July 2008

Trading Deadline Blues

Farnsworth for Pudge? You’ve got to be kidding me. Although maybe the Tigers know something I don’t. I mean, that Jeff Weaver trade didn’t turn out so bad considering he totally tanked with the Yankees. But Farnsworth? When I was living in Chicago I used to watch him throwing BP. The only problem was that it was during the 7th inning of close games and that’s not a good time to be giving up round-trippers. But, maybe Dombrowski is ahead of the curve. Maybe he wants to put together a stable of the hardest throwing guys in the Major Leagues. But Farnsworth? Farnsworth is to baseball what this kid is to basketball:

 

What is it about the trading deadline that makes people crazy? Griffey is probably heading to the White Sox, Texeira is now an Angel, Manny might be a Marlin and Pudge will be wearing pinstripes. Everyone is making deals. Well, except for the Cardinals, of course. Sorry about that one, buddy. Maybe they’ll do something in the offseason and have a chance next year.

But I’d still rather my team did nothing than have to support a team that trades away an All-Star for a bad punchline. Yeah, Pudge is getting old and yeah, Pudge doesn’t hit like he did when he was on the juice. But Farnsworth? I just can’t accept this. The only way it could be worse is if I find out that he’s also a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

Rocket_Ismail.jpgSpeaking of which, there is one other specter that haunts me that Mr. Lung forgot to mention. And no, I don’t mean Arlen Specter although he is old and old people generally scare me. I mean another former Fighting Irish who still runs through my dreams. And runs is definitely the correct word since I’m talking about “Rocket” Raghib Ismail. Man, that guy caused as much heartburn in Michigan as the Big Three’s ongoing inability to make a profit. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was glad to see him go.

Anyway, I guess I should let this all go and just accept that Farnsworth is on the team through the end of the season. Maybe he’ll be great. And maybe Fernando Rodney won’t blow any more saves. And maybe Hillary will still get the nomination. Thank god I’ll only have to live with two out of those three things. And I can still go to my happy place.

-A

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Countdown to Incompetence Part II: Beyond Squeamish

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Barney_Frank.jpgThought it couldn’t get any worse? 

Wrong.  It can.  It will.  US Americans will suffer

Dear readers, another day is gone; the Cardinals bullpen still su<ks.  And somehow, John Mozeliak still manages to keep a smile on his face.  Perhaps he heard about Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank’s new proposal and decided to get a head start on my aura.  That’s the only reason I can think of that would somewhat adequately explain Mozeliak’s easy-going penchant for incompetence.

Well, I’m just sick about it. 

The Cardinals had to score five runs in the 9th last night to secure a victory because the gods knew a one-run lead wouldn’t be enough.  But how long can one expect the Cardinals to do this?  How often will the Cubs and Brewers spot us a five-run lead going into the late innings of a game? 

passed.out.jpgWhen a team has already recorded over 20 blown saves midway through the season, it’s hard not to find its fans puking in the street.  Yesterday, I was moved to illustrate my queasy frustrations with a Corey Feldman video that makes me equally — if not more — uncomfortable. 

But that was yesterday.  Things have gotten a lot worse since then.  With one day left until the trade deadline, I’m afraid watching the Cardinals attempt to hold close leads will now make me as uncomfortable as I feel watching this:

**Warning!** The two minutes and twelve seconds you are about to lose from your life can not ever be replaced. You may or may not leave the video a lesser man/woman.

Have you lost your appetite, dear reader?  Now you know how I feel.


Thumbnail image for john_mozeliak.jpgThis must stop.  Mozeliak, be a man.  Don’t send the fans, the men who wear birds on the bat, and TLR the wrong message.  Prove to us that you want to win and you want to win now.

