April 2009

Atoms, Moles and A-Rod

alex_rodriguez_high_school.jpgI’m trying to remember what I did in high school. Most of it I have thankfully forgotten but what sticks out in my mind is the teachers I liked and random words of advice. Oh, and Avogadro’s number. What I don’t seem to remember is my weekly juice session. Of course, that’s probably because I’m not Alex Rodriguez.

Yes, I know I promised I was done talking about him but how can I let this pass? I understand that sports have become increasingly competitive and you have to show promise at earlier and earlier ages to even get scouted. But this would have happened around 1991. For a better frame of reference, George H.W. Bush was still president. I guess you could call A-Rod precocious or avant-garde but seriously, man, “25 pounds of muscle between his sophomore and junior years?”

I’d love to play the whole “Think of the children” card but the fact of the matter is that steroids are so widespread at this point that it’s not even worth it. What I will say is that this just keeps getting better and I can hardly wait to see what comes out next. My guess? A-Rod is actually the illegitimate offspring of an alpaca and Mork from Ork. It would at least provide some context.

-A

Re-Specter Yo Self Before You Wreck Yo Self

arlen specter.jpg“I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican Party.”
        — Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania

Welcome to the club, Arlen!

Folks, this is a big deal.

HUGE!

Imagine:
a Cardinal fan rooting for the Cubs, a Red Sox fan pledging allegiance
to the Evil Empire, a Dodgers fan embracing Barry Bonds while chanting
“GO GIANTS!”

As crazy and fantastical as those scenarios seem,
longtime Republican (albeit a moderate one as he opposed Clinton’s
impeachment and didn’t get along with Dubya so well) has done just that
by crossing back over the visible division line to find his rightful spot among US Americans who pine to progress, lean to logic, veer to victory.

Ahhhhhh snap!!!

No more filibustering power for the GOP?

You betchya!  Guess from now on those smattering political diatribes of malcontent will be reserved for Fox News and the Vatican.

cardinals cubs fight.jpgAnd
while this obvious jockeying crossover amuses me like Gary Sheffield’s
defensive capabilities, in all honesty, I hope it does not become a
trend.  I mean, besides needing a multi-party system with checks and
balances, I am afraid that without Republicans, I would not have any
material to rouse fuming arguments on this site, family reunions or bathroom walls.

Let’s face it: we Cardinal fans could not survive without the
incessant, whiny yappings of hopeless Cub fans every year.  As much as
we hate to admit it, ours is a symbiotic relationship built on mutual
antipathy, fundamental dislike and drunken slander — all for the love
of the game.

Dear readers, before making such a monumental switch, remember to chickity-check yo self before you wreck yo self ‘cuz wavering loyalties are, ultimately, bad for yo health.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

(Specter image courtesy of the US Government)
(Cardinals/Cubs image courtesy of Deadspin)

But Do We Really Want Another Tony Kornheiser?

roger_goodell.jpgWord on the street is that the NFL is seriously discussing holding the Super Bowl in London sometime in the near future. Now, this should probably be taken with a grain of salt since the commissioner apparently has no knowledge of these negotiations. However, to be fair, the amount of stuff that Goodell doesn’t know could fill a couple oceans.

It just goes to show how global sports have become, though, even sports that we consider inherently American. The World Baseball Classic illustrated this a couple months ago and the coverage of Olympic basketball last summer outshone everything except Michael Phelps.

But if you ever had any doubts about the true worldwide saturation of sports, perhaps this will change your mind:

Yep, “Stick a fork in them, the run is over.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

-A

Credits:
-Video via Deadspin

Polish Panache with a Hint of “Arrggh!”

a.j. pierzynski 12.jpgThere is no stat for tenacity, no quantitative analysis for bark, no computation for grindership.

But if there was, you could be damn sure that A.J. Pierzynski would lead the Major Leagues in all of three of them — every year, all the time.

Late in the White Sox game against the visiting Blue Jays Sunday, the score was tied with two men on base when a Jays batter hit a knuckling dribbler down the third base line.  Everyone at Sox Park was thinking the same thing as A.J. while he all-out-hustled after the ball: Let it be foul.

Eventually, the ball found its way over the white lip, into the grass, foul ball.  The crowd sighed in harmonious relief.

