We have already learned much in the first 13 days of 2009. We know who our new representatives to the baseball Hall of Fame will be, even if the lack of transparency and intelligence associated with the voting process make the Electoral College seem positively inspired by comparison. We also know that Alan Trammell will not be entering the hall anytime soon and with that knowledge broke many a young man’s heart. Well, at least mine.
But, there is good news, too. Especially for people like my friend Jeff who are unnaturally taken with ESPN’s sideline reporter, Erin Andrews. It appears that Ms. Andrews was not the only temptress to spring forth from her mother’s womb because she also has a younger (and I might add, much more attractive) sister, Kendra.
That’s right, it now appears that the true battle to be waged by Mr. Lung and myself this season is over the relative merits of the Andrews sisters, not why the AL Central is superior to the NL Central. Obviously there are similarities. For instance the AL, like Kendra, is younger and vastly superior to its elder and more venerable sibling (last season’s World Series win by the Phillies not withstanding). However, this argument will not be settled overnight and we look forward to further exploiting the reporting prowess of Deadspin and Busted Coverage to bring you more of this developing debate.
The only disappointing thing about Rickey Henderson being admitted to the Hall of Fame is the fact he’ll be going in alongside long-time Red Sox fan favorite Jim Rice. Don’t get me wrong, dear readers. I have absolutely nothing against Jim Rice, as a person or as a player; in fact, I would even say he deserves to be included in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.
Thing is: I feel sorry for him and the subsequent upstaging he’ll be forced to endure come July. I mean, Rickey Henderson is the “greatest of all-time”.
Okay, well, maybe he meant he was the greatest base-stealer of all-time. In any case, I think we all know how much swagger Henderson brings to any field, locker room, podium. The man has always been the cynosure of self-confidence, the quintessential self-promoter, the Barack Obama of baseball perhaps.
And that’s why I’m already salivating at the unscripted heroics of his forthcoming acceptance speech this summer.
Verily, I think we all have our favorite Rickey Henderson story. Whether it’s his persistent third person self-references, sliding into home plate after hitting a homerun or his penchant for talking to himself in the most supportive of ways like “Don’t worry, Rickey. You’re still the best”, I think we can all agree that his undying, unwavering, unparalleled belief in all-things Rickey Henderson made him the greatest lead-off hitter of all-time and an icon for baseball fans like myself.
I, too, have had the luxury of owning personal Rickey Henderson memories — memories that I will always hold dear to my heart. Henderson’s career started the same year my life did and I can’t ever remember not being mesmerized by his speed, his bat, his patience at the plate. For someone so fast, I never could get over how many pitches he was able to take in order to wear a pitcher down early. And though I had no affiliation to the teams with which Henderson played, I remember coveting his baseball cards and having the sudden need to check box scores of A’s (and later Yankees) games to see how many bases he’d stolen, how many homeruns he’d hit.
So when I finally had the chance to see Rickey Henderson play in person during the 2003 season while living in Los Angeles, I told my buddy before the home half of the first: “Wouldn’t it be something if Rickey led off with a homerun?”
And by golly he did it.
Watching him jog around the bases brought an indescribable chill up my spine and a few man-tears to my eye.
I said a few. Gimme a break. I love this friggin’ game.
But that wasn’t the end of my personal Henderson drama. Before a 2007 Saturday afternoon game at Wrigley pitting the Mets against the Cubs, I made it out to the left field wall for batting practice and was pleasantly surprised to see none other than Rickey himself shagging fly balls.
“Hey, Rickey, when ya gonna make another comeback?” I yelled from about 20 feet away.
“Hey, Rickey, you’re the greatest of all-time!”
“Hey, Rickey, you’re a first ballot Hall of Famer!”
After ten minutes of relentless hollers, Rickey finally acknowledged my existence with a simple yet earnestly eloquent: “Rickey fine!”
Indeed, Rickey fine.
So, so fine.
