March 2009

Flexing the Omnipotent Pipes

devils_night_detroit.jpgGod hates Detroit. As if there were any doubts about this fact after watching last year’s Detroit Lions, Michigan Wolverines and Detroit Tigers, all you have to do is check the Detroit skyline every October 30 or read the newspapers today. Yes, god hates Detroit but it appears there is a good reason. Detroit hates god right back

And now it also appears that god has decided to flex those omnipotent muscles a little more in smiting Detroit. In the past five days, not only did Dontrelle Willis and Joel Zumaya land on the injured reserve, Gary Sheffield is also looking for a new home. Granted, Sheff has often been a cancer in the clubhouse and both Willis and Zumaya had less than impressive stuff last season. But these are not the kinds of things that Detroit and the state of Michigan need right now

However, I have a couple solutions. Perhaps we just need to butter the big guy up a little. How about a little of this to help out:

Or maybe we just have to really hope that Nietzsche had it right. What I do know is that things can always be worse. At least I’m not a homeless guy in Detroit.

detroit_frozen.jpg-A

RSBS TV: 2009 NL East Preview

Produced, shot and edited by Atonal Studios.

Special thanks to Theo Roll.

Very special thanks to Youppi, the vaguely effeminate mascot of the late great Montreal Expos for giving hope to French Canadians worldwide… okay, maybe not worldwide, but you get the idea.

(For best playback results, watch in High Quality)

The Filibuster

On Thursday, the initial sale of the San Diego Padres to new owner Jeff
Moorad was completed.  Knowing that it only took Sandy Alderson and his
equally ignorant chum, Kevin Towers, a few years to extensively
decimate the Padres franchise like Chris Brown did Rihanna’s face, how
long will it take Moorad to get the Padres competitive again?

– Jeff

__________________________________________

padres.jpgHave you already forgotten about that epic tie-breaker two short seasons ago when the Rockies edged the Padres on their way to a World Series appearance? The fact that San Diego was so close to the playoffs kind of puts the lie to your question and its entire premise. Yes, the Padres should have been more competitive recently and poor decisions were made (which are explained much more eloquently by the Prince of New York over at PaulLebowitz.com) but we’re not talking about the Knicks under Isiah Thomas here. This is not a team that’s lost for a generation.

It does kind of make you wonder what baseball executives get paid to do, though. Prince’s hatred of Alderson and Towers and your open contempt for Mozeliak in St. Louis remind me of some of Bill Simmons’ old columns where he rants about the management of the Celtics. However, once they won a championship the volume became a little muted. So, are sports executives really that incompetent or are other forces at work here?

I suppose that like any story, there are two sides to this one. I’m sure most GMs would argue that it’s tough to judge their success on winning alone since a large part of that depends on the human element, the players. And meanwhile the fans wonder why their team is going out and signing a guy like Dontrelle Willis to an extension while letting Cameron Maybin get away. And both sides are probably right. For all the statistics and sabrmetrics that exist today, this, like economics, is not an exact science:

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:southparkstudios.com:222638

But, to get back to your question, I don’t know when the Padres will be competitive again. It depends on a lot of factors in addition to just the current management team. It depends on resolving the Peavy situation and like a lot of things nowadays, it probably depends in part on the economy. What I do know, though, is that at least the Padres haven’t yet p!ssed off god. Seriously, what is the deal in Detroit?

-A

Credits:
-Video from Comedy Central via The Daily Dish.

Do Your Homework, Unidentifiable Brewer Guy

brewers chinese tattoo.jpg
That’s Casey McGehee on the left.  Who’s that you ask?  No clue.  Never heard of him myself.  Doesn’t matter.  Let us instead focus on the Chinese character strategically tattooed on the anonymous forearm to the right.

zi.jpgFor those dear readers who are unfamiliar with the Chinese language, that is the character for “child”.  Pronounced zi, in certain contexts it could be understood as “son” or “seed” or for those extremely esoteric folks with a penchant for ancient Chinese time-keeping methods, it could also be interpreted as the first of the twelve earthly branches.

In other words, it’s not really something you get tattooed on your arm.

