The title to this post is not meant to be directed at Mr. Allen Krause, though it certainly could be, because he most definitely is obnoxious (see his malcontented swipe at the Show-Me-State for more info — or don’t, you’ll be happier if you don’t). Obnoxiousness ad nauseum, in this case, is a perfect summarization of the Cubs faithful who show up game after game to get wasted and occasionally look up to see who’s playing.
I know, I know. Not all Cubs fans are like that — and you’re probably right — but it only takes one to create the illusion that they’re all alike. Marty Brennaman sure got that impression when bleacher bums (*synonym for alcoholics) threw 15 baseballs on to the field after an Adam Dunn homerun yesterday. Whether it’s heaving baseballs, trash (*exclusive video here), beer bottles at Jacque Jones’ head or dashing on to the field in an attempt to destroy Bob Howry, Cub fans are great at getting out of hand.
During the season, I try very hard not to be in Wrigleyville if I don’t have to be when games are going on — unless I’m actually attending the game. When I do go, I make sure to wear layers and pack hardcover books under my shirt (to ward off any stabbing attempts). Two weeks ago I had to be in the neighborhood. I happened to be wearing a pink shirt that day because I look good in pink and I’m proud to say it. I got out of the cab and before I could take two steps towards the curb, some drunken idiot with an Aramis Ramirez jersey gave me a violent push to the chest saying, “Get out of here, F^g.”
Nice. Real nice.
I hope they rename it “Moronville Field”.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Why does nobody talk about the Cardinals? Three words and an abbreviation: St. Louis doesn’t matter. Missouri doesn’t matter. That’s why KC was only mentioned when they beat the Tigers and no one cares anymore. I’m sorry Jeffery, it’s just the truth. And trust me, I feel your pain. Until the Tigers started paying like the Yankees, we were in the same boat. I think you and I were the only people in the U.S. watching the 2006 World Series.
But, now, we’re on the map and not necessarily in a good way. When you pay like the Yankees, you’re expected to play like the Yankees. And, although the Tigers have won three straight and finally started scoring runs like they were supposed to, there’s a long ways to go before they’re at the level where we expect them to be. But that’s the great thing about being a Cardinals fan. No one has any expectations for the Cards so if they do well, great. However, the fact remains, no one cares.
Now, it’s entirely possible that the Cards will continue to pitch well and come up with timely hitting. And monkeys might fly out of my butt. I’m just saying.
But, I’m happy for you. It’s nice to have a little ray of sunshine in the otherwise bleak lives of the denizens of the flyover states. So, enjoy it. Eat it up. Because, once Pujols hits his slump and Wainwright sees his ERA start climbing, it’s over. But don’t worry. ESPN won’t notice that either. That’s the beauty of no one caring.
I sure hope that Hilary Duff hookup back in February 2007 was worth it for Barry Zito because he hasn’t been the same pitcher since. While most people would like to point out his faulty mechanics and the pressure to perform after landing a fat paycheck as the reasons for his meltdown, I know better. It’s the ladies. They can be nagging after all, and if you have to go home to someone who is way more successful than you are — a hottie who played a girl named McGuire (wink, wink at the Bay love connection) — it’s easy to see how difficult it could be to throw strikes.
In the second inning of today’s loss against the Diamondbacks, Zito couldn’t find the strikezone with a Sherman tank full of maps. He walked the bases loaded and on a 2-0 count to the until-then hitless pitcher, Brandon Webb, he threw a fastball and gave up a two run single.
As a friend (a Giants fan no less) recently told me: “Zito Happens.”
The Evolution of Hillary
As much as Obama tries to make this about the issues, Hillary just can’t let go of the “same old politics” and she is embarrassing me as member of the Democratic Party. In tonight’s debate, she said:
“I may be a lot of things, but I’m not dumb.”
