February 2009

Ripping Us At the “Seems”

michelle and barack obama.jpgIf you are one to eschew the daily fear mongering and perpetual bad news infecting our world today, then I highly recommend you avoid reading the Chicago Tribune first thing in the morning.  Unfortunately, for me, the Tribune has become that thing I love to hate.  My self-inflicted aggravation is just one of the many results.

But today, I came across a titillating article by Stacy St. Clair which boasted and celebrated the harmony, the togetherness, the complete reciprocal adoration between Barack and Michelle Obama — our nation’s first couple.  Reading it made me feel good.

As the day went on, news broke of Alex Rodriguez — our collective fallen hero — and his stunning confession of guilt regarding his usage of banned performance enhancing drugs in 2003.  The image of Rodriguez discussing the issue with Peter Gammons flickered on my computer screen.  I was overwhelmed with sadness.

My thoughts immediately went back to the Obama article and I couldn’t help but ask myself: Is anything what it seems anymore?

Alex Rodriguez thinking.jpgAlex Rodriguez put on a great front.  Despite Jose Canseco’s self-righteous smear campaign and associated agenda, I never once questioned Rodriguez’s proclaimed innocence.  At no time did I suspect Rodriguez to be tainted in even the slightest of ways, for A-Rod was our hero.  He was the one targeted with pulling us out of the steroid era forever.  He was the one endowed with replacing Bonds as the all-time homerun king.  He was the one who seemed like the most talented, most gifted, most touted ballplayer I have ever witnessed play the game.

What you see is not always what you get.

John Edwards seemed like a family man.

Pete Rose seemed like the consummate all-American baseballer.

Eliot Spitzer seemed like a hard-nosed crime-stopper.

The Wizard of Oz seemed like an all-powerful wizard.

And it turns out they were all just… like… us:

H-U-M-A-N.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

An Indictment

arod_god.jpgWe focus on the weaknesses of our heroes and leaders because, whether we admit it or not, we need them to be human like us. Transcending mortality cannot be allowed because there must be a clear line between god and mortal. Zeus punished Prometheus for aspiring to be like the gods, not for trying to bring fire to humanity. And as Prometheus learned the hard way, punishment is meted out as atonement for abstract ideals, not specific offenses.

The fall of the House of A-Rod can be described as a modern day illustration of this idea. Here is a man who seeks to be god-like, a player without equal who can singlehandedly take a team on his back and drag them along with him. But like all who covet godhood, a tragic flaw bars the way. We don’t crucify him for his actions. We crucify him for his aspirations and our expectations.

So, despite my general dislike of Mr. Rodriguez and my general contempt for both him and his actions, I also can’t help but feel sorry that once again another of our heroes has been dragged in front of the gods and found wanting. And as sportswriters, bloggers and fans alike pick at A-Rod the way the gryphon picked at Prometheus’ liver, perhaps we should take a step back and rethink this lesson. After all, this is not so much a story of human frailty as it is an indictment of the gods and their impotence.

-A

An Unseasonably Warm Lament

gravestone.jpgIt’s 55 degrees in Chicago today and my entire Bridgeport neighborhood is wet with the sound of Irish keening.

We should all be outside, throwing the ball around with the neighborhood kids, hitting grounders with the fungo bat and telling little Jimmy to keep his eye on the ball, to level his swing.

Instead, we find ourselves trapped inside our apartments — breaking things — deeply saddened by today’s news and seriously questioning our loyalty to a game that continues to let us — an entire nation — down.

This, my friends, will be the legacy of Bud Selig.

Screw revenue sharing.  Forget the WBC.  Eat it on interleague play.

Bud Selig is the sole reason why we the fans — the rock-solid foundation of Major League Baseball — find ourselves in the midst of yet another seriously debilitating depression.

Go ahead, Bud.  Pretend like you didn’t know anything.  Entertain your highfalutin, self-righteous, narcissistic thoughts as being the trailblazing ambassador of the game.

We know. 

Yes.  We all know.

The Truth is: YOU dropped the ball.

And you will forever be remembered for that.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Best Week Ever?

It’s Friday afternoon and there isn’t a whole lot for me to say. What happened this week? Well, they found the remains of a snake that ate crocodiles as a snack. I’m like Indiana Jones in that I really hate snakes so the fact that these animals once existed does not make me feel comfortable. I’ve seen Tremors. I know what’s lurking.

But as bad as that is, at least I haven’t had the week that Barack Obama has had. You know it’s bad when he’s two weeks into his term and the news sites are reporting that he just gave “the most pointedly partisan speech of his young presidency.” Seriously guys, already? I expect this from Ann Coulter but Politico?

Sometimes you just have to give in and except it, though. And as bad as Obama and the Arizona NBC affiliate may have had it, at least they’re in a better place than little David.

Or are they?

-A

|-O

barry bonds skinny.jpgWhat you see as the title to this post is what the kids are calling an
“emoticon”.  This emoticon in particular represents a most nihilistic
and defeatist yawn — a yawn so stretched and bored, so laggard and
languid that it cannot be adequately expressed through the four-letter
word itself.

