September 2009

Those Teasing Twins

playboy twins.jpg
I don’t know if what I’m about to confess will peg me as a complete weirdo, but I’ve long stopped caring about what other people think, especially when it comes to my health; and honestly I gotta vent to someone about this right now because if I don’t I will go mad.

So yeah.

I think about the Twins.  I think about the Twins a lot.  Probably more than most people do, more than those who are really close to the Twins.  This is odd because blondes really aren’t my type; I much prefer brunettes.  Black or brown.  That’s my thing.  But still, I can’t stop myself from looking at the Twins, thinking about the Twins, dreaming about the Twins. 

And if you look at them up close — like really close — you’ll notice many imperfections.  Yes, they are beautiful, but not in the traditional sense.  They’re not real bright either.  And they embarrass themselves by, you know, talking.  They’re so far removed from reality too… yet I still can’t get them out of my mind. 

Because the Twins are a supreme tease really.  I know I can’t take them seriously — not in any capacity  — yet they never seem to go away either.

Then, every once in a while, I’ll let my mind wander… to a place where it’s just me.  Me and the Twins.  Hangin’ out… havin’ fun… doin’ stuff.

But… eww.

They’re Twins!

So no matter how hot they are, how hot they get, how hot they are together, with or without me, at the end of the day, they are related to one another and, well, folks, that’s just gross.

Hate me ‘cuz I made you realize you think about them too, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

(*Image courtesy of Hollywood Tuna)

…And In This Corner, Misanthropy!

misanthropy.jpgI don’t like it when things come down to the wire. I like to know early what’s going on and then just settle back and not worry about it. Perhaps this explains why I often miss incredible finishes, like Boise State beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl a couple years ago. Or Michigan coming back against Notre Dame. And Indiana. I’m not sure what it is, maybe my German blood, but just like I don’t enjoy gambling, I don’t enjoy close finishes.

Which is why I’d like the Tigers to make up their mind about the AL Central title. A friend of mine used to describe this peculiar inability to make a decision with the phrase, “Either sh!t or get off the pot.” And maybe someone needs to pointedly remind the Tigers of this. At this point I don’t care so much how it ends (OK, that’s not exactly true) but I’d just like it to end.

Would it be exciting if the Tigers and Twins ended the year tied and (once again) had to go to a one game playoff? Sure. Would I enjoy it? Not one bit. I can deal with it when it’s teams I don’t care about because, well, because I don’t care about them. But watching Michigan when they’re down 5 points in a dogfight with Indiana? Or the Tigers as they try to redeem the season? I’d rather just go to bed. That isn’t going to make me an ideal candidate for Lipitor.

So, here’s the deal, guys. If I wanted drama I’d just pop in some HBO on DVD. If I want mind numbing entertainment, I have the internet. But is it too much to ask for my sports teams to either just win or lose convincingly? At least the Lions have that one down. Kind of.

-A

Major League Tool

nick swisher is a tool.jpg
Forget everything you already know about Nick Swisher. 

Nevermind his explosively jovial presence in the Yankee clubhouse.  Pay no attention to those 27 homeruns.  Disregard his selfless donations to community charity and his insatiable propensity for all-world positivism. 

This dude is a friggin’ tool.

Whether you focus on the plastic hook-tag still fastened to the top of his cap, the pantyhose wrapped around his right wrist, the forced bleary eyed smirk of a man you’d never let date your sister or the weak flash of a devil horn gang sign while mugging the camera, this Nick Swisher looks more like every frat guy you’ve ever hated.

Move over Tucker Max because apparently they do serve Swisher in hell.

Hate me ‘cuz I hate on the playuh, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

(*Image courtesy of Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Filibuster

Jimmy_smokes.jpgDoes Jimmy Leyland still smoke?  His voice sounds like gravel mixed
with more gravel.  I figured if anyone would know something as wacky as
this, it’d be you guys.

Nate
Hammond, IN

____________________________________

Does the Pope sh!t in the woods? By which I obviously mean, of course Jimmy Leyland still smokes. Let’s face it, even if he gave up smoking, the residual tar in his lungs and nicotine in his blood stream would be the equivalent of smoking a pack and a half of Marlboro Reds a day. For the next ten years. They may not have found any biological weapons in Iraq but the city of Detroit sure has one and it’s Leyland’s bodily fluids.

The more important question here, though, Nate, is why haven’t the Tigers used this to their advantage even as the season slowly slips away? For instance, if an opposing pitcher is heating up, have Leyland breathe in the guy’s face between innings. The nicotine blast alone would be enough to get the guy wired and perhaps allow the Tigers’ hitters to tee off.

But instead we have to content ourselves with blurry images of Leyland furtively catching a smoke while we take bets on how much lung capacity he has left. Considering the fact that he hasn’t really let loose on his team during this ridiculous slide, I’m going to say it’s only about 25%. Any takers? Nate?

-A

***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. 

***Secrets of the Masons also welcome.

Hiney Bird Swap: A Tale of Two Teams & their Switcheroo

hawk harrelson.jpg“A hiney bird is a bird that flies in perfectly executed concentric
circles until eventually he flies up his own behind and disappears
forever.”