I don’t just speak for myself.  I speak for Red States, Blue States, all the States of US America.  Mr. Mozeliak, you can hate me ‘cuz I’m an ^sshole and you can surely hate me ‘cuz I’m a closet Corey Feldman fan, but please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Countdown to Incompetence

mozeliak_2.jpgThe July 31st trade deadline isn’t getting any further away yet the St. Louis Cardinals front office, led by GM John Mozeliak, seems content with not trying to get better for a possible playoff push.  Apparently, Mozeliak, who is beginning to remind us of a certain head of state stubborn enough to believe his own methods of irresponsibility and subtle lunacy will actually work despite the entire planet’s discouragement, is quite okay with sitting back and letting fate (or the lack thereof) decide the ballclub’s competitive future.

In case you weren’t watching that god-awful series against the Brewers last week, Mr. Mozeliak, the Cardinals desperately need bullpen reinforcements.  DESPERATELY.  Pull the trigger.  Go out and get a guy who can hold a lead in the late innings.  Do something — anything — that will prove to Cardinals fans that you actually care.  We US Americans can no longer accept the fact that the Cubs, Brewers, Yankees, even the Astros, are spending a little bit of money, going out and getting all the pieces they need to make it to the post season.

And now that Izzy has been given the closer duties — again — our best bet is to have at least a 9-run lead going into the final innings of the game.  The Cardinals bullpen has already given me a serious heart condition and as I have said before, watching them in save situations makes me extremely uncomfortable. 

How uncomfortable?

As uncomfortable as you’ll feel watching this:

Yes, that really happened. 

Yes, Corey Feldman really takes himself seriously. 

And yes, it’s hard to feel more uncomfortable than that… though the Cardinals brass, with their non-existent attempts at making a deal, are trying their very hardest to best it.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Slaying Allen’s Specters

Doggie guru Cesar Millan has taught me many a valuable life lesson.  The first — and most important — is that I am the pack leader.  In order to maintain pack leader status, I must emit a calm yet dominant energy.  A brief scan of recent RSBS posts would be more than enough to convince every living being of my fulfillment of this necessary role.  Second: happiness comes from excercise, discipline, then affection, in that order and in that order only.  Food is optional.  Just ask the Olsen twins.  They seem to be doing fine.  But sometimes, dear readers, these are not enough.  Fear is an untouchable giant among short people and fear can cause myriad setbacks to one’s personal success, satisfaction, serenity.
 
For this reason, I have decided not to argue with Mr. Krause on his most recent ramblings regarding MLB playoff restructuring.  Despite his fixation on how greedy and seedy MLB front offices tend to be and besides his disconnect with the purism-is-passion campaign I so wholeheartedly support, he does make a few good points.  In short, nothing is going to change right now, so I might as well get used to it and hope for the best.

Just for today, I’m content with that.

Fear, which has long been an issue my Tiger-lovin’ friend has struggled with, must be addressed.  If I were to walk away without confronting his deepest, underlying and now-in-the-open anxieties, I would be a poor voice for US Americans.  In his last post, he let it be known that:

“…a specter came back to haunt me today…”

That specter’s name is Jeff Samardzija — Notre Dame superstar and latest edition to the Chicago Cubs pitching staff.  Admittedly, I share no love for the man just as I share no love for Notre Dame nor the Cubs; however, to me, he is a man.  Unfortunately for Mr. Krause, Samardzija has taken on an entirely phantasmal nature capable of penetrating and destroying his entire being.

And Samardzija is not the only one…

Dear readers, this must stop.  It must stop today.  And as Cesar has so rightfully taught us, it will stop by confronting, defeating and slaying.  Attention all specters inhabiting Allen Krause’s mind: Be Gone!

regis.philbin.jpgRegis Philbin, Be Gone!
Famed Notre Dame alumnus known for entertaining housewives for over two decades now, this specter haunted Allen by asking “Who wants to be a millionaire?” to which Allen responded, “Who wants my foot in his ^ss?”

lidge_clemens.jpgThe Combination of Brad Lidge and Roger Clemens, Be Gone!
Lidge went to Notre Dame and became a fire-balling closer infamous for losing his mind under pressure.  Clemens wore a Notre Dame jersey for a publicity stunt and pressured his body by juicing it until he lost his mind.

