February 2011

Trever Miller: More than Just a Baseballer

Trever miller running Sometimes my unbridled enthusiasm for all things baseball blinds me from realizing that the very people I am rooting, booing and screaming for are actual human beings — real folks with real problems, real desires, emotions and dreams.  Taking a step back, getting to know who these baseball players really are on an individual level can be just as rewarding as watching them perform on the diamond.

And such is the case with St. Louis Cardinals reliever, Trever Miller.

I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to cursing Miller’s name on more than one occasion.  While he’s ordinarily a pretty solid solid arm out of the bullpen, there have been times when he got himself in trouble, leaving me throwing things at the television, begging him to go back to Tampa. 

For that I am ashamed.  And sorry.  After all, it is just a game… and the game is there to help us deflect attention from our real world obstacles.  Let us never forget that.

Trever Miller is a runner.  I found this out recently as he was featured in the March 2011 issue of Runner’s World; and his story is as heartbreaking as it is empowering.  As the article reports, Miller began running in the offseason as a way to stay fit, but it soon became a passion.  And once he began taking his daughter, Grace, who suffers from a rare chromosomal disorder that has left her paralyzed and mute, on his regular runs by pushing her in a special stroller that weighs 100  pounds, he found that running offered he and his daughter a communal joy that couldn’t be found anywhere else.

As a runner myself, I can relate to that indescribable high that is experienced through the sport.  But I will never know the obstacles, the pains, the seemingly insurmountable adversity that Miller and his family have endured in recent years. 

Trever Miller is no longer just a baseball player for a team that I love; he’s a guy who loves to run, just like me, a man who has found ways to stay positive despite debilitating setbacks, and he’s a father whose love for his child knows no limit.

He’s a goddamn hero.

That’s what he is.

And for that, I tip my cap.

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

Do you think Miguel Cabrera needs a handler for the season like Josh Hamilton does?

Shane
Novi, MI

____________________________________

tiger_handler.jpgA handler?  That’s an interesting question.  After all, he is a Tiger and no one would think of letting a tiger just roam free.  Except in India where tigers live.  But that’s different.  But seriously, after Hamilton’s experience falling back off the wagon, I think many teams realized that a contract and shame alone aren’t always enough to keep players in line.

For me, the question comes down to an economic consideration.  The Tigers are already into Cabrera for quite a few million and if they want to get the full return on their investment, what do they need to do?  When you pose the question this way, it seems like a no-brainer.  Of course you get him a handler.

I guess for me this is a pretty simple answer.  Alcoholism is a disease and sometimes despite the best intentions of those afflicted, they just don’t have enough to fight it off.  The real question is, who pays? 

Here, my feeling is that the the team and Cabrera should split the costs.  The Tigers knew when they signed Cabrera that he had a history of problem drinking.  Similarly, Cabrera knows that he needs to avoid the alcohol in order to perform at the expected level.  If the Tigers want the full return on their investment and to avoid a repeat of Cabrera’s 2009 meltdown that cost the team a trip to the playoffs, they should pony up.  If Cabrera wants to actually win a championship with the Tigers and avoid spending some serious time in prison as well as possibly getting himself deported, he needs to pony up.

In a way, this debate is actually a good sign.  Baseball was more than happy to let players do whatever they wanted up until a few years ago.  You weren’t supposed to cheat but pretty much everything else was fair game.  But imagine if a program like this had been put in place 25 years ago and covered things like problem gambling.  Maybe then we wouldn’t have this inane controversy about whether or not Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.  If putting a handler on Cabrera keeps him from experiencing a similar fate, I’m all for it.  I’ll even do my part by ponying up and buying the leash.

-A

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Waino Es Bueno, But the Elbow Not So Much

Waino es bueno

Ask anyone from my parents’ generation where they were and what they were doing when President Kennedy was assassinated, when the Beatles invaded America or when they first saw Jacqueline Bisset in a wet t-shirt, and chances are he or she will be able to recall every, single, little detail.

