May 2008

West Virginia Speaks, No One Cares

West Virginians had their say Tuesday
evening and it’s no surprise that they chose the pushover wife of a dressed-up manwhore
But unless you’re a West Virginian named Booker T. Washington or Jerry West you
don’t have much of an audience.  So in the end, this sad state of affairs
is just that: a sad state of affairs.  Whether it be between brothers and
sisters, cousins and cousins or fathers and daughters, it’s just sad. 

What’s even more sad is that the entire spectacle of the West
Virginia primary (though theoretically proper and just in promoting
democracy) was really just a waste of time.  Nothing will change by way of
the presumptive nominee except that he will be labeled as
“presumptive” for yet another stretch of precious time.  Kudos
to the Clinton campaign for being
steadfast in its savagery.

But we’re US Americans
and every state’s vote should count — unless, of course, you’re a
Republican, in which case your decision was made for you by the 20+ states that
voted before it was your turn.  Is there really any question why West
Virginian officials stage their primary as late as they do?  Perhaps they know
what we’re all thinking and are doing us a favor by voting so late,
when no one cares.

Except that this year, the media (and the GOP) would like us to think that
people should care because the race is so close.  Well, it’s not
that close.  She can’t win.  This is just another angle she is using
to squeeze her way onto the ticket somehow, some way, any way.

And we’re made to suffer through it.  Like Kansas City Royals fans who
hopelessly invest their emotions in a team that is determined to lose, Clinton
supporters know they haven’t a chance in the free world; but glimmers of
sunshine (Brian Bannister’s first three starts) and glimpses of brilliance (Zach
Greinke’s ERA
) always seem to block out the fact that they’re always
playing against a much tougher opponent.  Without money and sound
management, there is just no friggin’ way the tumultuous season will ever end
in Ultimate Victory — ever.

If you don’t believe me, why don’t you ask these upstanding West
Virginians
what they think?

CRIMINALS.jpg

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Relieve Me from the Law of Averages

Humans are imperfect.  That’s just the way we are.  And even though I (and a select few i.e. Jesus, Gandhi and Kelly Clarkson) come close to perfection most of the time, part of being human is making mistakes.  Jesus gave up a life with Mary Magdalene (mistake), Gandhi didn’t fight back (mistake) and Kelly Clarkson starred in From Justin to Kelly (big friggin’ mistake).  Even my colleague, Allen Krause, makes a lot of mistakes — publicly, here on this blog.  But I don’t hate him for that.  I forgive him and move on.  And sometimes, he even surprises me with interesting, near-perfect thoughts.

Closers are not immune from this inherent imperfection.  The law of averages is an inevitable circumstance of life and if your closer mauls down opponents one after the other, night after night, then you better be ready for him to “average” out at some point.  Fifty-five games in a row where Eric Gagne was unbeatable?  Fifty-five games in a row, folks.  55!  That’s a lot of games to save!  Well, he’s “averaging” out now. 

Sure, Izzy will get you through five in a row.  Just know that after that he’s bound to blow two or three.  That’s just how it is.  Papelbon?  Unhittable?  For a while.  But he is human and he’ll screw up to “average” himself out.  This is symbolic of human nature.  This is life itself.

Obama blew through the early primary stages — secured his lead.  So he loses Indiana.  Who cares?  So West Virginia might not go his way.  Let’s look at the big picture.  Bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, 3-2 count, go-ahead runner on second, and a gunslingin’, gay-hatin’ redneck is at the plate.  Who do you want on the mound? 

obama_whitesox.jpgBarack Hussein Obama. 

Because he’s the man.  More times than not, he’s going to be victorious.

Thank you.

Now, if you want to read great analysis on the possibility of a real paradigm shift regarding closing pitchers and the state of the game, check out The Prince of New York (buy his book!) by clicking *here*.

If you want to see me in all my (im)perfection, click *here* (I am the extremely attractive man dressed in black who takes the suggestion).

If you just want to see the most disgusting thing ever, click *here*.  *Warning!  These are Cub fans.  They are sick people.

In closing, I may blow a game or two, but please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.  And for the record, I usually am right, so get used to it.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

“The player’s union is upset because no team is willing to give Barry Bonds a
contract. Does Barry deserve another chance and which team is in a desperate enough
position to give him that opportunity?”

