April 2008

Mathematically Challenged

tigers oh and seven.jpgIf I were a Tiger fan (ahem, Allen Krause) I would go the airport, buy a ticket to the most remote war-torn nation, find a spot of uninhabited land, dig a hole, get in it, and light myself on fire.  Okay, maybe I wouldn’t take the time to dig a hole, but I would certainly light myself on fire.  At the very least I would kick down Dave Dombrowski’s door and demand he give me a refund for my hard-earned money, hopes, dreams.  Because as much as the Tigers stole the headlines away from the evils of New York, Boston and L.A. during this past offseason, they sure are reneging on every dime invested.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  There are still 155 games remaining in the season but their lackluster performance and the sheer absence of urgency in their play proves to me that their season is pretty much in the can.  I suppose they’ll get hot at some point and make a little noise but by then it will be too little too late.  In essence, the 2008 Tigers are the baseball equivalent of the Clinton campaign — great resume, great talent, would probably do a decent job, but so far behind there is no possible way they can win it all.  So do us all a favor and get out of the race so we can concentrate on the important stuff, like the teams that are winning.

jim leyland monkey.jpgWhat surprises me is Leyland doesn’t seem to be too upset.  Where’s the screaming and yelling?  Where’s the blow-up at the press conference?  Where are the cigarette burns on Jason Grilli’s rubber arm?

Bench Magglio.  Sit Cabrera.  Weld Granderson’s hand back together.  I know it’s not the popular thing to do.  I know you didn’t spend 140 million dollars to sit your franchise players — but you sure didn’t spend 140 million to be the only team in the Majors without a win thus far.   Tick people off.  Light some fires under some tooshies.  Get ‘em motivated for crying out loud. 

The Royals are motivated.  They beat the Evil Empire today to go to 5-2 on the young season, even with the White Sox, who (ahem), destroyed the Tigers on national television Sunday night.  Heck, even Baltimore’s fired up.  At 6-1 they probably feel like they’re cheating their fans by actually being worth the price of admission.  Allen could’ve been one of those fans, but he said he would eschew the whole Oriole scene because they were “terrible”

cabrera ordonez.jpgTerrible is what the Tigers will be thought of when this season is over.  After Boston they have to come to the Southside.  Then they face the Twins, Indians and Blue Jays next week before they get somewhat of a breather with the Rangers (though I’m pretty sure they’ll find a way to lose that series too).  But then it’s on to play the Angels and Yankees and by the beginning of May they could possibly be worse than the 1988 Baltimore Orioles who forever live in infamy for losing their first 21 games of the season.  Don’t feel bad, at least you and all your Hockeytown brethren have four months of NHL playoffs to look forward to, eh?

STL.jpgBut who really cares about the Tigers anyway?  Why am I spending so much time talking about these overpaid losers?  How ’bout a proven winner, how ’bout those Cardinals!  The old adage you’re only as good as your pitching still rings true (just ask the Yankees) and the Cards have been getting brilliant outing after brilliant outing to start the year.  With Carp and Mulder on the DL and Matt Clement still rehabbing, it has been a pleasant surprise to see Kyle Lohse (who didn’t even have a job in the Big Leagues at the beginning of March) come through and pitch the hell out of the number two spot.  Wainwright has been stellar.  Wellemeyer, Thompson and Looper have all added to that super-impressive team ERA.  In their win tonight, Anthony Reyes (a bonafide Tiger killer, see ’06 WS, Game 1) gave them three scoreless innings in relief, which gave Glaus enough time to drive in two big runs. 

I’ve been watching these guys every day and I’ve noticed something you’ll never see in any box score: they really believe in themselves.  Even if no one else does, they do.  They just do.  And they don’t care what anyone else says or thinks in regards to their less-than-stellar-on-paper rotation.  They have spark, they have guts, and they’re having a ton of fun.

And isn’t that what it’s all about? 

I feel alive again.  Al, you better check to see if you still have a pulse.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

I Need a Bigger Bus

Once again, Mr. Krause, you have managed to blasphemy the greatest game on earth, prove your idiocy with your prose and wholly embarrass me in public.  It’s one thing to like one league over the other.  But gay porn?  Al, are you completely lost?  Have they been waterboarding you down there?  I’m concerned about your mental health.

