February 2009

The Interns Channel Their Inner Cassandra

four_horsemen_apocalypse.jpgEvery time I sit down to read the news these days, it seems that one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse is leering out from behind the story. Wildfires in Australia, cholera in Zimbabwe, war in the Middle East and famine here, there and everywhere. Even in the United States we are far from immune to these problems. Unemployment is out of control, no one knows where the financial crisis will ultimately leave us and despite the situation, Congress still can’t seem to figure out how to work together.

But I think the problem can be traced back deeper. No, Mr. Huckabee, it’s not the “anti-religious” forces within the country. And thank you for your input Bristol but it’s not because of teenage pregnancy and the unrealistic idea of abstinence. No, my very exact calculations based on the careful use of a divining rod and an ancient gypsy monkey paw have placed the sewing of the seeds of this crisis on September 9, 1992.

Oddly, another event took place that same day. Could the two be related? It seems too perfect to just be a coincidence. And since there was only one way to find out, I flew the RSBS interns in from Chicago and set them to work. And by the end of the day, in typical RSBS fashion, they came up with several interesting conclusions.

In much the same way that lax regulation allowed the housing market to become overheated, Bud Selig’s single-minded focus on increasing owner revenue allowed a bubble to develop in the baseball market. This enveloped the entire spectrum of baseball related services, too, from the price of seats at a game to the inflated salaries earned by players. But, as fans start tightening their belts, the teams are going to have to figure out some alternate way to keep the money coming in. Perhaps they’ll do it by offering better deals on ticket prices or attempting some new way to keep the concessions moving. It’s a pretty safe assumption that the owners won’t be seeing the same kind of money they did in the past, though. Soon, they might even have to start applying Verizon math to make ends meet.

Additionally, the confluence of decreasing revenue streams and the steroid situation will hit the free agent market pretty hard. The current log-jam in the credit markets came about as a result of toxic assets floating around the banking sector with no one knowing who would take the hit at the final reckoning. It’s like Barry Bonds floating around the periphery of MLB, trying to convince someone to take a chance on him. In the halcyon days of 2005, someone would have been willing to take the risk on both the fancy financial instrument and Mr. Bonds but the market is too tight right now to justify adding such huge liabilities to the books. Free agents will be signed to short-term contracts with PED stipulations, the union will call foul and soon we’ll have a breakdown, just like what we’ve seen in the credit market.

On the bright side, baseball still does provide a quality product so it won’t turn into a situation like that facing the automakers:

calvin_and_hobbes.jpgAt the same time, though, the tendency of owners to rely on municipal largess to rejuvenate the flagging fortunes of their franchises has backfired, a similar situation to what we’re now seeing at GM and Chrysler. Just look at the two new ballparks in the Bronx and Queens, payed for in large part by taxpayer money. As a result of the current economic situation, both teams are struggling to find the sponsorship and financing they need to finish off their end of the bargain. And once again the burden will fall on the shoulder of the taxpayer and the consumer because all the effected parties are “too big to fail.”

The question is, what do we do with these conclusions? Do we continue to chant the Selig mantra, sticking our heads in the sand and claiming that we did all we could do and no one would listen to us? Do we follow the new administration’s path and throw lots of money at the problem in hopes that it will break up the jam? Me, I think there’s a simpler answer. It’s time that the leader who got us into this mess admitted his culpability and fell on his own sword. Healing cannot take place until the tumor has been removed. For that reason, Bud Selig must go.

-A (with special thanks to DK) 

The Modern Era All-Corrupt Baseball-Politico Team

american flag.jpgClearly established is the fact that perhaps nothing is what it seems these days.  From Alex Rodriguez gallivanting around the Dominican streets with his cousin scoring steroid sauce because he was “young and stupid” to Larry Craig simply taking a timeout in an airport restroom because he needed to “relax”, we, as US Americans, would be doing ourselves and our country a great disservice by not postulating the underlying motives and behind-the-scenes shenanigans that make up our anti-apotheoses of leadership.

Guilty until proven innocent?

Why not?  This is America after all.  We do what we want, when we want (see Iraq, Guantanamo, “W” for more information).

Baseball, democracy, Erin Andrews being all hot and sexy… these are as astutely American as a Paris Hilton reality television show; so it should be no surprise when they eventually fall victim to our insatiable desire for dirt. 

So why not celebrate the fecundity of our backpage headliners… bring them together, assemble a stellar nine to barnstorm the backwoods, villages and small towns of this great nation?

Well, I have thought about it and I am all for it and I am doing something about it, damnit. 

baseball park.jpgDear readers, I now present the All-Corrupt Baseball-Politico Team:

Marion Barry — CF
At the top of the lineup we need speed; and who better to give us speed than a bonafide crackhead?  Believe me, folks, Barry will get on base  — perhaps even manage to free-base — all the while giving pitchers (and Washingtonians) nightmares better fit for an episode of The Wire.

