September 2008

Premature Jubilation

old cub fan.JPGThey say that the great state of Chicago‘s drinking water — drawn from the great Lake Michigan — is some of the finest, purest tap water in all of US America.  Seriously?  I’m beginning to wonder…

Again, my hat is tipped to the Chicago Cubs, their players, their front office and yes, even their fans for winning the National League Central Division title.  Job well done.  I’ve commented on blogs galore, I’ve shaken your hands, I’ve stopped calling the cops when you fire bomb my house. 

Congratulations on doing what you were supposed to do.  You were picked to win the Central.  You went out and spent a lot of money to win the Central.  So, it should be no surprise that you did indeed win the Central.

But I have absolutely no patience (nor the stomach) for this kind of crap sprawled across my Sunday paper:

this is the year cubs.jpgIf it weren’t for my sadistic infatuation with the shooting incidents finely described in the Metro section, I’d cancel my Chicago Tribune subscription in a New York methamphetamine minute because their escalating sensationalist style of journalism is growing too tiresome to be considered real reportage. 

Publishing a new book entitled This Is The Year?

The year for what!?!?  Winning the division?  Because that’s all you’ve done so far.  Congratu-friggin-lations on that.  You won the NL Central.  You did that last year too.  Remember?  Where’s the book for that great feat of baseball achievement?  Oh, there isn’t one?  Well then, let’s write a book about this year then without having actually done anything of real importance?!?! 

Is this for real?  What else have you done this year that warrants a book banking/hoping/praying you’ll win the NLDS and then win the NLCS and then… win the WS?

This is exactly the reason why Cub fans hate themselves.  They let the media and the hype and the curses and the exploding payrolls inflate their egos beyond the realms of sanity, so much so that they actually believe “this is the year” when they’ve still got a whole lot of work to do… just like they did when all they had to do was record five outs against the Marlins or win three games against the Diamondbacks or whatever the case may be this year. 

Sure, it’s been a hundred years and the media loves this kind of story… look: I get it.  But, don’t you think publishing a book called This Is The Year is a bit like asking that girl you like but haven’t talked to yet to marry you

Yeah.  Good luck with that.

I’m sure your manager, “Sweet” Lou Piniella, one of the smartest, classiest managers in the game, is loving your gung-ho holier-than-thou approach to the toughest part of the season.  Because we all know (cue the sarcasm) that the playoff games preceding the world series crown are really meaningless, especially if you’ve got a book called This Is The Year.

Nothing guarantees a victory like premature jubilation. 

Just ask Al Gore.

And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

This weekend will see the very last game ever at hallowed Yankee Stadium. On this blog you have made it no secret that you are everything anti-Yankees, but even you must feel some sadness in seeing this historical and cultural relic fall to the wrecking ball. Please enlighten us with some of your favorite Yankee Stadium memories; while doing so, try not to shed too many tears.

– Jeff

                                                                                        _

I only visited Yankee Stadium one time while I living in NYC. I remember it well.

The year was 2006 and the Tigers were lighting up the American League on their magical (but tragically aborted) run to the World Series. A friend of mine got tickets through her company when the Tigers came into town for a series with the Yankees and so I found myself in the Bronx on a weeknight in September. Well, I assume it was September. I don’t really remember all that well. And that was when my magical night began.

First off, I came straight from work so I had my small messenger bag with me. Bad idea. Turns out you’re not allowed to carry anything into Yankee Stadium with you. So instead I had to check it at a bowling alley next door. When I finally got inside, the seats were amazing, right down in a field box along the 1st base line but there was one small problem. Yankee fans. Of course I suppose I should have expected it since I had worn my Tigers hat. But I didn’t realize that I had basically signed up for a couple hours of taunting.

The taunting was bearable up until they hit the point in game where “God Bless America” is sung. Now, I love my country and I always stand for the “Star Spangled Banner.” I could not be more proud to be an American and that’s why I took a job where I could serve my country. But this whole “God Bless America” fad is nothing but a post-9/11 NYC conceit and I’m an atheist to boot so I remained in my seat.

SaddamYankee.jpgTurns out that this was a bad idea since the taunting then took on a whole new level of awfulness. From that point on, even after the song was finished, I was accused of everything from hating America to being a child rapist. Granted, Yankee fans are known for their boorishness and my experience was actually better than others I have heard about. But after that experience my feelings towards Yankee Stadium are similar to my feelings towards France. It would be a wonderful place if not for the people in it.