Look, I know it’s not entirely your fault.  It must’ve been hard growing up in a state where hockey is king, where the only car you are allowed to drive is a Ford and your greatest baseball icon was a gin shootin’, cleats-up-slidin’, wh0re mongering racist.  I’m sure that all had an influence on your childhood and blinded you from seeing how baseball is supposed to be played.  The pitcher is supposed to bat, Al.  In fact, some pitchers are really good hitters.  Have you ever heard of Rick Ankiel?  Carlos Zambrano?  Dontrelle Willis?  How about Babe Ruth?  

The American League’s adoption of the designated hitter is a classic case of how easily greed can destroy the purities in life.  What was wrong with pitchers hitting?  Nothing.  Sure, the weakest hitting position overall is the pitcher’s spot — because they don’t hit every day.  But that’s exactly what makes the NL so much more exciting, more pure, more of a thinking man’s game.  You actually have to use strategy to accomplish your goal (*take note, Mr. President).  As a man in such a high political position as yourself, Al, I thought you would’ve had the basic knowledge to discern that.  In fact, the next time you hold a peace summit in some war-stricken African country, I’d like to see you replaced by a Designated Diplomat, someone who has a higher success average than you, because you don’t have the bells and whistles to make it theatric enough.  Actually, I’d be amused (if only momentarily) to see you be a little more one dimensional. 

Unfortunately, the AL didn’t end the DH experiment after its 1973 induction and now we never will.  Since it has translated into a major career-extender and equated bigger paychecks for aging vets who wouldn’t make a squad otherwise, the DH is now like that drunk uncle who is a complete mess at family functions.  We all do our very best to ignore him and not let him ruin the party because we know there will be less harm done to the group as a whole if we just let him destroy himself.

So eat a big fat one on that one, Al.

Oh, and I want to thank you for making my job easier today.  Your Filibuster is full of big, dark, gaping holes of contradiction.  I believe I said a long time ago that the AL Central would  indeed be interesting due to the Indians and White Sox.  In all honesty, I said the Tigers would miss the postseason completely.   As a matter of fact, a recent comment on your last post from mobaseball reiterates this bold (and most probably true) prediction:

“First of all, you do know that no team has ever lost 4 straight and
made the playoffs right? And the Tigers have now lost 6 straight.”

Actually, Al, looking back on your past heresies, you made myriad bogus claims on February 21, 2008:

“The Royals will be their same old selves…”

“I can understand why you have playoff envy since the Cardinals will be
lucky to finish the season 5 games under .500 with their offseason
“moves” and a much tougher NL Central. But don’t be a hater. The
Tigers, along with the Red Sox and the Tribe, are clearly the class of
the AL.”

“The proud state of Missouri will host not just one but two teams who
not only set new records for divisional futility but who also manage to
lead their leagues in losses. That’s right, the Cardinals and Royals
will end the season with identical losing records and in a tie for last
place in baseball. You heard it here first.”

jason.grilli.ERA.jpgLike I have had to say before, Wrong, Wrong, and WRONG.  Going into this evening, the Cardinals team ERA was second in MLB at 1.83 while the Royals’ were fourth overall at 2.67.  Do you know what Jason Grilli’s ERA is, Mr. Krause?  I’ll tell ya: 20.25!  Get this guy in the game, Jimmy!  My lord, hitters have to take washrags with them to the plate to clean up all the drool.  Oh, and did you see that game last night where the Sox destroyed Verlander and scored 13 runs?  I guess pointing out that the Kitty-Cats haven’t won a game yet this season (even the Giants have won a game!) would be pouring salt in your wounds.  Look, I know it’s early, and on paper they should be awesome, but right now, they’re awful.  And it can be quite challenging to crawl out from a ditch as big as the Tigers have dug.  I’m just sayin’…

As to what division is the strongest, most competitive, must-watch division… I meant it as a trick question.  I know you so well that I knew you would respond with some dumb denunciation of all things NOT the AL Central.  Come on, Al.  Do you honestly believe what you said?  The Padres/Dodgers/Dbacks/Rockies aren’t interesting to you?  The Mets/Braves/Phillies aren’t dramatic enough for you?  The Cards/Cubs/Brewers/Reds/Astros aren’t competitive enough for you?  Sure sounds a lot better than gay porn to me.  What about the M’s/Angels/A’s race?  Quintessential Yankees/Red Sox?  Get a grip, pal!  Look at all these great divisions!  I can’t find even one that won’t be interesting… and if your unabashed abhorrence for the AL East is so strong that it prevents you from recognizing the inherent drama, tension, beauty of this glorious game, then you are too far gone to be saved — even by me. 

