December 2008

2008: Rest In Peace (Part II)

RSBS_Mlb.made.LOGO.jpgMan, I gotta tell you. For as good as 2008 was at times, overall it was a brutal trip for those of us hailing from mitten shaped states. The Wolverines missed out on a bowl berth for the first time in 3 decades (that’s a score and a half for those keeping score at home), the Lions accomplished perfection as only Matt Millen could define it and the Tigers, after starting off the season as almost everyone’s pick to win the World Series, somehow found a way to not only lose continuously but also trade for Kyle Farnsworth. Seriously guys, Farnsworth?

But now is the time of year when we get a chance to refocus on the good things and be grateful for what we have. And honestly, we have a lot to be thankful for here at RSBS. First off, it’s great to be part of a community that appreciates baseball and politics the same way that Jeff and I do. And it’s also great to work on this project with one of my best friends who also happens to be a cunning linguist and master baseball intellect.

Granted, we don’t always agree and it’s sad that Jeff holds so much hope for the city of St. Louis (even if it doesn’t always seem that way) but, despite our differences (especially when it comes to Erin Andrews), I still have nothing but respect for Mr. Lung and his bitterness when it comes to the things bringing down our nation (mainly Sarah Palin and the Chicago Cubs, if his posts are any indication).

However, for the purposes of this end of the year reminiscing, th rules are that we are limited to choosing three of the other person’s posts that really do it for us (in that Sarah Palin firing an automatic weapon sort of way). So, without any further ado, here we go.

Honorable Mention:

Yankees Broaden Scouting Map — December 14, 2008
Sometimes short entries can say it all and that’s definitely the case with this one. Nothing else distills the essence of RSBS like scouting the Iraqi shoe-thrower.

1st Runner Up:

(Don’t) Try This at Home — October 15, 2008
Since both baseball and politics often lead people to drink, it’s only fitting that a blog purporting to cover both subjects should provide a guide. In the pantheon of drinking games, this one ranks right up there.

Runner Up:

Freakazoids and Oddities — December 5, 2008
I don’t know if Jeff just ran out of ideas and started looking at search results or what lead to this post but the fact that “Wemen hitting mens balls” is one of the most popular strings leading people to RSBS is certainly change we can believe in.

And finally, the Winner:

Time for a Major League Intervention – August 19, 2008
I still remember sitting down and reading this entry for the first time and thinking it was one of the most brilliant, insightful and intense pieces I had ever read. They can’t all be like this but I do think this piece is one of the main reasons why our readers keep coming back.

So, that’s it for me and that’s it for 2008. Pitchers and catchers report in just a little while and you can be sure that we’re still going to be here doing what we do.

-A

2008: Rest In Peace (Part I)

RSBS_Mlb.made.LOGO.jpgStill pissed off that Santa didn’t bring me the one thing I wanted most this year (a competent General Manager running the St. Louis Cardinals), I have little choice but to fully embrace the intangible magic of humility.  In doing so, I have decided to channel the tenacity of my bitterness and turn it into sincere, reflective admiration for all that has been accomplished here at RSBS this year.

Not only did we create a unique baseball-politico universe full of hyperbolic criticism and satirically erratic fandom, we also had the good fortune of being surrounded by fabulously smart and like-minded baseball nuts with passionate political views within the MLBlogosphere.

Indeed, in 2008, we saw dreams come true; we saw corruption, glory, beauty, heartbreak, Cinderella, more corruption, more beauty and more heartbreak.  We saw it.  We reported it.  We ripped it to shreds.

In honor of RSBS‘ rapturous reportage, babbling blabberings and partisan posts, I have pulled out the top three 2008 RSBS entries written by that misguided Tiger fan you have all learned to feel sorry for… the one and only Mr. Allen Krause. 

The 1st Runner-Up:

Diversionary Tactics — September 18, 2008
A fat incompetent college football coach, a Broadway musical composer and an old Topps baseball card featuring a solid porn mustache have never made such sweet, sweet love.