So don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Yes, dear readers, we’ve gone and done it. We’ve finally caught up to the madness of 2006. Red State Blue State is now twitting away with the Paris Hiltons and Barack Obamas of the world on (yes, you guessed it from the clever foreshadow) Twitter. We do not claim to be as attractive or charismatic as either of those individuals, but we do know how to amuse ourselves in 140 characters or less. See for yourself at:
Stay tuned… or else.
Jeff & Allen
After barely surviving the sucker punch that was 2008, 2009 appears to be treating the Michigan diaspora a little better. For instance, this past week we learned that Curtis Granderson will be representing the USA in the World Baseball Classic. Now, I’m not saying that Granderson is the best center fielder out there but he has developed into a talent to be watched over the past couple seasons and it’s nice to see him get a little more recognition for that. It was also nice to see the Red Wings take down the red-hot Blackhawks on the ice at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day.
However, there was another red-hot piece of news that truly warmed my heart as an American and current denizen of our nation’s capitol. Although it was never really in doubt, President-elect Obama reconfirmed yesterday that that we truly share the same values. Now, I’ve mentioned the DC institution and National’s ballpark mainstay, Ben’s Chili Bowl, before but it bears repeating that this place is beyond amazing. And when I watched footage yesterday of Mr. Obama’s visit to Ben’s, I realized that here this man is in touch with the nation’s stomach in a way we haven’t seen since Clinton’s first term. I mean, here is a guy who appreciates the chili-cheese half-smoke and unabashedly supports a single baseball team. Could anything be more American?
Now, I know that the months ahead are going to be difficult for Obama and his team. In fact, one might even compare it to the torment that is the line at Ben’s around 2 in the morning on a weekend. But, if the past week is any indication, maybe we are seeing change we can believe in. I just hope that CG and the Tigers offer me a little of the same.
The five living US American presidents met earlier this week to discuss their hopes and dreams for the 2009 MLB season.
When asked who they thought would win it all this year, they responded with the following:
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
It’s official. Rod Blagojevich has been impeached. Now, you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see this coming but it’s funny that one month ago Blago was just another unremarkable midwestern governor and now he’s ready to join the pantheon of famous American pols hoisted by their own petard.
Don’t get me wrong, Blagojevich is no Nixon. He’s smarmy and well-coiffed but his f-bombs and attempted sale of a senate seat hardly compare to Nixon’s Machiavellian machinations which served to undermine America’s trust in its own government for a generation. Nor is the soon-to-be former governor an Andrew Johnson, consistently ranked as one of the worst presidents in history. He really can’t even stand up with the impeached but unconvicted and unsinkable Bill Clinton whose only real crime was his poor taste in women.
However, if Rod can be dispatched of for the mere suggestion of impropriety, this gives me hope. Perhaps we can apply the same standard to the current leader of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, and hope he suffers a similar fate. To be fair, I’ll grant you that during his tenure baseball has seen both the best and worst of times. Owners are making money hand over fist and ticket sales are through the roof. But ordinary fans can no longer afford to buy those tickets. The lack of a salary cap has allowed teams to spend money like a bunch of drunken sailors (a crime that even my Tigers are guilty of and that Jeff wishes his Cards were capable of) and the strike in 1994 almost killed baseball. As if that weren’t enough, Selig’s chattering and dancing during the steroid era would make an organ grinder’s monkey blush.
The sad fact of the matter, though, is that Selig, just like Blagojevich, has committed no crime punishable by law and will probably get away with the unholiness he has perpetrated against unwitting baseball fans everywhere. The best we can hope for at this point is that he pulls an Eliot Spitzer and is forced to resign. Or maybe one of those sausages will go crazy during the cold Milwaukee winter and beat him senseless with a strip of styrofoam mustard. It could happen.
A smile, a wink and a good old fashioned Chicago roundhouse to the face and everyone seems to have forgotten that Rod Blagojevich is the scum of the earth who not only embarrassed the millions of people who chose him to lead but also tainted the already highly critiqued political machine known as the City of Broad Shoulders. And let me tell ya: it’s really friggin’ hard to embarrass a city known to root for those lovable bastions of disappointment: the Chicago Cubs.