– Allen

“P.S. Don’t say Detroit because we both know that ain’t gonna’ happen.”

                                                                                        

It is May and poor Barry Bonds doesn’t have a job.  Gee, I feel real sorry for the guy.  Must be hard being unemployed, trying to provide for a family while under immense scrutiny from the law for being, quite frankly, a terrible person.

Luckily for him, not all is lost in Barry’s World, because as I mentioned before, he will most likely be employed by some team sometime this year — probably closer to July or August.  Though I predicted the only team with the hutzpah to sign him was the Evil Empire, I now believe there may be others more “desperate” to do so.  More on that in a moment.

First I want to dispel any notion that the current Barry situation has any link to an MLB brass conspiracy of collusion.  I understand that the Players’ Union has no choice but to investigate the possibility of collusion, but believe me, this does not even come close to comparing with the Kik Gibson, Jack Morris, Paul Molitor cases of the ’80s where teams were absolutely in the wrong, colluding out of greed and oneupmanship to teach those players a “lesson”.  Barry Bonds comes with serious baggage and that baggage could mean less dollars for whatever team takes him on.  As is usually the case, this is about money and money only.  No team wants to risk losing revenue or being identified by the dark cloud that is number 25.  At least, not just yet.

barry_bonds.jpgBut the time will come later this summer when that risk may pay out for teams such as the Yankees, Blue Jays, A’s, Rays and yes, maybe even the Tigers.  Out of all of those teams, I find the team who could use him the most right now would be the ginormously underachieving Tigers.  Of course, by August they may already find themselves mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, so I can see how the further along we get in the season, the less likely such a signing will occur.  But after that dastardly start and their current slump where they’ve lost seven of their last ten, if the Tigers were going to do it, they better do it now.  Why Mr. Krause would say something as bold as “Don’t say Detroit because we both know that ain’t gonna happen,” is quite beyond me.  If someone would’ve said the Tigers would sign Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis in the offseason I would’ve laughed it off as being nuts.  After they did, if someone would’ve said the Tigers would be in the basement of the AL Central, I would’ve laughed it off as being completely nuts.  Bottom line: the Tigers don’t make any sense right now so why would I ever expect them to make sense at all, ever?

For other American League teams, Barry’s swaggering forehead might be something they can look past if he can still produce 20 homers, a gajillion walks and a high on-base-percentage.  All signs point to that still being a possibility, so I look for teams with playoff potential to give Jeff Borris a ring as we get closer to really seeing what teams are in the playoff picture. 

At this point, I’d say there’s really no way he’ll be in a National League uniform ever again.  The closest he got was when Tony LaRussa expressed interest towards the end of spring training in signing Bonds to help protect Pujols.  Of course, at that time, TLR didn’t know that the likes of Ankiel, Ludwick and even Glaus would perform as adequately as they have.  Despite TLR’s explanation of why a Bonds signing would be beneficial for the team and their chances in the Central, the story caused a near revolt of fans towards management and just as quickly the possibility extinguished before it ever had a chance of happening. 

It’s probably better for everyone that Bonds stay out of the NL — he’s tainted it enough and it’s time he leave it alone.  Though once a graceful athlete in the outfield, the last several years have exposed Bonds’ nonchalant patrol as embarrassing and sad.  His defense was quite the symbol of his entire attitude towards the game in general: why should I care?

Which is exactly how I feel about the Barry Bonds situation as it stands now.  I feel dirty writing this because I’m wasting precious time on the topic when I could be talking about other things like: How ’bout ‘dem Redbirds!

Barry has been a stain on the game, on his teammates and now Barry is a stain on this blog.  I blame Allen Krause.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

A wall by any other name….

John McCain’s campaign almost died last year because of one word: Immigration. Being from a border state, Sen. McCain understands that building a fence or becoming more bellicose does not stop illegal immigration, it just forces it even further underground. And he understands that the US economy will not continue to grow without inexpensive labor from overseas. Or at least he understood it up until he got the nomination.

However, we baseball fans are in a particularly excellent position to understand immigration and its positive effects. Without immigration (illegal or otherwise), we would not see the game the way that it is played today.