Yet trendy wannabe-hip US Americans continue to find Chinese characters in tattoo shops around the country, discovering them to be viable testaments to who they are, even if they have no idea what the hell they mean.

Seems silly to me.  I have tattoos.  You know, you can’t just scrub ‘em off.  I put a lot of thought into them before I went off and had my skin permanently inked. 

And I like to think that other people have the common sense to do a little research before putting a foreign language on their body for eternity.  But what do I know?  I ain’t no professional baseball player; I’m just a lowly Fulbright Scholar. 

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

(Image courtesy of the Associated Press)

Small Solutions to Big Problems

gold digger.jpgWE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!

If you read the newspaper or watch the evening news or leave your house every day, you might find the above statement to be true.

Ironically, it is true.  Because whether we like it or not, we are all going to die; however, I personally like to think it won’t happen to me until I’m around 90 years old, gripping a cold one while I overexert myself with my 20-something year old gold-digger.

And I’m cool with that.

What I am not cool with is the tense and terse escalation of fear-mongering which has replaced logic and common sense among those who “inform” us on the world’s goings-on.  Admittedly, some problems are bigger than others.  I ain’t no fool.  I get it.  But since I am willing, able and sober (for now), allow me to mend some of these major issues with some easy fixins’…

THE PROBLEM: Mexico’s Exploding Drug Violence
THE SOLUTION: Carlos Lee

It’s easy.  Hand El Caballo an AK-47.  Give him immunity.  Let him go to work. 

carlos lee.jpgI know, I know.  Carlos is Panamanian, not Mexican.  Doesn’t matter.  He speaks the language, he’s scarier than Dick Cheney on a hunting trip and he plays for the Astros (meaning he’s expendable).  Indeed, I had the pleasure of meeting El Caballo as he was getting on the Astros’ team bus after a game at Wrigley a couple of years ago and while the man is only 6’2, he has to be the most behemoth of a human being I have ever encountered in real life.  He’s listed at 235 lbs., but that is a stone cold lie.  He looks like he ate my entire family for lunch and I have a huge family.  Anyone who can devour me and my six sisters has the inner wrath and tenacity it would take to bring down Mexican drug lords galore.  ¡Venga, Carlito!  ¡Ya basta!  ¡Venga, venga!

THE PROBLEM: World Financial Crisis
THE SOLUTION: Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres

Assemble the wealthiest 1% of people in the world.  Force them to put their money into global markets equally, thus spreading the love, injecting life, creating confidence.  If they do not follow this direction, simply hand them ownership to the Pirates, Royals and Padres and watch them die a slow, meaningless death.

THE PROBLEM: Chicago’s Intra-City Turf War
THE SOLUTION: Shut Milton Bradley’s Trap

Milton Bradley pouting.jpgFor a guy who has the meaty reputation of being an unadulterated ^sshole everywhere he goes playing for a team that hasn’t won a World Series in 101 years, Milton Bradley sure does a lot of incessant yapping.  Uh, Milton, didn’t you get the memo from Ryan Dempster and Ronny Cedeno?  Yeah, they’ve been there, done that.  Their feet ended up in their mouths.  Yours probably will too. 

‘Cuz no matter how good the Cubs are on paper, Milton, no matter how good they should be this season, no matter how many knowledgeable baseball folks pick you guys to go all the way, at the end of the day, Milton, you play for a loser.  A LOSER.  In fact, they are the only professional baseball team nicknamed the “Lovable Losers”, Milton.  Yes.  That’s true.

You want to talk about Chicago winners, Milton?  Since Jordan & Co. left town, the White Sox are it, buddy.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize

arod-details.jpgI don’t want to write about A-Rod but how can I not? I mean, the man is just a never-ending fount of ridiculousness. Divorce my wife? Why not? Try on some steroids for size? Don’t mind if I do. Pay for sex and then date the stable’s boss? Done and done. It’s just too easy. Like shooting a barrel. Not the fish inside the barrel. Just the barrel.

