoral infrastructure has now reached the Governor’s office—well, at least the
man who works (soon-to-be-worked) in
said office. Talk about curveballs, holy geez, who ever saw them comin’!?!


Good Day, Gov’nuh!


Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right…





Ruminations on Pennsylvania and Ohio

With the upcoming Pennsylvania primary poised to settle things for the Democratic nomination, it got me to thinking about that wonderful state. But now I have a question. How did the Phillies and the Pirates both end up in the NL? The Eagles and the Steelers are in different leagues. Every city that has two teams in the same sport places them in different leagues. Even the Cardinals and Royals are in different leagues and god bless ’em but there ain’t much else that Missouri can get right. So, how did this happen? (That’s a rhetorical question because I have no idea.) Anyway, it kind of worries me because if Pennsylvania goes and gets it wrong like Ohio just did, we could be in for a tough electoral (and baseball) season. And their history doesn’t really inspire any hope in me.

Speaking of history, I’d like to thank Mr. Lung for bringing up a very important point in his recent post, Denounce and Reject. How is it possible that in today’s age of steroid fueled sporting achievements, a true legend is left out of the Hall of Fame because of an unfortunate addiction? Was Micky Mantle left out because he was a drunk? The ongoing Rose snub is probably one of baseball’s greatest injustices and deserves to be remedied.

Maybe later on when my mind is less scrambled I’ll write something that actually means something.


The Ghosts of Wyoming

With the recent Obamamania invasion of the state of Wyoming,most of us only recently remembered that it was indeed part of this
nation. For those of you who don’t know,
this typically Red State who’s largest city boasts a population of 53,000
people, is a sparsely populated range of wilderness that is home to many a
gun-totin’ conservative, bible-thumpin’ cowboys, and yes, even a minor league
baseball team.


The Casper Ghosts of the Pioneer League call Casper, Wyoming (population 49,644) home. Besides the obviously tired pun of their
name, the Ghosts of Wyoming are known as “the only team in minor league
baseball to wear glow-in-the-dark caps”
! Yay for them! What a rudimentary
gimmick to get fans to come to the ballpark! Oh, but wait, that’s not all…


In fact, if you manage to finish your homework assignment on
why Creationism trumps factual science, your mom and dad might let you go to a
game. And if you’re really good and don’t curse or say ‘kill the umpire’, you might
just come home with one of these:


Of course, I am all for baseball anywhere in this world,
even in Lord Cheney’s home state. So if
you do go to a Ghosts game, make sure you bring your rifle; you never know what
could run across the field.




Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right…






P.S. I can’t wait for
this season to start…

What Is It and How Is It Cured? (or An Homage to My Father)

It’s Mozeliak and it can be cured by calling it


It’s here’s
to another hundred years
, yeah, good luck with that. No cure.


It’s playing by the rules so no, Billary, they
won’t count.


Based on your competition, you’re still getting ripped off; I have no sympathy.


It’s Allen Krause, and no, I don’t know where in
the world he is either.


It’s addiction and yes it can be cured but you have to work the program.


It’s fantasy baseball and no, you can’t beat me.


It’s called self-righteousness; maybe if you
lost the attitude we wouldn’t care so much.



It’s a hanging slider and when AP’s at the
plate, fuhgettaboutit.



But is that it? Is
that all? You mean it’s been this way
the whole time? Really? Or is it something else? You know the answer. I wish I did. I’ve been thinking about this one all night—no, longer than that—about 29
years now and all I have is a huge headache. I feel nauseous from looking deep down inside (I can’t see too well) but
I have followed my nose (it’s a big one, thanks to Mom) and yes…ah…yes, here it
is…right here:

It’s meat. Put some
salt on it. Hang it on a hook. Voila.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right…




On an historic night that saw an unprecedented swing of political jockeying,nothing in the entire world was more shocking, more gutsy, more brilliant than Governor Mike
Huckabee. Yes, ladies and gentlemen,
Governor Huckabee did something tonight that he had never managed to before in
his entire 52 years of existence: he said something cool.

In a race that he never should have been in, touting crazy, wacky! ideas like pursuing Jesus as a
possible VP and convincing the late Oral Roberts to raise up from the grave to
handle directorial duties at the Office of Homeland Security, Governor Huckabee finally stood up and did the right
thing. He quit.