Seriously, can you imagine basbeball without Johan Santana, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Carlos Zambrano? Well, with current immigration policy towards Venezuela, you might have to. We’re lucky that these players made it in to the US before the clampdown but who knows what future A-Rod or K-Rod is being held up because they don’t have their papers together in exactly the order required or because they can’t get an interview due to new regulations.

Now, you’d have to be daft to say that immigration is not a very real issue that demands tough solutions. But you’d have to be just as daft to say that shutting down the border and scaling back immigration even further will improve the situation or help the US in general.

This is an idea still in its infancy but if the US can use baseball to help with its diplomatic relations, sending big league baseball stars to other countries to talk about the US, why can’t it use baseball in the other direction, to help the American people understand the positive effects of immigration?

-A

An open letter to my friend, Mr. Lung

Mr. Lung,

It was with dismay that I read your last couple entries on our shared blog. So, now we’re critiquing based on typos? See, I was under the (obviously misguided) impression that this was supposed to be a substantive debate about baseball, politics and how the two relate.

However, despite my sorrow and confusion, I refuse to yield to the divisive forces that seek to tear us apart. Instead, I take a lesson from our good friend and future president, Barack Obama, and say that what draws us together is stronger than what pulls us apart. That instead of being drawn into the blogging of yesterday, I yearn for a new blogging, a blogging of unity.

Mr. Lung, I reject and denounce your efforts to tear us apart. I reject and denounce your pointing out of my typo. And I reject and denounce future uses of similarly divisive techniques. I say to you: Mr Lung, Tear Down This Wall!

Sincerely,

Mr. Krause

P.S. The Cardinals suck.

The Loaner

By Noah Fence, Associated Press

CHICAGO/WASHINGTON D.C. — In a surprise Red
State Blue
State
revelation, a
campaign aide (a guy named Madelyn) says Allen Krause lent himself $6.40 in the
past month.

Politically wounded and financially strapped, Krause
recently plunged back into the RSBS debate against his longtime foe: the
superiorly intelligent, charismatic, rising baseball-blogger-star Jeffery Lung.  This surge comes after a long hiatus where Krause
did nothing but sit back and take a vicious verbal beating.  Facing tough decisions like whether he should
pay the rent or pay a ghost writer for his questionable posts, Krause decided
it was finally time to dip into the old savings account for the much needed six
dollars and forty cents.

The loan more than doubles what he has contributed thus far.

And it’s not really working.

Though his affiliation with the Detroit Tigers is
unwavering, his dignity and reputation haven’t been so lucky.  Outsmarted, outwitted and outwritten in his
public arguments against Jeff Lung, it is evident that not only does Lung carry
the baseball message of hope into the streets, he carries it around the globe.

“Wo hen xihuan Long Jiefu. 
Ta hao bang, hen congming.  Yinwei
you ta, suoyi wo ai kan
bangqiu a!” said Chinese Minister of Defense General Liang Guanglie after
reading every single RSBS post after a busy morning of war games.

“Lung’s is a message of hope – of striving to be better, of
caring for your fellow man.  It’s a
message that made me say ‘forget pitching, let me hit and patrol centerfield'” said
St. Louis Cardinal Rick Ankiel after a star-studded performance of his own on
Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Krause’s lack of determination and point of view
remain hindering no matter how much money he loans himself.

jim leyland monkey.jpg

“Right now, that guy [Krause] gives us a bad name.  We got a monkey on our backs.  We can’t win. 
We can’t hit.  And that guy
[Krause] ain’t helpin’ the cause here.  Get that **** outta my face,” said Tigers
manager Jim Leyland.

Though we tried to contact Krause headquarters for comment,
that guy named Madelyn said he was locked in a bathroom busy putting his foot
in his mouth.  

Deconstruction of a Constructionist

Let me try to understand this hifalutin statement:

“When it comes down to it, sports exist to entertain the masses and it
is the masses that decide what they want. This leads to inevitable
conflict between the strict constructionists (people like you) and the reformers (people who wear pink hats).”