– Ken “Hawk” Harrelson

Prior to the 2009 season, one would not be in error by labeling me a bonafide St. Louis Cardinal Hiney Bird.  Having not really addressed our bullpen woes of 2008, I seriously didn’t think the Redbirds had a chance at achieving anything this season. 

Obviously, I was wrong.  And I’ve apologized for that.

I did, however, look forward to an exciting new edition of my neighborhood Chicago White Sox.  And, yes folks, it does happen (albeit rarely): I was wrong… again. 

Whoops!

But I have to go out on a limb and defend Kenny Williams from Chicago Tribune reporter Phil Rogers who blamed much of the White Sox’s 2009 downfall on the trades of Nick Swisher and Javier Vazquez.

To quote the Hawk: “That’s just B.S.! B.S.! That’s just B.S.!”

Nick Swisher’s 2008 stint with the Sox was abysmal at best.  He underachieved in every category except rambunctiousness per game.  He was a shackle on the Sox’s youth movement and rumor had it that he was more interested in picking up chicks in the Viagra Triangle than he was picking up runners in scoring position.

Javi Vazquez never looked comfortable in the Chi.  Sure he’d get ya lots of strikeouts, but he also gave up a bunch of runs; and with Gavin Floyd and John Danks on the horizon of being dominating starters, it made sense to move Javi (and his paycheck) to make more room. 

But sometimes things don’t always work out (see Sarah Palin’s “political” career).  The ’09 White Sox have wallowed in mediocrity while the Cardinals are set to win the NL Central Division crown.

You see, dear readers, baseball is so captivating, so riveting, so followable because there is no such thing as a sure thing.  So to all you Hiney Birds (me included) here’s a lesson from possibly the world’s worst broadcaster:

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Beyond Non Sequitur

the_wire.jpgI just finished watching Season 5, the final season of The Wire. And as much as I’d love to write something about baseball right now, I don’t think it’s even possible. Sure, I could try to come up with some sort of analogy comparing the pennant chase with the myriad of chases interlaced into the fabric of this HBO series. Or I could compare the probable playoff teams to various characters in the show and pit them against each other in a fight to the death and thereby once again (correctly) tell you who will win the World Series.

Honestly, I’m just speechless right now. It’s not that the final episode was the best one I’ve ever seen because it wasn’t. But the series as a whole, well, there isn’t much that can compare to it. So, even though it’s Friday, even though I’ve been MIA and even though this is a blog about baseball and politics, that’s all I got. Except, doesn’t McNulty remind you a little bit of the Yankees……?

Happy Friday. And go watch The Wire.

-A

Lidge in a Historical Context

I have made apologies for Brad Lidge in the past. This is not to say that I am an apologist but rather that I thought the guy deserved a little respect after what he did last year. And maybe he still does. But after blowing his 11th save of the season last night, he no longer gets that free pass from me.

Here’s the problem. Last year, as we all know, he was a perfect 100% in save opportunities. This year, he’s a little south of 75%. Now, .750 would be a great batting average and it wouldn’t even be a terrible completion percentage for a quarterback. But, at this point in the season, the Brad Lidge experiment (which is a great name for a band, by the way) is a miserable failure and the Phillies had better figure out what they’re doing before Lidge blows it for them in the playoffs.

However, I think I can demonstrate this much more convincingly by comparing it to other famous choices and showing what might have happened if they had followed the current Lidge tinged route.


Chamberlain_and_Hitler.jpgNeville Chamberlain’s War-Time Prime Minister-ship:

When it turns out that Chamberlain is just a little bit off on the whole Hitler as a threat thing despite seizing Poland and annexing the Sudeten-land, the British decide to give him one more chance. As rockets rain down on London, he bravely stands up and proclaims once more, “C’mon guys, Hitler isn’t really trying to invade Britain. He just has to make a good show of it.” On the bright side, Oktoberfest in London becomes a world-renowned tradition.

Jimmy Carter’s Historic Second Term:

jimmy_carter.jpgAlthough the rescue of the hostages in Iran doesn’t quite go as planned and despite the oil crisis, America just can’t enough of the Georgia peanut farmer and they send would-be president, Ronald Reagan, back to California to star in a sequel to Bedtime for Bonzo. Carter repays their faith with his famous speech in West Berlin where he kindly asks the Russians to “Please stop being so mean and if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, how about we slowly dismantle this wall.” He then returns home, considers invading Grenada but instead decides to  kill them with kindness, sending thousands of jars of Georgia’s finest peanut butter.

George W. Bush’s Re-Election in 2004:

george w bush.jpgDespite using the pretense of a just war to entangle the US in a war of choice in Iraq and blowing the possibility of paying down the debt with the newly balanced budget handed him by former President Clinton and instead cutting taxes on the wealthy, Americans go to the polls in November of 2004 and send Mr. Bush back to the White House. He returns the favor by further relaxing regulations and sending Americans to the poorhouse in record numbers during the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Wait a minute, what? That really happened? I was sure it was just a bad dream. Hm, guess that means that whoever faces Philly in the first round has hope after all.

-A

Whoop-Dee-Doo!

