April 2011

Flying Too Close to the Sun

icarus.jpgConfidence is a good thing.

But, too much confidence can be deadly.

To Red Sox Nation, who declared the season over before it even started, this message couldn’t be more true.

Or how about Charlie Sheen and his self-destructing, bridge-burning rampage against all-things reasonable?  Couldn’t he have boned some pornstar chicks AND STILL gotten to work on time?

And to the US American electorate who expected the Obama administration to clap its hands and make 8 years of mess magically disappear, do you not understand that these things take time?  That a Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachmann led fascist regime is not the answer?  That political infrastructures aren’t as simple as iPhone apps or ordering chicken fried rice from your local Chinese joint?

Confidence is a good thing.

But, too much confidence can be deadly.

Just ask Mike Leake about his confidence in the good ole five-finger discount.

Hate me ‘cuz I say what you’re thinking, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Putting Aside the Smarminess

Young_John_Donaldson.jpgWe tend towards the smarmy and irreverent over here.  Actually, “tend” probably isn’t a strong enough word.  We “tend” towards smarmy like Kyle Farnsworth “tends” towards being a cry-baby pansy.  If you had any doubts about our smarminess, that last sentence should have erased them.

Every once in a while, though, we run into a story that softens even our jaded hearts.  Don’t worry, I’m not about to get all Mitch Albom here.  In fact, I’ll probably go punch a baby polar bear as soon as I’m done writing this just to prove I’m not going soft.  That being said, the story of John Donaldson might just get to you, too.

John Klima recently wrote a moving tribute to Peter Gorton and his search for John Donaldson.  However, what got me most in the story was that beyond his ability as a ballplayer, Donaldson was way ahead of his time when it came to professionalism.  During Curtis Granderson’s tenure with the Tigers, he wrote a blog for ESPN and I liked to check it out from time to time because he always had an interesting take on events. Donaldson did the same thing 100 years earlier and his criticism of early 20th century racism still hits home today: “If I act the part of a gentleman, am I not entitled to a little respect?”

Unfortunately for Donaldson, it took another 30 years for Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier and only now are his exploits coming to light.  From an apparent 18-inning, 31 strikeout game to suggesting a name for the most famous Negro League team, the Kansas City Monarchs, Donaldson seems to be a legend come to life.  But once again his exploits on the field pale in comparison to the person he seems to have been off of it.  Can you imagine any current major leaguer recounting this story?:

“One prominent baseball man in fact offered me a nice sum if I would go
to Cuba, change my name and let him take me into this country as a
Cuban.  It would mean renouncing my family. One of the
agreements was that I was never again to visit my mother or have
anything to do with colored people. I refused. I am not ashamed of my
color.”

Don’t worry, we’ll get back to the smarminess and irreverence tomorrow.  Every once in a while, though, it’s nice to pay tribute to a hero of the game.  Even if only half the stories are true, John Donaldson makes it in my book.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a baby polar bear to punch.

-A

The Filibuster

Every time I turn on the TV or check the news, all I hear is budget this
and spending that.  And it seems like there’s a race to see who can
slash the most and do it quickly.  If MLB took the same approach, what
could be cut and what should be cut?

Ramon
Skokie, IL
____________________________________

Oh, dude… Ramon… spending cuts in baseball?!?  Well, it’s your lucky friggin’ day, my friend, ‘cuz I’ve just been waiting — WANTING — to slash the baseball budget for eons — to shred it back to its more recognizable roots. 

Here’s but a shortlist of what could and SHOULD be cut from baseball, all together:little league pirates.jpgUniform Spending
You get one home uni and one road uni.  One.  Each.  You rip it or get it dirty or stained, you deal with it, just like in little league.  I don’t care if ya gotta run a shoestring through your pants to keep ‘em up, you do it.  And none of this alternate jersey crap.  White.  Gray.  That’s it.  Also, we’re making them out of wool.

Beer Prices
It’s bad enough I gotta pay $44 friggin’ bucks to be assualted by the plebeian tongues of Chicago sCrUBS fan bleacher bums at Wrigley, but to pay $7.25 for a 16 oz can-o-crap (Bud Light)… someone oughta be caned for that sort of crime.

“God Bless America”
Um… if we HAVE to sing this during the seventh inning, then we HAVE to sing “Here Comes Santa Claus” too, ‘cuz Santa Claus is MY favorite mythical creature, m’kay?  Whether you believe in god or not, this song has no place in our grand game.  To make me stand up to prove I’m a patriot is even more asinine.  I love my country because my country says I don’t have to conform to some crazy ideas thought up by a crackpot who has his own best interests in mind.  Also, by mandating this song be sung, we are excluding our friendly neighbors to the north, who’ve never been the same since losing the Expos.  Frankly, I’ve never been the same since losing the Expos… so let’s find a non-religious song that exemplifies NORTH America’s awesomeness… like, how about something by Rush? 