Hannah-Storm.jpgHannah Storm, Be Gone!
This Notre Dame graduate (are you seeing a pattern develop?) became a female sports broadcasting star with NBC — the ultimate purveyor of all-things Fighting Irish.  In specter form, she subliminally caused Allen’s abhorrent distaste for white women.

phil.donahue.jpgPhil Donahue, Be Gone!
He’s loud.  He’s obnoxious.  He’s much older than Allen yet has more hair.  He supports Ralph Nader.  And oh yeah, he went to Notre Dame.

Carl.yastrzemski.jpgCarl Yastrzemski, Be Gone!
With that name, it’s hard to believe he went to Notre Dame but it’s true.  He did.  And his nickname was “Yaz”, which spelled backwards is “Zay”, like the language spoken in Ethiopia.  And you know what you can find in Ethiopia?  Missionaries.  Catholic missionaries.  Catholic missionaries who have ties to Notre Dame.  Yeah, Yaz’s specter is one that runs circles around Mr. Krause’s mind.

antonin.scalia.jpgAntonin Scalia, Be Gone!
Not a Notre Dame grad, but he might as well be.  A highly conservative supreme court justice who just happens to be Catholic (not a bad thing in my book — the Catholic part), Allen saw him wearing blue and gold once and jumped to conclusions… Scalia’s been fear-mongering ever since.

aaron.heilman.jpgAaron Heilman, Be Gone!
You guessed it.  A Notre Damer.  Also pitches in New York, for the Mets.  Famous for giving up the 9th inning dinger to Yadier Molina that put the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series against the Tigers (whom they eventually destroyed), Allen still holds a grudge against this specter.  Also interesting is the fact that Heilman sounds a lot like Heisman, which is a prestigious college football award bestowed upon Tim Brown — also from Notre Dame — in 1987, which is a year that the Cardinals went to the World Series and the Tigers did not (though they were close).

thomas.jpgClaren
ce Thomas
, Be Gone!
(see Antonin Scalia)

craig.counsell.jpgCraig Counsell, Be Gone!
Notre Dame grad.  Weird batting stance.  Doesn’t wear batting gloves.  ‘Nuff said.

…and finally, the biggest, most bothersome, most destructive specter of them all:

jeff lung with dog.jpgMe.
Nope.  No affiliation with the Fighting Irish.  But I do adore my beagle, come out of arguments on the right side and haunt Allen Krause to the utmost degree…

And I ain’t goin’ anywhere, Al, so you just better get used to it. 

I know it’s tough, but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

As of this morning, the NL Central had three teams ten games
over 500 while the NL West leader
is barely at .500
! 
If the playoffs started right now, one superior team would be completely
left out while one mediocre team would get to compete for the World
Series title.  Should Major League
Baseball reexamine the playoff structure so that it actually sends the 4 best
teams from each league to the playoffs? 
If so, how would you propose this be done?

 

– Jeff

                                                                                     

Ever since 1969, when MLB first started using a playoff system to determine who would play for the World Series, purists have decried the vulgarization of the sport. And when the playoff system was expanded even further in 1994 so more teams could be involved, the old-timers cried themselves to sleep, I’m sure. However, as anyone who follows this blog is aware, I am not one to yearn for the good ol’ days. Baseball is entertainment and as such, it exists to make money. More teams in the playoffs means more money for the sport which means better facilities and the ongoing vitality of the game. But, there are downsides.

And the system could stand some revamping. As you point out, if the playoffs started today, a mediocre team would be in while an excellent team would be watching from home. On top of that, when you realize that due to the arbitrary makeup of the leagues a good team in a bad division has a much better chance at making the playoffs than an excellent team in a very competitive division, well, you can see how this creates a recipe for disaster. But the situation is not unprecedented.

