November 2008

THANKS!!!

thanksgiving.jeff.allen.jpgIn just a short while, we US Americans will begin that hallowed tradition of spending quality time with family by gorging ourselves on a bounty of food, drinking excessive amounts of Johnnie Walker Black and falling asleep on the couch only to wake up with unidentifiable aches and pains in places never before felt.

Well, maybe that’s just me.

In any case, given the copious amounts of bull**** recently posted by my colleague, Mr. Krause, whose intellectual ineptitude forces him to fall into that age-old Blue State trap of logorrhea where valid questions are only answered with an arsenal of equally unrelated questions, I have found solace in you, Dear Readers, and your ability to see that — as usual — I am right.

Thank you.

In fact, since this time of year is all about giving thanks, I am going to rightfully refrain from causing any further damage to Mr. Krause’s ego by letting him be (just for today) and instead would like to take a moment to give my most wholehearted thanks.

Indeed, there are many things to be thankful for today.  I’m thankful that the Cubs have gone 100 years without a World Series title.  I am thankful that the Cardinals are actually considering filling some left-handed reliever roles (even if it is by courting a couple of scrubs).  I am thankful that I live in the Second City — that we have two firery baseball icons who are willing to make fools of themselves by performing a ridiculous rap song for the good of Chevrolet; and I am thankful that senior citizens ride the CTA free, fat senior citizens ride two for the price of one, which is also free.  I’m also thankful that Dubya is on his way out, that an Iowan turkey (ironically not Chuck Grassley this time) will be able to live a long, eaten-free life and that Minnesota has replaced Florida (for now) as the state where your vote might not really count.

But most of all, I am thankful for you, Dear Readers.  For it is you that truly makes RSBS the special little happy place where baseball-politico egos, arguments and aspirations go to make sweet, sweet love.  And for that, Mr. Krause and I couldn’t be more grateful.

We have given our staff the rest of the week off.  Allen has left for that cavernous pit of despair otherwise known as Los Angeles (or Where Souls Go to Die) while I will be spending the rest of the week reflecting on my podunk roots with my quaint family in Springfield, IL — once home to Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama and of course, Me.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Here’s Your RSBS Democracy

Axl Ali.jpgWell, “they” were wrong about something. Guns N’ Roses have officially released “Chinese Democracy” but the People’s Republic of China is still, well, the People’s Republic of China. Nice work, Axl. “Chinese Democracy” did come along before Chinese democracy. Sometimes proving the other guys wrong is a victory in and of itself.

Sadly, my good friend Mr. Lung is no Axl Rose. Now, god love him, he sure tries and you would think from his tag line (“Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right”) that he is often right. But, that would make you just as wrong as the anonymous “they.” Simply saying something doesn’t make it true.

For instance, if you were to ask Mr. Lung about Lou Piniella winning the NL Manager of the Year award this year, he’d say something like, “And how is it that Lou Piniella received the Manager of the Year Award?” I know this because that is exactly what he did say earlier this month. Now, I didn’t address this somewhat egregious statement at the time but I feel it is only fair to do so now.

The fact of the matter is that Lou deserved that award. Yes, he had a great team given to him and yes, there were very high expectations. But he also proved his managerial chops in navigating a way through those high salaries and high-strung temperaments. He made a bold and at first maligned move by switching Kerry Wood to closer and it ended up paying off huge dividends. He found a way to work around Soriano’s injuries and even packed away Michael Barrett when it became obvious that he and Zambrano couldn’t be in the same clubhouse. For charting those waters while in the glare of the Chicago media alone I’d say he deserved the award, not to mention the best record in the NL and a second consecutive playoff berth.

So, Mr. Lung, I guess my advice to you is to leave the boasts and the idle threats to those who do them best. You, my friend, are no Hugo Chavez nor should you aspire to be.

-A

Please Excuse My Colleague’s Blind Ignorance; He’s a Michigander and Therefore Knows Not the Error of His Ways

kathy bates misery.jpgIndeed, Misery, thy name is Detroit.

Equally so, Ignorance, thy name is Mr. Allen Krause.

“…the fact is, neither of them [Albert Pujols, Dustin Pedroia] deserved the MVP for this year.”
       — Allen Krause, Misery, Thy Name is Detroit

Ordinarily, I prefer to eschew my impetus to pass judgment and/or speculate the grounds of one’s idiocy, but in this case, Mr. Krause, I’m afraid there is no explanation for your blasphemy other than to say you must be smoking the same stuff as our dear leader; and it’s certainly beginning to show.

