May 2008

In Case You Didn’t Know…

…the following is all True:

This is NOT the Cubs’ Year
If you read the Chicago Tribune you might be confused.  Sure, the Second City would like nothing more than to see a Windy City Classic in October, but let me tell ya, it ain’t gonna happen.  At least, it ain’t gonna happen on the north side.  Racist t-shirt sales, urine trough diving fans, beer bottle throwing contests and blasphemous predictions from bench riders like Ronny Cedeno prove that a team as destined for Ultimate Failure has no chance.  They may make a run, but in the end, that goat is still pissed off.

Carlos Quentin Should Be an All-Star
BA .299   HR 14   RBI 48   OBP .402

Not to mention, the man is the offensive spark in an otherwise underachieving lineup.  Sox are in first.  ‘Nuff said.

Florida and Michigan Delegates are Negligible
If you break the rules, there are consequences.  (See Pete Rose)

No Matter What, R. Kelly Is Still a Sick, Sick Man
Who waives his right to a speedy trial?  Who makes a serial R&B opera using the same melody over and over again that is so ridiculously far fetched (including midgets and flatulence) that one can’t help but laugh hysterically throughout viewing it?  Who pees on another human being?  Seriously, guilty or not, the man is a sicko.  (At the same time, I must admit, I have seen Trapped in the Closet in its entirety more than five times.)

The St. Louis Cardinals Are In This for the Long Haul
They’re good.  They’re young.  They’re hungry.  They’re determined. 

They aren’t going away.

Hillary Won’t Win the Popular Vote
She won’t.  She’s not as popular.  That’s all there is to it.  However, I have been wrong once, and if the gods so choose that it happen again, I can assure you that it still won’t matter.  (See Al Gore 2000 General Election)

It’s the End of May and the Detroit Tigers Still Su<k

At 22-31, these guys sure are the poster-children for overspending underachievement.  In fact, they might just be the new Yankees.  Their situation can be easily reenacted at home by taking $1,000 cash, lighting it on fire and then flushing the ashes down the toilet. 

Mr. Allen Krause Is Still Not Off the Hook
This is where I chide Allen for not being a major player at RSBS.  This is where I tell him that he should write more posts.  This is where I tell him he should put down the Arabic language books and pick up the friggin’ sports section and get involved!

Contrary to Popular Belief, Billy Beane Is Not Gay; Billy Bean Is Gay
Two different men (both former baseball players), two different sexual preferences.  Billy Beane, the infamous moneyball G.M. of the Oakland A’s: NOT GAY.  Billy Bean, the infamous whistleblower on gay antics inside the Tigers’, Dodgers’ and Padres’ locker rooms: IS GAY.  Different Billys, different Bean(e)(s).

Bill O’Reilly Is an Awful Human Being

Watch **this**

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right…

Peace,

Jeffy

Cold, Cold World

old style 002.jpgYesterday was a beautiful day here in the Chi.  By the time I had cracked through my fifth 16-ouncer of Old Style, the high temperature had surpassed the 80 degree mark, I had already paid my respects to my late Grandpa Larry Hocker (U.S. Army) and all seemed well in the world. 

Being the conservator of energy that I am, I stopped myself from turning on the air conditioner, even though it was quite balmy in my Southside apartment.  In fact, I went to bed with the windows open, forcing myself to think about North Korea instead of the myriad troubles that boggled my mind. 

And then… I was out.  Cold.

And then… I was up.  Cold.

Really friggin’ cold.

With goosepimples up and down my skin, I jumped out of bed and ran around the house shutting windows, all the time fighting a mighty wind that threatened me with a forty degree bite.

And today?  47 degrees was the average high.  So much for global warming… how about global friggin’ freezing?  The cold has been such a deterrent that I didn’t even bat an eye after the Astros jumped out to a 4 – 0 lead against the Cardinals in the first inning tonight.

I didn’t break one single appliance when Jonathan Broxton gave up the go-ahead run to the Cubs late in a low-scoring game. 

And I didn’t threaten to kill anyone when Hawk & D.J. started talking about their ballplayin’ days (AGAIN) during the Sox/Tribe broadcast. 

No. 