Well I’m not dumb either, Hillary, and I think it’s pretty clear what path we U.S. Americans would be taking if you become our Democratic nominee:
Like some old guy at the bus stop tells himself out loud every morning (as if I’m not standing next to him), “Actions speak louder than words.” I think he thinks he made that up. In any case, he’s right…
…and so am I, so don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
P.S. Where the hell is Allen? The Hockeytown Tigers have won three in a row and he’s still hiding in shame for not supporting Jack Morris’ HOF bid. What a loser.
I live in Chicago’s Southside neighborhood of Bridgeport. We’re
famous for being a pleasant, working class area made up of cops,
Mayor Daleys, Italians, Mexicans, Chinese and one Cardinal fan.
We don’t get a lot of press or recognition because we’re a quiet folk
who routinely go to work, pay our taxes and get raped by our government
because our leaders won’t make universal healthcare a top
priority. We do this because we have to, not because we love to. But despite the hardships, we tend to be quiet about them and
take joy in a simple stroll through the park or taking in a baseball
game. We don’t riot in the streets; we write our Congressman Dan Lipinski (who doesn’t really get
us because he’s Polish and they mostly live west of us). So
that’s Bridgeport. Imagine how exciting it is when we hear public
figures praise us for our work ethic, good manners and fantastic
This afternoon during the AM 670 broadcast of the White Sox victory
over the A’s, Steve Stone (one of Chicago’s finest) raved about a
Bridgeport restaurant called Ramova’s Grill.
My ears perked up and a smile cracked as Stoney’s caramel voice spoke
unyielding devotion to this Southside gem. He told Ed Farmer that
he went to Ramova’s for breakfast this morning and was tempted to order
the most famous dish on the menu: Ramova’s Chili.
This would’ve been a good time for Stoney to go on to a different
subject — like the hit and run or the squeeze play or Ed’s favorite Chicago
restaurant… anything would have been better than chili for breakfast because we were
all thinking what Stoney said next:
“I figured you and the guys would have a real hard time sitting next to
me in the booth and then on the flight to Baltimore if I had ordered
the chili. Whew. Wow. No, that… if I would’ve
ordered the chili, whew…”
No matter how old I get or how much wiser I may become, fart-jokes will always be funny.
But some broadcasters wouldn’t be able to deliver this type of bathroom
humor, or any humor at all for that matter, and get away with it.
I have already professed my allegiance to the greatness that is Steve Stone,
which explains why I think he is the exception, but there are some
White Sox broadcasters that people absolutely detest:
I point out Russell’s comment because this is something that has a life
of its own — a complaint that I have heard ever since I was a kid and still frequently today, even here in the Chi. I assume he’s referring to Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson
and Darrin “DJ” Jackson, the White Sox television broadcasters who seem
to anger all types of viewers, including White Sox fans. Harrelson
is known for his southern drawl and signature phrases like “He Gone!”,
“Duck Snort” and “You can put it on the booooaaaaarrrrrd, YES!” not to mention other favorites like “Sacks full of Sox”, “Big Hack, No Contack”, “Ball Four Base Hit” and “Dadgum Right”.
I find these catchphrases pretty amusing myself, but I know many people are infuriated by them. But why? Is it the fact that
Hawk is a no-holds-barred redneck with a voice that sounds like an out of tune trombone? Do people across the country think he is representative of Southsiders as a whole? Or is it that Hawk and DJ maintain an extreme bias against all things non-White Sox, sometimes going too far? I must admit, at times even I find their banter ridiculous, like Hawk’s recent third grade expletive rant:
“Doggone it ball. Stay fair! Doggone it! You dumb
ball. You dumb ball! Jeesh, you coulda stayed fair.” He said this after a Jim Thome foul
ball missed being a homerun by about four feet on Sunday. It’s just one example, but when you spend 3 hours saying things like this during a broadcast, I can see how people might be ticked off — like these guys, who are trying everything in the world to get rid of him. Russell, if you want to get really angry, spend a few minutes reading this website. It might just make you laugh.