Next you’ll be saying things like:

Or…

Or even worse:

Look, I and our dear readers all know that even though you reside in Washington, D.C., you’re still a Michigander at the core of your being and with that comes a certain inherited blind ignorance in the way of assessing athletic achievement.  And we all realize that, aside from your Hockeytown Redwings, you don’t have much to cheer about these days.  U of M looks like a pop-warner team.  The Tigers are the baseball equivalent of our nation’s financial mess.  The Lions are an absolute abomination, better fit for cleaning toilets in an Amtrak restroom than trying to execute the fundamentals of football.

But when you say that both Pujols and Pedroia were not rewarded for their efforts this season but rather for feats of the past, I have no choice but to postulate: what the $#%& is wrong with you?!?!

Pujols’ numbers were hands down the best of anyone this season.  He is always an MVP candidate for the simple fact that he is always getting better and always carrying his team.  He won the MVP in 2005.  He should’ve won in 2004.  This year, 2008, above any else, was certainly cause for him to win again because without Pujols in that lineup, the Cardinals would’ve probably been the 20 games under .500 team everyone thought they’d be at the start. 
   
In the case of Pedroia, his 2008 achievements were far better than his 2007 achievements.  He proved himself an invaluable leader throughout the season both with his bat and his glove, not to mention his guts and brawn.

So where the hell do you find it reasonable to compare these two paragons of baseball accomplishment to Denzel Washington and his role in Training Day, which, by the way, was also very well acted no matter what you think, Mr. Krause.

I’d suggest that you take this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday to give thanks that despite your inability to successfully formulate sensible arguments with actual information to back yo ^ss up you still have a cushy intellectual job that turns a blind eye to your inaccuracies, as grave as they are.

Oh yes, Al, you can hate me.   That’s fine.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Misery, Thy Name is Detroit

First of all, Mr. Lung, to answer one of your questions, no, I did not score a “perfect 100″ on my citizenship test. You know why? Because I was born here so I don’t have pass a citizenship test. What did you score on yours? Oh right. You didn’t have to take one either. Typical red state attempt to reframe a debate.

Now, I’d like to point out once again that I don’t wish to take anything away from Albert and Pedroia’s accomplishments. But, the fact is, neither of them deserved the MVP for this year. It’s like Denzel Washington winning the Oscar for Training Day. He’s a great actor but giving him the honor for inferior work doesn’t justify anything.

Honestly, it’s almost as bad as this ongoing sportsboy fascination with Erin Andrews. Sure, even I admit that she’s attractive when you place in her in the pantheon of female sideline reporters. But, when your competition is Suzy Kolber and Holly Rowe, how hard can it be?
Erin Andrews Phone.jpg
Thanks to Deadspin

However, despite our disagreement on all things EA and your obvious naivete when it comes to the postseason awards, there is one area where we agree and, although I hate to say it, where we also agree with Mitt Romney. Detroit is America’s Somalia, a failed-state. I mean, can you think of a more dysfunctional area? Not only is the auto industry teetering on the brink of total collapse, there’s really nothing else to cling onto. Well, maybe except guns and religion.

Look at the situation. The University of Michigan football team just succeeded in having the worst season in school history. The Lions have an excellent shot at ending 0-16 and making official what Lions fans have known for a long time: this really is one of the worst teams ever. And what more can I say about the Tigers that I haven’t already said. Farnsworth? No, Detroit and indeed the entire state of Michigan is just one big wasteland. But, I have an idea.

As more and more people start to realize that the Big 3 entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy and restructuring their enormous liabilities isn’t such a bad idea, maybe it’s time for some of the area’s sports teams to do the same. Would it really be so bad if Detroit gave up their NFL franchise to a place like LA and then started over from scratch? You can’t tell me there’s anyone on that team who’s really worth keeping around. And maybe the Tigers don’t need to declare bankruptcy but they’re starting to look as top-heavy as GM. Any student in Accounting 101 can tell you that too many libailities when paired up with too few assets makes for a really bad situation. And although U of M brought in new management, it doesn’t really work so well when that manager can’t adjust their style to fit the personnel they have on hand.

So, it’s about time for Detroit to do with it’s sports what it did to it’s equally cack-handed former mayor. Indict ‘em, convict ‘em and then clean ‘em up. That’s change I can believe in.