I think the cold has gotten to me.  I think I should consider moving to a warmer climate.  I think I might already be dead — existing solely as a ghost, haunting the drunken lives of Cub fans worldwide. 

Okay. So I’m not dead, but until we see some May-like weather, consider me hibernating.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that I’m all of the sudden not making sense.  The Tigers are still terrible, the Yankees are done and Cub fans are still getting ahead of themselves.  These statements would be true no matter how cold it is. 

And though I know how difficult it may be, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

BobbleWhat!?!

bobblefeet.jpgThe front office of the minor league St. Paul Saints definitely has a sense of humor and I like that in a baseball organization.  Too often baseball brass comes off as overly conservative and deftly bland in their everyday business of running a ballclub, getting fans to the park and making a playoff push.  But we are US Americans, and there really should be no limit to our creativity, especially when it comes to special promotions.

And that is where the Saints have definitely gone well beyond Bill Veeck’s “Disco Demoliton Night” when they gave away Larry Craig Bobblefeet to the first 2500 fans who came for the May 25 game against the Fort Worth Cats.  According to The Smoking Gun:


“…the polyresin giveaway depicts an occupied bathroom stall (the
inhabitant’s pants and shoes can be seen below the stall’s panels).
When the St. Paul Saints’s “bobblefoot” is shaken, one of the
spring-loaded feet taps.”

Ah, the infamous foot tapping for sex in an airport men’s room of Republican Larry Craig.  These classic reports of prominent US American leaders finding themselves in a world of scandal never get old do they?  And heck, if it will get people to the ballpark, why not promote the hell out of it!

In the wake of this paradigm shift for baseball front offices I have proposed three other promotional bobble packages for MLB:

Senator John L. Burton BobbleHand Night at San Francisco’s AT&T Park:

In lieu of allegations that former Sen. Burton made sexually charged comments while miming a lewd masturbatory act with his hand at a female aid, the Giants will be giving out these BobbleHands to celebrate the pride of California politics.

Governor Elliot Spitzer BobbleCallgirl Night at Washington D.C.’s Nationals Park:

After admitting to having a problem with paying for sexual services, Gov. Spitzer and his wild times will be celebrated in the district where he got caught, much to the chagrin of Washington Nationals fans who, let’s face it, really have nothing else to be excited about.  *Note: This BobbleCallgirl does more than just bobble.

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick BobbleText Night at Detroit’s Comerica Park:

As if Mayor Kilpatrick couldn’t get himself in any more trouble, this whole extramarital affair with a female aid came into focus once the Detroit Free Press reported more than 14,000 lewd text messages between the two using city funded cell phones.  Nevermind the lewdness.  Who in their right mind would ever write 14,000 text messages!?!  Call her next time, Kwame!  In any case, to celebrate this timely scandal and to get fans’ minds off the fact that their underachieving Tigers are really bad this year, the Tigers will be offering these BobbleText replicas of cell phones that bobble back and forth.  Special attention was made so that each fans’ BobbleText is unique and extremely offensive no matter what it might say.

These are just a few ideas, folks.  You’ll probably notice that the special promotions above are all for terrible teams that really need a reason for their fans to be excited.  Of course, I’d be happy to offer more ideas, but I don’t work for free…

…so until I see the dollar $ign$, enjoy the Memorial Day holiday (with a special shout-out to my late grandfather Larry Hocker who served bravely in the Korean War) and don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

“MLB just handed down suspensions to Joe Girardi, Dusty Baker and Wally
Joyner as a result of recent disputes with umpires. Meanwhile, the umps
blew several calls over the past week, including what should have a
been a three-run homerun by Carlos Delgado last Sunday. Are umps
earning their money and has MLB become overly sensitive to criticism of
their arbiters?”

– Allen

                                                                                       

“Are umps earning their money…?”

Seriously, Al?  You act as if baseball has never seen a controversial call or a heated argument between umpire and manager before.  Ejections, game-changing calls — right or wrong — are fundamental aspects of the game, Mr. Krause.  They are as natural as the infield-fly rule or the strike-em-out throw-em-out inning-ending double play. 

Your questioning of recent events yet again proves your ignorance for what has always been a defining element of the grand game of baseball.