Eliot Spitzer — 2B
He’s scrappy, he’s fast, he leaves his socks on.  With a name like Spitzer (see Roberto Alomar), Eliot’s the guy I want at second base.  As patient in the number two hole (wink, wink) as he was hypocritical during his gubernatorial reign, Eliot is a surefire shot taker whom I definitely want on my team because he knows where to buy all the hot chicks.

Kwame Kilpatrick — 1B
The bigger, the fatter, the sloppier the man, the better the first baseman.  Well, at least that is how they do things in Detroit.  And Kwame, though once a sharp dresser, now looks a bit haggard after those 99 days in jail.  The fact is, defensively liable players often end up at first base.  On the plus side, Kwame is a big target and he has the agile hands of a 14 year-old text messaging champion.

Bill Clinton — 3B

No one knows his way around third base better than Slick Willy.  Besides, this position requires a bit of flash peppered with a sprig of charm… not to mention an oh-so-faint cheating character.  Of course, there are doubts that Clinton could handle the duties of a clean-up man (refer to the stained blue dress) but if we know anything, we know that Bubba is always full of surprises.

John Edwards — SS
Protect a cheater with a cheater: enter John Edwards.

Rod Blagojevich — DH
Now here’s a guy who comes to play, pays to play, forces others to pay to play, whatever; he’s a player.  Widely known as a bit of a primper, Blago manages to fill the flashy DH role better than most.  His only drawback: if you take him out of the game he will continue to run his idiot mouth.

Roland Burris — RF

Admittedly, the only reason Roland has a spot on this squad is because he’s in tight with the DH; but by now we all know it didn’t take long for Burris to wield his own personal bat of corruption and make a stately name for himself.  And let’s face it: Burris has quick feet, able to change his story faster than you can say Chicago Democratic Machine.

George Ryan — LF
Bringing up the rear of our team’s famed corrupt Illinois politician trifecta (CITP) is the always forlorn oft uninteresting George Ryan.  He’s fat.  He’s slow.  He’s a left fielder.  But the man knows how to sell contracts, licenses and leases on behalf of his team, so it’s always good to have a guy who can get things when you’re on the road half the season.

Dick Cheney — C
The scowling shot-caller.  The calloused captain.  The man who hides behind a mask.  With the entire field in front of him and myriad opportunities to talk s*** behind people’s backs, it is quite evident that Cheney was born to catch.  More fierce than a misguided, misled, mishandled bombardier, he’ll chat the opposing hitter up as much as possible, flashing his hunting rifle from time to time to gain a psychological edge.  Arrrrggghhh.

Larry Craig — P
Bringing up the rear, ahem, Larry Craig is one of those subversive anomalies of the baseball-politico reality.  Sure, he can pitch; but he can catch too, which makes him all the more valuable to a team going long and far down that dirt road called destiny.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

An Aura of Ineptitude

david_wells.jpgAs a fan, one of the most difficult parts of spring training is watching your team show up and wondering who’s going to be disgustingly out of shape and how they’re possibly going to get ready in time for the season opener. If you had David Wells reporting, you didn’t worry so much because somehow that extra weight and general aura of deep-fryer fat that emanated from him was soothing. However, when you’re a Tigers fan and Miguel Cabrera is showing up soon, you worry.

It appears that worry is misplaced, though. Not only did Cabrera show up early, he apparently has dispatched that aura of mediocrity that shadowed him throughout the beginning of last season. Fantasy Baseball blogs are touting him as one of the top first basemen and despite his slow start last season and the lack of offensive output from the Tigers as a whole, he still ended up having a career year.

However, when it comes to crap-tastic auras, there is one man who surely takes the cake. That’s right, long-time friend of RSBS, Bud Selig, was back in the news today. See, Selig wants us to know that when the steroid snafu went down, he wasn’t playing Nero and fiddling while Rome burned like we all thought. No, he was trying to sniff out the problem, attempting to stomp out the fire before it exploded into the conflagration that now rages in front of us. And of course we know this is true because the story comes from a source on the inside, from a trustworthy someone named, uh, let me see here, Bud Selig. Huh. That seems kind of weird. 

We here at RSBS have often called out Mr. Selig on his general ineptitude and obvious mismanagement of the great American pastime. His ham-fisted attempts at regulation, be it contract negotiation or drug-testing, have only served to intensify the disparities in baseball. But, I think it’s about time we took this to the next level. If Mr. Selig were a dirigible, he’d be the Hindenburg. If he were a world leader of the past century, he’d be Neville Chamberlain. If Mr. Selig were a song, he’d be sung by Carly Simon. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m sure he’d fire a manager for less. He’s an unapologetic and unmitigated disaster and it’s time for him to go.

