As the holiday spirit settles in here at RSBS, we’re starting to get a little excited. In fact, there’s a really good chance that this is the year we get that Red Ryder BB gun we’ve been asking for since 1983. However, as we sit here staring at the gifts under the tree, we thought we could present you with a gift of our own. The interns did a bunch of work coming up with the list and now we just want you to enjoy it. So, enjoy!
The Santa Clause
Only a hardcore DB like Boras could appreciate the fine print of a contract that makes you take over Santa’s duties if you should happen to be instrumental in his demise. Hell, he probably wrote the contract. On the bright side, at least Scotty hasn’t taken over as Santa…..yet.
The Kansas City Royals
A Charlie Brown Christmas
A ragtag band of kids who are all castoffs from one place or another gather around a depressingly bare Christmas tree. If that doesn’t describe KC’s fortunes, I don’t know what does. And just wait until Greinke blows town.
It’s A Wonderful Life
So, how many times have you not made the playoffs in your career? And how many World Series rings have you won? Yeah, I’m pretty sure you could give George Bailey a run for it in the Wonderful Life department.
Tie: Scrooged and A Christmas Carol
However, he turns it off before the main characters have a change of heart. No room for sentimentality when there are small children and their parents who could be paying more for tickets and concessions. How much more? Get on that, Cratchett. And will you stop blubbering about your goddamn gimpy kid?
Miracle on 34th Street
Sometimes when Barry is falling asleep at night, he imagines the postal service delivering thousands of letters to him in a courtroom and the judge declaring him the real home run king. Wake up, Barry. You’re still just a lousy cheat.
So, there you have it. If you ever wondered what a professional baseball player does at this time of the year, you have your answer. As for us, we’ll be splitting a bowl of popcorn and hoping that oblong shaped box doesn’t somehow put our eye out.
Do you think there’s some 30 year-old alien living 100 million light years away writing on a series of tubes that his fellow aliens can read and do read because the alien planet’s first passion is their planetarian pastime, a game of rounders perhaps?
Happy BIG BANG Friday, Y’all!
(vid link from BuzzFeed)
Until 1978 Kool-Aid was synonymous with children and summer. No matter what chemically produced flavor it came in, the refreshing blend of water, sugar and artificial colors and flavors was sure to quench any thirst. Then, along came Jonestown and ruined it forever. Now Kool-Aid brings to mind cyanide laced beverages or the willing ingesting of something one knows or perceives to be wrong.
Sounds kind of like baseball.
Baseball used to mean transistor radios in the summer and guys hitting one out of the park for some sick kid. But then came the ’81 strike, the ’94 strike and the steroid scandals. Instead of cheering on their team, fans started to wonder what the players would ask for next, what the owners would do to screw the fans and players over and when the other shoe would drop and you’d find out that you’re favorite player had been getting ahead by using a little something extra.
Maybe that’s all behind us now, though. We seem to have hit a point where the Mitchell Report has played itself out. We know about the transgressions of A-Rod and all the other juicers and the fans seem to have moved on. The fans still get gouged but the stadiums are full. And even if teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies buy up all the available talent, there are still surprises every other year or so.
Yep, maybe baseball really has turned the corner. Or maybe I just drank the Kool-Aid.
Image from Skull Swap
None of that is important.
Because when you drive drunk and end up killing yourself or somebody else or soembodies else, then how important can baseball really be?
Highly touted Cardinal prospect third baseman, David Freese, was arrested on DWI charges in St. Louis Saturday, adding his name to the growing list of Redbirds who can’t figure out how to call a goddamn cab when having had a few too many.
Tony LaRussa. Josh Hancock (he died by the way because he was driving drunk). Scott Spiezio.
And those are just the ones who’ve been caught.
I haven’t seen anything in print, but I have friends in the St. Louis service industry who assure me many a Cardinal has been seen getting into the driver’s seat of a car while drunk. Some of those guys aren’t with the team anymore, some of them are.
Bill DeWitt, are you listening?
This is not me getting on a high horse. I have made mistakes. I have made a lot of mistakes. My mistakes have hurt people. I make it a point not to make such mistakes anymore and I make it a point not to hurt other people anymore too. This is called learning. This is called life.