And though it came 6 months later than it should have, he followed his
resignation from the race with one of the greatest concession speeches
ever. He quoted George Brett:

Well, George Brett was one of the
greatest baseball players of all time. And in his career for the Kansas City Royals, he was asked, when he was nearing
the end of his career, how he wanted his last play in the major leagues to go.
Well, everyone assumed that he would say that he wanted to hit a grand slam in
the bottom of the ninth to win a game, perhaps even a World Series. He
surprised all of the sportswriters, because what he said was, "I want my
last play at bat to be that I hit an easy, just one bounce to the second
baseman, and they throw me out at first. But I was running as hard as I could
toward the bag when they got me."

And he said, "Because I want it
to be said of George Brett that, no matter what, he played his best game, he
gave it his best, all the way to the very end." And he certainly did just

I have to admit, that is a great story. Governor Huckabee’s use of it says great
things about George Brett—who everyone knows was a legendary ballplayer. The quote certainly was the shining star of Huckabee’s
political career so far. And like my
educated, level-headed contemporaries, I hope it is the last. But let us not be completely blinded by the
simple-mindedness of the far right. Let
us let them have this great baseball quoting moment, for it is a very rare
occasion when the Christian conservative movement resembles anything like
humanity…humans…from Earth.


George Brett was a paragon of the baseball working class.  He didn’t have the raw talent of an Alex
Rodriguez, the natural snap on a fastball like Nolan Ryan, the pure power of a
Babe Ruth. He didn’t have the luxury of
being pampered in Boston, New York, L.A.  He didn’t end up on the front page of the New
York Post every morning flashing Versace shades and a $500K Rolex. No. He ran out every
groundball, chased down every pop-fly foul-ball and knocked the catcher on his
tail at home plate.

He was heroic. Mythic. He was an all-too-often overlooked champion of what baseball was meant to be.

Governor Huckabee, it sure sounded cool and I give you mad props
for that, but dude, comparing yourself to George Brett is a huge stretch.


other news, John McCain gave his victory speech in front of a banner with
“1191” written on it. For those of you who didn’t understand what the number
meant to suggest, “1191” is the year that Senator McCain was born.

And a final note: is there anything cooler than John King’s ginormous
touch-screen computer on CNN’s Election Center? I wonder how much one of
those thingys costs…

Of course, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right…



Denounce & Reject!

In the wake of a heated debate over semantics between two ofour nation’s most prominent leaders, I realize that in recent months I too have
made the grave error of not being entirely clear on where I stand when it comes
to the important issues of baseball—this nation’s greatest game. In fact, as a marginal baseball purist who
respects certain progressive movements within the institution in order to bring
the game to a wider audience, many of my contemporaries have gone as far as to
call me a flip-flopper (daresay!) simply because I chose to denounce rather
than reject myriad controversial ameliorations.


Let there be no question. I may not have
said it in the past, but life is certainly not about the past (just ask Mark
), so I take this opportunity to make it absolutely clear that I do
hereby DENOUNCE & REJECT the following atrocities afflicting our precious
game today:


REJECT: $6 Old Style 20oz. Cans at
Wrigley Field


I can walk to my local general store and buy an entire 6-pack
of Old Style 20 ouncers for $4.39. I go
to a ballgame and have to take out a loan to get my fill of an awful excuse for
a beer. To make it worse, this is the
cheapest beer you can get at Wrigley and lord knows that if I’m going to
Wrigley, I have no choice but to drink in case the bleacher bum hooligans try
to start something with me. It’s a catch
22 really: drink and I’m better prepared to stave off any threats of violence,
while at the same time, drinking forces me to use the men’s room more frequently
and the men’s room is where I have been most frequently targeted. Perhaps the real issue is me wearing my
Cardinals hat and jersey while throwing about inappropriate remarks like “We
are the Champions!”, “Cubs S**k” and “Broglio for Brock, Broglio for Brock!”
while standing at the trough surrounded by drunk frat guys from DePaul. Nah, that can’t be it. It’s the $6 Old Styles.


REJECT: Individuals Who Sing ‘Take Me
Out to the Ballgame’ Incorrectly


People, it’s crackerjack, singular, not plural. And yes, it is a double negative, “I don’t
care if I never get back”. It means I
want to come back. Come on. And really, it’s “root, root, root for the
Cardinals”, no matter where you are or who’s playing.


