April 2011

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 22: Ryan Braun’s Rumspringa… and Other Stuff

rsbs podcast photo 7.jpg

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles

Jeff and Johanna kick the season off by trying to name every Jewish baseballer ever known to man before PodMaster Keith let’s The 8:08 (from harried Undercast fame) into the studio… from there on out the wheels come off in one great big ball of awesomeness that includes Dodger takeovers, Hawkisms galore, goofy games that may or may not include a sexual innuendo (or fifty) and much, much more… all to make you excite!

Holla!

- – -

Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. Make sure you take some time to check out Keith and his crew’s wicked smaaht podcast.  The man’s a filmmaker!  You can find out more at Undercard Films

- – -

Recorded Wednesday, April 27, 2011

GM and the Dodgers: A case study

government_motors.jpgWhile writing the filibuster the other day, I got to thinking.  What’s so bad about MLB taking over the Dodgers?  It’s not something they want to do and ideally they’d like to get rid of the franchise as quickly as possible.  Both MLB and the Dodgers hope to emerge from this more healthy.  The weird thing is that as I considered all the aspects of this move, it began to feel a little like deja vu.  I had the distinct feeling that I had read this story before.  Then it hit me.  This same story happened just recently with a little company called General Motors, and the US Government played the role in which MLB now finds itself.

Just like today’s Dodgers, GM found itself in trouble because of profligate spending, terrible management and an inability to provide the consumer what they demanded.  As it became clear that GM could no longer support its obligations and refused to make the changes needed to resolve its issues, the government stepped in. 

Just like with MLB’s decision to take over the Dodgers, the government’s decision with GM had its share of detractors.  Although I don’t think anyone outside of San Francisco truly wants to see the Dodgers fail as a franchise, a fair amount of the fringe right and left wing in the US were more than happy to watch GM collapse.  While refusing to see what impact GM’s dissolution would have on an already fragile economy, these people decided that the moral obligation was to let GM collapse as an example to other firms.  Obviously this was not an option for the government, just like McCourt’s continued ineptitude with one of baseball’s storied franchises was not an option for MLB and the commissioner.

The real moral of this story comes in the aftermath.  GM quickly emerged from its bankruptcy and government receivership.  More importantly, not only did it emerge more streamlined and healthy after government managers got rid of deadweight makes and models, it also set a record with its IPO.  MLB is hoping for a similar outcome and looks to be using an important tool that the government also utilized with GM: get rid of the management who got you into this problem in the first place.

Since GM rose phoenix-like from its own ashes, those who criticized the initial move have become much more subdued in their comments.  Although the level of criticism hasn’t been quite as great with MLB and the Dodgers, I have a feeling that even those who have decried Selig’s actions will end up eating their words once the Dodgers are resold.  Takeovers are always painful but they aren’t always bad.

-A 

Setting the Mahmud

johanna mahmud.jpgRSBS Special Correspondent and Podcast Slavedriver, Mr. Johanna Mahmud reports:

He Plays with a Load in His Hands

The NFL draft is Thursday and that means we evaluate everything about everyone’s everything.  From their toe sizes to wingspans to ability to play with others to punctuality to how long they can sit through the last season of Oprah to the limitations of their menstrual cycles to how many yards they can throw a Mexican snapping turtle to how they would handle Kanye taking their MVP trophies away and giving them to Beyonce.

It’s a lot to sift through.

AND FUN!!!

Which reminded me of what’s going on with MLB closers now. Closers seem to be chosen for teams primarily by stuff and grit but also based on looks and intangibles. So….. I’ve listed some of what I look for in potential closers for when I’m king of the Cubs and I take over as Czar of the DAMNED……

hamish.jpg
The following quotes describe facial expressions, which are the best way to determine who’s got the right stuff to end games for me:

“I’m so damn mad I’d punch a baby!”
TRANSLATION: I did odd things to Barbie dolls when my sister wasn’t looking.

“I’m gonna come over to your house tonight, wear your sister’s makeup and then beat her to death.”
TRANSLATION: I’m confused about where slavery begins and my basement’s interior design ends….

“I’m good at rallying a team from behind!”
TRANSLATION: What I really need is a bearded man with a vintage cardigan who will tell me “he has to see about a girl and its not your fault, Brian Daisy Fuentes.”

mr_weber_carving_ham.jpg“I’ve wet myself many times in public, but I DON’T CARE…”
TRANSLATION: I’ve wet myself many times in public, but I DON’T CARE.