And no matter how you argue, there is absolutely no excuse for driving drunk. Believe me: I’m definitely a man who enjoys his drink — even known to get completely schnockered from time to time — but ya ain’t gonna ever see me getting in a car, driving down the freeway, putting my life and the lives of others at risk. Why?
Because I have common sense.
And if someone in the Cardinals organization had any common sense there would be a mandatory tutorial for all team personnel on the dangers (who in the world is so dumb they don’t know about these dangers already???) of drinking and driving.
I have long heard stories from Baltimore about instilling in its Oriole family the notion of the “Oriole Way”; and while it may have begun as Paul Richards’ acute focus on instructing and establishing the fundamentals of on-the-field play, it eventually became a code of conduct — a creed which all members understand, that it goes for life off-the-field too. Nothing supersedes the Oriole Way.
How many Baltimore Orioles are driving drunk these days?
Wake up, St. Cardinals. Partying your @$$ off is perfectly okay with me, as long as you do it responsibly. But if you guys want to keep making me and the rest of your millions of fans worry about whether or not you will even be alive tomorrow, well, let me tell ya, I’d rather be a Cubs fan than deal with that kind of stress.
Y’all oughtta be ashamed of yourselves.
Go ahead. Hate me. I could care less. ‘Cuz I know I’m right. And you’re pi$$ing me off.
Kids have it hard these days. I grew up in cable’s infancy, a time when phones were still attached to the walls. It took a little while for news to spread. And it was a more innocent time, too. Heroes were put up on a pedestal to be worshiped, not to have stones thrown at them. Today, though? Man, it must be rough to be a kid or a hero.
Take Tiger Woods (please!). As if the multiple sordid affairs weren’t enough, he’s now being dragged into the PED arena as well with the news about his doctor using HGH. And as soon as any news about him hits the streets, it’s spread far and wide by the internet. Let’s be honest, it’s entirely possible that Jack Nicklaus had a stable of pretty young fillies at his beck and call during his hey-day but you never would have heard about it. Stars were protected back then.
The real problem is that we can’t seem to find a happy medium. Either we don’t know anything (why haven’t I seen a Joe Dimaggio/Marilyn Monroe honeymoon video?) or we know way too much (the image of a syringe in Roger Clemens’ @$$ is something I’ll never be able to forget). Why can’t we just know a reasonable amount? Like, if someone is a danger to himself or society (Ray Lewis, I’m looking at you), let us know. But if they’re just doing some canoodling on the side, that’s his or her business (yes A-Rod, I’m giving you a pass on that one).
Information is power and that hasn’t changed. And there is plenty of information on every possible subject out there today. But trying to find the useful stuff is like diving into a latrine to find the quarter you accidentally swallowed and then excreted. It’s messy and ultimately just not worth it. Kind of like being a hero.
I had the good fortune of spending this past weekend in South Jersey with some of the hardest of hard core Phillies fans one will ever meet; and I have a barrage of UDIs* to prove it. My host, Bill, CEO of MyTeamRivals.com and co-author of the Phightin’ Phils Phorum has one of the coolest baseball man-caves I have ever seen, touting a full bar alongside every Phillie autograph you could imagine plus stunning memorabilia including a Mickey Mantle signed bat hanging proudly on the wall.
Like Chico Escuela, “Beisol been a bery, bery good to me.”
Without the interwebs and blogging baseball for the last two years, I would have never met Bill. In fact, through writing about my obsession, I have become good friends with so many cool, interesting, like-minded baseball fans that sometimes I just have to pinch myself at how neat it all is — that I could become good friends with people I have never met who live all over the world, from Tokyo to London to New York to L.A. to Denver to Houston to Boston to Philadelphia and everywhere in between.
And on Saturday night, while the Phillie faction was deep into a heated discussion about Ruben Amaro’s sanity, I was drawn to the poor Mr. Met effigy hanging upside down at the end of the bar, and more importantly to the fella sitting in front of it. His name was (still is) Mike. Mike, the lone Mets fan. We got to talking about baseball (what else?) and before long it was revealed that Mike was at Game 6 of the 1986 World Series — perhaps the greatest World Series game ever played.