The Runner-Up:

Golden Parachutes — December 10, 2008
Hip, Sexy, Current… these three words don’t just sound like a hit NBC mini-series; they also describe the tone of this well-written commentary exploring the ins and outs of our ever-failing government, the ever-declining mystique of Detroit sports franchises and the ever-growing… well, fellas, you know what I’m tryin’ to say… (*Ladies, please ignore that last line ;-)

…and the Winner is:

Allen’s Post-Partisan Playoff Preview — October 1, 2008
Hardly known for his loquaciousness, Mr. Krause really put it to dear readers galore with this existentialist exercise in post-modern fantasy capped off by… well… by being RIGHT.  Fine tuned to the unique political and social caricatures of our dear elected leaders, my colleague done me proud with this little ditty of a post — so much so that I… well… I peed a little from all the excitement.

Go ahead, hate me, folks.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

A Special Holiday Thank You

I wanted to offer everyone a special RSBS Christmas gift but it appears our government already beat me to it. Detroit may not get a Super Bowl ring or a World Series Championship this year but we got the next best thing and it’s all thanks to you!
bigthree.jpg

Seriously, though, Happy Holidays from both me and Jeff. See you in the New Year!

-A

(Thanks to The Daily Dish for the graphic.)

Happy Friggin’ Holidays from RSBS!

As Al and I go to visit our respective families for the holidays we leave you with a festive film portraying our individual caricatures: I am the handsome reindeer; Mr. Krause is the blue squirrel.

May your holidays be warm, may your tidings be bright,
May Pujols win the Triple Crown or take me out to dinner, just for one night.

Whoops.

Too much eggnog.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Counting Down to Christmas, Michigan Style

tram and whit.jpgChristmas is a time for giving. And that’s why I want to thank Jane Heller over at Confessions of a She-Fan for giving me one of the greatest gifts ever. It doesn’t seem like much, just a little article from the NY Times but it provided the one thing we can’t live without: Hope. Now, I still don’t think that Mr. Trammell is going to make it into the Hall but if the Times says he belongs there, who am I to argue? I mean, I can’t think of a single thing they’ve been wrong about. Well, maybe just one thing but really, it’s so minor as to be insignificant.

But, maybe if Jane and the Times can give me hope here, someone can come forward and give me hope in a couple other places. For instance, since we all know that the night is darkest right before the dawn, does that mean that the Lions are about to turn the corner? At the very least, Millen is finally gone. And is it possible that the Tigers will be competitive in the AL Central this year despite their complete failure to make any significant moves so far this offseason? At least Farnsworth is gone.

I don’t know, though. It’s hard to base your hopes for the future on subtraction instead of addition. But as a native Michigander, I can only go with what I know. I mean, this is a state that has single-handedly destroyed its signature industry (granted, with a lot of help from the industry itself) and now sports an impressively gaudy 9.6% unemployment rate. The Lions, industrial contraction and negative job creation? Well, at least we still have the Red Wings.

-A

User, Beware

dock ellis.gifMy esteemed colleague and oft unfocused baseball analyst, Mr. Allen Krause, recently enlightened us all to the magical means of the late Dock Ellis’ amazing no-hit “trip” from 1970.  While he waxed on the intricately harmonious ballad that is sports-on-drugs by encouraging us to “follow Dock’s example”, as the only RSBS voice of reason, I feel it is my responsibility to post a warning to all those who find this to be a titilating alternative to the grounded world of sober sports.

Dug up by an RSBS intern, this vintage video footage of yours truly catching behind the plate proves that after consuming a wickedly toxic cocktail of magic mushrooms, Johnnie Walker Black and Mary Jane, the game of baseball becomes much more complicated than it really should be.  Amazingly enough, my manager left me in the game and every one of the opposing nine went home with a headache.  I, too, was seeing stars… but mine were of the more stimulating variety:

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy 

What to do While You Wait for the Trip to End

dockellis.jpgToday is a sad day. Dock Ellis is dead. Now, to be completely honest, I had no idea who Dock Ellis even was but his greatest accomplishment makes him more than a Hall of Famer in my book. Not only did he throw a no-hitter, he did it while tripping the lights fantastic under the influence of LSD. That, my friends, is impressive. I think my favorite quote from his description of the game is, “They say I had about
three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a
ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn’t hit
hard and never reached me.”

