May 2010

A Pitcher is Worth a Thousand Words

dallas_braden.jpgIn the past few days two pitchers with the same kind of heart but very different skill levels achieved notoriety from very different results.  Since we here at RSBS try not to judge, we won’t say that one did better than the other.  But we will say that both brought a smile to our faces.

Dallas Braden was the main story, of course, with his nine innings of perfection.  He’s no David Wells and that’s probably a good thing.  And he’s still known as the guy who told off A-Rod.  But he’s also the guy who no-hit the hottest team in baseball.

Meanwhile, in another ball park not so far away, minor leaguer Rojo Johnson attempted to come back after a rough life that saw him spend some time in the cooler.  The results, although not unexpected, probably weren’t all that he had hoped for……or maybe they were.  We’ll let you be the judge:

Looks like he might have been channeling Nolan Ryan there for a second.  I think we can all get behind that.

Happy Tuesday!

-A

No Experience Required

elena kagan.jpgFor the Matt Drudges, Satanic She-Worms and Jabba the Huts of the world, President Obama’s controversial decision to seat an inexperienced left-leanin’ lawyer to the world’s highest court is not going too well.  Indeed, dear readers, the rip-roarin’ has already commenced with character-bashing slander at the ready: “she has no experience!”… “she’s part of the Chicago machine!”… “She’s ugly! You sure that ain’t Gary Dell’abate!?!”

No.

I am not sure that she is not Gary Dell’abate.

gary dellabate.JPGBut I will try to pretend that I didn’t ever think about that.

She has no experience.  So what?  Does she have what it takes?  Does she have the balls to — wait, never mind.

As is the case with baseball, experience doesn’t always guarantee success.

Mike Leake never pitched a game in the minors and yet he has a record of 3-0 right now, one of those wins coming against the sCrUBS (which nets him extra points ‘cuz I say so).

Don Denkinger never had any experience being completely retarded for one single World Series play yet he managed to get the job done in 1985.

aj hinch.jpgAnd let me remind you of a fella who didn’t have any managerial experience whatsoever: a man, who as a player achieved a lifetime batting average of .219 with 32 homers and 112 RBI.  That man’s name is A.J. Hinch and that man manages the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Arizona Diamonbacks are… um… the D’backs are…

Pay no attention.

We’re all in this US American mess together. 

I hope.

Hate me ‘cuz it’s trendy, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

The Phoenix Suns gave us the “Los Suns” jerseys. What are the chances we
see “Los Tigres” or “Los D’backs”?

Charles L.
Jeffersonville,
IN

____________________________________

roberto_clemente.jpgExcellent question, Charles.  And very a propos considering all that has been going on down there on the border.  It’s also an interesting question because baseball is a sport dominated by Latin players.  If you’ll forgive me for making a very broad generalization, Hispanic-Americans love baseball and also seem to be unfairly targeted by what has been going on.  So, what do we do?

Well, it’s nice that the Suns made this display of solidarity especially since it’s their state.  And baseball has already been in the business of reaching out to the Latino community since the days of Roberto Clemente.  But it takes more than some slogans on a t-shirt.  Yes, it’s an important gesture but sports are such an integral part of the fabric of America that there’s much more they can do to educate people. 

And when it comes to education, no sport is quite out front of the curve like baseball.  Roberto Clemente paved the way for Latinos in baseball but he also made them more visible in society.  It goes without saying that Jackie Robinson’s impact rippled far beyond the confines of the stadiums in which he played.

In fact, even now baseball has an unprecedented ability to make a huge impact in this situation.  No, they can’t overturn the law.  But they could encourage all the teams that use Arizona as a spring training base to move out and even offer financial incentives to teams who choose to do so.  If they wanted to do something really drastic, why not say that the Diamondbacks will have to play their home games in a neighboring state until the situation is addressed.  No, MLB can’t overturn the law but they can make it mighty painful for those who enacted it.

Baseball is sport but it’s also business. And one of the touchstones for businesses recently is the idea of corporate social responsibility.  Companies give back to the communities in which they operate and attempt to show that they are good citizens.  Well, considering the make up of the league and its most rabid fan base, baseball’s corporate social responsibility would seem to extend directly to this situation.

Sports and particularly baseball have the ability to change society.  Cute translations of teams’ names makes for good press and nice t-shirts but if they really want to take up the mantle once again and make a real difference, more drastic action is needed.  So let’s see it Bud.  Have the D’backs play their home games in Vegas or Albuquerque and let’s see how long this law stays on the books.  Jim Crow didn’t last long after Jackie.  I bet SB1070 wouldn’t either.

-A

The Desire to Score

jeff scoring a game.jpgWhite, black, awake, asleep, hungry, full… doesn’t matter… if you are a man and you have a heartbeat you exist to do one thing and one thing only:

Score.

As no exception to this eons-old rite of passion, I couldn’t stand the drought any longer, and on Wednesday night I ventured on over to my neighborhood cathedral: the ever tantalizing, the ever teasing, the ever titillating Sox Park.