Get that done, Ramon, and we get our game back. 

I mean, seriously… have you seen Rush play live?

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

- – -

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Ballpark Calculations

+

we-want-beer.jpg

=

-A

Three Up, Three Down

Jesus saved Josh Hamilton.jpgJESUSY JOSHY!

First he tried to score from third when no one was lookin’… then he slid head first and broke his arm… then he was… out.  THEN he blamed third base coach Dave Anderson for the boneheadedly aggressive move (not my fault, duh)… and THEN he later apologized to Dave Anderson for blaming him for the boneheadedly aggressive move. 

*SARCASM ALERT, SARCASM ALERT*

Considering the overwhelming, undeniable, empirical evidence in this case… I am glad to report that Jesus of Nazareth was soley responsible for Joshy’s change of heart, just as he was responsible for Joshy gettin’ some buttery nipple action at da club a while back.

HOLLA!

BERKMAN FOR MVP!

Berkman smiling.jpgThe 2011 season is well under way and… SURPRISE!!!… that’s Lance Berkman posing at the Cardinals best player!

Hey folks, he may be weird lookin’ in a Redbird uni, but he’s the only one in the lineup who’s been solid from the get-go.  Go ahead, Albert… just go ahead and think about finding a deal somewhere else… we got number 12!

THE GO-GO-HOME WHITE SOX!

Ozzie Guillen sure is giving Timothy Geithner a run for his money (wink, wink) in the sour face department.  Heck, I’d be angry too if my son’s name was Oney (good grief is that really his name???)… I’d also be angry if my team scored runs like crazy, only to see them erased in the latter innings of an otherwise locked-down ballgame when the bullpen wheels start fallin’ off (see Chris Sale, Matt Thornton, etc.).

Can’t believe I’m sayin’ this, but, I sorta miss big boy Bobby Jenks.  At least with Jenks you’d at least see some emotion when he blew the game. 

Hangin’ the head and walkin’ off is a bit too pedestrian for my liking.

disaster zone.jpg
Happy Friday!

Jeff

A Reformulation and New Application of the Krause Doctrine

tigers_win.jpgTurns out I was wrong the other day.  Sure, invading the field and trying to win the World Series through people-powered revolution seems like a good idea.  It might even work.  However, it’s just too unwieldy and unsure a mechanism.  Actually, I should have been paying more attention while responding to the filibuster question because that shows the easiest, most direct route to victory.

See, if you just declare yourself the winner in the face of all facts and evidence to the contrary, who can dispute you?  You’ve already shown that you don’t care about “facts” or other peoples’ so-called “reality.”  No, real reality is whatever you decide it is.  In the case of Gbagbo, reality is that he won the election and the other candidate should pack it in and go home.  In the case of the Tigers, they need to stop paying attention to other teams’ and the league’s definition of “victory” and decide for themselves what it means.

Once you’ve created your own rules and then pick and choose which ones you choose to follow and when you choose to follow them, you can’t help but win!  Here’s an example.

I have now decided that that Tigers actually won the World Series in 2006.  Although the Cardinals may have scored more runs, several of those runs were due to pitcher errors that I don’t accept.  This in turn nullifies those runs making the final tally in the series 4 games to 1 in favor of the Tigers.  And yes, I think it’s appropriate to go ahead and have a victory parade now.  We can decide that it’s November of 2006 for a couple hours which will also help.

I plan to apply this to all Tigers games going forward and also to Michigan football.  I thought about using it for the Lions as well but I’m pretty sure that even this system couldn’t overcome the incredible assclownishness left behind by Matt Millen.

-A

P.S. Yes, I’m aware that Gbagbo was captured.  Doesn’t change the fact that his plan worked for several months.

Setting the Mahmud

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

Abominable Apocryphal Deplorable Illustrious Wonder

This weekend provided some flat out taint tickling and nipple pulling excitement golf at the Masters. And…guess what….because…wait for it…. Tiger Damn Woods was in the middle of it. Shocker.

If Tiger isn’t playing, I’m not watching. If Tiger isn’t in the hunt, I’m usually running naked through the yard, among other Sunday things on my to-do list.

The thing with Tiger is it’s so rare to watch someone be the absolute best at something. Jazz-wise we have Coltrane, Armstrong, Miles, Ellington, Parker, Ornette. Once in a lifetimers. I’m not necessarily a golf fan, but I am Tiger fan. I want him to get back to just assassinating the field every weekend he plays. It brings me joy to see anyone he’s paired with pee his pants and lose his s***, or as Ralphy Wiggums would say, “I have two kinds of wet in my pants.”

tiger-cubs.jpgIt’s not about how nice he is or was to the fans, or exceptionally boring and emotionless to the media. I couldn’t care less. It’s not about his love of whooouures. And it’s not about me watching to see a devoted, faithful husband church goin family man.

