November 2009

RSBS Postseason Awards Show: Part I

With Major League Baseball and various publications handing out their end of the season awards, RSBS has decided to follow suit. Sure, our prizes may not come with any financial reward and they may not trigger any clauses in the affected players’ contracts. But, it is our civic duty. So, without further ado, we present Part I of our two part Postseason Awards Show. Allen, take it away.
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Thunderdome.jpgMost Thunderdome worthy:
Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui
Both Damon and Matsui have been integral parts in the Yankees’ dynamo but with age and injuries taking a toll, one of them will most likely have to go. Obviously, the only fair way to settle the question is to have them fight it out in the Thunderdome. Granted, the one who dies will have a seriously decreased trade value but fair is fair.

Most Valuable Player for the Minnesota Twins:
Rosangel Cabrera
Yeah, you thought it was Joe Mauer but with the Tigers holding a tenuous lead in the AL Central at the end of the season, Miguel Cabrera and his wife, Rosangel, made the alcohol-lubricated sparks fly at home. The aftermath saw Cabrera flop against the White Sox and the Twins pull even before winning the Central.

i_love_albert.jpgJeff’s MDP (Most Dreamy Player):
Albert Pujols
I think we’ve already covered this one. I just hope this comes true for you one day, buddy. You and AP would make an adorable couple and I’d be honored to stand with you at the ceremony.

Most Transformative Player:
Brad Lidge
Transformations work in both directions and after going from Mitch Williams to Mariano Rivera to Eric Gagne in the space of three seasons, you have to wonder what Lidge will become next. If he ends up on the Tigers, I’ll say Trevor Hoffman. But my head says it’s the Canadian-American League.

jeff_allen_nats.jpgMost Amazing RSBS Writer/Person:
Jeff Lung and Allen Krause (in a surprising tie)
We decided to leave this award to our respective mothers to decide. And neither one of them could be swayed to the other side. However, I can’t tell you which one they each voted for so we’ll just leave that to your imagination.

Tune in tomorrow as Jeff brings us Part II of the show. Rumor has it that several Cubs players may have been nominated. Stop by and see if they finally manage to win something.

Going Rogue? Or Going Crazy…

sarah palin going rogue.jpgThis Going Rogue business is mostly all about making money… right?

If that’s the case, then great; I applaud thee, Sarah Palin.  Sell your book!  Make money!  It’s the US American way!

Unfortunately, reason tells me that ex-Governor Palin has a hard time separating fantasy from reality — that she is absolutely serious when she says she wants to play a major role in American politics — that she isn’t going away anytime soon.

While she remains silent on any possible presidential plans, one must assume that is the ultimate goal. 

And that is insane.

So too is her sheepish quip that she will run only “if people will have me.”

Hmm.  Perhaps Madame Palin should start by asking the people of Alaska if they will have her after she abandoned them and her gubernatorial post midterm.  Or perhaps she should ask the people of Russia if they don’t mind her looking at them from her living room.  Or perhaps she should just take the money this book and subsequent tour will generate and run, run, run… back into relative obscurity — where she belongs.

We see this sort of thing in baseball all the time.  Players come from out of nowhere.  They shine.  They burn out.  They go away.  Some quicker than others. 

Mark Fidrych.  Pete Incaviglia.  Eric Gagne.

Eric Gagne.jpgRemember, Sarah, remember.  Remember Eric Gagne  — a man who spent last season with the Quebec Capitales of the independent Canadian-American League.  (Yeah, I’ve never heard of it either)  Here’s a man who, at one time, was more than just unhittable.  He was mad, maniacal, morbid in his destruction of opposing hitters.  He recorded 84 consecutive saves for Christ’s sake!  He was lights out!  He was the master of the universe!

Now, the Brewers don’t even want him.

And that is sad.

Go away now, while you can, Mrs. Palin… go back to the wilderness while you still have some inkling of pride.  I will support you in that endeavor.

YOU BETCHA!