Each year the BCS picks the two best teams in the nation to go at it in the National Championship game but every year controversy surrounds the pick. A two-loss LSU team gets in over a undefeated Hawaii squad? Yeah, LSU is better but they lost a couple games. And how are they better than a 2-loss Georgia team that went out and destroyed that undefeated Hawaii team?

NCAA football at least has a system that tries to take everything into account when deciding who will play in the championship. MLB randomly assigned teams to leagues and divisions and then wonders why people complain when a sub-par Cubs squad makes it in while a decent Padres team sits back in San Diego wondering how it all went wrong.

Suggestions exist for how the situation could be improved and it’s no surprise that Billy Beane would be putting it out there (scroll down to the very last item in the article). I don’t agree with both of his points because I don’t necessarily think the Division series’ need to be expanded but a new seeding format couldn’t hurt.

However, the likelihood of things changing soon is pretty small. If anything, maybe they’ll try to do like the NFL and expand the playoffs a little but it sure won’t be in a way that makes sense. What matters to the owners is that MLB continues to make money and teams like Boston, the Yankees and the Cubs that maximize MLB’s return on their investment continue to make it in. That’s just how it is.

Jeff_Samardzija_catch_crop.jpgNow, on a side note, a specter came back to haunt me today that now firmly roots me in the anti Cubs camp. As I was watching the scroll at the bottom of the screen on ESPN, a familiar name popped out at me. The man who got the save for Chicago today? Samardzija. Now, that’s not a name you see every day and the only other time I’ve ever heard it was was in reference to a receiver for the University of Notre Dame. And it’s the same guy. I’m sorry but I just can’t stand by as the Irish invade everything. Fighting Irish, that is. It’s bad enough that I have to accept them in the NFL but now they’re showing up in MLB as well? No, that’s just too far. And so to the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry I say, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Just had to get that out there. I feel much better now.

-A

Lost in Translation

ichiro.jpg

Not long ago I happened to see Ichiro Suzuki doing a post
game interview with an US American reporter.  Standing firmly by Ichiro’s side was his
translator; and all correspondences were filtered through him.  Disgusted, I couldn’t help but mumble a few
choice phrases (in multiple languages).  You
mean to tell me that in seven and a half years, Ichiro Suzuki still hasn’t
picked up the English language?  Really?  Not even a little bit?  His inability to at least try and speak the language of the people who pay him wouldn’t have bothered me when he was a rookie, but he’s been playing in the
States for a long time now — constantly surrounded by English speakers,
bombarded with English at every turn — and yet he feigns ignorance and acts
surprised when someone tries to actually use English to communicate with him.

As an ardent supporter of multi-culturalism and a strong lobbyist
for forcing young children to learn at least one foreign language in primary school, I couldn’t have been more
ashamed of Ichiro’s apparent lack of effort. 
Seriously.  I wanted to shake
him.

And then I remembered…

I remembered that Ichiro must still have the emotional scars
that resulted from using the English he was taught in this dynamic, ground-breaking, utilitarian language
program:

So I forgive you, Ichiro.

And I’m very, very sorry you had to go through that.  (*On a side note: I’d like to go on record
saying the Japanese are kind of weird)

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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Why Can’t I have a Souvenir Cup?

Since I never seem to find myself in a place that my hometown (from across the state) Tigers like to visit, I’m usually limited to one or two live games in a year. This year, I only had one chance and that day was last Saturday as Detroit visited Baltimore for what promised to be an easy four-game series. Well, let’s just say that neither the game nor the series went the way they were supposed to go. The Tigers hammered Daniel Cabrera in the first inning but then managed to not only let the Orioles back into the game but even found a way to lose it. And they dropped 2 of the four games. So, I’m not writing about the game or the series. I’m writing about what I saw at the game instead.