So, that’s what I think about Yankee Stadium’s imminent passing into history. The best thing I can say about “The House that Ruth Built” is that at least it’s better than Shea.

-A

Stonewall This!

big z.jpgMr. Sarah Palin (that would be Todd) apparently isn’t the only one stonewalling these days.  No.  Adam Kennedy and the Cardinals’ assault on the previously crowned no-hit wonder Dragon Ball “Z” proved that the Chicago Cubs are not ready to clinch the division.

After having bedazzled the bejesus out of all of us in his last start against the Astros, Zambrano only lasted 1 1/3 while showing his trademark signs of being Zambrano: throwing temper tantrums on the mound, mean mugging umpires, yapping obscenities to himself (or to whoever listen). 

In essence, he acted like a big baby.

In fact, I dug up this old video archive of Big Z playing some video games:

But that’s nothing new.  Perhaps it is a solemn reminder that the Cubs have a lot of growing up to do before they’re ready to overcome the 400 lb. gorrilla in the room. 

Inevitable as it may be, I hope and pray that the Cubs find it in themselves to be themselves and not clinch while playing my dear yet nearly hopeless Cardinals.  Perhaps the Brian Bartons and Brendan Ryans of the Redbirds can find ways to stonewall the Cubs’ clincher… at least until next week. 

In the meantime, while juggling the intricacies of stonewalling the Troopergate investigation and misleading US Americans with her cheery hockey mom charm, hopefully Gov. Palin will come to the realization that despite her longing hopes for a quick ascension, as of right now, she still isn’t at the top of the ticket… though, to hear her say it, you wouldn’t know it:

Yikes!  That might — quite possibly — be the scariest thing I’ve ever heard.

Don’t hate me… ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Diversionary Tactics

Hey Jeffy, if we just find ourselves a Reno Sweeney, we could totally do a cut down production of Anything Goes! Why anyone would want to watch it is beyond me but it’s a thought. To be honest, though, I’d rather watch that than John McCain’s stewardship of the economy if he becomes president.

Weis.JPGWhy do I say this? Well, because just yesterday he said he’d fire the SEC chairman if he could. I’m not saying this is a bad idea or a good idea but the fact that Mr. “I know nothing about the economy” uses a random firing as his response to our ongoing fiscal crisis is beyond insane. It’s like Charlie Weis telling us that he got his knee blown out because of an incompetent podiatrist. No Charlie, your knee ligaments no longer exist because you’re a fat, out of shape man who got hit by a couple hundred pounds of solid muscle moving at high speed.

And likewise for you, Mr. McCain. The economy isn’t in the crapper because of a Bush crony in a plum position (although it probably didn’t help much). It’s because senators like you have been forcing deregulation through the Congress for years in order to help your fat-cat friends make more money at the expense of share-holders.

In the end, this is nothing more than a diversionary tactic. Think of it like the 1st and 3rd shortstop cover where the catcher throws down to the shortstop with runners on the corners in hopes of catching the guy at third breaking for home. Maybe this worked in Little League but it’s pretty rare that you’d even take a shot at it in the Majors. 

Sveum.jpgHowever, that doesn’t keep people from trying this and other tactics. For instance, just a few days ago the Brewers fired their manager, Ned Yost, in hopes that this would magically halt their annual slide. Now, I love me some Dale Sveum and only wish that he still sported the mustache but the fact of the matter is that this changes nothing. When the heart of your lineup isn’t hitting and even CC can’t stop the hurting, things aren’t going well. You just have to face the fact that you’re the Brewers and this is what you do.

Sadly, diversion and denial seem to be the words of the day in both politics and baseball. For Commissioner Bud Selig steroids sure were bad but wasn’t it great to see all those home runs? In our presidents mind there may have been no WMDs in Iraq but isn’t it great that the Iraqis now have a democracy?*
*note: democracy is much nicer when you aren’t getting killed by your next-door neighbor or blown up by your co-confessionalist.

Perhaps Mr. Porter had our politicians and baseball owners in mind all those years ago when closing out the lyrics to Anything Goes:

The world has gone mad today
And good’s bad today
And black’s white today
And day’s night today
And most guys today that women prize today
Are just silly gigolos

Sounds about right to me.

