April 2008

The Confusions of Malice

Yes, the sky is falling.  Pitcher Micah Owings pinch-hit a dramatic, game-tying homerun; Reverend Wright seems determined to ruin his own agenda and the agenda of Hope politicians en masse; Ronny Cedeno joined Ryan Dempster in predicting a World Series appearance for the sCrUBS; Hillary is still in the race; Roger Clemens can’t get away from his tainted past; Bill O’Reilly is still on the air; the Cardinals — winners of an NL best 10 World Series championships — have won more games in April (18) than they have in any season previous and the media still ignores them; I have watched An Inconvenient Truth five times this week; Albert Pujols has reached base in every game so far this season — every game; and my MLBlog partner Allen Krause — a future ambassador for US Americans to the world — wrote something that the most seasoned grammarian could not even begin to understand: 

“The closest thing I could come up with is that the enemy of the enemy
of my friend is my friend. But, that’s a pretty tenuous connection.”

The Enemy of the Enemy of My Friend? April 29, 2008

Tenuous?  Maybe, if we could understand it.  Enemy of the enemy of my friend?  You were watching a Cubs/Nats game.  There was only one enemy (Cubs) of your friend (Me).  The enemy of the enemy of your friend would be the Cardinals?  But they weren’t even playing.  The enemy of the enemy of your friend is your friend?  Is this the type of head-spinning verbal ping-pongy misspeak my taxes are paying to teach you?  Just for that, they should give me a $600 refund every year.

SI_fukudome.jpgSo since you brought it up, Al (or at least it I think you did), let me talk about the Cubs for a second.  Please know that my purpose is not to turn Red State Blue State into an all-out Cub-bashing forum.  I am smart enough (see Fulbright Scholar for more info) to realize that the Cubs have put together a solid team this year.  But for Sports Illustrated editors to plaster “It’s Gonna Happen” on the cover and a tag line that says: “Fukudome can end the 100-year wait”? 

Excuse me while I go puke.

Fukudome can do it?  Really?  All by himself?  He’s the key?  Really?  What about shoddy defense and crappy pitching?  That’s what usually loses it for the Cubs.  They’ve been fielding big bats for a long time.  Lee, Ramirez, Soriano.  How is Fukudome going to come in and save a bullpen infamous for choking late in the game?  How is Fukudome going to stop some guy in the left field line seats from going for a foul-ball?  How will he then stop the lynching by drunken crazies?  Fukudome isn’t the answer and he never has been. 

And oh yeah, we’re only at the end of April, and the Cubs aren’t the best team in baseball right now so let’s start talking about them winning a World Series already.  Yeah, that’d be prudent.  Put it on the front page of a sports authority magazine and PRINT IT! 


Even more unbelievable is the fact that Chicago Tribune writer Rick Morrissey finally acknowledged that Cub fans might just be as obnoxious as everyone knows they are in this titillating article.  My favorite part is where Morrissey says: “It’s not always the family atmosphere the organization says it seeks.”

Really?  You mean cornering a guy wearing the opposing team’s jersey in the bathroom and bashing his head on a urinal isn’t what the organization seeks?  You mean Cub fans jumping the wall to attack their own pitchers isn’t desirable?  What about throwing beer bottles at right fielders?  Is that conducive to a family environment?  Thank the gods someone in Chicago (other than me — who can admittedly be a bit overbearing at times) recognizes the ridiculous frat party that Wrigleyville becomes during games.  I mean, these are the same family-focussed folks who brought us the “Cuck the Fardinals” t-shirts that show a Cubby bear performing sodomy on a redbird as well as the more recent Fukudome shirts that present a slant eyed Cubby bear donning Haray Caray glasses shouting “Horry Kow“.  Wow.  What a nice way to welcome the man who you say is going to “end the 100-year wait”. 

Yes.  Nothing says ‘I love you’ like racism. 

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.  Especially on this one.



The Enemy of the Enemy of my Friend?