OriolePark.jpgFirst off, If you’ve never been to Camden Yards, go. The tickets are cheap, the views are great and chances are that if you came to watch another team play the Orioles, you’re going to go home happy. However, I have a bone to pick with the management. Why can’t I buy a beer in a souvenir cup? I don’t want a Pepsi. I don’t want a Diet Pepsi. I want a beer and I want it in a plastic cup that has the Oriole’s season schedule and whatever happens to be the catch-phrase of the year on it. I do this everywhere I go and up til now it hasn’t been a problem. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the cup I got from Yankee Stadium because I can spit sunflower seed husks into it and it feels like I’m somehow spitting on the Yankees. That’s a good feeling. But how can I spit on the Orioles if they won’t give me a cup? Yes, I finally broke down and bought a lemonade because it was really freakin’ hot but a part of me is still outraged. It’s un-American.

TigerWarmup.jpg
And speaking of un-American, the Orioles tossed out a special welcome to the Venezuelan Embassy, employees of which happened to be in attendance at Saturday’s game. I suppose this shouldn’t have come as a surprise since half the players on the field had some sort of Venezuelan connection and we were only an hour’s drive from Washington D.C. And it was nice to see some of the Venezuelan players come through during the game; for instance, Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run shot in the first inning. But there’s just something a little strange about a group of people enjoying the classic American pastime while their president says things like: I hereby accuse the North American empire of being the biggest menace to our planet.I’m just saying…

But, despite the unfortunate ending to the game, the crowd’s even more unfortunate adoration of “the wave” and the disproportionately large and drunk meat-head a few rows in front of me, it was good to see my team play. It gives you a similar kind of feeling to the one you get when you find out that the blog you (kind of) help write has now moved up from fifth to fourth place in the standings. At this rate, we might even make the playoffs! There are playoffs, right?

-A

Blame It On the Booze

Yes, dear readers, our venerable GW Bush came out yesterday and enlightened us with what has really been going on with the continuously slumping economy.  Folks, it had nothing to do with poor management at home, questionable foreign policies nor an ever widening gap between Red and Blue US American ideologies.  No. 

“Wall Street got drunk.”
                       – G.W. Bush

Thank the gods.  I was a tad bit worried there as I watched gas prices in Chicago soar to $4.50 a gallon.  I was just slightly disturbed when I spent $40 bucks at CVS and all I bought were paper towels, crossword puzzles and American Pie: Band Camp on DVD.  And I was a tad nervous when the doctor told me he could remove the lesions if only I put on a blonde wig, some heels and called him “Daddy”. 

But thankfully, none of that was a result of a gummed-up government overrun by lobbyists and big oil.  No.  Wall Street has just been boozin’ a bit… and that, dear readers, is certainly understandable.

Because nothin’ says America like a good old buzz.

I certainly am not immune from this.  In fact, by perusing the plentiful posts here at RSBS one could rightfully gather that we (Allen and I) are a bunch of drunks ourselves.  It’s true!  We are not ashamed!

US America is a country built on the boozing backgrounds of Europeans, Asians, Africans — all drunks!  Like baseball and apple pie, an everlasting state of drunkenness is simply the American way; Wall Street could not hide for long.

In light of this new information, let us follow the President’s lead:

Every good drunk needs his drunken hero and baseball has always provided plenty.  From Babe Ruth to Ty Cobb to Josh Hamilton, the grandest game on earth has never stopped producing inebriated icons.  Jim Edmonds was mine until he switched sides, but I’ve included his picture here still because of the pleasant company he keeps while out on the town.  Nowadays, I look to the boozing comeback of Sidney Ponson for inspiration… what a story.  And Rondell White.  He wasn’t named in the Mitchell Report because of his weakness for Tanqueray and tonics *wink, wink* but the man was a leader in the party scene. 

jim edmonds.jpgsidney ponson.jpgThumbnail image for rondell white.jpgTo these baseball heroes and a quick hangover recovery for our economy I raise my glass with you and say “Cheers!”  I also ask that you don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m (burp) right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Why Must the Cardinals Make My Life Miserable?