That’s the beauty of drugs. Things are never quite what they seem. We expect a little bit more from our politicians, though. For instance, this whole Blago corruption case is slowly turning into a long and really bad trip. Is he a big d-bag? I think that one goes without saying. Is he guilty of corruption? Well, that’s kind of open to debate. But will it be over anytime soon? Only if you consider Easter to be soon.

So what do we do in the meantime? If you live in the Midwest, there’s a pretty simple answer. You get out your snow shovels and try to figure out where you parked your car. If you live in DC, you continue debating the relative merits of renting out your apartment for the inauguration or sticking around for one of the most historic events in our nation’s history. And if you’re a Steinbrenner, you keep trying to recession-proof MLB by throwing money around like it’s going out of style.

However, you could also follow Dock’s example and drop some acid while hoping you don’t suddenly find out that you’re involved in a major sporting event this evening. Your choice.

-A

“When It’s Time for the Easter Bunny”

its gonna happen.jpgIn case you haven’t heard, dear readers, the crookedly gangsta guh’v’nuh of my state with the perfectly awful forehead hair will resign… well, sorta… I mean, he will resign only if it’s obvious he is unable to govern the state.  And despite the current melee of federal charges and bipartisan disgust for all things Blagojevich, good old Rod thinks he can still do a darn good job of governing for the people of Illinois — the people he’s been dying to to talk to.  According to Blago himself, he’s “a fighter“, which is more than we can say about his precious Cubs, who are quite comfortable getting swept and humiliated in the NLDS two years in a row now.  But not Blago.  Nah, he ain’t going down without a fight, gobdangit! 

Sam “Don’t-Call-Me-Boston-Lager” Adams, one of criminal defense guru Ed Genson’s Chi-town cronies, enlightened us all by saying that said resignation wasn’t necessary now as we approach the Christmas season.  Beside erroneously assuming all Illinoisans are of the Christian faith, Mr. Adams went on an unnecessary tirade punctuated by a guarantee that if it was obvious Blago couldn’t govern “when it’s time for the Easter bunny” that we could all look for a resignation then.

Gee, that seems fair.

Hijack the highest political post in Illinois for three (or four? who knows?) months until it’s absolutely certain that he is the jerkwad we all know he is?

Damn.  Sure feels good to be Joe Taxpayer.  Who’s with me? 

The only reason I’m not punching someone in the face right now is because deep down, this Blago drama is better than anything on television right now — and until the baseball season starts, I could use that bit of drama.

Just think of all the excitement that will have gone down “when it’s time for the Easter bunny”:

Mark Teixeira will be rich.

The St. Louis Cardinals will be destined for another year of mediocrity.

Barack Obama will be the president.

Manny Ramirez will be rich… and weird.

The San Diego Padres will be awful.

A republican sex scandal most certainly will have stolen the Blago thunder.

Kyle Farnsworth will still be crying.

The ten inches of snow in my front yard will almost be gone.

Dumb Cub fans will be repeating their perennial mantra “this is our year” despite the fact that it — like every other year — clearly is not.

and…

Sam “Don’t-Call-Me-Pumpkin-Ale-Either” Adams will have swallowed his own tongue while watching his client — coiffed hair, lynch-mobbed and all — walk away in handcuffs.

I’m just sayin’…don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy “So-What-If-I-Sit-At-Home-Alone-On-A-Friday-Night-Drinking-Cherry-Wheat” Lung

Second City DYING to Catch Not-So-New Axis of Evil

al capone.jpgMy rackets are run on strictly American lines and they’re going to stay that way.
                  Al Capone (1899-1947)

Dear readers, whilst the baseball mavericks in New York, Boston and New York haggle and jockey for the mightiest and heftiest of major league players (the Sabathias, the Burnetts, the Mannys, the Teixeiras, the K-Rods, the Putzes, blah blah blah) both Chicago teams — the ugly step-sisters of large market franchises — have been busy making equally impressive moves that not only represent the unattested clout of the City of Big Shoulders but also prove that no matter how much money the Northeast Axis of Evil throws at free agents, Chicago still has that good ‘ole familiar, untouchable charm.

You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.
                         — Al Capone

Perhaps this was the motivation for Joey Gathright to become a Cub.  Now that’s clout!  When I first heard the news, I thought to myself: Wow, the Cubs really showed ‘em who’s boss with that move.  Take that Jake Peavy and Kevin Towers.  Yeah, take that.  The Cubs got Gathright.  Whoowee, watch out world!

