August 2010

The Reds Got It Bad

bieber and usher.jpgOutside of baseball, there’s really only one man worth wearing the crown of my man-crushdom.  Whether its his svelte good looks, his vocal charm, or his ability to cheat on multiple baby’s mamas and still be adored by all… this man is someone I’d like to be, if only for a day.

That man’s name is…

Usher.

So imagine the pure shock, the horror, the Crying Game-esque gut twisting reaction I had when I was informed that Usher was responsible for the comeuppance, development and overnight success of the height-challenged lesbian look-alike from Canada, Justin Bieber.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If it’s pop-culture-to-baseball analogies you’re lookin’ for, look no more, dear readers.  For Usher is the St. Louis Cardinals.  He’s tops among R&B artists.  He’s consistently good.  He’s been around the winner’s circle.  He belongs among the best.

Justin Bieber?  He’s the Cincinnati Reds.  A mere fart in the grand world of entertainment, he too will eventually dissipate back into nothingdom, where he belongs

The Reds boast a team of Cardinal has-beens: Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds, Russ Springer… hell, even Walt Jocketty.  During the course of a 162 game season, even has-beens find time to shine.

But like Justin Bieber and his awkwardly prolonged fifteen minutes of fame, eventually the Reds will burn out…

…the Cards will be on top…

…and Usher will be asking:

Can U Handle It?

Hate me ‘cuz I wanna eradicate Bieber Fever, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

(Special thanks to C for the vomit-inducing photo)

Island Dreams

pirate_camp_dr.jpgWhen people mention the Pittsburgh Pirates, you assume that nothing good can follow.  But there are exceptions to that rule, at least if you believe Time magazine.  Two weeks ago Time not only said the Pirates are doing something right, they also said the organization is an example to be followed

It’s no secret that MLB spends a lot of money looking for fresh talent overseas.  Many of the greatest players in the game today and in the past are products of that search.  MLB has harvested the fertile fields of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Curacao (just to name a few) to give us players like Big Papi, Johan Santana and Andruw Jones.  That is not going to stop.

But Time raises the alarmist cry, decrying the conditions in the DR and castigating teams for not providing the same level of living standards the writer claims exist for young players in the US.  At the same time, the article gets a little schizophrenic, insinuating that the DR will go the way of PR if baseball decides to treat them the same way it now deals with the territory.  The article claims, “After the U.S. commonwealth became subject to the draft in the (sic) 1989, the
number of Puerto Rican signees remained flat, while those in the D.R.
skyrocketed.” 

What I read in that, though, is that despite Puerto Rican players now going through the draft, the number entering MLB each year stayed constant.  If anything, that seems to imply that the system worked.  Puerto Ricans still made it to the majors, they just followed a route that ensured they got their fair share.  And if you can play, you’re going to get paid. 

dr_baseball_camp.jpgLook, it’s no secret that many kids see sports as a way out of a bad situation.  That’s just as true in the US as it is in the DR.  But do we crucify Nike for running basketball tournaments in the inner city where they can then get their hooks into promising young talent?  Do you think Coach K runs a basketball camp each year out of the kindness of his heart?  Both Nike and Krzyzewski realize that most of those kids are never going to make it, even at the collegiate level.  And it’s not like they’re taking care of them when the inevitable happens and the dream of an NBA career shatters.

This is how sports operate.  They offer the hope of a better future but that future is only available to a very select group.  What happens in the DR is sad and most of these kids will never end up making it.  But it’s even more sad that the government of the DR can’t provide basic services to its citizens and MLB is supposed to step in and fill the gap.  At least baseball offers them a dream.  That’s a lot more than the Pirates offer their fans.

-A

Special thanks to L for the article

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 7: Zambrano’s “Elf”-lessness… and Other Stuff

rsbs podcast photo 6.jpg

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast…

Look out, y’all!  The Prince of New York (aka Paul Lebowitz) is back!  Joining forces with Jeff and Johanna, the best writer you’ve never heard of exercises his unfettered angst and admits to whom he’d like to strangle to death.  Lots of heads roll as the guys discuss Carlos Zambrano’s temper, Vicente Padilla’s flopsweat, Mark Prior’s overgrown calves, the Lou Piniella Mailbag and much, much more… all to bring smileys to your faceys!

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.  And his Undercast podcast is wicked smaht!  I actually ran into his Undercast crew the other day, as they were going to Subway, and I realized Subway couldn’t contain their bad@ssness.  Anyway, their podcast is available on iTunes and is posted regularly at Undercard Films.  Check it out!