I can’t eat.

I can’t sleep.

I can’t find a date.

Thank you, St. Louis Cardinals.

kyle_lohse.jpgI went to bed last night thinking: So we blew it.  So what.  Tomorrow will be fine.  Lohse is on the mound.  We’ll be fine.  Really.  It’s all good.  The man is Lazarus.

And he was — just fine, raised from the dead and all — until he was left in a little too long and he started to show weakness: a crumbling arm.  And Tony, with little else to fall back on, because Mozeliak won’t make a deal for some relief, left him in.

And all hell broke loose.

I, as a St. Louis Cardinal fan and devoted US American, refuse to accept this surface steaming idealogical concept that we can survive on our own, without making a deal.  We’re up against the free-spending Cubs and Brewers!  Get your act together, Mr. Mozeliak!  You’re looking a lot like sit-on-my-^ss-while-I-read-a-story-book-GW Bush during the greatest tragedy of our time!

a-rod smirk.jpgI wrote an editorial on my dissatisfaction with the Cardinals’ front office and submitted it to the New York Times; however, they rejected it on the basis that it wasn’t controversial enough — not enough T&A — and it had nothing to do with the Yankees, the Mets, A-Rod nor Madonna.

So much for being the world leader in print news, New York Times.  For that I offer you a great big RSBS “EAT IT!”

And no, you may not hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

What Was ESPN Thinking!?!

justin timberlake espy.jpgHere’s an idea for the “worldwide leader” in sports: don’t ever, ever, EVER book Justin Timberlake to host your ESPY Awards show again.  Do it, and you’re doomed to be the laughingstock of cable, get verbally blasted by nerdy bloggers like myself, and possibly lose your entire viewing audience all together.

Because what’s worse than having a whiny R&B singin’ teeny boppin’ tenor host a major sports awards show?  How about having a whiny R&B singin’ teeny boppin’ tenor host a major sports awards show while trying way too hard

Look, personally, I have nothing against Justin Timberlake.  I like some of his music.  Love the Madonna duet.  Laughed my tail off with the D**k in a Box song.  All was well in Timberlake Town… until he took this gig hosting the ESPY Awards and broke new ground on being unbearably weird.

Forcing lines, being noticeably uncomfortable, reading scripted jokes without any knack of timing, being extremely awkward… and this was just in the first five minutes.  I hung in there hoping, praying that he would reconcile his obvious out-of-touchness with sports in general by being genuinely charming or, god forbid, humble in his deliveries.

But no.  Instead, he sang an 8 minute over-the-top song (that su<ked by the way) entitled “I Love Sports” which was supposed to show us everyday sport-lovin’ joes that indeed, Mr. Timberlake does love sports. 

He really does.  He sang a song about it!  Did you see that?  Justin Timberlake loves sports!  And just like they kept saying during the show, Justin’s from Memphis… whoo hoo!  Memphis!  And… uh… yeah, they love sports in Memphis.

Poor, poor Memphis.  Memphis was wronged.

And so were we US Americans who ordinarily enjoy watching this made-for-TV sports award show.  Timberlake’s lack of subtlety and obvious blanket ignorance of the sporting world destroyed his on-air — ahem – performance.  And why was there an R&B singer hosting this show in the first place?  Was there a comedian shortage in Los Angeles?  Give me Jimmy Kimmel.  Bring back Jamie Foxx.  Mathew Perry?  Where was Lance Armstrong?  At least he’s an athlete!

What will be next?  Will Michael Jackson host the Heisman Trophy Award ceremony?  Honestly, it couldn’t be much worse than what Timberlake did.  At least we all know and expect Michael Jackson to be weird. 

So all you Timberlake lovers out there, go back, watch the tape, and you’ll know why you shouldn’t hate me: ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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