June 2009

The Filibuster

You guys are awfully tough on Kyle Farnsworth. Don’t you think you’re a bit unfair sometimes?

Jessie

Springfield, MO
__________________________________________

farnsworth cries.jpgFirst of all my fine young friend, I want to thank you for taking the time to read our blog. Each one of our readers is a beautiful and unique snowflake and you are no different Jessie. Even if you are from Missouri.

But you know who is not a snowflake? Kyle Farnsworth. Nope, he’s an overpaid, overhyped bag of suck. On the bright side for Royals’ fans is the fact that Farnsworth hasn’t lost a game in ten days. Which is pretty good for him. However, his ERA has been steadily climbing and that’s not such a good thing. Well, unless you’re a fan of a rival AL Central team.

But to get to your question Jessie, you waggish little scamp, yes, we are tough on Farnsy. But did you ever think that maybe it’s because we love him? I mean, we’re always toughest on those we love, right? And to be fair, baseball would be a sad place without Kyle. Who would cry on camera when he finds out he’s traded? Who would constantly underwhelm us yet still receive ungodly amounts of money from each subsequent team?

Are we unfair, though? Absolutely not. He’s a public figure. I look at him like I do a politician. When a politician does something I don’t like, I have the right to criticize his or her performance because I help pay their salary. That makes them accountable to me. And when I buy a ticket to a baseball game or a new hat, I’m helping to pay the salary of all these baseball players. Do you see where I’m going with this Jessie, my intrepid little friend? If I’m paying part of your salary, I’ve earned the right to critique your performance. And to be quite frank, I would be remiss if I didn’t critique Mr. Farnsworth’s ongoing recital.

So Jessie, you impish little rascal, thank you for your insightful question but I hope the response has helped you see the light. Here at RSBS we are often tough on people and issues but we are never unfair. Except for maybe with A-Rod but that’s because he’s a d—-bag.

-A

From the “Eww” File

alexei ramirez smells good.jpgOn Wednesday, in his Bold Names column of sneezes from around the Major Leagues, Chicago Tribune reporter Mark Gonzales enlightened us on the snazzy stylings of White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez.  Gonzales wrote that Ramirez “opened some eyes among his teammates when he walked into the visitor’s dinky clubhouse at Wrigley” because he “sported a white Cuba jersey with his name and number on the back.”

Nothing wrong with that.  So Alexei is cool.  The Missile dons dapper duds.  I’m down.

Gonzales continued:

“Reliever Octavio Dotel, a native of the Dominican Republic, liked the jersey so much he wore it for a few minutes.  Unfortunately for Ramirez, Dotel said he might be subjected to a fine for not adhering to dress code rules on the road — yes, even at Wrigley Field.”

And after wearing Alexei’s jersey for a few minutes, Dotel told Gonzales:

“‘The jersey smells good… he’s [Ramirez] still learning and a young guy from Cuba but doesn’t know a lot of things about the States.’”

Yeah, you’re obviously dead on, Octavio.  I mean, I cannot think of a more common pastime, in the States, than going around sniffing your friends’ clothes.

That crazy Cuban Alexei… jeesh, he’s got a lot to learn.

Hate me ‘cuz I don’t sniff my buddy’s clothes, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Defeat

I’m still recovering from the Tigers’ shocking defeat at the hands of the Cardinals this past week. The upside is that we saw a little consistency from Detroit. Yep, just like in the 2006 World Series, fielding by the pitchers was once again atrocious. And when Verlander gets knocked around the way he did despite the season he’s been having, you know it’s going to be a rough week. However, it’s even worse knowing what the price of that defeat will be.

But, it can always be worse. At least I’m not in Jason Jones’ shoes:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 2009 – Ahmadinejad Rally in Iran
thedailyshow.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:230089
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

Iran: now that’s defeat. Happy Friday!

-A

Et Tu, Molina?

yadier_molina.jpgIf you are a Cardinal fan and you read Will Leitch’s Deadspin column this week and you are like me then you, too, are probably well into your fourth fifth of Jack Daniels.  You’ve called your mother balling like a baby, the cops have been to your house twice and you have a large welt on the inside part of your leg, you don’t know how or when it got there.

No, sir.  The world just doesn’t seem the same anymore.

For those of you dear readers unaware, to summarize, Leitch made a strong point that the Cardinals’ franchise player — the face, the rock, the lone savior of St. Louis — Albert Pujols, may not be as married to the organization as we all think he is, that if the Cardinals aren’t committed to winning (as they appear now), that if Tony LaRussa isn’t around, that if GM John Mozeliak and his army of “stat zombies” (thanks, Prince) decide to continue on the Moneyball route and take for granted that Albert will sit around, silent, simply collecting a paycheck, then it is not fair to assume he will stay with the franchise once his contract ends in 2011. 