I grew up listening to the gravel-pit voice of Jack Buck (who was great) alongside a drunk Mike Shannon (not so great, but we love him anyway), so I’m used to hearing strange things from the broadcast booth. In fact, Shannon still refuses to believe that somebody (or somebodies) other than Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball, even though history has proven the Doubleday tale to be pure myth.
In the end, I have to say that I love that these guys say what’s on their minds, dumb or not, and I always have the power of hitting the mute button.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
It’s no secret, folks. As a Cardinals fan living on the Southside of Chicago, when it comes to American League baseball, I align myself with the only team whose fans love to hate the Cubs more than I do: the White Sox. Besides our distaste for the Northsiders, we share many things in common: we are Winners (see 2005, 1917, ’06 for the Sox, see 2006, 1982, ’67, ’64, ’46, ’44, ’42, ’34, ’31, ’26 for the Cards) and the Sox, under Ozzie Guillen, tend to play a little faster, smaller game reminiscent of the National League style. I get to see my Redbirds when they come to Wrigley each season, but because the idiots who made the schedule this year decided the Cubs/Cards series wasn’t important enough that they should maybe play a set in Chicago before August, I have to whet my appetite with the team just blocks from my home.
On Saturday, I woke up still hung over from the onslaught of fan-mail and paparazzi chasings resulting from MLB’s recognition of Red State Blue State. The rain was falling at a steady pace creating gloomy shadows on my plans for the day, but the Tigers were in town (I could smell their stink from my house) and nothing would please me more than to see the Good Guys beat the Bad Guys. There was no staying home.
Fighting my way through the crowd outside 29th & Poplar Ave, I managed to meet the #8 Halsted bus just as it was arriving. I got on and kept my head low; it wasn’t until we reached 35th St. that someone finally recognized me:
“Hey, aren’t you that guy from Harry Potter?” some kid said.
“No. That’s not me.”
“You sure? You look just like Harry Potter.”
“No, you probably recognize me from Red State Blue State, the MLBlog made famous by–
“Shut up. You’re Harry Potter. Can I have your autograph?”
I signed the autograph. I signed it “Eat Me” in big block letters and was off the bus before anyone noticed.
A brisk walk later, I was standing in front of the glory that is The Joan (aka U.S. Cellular Field, The Cell). At first sight, it was a dreary picture:
I did have to take a moment and pay homage to the commemorative 2005 sculpture out front with bronze likenesses of Ozzie, Paulie, Crede, Dye & Co.:
But enough about my perils and lack of humility. There was a game going on, and as you can see from this picture, everyone was out to see it by first pitch:
p; If only I were a trustfund baby on the Northside and Mommy and Daddy would support my drinking habit and I could go to that sold out 1:20 p.m. start on a Thursday because I don’t have to work for a living…
Sorry. The game. I was talking about the game. Not much was going on really. Verlander and Floyd were dealing. It was fast. Orlando Cabrera put one on the boooooooaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrd, YES! and Carlos Quinton gunned a man out at the plate and Joe Crede had a move at third that would make Brooks Robinson proud. But not much else. The rain. The rain never stopped.
Then I looked up at the centerfield clock. It read 1:05 p.m. Game started at 12:05. We were already in the middle of the 5th inning! I looked at the scoreboard and saw quite the anomaly: all zeros across the DET line. I nudged my buddy, Ron Harlow, and said, “Hey, pal. Look at the scoreboard.” Our eyes locked, we shut up and we enjoyed the magic.
The Sox went on a scoring spree.
Gavin Floyd dealt.
Having never witnessed a no-hitter in person, I was praying that Gav could pull through. But in the 8th inning, only five outs away, Edgar Renteria hit a bloop single to right and the no-no was no more. Gavin got a huge ovation from all 1,000 of us who were there and Ozzie ran out and gave him the hook.
Good Guys 7, Bad Guys 0, Final.