I explained to Mike how that game (and that World Series) was the key component to my baseball fanaticism going from casual to die-hard at the speed of a first base-side groundball through the wickets. And the St. Louis Cardinals weren’t even involved.
Of course, I was only 7 years old, but I remember the hype, the hoopla, the buzz about the Red Sox finally one game away from a title and the unruly and wildly charming bad boyz from Queens standing in their way. I sat alongside my father and my grandmother, watching every pitch. And as the game approached the bottom of the 9th, I clearly remember thinking that this was finally going to be the Red Sox’ moment, that they would finally reach the top after years of disappointment.
In those days, if the Cardinals weren’t in the World Series, I took my dad’s side in rooting for the National League team, no matter who it was, for according to him, the National League’s was the better game — the way it was supposed to be played.
And I remember, as the Mets’ magic unfolded and Ray Knight crossed home plate to the tune of Vin Scully’s “And the Mets wiiiiiiin it!”, that I, too, went nuts with excitement. I jumped up and down and ran around the house with the type of joy that is best defined by youth — a little boy’s bliss brought on by the simple idea that you can do anything if you work hard and never give up.
At that exact moment I decided that that was what baseball was all about — and that life was a game of baseball: full of drama, full of hope, full of solace, full of emotion.
Mike was there.
He knew what I was talkin’ about.
Anyone who has ever called him or herself a baseball fan knows exactly what we’re talkin’ about.
And that, to me, is power.
So, y’know, don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
*UDI = Unidentified Drunken Injury
Even as the economy begins its long climb towards recovery, problems threaten to dislodge any toehold it has made and send it hurtling back to the base like Sisyphus’ stone. And if there’s any one problem that lies on peoples’ minds extra heavily, it’s the continued lack of jobs. Of course the government is creating programs to try and help with this problem but my personal feeling is that this is not so much an issue of people not having jobs as it is the wrong people still having jobs.
For instance, in Detroit, one of the hardest hit areas as far as job loss goes in the country, how is it that thousands of autoworkers no longer have jobs but an incompetent imbecile like Matt Millen manages to land on his feet? After turning an already dilapidated franchise into a synonym for failure, he blows town and winds up in Bristol, CT analyzing football for ESPN. Here’s my analysis. Millen is a bum and should be on the street peddling pencils at a dime a pop. Although I’m pretty sure he could find a way to turn that into a shambles as well.
However, if you live in Detroit and you’re a fan of the Detroit Tigers, you’re probably just as worried about who is employed as who isn’t. Since my analytical skills are pretty much limited to the aforementioned summary of Matt Millen, I’ll leave the real analysis to someone who knows what they’re doing:
“The Tigers are in trouble.” (scroll down to 23 November to read the full entry)
Yeah, I guess Paul pretty much summed it up right there. Sometimes it’s more about who does have a job than who doesn’t.
The Tigers may not be in as bad of shape as the Lions but there isn’t a whole lot to smile about in Motown these days, no matter where you’re coming from. And even though Dombrowski is no Matt Millen, he definitely faces an uphill battle in making the Tigers competitive. Let’s just hope he has a little more luck than Sisyphus.
I had the opportunity today to read through President Obama’s address at the Nobel ceremony. Imagining the words being spoken in his particularly cool baritone, I enjoyed the ebb and flow of the sentences as they entwined themselves together, growing into ever larger and more noble thoughts. And then I stopped cold. It hit me square between the eyes. Barack Obama is to politics what the New York Yankees are to baseball.
See, with the Yankees it’s not so much that they spend billions of dollars to buy the best players. It’s that they take the best players away from rival teams so they can’t be hurt by them. CC Sabathia has their number as a member of the Indians staff. So, give him a year in the NL and then snap him up. Problem solved. Curtis Granderson was part of the Tigers squad that knocked the Yankees out in the first round of the 2006 playoffs. Bring him on board, stick him in center field and he won’t be knocking you out again. The list goes on and on, all the way back to Babe Ruth himself.