It’s not fair.

It’s terrifying.

I do not have to tell you how important Albert is to St. Louis Cardinals baseball because Albert is St. Louis Cardinals baseball.  The loss of Pujols would be akin to the loss of Franz Ferdinand… or worse!  It’d be John Lennon, Jack Kennedy and Aaliyah all dying on the same day!  Seriously. 

One of the joys from the past few seasons has been watching Yadier Molina develop into a feisty, competitive, smart and affective baseballer.  He hits for average, has power, steals bases, always has his head in the game and you can’t find a better defensive catcher.  You also cannot listen to a Cardinals broadcast these days without hearing how essential Albert Pujols has been in Yadi’s development.  You see them together in the dugout, talking hitting, talking defense, then Yadi goes out produces.  It’s a real thing of beauty.

Yet if you listen to Will Leitch’s warning shots and recognize the clear and present danger of losing Albert, then you really have to think about losing Yadi too.  His contract is also up in 2011 with a club option for 2012 and if Mozeliak & Co. don’t convince Albert to stick around, you can bet that Molina will be right behind him. 

Thinking about all of this makes me want to die.  If I feel that way, if Cardinal fans feel that way, if the blogosphere feels that way, then why does John Mozeliak — the pompous king of arrogance — continue to look down upon us — the common voice — like plebeian s***-eaters who know nothing about the game of baseball?

I guess now is the time to start praying to the baseball gods.  I just hope they know more about satisfying their fanbase than Mozeliak.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

A Little Creativity Please, Gentlemen

lewinsky.jpgIt’s amazing to me how creative people can be when trying to avoid admitting something embarrassing. Like Bill Clinton’s infamous definition of “is” or A-Rod’s original interview with Katie Couric, there are little embellishments, and large ones as well, that seem incredibly obvious in retrospect.

However, what I find even more telling is the response when they’re finally called out and forced to tell the truth. Maybe it’s a short statement issued over a weekend before disappearing for a week (or ten) like John Edwards. Or maybe it’s a couple lawyers finally letting slip that Sammy Sosa was juicing, something most of us had probably already figured out

But today brought around one of my favorites. The Republican paragon of virtue congressman admitting to an extra-marital affair. I mean, we expect this sort of thing from the Democrats. They are the party of Kennedy after all. But the Republicans? How sad is it when the titular head of the Democrats, Barack Obama, is a once married family man while the Republican leadership is full of guys like Newt Gingrich and John McCain who have multiple marriages under their belts, some of which came out of less than squeaky clean circumstances.

It is possible that there’s an upside to all this fudging and creativity, though. If we could just get our leaders to apply some of that creativity to the economy, maybe they could turn it around. What’s that you say? They already tried that and it didn’t work? Well, I guess we could just stuff our money in a mattress. That always seems to work.

-A

Bedlam! Yay!

chicago theatre.jpgGet ready world, the Second City is about to take second stage (duh, the Cardinals and Tigers are playing) as Ozzie Guillen and his White Sox make their annual vomit inducing trip to that sacred dump on the Northside, Wrigley Field.  Emergency rooms from East Chicago to Oak Park, all the way up to Waukegan are expecting a full flow of the black and blued.

The only bad thing about this series is that it’s simply too short — and, for whatever lame reason (to curb unwanted drunken injuries perhaps?) the schedule puts chapter one of the 2009 Crosstown Classic on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday rather than stage the regular weekend raucous which often leads to… well, death.  Insatiable bloodsuckers like myself will have to find another way…

Still, this will be a memorable occasion.  Think Bob Probert with fangs versus Chris Chelios with brass knuckles, both of them drunk enough to do Phyllis Diller in a well lit room.  To celebrate the awesome combination of equally bitter/mediocre clubs sharing this fine city, we would like to continue what has become an RSBS tradition, with the sacred presentation of the worst rap song ever made:



“Black and blue, daz wha you gonna be!”

“Oh, yeah? It’s the Crosstown Ri-val-ry!”

No ball game — no matter how poorly played or mismanaged or lackadaisical — could be more embarrassing than that.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*Remember, starting tonight, the Cardinals try to put an end to the blasphemy spewed by my Tiger-lovin’ colleague, Mr. Krause, and his incessant yet feeble attempts at revisionist history.  You had your Denny McLain, Mr. Krause.  We had our Wainwright.  Get over it. 