–Allen Krause, The Filibuster, May 4, 2008

When Allen says, “people like you”, he’s referring to people like me — smart, charming, extremely good-looking, etc.  Apparently, I must remind everyone that I am the brains of Red State Blue State, strict constructionist or not, and this statement is just the sort of blatant, pretentious animosity that gets slung around Washington in order to hide an individual’s own errant shortcomings.  

Allen’s mishaps, misspeaks and misappropriations are far too many to document here; I will save you from another verbal sparring match and just inform you that, in his last post, he both favored and opposed the DH rule, thus proving his inability to lead and his tendency to flip-flop.  It’s not the first time this has happened.  Click here to see when he became a Nats fan and click here to read my story of how he was once a Cubs fan.

And while these bouncy sentiments are disturbing, nothing is more disturbing than Mr. Krause’s hinting that a game requiring more thinking skills and more management fineness (ie NL style baseball) would be less entertaining than the alternative: a slimy attempt to make more money (ie AL style baseball).  In defending his argument, Allen used the analogy of basketball by contemplating how boring it would be if it hadn’t changed from Dr. Naismith’s original rules (which did not include a shot-clock, three pointers, etc.). 

Well, Al, I don’t know.  Are you belittling the intelligence of the masses by saying we can’t appreciate a thinking man’s sport?  That we have to see non-stop scoring throughout to be entertained, to be drawn in, to be a fan? 

Let’s analyze this from the point of view of the world’s most popular sport: soccer (football for you non-US Americans).  Do you think soccer has suffered much from being a low scoring, highly intellectualized sport of refined athletic ability?  Though I can’t call myself a huge soccer fan, I can attest to being extremely entertained and very involved even during nil-nil matches.  And the masses seem to be liking it just fine the way it is.  In fact, the masses would sooner beat you to do death than allow you to instigate a Designated Striker rule: every time the regular striker crosses midfield, the well-rested Designated Striker sprints in and attacks without abandon, thus creating a better chance to score.  Yeah, I’d like to see you try it. 

spaceman.jpgAnd don’t forget, the masses had nothing to do with implementing the DH rule in the first place.  No, it was a decision made by 8 crusty, old rich men (spearheaded by Charlie O. Finley) who wanted to put more money in their pockets.  Well, they did, and in the process they also took away a fundamental right of all baseball players — the right to hit.  If you ever want to know how devastating that decision was on American League pitchers, read Spaceman Bill Lee’s book.  It forced him to do drugs and get traded to Montreal, which was so bad that he had to do more drugs until he just settled for barnstorming the globe… and doing drugs.

Is the American League more entertaining than the National League?  Calculating for my natural bias, the answer is still no.  It’s not.  It’s a different game and I don’t like it as much as I do the alternative, purer form.

But what do I know?  According to you, Al, I’m just a “strict constructionist”, which would either make me a supreme court justice or just a simple legal philosopher.  I’m not quite sure which of those career paths suits me best, but I know one thing for sure: you shouldn’t be a spelling teacher:

“If you aren’t convinced, maybe you should take a look at what Scalia,
Cheney and their merry band of strict constructionists have done to the
Consitution.”
[my emphasis]
–Allen Krause, The Filibuster, May 4, 2008

As a liberal, free-thinking man with myriad bounties, it’s hard for me to swallow you comparing me to the Milo Minderbinder of our time, Dick Cheney, but it’s even harder for me to accept that you don’t know how to spell “constitution”.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

PS, Don’t hate me cuz I was right in my Cardinals/Cubs prediction either.  Better get used to it.

The Filibuster

“As much as you dislike the National League, its purer rules have provided an abundance of drama this week as pitchers have been coming through at the plate: Micah Owings’ game-tying homerun versus the Astros, Carlos Zambrano’s opposite field shot at Wrigley and the Cincinnati Reds couldn’t get former pitcher Rick Ankiel out to save their lives.  It’s late in the game, your bench is empty, but you need a clutch at-bat from one of your pitchers.  Who do you send to the dish and why?”

–Jeff

                                                                                        

I actually think that this is a great question and it’s something I was thinking about earlier this week while I was looking at the recap of Owings’ heroics. As much as I talk about the American League being superior to the NL, I do like the analytical aspect of having the pitcher bat. It makes the role of the manager much more important and allows for more creativity.