Hate me ‘cuz I won’t buy this book, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

From Right Field to the Parking Lot

Jimmy_smokes.jpgAs the postseason awards get handed out and as Yankees fans revel in what 1.4 billion dollars can do for you, those of us cheering for also-ran teams have to sit back and hope for better luck next year. Yep, next year could be the year when Verlander wins his Cy Young, Miguel Cabrera finally walks off with the MVP award and Jimmy Leyland and the Tigers win the Series. It’s not impossible.

But even if this is just a pipe dream, it’s still better than watching the Lions continue to redefine terrible, one loss at a time. We used to have the Pistons but they’re just ordinary anymore. And I suppose there are the Red Wings but I am not nor have I ever been Canadian so that just doesn’t do it for me.

The thing is that the Tigers have all the pieces. They’re just missing that elusive something, that killer instinct that could put them over the top. You don’t put that many Venezuelans on a team and not expect some sort of revolution. Expectations are about all we have these days, though.

This whole process is kind of like that old song about playing right field. You daydream about the ideal situation and everything coming together but then something wakes you up and you face the truth, the terror of a baseball hurtling your way. For me, that something is one of my favorite Twitter streams, Sh!tMyDadSays. And if you scroll down to the tweet on October 8th, you’ll see what I mean. Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Hope springs eternal, though. And in case you’ve forgotten the song, the kid ultimately ends up making the catch out in right field. Who knows? Maybe next year the Tigers will get the good news that Justin’s dad thinks they deserve. But I’m betting on god taking another dump in the parking lot.

-A

K.C.’s Comet

zack greinke.jpgLike Halley’s and Hale-Bopp, every great once in a while a comet will pass through the Kansas City Royal’s universe, causing the hapless west Missouri team to be relevant, if only briefly.

Such cases have been well documented: In 1985, Don Denkinger handed the World Series Championship directly to the Royals.  Some twenty years later, Hall of Famer George Brett revealed to the world his celebratory penchant for soiling himself.

And now, in 2009, Royals ace Zack Greinke hopes to snatch the Cy Young Award from big name, big money pitchers from big markets.

When Greinke wins on Tuesday it will be an historic event.  For the first time ever in the history of the franchise, the Royals will be relevant for something other than a bunch of s***.

And that, dear readers, is called crawling out of the gutter… where they will quickly return to on Wednesday.

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

Peace,

Jeff

(Image courtesy of Getty Images)

The Pitcher Bats

obama_akihito.jpgWhen an American League baseball team plays in a National League park, the pitcher bats. We don’t question this, even if we are die-hard fans of the designated hitter. It’s tradition and respect. Similarly, if I decide to head to Alabama or Arkansas, I know that I’m going to get weird looks if I ask for a soda or a pop. It’s perfectly appropriate and so much easier to just ask for a coke and then name my flavor.

So, the question is, if so much of American culture is based on reverence for tradition and institutions, why is there such an uproar over our ultimate representative respecting those same institutions in other countries?

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it wasn’t the most graceful bow ever. But, by the same token, have you ever watched an American League pitcher try to hit? Yeah, for a highly trained and highly paid athlete it sure isn’t pretty. But it’s part of the respect that one league pays the other in baseball.

Listen conspiracy mongers, here’s how it breaks down. There’s nothing
wrong with being respectful of other countries and cultures. In fact,
if the people planning the invasion of Iraq would have known the first
thing about the culture and people in that country, we wouldn’t be
dealing with nearly 4,300 American lives lost and over 30,000 wounded.

Those who like to chatter in the blogosphere will continue to make a big deal of this incident and the right-wing pundits are enjoying every second of it. But if we took enough time to think about and respect the traditions of other countries as much as we respect who bats ninth in a National League ballpark, maybe this wouldn’t be what the world thinks all Americans are like:

-A

Credits:
-Photo from http://www.newser.com

Canadians!

canada.jpgHoly maple leafs, dear readers!