“The best thing about me other than my heater is that I should have played the lead in Our Town. I’m egotistical, fiery aggressive and I have great athletic skillz.”
TRANSLATION: My name is Jeffery Lung and I will pretend to be your closer for a third of an inning. CHEERS!!!

“I understand angles and I’m grindy, gritty and tuffffff!”
TRANSLATION: I’M DEFINITELY WHITE AND I’M  PROBABLY AN INDIANA PACER.

One last thing about closers, because if you’re like most teams, you’ll have to find a new one soon (like by Saturday)… Russian women are like closers: when they goes, they goes fast………

–Johanna Mahmud

Flying Car.jpg

BTW… if Lovie Smith could pick a closer he would be from Abilene Christian.

Winning One for the Gipper

obama_cool_again.jpgThe only thing worse than supporting a team that loses all the time is supporting a team that doesn’t even put up a fight.  I’m fairly open about the fact that I’m a Lions fan and as anyone who watches football knows, that’s a painful cross to bear.  But a couple years ago, when they set a modern record for futility in losing every single game, they at least put up a fight. The seasons where they went 2-14 and, despite winning a couple games, it was obvious they just didn’t care, that was much worse.  Honestly, I’ll take 0-16 over that any day.

This is why it’s also frustrating to follow US politics.  It’s not so much seeing the democrats flounder away the high ground in all this budget mess or even seeing the republicans bully their way back into control of the House.  It’s the absolute lack of fight in the democrats.  Sure, there’s some occasional posturing but even that only serves to remind me of this:

I’m sure there are multiple reasons for this.  Ok, not so much for the Pakistani boxer but for the democrats inability to stand up for themselves.  According to one study, democrats systemically favor compromise.  Honestly, that’s all right.  That’s how government happens.  But there’s a difference between compromising to keep the government running and compromising your basic principles.

Last year democrats finally showed some cojones when they jammed through the health care overhaul.  They looked for compromise, they worked with their republican colleagues to come up with something that both sides could appreciate but at the end of the day, they finally made a stand.  For that we can thank Obama.

And that’s the one thing that gives me hope in the current mess.  Sure, the democrats lost control of the House.  Yes, the republicans claim that they won’t stop pushing until health care is repealed and the US becomes some sort of Ayn Rand themed fantasy-land.  But like the health care debate, democrats only seem to find their backbone when Obama enters the fracas.  If recent microphone “slips” can be believed, it looks like the president might getting ready to once again ride that snake.

You know, I could deal with the Lions going 0-16.  At the end of the day, football isn’t life and death.  I don’t accept the democrats going 0-16 or even 2-14, though.  I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that Obama gets his colleagues to realize it’s time to win one for the Gipper.

-A

Things That Are Worse than Paul Reiser…

hitler-mussolini.jpgAfter a mere two episodes that had the same effect as a handful of Ambien chased by a fifth of Knob Creek, Paul Reiser’s triumphant(?) return to network television lasted about as long as a Milton Bradley welcome party.

I guess this is undeniable truth that US America just isn’t mad about you, Mr. Reiser (*RIMSHOT*).

But don’t worry, Paul, there are plenty of folks out there who are WAY WORSE than you.  And of course, the RSBS interns have been working furiously to bring you the shortlist.  Shall we?

Chone Figgins
After signing a $43.5 million deal to be the ignition in an otherwise defunct offense, it only seems fitting that the fate of the Mariners took another giant step backwards as Mr. Figgins continues to be the only thing that smells worse than Pike’s Place fish market.  Last year he topped off his .259 batting average with a debilitating case of bad attitude.  This year, he seems to be on track for more of the same, only, Wakamatsu ain’t there to box the boy’s ears.  Therefore, Chone is definitely worse than Paul Reiser.

Jim Skinner

Since he is the CEO of the McDonald’s Corporation, I think it’s important that we call out Jim Skinner and everything his company stands for: taking advantage of the masses’ inferior intellect.  I don’t care what you do to the labeling, the packaging, etc., “food” that comes from McDonald’s is not f***ing good for you.  In fact, it’s killing you… it’s killing you and the rest of US America.  When I first swore off fast food (about 7 years ago) I was surprised at how my body reacted by feeling good most of the time.  After a year of zero Big Macs, I decided to give it another try.  I had a Big Mac, large fry and a Coke.  An hour later, I threw up… from both ends.  That was my body’s way of saying STOP THE INSANITY.  I did and I’ve never felt better.

