December 2009

I Heard it Through the Grapevine

Motown.jpgPop quiz. What do Smokey Robinson, Curtis Granderson and The Jackson Five have in common? If you guessed that they all got their start with Motown, you’d be right. But if you guessed that they all got out of Motown as soon as possible, you’d also be right. I mentioned the other day that life had gotten a little bit more sucky when Pla-Po left for Philadelphia. Well, it’s going to get a lot more sucky when Granderson leaves for the Yankees. Thelma Houston had it right when she sang “Don’t leave me this way.”

There is an upside, though, even if it’s just my imagination. As much as I like Granderson and enjoyed watching him play, he sure struck out a lot and seemed to do it at inopportune moments. Not only that but they say this Austin Jackson fellow can play some ball so maybe it will turn out to be a good thing. But even if this is all true, as another Motown discovery put it, ‘It’s so hard to say good-bye to yesterday.”

The thing is, and this may come as a surprise to some of you, but I don’t have a whole lot of control over what happens in the Tigers’ front office. You’d think that Dombrowski would be monitoring this blog to see what I think but it just doesn’t work that way. Apparently he makes his decisions completely independently of me. And even though he may know what he’s doing, he has definitely left myself and other Tigers fans channeling Marvin Gaye when we ask “What’s going on?” I’m pretty sure I’ll be asking that question again the first time I see Granderson in pinstripes.

-A

A Call for a Ban on Crappy Nicknames

bad nicknames.JPGOh jeez. 

In 2005, the St. Louis Cardinals called up a 27 year-old lifetime minor leauger to get his first hacks at the big league level.  That man’s name was John Rodriguez.

Don’t remember him?  No worries.  Most people don’t.

Mr. Rodriguez came on pretty strong during his brief glimpse of the Majors, hitting .295 with 5 HRs and 24 RBI in 149 at-bats.  The folks in St. Louis liked him and his cinderella story so much that someone decided to grace Mr. Rodriguez with the nickname: J-Rod (a la A-Rod, K-Rod, YourMom-Rod, et al).

J-Rod *ahem* wasn’t a fan of the name.  Why?  Maybe because he wasn’t A-Rod!  To be honest, he wasn’t anywhere close to being an A-Rod type player.  His greatest downfall was was being born with the same easily nicknameable name as poster boy Alex while also having a first initial that contained just one syllable (you see, W-Rod would never work).

Flash forward to December 7th, 2009 and my trusty misanthrope of a colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, deigns us with the phonetically challenged nickname “Pla-Po” for his beloved (and now long gone from Detroit) Placido Polanco.

Pla-Po?  Are you kidding me?  How is that even pronounced?  PLAY-Poh?  Plah-POH?  Ah, forget it; all I know is that it sucks.

So, please know, Mr. Krause, that from now on we are calling for a complete ban on poorly constructed nicknames, specifically on those you created.  For those of you dear readers unaware, the following Krausian nicknames shall no longer be used, under any circumstances, lest you wish the worst on the baseball-politico community:

  • Matt Holliday —                     Ma-Ho
  • Barack & Michelle Obama —  Bachelle
  • Albert Pujols —                     A-Jols (read “A-Holes”)
  • Dick Cheney —                      Dick-Chin
  • Pablo Sandoval —                 P-Sand
  • Harry Reid & Nancy Pelosi — Harry Nancy
  • Carlisle Littlejohn —              C-Lit
  • Michael Cuddyer —               Mi-Cudd
  • Ann Coulter —                      ‘Lil Beotch (it should be “Big Beotch”)
  • Kevin Youkilis —                    K.Y. Kill-Us

And of course, let us not forget to mention the ongoing ban against one of the crappiest nicknames of all time, also penned by Mr. Krause, for his dilapidated Mo-Town Tigers team:

Winners.

‘Cuz unless finishing the AL Central in second place qualifies you as a ‘winner’, then this just needs to stop.

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

Peace,

Jeff

Pla-Po Leaves MoTown

placido polanco.jpgWell, if the “news media” and its “official reports” are to be believed, it appears that Placido Polanco will be leaving the Motor City for the City of Brotherly Love. Pla-Po (a name I gave him that just doesn’t seem to be catching on) will take his Gold Glove and join the not quite World Champion Phillies, leaving Detroit slightly more sucky. If that’s possible.

Now, as bad as this news is, it was made worse because I found out about it in the same way I inevitably hear about most bad news involving the Tigers, a gloating email from Jeff:

I’m sorry for your loss of of Polanco back to the Phils. 

Tigers suck.

J

You know what else sucks? You suck. You……sucker.