Gary Sheffield: The Original Milton Bradley
gary sheffield.jpgBefore there was Milton, there was Gary.  Yes folks, Gary was whining and crying and kicking the dirt and picking fights and pissing off fans and management and teammates and saying stupid things long before Bradley.  And now, as if shown up by woe-is-me Milton, Gary has announced he’d like to come back and play in 2010.  So even if Milton is teamless next year, we can still count on Sheff to aggravate the baseball cosmos… if any team is willing to take him that is.

Twitter Babes?
Besides using it to piss off professional baseball players, I have found Twitter to be an excellent tool for networking and socializing with like-minded baseball nerds.  Of course, Allen and I get our fair share of spammer tweets, but I had never seen anything like this before:

green apples.pngA direct message from new RSBS follower @carol_laurent (from Chicago – where I live) saying:

“I LOVE GREEN APPLES!”

My response?

“I LOVE GREEN APPLES TOO!”

Of course, this is not a real person.  It can’t be.  Looking at her (his? Its?) page you’ll see it’s just a long string of random non sequiturs.  But boy was I duped!  Without a gibberish username, grainy profile pic and messages like “please visit my nude profile”, I guess I got *ahem* quick handed.

Where the Hell is Allen?

In case dear readers are wondering, my loquacious and oft incoherent colleague is still very much alive.  He’ll be back.  Soon.  He’s sorta recovering at the moment.  You see, he had an issue… an issue with his… esophagus.  They even made a movie about it:

Itchy portrayed me with excellence I must say.

Hate me ‘cuz I’m cruel, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Go See Him While You Can, People

albert pujols red.jpg

Albert Pujols has played just nine Major League seasons and in each and every one of them he’s hit over 30 homeruns, collected more than 100 RBI and batted over .300.  Those aren’t just good numbers, folks.  Those are astronomical numbers.

And this is his best year yet.

I think it’s time we stop referring to Albert Pujols as the future Hall of Famer that he is — because let’s face it, if the man’s career ends today he’ll be a first ballot lock* — and start acknowledging that he is indeed one of the greatest players to ever play the game, all-time, in the history of the game.

mlb.com.screengrab.jpgCan we just stop and think about that for a minute?

In our present game, today, right this second, we are witnessing a rare and genuine paragon of baseball supremacy.

Stop — and — think — about — that.

My Dad saw Gibson. 

My Grandpa saw Musial.

And Albert will trump them both.

By a long shot.

I know it’s hard to understand while it’s happening.  I realize that, in most cases, we do not realize what great feats we are witnessing firsthand until it’s too late, until our heroes are lifted in the 7th for defensive replacements, until they’re embarking on sappy, over-produced farewell tours.

But right now we all have the opportunity to savor the greatness, to take it all in, to let it move us.

There are many beautiful women: Erin Andrews, Heidi Derosa, Allison Stokke… but none of them are Marilyn Monroe.

Great presidents abound in Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Washington; but there is only one Abraham Lincoln. 

Sure, Metallica is great and all but there’s only one Pink Floyd.

And yes.  There is only one Albert Pujols.

Don’t hate me.  ‘Cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*As one reader pointed out, a player needs 10 years in the Majors before being eligible; consider my phrase a simple bout of hyperbole

What in the Milton Bradley is Wrong with Milton Bradley?

milton_bradley_angry.jpgIn a word? 

Everything.

And so it goes that the world’s de facto millionaire man-child, Milton Bradley, sees his season end prematurely — stopped cold by the Chicago Cubs’ general manager Jim Hendry.  Or so we are led to think…

After the tumultuous inaugural season Bradley had with the eternally ill-fated Cubbies, isn’t it possible that Milton simply quit on his own and Hendry & Co. were left to cover up what would otherwise be the Major League scandal of the year?  At this point, I am willing to believe anything; which is why we put our loyal interns to the test — to uncover the hidden meaning in Hendry’s public statement, to discover what’s really going on, to report the Truth.

Dear readers, here are the results — the top ten reasons why Milton Bradley’s season came to an abrupt and early end:

10.  Wanted to give lifetime minor leaguer Bobby Scales a shot at breaking the .250 mark

9.  There is only room for ONE colossal fail per team and Alfonso Soriano has a pretty good beat on it

8.  Admitted to being an avid reader of the Chicago Sun-Times

7.  Suffering from an acute torn mental labrum

6.  Decided to dedicate more time to establishing universal health care

5.  With the NFL season under way, wanted to pass the “Chicago Public Relations Disaster” moniker on to a more accomplished, more deserving, more disappointing (and prettier?) candidate in Jay Cutler

4.  Made secret promise to self that if he succeeded in beating Jacque Jones as the most hated right fielder in the history of the Chicago Cubs he would pack up and go home, satisfied, with $10 million more in his wallet

3.  Worried his name might leak as Candidate Number 3 in Rod Blagojevich’s pay-to-play federal investigation

2.  Adamant about having the Ricketts Family rename his team: The Chicago Uncle Toms

And the number one reason why Milton Bradley’s season came to an abrupt and early end:

1.  He’s just… a whiny… little… bee-otch

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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