What sets baseball apart from all the rest is that it doesn’t rely on the fast-paced pinpoint accuracy of machines to govern its highly relative rules.  As a game that sees its best players fail 7 out of 10 times at the plate, baseball’s umpiring system — which has a much higher success rate — is bound to see a mistake or two during the long season.  But to introduce technology (like instant replay) to arbitrate — even if it’s solely used for home run calls — would be nothing short of sacrilege in my point of view, which by the way, is the only correct point of view.

85WSTheCall.jpgAnd I’m saying this as an avid proponent for burning down Don Denkinger’s house — still – 23 years after he singlehandedly destroyed my childhood by calling Jorge Orta safe when he was CLEARLY OUT during the 1985 World Series.  A few years ago, I was going through some personal issues and while recovering made a list of all those whom I had hurt in some way with the ultimate goal of verbalizing an apology to them.  I have said a lot of awful things about Denkinger in my lifetime and I am not proud of them.  But when it came time to write an apology to him, the one person whom I hold more contempt for than even Bill O’Reilly, I was unable to reverse my absolute hatred.  I even did extensive background research on Denkinger’s life, hoping that it would humanize him in some way that would make me feel bad about the anger I held inside. 

The result? 

Nothing changed.

But that’s just me.  As an adult, I realize that that call was just a part of the game I love so much and that if I changed it, baseball would no longer be the rhetorical love of my life.  It’s really as simple as that.

And while the league minimum salary for baseball players is around the $350K mark, the umpiring crews hover around $100K.  The best umps in the game might make close to the player minimum, but of course, they’re doing it without any fanfare.  They’re doing it while having to be on the road for every game, not just 81 games.  They’re doing it while being targeted by angry fans in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Detroit.  They’re doing it without any attention paid to how good of a game they might call and they’re doing it while being singled out only when they get one wrong, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t very often. 

So they’ve had a bad week.  So what.  Their bad week pales in comparison to an Eric Byrnes, who is having a terrible season while getting paid over $6.5 million this year or an Eric Gagne, who is getting $10 million for throwing like a batting practice coach.  These guys are the ones who aren’t earning their keep.  These guys are the ones we should be talking about.

french-revolution-2.jpgThe umps are doing just fine.

And if for some reason Bud Selig lets these idiots get to him with the whole instant replay institution, I will take to the streets French revolutionary style to ensure that the game stays just the way it is.

I may do it alone, but I will do it because it is right, because I am right.  And whether I come out of it dead or alive, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right ‘cuz that’s all I have in this cold, cold world.

Peace,

Jeffy

Ozzie Guillen just isn’t that attractive

In an effort to continue our outreach to the gay sporting community, I’d first of all like to thank Mr. Meyer for his recent letter to the editors of RSBS. I can also say that having known Mr. Lung for several years now, I’m sure he did not intend any offense with his recent entry. Well, except to Cubs fans and that’s understandable. And I’d also like to say that from my point of view the thought of Ozzie Guillen kissing anyone is pretty awful. He’s just not an attractive
john_garland.jpgguy. It’s kind of like Camryn Manheim making out with someone. You respect their work but who they kiss and how it happens just shouldn’t be part of the public domain. Come to think of it, if I were to extrapolate a little on the original post, I really wouldn’t want to see Jim Edmonds making out with anyone either. And it doesn’t matter if he’s wearing a Cardinal red or Cub blue. Jon Garland, though…..well, that could be interesting. And if it involved Eva Longoria (or even Evan Longoria, for that matter)…….Anyway, I’m just thinking out loud here and it’s time to move on.

 

-A

Letter to the Editor(s)

We, the editors (Allen and I) receive a lot of hate mail at Red State Blue State.  The majority of said hate mail comes from disgruntled Cub fans who are disturbed by the gospel spread across these pages regarding their hapless team, propensity for drunkeness and overall distorted world view.  These expletive-filled rants are, for the most part, unsuitable for a family viewing audience and that is why they remain unposted.  Until you can learn to express your thoughts without verbally abusing my mother they will remain that way. 