There, now that I’ve finally added a certain level of maturity to the discussion maybe I can move back to the important question which is, what do we do now? My lucky wood carving of Simon Bolivar practically screams out to address the problem by acquiring more Venezuelans. But I think the number of Chavistas on the team right now already leaves the Tigers in danger of imminent nationalization at the hands of El Jefe. Not that this would present a problem for Detroit considering what has happened to its other industries.

No, the solution lies elsewhere. And since I’ve always believed that uncertain times call for intellectually suspect and overblown measures, I’m pretty sure I hit upon the perfect plan. I am calling for Lou Whitaker to step out of retirement and once again man second base. Of course there will be naysayers against my “Draft Lou” campaign but those are the same people who say that it was a bad idea to put a banker in charge of regulating the banking industry. That worked out all right in the end so why shouldn’t this? Come back, Lou! Let’s see some of that 1984 magic all over again.

-A

Winter Meetings: Ante the Hell Up Y’All

Major League suits are set to invade US America‘s baseball-less Indianapolis this week… and they all have one singular goal: move that paper.

For those of you dear readers who respond better to visual metaphors, here’s one for ya: John Mozeliak (Ernie), Kermit (Peter Gammons), Cashman and Epstein (the Yip-Yips), and many more are all gittin’ down to ante up:

*Strong language may not be suitable for children unless your kids are related to Busta Rhymes in which case this type of language is as common around the house as naked women and blunts for breakfast*

It’s true.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

99 Problems but a Minaret Ain’t One

Some people have problems. And some people create problems. For a perfect comparison of these two, look no further than Tiger Woods and the man my friend Jeff has decided to pick a fight with, Jay-Z:

problems_chart_tiger_jay-z.jpgThis graph clearly represents the difference between having and creating problems.

However, if you really want to see how to go about creating problems, look no further than the alpine hamlet of Switzerland. After years of carefully constructed neutrality, they managed to throw it all away in one fell swoop with their recent referendum on the construction of minarets in the country. Granted, this isn’t a foreign policy issue as much as it is a domestic perturbation but it does have an effect on how the country is perceived and that in turn has an effect on foreign policy.

C’mon Switzerland, didn’t you learn anything from Tiger and Jay? Tiger smashes up an Escalade and then tries to cover up his bone-headedness but only makes the situation worse. Meanwhile Jay “ain’t tryin’ to see no highway chase with Jake….so I pull over to the side of the road.” Hey Switzerland, are you really getting anything out of this ban? I mean, you’re kind of in the same place as Jay, right? “Plus I got a few dollars, I can fight the case.” Seriously, for a country that was smart enough to think up the most inscrutable banking system in history, you guys sure screwed the pooch on this one.

So, here’s my suggestion, Switzerland. Stop worrying about the minarets and start worrying about what happens when Tiger has to pull his money out of your banks to pay for the inevitable lawsuits and settlements. Money, cash, hoes. Maybe you should both be paying a little more attention to Jay.

-A

Credits:
-Graph from buzzfeed.com

Holidays, Hollidays and Halladays

Matt holliday cardinals Here is an actual excerpt from an email I sent a business associate today at work:

Dear (So and So Business Associate),

I hope this finds you well rested after the long Thanksgiving holliday.  Your question really needs little thought to answer, for the best single volume on Chinese symbolism is most definitely Hidden Meanings

Did you catch that?

No, not my inane nice guy approach (which I admit, reeks of staleness).  I mean did you catch my spelling error?

Holiday.  Not holliday.  Silly Jeff.

If this can happen to me, it can happen to you.  Dear readers, if you allow your baseball nerdiness to infect your everyday life then please at least take the extra careful step of proofreading your work-related correspondences. 
Roy halladay
And that goes for everything work related.  The baseball gods blessed me with a 24/7 baseball persona, but they weren’t careful enough to provide me with a reality censor.  Some things slip by and the result can be as catastrophic as postseason errors by the Tigers pitching staff (eat it, Mr. Krause; it’s never going to go away).

Other mistakes I’ve made at work include but are not limited to the following:

  • Screaming out Holy F***! when DeWayne Wise made “The Catch”
  • Telling the mailman he reminded me of a young, early 60s era Dal Maxvill to which he replied: “That’s the coffee with the Columbian guy on the front, right?” Wrong.
  • Asking a client to hold (while I sat in an online queue to score Cards/Cubs tickets)
  • Turning red in the face while explaining to a colleague that a batter cannot advance to first base on a dropped third strike if there’s a guy on first! Jesus Christ I know what I’m f****** talkin’ about here, man!

The above are all avoidable, but when we find ourselves in the trenches of the holiday season and the two most sought free agents are named Holliday and Halladay, someone is bound to find himself in a world of blunder.

And that’s what we want to help you avoid.

So, y’know, don’t mess up.  Like I did.

