June 2010

Dispatches From a Midwestern Stoic

tips_like_a_cow.jpgIn the middle west of our fair country, we hold many things sacred.  A short list would have to include potluck dinners, the right to call soda by its Michigan name, pop, and knowing the correct form for tipping over a sleeping cow.  We also used to hold college football sacred but now I’m beginning to wonder.

Sure, we’re in the middle of baseball season right now and there’s plenty to enjoy.  The Tigers aren’t too far behind, Strasburg finally made his move and there’s even a chance I might get to see him pitch against the White Sox next week.  Forgive me if I’m not just a little bit distracted, though, by the news coming out of Big Ten land.

Personally, I still think it’s a little bit of a travesty that the conference added Penn State but decided to keep calling itself “The Big Ten,” only paying lip service to the true arithmetic by getting all cutesy with the logo.  But now they’re going to add Nebraska, too?  Don’t get me wrong, I understand the pressure that exists in big time college sports and adding a team like Nebraska is definitely going to help the revenue stream.  That doesn’t mean I have to like it, though.

On the bright side, at least when they picked a team that starts with “N” they avoided the confusingly named Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.  I mean, they do realize that the name of the school is French but the mascot is a tiny Irishman, right? 

I guess it’s inevitable and I should probably get over it.  It just seems strange that as a Big Ten team you definitely won’t play all the other Big Ten teams.  It’s like being in the National League but never playing the Dodgers.  Where’s the sense in that?

Now that I’ve said my piece, it’s time to get back to another couple things we hold dear in the Midwest: Beer and stoicism.  I think I’ll hold off on the meth, though.

-A

Notes from a Strasburgian Night

stephen strasburg debut.jpg
As Matt Capps recorded the final out in what turned out to be the most entertaining game of the entire year thus far, and as the camera panned back to frame a victorious, fist-pumping Stephen Strasburg in his Major League debut, a young man dressed in the number 37 from the stands mouthed what was easily lip read as:

“This is a baseball town!”

And he wasn’t kiddin’…

Strasburg’s Stuff
If you know me, you know that nothing makes me “rise up” (wink, wink) quite like my Erin Andrews meets Kourtney Kardashian meets Jenna Fischer fantasy… okay, that and lights-out big league pitching.  Stephen Strasburg may not sport 32C’s, but his stuff is as filthy as my mind is imaginative, and that, dear readers, is about as dirty as it gets.

On Jeff Karstens
Jeff who?  Who is that?  No, seriously.  Who is he? 

Rise in Relevancy
Picture it: It’s a Tuesday evening… you just got off work… and all you want to do is rush home to watch that Pittsburgh Pirates/Washington Nationals game.  You’ve been waiting for it in eager anticipation for well over a week now, and finally, as you crack open that beer and get a glimpse of what magic may become, you settle in to what ends up being the most captivating game you’ve seen all year long, of any teams, in any league.

And it’s the Pirates. 

And the Nats. 

Seriously.

This is good for the game, people.  This is very, very good for the game.

Don’t hate me.  ‘Cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The New Anti A-Rod

galarraga_joyce_shake.jpgDespite all the controversy and repeated airings of the historically disputed play at first base, the ultimate effect of Armando Galarraga’s almost-perfect, perfect game seems to have been an outbreak of good sportsmanship. 

Of course Galarraga has quickly established himself as a stand-up guy with his reaction to the call and his level-headedness when dealing with the aftereffects.  That in and of itself is impressive.  In fact, when compared to certain other players known for their general lack of sportsmanship (yes, I am once again looking at you, A-Rod), Galarraga comes across as a role model for anyone taking up the sport.

His behavior has been contagious, too.  First, the ump apologized for the blown call.  Then the two of them appeared together at the start of the next day’s game and acted as though the events had somehow brought them closer.  But this is where things really start to get weird.

bat_chavez.jpgIn following the career of Hugo Chavez, a Venezuelan who also aspired to play professional baseball, I have never been struck by a sense of restraint.  El Presidente says what he wants and isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade (or a president an ignoramus — or worse depending on how you translate the word Chavez actually used).  But even Hugo seems to have been affected by Galarraga’s magnanimity saying in his weekly address that it was simply a mistake before moving on.

Wait a minute!  There wasn’t even a claim that the imperial oppressor had done its worst to hold down a poor Venezuelan?  Nope.  Like I said, Galarraga’s demeanor easily cooled what could have been an incendiary situation and that seems to have also cooled off what are normally much hotter heads.

So, once again, here’s to you, Armando Galarraga.  In a world of fiery tempers and sorely lacking graciousness, you are the new anti A-Rod.

-A

Thanks to L for the news on Chavez’s broadcast and the gist of the article.

You Better Eat Your Damn Wheaties, Y’all

So… yeah.  I gave mad props to my boyhood hero Ken Griffey, Jr. the other day.

And all that is true.  Still.  No regrets.

But don’t get me wrong… there’s only one man who could turn me gay; and that man says you better eat your Wheaties.

Uh… did I just say that?

Hate me. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

But aren’t we going to miss D-train? Haha.

Keith
Novi, MI

____________________________________

dontrelle willis.jpgWhat a (seemingly) long, strange trip it has been on the D-Train. 

I think every Tigers’ fan was stoked when Dontrelle and Cabrera came over.  Sure, we were giving up a potential phenomenon in Maybin but Miggy?  The guy just hits.  And even though Dontrelle had some issues, he was young enough that it made sense to think he could rediscover his form and again be a dominating pitcher.

A couple years later it hasn’t turned out to be the steal it seemed at the time but, despite wasting all that money on the D-Train, the fact of the matter is that we still have Cabrera and he’s on pace for an MVP season.  Look further south and you’ll also notice that Maybin has been a huge bust so far. 