I want the stone cold killa. I want him to murder people. The way he used to.

air album.jpgI had no problem when Michael Jordan would talk trash, or be a complete pr!ck to his teammates; because his play was legendary. His competitiveness was legendary boarding on hilariousness. “Dude, Jordan just knocked out Horace Grant in practice! He’s so competitive…” “Did you hear Michael put arsenic in Cartwright’s Cheerios to motivate him? SO COMPETITIVE…”

To me, Barry Bonds was different because he cheated the game. Big Mac (Mark McGwire) cheated the game. I loved Jose Canseco (mostly for trading card purposes) as a kid, but he cheated and ever since he retired he has been completely worthless, (other than exposing some other users).

I was a Bulls fan growing up, but I know non Bulls fans across the world that prayed that they could witness in person what M-Jeff could do on any given night. To be there transfixed on the master transforming the court, baseline to baseline, into a cathedral of windmilling-above-the-rim-artistry. Poetry in white-hot electric motion. Also, the only guy ever who could pull off a Hitler stache….

tiger shoes.jpgThe same goes for Tiger. Putts that always fall at the most clutch times, power rips from the rough, bunker shots that no one will ever make one out of 1000 times.

In baseball, (believe it or not), some of the worst people ever are LEGENDARY PLAYERS. Or….as I would like to dub, the Veda Pierce division, (fyi, watch the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. Amazing. The daughter Veda Pierce is the worst, most vile piece of filth I’ve ever encountered in a film character. Yeeshh…WOMEN are awful to each other. The things women say to their own friends is unbelievable. We’ll save this for another time.)

A short list in the V-Pierce division……..Ty Cobb, (beat up a man with no hands once), Mickey Mantle (showed up wasted to games and told young endearing fans to buzz off), Bonds (liar…liar…cheat), Jeff Kent (renowned male member), Roger Clemens (no explanation necessary), Ugueth Urbina, (not so legendary but assaulted servants unwarranted with a machete for swimming in his pool, now in jail for 20 years…) etc…..

air-pocket-symphony.jpgTiger doesn’t have a great rep with the fans, but how many times were Nicklaus and Palmer miked up and how many times did they yell at fans to shut up or trash talked or cussed up and down the course that we’ll never know about?

We don’t ask the legends to be humanitarians, nor wonderful people. We need them to be heroes of their game. Our heroes won’t always be nice. But they DO things no one else can or ever will do. Everything else is perception mixed with irrational desire for purity. The true pureness is the game played at the highest level.

That’s all I want.

And Latrell Sprewell choking P.J. Carlesimo, because don’t we all want to choke P.J. Carlesimo at some point?? I mean….he tried to play Kevin Durant at shooting guard???

–Johanna Mahmud

The Marathon and the Metaphor

IMG_20110409_194207.jpgFor now, and forever, I will always identify myself as…

A marathoner.

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, I spent 3 hours and 51 minutes running 26.2 miles along the streets of St. Louis, Missouri; and I can honestly say, it changed my life.

We often hear “the marathon” used as a metaphor for myriad events.  The baseball season… is a marathon.  Every December I look forward to… “A Christmas Story” movie marathon.  Life itself… is a marathon.  But when we say all of the above, what we are really just saying is that some things take a long, long time to complete.

Let me assure you, the marathon is much more than that.

It’s setting a goal and working towards it.

IMG_20110410_061325B.jpgIt’s taking pride in your body, listening to it, working to make it better.

It’s getting up at the crack of dawn while all your friends are sleeping in.

It’s battling fatigue, slaying freezing temps, conquering blazing sun.

It’s knowing your limits, pushing them, then pushing them again.

It’s glowing when people ask you why you’re so positive about life.

It’s metaphorizing your life, making up for past mistakes, proving you’re not a nobody.

It’s throwing the hammer down on negativity.

It’s getting a song stuck in your head that… just… won’t… stop.

It’s rewarding yourself with a big, fat, juicy burger every Sunday.

It’s asking yourself “I paid to do this????” only to realize, “Hell yeah I paid to do this!!!!”

It’s thanking strangers who hand you Gatorade and oranges and Vasoline (not always in that order).

It’s being aware of your surroundings, taking in the sights, the smells, the cowbells. 

It’s being extraordinary…

It’s being inspired…

It’s being an inspiration.