REJECT: Pink Cashmere Sweater Wearing
White-Collar Sex & the City Watching Rush Limbaugh Listening Cell Phone
Talking Mai Tai Drinking Who’s Winning Asking Trophy Wives with the Best Seats
in the House


(See A fan for all seasons, by Allen Krause)


4. I DENOUNCE & REJECT: The NY/BOS/LA Lovefest Media’s Propensity to
Totally Ignore the Existence of an NL and/or AL Central Division


The Cardinals, the Astros, the Cubs, the Brewers, the White
Sox, the Tigers, the Indians, the Twins. Here we have eight teams that have been consistently good in recent
years, with heated division races year in and year out and yet the lead story
on Baseball Tonight almost always has something to do with A-Rod and a
stripper, or Man-Ram failing to cash his check from the Indians in 2000 because
he didn’t have time to go to the bank or whether or not Jeff Kent will be an
a-hole this year. Ridiculous.


5.  I DENOUNCE & REJCECT: Those Silly Between-Inning Games that Require
Us to Keep Our Eyes on the Ball Under the Hat on the JumboTron While they Spin
Around Like Crazy


You know what I’m talking about. And you know how ridiculous it is. I’ve read the reports and I know that we US
have short attention spans, but come on, we’re baseball fans. We get off on watching the third basemen move
a few steps towards the line when a right-handed pull hitter steps to the
plate. We make it a point to watch and
see who warms up the right fielder in between innings. We write entire blog entries on the strange
between-inning rituals
of our favorite players. Are we really that starved for entertainment that we will succumb to
watching a guy spin around a bat ten times and try to make it to first base
without falling down?


REJECT: The Growing Tendency of Teams
Having 12 Different Uniform Combinations


I admit, I thought it was kind of cool when the White Sox
introduced the ‘alternate’ all-black jersey. Many teams followed that trend: the Rockies,the
Marlins, the Devil Rays, the Reds, the Angels, the Pirates, the Mets, and many
more. The problem is that they didn’t
stop with just the one alternate jersey. Now teams carry 3 or 4 alternate jerseys and sometimes more than that:
with sleeves, without sleeves, black, alternate team color base, with
pinstripes, without pinstripes, and alternate pants too! Come on. Can we please go back to road greys and home whites? When I turn on a game I don’t want to spend
the first ten minutes trying to figure out who’s playing by trying to decode
the odd uni combos.


REJECT: The Constant Mispronunciation of
Chinese Names


Yes, my bias enters here. It’s Wang (pronounced wahng, not waing). It’s Chen (pronounced chen, just like it looks, not chaing). It’s Chien (pronounced jee-AN, not jen). You guys took the time to get Daisuke’s name
right, show a little respect for the godfather of Asia,


REJECT: The Fact that at US Cellular
Field a Miller Lite and a Sam Adams Cost Exactly the Same


Beer again, I know, but come on. How can you charge $7 for a Miller Lite and a
Sam Adams as if they’re equal in quality? Who in their right mind would buy a Miller Lite? You’d be real surprised how few Sox fans can
actually tell the difference.


REJECT: MLB Superstars Who Fail to Own
Up to their Mistakes


Come on, Barry. Roger. Mark. Come on now. I like to think that MLB fans are among the smartest devoted followers
of sport. We are also the most
forgiving. We love Ty Cobb and he was an
absolute abomination of a human being. We love Babe Ruth and he was a man of many vices and mistakes. But you know what? They never shied away from who they were in
the public eye. They owned up to their
shortfalls. Look at Andy Pettitte. The nation loves him again because he was
honest and didn’t take us for a bunch of fools. Be honest about that cream, Barry. Admit that wasn’t B12, Roger. Talk about the past, Mark. We’ll
love you for it.


…and finally…


10. I do hereby
Baseball’s Ban on Pete Rose

Somebody hit Selig over the head and put Charlie Hustle in
the Hall of Fame. Let him come to the
ballpark. Just think of how much more
exciting the game would be with Pete in it. This is 2008. Our future
president admitted he did blow. Our
current president did blow all the time. Our previous president smoked ****-o-weed. Why can’t the baseball brass recognize how
archaic and asinine their decision to ban Pete Rose for life is and how
negatively it has affected the game? Get
over it, Bud. Do the right thing.

And please, please, please…don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.