**Special shout-out to Tom Walsh from Rocky Mountain Way for taking the time to meet with me on Monday. Good times.  Post to come.

***Oh, and a special thank you to Sammy Sosa for making this Crosstown Classic buzz with juicy revelations!
 

Demented Yet Debonair

With the disputed elections in Iran this past weekend following hot on the heels of Kim Jong Il’s announcement that his third son will take over the reins of a dysfunctional but nuclear-armed North Korea, we here at RSBS started to wonder who would take the crown as king of the crazies if we actually did the research. Luckily, the interns had nothing better to do while Jeff and I watched some interleague tom-foolery and they came up with this objective and quantitatively analysed list. So, without further ado, we present the results of the very first RSBS “Demented yet Debonair” contest.

Honorable Mention:
Hugo.jpgHugo Chavez
If at first you
don’t succeed, nationalize! Now, I’m aware that this could also be
America’s motto right now but Hugo has been doing it for so many years
now that he’s an old pro. On top of that, rumor has it that after the
recent introduction of Coke Zero to the country of Venezuela, President
Chavez promptly banned it on vague charges of healthiness. This coming
from a man who drinks enough coffee in one day to single-handedly
support Juan Valdez’s retirement. El Presidente, we salute you.

1st Runner Up:
ahmadinejad.jpgMahmoud Ahmadinejad
It’s not
just the snazzy gray suit worn without a tie or the oft repeated urge to wipe
Israel off the map. No, Mahmoud has that little something extra that
makes you think he’s capable of so much more. Maybe it’s the malevolent
twinkle in his eye. Maybe it’s his ability to go from zero to rabid
anti-Semite in 4 seconds flat. Or maybe it’s how he flummoxed all the
pundits and wiped out the opposition in this past weekend’s elections.
Whatever it is, the Iranian president will always be a contender.

Runner Up:
Kim_jong_il.jpgKim Jong Il
In a region where political longevity is often measured in fractions of years, the Kim family has managed to hold onto power for several decades now. How do they do it? Well, let’s just say that it has nothing to do with extra doses of the warm fuzzies. And Kim Jong Il’s announcement that his son, Kim Jong Un, will take over upon his demise combined with new nuclear sabre-rattling just kind of makes observers scratch their heads and wonder what is going on. However, knowing that Mr. Kim is a huge movie buff, I bet the picture all looked much clearer and much better in his head.

Sadly, despite all the craziness in the world today, there can only be one winner of this year’s “Demented yet Debonair” contest. And I don’t think any of our readers will be surprised to see….

WINNER:
bud selig ear.jpgBud Selig
Yep, although Commissioner Selig hasn’t done anything too wild recently, he still has done quite a bit to earn this honor. There was the infamous tied All-Star game and his non-action during the steroid era. He also bears a lot of the blame for the out of control inflation within baseball that has driven many fans out of the park and left it open only to corporate bigwigs and smarmy lawyers. But more importantly, Bud Selig created Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds and that’s unforgivable. Granted, he may not be looking to blow up the world or start the Bolivarian revolution but he has besmirched the good name of baseball. That’s not something we look lightly on here at RSBS. I suppose that if he sent Erin Andrews to come and convince us otherwise, though, at least half of us would listen.

-A

Credits:
-Thanks to L for the Coke Zero story


The Filibuster

Everyone hates me! I don’t understand it. It’s like I’m the anti-Midas.
Instead of turning to gold, everything I touch turns to s**t. And now
they’re even booing me! I just want to be loved. What do I have to do
to be loved?

M. Bradley
Chicago, IL
__________________________________________

milton_bradley_angry.jpgRSBS‘ dear readers know that I am always one for some good old japery, so I will ignore the fact that this question comes to us from a Hotmail address with the username LouBrockLover67 attached and assume that you, M. Bradley, were at one time a huge follower of the powerhouse Cardinal club of the mid to late 60s and just go with it.  Of course, I am also secretly holding my breath that the Chicago Tribune gets word of this post and in digging through the RSBS archives publicizes the fact that I have called a certain M. Bradley a “whiny spoiled crybaby man-child” on more than at least twenty occasions.  Hey, It worked for J-Rod and Raul Ibanez…  ah… yes, a fettered blogger can dream; I suppose that is still legal and accepted (for now).

But, at this time, what causes my greatest concern is the notion that the Chicago Cubs are being hijacked by just one individual’s antics, gaffes and overall lack of production at the plate, which runs contrary to the the aged tradition of the Cubs’ losing woes being dependent on a complete team effort (or, more appropriately, the lack thereof).