Of course, we also receive hate mail from readers who are tired of seeing so much blog space wasted on the Tigers — a team destined for ultimate failure in what was supposed to be a cakewalk to the championship.  For this, I feel your pain, dear readers.  Perhaps Mr. Krause should think about starting an NHL or NBA blog for Hockeytown so Detroit suburbanites don’t feel so bad about the city they pretend doesn’t exist.  Just a thought.

Despite the influx of hateful emails filling up our inbox, one recent, well-crafted letter caught my attention and I feel it is worthy of being addressed.  After my post entitled Don’t Look Right, where I finished by citing a few images of juxtaposition, I received a thoughtful, inspiring letter from an avid RSBS reader:

“Dear Mr. Lung,

As a person who tries every day to expose himself to new and unexplored avenues
of life I do my best to stay up to date on your baseball blog.  While not
a baseball fan myself, the witty and comical retorts that I read in your words
every week are enough to keep me coming back for more exposure to a world I
would normally not be a part of.  I was especially moved by your last
piece on “Don’t Look Right”.  I found your list of oddities very
compelling and I wished that you had expounded on your list of things that,
although are acceptable, just don’t look right.  A possessed child, a
basketball player on the wrong team, and boys kissing boys were a few mentions
on your list.  Here are a few other ideas that you may want to add to your
list of things that are “ok”, but “just don’t look right”:

1.  Black people walking around shackle-free
2.  Mexicans on University campuses
3.  Women voting
4.  Recovering drug addicts not living under bridges
5.  Cab drivers who are good people, not just unemployed terrorists
6.  Colombians who are not members of a drug cartel
7.  People from Quincy [Illinois] with
college degrees

These are just an assortment of items that once upon time were practically
accepted as fact, yet today they find themselves in the dustbin of obscurity. 
And this dustbin of obscurity is exactly where I plan to put your last
post. 

I would point out that even though you may find two men, of whatever
relationship, in baseball uniforms kissing on the mouth something that’s
“ok” but “just doesn’t look right” an acceptable thing to
say on a baseball blog, I take issue with it.  Even if you dare suggest
that one of the two men kissing is “the most macho stereotypical
dude” in an attempt to qualify your statement, your idea is not made more
palatable.  The notion that gay men are mincing fairies who operate at
only the extremes of male femininity is akin to the notion that all black men
are lazy, shiftless products of welfare.  Although both descriptions can
be applied to some of the members of each group, it does not apply to the
majority, nor does it define a reasonable understanding of either
minority.  Gay men who operate just as straight men do are everywhere
these days, mostly because they have come out of hiding since the once popular
opinion that gay men are all sissies has since become antiquated.  It
should be noted that now-a-days gay men play sports.  They play baseball,
like Billy Bean.  They play basketball, like John  Amaechi. 
They play football, like Esera Tuaolo and David Kopay.  They play
lacrosse, like Andrew Goldstein.  Simply put, they are in every sport;
they always have been.  And none of them are the sissies and gallivanting
qu**rs that seem to occupy your understanding of what “does look
right” when two men kiss.  You can even step outside of the sports
world and still come across gay men who act just like you.  Neil Patrick
Harris of Doogie Hauser…..not an effeminate man.  T.R. Knight of Greys
Anatomy….also, justa regular guy.  They are guys, fellas, buds,
bros, just like every other man in the world.  Their lives aren’t defined
by gay stereotypes and ideas that if they kiss another man, especially in a
sports setting, that it “just doesn’t look right.”

It’s 2008 Mr. Lung.  What “don’t look right” today is your
blog. 

Respectfully,

Jason Meyer”

- – – – – – – – -

For the record, we the editors at Red State Blue State, have responded to Mr. Meyer with our sincerest apologies.  No offense was ever meant by suggesting Ozzie Guillen looks a little off kissing a young boy on the lips.  Thanks to this letter, I realize that if I really am the progressive, forward-thinking academic I say I am, this shouldn’t bother me.  Perhaps (and it kills me to say it) my view could even be considered ‘wrong’.

For this I am sorry.

Mr. Meyer, for your actions of promoting a more sound, accepting and loving community of baseball fans willing to open up to the ever-changing world around them, we at Red State Blue State will be sending you an “I Hate Bill O’Reilly” t-shirt, free of charge. 

Wear it proud.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right… and if you do (Cub fans), learn how to write and formulate your thoughts using cohesive language that wouldn’t be replaced by a series of asterisks by the good people at MLBlogs.