-A

Not Quite a League of Her Own, But Progress Nonetheless

eri yoshida.jpg

Sixteen-year-old Eri Yoshida, a knuckleball throwin’ femme phenom, recently became the first woman ever drafted in the Japanese Professional Baseball League — which would most probably make her the first professional female baseball player in an all-male league (I think; our staff is working on this one).

Eri, a studious highschooler with a keen eye for Red Sox geriatric Tim Wakefield and his trademark knuckleballing mechanics, has proven herself quite the asset amongst her male counterparts and thus looks forward to breaking in as a rookie with the Kobe 9 Cruise this spring.

In lieu of these developments, we at RSBS (namely Me) would like to take a moment to congratulate Eri Yoshida on her groundbreaking achievement by memorializing the trailblazing feats of women sports icons both past and present because… well, because we can and we should.

And we will.

Helene Robison Britton

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Inheriting the St. Louis Cardinals from her uncle, Stanley Robison, in 1911, Ms. Britton broke ground as the first woman in the history of the world to own a Major League Baseball club.  During her six year reign at the top of the Cardinals organization, the team managed an average winning percentage of .441, a number which — in a round about world — popped up again in 2008 as the batting average for hitters facing the Cardinals bullpen. 

Hillary Clinton

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Okay, so she’s not much of an athlete, but she sure knows how to piss a lot of people off with her baseball-related antics.  Sen. Clinton’s meandering baseball allegiances have long been the seed of the People’s frustration.  America may not see in just black and white anymore, but we die-hard baseball fans tend to be staunch conservatives when it comes to flagrantly waving about one’s fan preference.  Don’t get me wrong: I sincerely respect Senator Clinton.  She had a great run and she would’ve gotten my vote if the desire for change in Washington wasn’t burning so strong in my heart.  I voted for that change.  And how am I (and all US Americans) being rewarded?  By seeing the same old Washington insiders posted in the highest offices under the President.

Excuse me while I go stab myself.

Erin Andrews

erin.andrews.jpg

Super hot woman who knows more about sports than I do?  Not much else to say.

Sarah Palin

sarah_palin.jpg

Now that the dust has somewhat settled, let me commend Gov. Palin on being the laughingstock of modern politics.  Not quite the Dan Quayle Potato-Head, still, she provided plenty a laugh throughout the campaign.  She’s worthy of commendation because she stuck it out and never got too rattled (unless you count that Katie Couric interview, SNL, et al).  As an avid hunter, basketball player and all around “hot mamma”, I bet she’d be a pretty sturdy fireballer on the mound late in a game.  The Cardinals need some bullpen help.  I’m just sayin’…

Allison Stokke

Allison.Stokke.jpg

*Drool… drool… drool… 

What?  She didn’t make the Olympics?  She doesn’t play baseball?  Do I even care?

Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

There You Go Again

 

As if your inferior baseball acumen were not enough to cause acid reflux among dear readers galore, Mr. Krause, you just had to top it off by insulting a fellow US American and subsequent baseball god: the Albert Pujols.

“reknowned Mexican wrestler, Albert Pujols, won the NL MVP…”

                                         — Allen Krause, Fenway to Foggy Bottom

What!?!  Look, Mr. Krause, you’re extremely lucky that you live in the safety of our nation’s capital.  Slinging slapdash remarks like that could get your legs broken — and I don’t mean by me, but by the 10 million Dominicans who now want your head on a plate having desecrated their larger than life island hero. 

Mexico does not equal the Dominican Republic.

And besides, I think we all know that A.P. moved to the States at an early age and found his stroke in Independence, MO of all places.

Independence, Allen. 

Independence!

Get it?

Set free thy hate, groundling!

NL MVP Albert Pujols bleeds US American red, white and blue just like you and I do.  In fact, he scored a perfect 100 on his citizenship test. 

Can you say that, Al?

No.  Yet you find it in your heart to say you could “care less” about Pujols and Pedroia’s crowning achievements.

Well, lahdy frickin’ da, Mr. Krause.  You are a letch.  I didn’t want to believe it; but you are.

On the one hand, you have who could quite possibly be the perfect baseball player in Albert; on the other you have a paragon of scrappy overachievement in Pedroia.

And you could “care less”.

That’s just… well, it’s just… un-American.