Also, people are using Jim’s restaurant as a place to throw down.  Not cool.  So Jim is definitely worse than Paul Reiser.

2010 Jason Bay
This lucky (and smart) Canadian managed to work out a $73 million five-year deal with the Mets after the 2009 season.  He followed that trip to the bank by hitting 6 homeruns in 95 games, before he got hurt and missed the rest of the season. 

He was bad.  So bad that he is STILL worse than Paul Reiser.

Muammar Gaddafi
NATO wants him dead.  That doesn’t make him bad, that makes him SOOP-UH BAD… or, WORSE than Paul Reiser.

olliver perez sitting down.jpgOliver Perez
I really hate to pick on the Mets here, but, well, the Mets have done a lot of dumb things in recent years… like, y’know, pay Oliver Perez $12 million a year to throw baseballs like my athletically-challenged and oft persnickety colleague, Mr. Krause throws softballs. 

Not very good.

Of course, Ollie’s situation comes in way WORSE than Paul Reiser’s, because Ollie is STILL getting $12 million from the Mets this year, even though he’s not on the team.

All of the above are bad.  In fact, all of the above are really bad.

But they are also UNANIMOUSLY rich beyond my Joe Plumber @$$, so… the moral of the story, once again, is be badGet paid.

Congrats on making the team, Paul Reiser.

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

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

Now that the Dodgers are controlled by MLB, is the situation there going to be as ugly as their throwbacks?

Jenny
Hammond, IN

____________________________________

frank_mccourt.jpgBefore I address the Dodgers’ situation, I want to take care of the second part of your question.  I’m not completely sure why you find the new throwbacks (an oxymoron if there ever was one) so horrific.  Maybe it’s the color, maybe it’s because it says Brooklyn even though the Dodgers have had nothing to do with that borough for decades.  I don’t know as though sky blue would be my first choice but if you really want to talk ugly, let’s talk Astros, Pirates or Nuggets.  Those, my friend, are some truly ugly uniforms.

MLB taking over the Dodgers?  That’s not ugly.  That’s just business.  McCourt’s running of the Dodgers is to ownership what those old Pirates’ hats were to MLB headware.  A disgrace, plain and simple.  Let’s take it step by step.

First, when McCourt bought the Dodgers, he leveraged the buyout.  In layman’s terms, it’s kind of like he took a mortgage on the franchise in order to buy the franchise.  That’s not a problem in and of itself but when he bought the Dodgers, they weren’t a brand-new, top-of-the-line model.  They were a fixer-upper.  Instead of making the repairs, though, he took any money he made to pad his own lifestyle.

Second, when McCourt’s life started to fall pieces, he used the franchise as his personal piggy bank.  Need to pay the lawyers?  Add a couple bucks to each beer.  Mrs. McCourt won’t settle for less than financial ruin?  Bleed it out of the season ticket holders. 

Third, despite everything, McCourt still doesn’t see any error in what he’s done.  His statement in response to Selig’s action obviates further discussion: “Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30
teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines.”  He simply doesn’t get it.

Here’s the deal.  Like it or not, for MLB to work, the teams in the big markets have to be healthy.  This specifically means New York, Chicago and LA.  On top of that, the Dodgers are one of MLB’s standard bearers.  Jackie Robinson was a Dodger.  Kirk Gibson fist-pumped his way around the bases as a Dodger.  But when the owner of the Dodgers has to take a massive loan just to cover the monthly payroll, something has gone horribly wrong.

I don’t like Selig.  I think he’s done a pretty awful job at managing MLB and some of his decisions will continue to haunt the game for a long time.  However, he made the right call this time.  The courts will most likely take the same view which is heartening to baseball fans and definitely good news for Dodgers fans.  Sure, Selig’s last adventure in takeover didn’t go all that well but that was a different era and Montreal is not LA.