Unfortunately, February 23, 2011 will be that day for me: the day Waino went down for the season — a seemingly unerasable stain on the psyche of a bonafide baseball beserker (me, duh).

Booze was consumed, things were broken, neighbors were frightened.

But that’s over now.  I got it all out of my system.  And just as in dealing with any other tragic situation, I allowed myself to grieve.  But now it’s time to man-up and put things in perspective.

We are still talking about the St. Louis friggin’ Cardinals here.  And while we may not have him locked up long-term, we do have the greatest single baseball player of the last quarter century headlining our team, every single day in Albert Pujols. 

We still have an ace in Chris Carpenter.  We still have AP protection in Matt Holliday.  We still have running-game assassin extraordinaire Yadi Molina behind the plate.

And we have the winningest active manager in the game leading them all in Tony LaRussa.

Ain’t no reason to cry, fellow Redbirds fans.  The NL Central climate may have changed; we probably don’t line up to run away with the division now, but we have every reason to watch every game and feel really damn good about it.

Rally the troops. 

This is war.

Haters g’on hate.

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

Peace,

Jeff

(Image courtesy of Eff Yeah Baseball Gifs)

Taking a Second Look at the Gadaffis

Muammar_Gaddafi.jpgNorth Africa seems to be going the way of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  You know it’s bad but it just seems to be getting worse.  In Tunisia, Ben Ali had a few people killed but then decided to leave before it got too much worse.  In Egypt Mubarak held out a bit longer and tried a little harder to crush the opposition but soon enough he realized that enough was enough.

Enter Gaddafi.  Now, we’ve always known that the Colonel had a few screws loose.  This is the guy who ordered the bombing of the Lockerbie Pan Am flight after all.  From his Shakespearean, almost Lear-esque, pronunciations to the equally unhinged speech of his supposedly sane son, Saif Al-Islam, promising a “blood-bath” in Libya, the Gaddafi family has shown an intent in the last few days to usher Libya into an era of civil war.

But over here at RSBS, we prefer to focus on the positives.  The news media is full of all these negative portrayals of the Libyan leaders so we decided to do a little research and come up with reasons to appreciate the Gaddafis.  Granted, it wasn’t easy but the RSBS interns are always up to the challenge and came up with two important pieces of information that you should consider before judging the Colonel and his family.

#1.  Saif Al-Islam is a pacifist at heart
Don’t believe me, take a look at his doctoral dissertation.  Sure, he may be promising a blood-bath if the protesters don’t back down but all he really wants is a more democratic international structure that can break down existing authoritarian power structures.  As Mr. Gaddafi puts it, “Citizens in undemocratic states emphasise that they are not represented in
the decision-making process of the IGO [intergovernmental organisation]. Even if their governments are represented in some capacity, because
their governments are authoritarian, abusive and unrepresentative of their
people’s real interests.”  Does this sound like a guy who wants to help daddy drop bombs on his fellow countrymen?  Wait, don’t answer that.

#2.  Can you really hate a James Bond style villain?

How can you take Gaddafi seriously?  Besides the almost comic stylings of his speeches, you also have to take into account the shades and the funny mustache.  Not only that, he’s run the gamut of super-villainery from the aforementioned bombing to his sponsorship of various other ne’er-do-wells.  On top of that, he has a statue of an enormous fist crushing an American jet.  A statue!  All he needs is a volcanic island as his headquarters and a group of fem-bot style Amazonians as his personal bodyguards and he’d be set.  Oh, he already has a group of fem-bot style Amazonian virgins as his personal bodyguards?  Well played Mr. Gaddafi.

-A

A Poorly Defined Tool

lara_logan_egypt.jpgFebruary 11th was not a joyful day for everyone in Egypt.  Sure, the protesters in Tahriir Square appeared jubilant on the TV but the dark side of the celebration became clear a couple days later when news outlets began covering the sexual assault of CBS News correspondent, Lara Logan.  Instead of celebrating the overthrow of Mubarak’s oppressive regime, some of the people gathered that night wielded one of the greatest tools known to oppressors everywhere: rape.

