My only solace in the aftermath of being so, so wrong in my playoff predictions so far is that finally, dear readers, we have a World Series matchup — which doesn’t include the Yankees nor the New Yankees (aka Boston Red Sox) — that may actually drum up viewership across this great US America of ours (and perhaps even a handful in Canada).
Whilst the 2006 World Series will always stand out as one of the greatest moments of my lifetime to date, I am completely aware that I was one of very few people who actually gave a damn, considering both the Cardinals and the Tigers weren’t big market teams from either coast. The 2005 edition featuring the White Sox and Astros wasn’t much better in terms of mass viewership nationwide, though it was probably one of the most entertaining and heart-thumping series I’ve ever seen.
Such drama is lost on a nation that worships thwarting monopolizing bullies, NASCAR and blockbuster comedic films starring Ben Stiller as the same haphazard goofball character he plays in every Ben Stiller movie.
But folks, this could be the year for a new found enthusiasm for the greatest game on earth. I believe. For two underdogs with two very unique stories will face each other in the grand finale and though I have been searching my brain for the last 18 hours or so to find the one I want to see win the most, I truly cannot.
The Rays will have the ultimate story going in (working title: From Worst to First After Dropping the “Devil” from Our Name) and I’m positive that an entire band of bandwagoneers will join the drama just to say they were part of it; and in the end, why not? How can you not like this team? They’re young. They’re enthusiastic. They play with heart and passion and speed and pride. And their manager is probably the coolest looking dude in town with those gaudy personality glasses and his “9 = 8” psychomath sensibility.
Meanwhile, the Phillies — whom my colleague Mr. Krause picked to win it all — come in to the World Series playing superb baseball with their starting pitching and clutch hitting leading the Philadelphia way: hard-nosed, hard-pressed and hard-up for a title. Never mind their raucous, undeserved phreakazoid phans. The City of Brotherly Love is as thirsty for a sports championship as the Democrats are for winning an election. And this could be the year.
But if I have to come out and say it, I say this is the year of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Indeed, the Cinderella story will come to its ultimately heartwarming conclusion. And if that pisses you off, Phillies fans, don’t get too riled up; my prediction accuracy is about as on point as Rush Limbaugh is sane: not very.
And for those of you right-wing gun-totin’ liberal-hatin’ conservatives whom I have just offended by saying that, I think there’s at least one thing that we can agree on — no, two things:
1) This World Series is gonna be good.
2) This clip might very well be the best political spoof the planet has ever seen:
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
The Boston Red Sox just don’t know how to give up. Who has the edge going into Game 7 of the ALCS? The Rays who are just one loss from emulating their perennial loser status or the Sox who have recently become known as the New Yankees?
I really don’t like to be disrespectful to my friends because I have so few of them left but c’mon man. This is your real question? Of course the Red Sox have the edge in this series. They’ve won two straight and proven that they come back from almost any deficit. The Rays just don’t have anything left in the tank and, as I predicted, it’s going to be a Philadelphia-Boston World Series this year. Heck, you called this yourself yesterday.
The real question now is who’s going to win in the end. The Red Sox have all the experience but the Phillies represent change and historic losers making good. If we go back to my initial comparison of the Phillies with Barack Obama, though, something kind of eerie emerges and makes me think that Sen. Obama has been reading RSBS:
It’s possible that this a coincidence but I think it’s highly unlikely. In fact, Sen. Obama, if you’re reading this, I just want you to know that you’re doing a great job but please make sure you continue watching out for the barbarians.
Now, Game 7 of the ALCS starts in just a couple minutes and I’m sure all our fine readers will be glued to that. And I want to get over there myself. So, enjoy the game. And enjoy Colin Powell’s return. Welcome, General. It’s great to have you back.
“All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.“
— Albert Camus (1913 – 1960)
For the Rays, that ridiculous beginning — which included the most atrocious team color scheme in the history of man, a perennial place at the bottom of the AL East and an escalating alienation from their fans (all four of them) — could be just the set-up they need to accomplish their very first great deed.
But if they lose Game 6 tonight, consider the Rays in deep trouble.
For if I were a Tampa Bay Ray, the last thing I would want to do is play a determined, feisty, no-holds-barred ball club from Boston with the entire season on the line. Recent history has shown us that the Red Sox live for this sort of thing and that when the going gets tough — down by 7 runs, down by 3 games in the series, down by an intangible curse — they indeed get tougher.
In other words, the Rays better close this thing out tonight or they will face a long winter of second guesses, disappointment and reflecting on their emulation of the baseball equivalent of erectile dysfunction.
Similarly, in anticipation of the heralded third party presidential debate set to take place tomorrow (Sunday) evening in New York, I might suggest that Ralph Nader better get his non-pandering ^ss there or he too can kiss his chances of becoming the next president goodbye.