Sunday afternoon I had my first opportunity to hit the ballpark, soak up some rays, drink a few beers and enjoy watching the Nats as they entertained the visiting Cubs. However, as they say, sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men…..

Allen_NatsJumbotron.jpgTurns out that after a week of ridiculous heat and asthma inducing humidity, the weather gods decided to turn things on their head a little bit and go more for the mid-50’s with mist sort of atmosphere. And I’m not going to lie. When you’re sitting in the upper upper deck, way out in left field and that wind starts to blow off the Potomac, it ain’t pretty. And it wasn’t. But, I’m a trooper so I got decked out in my Sunday finest and headed for Nationals Park.

What can I say? It’s a new-fangled ballpark. They serve mixed drinks, they have Ben’s Chili Bowl and the seats aren’t too nasty yet. The game was a close-fought contest and the Nats prevailed. There were a couple of spectacular plays by Reed Johnson of the Cubs in centerfield and Ryan Zimmerman of the Nats at third.

But in the end, although I love visiting new parks, there’s really only one place that I consider home when it comes to watching baseball: Comerica Park. And yes, I know it’s new and I know it replaced Tiger’s Stadium which was a classic old ballpark. But you know what? When it comes to the Tigers, I don’t think they can do any wrong. This is a team that made me accept Gary Sheffield as one of our own despite the fact that I still picture him in Yankee pinstripes. And I just don’t have anything close to that affinity for either the Cubs or the Nats. The closest thing I could come up with is that the enemy of the enemy of my friend is my friend. But, that’s a pretty tenuous connection.

So, as it stands, I’m just going to have to sit tight and enjoy baseball as I can. But don’t worry. The Tigers come to Baltimore in July and I haven’t been to Camden Yards yet. The Olde English “D” will be flying free in the Chesapeake Bay breezes. Of that you can be sure.


Moral Quandary III: The Barry Zito Story

barry_zito.jpgPoor Barry Zito.  People are really tearing him apart — as is expected because he has been awful — but sometimes the human in me can’t help but empathize.  Despite my sympathies, Bochy’s plan is to yank him from the rotation and send him to the bullpen so he can ‘work things out’.

If I’m Barry Zito, I’m loving this. 

How great would it be if I went to work tomorrow and my boss said: “Jeff, you’re doing a lousy job, so we’re going to allow you to not work so hard, lighten your stress, workload, etc. so you only have to work every couple of days or so in non-pressure situations.  Oh, and don’t worry, we’ll still pay you the salary you get paid now.”

Eureka!  Sign me up, Boss!  I’ll show up and sit on my ^ss for the first two thirds of the work day, practice making shaving cream pies and chew on sunflower seeds.  Just holler when you need me and make sure that the money is still in the bank. 

Yes, I’m being silly.  I know that Zito probably hates Zito’s performance more than anyone else ever could.  But honestly, I wish things were so “awful” in my life that I got a guaranteed 100 million dollars coming my way whether I do good work ever again or not. 

Though I previously alluded to a theory that Zito’s poor performance is perhaps rooted in his propensity for courting high-profile, high-maintenance divas, I am beginning to wonder if this isn’t just another deserved consequence of dealing with the Devil himself (in this case, the Devil is Scott Boras, not Ann Coulter, though she is still the Devil too).  Seven years and $126 million?  That’s a lot of dough.  Yet Major League teams are still willing to take on (and pay for) the inherent risks associated with any Scott Boras deal.  The J.D. Drews, Adrian Beltres and Carlos Beltrans of the world have been laughing all the way to the bank while not really living up to expectations, or their contracts.  So it seems that Zito may just be another chapter in this ongoing saga of moral quandaries teams face when dealing with the Devil.  I wonder if Boras represents Chinese speaking white dudes with an affinity for Asian antiquities?

On a lighter note, to quell the idea that I am a blatant misogynist proposed by a recent nameless commenter on a previous post, let me just say that, for me, it was hard not to notice that Zito’s troubles started shortly after his frolic with Lizzie McGuire.  I’m a guy.  I analyze.  That’s what I do.  And, generally speaking, I’m arrogant, but not rude.  I love my mother and enjoy spraying women’s perfume in department stores when no one is looking.  So sue me.    