-A

Alternatives to Armageddon

texas fireball in sky.jpgYes, folks, the sky is falling.

Texans have long brought the drama.  Whether we are talking about Nolan Ryan throwing seven career no-hitters, Ross Perot anteing up his own funds to eradicate the national debt or Roger Clemens going out with a bang, the good people of Texas are rarely light on theatrics. 

With this in mind, it should be no surprise that Texans are looking to the skies and hypothesizing that what they see may very well be the beginning of the end of life as we know it.  Humans are hardly rational beings, and as the world economy plummets, the earth itself rots and our heroes fall, it is no wonder why people actually believe UFOs are coming to invade us, kill us and eat our brains.

Alas, dear readers!  While the recent UFO/meteor sightings in Texas appear to be mysteriously detrimental to our society, I have done ample research and settled on the following alternative explanations for this fierce phenomenon:

  • That’s no UFO; it’s the ball Albert Pujols hit off Brad Lidge in the 2005 NLCS finally falling back to Earth
  • That’s no UFO; it’s the wrath of God shooting down the twisted ideology of the devil herself
  • That’s no UFO; it’s the collective failures of one Kyle Farnsworth crashing and burning (was supposed to land in Kansas City but due to a sincere lack of notoriety, Kansas City’s exact location could not be determined)
  • That’s no UFO; it’s Roland Burris doing his best Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial impression to make us forget that his story doesn’t quite add up
  • That’s no UFO; it’s Manny being Manny exercising his final, most breathtaking stunt to get a multi-year deal making A-Rod money (sans the special sauce one can only hope)

manny being manny.jpgDon’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Me at Potatoes

We apologize for the lack of contact over the past 24 hours.  Allen arrived in Chicago on Saturday and the expected glutinous orgy of carnivorous consumption ensued, followed by bouts of general tomfoolery.

Jeff followed a more sapphic program while Allen explored an equally hedonistic path.

In the end, the RSBS interns caught them both in lurid and compromising situations:

Jeff & Allen 2.2009 002.jpg
Jeff & Allen 2.2009 026.jpg
The RSBS stew continues to simmer…

Friday Afternoon Madcap Recap

AROD_Radar.jpgYou know, just a week ago I was lamenting the lack of baseball related drama and filling up space with videos of kids on (legal) drugs. Man, things sure changed in a hurry. A-Rod, Tejada, Abreu, Oswalt, Dunn. All of them hit the news in the past week, although under very different circumstances. Add in pitchers and catchers reporting today and you got yourself one heck of a week in baseball.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the week in politics (our bread if you consider baseball to be our butter) got a little crazy, too. Stimulus plans, Juan Williams invoking Stokely Carmichael and Michelle Obama and more cabinet nominee hyjinks were just the beginning. Seriously guys. If y’all could parcel this out over the course of a couple weeks instead of just one, I’d really appreciate it.

However, it’s times like these when we really need to concentrate on what’s important. And those things, in no particular order, are:

-Abraham Lincoln’s 200th Birthday was yesterday. I think you’ve heard of him before. Really? Not ringing a bell, huh? 16th President. Born in a log cabin. Face on the penny and five dollar bill. Still nothing? Thank god for Wikipedia.

-Despite the fact that Erin Andrews doesn’t do it for me, apparently she does it for quite a few other people. (via Deadspin but you may not want to open that link if you’re at work or your computer is monitored)

-Jose Offerman is one crazy *** mother-f@&%#er.

-Despite lying on national television and then turning around and eating a big ol’ slice of humble pie, A-Rod will still get more action in one night than I will see in the next year. Possibly two.

-But the most important news item is that RSBS has reached its paper anniversary and in honor of that (and because I need a vacation), I will be heading to Chicago tomorrow to hang out with Mr. Lung. There are a few ideas simmering in the ol’ crockpot and if it all works out, we hope to serve up a nice, thick RSBS stew next week. Man, if that metaphor was Whitney, I guess that would make me Bobby.

Happy Friday!

-A

Translations of a Maniac

john_mozeliak.jpgSorry, folks, I am through pontificating on Alex Rodriguez (for now) and ready to get back to baseball talk that does not include scandalous tirades on the poor policing of the game.

Wait, no… that is a lie.

Because the St. Louis Cardinals released their clubhouse infecting second baseman Adam Kennedy this week and GM John Mozeliak, by simply opening his mouth, has opened the door for more ridicule from those of us who should actually matter the most (the fans) but continuously get tossed aside like a Roger Clemens B-12 filled syringe.

So Kennedy is gone.  Great.  Ask me if I care. 

I don’t.

What I do care about is the $4 million we are paying him for 2009 anyway.  Mozeliak said:

“I tried to exhaust the trade market. We thought we might have something happening that really came to an end
this weekend. At that point it was just time. It was more fair for both
parties to do it now than wait a couple weeks.”