-A

Kind, Gracious Words from the Top

ozzie smith jersey.jpg“In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking but now, God knows, anything goes.”
      — Cole Porter (1891 – 1964)

Indeed, anything goes, including the meteoric rise of two previously unknown baseball nerds from Anytown, USA.  Yes, dear readers.  Who would’ve ever thought that a white guy who speaks Chinese Cardinal fan from the Southside of Chicago and an equally white guy who speaks French Tiger fan from the politicking capital of the world (D.C.) would ever be at the top of… well, anything?

Neither did we.

But now we know.  It’s official.  You, dear readers, have put RSBS on the MLB map, making us the number ONE fan blog in a community of myriad deservees; now, like my childhood hero, I too can proudly wear the number one on my back.

Of course, the good work has only just begun and now is no time to quit.

Sure, the Cardinals can’t win under pressure this year.  But you know what?  I love them anyway.

Sure, Palinmania has temporarily replaced Obamamania.  But you know what?  The Truth will soon rear it’s ugly head. 

Sure, our leaders are borrowing money from China to build a self-serving infrastructure in a little-known least understood country named Georgia when that money could probably be better spent developing universal health care plans and/or educational benefits right here in good old US America.  But you know what?  I have a choice this November and my voice will be heard.

So, too, will yours, dear readers.  With the recent success of RSBS, you have already proved that much.

And now is not the time to stop the good fight.  Mr. Krause and I would like to sincerely thank you for your loyalty, your kind words, your hateful words, your love and your passion for the greatest game on earth. 

That passion, that fire, that spirit is what keeps our hopes alive…

So keep the comments coming, the arguments burning, the fandom sizzling… and as always, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

My Invisible Hand Across Your Invisible Face

As Mr. Lung’s elder by some 12 days, it often falls to me to provide discipline when he goes off on his wild rants. However, I ask you the reader to please remember that I do this out of love; not because I want to but because I have to. And as my parents always used to say, this is hurting me more than it’s hurting you.

Where to begin? How about with the fact that Target’s interest in the game of baseball just shows how healthy the sport is today. After strike shortened seasons and steroid tainted stars, the game has reached ever greater levels of popularity. The willingness of big corporations like Target to put their name on a stadium just shows how far baseball has come. The legions of JDs, MBAs and PR men who have to put their stamp of approval on an undertaking like this means that these same corporations now have a stake in what happens to the game. They don’t want to see it fail any more than we do.

Lehman3.jpgGoing beyond that, corporate advertising has always been a part of the game. Wrigley Field got its name as much from the company as it did from the team owner who funded its construction. And I bet that if you could go back in time, you’d find that even the Roman coliseum was sponsored by some local entity. Maximus’ Chariots or something like that. As I’ve mentioned before in these pages, baseball, like all sports, is a business and in business you have to make money. If you don’t, you go the way of Lehman Brothers.

Now I’ll admit that baseball owners (along with owners of other sport franchises) get a pretty sweet deal. The team and the owners usually only have to front a small part of the tab and the city, state and county tend to get stuck with the rest. But once you figure in tax revenues, increased tourism and the implicit commitment from the team that they’re going to stick around, I don’t think you’ll find many people complaining. I’ll say it again. Baseball is a business and advertising is part of business. Corporations like Target, Comerica Bank and U.S. Cellular are just doing what they do best: looking at the demographics and then advertising to them in the best way possible.

However, I have to say at the end of the day, I love Target. I was there just this past weekend to pick up odds and ends for so much cheaper than it would cost to buy them at my local CVS. Maybe Target exploits its workers but compared to Wal-Mart and the fast food joints, they aren’t doing so bad. The only real problem is that it’s really hard to get the smell of children’s sweat out of the stuff I buy there. That’s the price of capitalism.

-A

Good Enough Just Ain’t Good Enough

unknown comic.jpgI am not a quitter.  Never have been.  In fact, I still smoke, I still stay up past midnight and I still believe the Cardinals have a shot at that last wild card spot.  Yes.  I believe.  I have faith (albeit very little).  This is why I was extremely disappointed to read Matthew Leach’s latest article, which basically says: our season is done, Cardinal fans… but hey, we weren’t supposed to be this good in the first place so everything’s cool. 