To prove that I am indeed a fun-filled philogynist at heart, I have included some lovely pictures of Barry’s most famously attractive paramours.  It’s hard to argue with beauty — or attitude.

Thumbnail image for milano_zito.jpghilary-duff.jpg

While it’s great fun and all, looking at these pretty ladies forces me to face a moral quandary of my own; therefore, I will say goodbye, for now, so I can come to terms with the situation.  In the meantime, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.



The Filibuster

“At what point in the season will you cry hardest: when the Cubs win the
NL Central or when the Cards are mathematically eliminated from the
playoffs? And which brand of tissue will you use to wipe your nose?”

— Allen


Such a pleasant surprise to see you stretch those muscles of intelligentsia by presenting me with such a highly researched question of moronic proportion, Mr. Krause.  Though I am not immune to dodging your loquacious prods that are ultimately meant to force my hand into an all-out rant with repercussions that would probably get me into a lot of trouble, in this particular case, I am inclined to take the high road and make you look like an idiot.  But since you’re already an idiot, my job is just that much simpler.

Due to the fact that the foundation of your question is completely erroneous in itself, let me address it by quoting the infamous Jimmy Dugan:

“There’s no crying!  THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!”

So there, Al.  Now that you know there is no crying in baseball, you know I won’t be crying about anything.  But — and let’s just say I’m entertaining your idiocy here — even if there was such a thing as ‘crying in baseball’, what in the world makes you think I would have anything to cry about?  Would I cry about a team that has already surpassed the expectations of every single baseball-follower on the planet?  A team that boasts a record of 16 wins, a half game out of first place as we come to the end of April?  A team that presents a spring of young, exciting, homegrown talent with names like Brendan Ryan, Skip Schumaker and Colby Rasmus?  A team that has arguably the best player in the entire game in A.P.?  A team that has won with a no-name starting rotation (ironically) named Wainwright, Lohse, Wellemeyer, Looper and Pineiro/Thompson?  A team that is a perennial contender?  A team that manufactures wins where other teams (i.e. the Tigers) just kind of give up after they find themselves down?  Yeah (*cue the sarcasm), I’m extremely disappointed in this team’s performance thus far.  Yeah, I’m real upset that we’re winning without a lineup full of underachieving, overpaid superstars and a pitching staff more volatile than nuclear fission who collectively find themselves at the bottom of the AL Central.  Yeah, I’m real upset about that.

And you’re asking me — in April — which event(s) that may or may not happen in October are going to make me cry harder?  Ridiculous.  Absolutely ridiculous.  October is the furthest thing from my mind right now and you shouldn’t even think about it at all because you’ll just be setting yourself up for disappointment.  That’s right, Mr. Krause.  What I’m more worried about is whether or not you’ll become suicidal when my prediction of the Tigers missing the playoffs all together comes to fruition (and it will, so start the Paxil cycle now).  In fact, Al, you have a lot of nerve asking me such a question when your team can’t seem to figure themselves out while the Sox continue to win and C.C. and the Tribe find their old game.  Hockeytown has never seen such implosion — oh wait, yes they have (see the 2006 WS or any of their 100 loss seasons for more information).

What kind of tissue will I use?  Come on, Al, you’re starting to sound like a Cub fan.  Really.  Next thing I know, you’ll be creating racially insensitive t-shirts and selling them on the streets, getting drunk at 11 a.m., and knocking over little kids and their dreams to get your hands on a foul ball. 

Besides, real men don’t use tissue.  They use their sleeves.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.



**Click here for the Jason Grilli ERA Watch Update. The Italian Stallion’s back in the ring!

Moral Quandary Redux

Despite any protestation that Mr. Lung may have to the contrary, I have always been and always will be a one team man. My team has always been the Detroit Tigers and always will be the Detroit Tigers. Granted, they could shake my faith by trading for A-Rod or by signing Barry Bonds but even in those extreme cases, I will still find a way to love and stand by my team. And this is why I don’t support Hillary Clinton or Bill Richardson.