Yes, M. Bradley, everything you touch does turn to s**t, but at least you have the good sense to throw it back into the stands — with only two outs.  Look, they are going to boo you just like they boo Fukudome and Soriano and Lee, just like they booed Kyle Farnsworth and Jacque Jones and Keith Moreland before.  Cub fans boo.  That’s what they do.  There ain’t no changing that.

Still, a less hostile playing environment at Wrigley could be had if you, M. Bradley follow these simple guidelines for success: a) hit over .230 b) bash a Gatorade cooler in the dugout with a bat and c) give back that $30 million and just play for the fun of it!

See?  Now that was the easy part.  Unfortunately, M. Bradley, since Northsiders have proven over the years that they are absolutely incapable of love (see Bartman, Sammy Sosa and Dusty Baker), I am afraid that you will just have to do without while patrolling the swirling winds of fickleness at Clark and Addison.

Beer.  That is the only thing Cub fans love.  Buy the right field bleacher bums a couple of rounds of beer with that fat, zero laden paycheck and you might just get the impression that you’re liked… sorta.

Until they sober up.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****

Something on your mind?  Want to see Jeff and Al sweat (separately, not together, eww)?  Think you got a real stumper?  Send us your Filibuster question(s) by commenting or emailing them to us at kraulung@gmail.com. 

***Pictures of Sarah Palin in a swimsuit also welcome.

Cars, Steel and Irony

irony_rustoleum.jpgThe Red Wings are the one sure thing in the city of Detroit. Well, that along with fiscal irresponsibility and a paralyzing lack of innovation. But, on the positive side, there’s always the Red Wings. Or there was until last night. It’s almost ironic that on a night when the Tigers beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh, the Penguins returned the favor in Detroit.

However, when you think about it, is there a better allegory for the current state of American industry than two formerly proud standard bearers of American pride and ingenuity battering each other in matches that barely anyone is paying attention to? Pittsburgh, the steel town that gave up that title long ago against Detroit, the home of the now bankrupt GM and Chrysler, slugging it out to the bitter end, an end that for all intents and purposes came about years ago.

To be honest, it’s probably a little surprising that these two urban wastelands even still have viable franchises. I suppose Pittsburgh has had some success in redefining itself but Detroit just seems to keep slipping further and further into a self-made morass of slip-shod decisions and shattered dreams.

Ultimately, these series are nothing more than the last gasp hurrah of two crippled giants. The Tigers still have a prayer and, with the demise of the Red Wings and Michigan State earlier this year, bear the standard for the entire city. Pittsburgh will always have the perennially contending Steelers and for this year at least, Sidney Crosby has brought them Lord Stanley’s Cup. But, it’s about time that we paid a little more attention to the man behind the curtain and realized that the time has passed for both cities.

No, the irony here is not the delicious irony of Gary Larson or the tragic irony of a passenger who was supposed to be on the Air France flight that crashed on its way from Brazil. These two impotent, rust-belt behemoths trading slaps is more of a pathetic irony. But I’ll still be cheering for the Tigers all weekend long!

-A

Credits:
-Thanks to Steve for the Air France link

Remember Tim

“Baseball. If there’s a more beautiful word in the English language, I
have yet to hear it… baseball has served as such a powerful link
between Dad and me, and later between me and my son.”

– Tim Russert (1950-2008)

tim.russert.jpgRare are the journalists who represent both the passions and worldviews of their audience to the extent that they stop at nothing to capture and highlight that fermented, weathered, collective voice.  John Kass of the Chicago Tribune comes to mind… Bob Costas has his moments… and in a wayward, selfish context, I believe Tim Kurkjian fits that role by feeding my insatiable taste for quirky, useless baseball tidbits plucked down from the ether of madness.  Still, in my opinion, when it comes to the elite of the elite, no one even came close to Tim Russert.

This weekend marks the anniversary of Tim’s death and while I still succumb to shock every time I turn on Meet the Press and realize he is no longer moderating the debate, I like to think that some of that knowledge, that swagger, that desire Tim portrayed all those years, lives on through me.  Not to get overly emotional or anything, but I always felt some sort of transcending connection to Russert; I still feel it today.

Now I know why: Tim Russert was a baseball guy.

Just like me.

And though we shared similar political views and put great value on our relationships with our fathers, in the end, baseball was and always has been the glue — that thing, that commonality, that mutual bond.  You cannot make up that kind of understanding, cannot create that kind of unity.  It just happens. 

Baseball.  If there’s a more beautiful word in the English language, I have yet to hear it…

Baseball people get baseball people.

And Tim Russert was baseball people.

Peace,

Jeff

(Image courtesy of TIME)

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