Translation: I am not very good at my job.

You mean to tell me, Mr. Mozeliak, that no team in Major League Baseball was willing to trade for Kennedy?  No team!?!  None?!?  You couldn’t get one minor league guy, one nobody, one journeyman reliever for Adam Kennedy? 

Give me a break.  But in all fairness, Mr. Mozeliak, you are right about one thing.  That was a fair deal for the Kennedy camp.  More than fair.  Here’s $4 million, Adam.  Sit on your ^ss, dude.  Have a good time.  Go out and get a league minimum one-year deal from some team and live off the fat of the Cardinals’ land.

I suspect he will.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals fan forums, blogs and message boards are lighting up with “what the hell do we do now”s; some delusional fans have even gone as far as to suggest Mozeliak may go out and sign a free agent second baseman like Orlando Hudson or Mark Grudzielanek to fill the empty space.

Ha!  I laugh in your face!  For you know not the true nature of our general manager:

“Right now, we’re going to go with what we have. We would like to do this internally if we could, and we do have confidence that we can.”

piggy lord of the flies.jpgTranslation: I have the conch!  Not you!  Me!  It’s mine mine mine mine mine!  All mine!  And I say let’s get these suckas in the ballpark without assembling a competitive team.  Why not?  Those silly fans have already proven that they’ll support a crappy team; we can do that on the cheap and still rake in millions!  Sell ‘em t-shirts and Busch Light and bobbleheads that are way overpriced!  They love that s***!

Mozeliak finished by saying:

“I do think this [releasing Kennedy for nothing while still paying him $4 million] was an opportunity to inject some energy into that
position and really show that we are moving this club in a newer
direction.”

Translation: This club is built to fail.  I signed Trever Miller and Royce Ring to further weaken an already deplorable bullpen that blew 31 saves last year.  My major off-season acquisition of shortstop Khalil Greene hit a mind-blowing .212 last season, I haven’t even tried to land a closer and I am taking Ludwick and Ankiel to arbitration because I want to make them feel uncomfortable about playing in St. Louis.  And as soon as this season is over and we have been embarrassed by the Cubs and Brewers, LaRussa and Duncan will walk and I’ll have this team right where I want it: going nowhere!

At least Ballpark Village is right on track:

ballpark village.jpg

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

RSBS Featured at Rocky Mountain Way (Part II)

allenkrause.jpgFrom outside Coors Field, looking in, that strapping young Rockies’ enthusiast Tom Walsh has gone deep inside the commodious mind of yet another (perhaps even more intelligent but slightly less outspoken) RSBS stunner.  That’s right folks, the internationally acclaimed Allen Krause sat down with Walsh on the Rocky Mountain Way’s latest edition of “Timeout at the Plate”.

Want to know just how well your precious, seemingly endless tax dollars are being spent? 

Then you better click *HERE* to read the full interview.

Expect to be wowed — not by his endless adoration for that abomination of a baseball franchise known as the Detroit Tigers, but by his inability to accept reality.

RSBS Featured at Rocky Mountain Way (Part I)

4795SEPIA.jpgTom Walsh, the heralded Colorado Rockies anti-apologist and globetrotting baseball blogger, has taken time out of his rigorous national tour to feature Red State Blue State’s very own Jeffery Lung in the latest edition of “Timeout at the Plate”.

**The RSBS interns would like to personally thank Tom for forcing Mr. Lung out of the office long enough that they could poke holes in his condoms and skunk his beer with complete success.

To read the full interview, click *HERE*.

And stay tuned for Part II tomorrow, which will feature the paltry persona of RSBS‘ fatalistic half: Mr. Allen Krause.

(photo by Constance K.)

A-Rod at the Plate

arod at the bat.jpgI remember listening to NPR while driving to work one spring morning and hearing a wonderful rendition of the famous poem, Casey at the Bat. It was read by James Earl Jones and the recitation was accompanied by some orchestra. Sure enough, it was Opening Day and it felt like the perfect way to start the baseball season.

But that was a different time. That was spring of 2002 when maybe we weren’t quite as naive as we had been but we were far enough removed from the strike and still unaware of the steroid scandal. I’m afraid that if I were to tune in my radio on Opening Day this year, the poem would be quite a bit shorter and might go something like this:

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for most baseball fans that day;
Canseco had become a sage with allegations of tainted play,
And when McGwire admitted using, and knowing Bonds had done the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought with optimism that was waning as of late,
“The game might still have purity now, with A-Rod at the plate.”

But, the sneer has fled from A-Rod’s lip, the eyes are filled with tears;
He sports a shirt and sweater as his soul to us he bares.
And now Gammons forms the question, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of A-Rod’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in baseball — mighty A-Rod has struck out.

Only this time it’s not just the Mudville nine that lose. It’s all of us.

-A

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