The other day as I sat checking my email, my muse (no, not Jeff) sent me a link to an interesting article. As I relished the thought of a Chavez-Richardson brouhaha, I remembered an airing of Meet the Press from earlier this year where Gov. Richardson tried to explain how he could be both a Yankees and a Red Sox fan. Now, although I realize that only a man who could try to logically justify the dialectical tension of simultaneously supporting the Red Sox and the Yankees could possibly have a chance at outwitting Senor Presidente himself, I myself am not so skilled as to be able to champion two forces so in opposition to each other. Perhaps I am just a simple man but I feel that truly supporting any team but the Tigers is a moral quandary to which I simply cannot subject myself.

Likewise, when the junior senator from the great state of New York claimed to equally support the Cubs and the Yankees, I failed to understand how this was possible. How can one person cheer for both the ultimate loser and the ultimate bully at the same time? It once again defies logic and leads to a moral quandary beyond the realm of my rationale.

obama_whitesox.jpgHowever, my choice crystallized soon thereafter and as the baseball and campaign seasons rev up into full swing, I find solace in knowing that are still people out there who think like we do. There are people like my friend Jeff who will support the Cardinals even when they have dopers of historic proportions enshrined in their hallowed halls. There are people like myself who still love the Tigers despite their embrace of small-minded, bigoted, dirt base-stealers. And there are politicians who realize that you can’t have it boths ways and to truly support the people, you have to make decisions like the people. And that is one of the many reasons that I whole-heartedly support Barack Obama. He may be a fan of the White Sox, a team that holds dear a man who conspired to throw the event we hold most sacred, the World Series. But, he made that decision and refuses the moral quandary. That, my friends, is a leader.


Moral Quandary 2008

As Allen’s moral quandary comes to a close, I am left in a somewhat reflective mood.  His terse analysis of the character of Chicagoans was not only a fierce example of absolutism, but it was also a plain indicator of why he is so bitter and jaded towards life in general.  Having grown up in a small no-name Michigan town, then spending several soul-searching years in France, Chicago, Cameroon and New York City, it is no wonder why he knows not the real nature of his being — except that it exists, even if just barely.  The Truth is, Allen Krause lives a pretty good life (obviously, otherwise he’d post more often) and yet he chooses to complain about it.  In reality, Allen’s life could be much worse.

He could be me for example.

Indeed, my life has been tough this week.  My city was flooded by the gangs of New York, Hillary left Pennsylvania as victor, the Cubs have been on a tear, the Cardinals pitching staff has been showing weakness, the Sox haven’t been able to outslug the Evil Empire and the Reds hired Walt Jocketty, whom I once wanted to honor by naming my first born (boy or girl) after him.  Oh, and I should probably also mention that I haven’t been on a date since September.

Sure, it would be real easy for me to slip into the cesspool of sympathy-seeking sadness while feeling sorry for myself.  It would be real easy for me to put my teeth on a curb and ask an innocent bystander to stomp on the back of my skull.  But no.  No!  I am a U.S. American.  And one of the fundamental principles of our country — what makes this nation stand out among the rest — is our individual freedom of choice.  Yes, that’s right, folks.  I have a choice: hate life or live life.  And who better to sum up American idealism than English gentleman and poet George Eliot (1819 – 1880) who said:

“The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.”

I choose to choose.  I choose to grow.  I choose to make Mike’s Hard Lemonade out of the tree of lemons in my front yard.  I choose to analyze, scrutinize and ultimately pursue the right path.  But beware… many a moral quandary and philosophical pitfall await the anxious do-gooder.  And bad things happen to those who screw up (just ask the gatekeeper at Wrigley who wouldn’t let the goat in to see the game). 