I scored like no man has ever scored before.

Scorecards tell stories — great, fantastic stories that can be pieced together with digits and asterisks and squiggly lines.  Each one is unique — each scorer different from the next, yet universally similar enough to enlighten anyone else willing to read them.

When I was a kid I found scorecards from the ’60s an uncle of mine had kept.  There I was, decades later, in a dark basement in the dead of winter, recreating the majesty of Ken Boyer and Bob Gibson and Tim McCarver on a hot July afternoon… in my head.

So go ahead, take a gander… and try not to drool (click image to enlarge):

5.5.2010 Sox Scorecard.jpgAhhh… yes… I feel so much better now.

Hate me ‘cuz you’re allowed to, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The Five Zone

As the baseball season gets into full swing over the next month and we inch closer to the All-Star break, it’s important that players stay in top form.  As we all know, the season is a marathon, not a sprint, but losing a key player for any length of time can be devastating down the stretch.

We here at RSBS want to do our part in keeping players safe, healthy and uncompromised which is why today we’re sharing this video with you all.  And remember, this isn’t just for the pros.  The tips presented here are applicable to all of us:

Happy high fiving!

-A

RSBS Presents: Jesus’ Greatest B-Sides

guitar_Jesus.jpgNot content with being just the son of god or co-author of the best-selling book in history, Jesus has been on a rampage as of late.  Whether showing up in professional athletes’ thank yous or inspiring American presidents into wasteful wars thousands of miles away from American shores, JC has moved up in the world from simple carpenter to internationally recognized architect.

In honor of Jesus’ (pronounced a la espagnol) spate of success, it only seemed fair that we honor him like we have honored other life changers.  But how do you go about honoring a man with such an impressive resume?  The hits are so well-known that repeating them just seems, well, repetitive. 

So, we came up with another measure.  Every best selling artist has a set of secondary works that, although impressive in their own right, never make quite the same splash as the ones set on repeat.  However, maybe it’s time they get a little airplay of their own.  To that end, RSBS would like to present Jesus’ greatest B-sides.

Personal Jesus
jesus_haiti.jpgWe’ve all heard the story about how Jesus gave someone the confidence or the extra push they needed to make it through something difficult.  But what about the guy who wasn’t able to get that second wind and ended up flat on his face 2 miles short of the marathon finish line?  Was it because Jesus tripped him?  Turns out that Jesus really is always there and often responsible for the failures.  In fact, we now have proof (although it is only available via an artist’s rendering of the occasion).

Just the Two of Us
There’s nothing wrong with having an imaginary friend.  I had one named Paul when I was growing up.  Sometimes that imaginary friend can be a big d!ck, though:



Jesus Hates the Cubs

No list would be complete without the modern day favorite and RSBS production, Jesus Hates the Cubs.  And it’s extra funny because it’s true:

So, there you have it, a contemporary hit list of JC’s lesser known smashes.  Keep ‘em coming, big guy.  You must have another Crusade in you at least.

-A

Ernie Harwell: “He Took His Cut, and Now He Takes His Seat”

It’s easy to explain what Ernie Harwell meant to the everyday working man.

Ernie Harwell was the everyday working man.

He was also the guy who’d pull over and help you change your tire.

The type of gentleman you’d want to have stand up at your wedding… for those of you who get married and stuff like that.

Ernie Harwell was many things to many people, but no one can deny that Ernie Harwell was baseball.

Rest in peace, brother.  Rest in peace.

ernie harwell.jpg

Being Stuck in a Philadelphia

philly statue.jpgThe symbols of relevance, the things that transform a simple it into that proverbial “it” are generally born all in the timing, and since the Birds on the Bat are stuck in a Philadelphia this week, so too am I.

And I don’t like it.

No, this has nothing to do with Philadelphia being a backwards place (it is).  It doesn’t have anything to do with the type of fans who cheer when the other teams’ star gets hurt (they do).  And of course, this does not have anything to do with that ^sswipe Jim Bunning (he really is an ^sswipe, folks).

Indeed, my suddenly emphatic aggravation with Philadelphia is rooted in one fella and one fella only.  His name is Ruben.  Ruben Effing Amaro (that middle name is still surreptitiously unofficial).

Why?  Why such distaste for one man?

ruben amaro.jpgBecause he gave a mighty slugger who is notoriously awful against left-handed pitching the contract extension of all contract extensions — a mesmerizing $25 million a year… for 2012 to 2016 — causing massive migraine headaches for we Cardinals fans already obsessively worrying about Albert Pujols’ future with the team.

Yeah.  Ryan Howard is good.  But $25 million a year?  He ain’t that good.

And anyone who has ever seen the game of baseball can tell you that Albert Pujols is LIGHT YEARS better than Ryan Howard, in all aspects of the game.  All… of… them.

ALL!!!