As long as McCourt doesn’t drag this out too long, the situation should be resolved relatively quickly.  MLB wants a healthy Dodgers organization and will work quickly to get the club out of its own hands and into those of an owner who actually cares about the team. In addition, if Selig is smart he’s already looking ahead and realizing he’s going to have bigger fish to fry with the impending implosion of the Mets.  As for Dodgers fans, they can go back to wondering about the throwback jersey.

-A

- – -

**Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster?  Want a
free pimp for your blog?  How ’bout just finding out if Mr. Lung’s affection for Albert Pujols is more cute or creepy

Send us your Filibuster questions
by emailing kraulung@gmail.com or by commenting below
.

Shut Up and Pitch

train wreck.jpg“You don’t boo your own team. I don’t care who
you are or what you say or just because you spent your money to
come here to watch us play that somebody happens to make one bad
pitch and give up a homer and you are going to start booing?”

–Ryan Franklin, April 20, 2011

Um… okay.  My patience is… er… nah, forget it.  I don’t have any patience anymore!!!

We’re NOT TALKING about JUST ONE PITCH, Mr. Franklin.  We’re NOT TALKING about JUST ONE YACKED performance.  We’re TALKING about the difference of 4 or 5 games in the WIN column.

And it’s only April!!!

So yeah.  Do your job.  Get guys out. 

THEN we’ll stop booing.

Keep this in mind, sir: YOU make millions of dollars whether you f*** up or not. 

WE, the FANS, we are the ONES who KEEP YOU EMPLOYED by dishing out $45 (or more) per game, per SEAT… the ones getting raped by beer vendors selling $8 bottles of crap (Bud Light)… the ones who have to put up with your whiny whimpers to the reporters in the press.

We have every damn right to boo your @$$.

You don’t like it?

STOP LOSING GAMES ALL BY YOURSELF.

Man up.

And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

What’s So Good About Good Friday?

I hate Easter.  The candy sucks.  It’s all about some dead guy.  And the worst part is that it’s on a Sunday so I don’t even get a day off of work.  At least Columbus and MLK get me a freebie.

As bad as Easter may be, Good Friday is even worse.  Although the candy sucks on Easter, at least there is candy.  What do you get for Good Friday?  Nothing.  There’s still school, there’s still work, there are no presents and if that wasn’t bad enough, teams are forced to reshuffle their schedules.  Why, just two short years ago the entire Detroit Tigers franchise almost got sentenced to an eternity in hell for playing their home opener on Good Friday.

Luckily 2011 is the year of revolt and I say we continue where the Egyptians and Tunisians left off.  Leave work early, get drunk, hunt down the Easter bunny and make rabbit stew.  This year, let’s actually make it a Good Friday.

-A

Brandon of the d’Urbervilles

angry mob.jpgBeing a Major League franchise’s top prospect can’t be easy.  With the big money post-draft signing bonuses, a constantly lecherous media hype and swarms of unwaveringly moody fans who want-want-want now-now-now, I imagine the amount of pressure that young, talented baseballers put on themselves is beyond my pedestrian understanding.

But I do know this: every great once in a while, that young talent becomes Jason Heyward.  Most of the time, however, that talent ends up being Felix Pie… or Cameron Maybin… or Todd Van Poppel.

Brandon Wood is in a class all by himself.

Drafted in 2003, the buzz around Wood (the Angels’ top prospect for at least six years now) has been simmering with whispers of his immense, raw talent evidenced as he plowed through and destroyed the minor leagues.  But despite the club’s confidence in his abilities, Wood has been unable to escape the scary truth: he just hasn’t hit at the Big League level.

brandon wood sad.jpgIn 464 at-bats spread over 173 games in five years, dude has managed an embarrassingly flaccid .168 batting average, and I’m sure no one is more upset about that than Wood himself.

The Angels designated him for assignment on Tuesday.  By all accounts, it was a sad departure, for both he and the club.

But one of the things I love about baseball is that it is always eager to offer a second chance.  Perhaps Wood will get picked up by a team that will give him a starting job, no questions asked.  Perhaps the pressure that has built up and the disappointment that lingers over him can be brushed aside, forgotten.  Perhaps Wood will allow himself to just be Brandon, and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, wants, needs.

If he does that, maybe his talent will shine. 

If things don’t work out, at least he can say he gave it his very best.