Mirror my example and take heed, for these choices were not easy to make:

Erin Andrews and ESPN or Kerry Sayers and Comcast Sportsnet:

erin.andrews.jpgHmm.  Watch the world-class ESPN broadcast featuring the hottest woman in baseball or Hawk and DJ rehash the ‘glory days’ on CSN with mojo buzzkiller Kerry Sayers.  These are the choices I thought I would have when preparing to watch Wendesday night’s broadcast of the Yankees versus the White Sox.  The Baseball Tonight teaser featuring Erin licking her lips and winking at me through the tube made it an easy choice; but DirectTV took the choice out of my hands and blacked out the ESPN broadcast.  I wrote my congressman and he assured me he would do absolutely nothing about it.  At least I wrote my congressman.

Write an Exposé on the Greatness that is Evan Longoria or the Greatness that is Eva Longoria:

eva_longoria.jpgI know, I know, seems like a tired joke already.  It’s not.  This, like farts, will always be funny.   Longoria is a great future star who will be a staple of all my fantasy teams.  Respectively, Longoria is a great star who will be a future staple of all my fantasies.  Longoria is not just great, Longoria is perfect and Longoria is awesome and Longoria is the epicenter of my earthquake, the eye of my storm, the cow in my tornado.

Ah, Longoria.  Longoria Longoria Longoria.  Longoria Longing Longoria Longoria Long Longoria Lung… Eva Longoria-Lung.

Eva Longoria-Lung.

Mrs. Eva Longoria-Lung.


Lead a Life of Fame or Lead a Life of Obscurity:

Now that the press has relaxed its death grip on my every move in favor of reporting on a much more successful, more “professional” MLBlog from a more attractive, more “informed” writer (Alyssa Milano) I have resorted back to the mundane existence I once lived.  Oh sure, the paparazzi on the 62/Archer bus can still be a pain and yes, I can’t get into US Cellular Field without signing an autograph or three, but when we come right down to it: I am of the People.  Though my success has avalanched in recent weeks, I must keep a humble heart and leave such pompous and pedantic acts to my colleague/opponent, Mr. Allen Krause.  For I know what victory tastes like and my reservations will ultimately prove me to be the bigger man. 

I choose to sit on the couch, watch some ball and feel damn good about it.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.



An Analogous Duet

It’s strangely fitting that the Yankees and Mets are both in Chicago at the same time because it leads me to a subject near and dear to my heart. And that is my distaste for both New York sporting organizations as well as those of the Second City. Now, NYC is easy to dislike, especially since cheering for the Yankees is like cheering for Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. And the Mets, those once lovable losers, have now become the “it” team in the NL with their gaudy payroll and Johan Santana.

I once found a place in my heart for the Windy City but I have since realized that the inferiority complex worn proudly on the sleeve of all of its denizens is the ultimate turnoff. Yeah, Chicago is fun to visit and has some great history but ultimately, cheering for that town is like cheering for Kevin McAllister in the Home Alone movies. At first you like to see the little kid giving it to the bad guys but in the end you just wish he’d shut up so you didn’t have to hear that whiny, nasally voice. I mean, I still remember native Chicagoans talking on September 12, 2001, about how another plane was headed for the Sears Tower but had turned away. Seriously. What kind of a town has such an inferiority complex that they wish an attack on themselves?

So, I find myself in a bit of a pickle. Who would I cheer for in these two series? On the one hand, I can’t cheer for the Evil Empire, senior or junior. But, how do I cheer for the Tigers’ division rival or the team that singlehandedly defines everything that is wrong with Chicago?

Luckily, the baseball season moves quickly and the Mets have already moved on to our nation’s capitol where they do battle with the mighty Nationals. And I no longer have to deal with any sort of moral quandary. Now I can just go back to wondering how it all went so wrong for the Tigers.


The Melky Man

New Yorkers flooded the city today as the Cubs played host to the Mets up north and the White Sox welcomed the Evil Empire to the Southside.  This sudden influx of visitors was obvious as Mets fans and Yankees fans could be seen throughout the city stealing our cabs, spitting on our trains and jaywalking across major thoroughfares.  As a friendly gesture to our northeastern brethren, we Chicagoans went to a lot of trouble to make them feel at home by dumping our garbage in the street, being rude to strangers and talking loudly on our cellphones no matter where we happened to be.  It seemed to work quite well.  When I came home after work I found a wayward New Yorker sitting on my stoop with a brown paper sacked bottle asking if I wanted to “see a card trick”. 