Indeed, after a brilliant array of surreptitious spin-doctoring, both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President-Elect Barack Obama swiveled from one extreme to the other and now favor seating Blago-appointee and Chicago granddaddy of patronage, Roland Burris, to the US senate. To quote Jack Buck, “Excuse me while I stand and applaud.”
(*clap, clap, clap)
Yes, dear readers, Rod Blagojevich may appear to be a complete idiot, but his sinisterly savvy move of handpicking Burris to take Obama’s place (accented by the potentially trumping race card) just proves that he’s way smarter than anyone ever thought. In fact…
Dude is wicked smah’t.
Meanwhile, many of you may see my flippant ferments to dispel equally corrupt John Mozeliak from the Cardinals’ helm as mere exercise in futile hyperbole, but believe me when I declare my absolute sincerity — that my dissatisfaction stems from a sound place: my undying loyalty to preserve the winning spirit of St. Louis Cardinals baseball.
Whether you like it or not, Mozeliak is corrupt. Anyone who thinks he can throw around pretentiousness disguised as frugality in the Cardinals’ front office is corrupt. Anyone who squashes the fans’ perennial hopes for a pennant (before the season even starts) while the hated Cubbies build and build and build only to get better, is corrupt. Anyone who “rebuilds” a severely damaged bullpen by signing the likes of a lukewarm lefty named Trever Miller or Royce Ring — mere band-aids on a gaping, gushing head-wound — is corrupt.
Yeah, sure, Tony LaRussa is extremely intelligent — so much so that he hid Mozeliak’s ineptitude for most of the 2008 season. With Dave Duncan at his side, it’s no secret that LaRussa has fixed many a troubled bargain-bin pitcher — whatever riff-raff Mozeliak (and Jocketty before him) could dig up and throw his way. But how long can we expect TLR’s elite level of intelligence to conceal the GM’s corruption?
One of these days (probably sooner than later) LaRussa and Dunc are simply gonna get tired of the b.s. and walk away.
One of these days (probably sooner than later) the Illinois legislature (and the Democrats as a whole) are simply gonna get tired of the b.s. and send Blago on his way.
At least, I hope as much.
Intelligence can’t hide the scandalous scars of corruption forever.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
I’ve had a really difficult time getting ahold of Mr. Lung recently. Part of it may be a result of his newfound happiness since he’s on top and I’m on the bottom, a portion of it might come from his inability to manipulate mechanical devices as a result of poor blood circulation from wearing dual pinky rings but I think most of it results from a nefarious new addition to his local cable programming.
Yes, Jeff has succumbed to that tempting, nubile succubus that is the MLB Network. Just so you know how bad it has become, here’s a recent phone conversation between the two of us.
Jeff: Why are you calling me?
Allen: Uh, because I wanted to wish you a happy new year and see if you were posting today.
J: Well, I’m busy right now.
A: Of course, Jeff. I just thought it would be nice to start off the new year by talking to my friend because I wanted to see how he spent his new year’s eve.
J: Wait, what time is it? What day is it? Where am I?
A: Are you all right? Should I call an ambulance or something?
J: Shut up you ignorant fool. And leave me alone. I’m watching the MLB Network.
A: But Jeff, it hasn’t even officially gone on the air yet. They’re still just showing pictures.
J: I said shut up! I hate you! You’re not my mother!
Needless to say, it hasn’t gotten any better since then. Apparently the Network does not exist to solve arguments, it’s there to start them. For intance, last night I was subjected to a lengthy discussion of the top nine homeruns in MLB history. When I mentioned that I was really just calling so I could get his address in order to send him a birthday present, he immediately started crying, screamed “You never understood me and you never will” and then abruptly hung up phone.
So, as we progress through this new year, I’m hopeful that the effects of this new drug will wear off. I mean, isn’t it bad enough that I’m on the bottom while Jeff has a “beautiful girlfriend”? Haven’t the gods laughed in my face enough with the football season I just had to sit through? Are the fates not satisfied now that the Steinbrenners have bought up a Kentucky Derby stable’s worth of talent? Come back, Mr. Lung! There’s life on this side of the screen, too.