Yes, folks.

This is what happens when I see Barry Bonds in the news again.

Are there really any more surprises left in this drawn-out saga of a tale?  Were there really any surprises to begin with regarding Bonds’ overtly obvious transmutation from skinny dude with loads of talent to Markus Ruhl wannabe who happens to swing a bat? 

At this point… does anyone really care?

Methenolone, nandrolone, exogenous testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, epitestosterone, shouldireallygiveahootsterone.

If only Barry would have heeded the warnings set forth by his trainer and confidant, the late great Sergei Akmudov:

http://www.hulu.com/embed/SX1NU3DYknwC6EuBZxdH_Q

Finally, we have come to the point where self-inflicted mutilation is certainly more interesting than any Bonds story to date.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

RSBS Presents: Your Health

A lot of baseball action seems to be focused on the crotch. There isn’t a game that goes by without a shot of some infielder adjusting his cup and let’s be honest, it’s hard to blame them. I mean, it may be one of the most uncomfortable pieces of equipment ever made. But it’s also essential when balls are flying at you at speeds well over a hundred miles per hour. And even with that guard in place, it doesn’t mean that getting hit feels good. Speaking as a guy, I cringe anytime I see a video with a skateboarder doing the splits around a hand rail and I don’t like skateboarders.

However, there are different degrees of crotch related injuries. In the interest of public service RSBS brings you a guide to crotch injuries.


First Degree Crotch Related Injury

The first degree and the least fatal is seen demonstrated here by Alex Rodriguez for Ozzie Guillen. It is commonly referred to as “minor self-inflicted” or in more vulgar terminology as “digging a little too deep to kill those d@mn crabs.”

arod_crotch.JPG
Second Degree Crotch Related Injury

This type of injury is known as the “semi-major non self-inflicted” although it often has the potential to be even worse than the third category. This type of injury happens from time to time in baseball but usually only as a result of a collision or an errant throw. A football related demonstration is included here:

CrotchShot.jpgOne of the more famous examples of this type of injury can be seen demonstrated by Wayne Rooney while playing for England’s soccer team. At about the 40 second mark you can see the act in all it’s glory:


Third Degree Crotch Related Injury

The final category is officially called the “major self-inflicted” but is commonly known as the “Dude, you are such a dumb@ss” injury. The previously mentioned skateboarding injuries fit into this category as do many rollerblading and “free-style walking” related injuries. However, the most recent and most famous of this type of injury came to us just a few days ago courtesy of “The Boss” himself. It may not have been a wardrobe malfunction and it may not have garnered a fine but I don’t think Mr. Springsteen is going to be making any babies in the near future:

Anyway, that wraps up this edition of RSBS Presents: Your Health. Let’s keep those privates protected.

-A

 

This Should Be A Joke But It Is Not

bud.selig.jpg
Major League Baseball Commissioner and de facto Dear Leader Bud Selig makes $18.35 million a year.

Yes, I said, Bud Selig makes $18.35 million a year!

Pick your jaw up off the floor and wipe it clean with that $12 MLB hoodie you got on sale at Target — the kind King Bud would never wear because a) he’s still not cool and b) a $12 anything is certainly well below him.

Everybody still with me?  Great.  Now, realize that Bud Selig makes more money a year than Albert Pujols ($13.87 million), Ryan Howard ($10 million) and Magglio Ordonez ($15.77 million) not to mention a slew of other superstars who have had way more to do with the current success of the commercialized game than Selig could ever dream of having.

If anything, Bud Selig is the supreme benefactor of being in the right place at the right time.

Because really, what has Selig done during his tenure to make baseball as popular as it is today?  Well, let’s see…

He oversaw the devastating strike of 1994.

He realigned everything, making sure to put six teams in the NL Central (the largest division in baseball while the AL West has just four teams), which causes the Cubs and Cardinals to only play each other twelve times a year as opposed to twenty, further decimating and devaluing one of the best rivalries in the game.

He gave us the inexcusable, outlandishly silly “this time it counts” scenario of the All-Star Game winner having home field advantage during the World Series.

He ignored the blatant, in-your-face warnings that a large faction of players were doping it up, thus hitting balls out of the park at a fervent pace.  This, of course, peaked the interest of all because who doesn’t love a homerun or seventy?  Suddenly, more people start to show up at the park, putting more money in his pocket… so, really, can anyone really chide Selig for his unethical behavior?

Yes, we can.

But what is done is done.  We cannot undo anything.  What we can do is scream, yell, break things and blog about it (Selig, you owe me a new computer screen).   

If Bud Selig makes $18 million a year, then by my calculations, which are based on his overall worth to the game of baseball (and you Sabermetric guys can jump in here if I am off), Manny Ramirez should be making $75 million a year; A-Rod, (making note of his abysmal playoff khalil greene.jpgperformances) should be paid $55 million a year and Khalil Greene, after cashing in on an incentive-based package requiring him to record at least one base hit in each month of the season (so, let’s say at least six), ought to be bringing in a cool $29 million a year.