You might as well be a Cub fan. 

And though I know this is going to be very difficult for you, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster


The buzz during opening week revolved around the Tigers’ abysmal start, the Royals’ surprising young talent, the late inning heroics of the Nationals and Pirates and Dodgers, clutch pitching performances in St. Louis and Cincinnati, key injuries in the NL East and business as usual in the AL East.  With these early season surprises and subsequent hype, which MLB division is the strongest, most competitive, must-watch division overall this year?

–Jeff

                                                                                             

Well, since I’ve been so busy watching American Idol and trying to save the world, I haven’t had much of a chance to follow all these story lines. And honestly, who cares about the National League? Small ball and pitchers who bat? Sounds like gay porn to me. So, I guess I’ll talk about the only thing I might know something about. No, not US foreign policy since the time of Jefferson. The AL Central.

I will say it now and I will continue to say it all year long. The AL Central is the division to watch this season. The Tigers, once they figure out how to win a game, are going to be unstoppable. The Tribe is ready to go once again. The White Sox are a much improved team since last year. The Twins always find a way to keep themselves in the race. And even KC is looking like they might have a better run in the spoiler role. So, once you take a look around the MLB universe and realize how many bad teams there are in the other divisions, you have to be excited about the AL Central. There isn’t a true dud in the bunch and this thing could be a legitimate 4 team race right down to the wire.

I should put in a plug here for my dislike of the AL East and my hope that all of its teams fall off the face of the earth. Well, Toronto can stick around because I’d hate to disparage our Canadian friends. And I’d like to catch a game at Camden this season so I guess the O’s are safe, too. However, the Rays, Red Stockings and Evil Empire can all just disappear and the world would be a better place. This is a division so narcissistic that a news frenzy has emerged from the hawk attack on Alexa Rodriguez at Fenway this past week. Really? The enmity between these two teams is so great that even the animal kingdom has picked sides? Perhaps this also explains why a ray attacked and killed Steve Irwin last year. It was just pissed because it thought he was a Yankees fan. Seriously, y’all need to get over yourselves. Real baseball happens in the fly-over states and that’s where my attention will be all season long. When I’m not out saving the world, of course.

-A

Is that a Bus on top of me?

After a long week of working for the man, trying to keep democracy safe and available to billions of people around the world, I hoped to come back to my safe place, my happy place. That would be the warm cocoon of Tigers baseball and the blog I maintain with my good friend, Mr. Jeffrey Lung. But, you can imagine my horror when instead I found that my “good friend” had thrown me under the bus while the Tigers managed to open the season getting swept at the hands of the mighty Kansas City Royals. I mean, c’mon, really? Is this what’s waiting for me?

But, it’s all good because Dontrelle Willis, after his godawful spring training, is throwing a no-no through five……..and now the bullpen has given it away. There’s only one answer. God hates me.

However, apparently not as much as Nat’s fans hate GW Bush. I mean, that’s gotta hurt. Perhaps not as much as your friend saying:

“Allen has enough time to watch American Idol but he can’t write a post and respond to the fact that he’s not a real Tigers fan or that his MLB/NFL manager/coach comparison was blasphemous or that he’s just simply retarded?”

But, it’s still gotta hurt.

detroit_tigers_logo.jpgAnyway, despite the apparent loss of love, I’d like to point out for the record that I am still here and when I’m not advancing US foreign policy (as opposed to shilling for the Chinese), I will be advancing Red State Blue State baseball policy. The revolution is coming and it will be wearing the old English “D”.