Mark Teixeira at work today:
I know, I know… things could always be worse:
Hate me ‘cuz my pants are down, hate me ‘cuz I whine about Tex’s big paycheck, but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Hold on to your money-makers, dear readers… this is gonna be a thrashing ride reminiscent of Clint Malarchuk’s 1989 throat-slashing — the first and only image on television that made me actually throw up.
Verily, NBC gave her demonic highness, Ann Coulter, the greatest public relations gift in the history of the human race by banning her for life from their network and all like-minded lefty-linked affiliates. This decision was made in lieu of Coulter’s new book which attacks the media as being a farcical, one-sided (left), pretentious boys club incapable of stomaching any of her ranting diatribes, most of which we learned folks have grown to just call ‘crap’. Strongly suggestive of fecal matter or not, Ms. Coulter is still a US American, one who is astutely literate in the land of fantasy writing and one who has the same exact rights that all of us share in making our voice and our opinions known. Nothing good can come from this. She’s going to run with it ad nauseum and in this case, NBC clearly proved the exact point she’s been trying to make all along.
And it might not make me want to vomit as much as the above, but Pat Burrell is now a Tampa Bay Ray and in doing so virtually shuts the door on my boyhood hero, Ken Griffey, Jr. ever getting another shot in the playoffs. Having shored up their veteran/DH hitting needs, I doubt the Rays will have much interest in Junior now. In my mind, this can only mean he’ll likely end up with that cyclical hell-hole of a franchise known as the Seattle Mariners (for nostalgia’s sake — yack). Sorry, Junior. I really am.
And just as sure as I was that the Democrats’ insatiable desire for unwanted negative attention had already met Biblical proportions, it got worse when Rod Blagojevich appointee and prophetic puppet, Roland Burris, said he was the junior Illinois senator because “the Lord has ordained” him. How come the Lord is always talking to everyone except me?
Maybe he’s been talking to Al Franken too. No matter what, the Minnesota senatorial feud will be nothing short of a long, drawn-out, party-dividing legal and social battle that will only make us hate politicians that much more, if that’s even possible… wait, yeah… yeah it is… because there’s still this guy:
And of course his team is just one passing physical away from putting another ice pick in my chest and signing Milton Bradley to a three-year deal. In essence, the Cubs continue to get better, continue to open their change purse, continue to be savvy in all their dealings.
Note to John Mozeliak: You might want to consider waking the hell up!
And no, Mr. Mozeliak, I do not consider your signing of left-handed bullpen scrub Royce Ring, who finished 2008 with an ERA higher than Method Man and Redman on a Saturday night backstage (his ERA was 8.46), to be a “savvy” move.
(*insert dramatic pause while I take the time to puke… again.)
So what do I do when the world around me crumbles like Amy Winehouse during happy hour?
I tune into the wondrous world that is Red State Blue State…
But, folks, it ain’t always pretty. And it’s painfully obvious to anyone with a remedial math education that whether I’m younger by twelve years or twelve days or twelve hours than my cooped-up colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, I am and always will be younger than he, and more eloquent, and better at baseball. That’s just the hard, undeniable truth.
And yes, just as Mr. Krause stated in his low-blow, I did indeed spend some quality years without a steady girlfriend. This I cannot deny. But to call me out on the transgressions of the past without expecting a wicked rebuttal is quite juvenile.
Alas! Mr. Krause has long been the New York Yankees of meaningful romantic relationships: he was always in one, always spending too much money, always on top (so I hear).
Equally, I have long been the Tampa Bay Rays: never actually in the race, always flirting with free-agent wh0res who weren’t worth the inflated dollars, always on the bottom (cuz that’s just how I roll).
But (and I think we can all see where this is going here) like all facets in the grand scheme of life, balance ultimately plays a most crucial role. And nowadays it’s pretty apparent that I’m on top (with a hot girlfriend) while Mr. Krause wallows in the despair that is not making the “playoffs” for the first time since 1993. Don’t worry, Al, I’m sure they seat parties of one on Valentine’s Day somewhere in the nation’s capital. If not, you can always give Eliot Spitzer a call. I’m sure he knows some “people”.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.