Not cool, Mr. Leach.  Definitely not cool.

And I am one of Mr. Leach’s biggest fans.  I read his blog; I read his news articles.  I actually read the guy’s book, so this is no blind sucker punch attack here.  To do in the Cardinals with two weeks remaining in a season already considered by many to be one of the most overachieving to date is not a great way to keep your fan base interested, or on your side.

Besides, baseball isn’t about just being good enough not to embarrass yourself.  Ask any Yankee fan how sick he/she feels right now knowing the team won’t make it to the post-season.  

Baseball is about grinding, going a hard nine 162 times a year in the cold, the rain, the sun and the heat and then the cold again. 

It’s about always giving your best by running out every ground ball, backing up the first baseman, meticulously spitting sunflower seed shells into a community bucket. 

Baseball is about never giving up no matter how far back, how far down, how far away.

Mr. Leach, we’re only four and half games out of the wild card and ahead of us are three teams that are each notorious for their streaky play.  We, as Cardinal fans, are not the despicable type who give up just because the future may look a tad dim.

In other words, we are not Allen Krause.  Mr. Krause gave up on his team a long time ago; he gave up on the University of Michigan football team before the season even started and after one game he gave up on his beloved Detroit Lions.

Again, Mr. Leach, let me reiterate: We are NOT Allen Krause and for taking on that ‘throw-in-the-towel’ attitude — despite the fact that I sincerely respect your work — I have no choice but to send you a great big RSBS Eat It! from all of us who care.

Following along the lines of ‘good enough just ain’t good enough’, let me also thank all our dear readers for putting RSBS higher up on the MLBlog totem pole.  Being ranked number two is certainly better than being ranked number five in total hits/popularity/readership; however, it would be irresponsible of me not to point out the simple fact that:

RSBS_Top10Fanblogs_9.12.08.jpgGo ahead.  You can hate me ‘cuz I’m pompous, you can hate me ‘cuz I’m beautiful, but please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!

Peace,

Jeffy

Corporate Cranks

bankrupt.jpgIt’s not a good day to be a Lehman Brothers shareholder nor the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers.  You know it and I know it: these headlines are certainly not good for we average US American joes trying to scrape by in an ever-fleecing state of economic emergency.  The DOW fell over 500 points which doesn’t bode well for my retirement funds (at this rate I’ll be able to retire after fifty years of being dead!) and the firing of Ned Yost means that the Brewers are playing badly enough to warrant a major change in the clubhouse — a solidly blaring sign that the Cubs got this one in the bag. 

Great.  Just great.

Target logo.jpgThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Target logo.jpgBut hey, guess what!  Not all is bad in the world of corporate cranks!  The Minnesota Twins, today, announced the name of their new ballpark scheduled to open in 2010.  Target Field!  Yes!  I’m just so… so elated that I can… I can hardly stand it!  I’m sooooo glad that Target got the naming rights.  I was hoping a big box corporation that exploits its employees to work for minimum wage and frowns upon engaging in talks with union organizers would get that precious opportunity to spread its grimy message of “exploit, exploit, exploit!”  Enough of these big banks and cell phone moguls getting all the attention. 

Target logo.jpgJoin me in saying: To hell with that!

Target logo.jpgYes, dear readers, we have the real deal with Target Field.  I know.  I know what you’re thinking.  Target Field.  Sounds kind of like Tiger Stadium, which is remembered as an abomination of a ballpark that reeked of urine, beer and stale hot dog buns.  I know.  But don’t worry.  I’m positive that Target will do all it can to ensure that its employees won’t be able to afford actually going to a game, so there should be no worries regarding those dreaded undesirables.

Thumbnail image for Target logo.jpgHm.  Just feels good, doesn’t it?  I like nothing more than to be a forgotten cog in the wheel of a greedy, predatory economy.  Makes me feel… oh, I don’t know… it makes me feel…

alive.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

**This post has been graciously brought to you by Target.  Target: We’re Not Wal-Mart.

The Filibuster

As we near the end of the baseball season, it has become more and
more likely that the Yankees will not make the playoffs. Do you think
this heralds a return to their mid-80′s slump or is it merely a
one-year fluke? And should we even care?