Peace,

Jeffy

Don’t Look Right

Having been the face of the Cardinals for 8 years, I’ll admit, Jimmy Edmonds looked pretty odd in a Padres uniform.  The first feeling I got upon seeing Jimmy in his San Diego duds was that of extreme sadness.  I felt sorry for the guy.  He didn’t look right.  It was a feeling akin to walking in on your mom while she’s taking a shower — a knee-jerk reaction followed by an expletive “yikes!” followed by years and years of therapy.

edmonds_cubs.jpgBut Jim Edmonds in a Cub uniform?  Now that’s just plain disgusting.  Sacrilege.   Taboo.   Seeing number 15 wearing the big “C” and blue pinstripes is like eating raw sewage, thrusting katana blades into your own abdomen and then sleeping with your sister while your guts slosh around and flop on the floor.  Then the dog comes in and starts eating your… well, let’s just say:  

It’s not cool.

And I’m not bitter about Edmonds being out of the St. Louis nine — not at all — but of all the places he could’ve landed… why did it have to be with the Cubs?  It bothers me.  It shouldn’t.  It’s silly.  I know.  I’ve tried to talk myself out of caring, but I can’t undo years of association and brand recognition.  I care!  I really do!  When Willie McGee was traded to Oakland and then later to the Giants in the early 90s, I didn’t care as much.  Of course, I was sad and I missed him in a Cardinals uniform, but I still rooted for him and wanted him to do well because he was a hero to me.  I had the same feeling with Jack Clark.  Of course, neither one of them played as Cub.  But I am an intelligent adult who can see past color, right?  I should be able to get over this nonsense.  So I turned on the Cubs/Astros game this evening and put myself to the test. 

Early in the game Edmonds fouled a ball of his ankle/foot area and was hobbling around gingerly.  I cheered.  I’m not proud to say it, but I did: I cheered.  In fact, a big smile came across my face, followed by an evil cackle and then I did a little happy dance that one of my heroes got hurt.  And boy, was I disappointed when he stayed in the game.  “Take him out!” I yelled at the TV.  “Bean him in the head!” I demanded of Astro starter Brian Moehler.  But then, in the bottom of the 4th, Edmonds shook off my invocations of malice by making an unbelievable over-the-shoulder basket catch that would make Willie Mays proud. 

And what did I do?

I threw things.  I screamed.  I kicked.  I cursed.  And then I flipped over to Intervention on A&E.

Because it just didn’t look right.  Like these images:

exorcist.jpgJordan_Wizards.jpg

white_sox_kiss.jpgbush_dancing.jpg

There’s absolutely nothing wrong or shameful about being possessed by the devil, playing for the wizards, boys kissing boys, or white men dancing, but for all of these individuals, it just don’t look right…

…and I would appreciate it if you don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

“As interleague play begins, what made-up rivalry do you find the most interesting? The I-5 series?  The I-70 series? The ‘I-don’t-really-care’ series?”

– Jeff
                                                                                        

You know, as crazy as it seems, the best interleague series this year and the one that everyone should (yet no one will) pay attention to, is the so-called “Sunshine Series.” Granted, this one isn’t happening this weekend and might not be relevant by the time it rolls around. A lot could change by June. But, if everything holds relatively constant, will there be a better interleague series than Florida-Tampa Bay? On top of that, the two teams have to be a couple of the best stories in baseball this year.

However, for this weekend and the opening of interleague play, the decision is a little harder. Detroit – Arizona? The Yankees and Mets playing for the heart and soul of NYC? The Dodgers and Angels pretending that LA actually has a soul to play for? I mean, I hate to have to say it, but the Cards and Rays might actually be the best matchup of this weekend. At least both teams are actually playing well.

I mean, I guess if you ask which rivalries I find most interesting, I’d have to say any of the intra-city series. There, the fans of the teams live in such close proximity and intermingle frequently that it adds a nice tension to the matchup. Even though the Yankees and Mets are sucking this season, the Subway Series is still going to be a huge draw. And with the payrolls that the teams boast, it’s almost like an All-Star game in and of itself.