But instead of simply picking up the ball, Pierzynski, with his glove, slapped it violently towards the home dugout with the type of ferocity more often seen from 1980s era offensive tackles loaded up on juice.  He let out a hellacious “ARRRGGGHHH!” then stared down the anxious baserunners with that A.J.’s-gonna-kill-you-in-your-sleep-and-eat-your-children-raw glare. 

It was awesome.

Say what you will about A.J. Pierzynski, but with fierceness like that, the dude is an instant and absolute asset to his team.  It’s only April and on every single play he’s grinding like it was Game Seven of the World Series — as if his life, his country, his freedom were on the line.

That’s someone I want on my team — if not for his competitiveness, then for his uncanny foray into the wild world of comedy:

Love him or hate him, A.J. is the Polish Prince of Pertinacity.  You’d have to kill him to make him go away; and if you do kill him, you still better watch out because I bet zombie A.J. would be much scarier, much more lethal than alive-and-breathing A.J.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

The rumor mill abounds with talk of Brad Pitt and Demetri Martin
starring in the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film adaptation of Michael
Lewis’ Moneyball.  Movie buff and baseball lover that you are, does this project even have a realistic chance of being good?

–Jeff

__________________________________________

moneyball.jpgEvery year movie studios sink millions of dollars into adaptations of books that received either critical or commercial acclaim. This year alone we’ve already seen Watchmen hit the big screen and Dan Brown’s prequel to The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, comes out in the next couple weeks. However, the one thing that most of these adaptations have in common is a plot, some sort of narrative device to push the story forward.

I enjoyed reading Moneyball. Michael Lewis, although I may not always agree with him, has a Malcolm Gladwell-ish quality about him in that he is able to present a quantitative side of a game that often goes unnoticed. But I have no idea how you turn that into a movie. It’s like Fast Food Nation. It’s an interesting book. It has interesting ideas. But a movie? No.

Now, the wild card here is the artistic team. I do love me some Brad Pitt and I find Demetri Martin amusing in small doses. Soderbergh obviously has legitimate directing bona fides. But how do you turn a book like Moneyball into a movie? I suppose you could have David Mamet rewrite the script and turn it into some profanity-laden, baseball-centric version of Glengarry Glen Ross but I don’t see that happening.

No, most likely they’ll strip all the baseball egg-head information from the story and make it into a movie about the unlikely but ultimately successful partnership between a former jock and an up and coming nerd. Throw in a little Brokeback for good measure and maybe they strike gold. But I doubt it. Let’s just say that this project is a little more Shelley Levene than it is Ricky Roma.

-A

Motivational Speaking

Round two of the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry kicked off Friday night and once again the game wobbled in the unsteady hands of each club’s respective bullpens. 

Ryan Franklin was a success.

Carlos Marmol was not.

Here’s why:

albert pujols ryan franklin.jpg
lou piniella carlos marmol.jpgIf you don’t know by now, Albert Pujols is a baseball god.  He hits for average.  He hits for power.  He steals bases.  He motivates his teammates.  I would rather donate half my salary to the Republican Party, sit on Rush Limbaugh’s lap and make out with Ann Coulter while listening to the entire Barry Manilow catalogue than piss off Pujols.

No wonder Franklin got the job done.

As for Marmol, well, can anyone blame him for yet another failure?  His manager hates him.  He has no clearly defined role on the team.  And he just found out that General Motors is pulling the plug on the Pontiac line!

Life just ain’t fair; I couldn’t be happier.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

(*Base images courtesy of the Associated Press)

Some Dogs Go to Heaven

bo-obama.jpgDespite their usual relegation to fodder for debates on controversial testing and (disputed) lack of souls, animals have recently clawed themselves into the news for other reasons. For instance, you had to have been living under a rock to have missed the news about the new dog in the White House. Economic meltdown and Limbaugh inspired populism be damned! There’s much more important news to be discussed.

But it seems that our quadrupedal mammalian friends take an interest in more than just politics. Various baseball curses have been blamed on various animals over the years and considering the superstitious lot that seems drawn to baseball, it should come as no surprise. And recently these curse carrying vehicles of diabolical providence have once again reared their frightening and yet oh so soft and fluffy heads.

On opening night at Citi Field, a cat stole the show as the Mets fell to defeat and fans wondered if perhaps this was a sign.

http://flash.fandome.com/sportsbox.swf

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

But even more disturbing for lovers of felines and haters of curses was the way a similar situation was handled at Wrigley Field this past week. Of course the video is no longer available as MLB, in its infinite wisdom, forced it off of YouTube but the controversy has continued as some objected to the handling of the animal by Wrigley Field security.