Looks like the fantasy baseball season never ends if your name is King Bud Selig.  I just hope he remembers to pay his taxes.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Another Guide for Passing the Time

In his last post, my oft misguided and ever self-loathing colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, offered up some morbid thoughts on how to pass the next several weeks while we wait to thaw out and spring into some serious baseball action.  Poignantly defeatist in nature, Mr. Krause squashed our spirits more than he uplifted them, as more lamenting on the sad state of Detroit sports franchises and focusing on the natural discourse between Iran and the rest of the world leaves little else than a tinge of bitterness.

Dear readers, there are many more things you can do with your time.  For instance…

steelers superbowl champs.JPG

Postulate How Many More Superbowls the Steelers Will Win Before the Pirates Get Back to the Post-Season (If They Ever Do)

Already the winningest franchise in NFL history, the Pittsburgh Steelers have long drowned out the cheers (if any) from the Pirates faithful.  But don’t worry, ‘Burgh, the 2009 Pirates boast a lineup that features the likes of Jose Tabata, Brian Bixler and Nyjer Morgan!  Whoo-wee!  Get out the ticker-tape, ya’ll!  I’m feeling a bit like 1991!

Count the Reasons Why Ann Coulter Has No Soul

Verily, this woman is as crazy as A-Rod is attention hungry.  In her most recent blog post (dated 1/28/2009), she had this brilliant quip to share:

“The only reason McCarthy was elected to Congress in the first place is
that her husband and son were shot by a crazed gunman on the Long
Island Rail Road in 1993. Colin Ferguson’s shooting spree wasn’t
stopped sooner because none of the passengers had guns. As has been
demonstrated beyond dispute at this point, armed citizens save lives.”

There is no way these words came from a live human being complete with a heartbeat and the ability to actually feel.  No way.

Waste Your Life Away by Playing the Harold Reynolds Drinking Game
(I don’t personally recommend this, but if you’re looking for a quick, painless way to hibernate until Opening Day, click **here** for details. And when I say “painless” I’m lying.)

Try To Nail Down How Many Games the Cardinals Will Finish Behind the Cubs in 2009
Let’s see, there’s Adam Kennedy, Trever Miller, a busted up bullpen virtually unchanged from last season, question marks at third base, second base, starting rotation, no one to protect Albert Pujols, the reality that LaRussa and Duncan will most likely be gone next year, and we still have Bill Dewitt and John Mozeliak at the helm!  Folks, that’s just the beginning… I won’t go in to how good the Cubs look, how fresh and exciting the Reds look, how explosive the Brewers look, how nagging the Astros look.  Ooh boy, can’t wait to battle Tabata, Bixler and Morgan in the ‘Burgh for the NL Central Toilet Bowl!

Whew.

Okay, so I admit, my suggestions are just as morbid and defeatist as Allen’s… but if there is one thing we can all agree on, it is that a laugh — a good, hearty, gut-cleansing laugh —  can last us a while… or in this case, a long, long while:

Now that is what I call comedy!

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace

Jeffy

A Guide for Passing the Time

Nothing says “It’s almost time for baseball” more than the Superbowl. On the one hand, the end of the NFL season means the next couple weeks are devoid of anything sportingly worthwhile. Basketball is fine but I don’t really care until the NCAA tournament rolls around. And hockey? Well, if the Red Wings are playing and there’s nothing else to do, maybe I’ll check it out. But the other side of this is knowing that in two short weeks (or maybe two long weeks) pitchers and catchers report.

So, what can we do to fill the time between now and then? How do we kill 14 days without losing it and accidentally killing something more? Here at RSBS, we’re compiling an ever-expanding list of things to do to pass the time until the baseball season finally begins.

detroit_frozen.jpgSight-Seeing Vacation in Detroit
What isn’t to love about the city that could have served as the backdrop for the movie “The Crow?” However, beyond seeing what is left of old Tiger Stadium and visiting Greektown, there are also new and exciting tourist destinations. For instance, the body frozen in ice. Or how about Ford field, site of 8 of the Lions’ 16 losses this past season? Hurry, though. It’s all going to thaw soon and then you’re in real trouble.

Reestablishing Diplomatic Ties with Iran
All they want is an apology. Is that so hard? Oh, really? We already tried that? Well, how about we try Venezuela instead. Caracas seems like a friendly place.

barack-michelle-fist-bump.jpgFinding the Most Famous Email Address in Washington
Apparently only a select few have access to the President via email. Where’s that transparency you told us about, Mr. President? If I can’t forward you emails from my Grandma about Barack Obama being a secret Muslim, then what…….oh, right. Yeah, I guess I wouldn’t want those emails either.

Helping Jeff Feel Sorry for Himself

Nevermind. It looks like he already has that one under control.

So, there you go. Already we have four ideas for you and there’s no telling how the list will grow. Happy Superbowl and just so you know, I will be cheering for Arizona. What can I say? When you’re a Lions fan, you just get used to cheering for the underdog.

-A

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 66 other followers