On Friday I fulfilled a lifelong personal dream!

I got to meet Larry Walker!!!

Actually, that’s a lie.  I didn’t meet Larry Walker; but I did meet a very nice Canadian couple wandering the streets of Chicago looking for restaurant suggestions.  The man’s name was Larry.  And since all Canadians look alike, I think we can assume there isn’t much difference between the two.

All fooling aside, let it be known that Canadians are awesome!  Awesome as in “awe” inspiring.  They’re so friendly.  They have funny accents.  And they speak French!

Larry and his wife were so excited to talk to a real life US American (me) that once they got to talkin’, they started revealing all sorts of dark Canadian secrets — information I certainly shouldn’t be privy to.  Oh well.  Part of being a US American is not shying away from free enterprise.  I’m sure Larry and his wife will understand.  So here’s what I learned:

There Are No Death Panels
“We do have to wait in line sometimes for our x-rays and such,” said Larry, “but they certainly don’t make us wait in line during life threatening circumstances.  And if you’re well off like we are, you can go to your own doctor on your own time if you want.  The Canadian system of health care is great.”

Terrance & Phillip Characterizations Are More Accurate Than One Would Think
“We eat a lot of the same things Americans eat,” said Larry’s wife, “but the lower temperatures seem to wreak havoc on our bowels.  We try to avoid Mexican food all together.”

Not All Canadians Live In Igloos
“My brother still lives in one,” said Larry, “but he’s a moose hunter and moose hunters are… well, they’re just a bit off, eh?”

Canadians Think US Americans Are Silly
“George W. Bush?  Really?  You guys voted for him… twice!” said Larry’s wife.  “That’s silly to us.  And you’re always scared.  Fearful.  No one’s going to blow up the Sears Tower.  Chicago isn’t important on the world map.  That’s like saying they’ll blow up the Stade OlympiqueWhy would anyone do that?  Yet so many of you Americans are convinced your local Wal-Mart is the next target.  Haha.”

joe carter celebrating.jpgBut the most satisfying thing I heard from this real-life Canadian couple was the following:

I asked them: “What do you think of when you hear the name Joe Carter?”

Larry and his wife looked at each other and said, in unison, “Touch ‘em all, Joe!”

How can we not love Canadians?  Seriously.

Hate me ‘cuz I get all international on you, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right: Canadians are people too.

Peace,

Jeff

Taking the One Less Traveled By

The other day I wrote what I thought was a heartfelt tribute to my good friend, Jeffery Lung. I lost a contest and as the terms of the contest dictated, I had to write an essay in praise of Jeff and that I did. However, it seems that everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Apparently the ethos of “gotcha’ journalism” has seeped into every aspect of American life to the extent that even a laudatory essay automatically becomes suspect. C’mon people. I am not Keith Olbermann. I am not these guys:

I lost fair and square and so I did what was asked of me.

Now, I could have gone to one of the two extremes. I could have given the Oliver Stone on Hugo Chavez hagiography treatment to Jeff and made myself into as laughable an icon as the director of Platoon has now become. Or, I could have gone the other direction and filled the entry so full of sarcasm and tongue in cheek humor as to lose all sense of the original terms of the contest. Like Robert Frost, though, when I saw two roads diverge in a wood, I took the one less traveled by. The honorable one.

But the honorable path apparently doesn’t mean much these days. You all want to hear me talk about Jeff’s impressive collection of exfoliants and cleansers. Or his inability to find a girlfriend. Or Fernando Tatis’ repeated requests to Jeff to stop sending him pictures and letters about how much alike their goatees look. But I drew a line and I refused to cross it.

So, you can continue waiting for the other shoe to drop, but you’ll be waiting a long time. Jeff is my friend and that means I don’t question his decision to hang a life-size poster of Patrick Swayze over his bed. Really, that is what being a friend is all about. And god knows it’s better than a life-size poster of Whoopi Goldberg.