However, I think this question also leads to some other interesting facets of the game because it’s interesting to see how pitchers react when they switch leagues. For instance, Johan Santana is not someone you think of as a hitter but that’s because he’s spent his entire career until now in the AL. But, when you look at his numbers in the few games he played interleague, he didn’t acquit himself all that terribly. So, the Mets, in addition to getting one of the best pitchers in the game, also picked up a guy who’s not a total liability in the nine-hole. That’s a huge advantage to any team.

Now, I’m not saying that I’d send Santana up to bat at the end of the game when I need some clutch hitting but it’s nice to get a little more than you bargained for. And let’s be honest here, at this point in the season, I’d say it’s a pretty easy decision that
the guy you’d love to have available is Micah Owings. I mean, the guy
is just a hell of a good hitter no matter how you look at it. Zambrano
has his upsides and Rick Ankiel is a good story but Ankiel is a
position player now so he doesn’t really count. And I’d say that
Zambrano and Owings are the only two pitchers I’d ever feel comfortable
sending to the plate when I really need to get something going.

Having said all that, I have to take exception to your initial premise that the NL is more pure. Like all sports, baseball has evolved over time and the DH is merely one more step in that evolution. You could easily argue that basketball is much less pure because they introduced the three point line and the shot clock. I mean, if it was still the same way Naismith wanted it, games would end 12-6 and you’d be bored out of your head. When it comes down to it, sports exist to entertain the masses and it is the masses that decide what they want. This leads to inevitable conflict between the strict constructionists (people like you) and the reformers (people who wear pink hats). So, perhaps “pure” is the correct term after all but pure does not always equate to “better.”  If you aren’t convinced, maybe you should take a look at what Scalia, Cheney and their merry band of strict constructionists have done to the Consitution.

-A

Musical Interlude

In case you missed Skip Schumaker’s walk-off homerun to beat the Cubbies in Game 1 last night, you can see that here.

In case you missed the last 100 years of baseball on the Northside, please enjoy this musical interlude below.  It pretty much sums it all up.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

I Have a Dirtly Little Secret Too

Edward_Brooke.jpgYesterday Barbara Walters came out and admitted to having a long-time affair with former U.S. Senator Edward Brooke.  It only took her 30 years to disclose, which makes the story that less exciting, but hey, she had a reputation to uphold.  Now that no one cares about her anymore, I see her confession as a very smart move.  There is no such thing as bad press…

paulette_daly.jpgUnless you’re Roger Clemens.  As if using performance-enhancing drugs to get an edge and then lying to a federal grand jury wasn’t enough, it has now become known that Clemens probably had a predatory affair with a 15-year-old girl.  But wait, there’s more: infamous golfer John Daly’s ex-wife, Paulette, is now accused of have having an affair with Roger too!  Yikes!  Drunks, cheaters and hot-heads, boy, that Paulette sure knows how to pick ‘em!  Coincidentally, my mother called me this afternoon to report that she too had an affair with Roger Clemens; but she was quick to point out that she ended the relationship shortly after he said “Your son throws like a girl.  Let’s shoot him up.”

Thanks, Mom.

So all this truth-telling has moved me to disclose my dirty little secret too.  I’m not proud of it; but it’s time to come clean.  A few years ago, when I was at very low point in my life, I had a promiscuous relationship with a mouse.  Yes, a mouse.  We had a love child, and though I haven’t seen him since he was born, I keep track of all of his accomplishments through the newspaper.  Here’s the only picture I have of him.  No matter what distance is between us, I will always love him.  He’s so cute.  I think he has my ear.

mouse_with_ear_on_back.jpg

And if this isn’t enough honest drama for you, the Cardinals v. Cubs series kicks off tonight.  Though the managerial matchup of LaRussa v. Piniella is not as fiery and bound for mischief as LaRussa v. Baker, remember, LaRussa and Piniella have some history too.  Who doesn’t remember the 1990 World Series?

Oh.  No one remembers it.  That’s right.

Nevermind.

In any case, the Cards win this series AND the respect of ESPN.  Okay, maybe only the first part is true, but you know what I mean.

Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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