A

A Not-So-Intelligent Analogy

Earlier this week, Senator Hillary Clinton, while feeling immense pressure to get out of the democratic race that she can’t possibly win without tearing apart the party, again proved her desperateness and questionable rationality during a speech in Pennsylvania.  It was there that the former first lady likened herself to the hardened fighter from the Rocky film franchise:

Hillary_Clinton_2008.JPG“Could you imagine if Rocky Balboa had gotten halfway up those art
museum stairs and said, ‘Well, I guess that’s about far enough’? That’s
not the way it works… Let me tell you something. When it comes to finishing the fight, Rocky and I have a lot in common. I never quit.”

rocky.jpgThis quote (and the subsequent authoritative tone with which she gave it) is disturbing on many levels.  First of all, Rocky may not have quit, but he still lost the damn fight.  And while that was entertaining in itself, it didn’t work out well for him, especially since Apollo Creed turned his face into mush.  Secondly, while it was a great film that reached all audiences, the sequels went on ad nauseum, quite like the Clinton campaign.  By the time the fifth movie came out, people were uninterested in the tired underdog plot lines that never seemed to change from one film to the next.  Only with the death of Apollo Creed in Rocky IV were audiences buzzing about the Rocky series again, which was heightened when Rocky had to face a Soviet robot while we were still in a cold war, so you can see how easy it was for us to be hypnotized by that. 

But the third, and most important point, is the simple fact that Rocky Balboa wasn’t real.   He was a fictional character in a fictional world that had fictional problems which gave him a fictional reason not to quit.  The sad part is many U.S. Americans probably haven’t made this connection — and probably never will because they don’t care.

If I were a Clinton speech writer, I would’ve advised her to use a much more prevalent and tangible analogy — one questioning what would’ve happened had the 2007 Philadelphia Phillies decided to quit before September.  What if, seeing how far back in the standings they were behind the Mets with a only a few precious weeks left, J-Rol, R-How and C-Ut decided it was no use to keep fighting?  What if Jamie Moyer would’ve hung it up?  What if the Phanatic had retired his silliness?

Of course, no matter how you look at it, even this analogy wouldn’t quite ring the Liberty Bell.  I mean, unless Barack Obama suddenly loses the ability to pitch in meaningful games and keep his batting average above the Mendoza line, she still doesn’t have a chance.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Business As Usual: The sCrUB Way

Hey hey, everybody!  The kings of pain, the Chicago Cubs, have gone and done it again.  In one single day the organization was able to provide me with enough fodder to dissect for the rest of the season.  But I can’t stretch it out because that wouldn’t be fun, so let’s get to it!

letslearngrammar.jpgOr shall I say: LETS get to it as in LETS PLAY TWO… as scribed on the new Ernie Banks statue unveiled outside Wrigley Field yesterday.  Smart people will notice that the apostrophe is missing from “Let’s” in Banks’ most memorable catchphrase.  So who was doing the proofreading for this monument?  Aramis Ramirez would be my first guess.  Who needs apostrophes when you’re pitting rooster against rooster in a violent cockfighting duel to the death?  Fukudome maybe?  I so sorry.  Is prorry can being dis one.  Something tells me his English isn’t so great. 

But to read the Chicago Tribune, you’d think Kosuke Fukudome was the second coming of Christ.  He’s everywhere!  So what, he has a great opening day.  Good for him.  But can rational human beings really tout him as an MVP candidate after one single game in the Majors?  According to the Trib, he was quiet in spring training camp because he was busy working on a SECRET WEAPON.  Oooh… secret weapon… like what?  An aluminum bat… bionic arm… non-detectable PED injections?  In the print version of the Trib article, the actual title is “Secret Weapon Unleashed”.  Again, the extremely biased Tribune didn’t realize how third-grade that sounded until after it had gone to print and I called them twenty times to complain (blame Editor Ramirez), so they very smoothly (or not so much) changed the headline for the online version.  Of course, if you read the article (why would you?) you will realize that they never actually say what the secret weapon is other than: he hit the ball hard.  Look, Fukudome didn’t become a star in Japan for not hitting the ball hard.   Isn’t there something more substantial that could be written in the newspaper?

SteveBartman.jpgLike Chicago’s relentless search-and-destroy mission for the infamous Bartman.  It took 4 and a half years, but Moises Alou finally came out and said “I WOULDN”T HAVE CAUGHT IT ANYWAY.”  Nah, you don’t say?  I think it has been extremely clear to everyone in the world who has eyesight that this is and always has been the case.  And besides, it wasn’t that play that forced the Cubs to lose that series; it was their shoddy defense, lack of clutch pitching and a curse of a goat that got ‘em.  Poor Bartman did what any other baseball fan would’ve done with a foul ball coming right at him.  It makes me sick that Alou is getting good press about coming clean; he should have said something when it actually mattered — when the guy was getting death threats from Wrigleyville drunkards and had to start living underground. 