It was a really neat trick.

But after the cacophony of Bronx and Queens accents I heard today, none was more apparent (nor as obnoxiously entertaining) as the world’s biggest Melky Cabrera fan, who somehow found a way to outbroadcast even the infamous Hawk and DJ combo during Comcast Sportsnet’s televising of the Yankees/White Sox matchup this evening.  Now, let me just say that I have watched thousands of baseball games on television and never have I seen/heard/touched/loved something quite as mind-blowing as this guy.

I was having my milk and cookies (a baseball ritual for me) and the game was in the 4th inning.  Melky Cabrera stepped to the plate to battle against Sox pitcher Jose Contreras.  And then, out of nowhere, came the voice of a loud, obnoxious Melky fan — the Melky Man.  Suddenly more audible than the commentary of Hawk and DJ, the Melky Man eventually drowned them out all together. 

“Melky!” he cried.  “Hey, Melky, it’s me!” 

Okay.  No big deal, right?  So some fan got close enough to one of the on-field mics to be heard over the air.  Except this guy was loud.  Really loud.  “Melky!  Melky, he’s gonna throw you a fastball!” 

Melky.jpgVoom.  Contreras throws the fastball.

“Melky, Melky, watch the forkball this time.  The forkball!”

Kerrrrr-plunk.  Contreras throws the forkball.

“Another forkball.  Watch the forkball!”

Kerrrrr-plunk, Contreras throws the forkball again, Melky pops out.

And then it was over… until…

The 7th inning.  Melky came to the plate and we heard: “Melky, I’m back“. 

If you watch closely, this time you can see Melky glancing towards the stands behind him when the Melky Man sends his salutations.  As if in an effort to thwart another long one-sided Melky Man conversation, Melky swung at the first pitch and knocked a basehit to left. 

By the 8th inning, when Melky came to the plate again, milk was shooting out of my nose from my spontaneous outbursts of laughter:

“Melky, sounded like a strike to me, Melky,” said the Melky Man after a swing and a miss.

“Melky, it doesn’t look good, Melky,” said the Melky Man after Cabrera watched a ball go wide of the strike zone.

“That was a big swing, Melky,” said the Melky Man after a big cut.

“Melky, the count is one and two, Melky,” said the Melky Man when the count was 1-2.

Like myself, the Melky Man seemed to be really good at pointing out the obvious, pounding redundancies into the ground, and annoying the sh*t out of anyone within earshot.  In other words, the Melky Man is a genius and if you go back and watch Melky’s ABs, I guarantee you’ll be snorting milk out of your nose and laughing your ^ss off too. 

But what was even more hilarious than the Melky Man himself was CSNS’ complete disregard for its broadcast being hijacked by an outspoken lameball fan in the stands.  Is this a common occurrence in New York?  If so, I might have to tune in to more YES Network games and pass on the usual Three Stooges marathons.

And hey you, Melky Man, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.



Apocalypse When?

MLB writer Scott Merkin got a little ahead of the times today in his story on how dandy it would be if the 2008 World Series became a Windy City Classic.  Here we are, three weeks into a six month-long season, already breathing air into the pipe dreams of those who embrace cutesy coincidences.  I don’t blame Scott for writing this story.  The man has to eat and I expect that someone over at MLB in charge of selling fantasies pushed him to write another what-if speculation story to conjure up the dreams of the masses.  But I can’t just sit back, smile and nod at these shenanigans.  I have a real problem with uncreative, dainty MLB story lines that serve one purpose and one purpose only: to drive sales.  I mean, come on… The I-70 Series?  Seriously?  Cardinal/Royal fans could care less. 

And now we’re talking about a Northsider v. Southsider World Series.

Excuse me while I puke.