It was a great first game to see. Can’t wait for the next one.
In the meantime, Allen’s Hockeytown Tigers continue to disappoint (but they’re still gettin’ paid). It’s a shame. A travesty. Sickening. I have a feeling we’ll be talking about this team for years to come as the most underachieving in history.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*Click here for the Jason Grilli ERA Watch.
Tommy LaSorda is fat. I mean really fat. So is John Kruk. Which current
ballplayer or manager is most likely to become grotesquely obese like
these two men?
Due to the recent developments and growing notoriety of Red State Blue State, it is certainly arguable that I may have lost any sense of humility I once had. My attorney has advised me to remain silent on this issue, so I will; however, I cannot stop myself from pointing out the increasingly shallow nature of my colleague, Allen Krause. After much deliberation, my agent has advised me to go ahead and tackle this insensitive inquiry despite the possible repercussions because “there is no such thing as bad press.”
So, Al, my aura and I will now address your lowbrow turn from inquisitive, thought-provoking debate:
Yeah, Lasorda is overweight. Kruk is overweight. A slew of baseball folks easily fit into that dangerous weight category. But you know what? That’s just one of the many reasons why I enjoy the game of baseball more than any other sport.
How many competitive sports do you know where a 300 pound man without muscle tone toting around a big, paunch beer belly can be considered a real athlete? Sure, the NFL has 300+ pound men all over the field, but those guys work out and look good (for the most part). Meanhwile, big slobby-lookin’ dudes like David Wells, Bobby Jenks and David Weathers thrive as dominant athletes… well, Wells (used to) and Jenks (does) anyway.
I find it quite satisfying seeing an everyday-lookin’ joe like Jenks or Kruk achieve all that success with such a corpulent physique. It reminds me that baseball is a game that anyone can play — fat guys included — so it creates the illusion that even I, a 29 year old, 5’8, 155 lb. Mandarin-speaking white guy with a 48 mph fastball and a slider that always hangs, could possibly make it to the Big Leagues. Okay, maybe I’m totally wrong on that… but you get my point.
Of course, this isn’t what Mr. Krause wants to hear. What he is really asking is which current manager/player is most likely to be the face of NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig.
That is the dumbest question I have ever heard, Al, and you should be ashamed for taking up such precious MLBlog space by asking it. The 2008 season has begun, your team stinks, my team is in first place, the Jason Grilli ERA Watch has dipped considerably (8.44 at the time of this publication), the Diamondbacks are the best team in baseball, the Sawx v. Evil Empire series is in full-force and all you can muster out of that skinny little head of yours is ‘who will be the fattest person in baseball?’
I see what you’re trying to do: you’re trying to paint me into a corner, force me to make a fool of myself and talk about something else so we will be distracted from the atrocities of the Tigers and your point of view. Mr. Krause, I will not subject our readers to such shallow diatribes.
But I will post some pictures of my favorite plus-size ballplayers, past and present:
So there you have it. 9 of my favorite players with above average appetites. All this writing about it is making me hungry. I think I’ll just have an apple.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Friends.We gather here today to mourn the passing of two spirits who never had a chance. But, although they might be gone, their memories will live on in all of us.
The Hopes of the 2008 Detroit Tigers
It’s always sad to see a flame snuffed out before it truly had a chance to flourish. However, the once brilliant blaze that was the hopes for the Detroit Tigers appears to have flickered out. Now, please don’t misunderstand me here. Despite the apparent lack of life that characterizes the Tigers at this point, I still refuse to accept their demise. I mean, people come back from the dead all the time in the movies (although usually they’re either zombies, vampires or part of some secret plan that involves injecting them with a serum so they appear lifeless and an evil scientist comes by during the night to squirrel the corpse away to a secret hideout at which point he reanimates them). I mean, anything is possible.