Recorded Thursday, August 5, 2010

Splendor in the Grass

panty_dropper.jpgDespite the month and a half wait, I have been getting more and more excited about the inevitable clash when Kenny Powers runs into our neighbors to the south.  But beyond the promise of imminent racist hyjinks, it turns out that Eastbound and Down is the gift that just keeps giving.

For instance, where else could you win yourself a free jet ski?  I’m pretty sure it doesn’t come with a half naked blond but if you have yourself a jet ski, I’m also pretty sure that it won’t be too hard to come up with a half naked blond soon thereafter. 

But even if you don’t win the contest and even if the blonds are sorely lacking in your life, there’s still plenty to look forward to.  While I was leafing through Esquire the other day I came across Ana de la Reguera who will apparently play a key role in season 2.  If that name doesn’t get you fired up, maybe this video will help:

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9/4250084001?isVid=1

Yeah.  If you need more, here’s the article.

Happy Saturday!

-A

Scrapbook This!

The fact that I am a complete and unparalleled baseball dork is no secret.

You know it.  I know it.  And the US American people know it.

Which is why I have no shame in admitting that I keep a rather odd notebook of newspaper clippings related to the game, peppered with creative doodles and instinctive comments when necessary.

Here is an entry from the other day:mark prior go away.jpg

The world cannot handle another Mark Prior comeback, just like it can’t handle another Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston reunion.

Enough is enough, people.  Let us move on.

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

Happy Friday!

Jeff

A Modern Day Bro-blem

jeter_rodriguez_bro.jpgA friend once claimed me as his “heterosexual life mate.”  What does that mean?  Well, in today’s lingo he’d probably just refer to me as his “bro.”  It’s a way for guys to have the kind of friendships that women have.  Although, a fine line exists.  Once you start talking about women and your problems with them, are you still in bro territory?

Perhaps it’s easier to look at this another way.  A-Rod and Jeter?  Bros.  Clemens and Pettitte?  Bros.  Carlos Zambrano and anyone?  Probably not so much.

You get the idea.  A bro is a guy who’s there for you, who has your back and who you can just kind of hang out with and be yourself.

But what happens when bro-ness becomes more complicated?  What do you do when you’re a free agent and every season find yourself in a new city surrounded by new faces?  Unfortunately, it’s at this point that the darker side of bro-hood sometimes rears its ugly head:

http://player.ordienetworks.com/flash/fodplayer.swf

This doesn’t have to happen.  You have options.  Skype and air travel make long distance bro-lationships much more doable than in the past.  But before you can make it there, you have to make it past the ugly specter of bro-stitution.  If you ever need help, we’re just a comment away.

-A

Wake Me When the Embarrassment Is Over

unknown comic.jpgRemember back in 2000, when Al Gore beat George W. Bush for the presidency… but then… didn’t become president?

Or how about back in 2004, when all the Democratic party had to do was put a solid candidate on the podium in order to beat the impish incumbent, Dubya, and they gave us John Kerry, who flip-flopped and stuttered his way to crapdom?

Well, maybe the lesser fits winning over favorites is a Texas thang… in which case, I wouldn’t mind seeing it go away.

Because an 18 to 4 shellacking from Houston (just one of seven losses — and counting — at the hands of the otherwise laughable LOLstros in 2010) is just too much for a playoff-contending team to take… especially for its fans.

My ears are already full of sand… so I’m hiding elsewhere until the pain, the torture, the embarrassment ends…

No.  I’m not telling you where I am.  It hurts too much.

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

Peace,

Jeff

American Obssession

bill_murray_couch.jpgI have my moments when I wonder about America.  Despite the fact that we know he’s a huge DB and an admitted juicer, all baseball cares about right now is A-Rod making it to 600.  Obviously we live in a Yankee-centric world so this is no huge surprise but there are bigger issues to worry about.

Like did you know that Bill Murray is currently destroying America?  Yep, through his work in such classics as Ghostbusters (or Ghostbussers which I can only imagine must be Jim Crow era existential comedy) and Stripes, Murray has apparently materially contributed to a sense of ennui that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of America.  And he’s probably gay.

Listen people.  You need to get a hobby.  No, following A-Rod’s exploits does not count.  And attempting to boycott a comedy legend who made gophers famous and ball washers pornographic doesn’t count either.  I’ve got one for you.  Why don’t you see if Bonds is still on the free agent market?  If not, I bet he’d be huge in Japan.  Kind of like Bill Murray.