You probably also care less about our modern day messiah turning to that same old Washington crap to fill his cabinet posts.  I understand fist bumps and shout-outs to fellow Dems who helped you get elected, but is Hillary Clinton really the “change” America needs?  I’m not convinced. 

We, the People, did the right thing and put Obama in office based on his platform of Hope and Change politics.  In turn, I believe We, the People, deserve to see that plan put in to action.  With the pantheon of bad news coming out of the world markets and my downtrodden colleague posting ill-aimed remarks at the greatest living baseballer on earth, I would like to hang my proverbial hat on at least something positive.

Like this: I, Jeffery Lung, agree with Mitt Romney.

And no, that’s not a joke, my friends.  In fact, his recent opinion-editorial in the New York Times is the smartest thing I’ve read since Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.

Now that’s smart!

So go ahead, Al, hate me for siding with a Mitt on this one.  Hate me for respecting the magnificence of Albert Pujols and Dustin Pedroia.  But goddamn it, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Fenway to Foggy Bottom

pujols pleading.jpg‘Tis the season for MLB Awards, fa la la la la, la la la la. And what a bunch of awards. Jeff is happy because reknowned Mexican wrestler, Albert Pujols, won the NL MVP and some parts of the east coast are happy because the shortest, hardest-working man in baseball, Dustin Pedroia, picked himself up an MVP award, too. Me, I couldn’t care less.

Yep, if Albert hadn’t been in St. Louis this year, they probably would have finished with 90 something losses. And Pedroia hits a lot bigger than he looks. But it just isn’t that exciting. It’s nothing like Jimmy Rollins fueling the Phillies improbable run into the playoffs last year. Even Alex Rodriguez, last year’s winner in the AL, felt like a more justifiable pick compared to the scrappy but ultimately undeserving Pedroia. Don’t get me wrong, both winners are incredible baseball players. But forgive me for being underwhelmed.

Who would I have picked? Well, to be honest with you, I’m not sure. There’s not really anyone who sticks out in my mind. In fact, I think this is one of those years when it would be better if MLB had the option of designating no winner at all.

HillaryClinton1960s.jpgIn a lot of ways, this whole thing mirrors another tough choice being made right now. Every four years the new (or re-elected) president has to decide who his chief diplomat will be and it appears that this year’s choice is the junior senator from New York. Once again, forgive me for being underwhelmed. To be fair, though, I wasn’t really all that impressed with any of the other candidates, either. Bill Richardson? I’ve already shared my thoughts on him. John Kerry? I’m sorry but I can’t think of one person I would less want running an agency devoted to talking through problems and avoiding embarrassing verbal slip-ups. Other front runners like Chuck Hagel have taken themselves out of contention which means that the task of managing one of the government’s largest bureaucracies will most likely fall to soon-to-be President Obama’s vanquished rival from the primaries. I’m not sure what I’m feeling right now but it sure isn’t awe.

I freely admit that I’m a glass half-full kind of guy. And you should feel free to disagree with me on my conclusions here. But, as my friend Mr. Lung likes to say, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

-A

Two Times, Two Times

albert-pujols-5.jpgTony LaRussa may have been snubbed by the baseball writers when doling out awards, but the only man who could possibly turn me into a homosexual certainly wasn’t. 

That’s right, dear readers, Albert Pujols is the National League MVP — again — and most deservedly, as this is the A.P. whom the critics said wouldn’t make it through 2008 without having season-ending surgery.  This is the A.P. who, without much protection, rarely saw good pitches — ever.  This is the A.P. who was forced to bear the enormous weight of a subpar bullpen with a penchant for blowing big leads late and an organization run by a pompous penny-pinching pariah pleasantly pleased with mediocrity. 

While I am ecstatic for my man-crush’s crowning achievement, the nihilist in me cannot stop seeing this as yet another detrimental development in John Mozeliak’s quiet quest to do nothing in the way of spending dollars to put together a true contender in 2009.

But what do I know? 

I certainly didn’t know that Nate McLouth had any business getting MVP votes, but some writer (most probably a pissed off Pittsburghian with a propensity for pot-smoking) thought it’d be a funny afterthought to include him in the big picture.