But, if we go merely by appearances, one would have to believe that the injection of fresh talent and the millions of dollars spent on creating a colossus to deal with the Yankees and Red Sox of the world was merely a horribly informed experiment. And so we grieve but yet we hope. I mean, 2-9 is better then 0-11, right? Right? Someone? Anyone?
The Humility of Jeffery Lung
However, it is our second spirit for whom I mourn the most. Ladies and gentlemen, when humility dies, we all suffer. And today we suffer immeasurably. I still remember the young man who came to me with an idea for a blog and the dreams we both had for where it would go. I remember that he promised to remain a man of the people. And I remember the day this all died. Ah, Jeffery. You were so young. It didn’t have to be this way. But here we are and this is how it goes.
So, as we remember Mr. Lung’s humility, fickle spirit that it may have been, and the hopes of the Detroit Tigers, as promising as they may have been, we leave them here and hope to see them again one day on the other side. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
So Alex Rodriguez makes more money than the entire Florida
Marlins team. Must be pretty hard to
live up to such high expectations – especially in a bullying market like New York. Until recently, I couldn’t even begin to
fathom what that kind of pressure is like.
…and then I (we, Allen Krause and I) became famous.
Sure, it all started out quietly, you know, like that hushing
wind that breezes across the plains accompanied by purple skies right before
the big storm. So the Detroit Tigers/Hillary Clinton comparison I made was masterfully quoted on the MLB.com homepage – big deal. Just doing my bloggin’ thang… fillin’ the role
I was meant to fill because all my sliders hung and I couldn’t get around on a
65 mph fastball. Some are born to play
ball, some are born to rant on ball.
And then it happened.
At 5 a.m. this morning I got the call:
PHONE CALLER GUY: Hey, is this Jeff Lung?
PHONE CALLER GUY: Whoa, it’s really you?
ME: Yes, it’s
me. What do you want? It’s 5 in the morning.
PHONE CALLER GUY:
Wow, I can’t believe it’s really you.
ME: Who are you and
what do you want!?!
PHONE CALLER GUY: Your picture is on MLBlog’s homepage and I just wanted to pick your brain about what it’s like to be on the internet underneath Jose Reyes?
Life hasn’t been the same since.
I walked out of my Southside apartment this morning to a deluge of paparazzi. I smiled and nodded, answered some
questions from my fans but I must be honest: it was tiresome, and I still have a day job, so I had to punch (WHAM!) one of them (one of the paparazzi, not one of my fans) to get away.
On the 29/State bus it was the same: mobs of people begging
for my autograph, picture, a Jason Grilli ERA Watch report. I obliged but I gotta admit, it was tiresome, overwhelming
and downright stressful.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time. Tomorrow I am going to my first game of the year: White Sox
v. Tigers at the Joan. Fearing more of the same mob
mentality from those who come within ten feet of my aura, I will do my best to ‘fit in’ tomorrow by wearing a disguise and I will certainly
not make any public statements. I’m sorry, but even a guy like me needs a break once in a while.
In fact, afterwards, I’ll probably have to go to Evanston — to take a breather and get away from it all.
So, while I’m relaxing, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m beautiful…or because I’m right. Please? Okay, pretty please?
Excuse me, Mr. Krause, I didn’t know that you were stumping for office. You see, I must admit that you indeed fit the mold. You are quite good at flip-flopping positions and sighting “literary technique” as an excuse for your haphazard quips and careless backstreet follies. Let’s face it, Al. You’re wrong and I expect you to start rolling up your sleeves and kissing babies any minute.
So while you do that, let me play the role of *high-road pundit and pull back the *proverbial curtain on your shortcomings. (*These are literary techniques used to ridicule and embarrass. You see, there is no such thing as an ‘high-road pundit’ and ‘proverbial’ references a really groovy book in the bible. These are techniques that *slick willies [oops, another literary technique known as senseless name-calling] like Allen Krause use when trying to *pull the wool over our eyes [just a dumb cliche].)