That’s done. No one wants to see pictures of A-Rod making out with himself. We don’t want to hear about his slum-lord tendencies. No, it’s time for us to officially move on. And this time I really mean it. Kind of. I mean, if it turns out that he’s operating some sort of kidnapping ring that sells poor Bronx children into slavery overseas, we’re going to have to talk about it. In fact, if (when?) that happens, just remember that you heard it here first.

But, with the baseball season mere days away and Jeff giddily dancing around his apartment like it’s Christmas morning, we need to focus. Focus on the drama ahead of us. On the potential dogfights in the different divisions. On figuring out who this year’s sleeper team is going to be. There’s so much good in baseball that it just doesn’t make sense to focus on the bad.

However, as we get ready to head into a new season, it doesn’t hurt to remember that some things never go out of season. That’s why although St. Patrick’s Day was last week, I’m going to leave you with this. Please, don’t thank me. I’m just doing my job.

-A

Credits:
-Photo from Details via DailyStab
-Video from a random Facebook friend

Golden Nugs for Silver Screens

Hillary_Clinton_2008.JPGFeisty factions of conservative right wing constituents are finally going to get what they have always wanted.  Indeed, after a series of anti-republican films exploiting the low-blow antics of unsavory characters such as Richard Nixon and George W. Bush reached wide audiences in 2008, the GOP is all smiles knowing the biggest, baddest politico docudrama to ever hit the big screen is well on its way!

Special Relationship, the upcoming film starring Julianne Moore as democratic juggernaut Hillary Clinton and Dennis Quaid as the always promiscuous Bill Clinton, will explore the finer points of Slick Willy’s extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky and his wife’s subsequent decision to stick by his side (so she could run for the New York senate, and eventually the presidency). 

Moore is a decent actress.  I see her pulling off this role of a lifetime no problem.  Quaid as Clinton?  What a wonderful opportunity to repeat his 1987 world-class performance from Inner Space!  I can hardly wait, folks!

And the Hollywood hoopla doesn’t just end there, dear readers.  I am super excited about some other upcoming films that are in the early stages of development:

The Little MVP Who Could: The Dustin Pedroia Story
Starring Macaulay Culkin as Pedroia, this film aims to highlight the undying will of small stature phenoms on baseball diamonds all across the galaxy.  Also features Manny Ramirez as the evil space alien predator intent on disrupting all things Red Sox until the bitter intergalactic end.

Jacked! The Alex Rodriguez Story
Pre-production on this film has been stalled until Alex can get his entire story straight.  While the writers continue to amend the script as best they can, more problems seem eminent as Vin Diesel, originally slated to star as A-Rod, pulled out of the project noting that not even he would subject himself to performance enhancing drugs, whether his trusted cousin bought them in the D.R. or not.

Yeah, I Hit .213 Last Year, What’s It to Ya, Buddy? The Khalil Greene Story
Sean Penn stars in this not-so-action-packed drama about how decent defense often allows a poor offensive performer to wallow in the ongoing apathy that is the San Diego Padres (and later, St. Louis Cardinals).

sean penn fast times.jpg
khalil greene fast times.jpgWhere Have I Gone? The Rafael Palmeiro Story
In perhaps the most poignantly cast role of the century, Tony Danza portrays PED-raging anti-hero Rafael Palmeiro not because he looks like him (he doesn’t) but because his career is as equally irrelevant.

And finally, what promises to be a most entertaining entanglement of hopes, dreams, egos and narcissism:

nathan lane.jpgMe, Me, Me! The Curt Schilling Story
Posthumously directed by Stanley Kubrick, this tale of unfettered vainglory explores the tired, whiny affectations of one number 38 through standard Kubrick mind-busts like a minimalistic score and plenty of drawn-out steady-cam shots.  Accurately portraying the role of Schilling will be the outspoken and very homosexual Nathan Lane.  Who else to better force Curt into yet another self-consuming fit of rage than a flamboyantly gay ultra-liberal left wing Broadway icon with plenty of career left in him?

Yes, my friends, going to the movies has never seemed so good.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Birds and the Bees (and the Bears)

Japan_South_Korea_World_Baseball_Classic.sff.embedded.prod_affiliate.138.jpgOnce again, all is right with the world. Well, at least half a world away it is. Japan proved again last night that the only way to win consistently is the small-ball way. And they have some pretty good credentials to back it up now. Two for two in the World Baseball Classic? Yep, I’d say that tells us all we need to know.