Because let’s face it, US America needs Ralph Nader — if for nothing else than to remember that if you work hard, make angry faces and go on tirades against the political elite long enough, then eventually, there will be a less than 1% chance that anyone will actually listen to what you’re saying.
And sometimes, less than 1% is better than 0%.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
From the 86 years of pure agony credited to the infamous Curse of the Bambino which included tumultuous yet exciting events such as the 1946 World Series, Carlton Fisk’s ’75 bomb, Bill Buckner’s mental lapse and the late-inning heroics of one Aaron “The One-Hit Wonder” Boone, to the most historically shocking comeback in the history of the world in 2004 to overcoming a 3 games to 1 deficit in in the ALCS last year only to sweep the hottest team in baseball on your way to winning it all — again… I have no idea how you do it, Boston — how your heart hasn’t leaped out of your chest and sunk through the floor, how you haven’t become a raging alcoholic nor eaten your children, how you haven’t been diagnosed with a severe case of jitteritis or how you have yet to set fire to the city of New York.
If I were you and I followed a team that knew no other style of play than the “force our fans to writhe and convulse in torment, exasperation and paralytic panic as we may or may not ultimately win this contest but we promise it will be interesting” I would, indeed, be a dead man.
Because, my fellow US Americans, I cannot take such stress. This is why every time Jason Isringhausen came in from the bullpen this season I immediately changed the channel. The pure uncertainty of his aging ability and his austere acuteness for blowing saves was simply too much for me. Often times I thought I would’ve been better off performing the Japanese ritual suicide rite of seppuku than watching him pitch late in a ball game, other times I just rammed my head into a concrete wall until I had the good fortune of sleep.
Dear readers, during the most stressful of times (i.e. close baseball games, first dates, election night) when my palms are sweaty, my brow furled, my pulse raging beyond control, I find myself resorting to the old habits of yesteryear already responsible for killing half of my family: nicotine, alcohol, the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
And that scares me.
Luckily for me, I was born in the midwest — far, far away from rickety noreaster accents and wild-hang-by-the-seat-of-your-pants baseball known as the Red Sox Nation.
Win or lose, no one knows drama like a Red Sox fan. And that’s something I do not covet — not one bit.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
I don’t really like the city of Philadephia. I’ve only been there twice and one of those times only involved landing at the airport before heading to a friend’s place in New Jersey. So, it was weird that I found myself getting excited last night when Jimmy Rollins led off Game 5 with a homerun and hoping that Cole Hamels could protect the lead.
And it all came together as the Philadelphia Obamas won and now head to the World Series. However, I missed most of the game.
The problem is, there’s this other thing going on right now that also ends in the next couple weeks and to be completely honest, it’s a little more important than baseball. The season is longer, the hours more grueling and one mistake can doom your chances (just ask Joe Biden). But it’s just as fascinating. So that’s why I felt I owed it to John and Barack to tune in to their final debate last night. And it was boring as hell.
Somehow I’m all right with that, though. It’s similar to how I remember people talking about the boredom of the 2006 World Series and that didn’t bother me either because my Tigers were in it. And after all the eventfulness of the past eight years (Katrina, Gonzales, simultaneous wars), I think we deserve a little boredom.
Luckily, if I need action, I’ll just head up to New York or tune in to Fox and see who will be representing the AL in the Series. Right now it’s looking like the Huckabees but I still think the McCains might pull it out. And when that happens, I’ll once again find myself strangely cheering for the “City of Brotherly Love.”
Dear readers, it’s Wednesday and thank the baseball gods I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. As many of you know, my longtime chum/colleague/nemesis, the Mr. Allen Krause, had the good fortune of spending this past weekend visiting with me here on the Southside of Chicago. Besides force-feeding him Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, Ann Sathers cinnamon rolls and a steady diet of “go *BLEEP yourself!” expletives, we did manage to reconnect with our younger, more astute college-selves — and by that I mean: we got drunk.
Well, let me just say that it was nothing like before. No. Indeed, at a fresh-looking 29 years of age, neither one of us are really apt to handle the physiological hell we used to put ourselves through. In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine we’re even still alive. Back in those days, we would party late nights Tuesday through Sunday (Monday was reserved for Monday Night Football and thus rest was required), found time to perform street circus acts and then actually managed to get straight A’s through our respectively rigorous class schedules.
Obviously, those days are long gone. Still, it’s fun to think about how nimble we once were and in honor of that and tonight’s super-duper lineup of presidential debate politics and National League Championship Series baseball, we at RSBS would like to provide a provocative, playful drinking game for those of you dear readers who are responsible adults over the age of 21 (fake IDs don’t count in the blogosphere either).
It’s simple. Get yourself a sixer of Old Style or a bottle of Jack or Costco sized container of mouthwash — whatever your preferred poison may be — and every time one of the following occurs, take a drink. Trust us, between flipping back and forth between the game and the debate and adhering to these rules, you won’t care what the outcome of either actually is… and sometimes, that’s all you really want.