But the Chicago melee of off-season moves didn’t just stop there!  No, the White Sox kept ‘em comin’ with that miraculous acquisition of Wilson Betemit and mind-blowing one-year signing of DeWayne Wise! 

And wait!  There’s more…

New York, you think you had a crooked governor?  Ha! 

http://www.nbcchicago.com/syndication?id=36300869&path=%2Fhome%2Ftop_stories

You hear that?  He’s “dying” to talk to we citizens of Illinois.  Dying!  See, our seedy politicians don’t just quit when the heat starts coming down on them.  No.  They stick around, hire expensive, slick-talkin’ lawyers and go for winter jogs in Ravenswood!  BOO-YEAH!  

Of course, New York (and you too, Boston), it should be known that Chicago isn’t just a harbor for back-alley gangsters and pay-to-play nepotists; no, we also breed crooked wife-killin’ cops who not only get away with murder but crooked wife-killin’ cops who get away with murder TWICE!  Then we celebrate when said crooked wife-killin’ cop gets engaged… again!  Duh, my friends.  Everyone knows that happiness comes in threes.  The Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times are already preparing for the inevitable, mysterious disappearance of Drew Peterson’s latest (and perhaps craziest?) fiancé — what normal people call “murder” — but this is Chicago!  We do things our way — the US American way!

“Now I know why tigers eat their young.”
                — Al Capone

Me too, dear readers.

Look, it’s true.  I love Chicago.  I really do.  It has character, it has heart, it has Oprah. 

And yes, when it comes to dueling with the New Yorks (and subsequent Bostons) of the world, certainly, we have an inferiority complex bigger than Rush Limbaugh’s mouth at an all-you-can-eat Ponderosa buffet; but the fact remains:

We’re awesome.

Wilson Betemit will prove it in 2009.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

I Believe in Manny Ramirez

harvey-dent-believe-350w.jpgMy favorite movie of the year so far is “The Dark Knight.” I could wax rhapsodic about this movie for hours (and have) because it encompasses the tension, debate and ambivalence swirling in the atmosphere surrounding the United States these days. However, the one quote from the movie that really stuck with me is when Harvey Dent says, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” The funny thing is that this sentiment is just as true in baseball as it is in Gotham City’s political arena.

This season saw the return of Jim Edmonds to the Midwest but probably not in the colors people expected him to wear. And I’m sure the Cardinals faithful, like my friend Mr. Lung, wished for a moment that he would have either retired or suffered some fate that would have kept him off the diamond as opposed to watching him run onto the field at Busch Stadium wearing Cubbie blue.

I’d bet it’s the same way Red Sox fans feel when they see a well-scrubbed Johnny Damon patrolling center field in the Bronx. Let’s be honest, the age of free-agency (and especially the Faustian machinations of Scott Boras) has not been kind to baseball fans. No sooner have you purchased your CC Sabbathia Milwaukee Brewers jersey then he’s shipping out to the east coast and the Steinbrenners’ warm embrace.

However, all this is nothing compared to the uproar if and when Manny signs with the Yankees. Yeah, he may have dogged it in Boston to secure a trade. He may have pushed around old men while he was there, too. But can you really imagine Manny in Yankee pinstripes? Even talking about it sounds kind of dirty. But that’s how it works today. One day a Cardinal, the next a Cub. Heart of the Red Sox in 2006, soul of the Yankees in 2008.

So what’s a baseball fan to do? How do you accept it when the guy who is the face of your franchise leaves for greener pastures? How do you not see the old hero you loved as the Benedict Arnold he has become? Well, it turns out that there’s one other movie franchise that reflects the world around us almost as well as Batman. And earlier this year in “Quantum of Solace” one of Mr. Bond’s associates said it best: “When one’s younger, it seems very easy to distinguish between right and
wrong. But as one gets older, it becomes more difficult… the villains
and the heroes get all mixed up
.” It’s fitting that Bond would add nuance to a formerly black and white world. Still, that isn’t going to get me any money back on that Ivan Rodriguez Tigers jersey.

-A

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