– Allen

                                                                                        

yankees on fire.jpg
For someone who hates the Yankees as much as my colleague Allen Krause
does, he sure does spend an awful lot of time judging, thinking,
ranting and philosophizing about them.  The Yankees have been such a hot topic for Mr. Krause this season that I am beginning to wonder if he’s projecting such hatred to disguise his inner-lust.

Seeing that Mr. Krause is but a part-time Tigers fan
with the characteristic always-complaining-about-something Red Sox
attitude, I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds the Yankees impending
doom just a tiny bit sad. 

For the rest of us, we have the famous words of Mike Royko:

Hating the Yankees is as American as pizza pie, unwed mothers, and cheating on your income tax.”

It’s hard to argue with the validity of that statement.  In fact,
hating the Yankees has become somewhat of a sport of its own.  And no
longer is it regulated to the Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays and Orioles. 
No.  It goes much further than that, so far that my friend’s five year
old kid — who has been raised in a Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles
household — causes a rapture of laughter at dinner parties when asked:
“What’s your favorite team” and he replies: “I HATE DOSE DUM YANKEES!”

The signs of our times…

All hating aside, it still hasn’t settled in yet that the Yankees will
be watching post-season baseball on t.v. just like the rest of us
regular joes.  It’s kind of cool really.  But I don’t think this is
something that is going to last.  Sure, the Yankees roster will be
collecting Social Security soon and yeah, their pitching is a mess, but
the dollar$ are $till in the bank and a$ we all know: It’$ all about
the Benjamin$, baby
.

So I do look for them to get back on track during the off-season and start making moves that will put them back in contention. 

At the same time, it would be irresponsible of me not to mention the
three major warning signs that could perhaps lead one to believe that
another mid-80′s funk is in order. 

Warning Sign #1:

Thumbnail image for jason giambi.jpgThumbnail image for don mattingly 2.jpg

Warning Sign #2:
For the first time since the post-Torre era, the managerial position is no longer safe.  Giardi, if not careful, may get the Billy Martin treatment because… (continue reading below)

Warning Sign #3:

Hank Steinbrenner is related to George Steinbrenner.  If the Steinbrenners are anything, they are ruthlessly arrogant, pompous, outspoken, loquacious, ranting, raving, maniacal blowhards who don’t really think things through.  The Joba drama, Hughes, Kennedy… all mishandled and misguided by the front office of one Steinbrenner. 

As long as someone with that name is steering that ship, there’s always a chance that it will slam into the big iceberg known as colossal failure.

In the end, Mr. Krause, you shouldn’t really be focussing on the Yankees’ downfall this season.  You should be focussing on that embarrassing sub-.500 milllionare’s club known as the Detroit Tigers.

Now THAT’S what I call failure.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Dismissal & Détente

I have been accused by some people of writing too much about Venezuela on this blog. But it’s hard not to write about this wonderfully dysfunctional country when they just keep finding ways to amuse. Now, if Mr. McCain were our president I’m sure he would have already gone in and occupied the country since war is the first and only answer.
However, cooler minds had prevailed up until this point and we had managed to stay out of a p!ssing match with our South American wannabe nemesis.

In the same way I have tried to avoid conflict with my friend and co-blogger, Mr. Lung. I figured that by letting him say what he wanted and not responding, I could avoid the tension and childish escalations that now define the U.S.-Venezuela relationship. In both instances, those days are now behind us. From now on, I will call it exactly like I see it.

Mr. Lung, you are wrong about instant replay. Reviewing disputed home run calls makes the game more just. And the game stops for less time than a commercial break so where’s the continuity problem many opponents have decried? If there were umps down the baselines in the outfield like there are in the playoffs, then you might have an argument. But there aren’t so I’ll have to kindly ask you to go home. You have 72 hours to pack your bags and leave.

Now, I hope this doesn’t provoke some sort of diplomatic incident. I hope you don’t get sick on some sushi and throw up all over my shoes. And I hope you will still continue to sell me your otherwise unrefinable crude oil.

However, if I may be so bold, I would like to make one final effort and extend an olive branch to my once and future friend. And this symbol of peace comes, strangely enough, directly from President Chavez’s rambling diatribe dismissing the US ambassador this week. I think we can all agree on this one thing:

Hugo.jpg

That’s enough … from you, f—ing Yankees.”

F—ing Yankees indeed.

-A

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 67 other followers