Hope springs eternal when you’re a fan and when you look at who Willis’ replacement is, you can’t help but think that maybe we’ll be all right.  Sure, Galarraga hasn’t been dominating in every start and has even been roughed up at times.  But a guy who has the stuff to throw a perfect game also has the stuff to be a solid addition to the rotation.

Honestly, I’m a little sad to see Willis go.  He didn’t pitch great for the Tigers but I always wanted to see the guy do well.  Maybe it was his goofy windup or maybe it was his promise as a pitcher but I couldn’t help but like the guy.

So, yes.  The D-Train has left D-Town.  And even though I won’t miss his abundance of walks and botched starts, I am going to miss the guy himself.

-A

***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. 

*Sightings of Maybin’s escaped talent also welcome.  We’d like to help the guy recapture it.

Obligatory Idol Worship: The Greatest I Ever Saw

Griffey's catch.jpg
I knew this was coming.

We all knew it was coming.

And yeah, it probably came later than most of us had hoped.

But all of that is over now… wee memories that will promptly dissolve into suggestions of things we’ll soon forget.  Forever.

A true American hero is hanging it up. 

Ken Griffey, Jr., you will be missed.

All told, he’s the greatest ballplayer I’ve ever seen.  Maybe someday Albert Pujols will take his place in the hallowed halls of my fond baseball-lovin’ regards.  But today is isn’t someday; today is the day I stand and applaud the career of an absolute legendary icon — the man I wanted to be, the man every little boy with a glove and a bat wanted to be, the man whose smile could infect an entire stadium.

And did.

Ken Griffey, Jr… saying goodbye to you is like saying goodbye to summer: I know everything will be okay… just a little less fun.

I tip my cap… and can’t wait to see you in Cooperstown.

Peace,

Jeff


Don’t forget to check out the LATEST RSBS Podcast!

An International Incident

galarraga_donald.jpgA friend of mine came into town from Venezuela a week ago and she came bearing gifts.  The first thing she handed me was a thoughtful yet dangerous history of the American cocktail.  So many recipes, so little time.  Next up was what is surprisingly my first Scrabble set. 

But the final item, although the smallest, was really what got me excited.  It’s a calendar handed out by the US embassy in Caracas where each month features a different Venezuelan major leaguer.  Of course there was the requisite Johan Santana and K-Rod but when I reached November and Miguel Cabrera swinging a bat, that was when I realized just how great of a gift it was.

I didn’t realize how amazing it was, though, until I turned the final page to an unknown pitcher for the Tigers.  Well, unknown at the time.  In the last couple days I think the entire country, even someone who has never watched a baseball game in their life, now knows who Armando Galarraga is.

And with all the events of the last couple days, I got to thinking.  Despite MLB’s reliance on Venezuelan superstar players, relations
between the two countries are not exactly warm.  Was it possible that Joyce’s blown call at first base was actually a conspiracy?  Was this a subtle thumbing of the nose toward the often belligerent president of Venezuela?  And if so, why, two days later, has Mr. Chavez still not weighed in on the subject?

We don’t have answers to these questions but with the weekend approaching and another edition of El Presidente’s weekly diatribe, “Alo Presidente”, set to hit the airwaves, you can be sure he’ll have something to say.  And as always, we here at RSBS will make sure to keep you updated on all the events.  Well, unless we get sucked into that first gift.  Who knew you could do so much with whiskey, sugar and a lemon?

-A

Special thanks to L for the calendar and all the other gifts.  Be safe down there.

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 2: Albert’s Anti-Slump… and Other Stuff

rsbs podcast photo.jpg

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast…

Jeff and his sCrUBS fan nemesis pal, Johanna Mahmud, get back in the studio and throw down on the art of being right!  Among the titillating topics of discussion: mispronouncing dominance [Doc Halladay] and futility [John Grabow], Brandon Phillips’ wings, a wild war of words over Albert Pujols, the Lou Piniella Mailbag and much, much more.

Holla!

- – -

Subscribe
to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe
via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special
thanks to Keith Carmack — our engineer, director, editor and
all-around sound guru.  He always knows when the Hawks are (or aren’t) gonna get donged.

Recorded Monday, May 31, Memorial Day 2010

Mark it Zero

In all the hullabaloo surrounding the oil spill in the gulf, the Gore’s divorce and the hopefully inevitable end to the basketball season, you might be losing track of other important happenings around the nation.  No, I’m not talking about baseball season (although that is pretty important).  Rather, I’m talking about the heating up of political rhetoric as we plow through the primary season in preparation for this fall’s midterms.

Sure, most of the hubbub is about Obama and how his policies and actions will fare with the electorate.  But let’s not forget other equally important regional races.  For instance, did you know that the Alabama Agricultural Commissioner controls 5 billion dollars?  If you didn’t before, you will after watching this:

Of course, you now also know that this guy is out of his freakin’ gourd.

You are about to enter a world of pain.

-A

If the Cubs Were a Marriage Proposal…

team of destiny cap.jpgAfter writing my poignantly passive piece dedicated to the joys of having the Chicago Cubs as an arch rival, dear readers galore made it very clear that I appear to be dangerously teetering away from the party line of anti-Cubness — that my newfound and lighthearted regard for our despised enemy rendered me anything but a bad@ss.

For that, I apologize.

Weakness was not my goal.  Rejoice in dominance… that was my tune.

But since the sCrUBS are stuck playing the Pirates this week — yes, the effing Pirates, the team the Cubs can’t scrounge a win against — I felt now would be as good a time as any to restate my allegiance… to put the Cubs back where they belong: under my shoe.

So, now I present to you… If the Cubs were a marriage proposal

Ouch.

Make that a double ouch.

Life at the bottom certainly ain’t fun and games, folks.

Hate me ‘cuz I made ya watch that, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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