The Filibuster

Is baseball becoming a small man’s game?  Frank Thomas is retired,
Jermaine Dye can’t find a new home.  Even Ryan Howard didn’t seem to be
quite the same dynamo last season as he was the year before.  Joe
Mauer and Albert Pujols, while not necessarily small, definitely
aren’t monsters like McGwire and Bonds.  And let’s not forget Dustin
Pedroia’s MVP win from a year ago.  With all the focus on multi-tooled
players, is there still a place for a big man with a big stick?

-Levi J.
Peru, IN
____________________________________

ryan howard pimpin.jpgBelieve me, dear readers, when I put an entire year’s salary on the table and bet on the fact that from now until the end of time, in this grand game of ours there will always be a place for a big man with a big stick.

(That’s what she said.)

That and I will obviously continue to have the self-restraint of a 14 year old.

But that doesn’t matter.

Sure, the game changes.  It morphs to suit the times, needs.  In the nineteen-aughts the emphasis was on the fundamentals — moving the runner over, taking the ball the other way, sliding cleats up.  The Ruthian era saw the longball gain importance.  The 60s saw pitching dominate.  The game of the 80s stressed the need for speed.  The steroid era killed all of that, making it easy for old, overweight has-beens to resuscitate their careers while inflating the record books at the same time, thus exaggerating the homerun to cult status.

And now, after all of that, indeed we are seeing another theme take form and that theme is: athleticism.  Five tooled players are the hottest commodity.  Weight consciousness abounds.  The current goal is to be well-rounded and excel at every part of the job.  The more a player can do, the more valuable he becomes and we are experiencing a real shift in the athletic zeitgeist of Major League Baseball. 

What a wonderful thing! 

Instead of waiting for the juiced-up meat-head to play the 3-run homer waiting game, now we get to see hitters expand the strike zone and hit to all fields.  The running game is in renaissance and we get to experience the art of the steal, which in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful facets of any baseball game.  And now managers manage more: hit and runs, double steals, sacrifice bunts.  They’re all results from this new found shift towards athleticism.

Baseball is rewarding itself with pure, stealth athletes.

Yet fear not, homer lovers, for the game will always need its big men.  The premier archetype, George Herman Ruth, made baseball what it is today; and without that powerful mystique and consistent threat from the “slugger”, baseball would not remain as our US American pastime. 

So while the bones of the league may shift more towards athleticism and overall skill, I assure you that there will always be room for Dave Kingman and Frank Thomas and Ryan Howard. 

Like they say all over the internets, chicks certainly do dig the long ball.

And contrary to everything you know, chicks run the universe.

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. 

***Photo collages of Tiffani Amber Thiessen circa 1992-1996 also welcome.

17 Comments

We absolutely do. (Dig the longball. And run the universe.) Thanks for recognizing it.

http://mccarpie.mlblogs.com

Hey guys,
Are you gonna do another series of “RSBS TV” previewing each divison like last year?
Teen-Tiger
http://grandman2835.mlblogs.com/

McCarpie — I do what I can :-)
Teen-Tiger — Because it’s hard for Al and I to be in the same place due to geography this year, we won’t do the same thing but we will continue to produce material under the guise of RSBS TV. Keep checkin’ in and thanks for askin!
–Jeff

Love that photo of Ryan :O) And yes, we do dig the long ball, but I also love the running game! Wish there was more of it!

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Jenn — Me too. When I was growing up, the running game was the game, so I sorta feel detached from the game of my youth and wish it’d come back full force.
–Jeff

I love love pitchers duals, low scoring games, a squeeze play, great defensive plays and yes the long ball too! My dream is someday to watch a no-hitter in person. I’ve come close to being there or close to watching one in person. Some day…
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/
http://DodgersBlueBlog.com/

I have missed seeing a no-hitter TWICE, Emma! Both Mark Buehrle’s! I had tickets to both of the games right after the no-hitters he threw. Always a bit late…
–Jeff

Chicks rule the world, no question. And this chick does dig the long ball, particularly when it’s a walk-off. But there’s nothing more nail biting than a no-hitter.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Chicks ruling the world and yet still the suggestion that a “big man with a big stick” may have no place…. as you say always room for it, sometimes it may hurt, sometimes it’ll be all pleasure, but just like your bushisms, there will always be room….
~peter
Outside the Phillies Looking In
http://devilabrit.mlblogs.com

Not only do the women dig the longball, we guys do, too! It gets us out of our seats, high-five everyone around you – it makes the loneliest, most unaccepted-in-society person in the world a part of humanity!

As long as the home run ****** doesn’t shoot up, pop, drink or use anything to pump themselves up – the world is a better place for the longball hitter!

http://heirloom.mlblogs.com

Jane — I enjoy both… in moderation of course.
Peter — At least Bushisms make you laugh… Yes!
Randy — I agree… let’s keep the juice out of it and all will be well.
–Jeff

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of home runs. At the right time, they can be amazing or interesting, but I’d rather see pitching, defense, or a hit to a place where no fielder’s gonna be. In the right situation, a double or a sac fly or even a walk can be just as beneficial as a homer. But I seem to be alone in this opinion and MLB does not depend on my support of the longball (and it’s one of the most easy things in baseball to understand), it doesn’t matter.

“Chicks dig the longball”? Do the hens let em stay up that late? They’ll need their rest if they are going to grow into their feathers!
I love a no-hitter, myself. I would not mind “overdosing” on no-hitters, CGs, and perfect games. (Moderation? What’s that?…) Too bad you missed Buehrle’s gems!

Cici — I like all apsects of the game, in moderation. If every one had the same feel it’d get boring.
Greg — yeah, the no hitter sounds like it’d be great if more plentiful, but in reality I don’t think so. Its rarity gives it its mystique.
–Jeff

Jeff, I could see your point if we were talking about a Halladay no-no in a ST game, or King Felix against a B squad in a double-header. (I’d also question their managers’ sanity!) There ain’t no way, though, that I am getting tired of a Morris-Smoltz matchup–I don’t care how many times they throw no-no’s or CGs (we knew their offenses were not slouches)! Bring it on! If Cliff Lee is going against Mark Buehrle, I ain’t missing it. If three or four guys are in the Cy Young race, and each has thrown a no-no, the way I see it, that would make the Cy Young race more compelling, not less. I for one, wish the CG were more common (whether or not it is a no-no). If you see it differently, OK, but I’d disagree with you. I can’t see that getting old, or boring. But what do I know? ;)
Take care, Jeff!

Greg, I’m pretty sure we’re in agreement. No-hitters are great. But if they happened every day don’t you think it’d be a little washed out? Not as important/impressive? I agree the Morris/Smoltz game was one of the best ever (I rewatch it often), but if that type of game was pitched every day by every pitcher, then I wouldn’t be nearly as excited about it.
–Jeff

I guess I don’t see it that way, no. Oh, well. Take care, Jeff!

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