-A

Beyond Non Sequitur III

Yep.  This is totally out of left field, but I feel the need to share: this picture has been cracking me up for a good month now.  Every time I look at it I lose myself in uncontrollable laughter.  Can anyone tell me why?

tomb raider.jpg
Not sure if there’s any reason to hate me this time, so, y’know, don’t. 

And just in case you’re wondering: Yes, despite the cool, peaceful demeanor of the above holy man, dude still hates the Cubs.

Peace,

Jeff

(*Image courtesy of B3TA)

A Man in the Full

Recently Jeff and Allen squared off in an epic, metaphor driven battle. Like Thunderdome, two men entered but only one man left. However, instead of choosing death as the punishment for the vanquished, the RSBS team decided on a fate much, much worse. Today Allen fulfills the terms of his defeat by writing an essay extolling the attributes of the winner. We now present that entry in its original and unabridged form.
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Jeff_seatbelt.JPGThe world did not change overnight when Jeffery Lung was born in the late 70’s. Instead it waited patiently as he grew up, sang and danced his way through high school and made short work of both the Chinese language and four years of college. And as the world waited, it also saw fit to provide Jeff with a sidekick, a Laurel to his Hardy, a Penn to his Teller, a Siegfried to his….ok, not so much that last one.

Jeff and I met in the fall of 1997 when we both arrived at college and made the fateful decision to participate in the orientation week spectacle. Maybe it was the strains of Carmina Burana that made us friends. Perhaps it was the endless hours of rehearsal for plays and the campus improvisational comedy troupe. Or maybe it was living in the same dorm room for part of junior year and my having to lean over the top bunk every morning to see the beautiful girl that all of us wanted but that Jeff had gotten.

Honestly, though, I think it had more to do with just Jeff. He doesn’t like to brag about it but he’s really freakin’ smart and it’s good to be around that. Did I mention he speaks Chinese? Fluently? And that he won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in China? And he does this all while being left-handed. Seriously, I can’t even hold a pen in my left hand. He writes in three languages with his.

I could go on and on about his abilities but there’s another aspect to Jeff that’s even more important. He’s plain and simple a damn good friend. I have a bad habit of disappearing from the interwebs occasionally but he doesn’t kick me off the blog or question my loyalty. He just keeps plugging away and then gets in a couple shots when I get back. But he’s always there and always has been for the past decade. That’s saying something.

The world has changed quite a bit since Jeff was born. But in the past 12 years one thing has remained constant. Jeff Lung has been and will continue to be one of my closest friends and one of the best friends you could ever ask for.

-A

P.S. No h0mo

White Like Me

sammy sosa is white.jpgYep.  This is pretty weird.  And I bet you are wondering what exactly is going on. 

So are we.

That’s why, once again, we pitted our trusty RSBS interns to the task of discovering why Sammy Sosa is turning white.  After toiling for about twenty minutes, here is the shortlist of what they found:

  • Ran out of shower gel, bleach does a good job, life is rough in the D.R.
  • Wants to be remembered as a member of the White Sox; this is a good way to make that happen
  • Saw the ghost of Sammy past (circa 1989)
  • Planning a trip to the Northside of Chicago and doesn’t want to be recognized. Why? Urine Trough Diving. That’s why.
  • Combine Oxandrolone with Dignotamoxi add a little Methyltestosterone and BAM! You’re WHITE!
  • Sun bathing below the equator has a reverse tan affect, much like eating after midnight turns you into a Gremlin
  • The white skin came free with the Humphrey Bogart toupee package
  • Tired of living in the shadow of Mark McGwire, hopes being brighter will help him stand out while still stuck in the shadow of Mark McGwire
  • Took a look at the man in the mirror and decided to make that change
  • Sick of seeing Karl Rove have all the fun

Skin rejuvenation?  More like how could you make your image more of an abomination!

Hm.  Sounds better when I read that last sentence out loud.

Nevermind.

Just don’t hate me.  ‘Cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

(Image courtesy of Getty Images)

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