No matter what your thoughts might be on the rash of streaking cat incidents, it seems clear that these are not isolated events. Perhaps Douglas Adams had it wrong and it’s not the mice who are in charge, but rather the cats and they are trying to give us a sign. Either way, we here at RSBS will keep you posted on all important cat-based developments in baseball over the course of the season.

Happy Friday!

-A

Coco Crisp = Comedy Gold, Part 2: The Wrath of “Jokey”

coco crisp 2.jpgThey say lightning never strikes the same place twice; but when it comes to the self-loving oft incoherent Twitter musings of one Coco Crisp, it strikes just about every hour.  Don’t believe me?  See for yourself:

i dont know how i
did it but i slept from 1am til 2pm and the last thing i remember b4 i
woke was winning a horse race and i was the jokey

any of yaw’ll out there know bout dreams… let me know what that means.

Well, Coco, I am certainly no psychiatrist.  Nor do I claim to have actual dream interpretation abilities.  But my contemporaries do consider me to be the lone Freudian voice in a world of mother-loving MLBloggers, so let me try to help as best I can.

You seem to be perplexed by your mastery of slumber, Coco.  I concur, sleeping for 13 hours straight is serious business.  I completely understand your bafflement.  I slept for 13 hours once during my college days and while from that experience my first inclination is to warn you about dangers of binge drinking, I think that, in your case, you’re just lazy.  So set an alarm next time.  You’ll be good to go.  I promise.

Now, if the last thing you remember “b4″ you “woke” was winning a horse race, well, gee, Coco… that’s great!  Congratulations!  Honestly, I believe this was your own mind’s ominous foretelling of the brilliant pitching performance later delivered by your perennially underachieving teammate Brian Bannister.  You see, you have powers, Coco.  Use them.  Don’t abuse them.  If you feel like you’re going to get a good pitch to hit, you probably are, so make sure you swing away.  Follow your telepathic signs.

Swing away.

Of course, this brings us to the most troubling portion of your experience, Coco.  Sure, you won the race, but in the end, you were the “jokey”.  Man, let me tell ya: I’ve been down that road too and we both know it ain’t no fun.  No way.  To basque in the glory of triumph, to feel the ecstasy of victory, only to realize that you are indeed the “jokey” — the one everyone is laughing at — whew.  Man, let’s just be honest, Coco, that su<ks.  And I can’t help you.

But maybe some of “yaw’ll” (a puzzling, elongated abbreviation created by Coco himself, used to represent the shortened “ya’ll” as in “you all” but taking the time to type out one extra letter) can.

barry zito giants.jpgLike Coco’s pal, Barry Zito perhaps, who after somehow ditching his dead-arm persona actually managed to throw seven innings of scoreless baseball yesterday!  Following his surprising performance, Zito had this to tweet:

F__k yeah baby! Let’s take this show on the road.

Sitting in my hotel in AZ, just ate best cab cakes ever at Cheesecake… You all are great, thanks for the nice comments…

Really wanna kill these D backs this weekend and go into Dodger series with momentum..

3 hrs sleep…
should have partied. Traces of adrenaline still in body, gonna go for a
walk before the mercury hits triples digits in AZ

F__k yeah, Barry!  I, too, am quite fond of “cab cakes”… they’re much tastier than urinal cakes and besides, they tend to be both sweet and savory!  And of course, there’s nothing quite like killing D’backs to get momentum going into Dodger stadium.  I mean, think of how scared the Dodgers will be knowing you just killed an entire baseball team!  I was wrong about you, Barry.  You aren’t a softy; you’re a hard^ss. 

But Barry, just be careful.  Those aren’t traces of adrenaline in your body; those are traces of Hilary Duff and Alyssa Milano.

The itch.  Tough to cure.  You know this.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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 Follow Coco Crisp on Twitter *here*
 Follow Barry Zito on Twitter *here*

Profiles in Profile

obama white sox.jpgWherever the Chicago White Sox fan-in-chief goes, you can be sure that some part of the American polity will find a reason to complain. And so it has been over the past couple weeks as President Obama visited England for the G-20 summit and then headed to Trinidad and Tobago for a sit-down with his Latin American counterparts.

The funny part about these dust-ups with certain personalities, though, is that they have little or nothing to do with the President’s actual policies and everything to do with his actions. Actions, I might add, that were very open to interpretation.