But most of all, it’s feeling like death only to discover just how alive you really are.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*PS, To the lovely, smiling woman who held up a sign shortly before Mile 3 that read “If you don’t finish, Albert Pujols will sign with the Cubs”… well, I want you to know that around the 22 mile marker, when I just about wanted to die, I thought about that sign and I finished that damn race for you. MUAH!

Bringing the North African Experience Home

stadium_invasion.jpgI think I figured out how to get the Tigers into the World Series this year.  Revolution!

Ok, so the point of the article may have been that protestors in North Africa are still searching for outlet for their suppression and oppression over the past three decades.  But I took away something slightly different.  Let me quote here: “So Egyptians, especially younger ones that make up the typical soccer
crowd, know what crowds can accomplish, and have been emboldened by
recent people-power successes.”

My point is, if it can work in Egypt, why not here?  Sure, my call for a boycott of opening day may not have gained any traction but I think this new idea has more resiliency.  After all, Detroit has all the necessary components.  There’s high unemployment, disaffected youth and a generally corrupt government.  Kwame Kilpatrick anyone?  Why not take this unchanneled rage and use it for something positive?  A pennant and World Series for the Tigers would do the city good.

Here’s how it works, if I understand the Egyptian scenario correctly.  Your team is losing and you are unhappy.  You and a couple thousand of your closest friends storm the field and demand that the Tigers be given the victory or you will continue to riot.  In an effort to restore calm, the authorities (in this case the umpires) will have to choose between giving the Tigers the win or dealing with the caprices of the crowd.  Should be a pretty simple decision.  Really, it’s just one step removed from Jim Joyce’s admission of guilt following the Armando Galarraga almost perfect game.  Imagine if the crowd had stormed the field and demanded right then and there that he reconsider.  Problem solved.

Mind you, I’m not inciting violence.  I don’t want to see those colorful tigers at the entrance to Comerica Park uprooted nor do I want to see the seats turned into projectiles.  But if we’ve learned one thing from Egypt and Tunisia, it’s that people have power when they rise up as one.  Detroit, you know what to do.

-A

The Filibuster

Lot of surprises so far this season.  Should anyone be panicking yet?

Marc
Schaumburg, IL

____________________________________

rolaids.jpgAfter the Rays and Red Sox picked up their first wins of the season on Friday night, I’m sure that both managers heaved a big sigh of relief.  Of course when the Rays followed that up with news that Manny was retiring, I’m sure Joe Maddon dug right back into that Costco sized tub of Rolaids he must have been hitting the past ten days.  So, I’m guessing that the Rays might be starting to panic.

But if there’s one guy who should truly be panicking at this point, it’s not Joe Maddon or anyone else on the Rays.  It’s not Manny, it’s not Big Papi and it’s not any once, present or future Red Sox.  No, if there’s one guy who should be panicking, it’s Laurent Gbagbo.

For those of you who aren’t quite sure who Mr. Gbagbo happens to be, let me give you a quick background.  Mr. Gbagbo is a former Ivoirien freedom fighter who then went and got himself elected president of the Ivory Coast.  However, he found Jesus while in office and after losing last year’s election, decided that Jesus wanted him to be the winner anyway.  Since then he’s been trying to help Jesus out by killing people who voted against him.  That hasn’t worked out too well, though, and now Mr. Gbagbo finds himself holed up in a bunker underneath his former residence while troops loyal to the president-elect slowly draw closer.

Understandably, Mr. Gbagbo should be panicking.  Funny enough, though, he doesn’t seem to be sweating it at all.

Most likely there are a few reasons for that.  Number one is that Ivory Coast is a basket case and rules don’t really seem to apply.  Number two is that Mr. Gbagbo apparently has four months of supplies in his bunker and the troops protecting him have weaponry superior to that of the troops closing in.  Number three is US Senator Jim Inhofe.

Uh, wait a minute.  Jim Inhofe?  That doesn’t make any sense.  Why would he care about what happens in the Ivory Coast?  Well, if you ask Mr. Inhofe, he’ll tell you it’s about Jesus.

See, the president-elect, Mr. Ouattara, comes from the northern part of the country, an area that is nominally Muslim, as is Mr. Ouattara.  Mr. Gbagbo is from the southern, mainly Christian, part of the country and loves him some Jesus.  Apparently where Mr. Inhofe comes from, this means that the election results shouldn’t matter and the US should recognize only the candidate who loves Jesus more.

Actually Marc, I think I’m going to change my answer at this point.  Sure, maybe the Rays and Red Sox should be panicking a little.  And maybe Gbagbo should as well.  But the people who should really be panicking are all of us Americans.  With leaders like Mr. Inhofe supporting despots like Mr. Gbagbo, we’re all screwed.

-A

- – -

**Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster?  Want a
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