So how is this like the President? Simple. Look at the speech. At a time when Republicans sense blood in the water and start to churn in anticipation of the kill, he co-opts one of their key arguments and makes it his own. How bold was this move? Well, consider that this was the ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize and then consider that he said this:
To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism
— it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the
limits of reason.
That’s more than bold. That’s straight up brass cojones.
Don’t take this argument the wrong way. I still have no love for the Yankees. But I can appreciate them for the same reason I can appreciate the President. Because they’re stone-cold killers. And that’s saying something when you’ve just accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.
You don’t have to be gay or openly support gay rights to feel a little chill at the news coming out of Uganda right now. For a country that is supposed to be one of the brighter spots in sub-Saharan Africa (excepting the still turbulent north), the recent news and continuing coverage of a law that, if passed, would be one of the the most draconian and repressive anti-gay laws in the world is particularly troubling. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, though, considering that the “developed” world hasn’t really made that much more progress.
Don’t believe me? Here’s an example. Raise your hand if you saw Sacha Baron Cohen’s film Bruno this past summer. Ok, now keep your hand up if you enjoyed it. Yeah, a lot of hands went down there, didn’t they? And why is that? Was it any less funny than Borat? Were the stunts any less ridiculous? Did he take advantage of people to a greater degree than he did in Borat? I’ll admit that some of the scenes were over the top. But honestly, there was nothing there that was nearly as offensive as most of what happened in Borat.
So, why didn’t people like the movie? Well, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it has a lot to do with being uncomfortable. It’s easy to laugh at xenophobia. It’s easy to laugh at a village simpleton who doesn’t understand the way things are done elsewhere. But the in-your-face sexuality of Bruno is discomfiting. The character doesn’t hide who he is and rather goes out of his way to flaunt it. Even those who consider themselves supportive of gay rights seemed to find themselves ejected from their comfort zones by Bruno’s portrayal of such extreme sexuality.
These same currents flow even deeper in the world of sports. Imagine for a second if Tiger Woods had admitted to having multiple affairs with men. At this point, despite his so-called indiscretions, he still has his marketing deals and no one is really considering cutting them, even if they probably will use the affairs to leverage the rates they pay. But if it had been 11 men? Or even 10 women and 1 man? He’d be out the door faster than a neo-Nazi at a Rufus Wainwright concert.
Within Major League Baseball, only two players have come out and both of them did it well after their careers had ended. They knew that there was just no way that who they were would be accepted. The article linked above notes one particular anecdote that gets right to the heart of the matter:
“In his recently published memoir, Going the Other Way, [Billy] Bean
(not the A’s GM) recounts how Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda constantly made homophobic
jokes, even as Lasorda’s gay son was dying from AIDS.”
The sad thing is, an openly gay baseball player, or even football or basketball player, could go a long way towards helping people become more comfortable with homosexuality. As support for gay marriage has grown in the US, the statistics show that much of that has to do with knowing someone who is gay. When that someone you know is the guy who plays second base for your team, well, that just might have an even bigger impact.
This isn’t going to change overnight. Intolerance is a deep-seated problem that takes generations to truly root out. But like it or not, in the same way that athletes are held up as examples and role-models all over the world, our country is also held up as an example all over the world. If we want to criticize Uganda for its inhumane law, we should probably take a look closer to home as well.
I think so.
In just the last few days we have learned things — almost instantly — that used to take weeks to find out about, back in the old days, when Kevin Costner was delivering the mail.
Thanks to the internets and interwebs, I knew exactly the moment Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan added “man-child disciplinarian” to each of their respective job titles. Not long after, I also found out — immediately — that Rod Blagojevich still thinks he’s funny, that he views his federal scoff as but a minor annoyance, that his hair is cool.
And of course, without our trusty series of tubes cranking out raunchy photos and seedy voice mails, how else would we know that Tiger Woods enjoys having sex — LOTS OF SEX — with people who are not his wife?
This is the re-edumacation of US America, people!
Ya gotta be fast. Ya gotta be on point. Ya gotta reinvent math!
Or is it ‘strait’?
Yeah, it’s strait. See, I got this!
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Images & Fox News Story from BuzzFeed)