I found it… um… awkward.

obama-mccain meeting.jpgSpeaking of awkward, never before have I seen two grown men sit down together with such unease as I did today when the president-elect met with Sen. McCain for what appeared to be a publicity stunt meant to mend the dissonance between the two camps.  Sure.  Sounds good.  But McCain had to go and bring up what is quickly becoming known as the Annhilation of the Bears, which immediately put Obama (and subsequently me) in a very, very uncomfortable place.  I was sorta hoping that Barack would have had the good sense to remind the senator from Arizona about Dennis Green’s post-game meltdown a couple years ago after that torrid Monday Night game in which we all found out:

Well, the Bears still are who we thought they were: not good enough; but you didn’t have to go and bring it up, John McCain.  You see, I thought this meeting was supposed to be about healing and planning and bipartisanship.  But since you decided it wasn’t, how ’bout those ’08 Diamondbacks?

Regardless, I’m not going to let another Republican rain on my parade of good feelings abound.

Albert Pujols — the most fascinating man in sports — is the NL MVP.

So eat it!

And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

A Break from All That “Inside Baseball Stuff”

Guess what.

I’m baaaack.

Indeed, after that long and winding baseball-politico season and the ominousness of losing every dime I’ve ever saved due to the current worldwide economic crisis, I deserved a damn vacation.

And vacation I did.

1108081731a_01.jpgI turned off the phone.  Eschewed the interweb.  Relaxed under the sun.  Got tan.  And I did it with family — Lung Family Reunion style. 

Which reminds me, don’t you just hate when you meet the perfect girl and you hit it off right away — so much so that you spend the entire day with her into the evening through the night and find out the next day that she’s your cousin? 

Happens to me every year.

But that’s not what I want to focus on today.  No.  You see, dear readers, while on my vacation, I missed out on some very important happenings: like Gov. Sarah Palin‘s adamant cry to NBC’s Matt Lauer that during the campaign she never got involved with that “inside baseball stuff” that supposedly divided her camp from Sen. McCain’s. 

Look, I don’t even pretend to know what she meant by calling it “inside baseball stuff” seeing how it had absolutely nothing to do with baseball; however, I can appreciate her obviously sentimental regard for greatest game on earth and implying that indeed, it’s complicated.

Because it is. 

The coast is clear now, but how is it that the Cardinals were even considering a trade for Matt Holliday?  A trade that would send away at least two (maybe more) of our most talented youngsters and leave us with a one-year rental of a player represented by Scott Boras?  Has John Mozeliak officially lost his friggin’ mind? 

The answer to that question is yes and I’m quite sure we St. Louis fans haven’t even seen the beginning of it.  Stock up on the painkillers, folks; 2009 could be a long one.

And how is it that Lou Piniella received the Manager of the Year Award?  Don’t get me wrong:  I have nothing but respect for Sweet Lou and I admire his guile, but this year he did what he was supposed to do (sorta) which was manage an extremely talented, high-priced ball-club to a winning season.  That’s like me getting rewarded for drinking beer and watching football on Sundays.  That’s what I do, people!

The Cubs were on cruise control all season until October and Lou didn’t have to work nearly as hard as the likes of Tony LaRussa or Joe Torre to get the job done with less talent. 

The one thing Lou was supposed to do this year (win playoff games) never happened.  I see that as one thing and one thing only: failure.  F-A-I-L-U-R-E.

On the other side of the Second City (my side), complications arise with Jermaine Dye and his future in a White Sox uniform.  Rumor is: Kenny Williams wants to get some fresh legs in exchange for the veteran outfielder who had a resurgent season in 2008.  I understand Williams’ point of view, but I’m pretty sure there will be rioting in the streets if Dye is traded away.  Even more rioting if Big Fat Bobby Jenks is dealt (which is also floating around the rumormill).

Just let me know if and when that’s going to happen, Kenny, because I’ll make sure to be back in South Padre until the Southside firebombing lets up.

I suppose Gov. Palin was right.  This “inside baseball stuff” is complicated.  And I gotta hand it to the Republicans.  They ran a good laughable race.  And the tides seem to be turning for the GOP: Mark Foley, while still making excuses for his pedophilia, is at least speaking to the media again; Alaska has more problems than just Palinmania; and Norm Coleman has a 209 vote lead (as I write this).

Like my boy Tupac used to always say: “Ya gotta keep ya head up.”

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Dancing with RSBS

RSBS is taking a well deserved couple days of rest following the events of October and November. However, we will back this coming week with all the cynicism and irony that you have come to expect from us. We haven’t forgotten you, though, and we leave you with this.
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Because it can always be worse.

-A

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