Sadly, it’s not just in chaotic Middle Eastern countries or war-torn African countries that rape has become a tool.  Even here in the US where rape has become politicized, it serves as a tool for various agendas.  If the current Congress has its way, it will become even harder to define and that much more difficult to punish.  I’ll let Kristen Schaal help me clarify here:

Yep, the way we’re going, it won’t actually be rape unless you explicitly state that you’re raping someone during the act.

However, this is good news for some people.  For instance, Ben Roethlisberger.  No longer will he have to worry about getting young ladies drunk and then forcing himself on them in the bathroom of a bar.  According to Congress, this isn’t really rape.  Or, as Ms. Schaal explained, it’s merely rape-ish.  I think both Roethlisberger and the Congress might have a hard time explaining that one to Ms. Logan, though.

-A

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 19: Mr. Cokey’s McBrainface… and Other Stuff

rsbs podcast photo 13.jpg

 

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles

Jeff and Johanna (well, mostly Johanna) push the boundaries of political correctness, in that, well, they don’t see any boundaries.  At all.  Hot dog!  They also get into pretty much anything and everything, including but not limited to Miggy Cabrera’s drinky-time, Albert Pujols’ year long stranglehold on Cardinals fans, a beyond the grave interview with Ron Santo and much, much more… all to make you have happy ending!

Holla!

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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack.  Keith does it all, yo! If you haven’t already, please check out Keith’s crew and subsequent podcast at  Undercard Films. They’ll make you laugh. They’ll make you cry. They’ll make your face hurt! In a good way! 

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Recorded Saturday, February 19, 2011

 

Three Up, Three Down

allen loves joe mauer.jpg
Just like Mr. Krause on a first date, this is gonna be quick, probably painful and
will most likely include more than one embarrassing revelation:

vote smart.jpgCHI-CITY POLITICKIN!

Today is election day here in the Chi.  Rahm.  Carol.  Chico.  Some other guy.  Those are your choices for mayor.  Oh… I mean, those are your Democratic party choices.  In this town, Republicans just hang out at the local deep dish joint and get fat, occasionally showing up to an event to slam a Democrat or two.  Such slams are rarely heard.  Like they say, if a tree falls…

And don’t worry.  When I showed up to vote this morning I didn’t let that pesky ghost of Ron Santo standing outside the polling center sway me.  And judging by the turnout (or lack thereof), I don’t think anyone else is voting him in either.

Some things never change… like…

MR. KRAUSE’S WAR!

So, will you or won’t you, dear readers?  Will you follow my jaded and oft lugubrious colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, to the trenches of a baseball-less existence… all to stick it to a guy (assuming Bud Selig does have proper male anatomy) who doesn’t care, who isn’t listening, who won’t get it anyway?  Are you really ready to stay home and watch Maury all day instead of batting practice?  Are you prepared to sulk in the reality that is a soulless sports sanctuary that includes *cough* the NBA and NHL?  You do know that this has nothing to do with forcing change (why bring it up just now after all these years?) and everything to do with misery loves company, right?

It’s true dear readers… and it’s all the fault of…

allen loves the tigers.jpgDRINKY MIGGY!

Who else is to blame for Mr. Krause’s sudden bout of revolutionary activism?  Why it can only be his beloved man-crush Miguel Cabrera, of course!  With Miggy’s er… uh… “issues” causing alarm throughout the Tigers organization, Mr. Krause knows that his team’s season could be well over before it even starts.  And that is why he is rushing to react, to draw in troops, to overthrow the baseball world so we all lose sight of Detroit slipping below Kansas City in the win column.

Believe it.  Or don’t.  Just don’t say you weren’t warned by someone in the know.