“…fans, especially new ones and for better or for worse, are much more
willing to pay money to see home runs than they are to see drawn out
pitchers duels. Do you like the new Busch Stadium? Do you think it
would have been built if the Cards would have had Greg Maddux instead
of McGwire? Yeah, I think not.”
–Allen Krause, The Incredible Lightness of Being…obtuse
First of all, the Atlanta Braves did have Greg Maddux and I’d say he was an integral part (if not the part) that shaped and revitalized an otherwise dying franchise during the 90s. That new stadium they got built down there during his tenure as their posterboy? Uh, yeah, I’m pretty sure the Atlanta fans like it a lot and owe much of its existence to Mr. Maddux himself. So to say fans can’t/won’t appreciate superior pitching because they want more *bang for their buck (literary technique) makes you the blogging equivalent of Michael Dukakis in a tank — it just don’t make sense.
Secondlly, would the Cardinals have a new Busch were it not for McGwire? I think the bigger, more important question is would any team have a new ballpark (or fans for that matter) without McGwire. And I include the fantasyland amusement park known as Comerica in there too. You see, if it weren’t for that magical summer of ’98 when Mark and Sammy brought the game back to the fans after years of bitterness and neglect, we might be talking about the lackluster Reno Tigers rather than the Hockeytown Tigers that are stumbling along right now. For that egregious error, you owe a humble apology to both McGwire and Sosa… and me, of course.
My suggestion for you is the following: in the future, instead of trying to hyperbolize to make a point, try to simply *analyze instead. (*This is yet another literary technique called ‘rhyming’ which is often used by Shakespeare, leprechauns and Method Man with varying levels of success. In fact, it was Method Man himself who once said: “Can’t forget Bobby if I did I feel gip, like my sandwich ain’t a sandwich without Miracle Whip.”)
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
P.S. Pop the champagne! The Tigers finally won a game! But they’re still 5 games behind the Royals. And for all of you who demand the Jason Grilli ERA Watch, it now stands at 19.29. Whoa, watch out! He’s on fire!
The score that matters: Cardinals 6, Astros 4
Look who’s in first place.
Note to Brandon Backe: don’t mess with the best, pal.
Mr. Lung. Jeffery, if I may. It seems sad to me that I have to use all these electrons to explain to you the elementary literary technique of hyperbole but unfortunately, it appears this lesson in remedial form is necessary. Hyperbole, as I’m sure you once knew, is the technique by which one makes a point by exaggerating to a ridiculous degree. This is by no means a technical definition but it should be one which triggers those neurons you once used to use so well.
Now, why is this important? Quite simply because it is a method used quite often in all matters of discourse, especially in the arenas of sports and politics. When GW Bush says that electing Democrats to office means the terrorists have won, he doesn’t really mean that the terrorists will win because Nancy Pelosi is now the Speaker of the House. He’s using hyperbole to make a point. Similarly, when I say that Mark McGwire is flexed up steroid freak who single handedly ruined the game of baseball, I don’t really mean that Big Mac destroyed major league baseball. I’m just making a point.
To extrapolate further on this point, when I compare the entire NL to gay p0rn, I’m not really saying they’re making gay p0rn over there (except in the case of Kazuhito Tadano. Although, to be fair, he is actually in the Indians organization). And I actually agree with you that having the pitcher bat makes for a much more strategic game than does the DH. But baseball, like all sports, is based on making money. And fans, especially new ones and for better or for worse, are much more willing to pay money to see home runs than they are to see drawn out pitchers duels. Do you like the new Busch Stadium? Do you think it would have been built if the Cards would have had Greg Maddux instead of McGwire? Yeah, I think not.
So, here’s what I’ll say. I appreciate now that your initial filibuster question was a rhetorical question. And you can now appreciate the hyperbole that ensued. This way we both embrace our use of literary technique and move on to more important issues. Like, when are the Tigers going to win a freakin’ game? Seriously, this is just embarrassing. But, more on that later.