Go ahead, hate me ‘cuz I fell victim to the occasional spelling error, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*PS. Drop by A Bite Off the Big Apple and say “Hi” to Jess; his currently featured NY Note was sent in by a witty, strapping, genius of a baseball fan.

The Scholar Athlete

FarSide.jpgIn the most recent MLBlogosphere Latest Leaders, one particular blog jumped out at me. Ross Ohlendorf of the Pittsburgh Pirates is writing a blog based on his experience working at the US Department of Agriculture during the offseason. This started me thinking about which athletes are the most intelligent, at least in the traditional, intellectual sense.

For instance, Ohlendorf went to Princeton and is now doing research with the USDA but when you offset his intelligence with that of Rickey Henderson, well, at best they cancel each other out. Offensive linemen in football, and especially centers, are noted for their intelligence despite the head knocking they do all day long. As for basketball and hockey, I really have no clue and I won’t even hazard a guess.

However, based on zero scientific proof and nothing more than my incredibly suspect intuition, I’m going to say golfers are probably the smartest. Despite Tiger’s recent personal flameout and John Daly’s entire career, golfers are smart enough to play a sport that doesn’t involve getting hit on a regular basis. They walk a lot and exercise like that is good for the mind and body. If that wasn’t enough, they can also continue playing well into their later years, bouncing from circuit to circuit as need be. That seems pretty intelligent to me.

But I also have to say that bowlers might be on to something. I mean, practice involves hitting the lanes and rolling some balls. And everyone knows you can’t go bowling without at least a pitcher or two of whatever happens to be on tap. All I know is that pretty much anything beats the heck out of driving in circles for hours and never knowing when some guy might ram you at 225 miles per hour. Or, for that matter, working at the USDA.

-A

Jay-Z is Full of Crap

yankees cap.jpgAs I tend to be regarding to the great game of baseball, when it comes to hip-hop, I remain firmly in the purist camp. 

This is exactly why I didn’t want to like Jay-Z’s new album, The Blueprint 3.  As the resident Brett Favre of the rap game, Jay-Z has taunted us with his multiple “retirements”, all along gradually stepping away from his street-centric roots and engaging in the bling-bling-I-got-hoes-money-and-fame garbage that has destroyed my ability to find any entertainment value in modern hip-hop.

But Alicia Keys sucked me; and as much as I hate to admit it: Empire State of Mind is a killer track.

Still, there is one Jay-Z line that makes me cringe with disgust:

“Catch me at the X with OG at a Yankee game,
s*** I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can…”
No, no, Jay-Z, you didn’t.  You did not make the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can.

Ever heard of a fella by the name of Babe Ruth?  How about DiMaggio?  Gehrig?  Mantle?  Mattingly?  Jeter?

I know Jay-Z is a lot like me in that sometimes he says dumb s*** just to say it, to see what kind of reaction he gets, to be relevant, to stir up trouble.

But even I have limitations… and dissing some of the greatest players to ever play the game is certainly among them.

Shame on you, Jay-Z. 

And unless you can find a way to put Alicia Keys on every song you ever do from now until the end of time, you won’t be getting my money ever again.

Hate me ‘cuz I gotz some street cred of my own, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Google Knows EVERYTHING II

baseball hall of fame.gifThe 2010 Hall of Fame ballot is out and the names are all there for our relentless ridicule.  Meh.  Let’s not make this too difficult now, shall we?  There is only one nominee who is a surefire lock to be a first ballot Hall of Famer and that man is Barry Larkin.

Everybody else? 

Not so much.

But these decisions need to be weighed with ample baseball knowledge and ruthless number crunching, which is why we turn to the always accurate Google Oracle to see whether or not these fellas are Hall of Fame worthy. (click on the images for a closer view)

Robin Ventura
robin ventura google.JPGWhen your one claim to fame is getting your a$s beat by a man old enough to be your father in what was probably the most embarrassing basebrawl of all time, no, you may not enter the Hall of Fame, sir.

Fred McGriff
fred mcgriff google.JPGInterestingly enough, the lesson in McGriff’s ‘instructional video’ is: how to vote Fred McGriff into the Hall of Fame.  Slick… but not slick enough.  No Hall of Fame for you, Crime Dog.

Roberto Alomar
roberto alomar google.JPGWell, unless there’s a Hall of Fame of AIDS then Robbie ain’t gettin’ in anywhere.

But please, somebody — baseball writers, Oprah, Jesus, anyone — please put Andre Dawson in the Hall of Fame.  He deserves to be there.  And I am getting very, very sick of having to lobby for this ex-Cub who made a living making my life miserable as a child. 

Buck up, fellas.  The Hawk was better than Jim Rice.

Hate me ‘cuz I tell it straight, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I”m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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