It’s April.  AprilApril and we’re talking about the World Series already?

Would a Cubs/White Sox series be entertaining?  Sure.

Would a Cubs/White Sox series be good for the city?  Definitely.

Would a Cubs/White Sox series lead to senseless violence?  You bet.

Is it too early to be bringing something like this up through the MLB newswire?  Absolutely.

Save that intercity match-up story for the back-to-back weekend series in June.  Then, and not until then, let’s see where the two teams stand.  In June, I won’t be upset at seeing a flowery story about what-ifs and intercity rivals. 

aj.v.michael.prequel.jpgaj.v.michael.1.jpgSee, I don’t think Scott Merkin quite understands what kind of fires he has started in my neighborhood by writing this story so early.  Mark Buehrle was exactly right when he said: “There would be a lot of fights and a lot of bad stuff…”.  No kidding?  When I moved to the Southside, the first question my new neighbors asked me wasn’t what’s your name, it was are you a Sox fan? with suspiciously violent eyes.  Buehrle would go on to say there would be “good stuff” too, but let me tell ya, the bad will overtake the good and will steal the majority of headlines.  You can count on that.  Riots in the street, gang shootings, violence towards goats, these will all come with a Chicago WS because while Yankees and Red Sox fans hate each other, Cubs and White Sox fans want to kill each other.

If the two teams meet in October — which is such a far-fetched idea at this point that I am only commenting on it to seal up a thought — you’ll be able to find me in the Oppenheimer war bunkers under the University of Chicago with a six-month supply of baked beans and canned pineapple.  I’ll be out in time to see the Bears’ allegiance to mediocrity.  By then, most of the fires will be out, broken bones healed, and oxygen levels back to normal.

Or so I hope. 

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.



The Filibuster

Earlier this week, MLB was making a big deal out of David Wright being just a homerun shy of hitting for the cycle. Was this just a marketing ploy to get more people to watch the game or is hitting for the cycle really that big of a deal?  In other words, is it really an achievement of great baseball prowess or is it just a silly coincidence that happens to be somewhat interesting? Keep in mind that guys like César Tovar, Vic Wertz and Randy Hundley (hardly household names) have hit for the cycle, yet no one seems to care.



Interesting question, Mr. Lung. And I must say, I’m of two minds on this. First of all, if a guy is able to pick up 4 hits in a nine inning game, that’s pretty good. And if three of the four are four extra bases, that’s even better. I only wish the Tigers could start doing that on a regular basis. And I’m talking as a team here, not just any individual player.

However, I have to say, and I’m sure you agree with me here, that hitting for the cycle is in and of itself nothing more than a fluke. Why should we care more about a guy who gets a single, double, triple and homerun in one game than we should about a guy who hits four homers in a game? The simple answer is that we shouldn’t.

Now, I understand that as the salaries of ballplayers continue to rise and as parks are charging more and more outrageous prices, MLB wants to get it’s cut and that means getting more people interested. Sometimes that means hyping something that really isn’t that big of a deal. And why not pick something that has a somewhat esoteric name like, “The Cycle?” I respect that.

But any true baseball fan can see through the hype and pick out what’s behind MLB’s ploy. It’s money, pure and simple. And this brings me to something even more important than Reyes and Wright and their ball-thumping theatrics.


This past week we saw Evan Longoria, the Rays
soon-to-be-star third baseman, sign a long term contract for less than he
probably could have gotten if he waited for free agency. And he also waived his
arbitration rights. Now, I know that some members of the player’s union are up
in arms over this move but I like it. I think baseball players deserve what
they get paid (although this is a topic for another time) but I also think that
the situation needs to be pulled back into shape. The line between team loyalty
and getting what you deserve has been distorted in the last few seasons and
something had to be done in order to bring it back into somewhat of a stasis.
Longoria’s contract, although it’s just a small part of the trend, could help
with this correction. And to be completely honest with you, I think that when
the average fan sees a ballplayer acting like an average guy instead of a prima
donna, that’s going to be the best marketing MLB could have asked for.