First, we had the apparent broach of royal protocol when Michelle Obama put her arm around the queen. But is it really a faux pas when the queen is the first to break with tradition and put her arm around our First Lady? I’m going to have to go with a big fat no on that one.

And then some people called foul on what looked like a bow as the President approached King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Was it a bow? Possibly. Probably. Does it matter? No. In fact, I don’t really think it’s such a bad thing if we show a little respect to our “special” partner of the past 50 years. There’s a reason we pay less than three dollars for a gallon of gas and the rest of the world pays over five.

Chavez_obama_shake.jpgAnd speaking of gas, the event that really has the punditocracy up in arms and ready to revolt was a handshake between Obama and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Yep. A handshake. Imagine that. He actually attempts some sort of rapprochement with one of our top oil producing partners, a country with whom relations have been very strained lately, and the response is derision and cries of treason from the chattering class.

Seriously, I think the only thing worse than being President would be managing a baseball team. Can you imagine being Joe Girardi as your team gives up 14 runs in one inning? Or Manny Acta every day of the season? How about Grady Little after you left Pedro in the game in the 8th? Nope, none of that sounds like fun to me.

In fact, he only way it would even kind of be worth it to have such a high profile position is if you could just go a little crazy with it. Like Mark Cuban. Or Isiah Thomas. Or how about the President of Iran? You have to be someone special to make Mel Gibson seem sane by comparison. But even he has his problems. Don’t tell anyone, though. It’s a secret!

http://www.hulu.com/embed/j7NtpFEKwTX7birk4jJL8A

-A

Fire at Will; Give Fred a Shot

washington nationals suck.jpgWhen a Major League Baseball team fires the majority of its relief pitching staff
and restocks it with a fresh cast of bumming bandits headlined by the
ubiquitously underachieving journeyman Kip Wells (of all waifs), you
can be certain that that team has hit its absolute rock bottom.

Congratulations, Washington Nationals!  You are the burnt toast of our nation’s capital.  We are going to eat you up.

Of course, picking on the Nationals is a lot like kicking a quadriplegic — it does get old after a while — and since my indomitably fatalistic colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, already did a good job
of slamming the organization for all its follies, I would like to
propose a more optimistic approach to gibing this laughingstock of a
team.

manny acta.1.jpgBut first, let us agree that whether Nationals’ manager
Manny Acta is responsible for the team’s atrocious play or not is, at
this point, quite negligible; because, just like a Kyle Farnsworth
fastball to the number eight hitter, Acta is gonna be outta here
And after two miserable years and countless futile attempts at
corralling the motley crew of ex-cons, high profile free agents and
drug addicts, Acta probably won’t mind taking his rightful place in the
unemployment line.

So I — humble paragon of hope that I am –
would like to offer the D.C. brass some friendly advice on who should
replace Acta at the managerial helm.  Let’s face it: right now what the
Nationals need more than anything is a fiery, go get ‘em, gnarly
skipper who won’t take crap from anyone — someone who eschews personal
dignity and goes right for the jugular! 

Mitt Romney comes to
mind.  He’s in the D.C. loop.  He’s Mormon (synonymous with “scary”). 
He supports blowing up people if they don’t agree with him, which is
evident in his recent remarks that President Obama is a “timid advocate of freedom”
for trying to conduct a sensible dialogue with Latin American leaders rather
than walking into the meetings strapped with an AK-47 and a briefcase
full of Zyklon gas. 

Then again, like the Nationals, Romney can be better summed up as a simple loser

I
hear George W. Bush is looking for a job.  And though he is most known
for his stints at drunk driving, mismanaging war and ignoring a city in
peril, I must admit he did do a pretty decent job during his baseball
days in Arlington.  Still, something with Dubya will always be amiss. 
He just doesn’t have the necessary flair it takes to rally a country,
let alone a hapless baseball team.

If not these men, then who,
dear readers, can lead the way?  Who has the guts, the guile, the zip, the zap, the
unadulterated masochism, the uncanny madness… who has what it takes
to whip those gutterball Nationals into a state of frenzied affirmation
and show them what real success tastes like?

There is but one answer.  One man (boy?).  His name is Fred.  And Fred is awesome.

Send Fred into the Nats’ clubhouse — just once
and I guarantee Elijah Dukes will never screw up again.  Don’t believe
me?  See the wrath of Fred (without his medication no less) for
yourself…

…just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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