But this isn’t the most ridiculous Chicago Cub story of the day, no, that would go to telling Chicagoland readers that the missing link to a Cubs championship season is groundskeeper ROGER BOSSARD.  According to Tribune writer Paul Sullivan:

“Five of the last seven World Series champions played on fields that Bossard either constructed or remade: the 2004 and ’07 Red Sox, the ’01 Diamondbacks, the ’06 Cardinals and the ’05 White Sox.

If Bossard’s magic touch works again, the Cubs will be dancing on their new field come October.”

Right.  Forget about hitting, or pitching, or the game in general.  Just resurface the field so it drains better and you got yourself a World Series ring.  Brilliant.

I thank God every day that I wasn’t born a Cub fan…

…and all I ask is that you don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Throwin’ My Friend Under the Proverbial Bus

Despite the simple fact that 90% of the entries on this highly contested blog are written by me, let me remind everyone that this is, in theory, a site authored by two different people.  Many of you know that Allen Krause, my partner/opponent/evil-twin in this baseball debate, is the blue in Blue State, the tig in Tiger, the dumb in Dumber.  We started Red State Blue State because we had a nasty habit of writing extremely wordy and often hateful diatribes back and forth to one another during the baseball season; so we thought: “hey, let’s make the awful things we say available to the public!”

So far so good… at least that’s how I feel because I have actually been writing posts and having a great time doing it.  But I gotta tell ya, it’s not as fun pointing out how wrong someone is when that someone disappears for weeks at a time.

I know, I know… but Al works for the Government and he’s extremely busy saving U.S. Americans from the evils of the world so I can focus on more important things like finding out what exactly a gyro-ball is and whether or not I can find Erica Hill‘s address so I can see if she’s really that hot in person.  Of course, I was giving Al the benefit of the doubt — until tonight.

You see, I was in my own perfect little world: American Idol was on the television, Cardinals/Rockies game was on one computer, live scoreboards/gametrackers/fantasy stats were on the other.  Serene.  It really was.  Then, I got a text…


“Watching ur girl on american idol rite now”

–Allen Krause

What!?!?  Allen has enough time to watch American Idol but he can’t write a post and respond to the fact that he’s not a real Tigers fan or that his MLB/NFL manager/coach comparison was blasphemous or that he’s just simply retarded?  

ramiele malubay.jpgLook, I love American Idol just as much as the next sensible, 29 year-old, heterosexual, extremely single male.  But I also have priorities.  I understand the fine art of scheduling.  I make time for the things that are important in life: baseball, CNN, Mozart.  Al hasn’t been blogging because he’s been out saving the world… he hasn’t been blogging because he’s been oogling my girlfriend!  In fact, while I was watching Ramiele do her thang, I was also watching Lohse pitch five scoreless innings against the Rockies.  It’s called multi-tasking.  I’m a child of divorce.  I’m great at it.

So I have no choice but to call Allen out — yet again — on his unacceptable behavior.  Readers, I invite you to do the same.  Maybe Al will be welcomed back with open arms…

…like… (*cue the cheesy segue)…

steve stone 70s.jpgSTONEY!

How about that!  During the Opening Day festivities, one thing that really excited me was listening to Steve Stone’s debut on WSCR The Score’s broadcast of the Chicago White Sox.  Finally, Chicago has brought him back for good as he signed a contract to do the color commentating for the Sox full time this year.  This is great for Southsiders and anyone who enjoys listening to a game on the radio.  Stoney is one of the most informative, uncensored, learned broadcasters in the game.  And remember, I am, and always have been, a Cardinals fan.  In fact, during my childhood, Stoney was the only redeeming quality of the entire Chicago Cubs organization.  He isn’t afraid to say what he thinks — because he’s usually right — and he isn’t arrogant about it.  That voice?  It’s like buttuh.

And now he will be affiliated with a Chicago team that can actually call themselves winners.  Welcome to the Southside, Stoney.

And Al, welcome to my s***list.

I just ask that you don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right. 

Peace,

Jeffy        

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