So if Howard is worth $25 million a year, then Albert is worth $30-$32 million a year, which means that if I want A.P. to remain a Cardinal for life, I and the rest of Cardinals Nation better be ready to pay $100 for a bleacher ticket, or imagine a world where Albert isn’t our savior.

(That would kill me by the way)

So thanks a lot, Ruben.  Just a week ago, deep down inside, I would have admitted to having a strange yet pleasurable affinity for the Phillies.  Dick Allen.  Mike Schmidt.  Steve Carlton.  Pete Rose.  Lenny Dykstra.  Darren Daulton.  Just the thought of those guys grindin’ it out with the “P” on their caps kinda got me excited… and I have no idea why.

But now?

They’re dead to me.

And so are you.*

Hate me ‘cuz I give it to ya straight, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*You’re not really dead. This is what fancy writers like Al and I call “figure of speech”. It can be AWEsome. Like it is here.

Seeing Red….and Pinstripes

sports fan.jpgSometimes hating a team takes almost as much effort as loving one.  For me, even during the long, dry spells, it has never been hard to support my Michigan teams.  I’ve been a Lions fan my whole life except for a brief fascination with the Bears as a result of the Super Bowl Shuffle.  I was never much of a hockey fan but if I am going to cheer, there’s no way I’ll cheer for anyone but the Red Wings. 

Supporting one team often means detesting another, though.  Michigan football is one of my main reasons for getting up on Saturdays during the fall but the thought of watching Notre Dame lose can get me moving, too. When I was little I liked the Pistons but that also meant I detested the Bulls.  Sure, Jordan was great and all but I even found it hard to truly appreciate him since he was wearing all that red.

However, despite my love of the Tigers, I’ll be the first to admit that my hatred of the Yankees doesn’t make all that much sense.  The Tigers and the Yankees don’t have much of a rivalry and there isn’t much to justify my feelings.  It might make more sense if I felt this way about the White Sox but the fact still stands; I hate the Yankees.

So, it was particularly painful for me the other day to learn that my feelings, although normal, are not as widespread as I assumed.  Despite what you would think, the Yankees are not the most hated team in baseball, at least according to ESPN and the Wall Street Journal.

Sure, they may be walking it back a little now saying that it’s just fans’ responses to the opening of the season.  But hearing even for a second that the Yankees are not as hated as I believed strikes fear in my heart.  How could I be so wrong?  And so alone?  How could anyone dislike Cleveland more than the Yankees?  The Indians are barely even a baseball team.

Sure, my dislike of certain teams may not be good for me and may be doing horrible things to my blood pressure.  But when it comes to most of them, there’s a very good reason.  And even when there’s not, the hate still feels good.  Yeah, I’m talking to you, A-Rod.

-A

The Filibuster

Strasburg is looking pretty good in the minors but the Nationals are
putting together a surprisingly decent season so far.  How long before
he comes up to join the club and what kind of impact will he have?

Ashley
Frankenmuth, MI
____________________________________

stephen strasburg.jpgBefore I say anything, I just gotta ask: are you the same Ashley from Frankenmuth that my nefarious and oft sedated colleague Mr. Krause used to usher in and out of our college dormroom at odd hours back in the day, so as not to draw attention to his haphazard extracurricular activities? 

If you’re not, then just pretend this piece starts… now:

Okay, Stephen Strasburg.  Fine.  But please realize I ain’t no analyst.  I am not an insider.  I don’t have an ear within the organization nor do I claim to know what any of the higher-ups are actually doing.  I only have access to the same information you do… and considering that, I can tell you this:

Stephen Strasburg is wicked sick.

Believe me, I did not want to like this kid.  At all.  I cannot stand the overhyping of a young someone who has never faced any serious Major League competition, ever, in his life.  Sure, every once in a while the media gets it right.  But rarely.  For every Jason Heyward there are a bazillion Todd Van Poppels, Bill Pulsiphers, Brien Taylors.  And that’s not even including the fizzlers who succumb to injury like Mark Prior and lackluster primadonnas like Pete Incaviglia.

But this Strasburg fella… I think he’s the real deal.

His motion is mechanically fluid.  His ball has jump.  He makes hitters look silly.

And his current line at AA Harrisburg reads as such:

3 W, 0.52 ERA, 0.577 WHIP, 11.9 SO/9

Uh… wow.

AND the Nationals are actually holding their own right now among the NL East hogs.  To hear the talking sports heads tell it, if the Nats continue to compete and Strasburg continues to dominate, we could very well see him this season.  And if we do, I would bet he’d destroy everyone he faces.

The first time around.

After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

But I do know one thing: when Strasburg does make it to the Bigs, he’ll be the most loved man in all of Washington, D.C. since January 20, 2009.

And we all know how loved POTUS is now.  Jeesh.  We US Americans… we’re a tough crowd.

Hate me ‘cuz it ain’t illegal yet, just 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. 

***Nancy Pelosi’s original face also welcome. I wanna scare one of my neighbors.

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