The best discussion I’ve read so far of interleague play comes from Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports. And honestly, I can’t really say anything here that he hasn’t already said better. So, I guess that’s what I’ve got for you for right now. Interleague play is such a weird hybrid to begin with that it’s hard to make straight up value judgement on what series are best. First, you have to get past any personal issues you might have with the idea in and of itself and then you can go from there. And that’s what I have to say about that.

 

-A

You’re Out!

edwards_obama.jpgNorth Carolina Senator John Edwards has come out and pledged his full support to Barack Obama and his bid to become the next president of US Americans.  This poignantly placed political pairing has finally come to fruition — just like I and 300 million other US Americans knew it would, which reminds me:

mazeroski.jpgI would like to officially pledge my support to the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates by backing them in their World Series bid against the New York Yankees.  I have a strong feeling (call it a hunch) that the likes of Bill Mazeroski, Don Hoak, Vinegar Bend Mizell, Harvey Haddix, Smokey Burgess, Roberto Clemente and Bob Friend have what it takes to trump a trio of Mantle, Maris and Berra any day — especially in a Game 7 — and I do predict that the Pirates (with my full-fledged, undying, unyielding support) will win this series in seven games.  No more.  No less.  I truly believe that by coming out and supporting the 1960 Pirates at this time, they will overcome what has become known to the overlooked, blue-collar, everyday-white-working-class man as the “same-old-baseball”. 

It all stops here.

clockwork.jpgAnd along with that, may I just propose that we stop the INSANITY here at Red State Blue State by 1) putting Mr. Krause in restraints 2) methodically replacing the skull that used to be connected to the rest of his body 3) forcing his eyes open a la the Clockwork Orange method 4)  putting a 4×6 glossy matte finish photo of the ever-sexy Erin Andrews in front of his face for hours and 5) make him try and say she’s not hot.  I dare ya.

If you’re a straight man and you have a pulse, there’s no way you think Erin Andrews isn’t eye candy.  She’s gorgeous.  She’s smart.  She’s savvy.  She’s curved in all the right places and she does not have a flat tush.  Allen Krause’s outrageously offensive post is done only to get a rise out of his readers.  Instead of offering in-depth analysis and proper postulations on the state of the game, he aims for the low-brow shock-jock style of riffing on things he knows are absolutely unfounded.  Mr. Krause is the MLblogging equivalent of Don Imus and though his grossly distasteful statements draw him a lot of attention, it is exactly the kind of attention one needn’t have in his life, if he even values his life.

john_garland.jpgThe only other explanation for his thwarted statement of blasphemy is something that… no.  Let me stop myself.  I won’t go out there on that limb and make such a bold accusation because I do not favor the Limbaugh-style of political dirt-digging, mudslinging and bell-ringing.  But I will say, Mr. Krause has been talking an awful lot about how John Garland may well be the most attractive man in all of baseball.   I will not comment on it any further…

But for those of you who aren’t convinced at how perfect Erin is… take a gander at this and please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right…

Peace,

Jeffy

Truth to Power

Well, Mr. Lung. It appears that we have yet one more arena in which we agree. The Clinton campaign is really nothing more than a travesty at this point and does nothing except harm the still presumptive nominee. In a year where Democrats should be stronger than ever, they still search for a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s almost like watching the 2008 Detroit Tigers. The only difference being that the Tigers don’t technically need an act of god to turn things around at this point.

However, despite this point of agreement, there is another area in which I have to strongly disagree with you. And in doing this I know I am setting myself up for lots of hate mail but it’s something that has been bugging for a long time. So, instead of beating around the bush, I’m just going to come right out and say it. Erin Andrews is not that hot. In fact, she’s not really all that attractive at all.

erin.andrews.jpgNow, I know that this statement is considered blasphemous in the male sporting universe since every guy I know who follows sports seems to think she is the greatest thing since sliced bread. But, aside from a nice rack and an unfailing wardrobe department, there just isn’t that much going on there. Even in heels she has a flat rear end and that face is painted on. Wow. I really said it. That felt good.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I know of someone better who should take her place. I’m just saying that when it comes right down to it, she’s like a hot short-order cook. Yeah, she might be hot when you consider the profession but the competition is pretty thin to begin with.

-A

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