So, every time…
Joe Torre Makes a Face that Says “I Have Indigestion”…
Take a drink.
John McCain Looks at the Camera and Calls You “My Friend”…
Take a drink.
Tim McCarver Over-analyzes a Play, a Player, an Entire Race of People…
Take a drink.
John McCain Falsely Accuses Barack Obama of Wanting to Raise Your Taxes…
Take a drink.
The Two Candidates Fail to Answer the Question that was Asked and instead Filibuster their Talking Points…
Take a drink. (are you still with me?)
You Wish and Pray that the Elegantly Exquisite and Ever Erudite Erin Andrews was Fox’s Sideline Reporter…
Take a drink. (fyi: this one alone would put me in the hospital)
John McCain Refers to Barack Obama as Anything Except His Actual Name (ie That One, The Senator, Dingleberry)…
Take a drink.
Shane Victorino Does Something Magical…
Take a drink.
And lastly… if you’re still able to count to three…
You Look at Obama and just See a Black Man…
Take a drink. No, take ten drinks. And shame on you.
Please drink responsibly.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Much like Ayn Rand posed the immortal question “Who is John Galt” in “Atlas Shrugged,” politicos across the United States have been asking “Who is Joe Six-Pack” ever since the governor from Alaska (and Ayn Rand’s intellectual red-headed step-child) popped on to the scene.
Well, we here at RSBS have some good news. We now know who Joe Six-Pack is and even have video evidence of his heroics. That’s right. Matt Stairs is this previously unidentified individual. Seriously, look at the guy. How is he a baseball player? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this guy before working down at the mill with John Edwards’ father.
Now, I know people say these kinds of things about baseball players all the time and talk about their weight and all that. But Matt Stairs is the most ordinary looking person I’ve ever seen. The best part of last night’s pinch-hit home run was when the camera followed him into the dugout and focused on his bald head as he changed from the batting helmet back to his cap. Here’s the thing. If I ran into him at my local CVS I wouldn’t say, “Hey, that’s Matt Stairs.” No, I’d wonder what this denizen of the fly-over states was doing in my posh DC drugstore.
But, this is all part of what makes baseball the American pastime. Ordinary looking guys like Matt Stairs can be heroes into their 40’s and we can imagine ourselves in their place. It’s the sporting equivalent of p0rn. And Joe Six-Pack, just like p0rn, is one of those things you know when you see.
As we watch our hard earned US American dollars turn to cents and our favorite college football teams humiliate themselves to no end, I am happy to say that at least I have the dulcet sounds of Carrie Underwood playing in the background and one of my best friends visiting me for the weekend. Yes, dear readers: Mr. Krause is in the building.
In light of this perfect storm, we humbly beg your forgiveness while we detour from our usual minutiae ridden rants and tirades.
Instead we want to remind you of what really matters:
Don’t hate us ‘cuz we’re right.
Jeffy and A
Pardon me for being brash, but it’s certainly no secret that the group mind of the Phillies faithful is about as unruly as the world markets are on this fine Friday afternoon. And while I’ve never been to Citizens Bank Ballpark, I have seen the drunken exploits of Phillies fanatics in St. Louis as well as here in Chicago. In fact, one of my fondest baseball memories is seeing two Phillies fans fight two Cubs fans outside of Haray Caray’s Tavern on Sheffield and Addison. Quite the conundrum as I didn’t know who to root for: the two ^ssholes in Cubs jerseys or the two ^ssholes in Phillies jerseys.
I don’t remember who won the fight; I do remember I wanted to stay as far away from them as possible.
And that hasn’t changed one bit.
So in reading Mike Bauman’s column this morning — where he theorizes that in order for the Dodgers to come out of Philly with a win someone other than Manny Ramirez has got to hit the ball — I chuckled when he passively mentioned the x-factor of drowning out the noise of “the extremely vocal support of 45,839 of their [the Phillies’] closest friends.”
Touché, Mike. Touché.
As one highly respected blogger put it earlier this year: Philadelphia Fans Don’t Deserve Championship Teams.
And after watching this I have a hard time disagreeing with him:
I know my esteemed colleague, Mr. Krause, has equated the Philly message to that of Barack Obama and even picked them to run the table all the way to the Championship but I can’t stop myself from thinking how crazy that comparison actually is. Philly fans, obviously, have no qualms about fighting back while Democrats seem to be inherently meek (see Al Gore 2000, John Kerry 2004, Barack Obama 2008). Philly fans are hardly known for their eloquent speech whereas the Democrats bank on it.
In fact, I think the only thing that Philly fans and Democrats have in common is that they both lose when it really counts.
Let’s hope that one of them doesn’t this time around.
Go ahead, Philadelphia. Go ahead and hate me. It’s nothing I’m not used to. Really. But don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right (and please stop firebombing my house).