But to go back a little, the game between the US and Japanese teams the other night felt kind of familiar. A scrappy team with only a couple household names beats the longball launching representatives of the American heartland. Is this 2006 all over again? And with Adam Dunn manning first base as if he took fielding instructions from tape of the Tigers’ 2006 World Series pitchers, it hit a little too close to home. Why is it that the teams I support field like Nadya Suleyman’s doctor?

The thing is, this should be a happy time. Baseball is back and after a couple week hiatus the regular season officially begins. We no longer have to worry about a potentially disturbing summer at the Jersey Shore and even my beloved and much maligned home state is slowly coming to grips with reality. As if that wasn’t enough, dreams come true next year when for only $194k, you can have your own flying car!

But it just doesn’t feel quite right when the country that invented baseball can’t win at baseball. It’s a good thing there are pole-dancing bears out there or I’d have no reason to ever get out of bed again.

-A

RSBS TV: 2009 NL West Preview

Produced, shot and edited by Atonal Studios.

Special thanks to Theo Roll.

Very special thanks to Manny Ramirez for being the baseball playing equivalent of 20th Century Fox’s hit interstellar horror icon, Predator

“If it bleeds, we can kill it.”

(For best playback results, watch in High Quality)

The Filibuster

Despite the late-inning dramatics and clutch hitting by Team America,
the World Baseball Classic will be especially notable to MLB managers
because of the rash of injuries that has hit the players. With
important team leaders like Chipper Jones, Kevin Youkilis and Ryan
Braun suffering injuries, how do you think this will effect teams’
decisions to let their players participate next time around?

– Allen
__________________________________________

tom cruise oprah.jpgA wise woman (my mother) once said, “Jeff, nobody’s perfect. Tom Cruise comes close but just look at how screwed up he is.  Still, Tom is about as close as you can get.”

The World Baseball Classic, still in its infancy, is similar in that it has yet to find the perfect balance of entertainment and logic.  We, the viewers, cannot expect it to be the perfect international tournament it aims to be — not yet at least.

There are naysayers.  There are those who feel the Classic is a colossal waste of time.  There are general managers and agents and players and pundits who see it as a liability more than an asset.  And I understand their points of view.

theo epstein.jpgIf I were Omar Minaya or Theo Epstein or Frank Wren and I was forced to watch my best players risk injury in the name of a “friendly” tournament with seemingly zero tangible gain, I guess I would be a little ticked off too.  But I believe the World Baseball Classic is more than just a King Bud money machine meant to get more people interested in Major League Baseball around the world.  To me, it is a showcase of the most talented players on the planet: a baseball bravura boasting a playoff-like atmosphere during the most boring weeks of spring training. 

And whether ballplayers are playing in the WBC or in Jupiter, Florida or with their kids at home, guys are going to get hurt.

guitar hero.jpgJust ask Joel Zumaya about his Guitar Hero hangup.

Or just ask Aaron Boone about his penchant for pickup basketball.

Or just ask Ken Griffey, Jr. about wrestling with his children.

And while the easy way out is to say let us put an end to this World Baseball Classic for good and focus on the regular season, players are still going to find ways to injure themselves on and off the field.  Personally, I would rather see a guy get hurt for his country than a video game.

The WBC only happens every few years, folks.  Eventually, the kinks will be worked out.  In the meantime, the foreseen benefits of firing up an entire baseball-following planet are far and beyond more plentiful than the occasional injury risks inherited by players, teams and front offices.

The truth is: baseball (yet again) was light years behind the rest of sports in not having an authentic international forum.  And while the rewards of the Classic won’t be seen for another twenty years or so when little Chen Jianguo and Mario Perugino and Ned van Flanders are all grown up and starting superstars in the Majors, I think we all owe it to the world to give this tournament a chance — and most of all, to enjoy it.

But just to be safe, we should all continue to pray to the baseball gods that our team’s best players escape injury free and refrain from jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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