And there is absolutely no shame in that.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

the fly pod.jpg

Setting the Mahmud

johanna mahmud.jpgRSBS Special Correspondent and Podcast Guru, Mr. Johanna Mahmud reports:

Dickensian Asylum, One Good Player, Bad Paper. Little to Make Me Excite.

The Cubs, for me, are pushing the human existence backwards and making hearts sad.

Another season is already bogging me down.

I was watching the Rockies kill/drub/maim the Cubs on Sunday (the same expansion team that has already been to a World Series, and, like the Marlins teams that have won two so far, also have exciting young talent despite playing in a small market) I couldn’t change the channel back to the NBA playoffs fast enough.

My beloved Bulls and D. Rose are the only things keeping me breathing.

Lethal Injection Gurney.jpg
With the Cubs, it’s not so much the bad baseball and the lack of power, but mostly just the fact that they’re boring and unsatisfying. I think I’d rather watch a touring band of angry flying Arabs and Mexicans on ice. Then you’d have something! Or just So Taguchi.

Mel_Brookes_Robyn_Hilton.jpgStarlin Castro might be the best player in Chicago, and some hope exists for that fact alone, but with all the bad contracts and old players getting older, I must face the music now: the Cubs can’t compete for baseball immortality by winning the World Series for at least another 2-4 YEARS. I guess that’s not the end of the world given the century mark came and went.

But, it still blows.

I had a birthday recently and time moves faster now. When I was 15 I thought I’d never be 25, but that happened. Then I knew I had forever til 30. Then… that happened.

The Cubs last had a real chance of winning it all three years ago. Swept by the Dodgers and feeling and hurting and poopooing and getting raped way too much like when they were swept the year before. Look, this isn’t 1500 words about how much pain I’ve endured in my life being a Cubs fan. This is about “I know they’re not great and won’t be for a while but please let them just. be. fun……”

Houdini Chinese Water Torture Cell.jpgThey play station-to-station baseball, have very little power and carry a distinct lack of personality (the personality I get from Carlos Zambrano I don’t need so much). So in essence, they’re a slow team that can’t hit bombs and are extremely boring. On a daily basis. GUHHH…… HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??

The one thing to rely on (we thought) was decent starting pitching. Currently the Cubs have the least amount of quality starts in baseball.

For the love of god, if you’re going to suck, at least be fun! I mean be like fun bad!!?? Like when the Bears are bad you’ll at least have a good time watching Devin Hester returning kicks or Jay Cutler throwing it all over the field or Lovie Smith waking up once in a while to say something to our lesbian-looking offensive coordinator Michael Martz in a roller coaster train wreck loss. That can be fun!

The Cubs were terrible ten years ago but Sammy Sosa at least was exalting the baseball gods with soaring rips into the bleachers completely unaided by anabolic substances of any kind. Seriously. This is true. He told me. When Kerry wood pitched, grown men wept, women went into early labor, George Bush liked black people, and I thought Creed had potential as a legitimate artistic talent. Dusty Baker gave verbose speeches of the utmost linguistic integrity, dripping with so much backwoods gibberish that I hung on his every word and swooned with how a man so simple could speak so eloquently…

“It’s called hitting, and it ain’t called walking. Do you ever see the top 10 walking? You see top 10 batting average. A lot of those top 10 do walk.” 

WORDSY!

“When you first come up, you want to get some hits”

VERBOSOSITY!!

“Peoples have been trying to bring me down. That’s OK, that’s how it is. Actually, that makes me stronger. It’s OK. What are you going to say when I kick somebody’s butt?”

SUPERINTIMIDATINGWORDSYVERBOSOSITY!!!

When I first moved to Chicago, going to Wrigley was a cathartic experience. Finally, I could go to games whenever I wanted, which was something I remember dreaming of when I was just a pup watching with Grandpa every Saturday on WGN with Stone and Harry. After watching the game with Grandpa, I would immediately run outside to field tennis balls off the concrete stairs, pretending I was Shawon Dunston.

I don’t have great memories of Wrigley anymore. Just heartache and a wanton desire for greatness. The fond memories I have of the Cubs are really just afternoons hangin with Grandpa. That’s what I miss.

Now it’s just pain.

And again, I’d see a priest but I’m still good looking enough that he might try to do odd things to me.

The Cubs may lose this season but for the love of god…. give me excite!!

–Johanna Mahmud

wolfgang amadeus mozart.jpg

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 66 other followers