-A

Things I Learned Last Week

jeff keeping score at wrigley.jpgFor me, the biggest difference between being 21 years old and 31 years old, is that at 31 years old I realize I don’t know everything there is to know about the world… most things, yes.  Everything?  Not a chance.

So that’s why I get so giggly when I learn something new.  Always be learning… that’s my motto.  And believe me, folks, last week was full of virgin information. 

For example:

The Pirates Have Run Out of Future Stars to Trade Away
Yeah, yeah, you can make a strong case for Andrew McCutchen being that guy, but the Pirates have long said he’s a keeper.  I’m talkin’ about the Aramis Ramirezes… the Nate McClouths… the Freddy Sanchezes.  Okay, maybe not the Freddy Sanchezes.  But you get what I’m sayin’.

Sarah Palin Thinks She Knows What Having “Cojones” Is All About

I can tell ya this much: those with cojones don’t quit their jobs as governor mid-term.  And they never use the phrase “hopey-changey”.  And they tend to not make up words, then compare themselves to Shakespeare.  Believe that.

The Yankees Have a Death Wish

How else does one explain their trading for Kerry Wood?  Look, I know Joba’s been bad and all… but Kerry Wood?  Seriously?  The Boss is rolling over, y’all.

clinton wedding.jpgA Chelsea Clinton Wedding Does Not A Camelot Make
Look, I know Bill Clinton is cool and all.  Hell, some might even say he’s… sexy.  But at the same time, no one would ever use the word ‘sexy’ to describe Hillary.  And Chelsea?  Exactly.  Let’s just agree that this whole Clinton shindig was more proof that what US America really longs for is ultimate regression: give us back our king; make us slaves to royal inbreeds; let the pope wreck the world with his medieval wordview.  I, frankly, will not be a part of it.  I will finish my spaceship and move to Betelgeuse, where I belong.  But I’m taking my collection of scorecards with me.

And, of course… I also learned that…

ryan ludwick running.jpgIt’s So Hard to Say Goodbye… To Ryan Ludwick
Admittedly, Luddy ain’t no Albert.  He ain’t no Yadi.  He ain’t no Waino.  But he is Luddy… and over the last few years we’ve really learned to appreciate his bat, his patience, his gamesmanship.  And we’re gonna miss that.  Ludwick has always been one of those quiet warriors — a stoic gamer who never shies from giving his best effort, even when that means playing through pain.  But the Cardinals needed pitching.  And with the outfield logjam set up by the excellent play of John Jay, there wasn’t room for Ludwick anyway.  The Padres are gettin’ a boost.  We’re gettin’ the arm we need.  And everyone ought to be happy (except for the Indians who currently reside in baseball hell).

We’re gonna miss ya, Ryan.

Don’t hate me.

‘Cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

(Special thanks to C for the top photo)

The Filibuster

Isn’t Roy Oswalt just a poor man’s Cliff Lee? Like a really, really poor man?

Jake
Portage, IN

_______________________________

oswalt_poor.jpgSure thing, Jake.  One incredibly poor man.  This trade might have made sense a few years ago when Oswalt was a dominant pitcher.  But now it just makes me wonder what the Phillies are doing.  I was more than a little surprised when they let Cliff Lee go but using Oswalt to fill that gap doesn’t make any more sense.

The other side of this question is what must it feel like to be Roy Oswalt and have these kind of expectations and questions put on you before you even finish cleaning out your locker?  It’s great for a pitcher like him to go from the affectionately named LOLstros to the pennant holding Phillies but I’m just not sure that his addition makes their hopes of a third straight World Series appearance any more likely. 

What do you do if you’re Roy Oswalt and the hopes of a city rest
on your shoulders?  And not just any city but a place whose nickname,
“The City of Brotherly Love,” definitely does not extend to its sports
fans.  Maybe they’ll give him a mulligan for the first game but that
kind of free pass gets used up pretty quickly.

If I’m Oswalt, I’m probably figuring out how I can bust my elbow in a
bar fight or whatever it takes to keep me away from those
crazy fans.  However, in all of this chaos there is some good news for Roy.  At least he shouldn’t have to worry about getting puked on.

So, yeah.  Oswalt is a poor man’s Lee.  He’s like Tom Joad fleeing the dustbowl.  You might even use the word indigent.  And starting your new team off with an 8 – 1 loss against the Nationals is probably not going to make those comparisons disappear any time soon.

-A

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 66 other followers