And… don’t hate me.  ‘Cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Chamberlain in Shirt Sleeves

Jeff_2009_1.jpg“I express a commitment to carry on and protect the constitution and the
people, and transfer power to whomever is elected next September in free
and transparent elections.”
-Hosni Mubarak, 10 February 2011

“I will not seek a new term.”
-Zine El Abadine Ben Ali, 13 January 2011

“God willing, on Dec. 31, 2012, you’ll be saying goodbye to me.”
-Bud Selig, 29 November 2009

“For the present I ask you to await as
calmly as you can the events of the next few days. As
long as war has not begun, there is always hope that it
may be prevented, and you know that I am going to work
for peace to the last moment.”
-Neville Chamberlain, 27 September 1938

“We’ve put up with the shenanigans this long… another year or two won’t kill us.”
-Jeffery Lung, 18 February 2011

Am I saying that Mr. Lung is a modern day Neville Chamberlain and that his policy of appeasement towards the gruesome excesses of Commissioner Selig lead inexorably to a modern day “Blitz”?  I leave that for history to decide.  All I can do is point out that allowing Selig to hold his Opening Day without protest is tantamount to allowing Germany to annex Czechoslovakia in 1938 without a word of disagreement.  Will we wait until Selig marches into Poland before we finally stand up?

Ben Ali and Mubarak also made empty promises that they would step down as their terms ended.  However, their citizens called their bluffs and both men find themselves exiled to places where hopefully they can do no harm.  As citizens of Major League Baseball, we owe it to ourselves and each other to do no less.  The revolution begins 31 March 2011.  Selig must go!

-A

The Filibuster

If Pujols went to the Cubs would there be protesters in St. Louis as there have been in Cairo?

Jane Heller
Confessions of a She-Fan

____________________________________

cairo rioting.jpgWhile I am quite certain the baseball gods would never conjure up such a foul situation as Albert Pujols dressed in sCrUBBIE blue pinstripes, I cannot say as much for the public.  Deep down, I think we humans tend to envision the worst, to see where our minds might take us after glimpsing death and destruction, because we’re a curious (and mischievous species) hellbent on imagining every scenario possible, even the ones that are completely ludicrous.

But that hasn’t stopped me from having nightmares about it.

Because, as Roger Clemens taught us many moons ago, anything is possible when you’re nasty enough.

Now I don’t think Albert is being nasty in this case.  No, not at all.  But as long as he doesn’t have a new contract, we’re all going to be speculating what uniform he might be wearing next year.  The MLBlogosphere is full of talk, the tweets are all a buzzin’… and Phil Rogers of the Tribune has his finger stuck on the “vomit inducing dribble” button on his keyboard.

Oh well.  Not everyone can form a clear, independent thought.

No matter what uni my man-crush Albert will be donning in 2012, I am preparing for the worst. 

I’m preparing for the worst by taking a trip.

A trip to…

Sh!t City.

Take it away, Lauras…

And yes, Jane, you can bet the rioting will be much like we’ve seen in Cairo… only, fatter.  And more beer.

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

Peace,

Jeff

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**Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster?  Want a free pimp for your blog?  How ’bout just donating some words to the charity of being a baseball fanatic?  Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing kraulung@gmail.com or by commenting below.

A Tribute to Paula

paula-abdul.jpgAlthough I wasn’t really allowed access to “secular” music growing up, I sometimes managed to sneak in a little listen from time to time.  Strangely, Paula Abdul quickly became one of my favorites.  Between the poppiness, the perkiness and the just straight up catchiness, I still find myself whistling her tunes from time to time. 

As if the songs weren’t enough, the videos also became legendary.  This was the time when movie stars often showed up and Paula made her mark by costarring with Keanu Reeves in the “Rush, Rush” video.  This was also the era of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Paula followed suit with the “Opposites Attract” video.

Strangely, though, the song that I remember the most and probably liked the most is the one I really can’t place as far as videos go.  However, if I would have been the director, I may have started “Cold-Hearted” off something like this:

http://www.liveleak.com/e/1b2_1292272109

Happy Saturday.  Once you’ve cleaned yourself up, go get some brunch.

-A

Video courtesy of Barstool Sports: Boston

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