July 2011

The Filibuster

So who are your big winners and losers at the trade deadline?

Melissa
Oak Lawn, IL 
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Well, as a Tigers’ fan I have to start there.  And I think the Tigers made the right moves.  They solidified their pitching without giving away the farm and managed to hold on to the top prospects in their system.  That sounds pretty good to me.

At the same time, the team chasing us made probably the blockbuster deal of the day by picking up Ubaldo Jimenez.  That has to resonate in Detroit as well.

Over in the NL, the Phillies managed to get even better with the addition of Hunter Pence and I’m pretty much all for just letting them play the Giants for the pennant right now.

But the biggest winner?  Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.  Come on, sure, the baseball trades were big but the Patriots just picked up Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth.  That means a game changer on either side of the ball.  You have to figure that the Patriots look set to roll over the AFC this season.

I’m not going to say that both players will have the same kind of initial season as the Randy Moss trade delivered but Belichick seems to have a knack for turning problem players into essential cogs of the Patriot machine.  And guys like Ochocinco and Haynesworth, who have shown that they can dominate when provided the right incentive, totally fit that system.

So, yeah, there were some big trades before the MLB deadline.  It’s kind of hard to compare them with Belichick’s continued dominance of his peers, though.

-A

**Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster?  Want a free pimp for your blog?  Wondering how Mr. Lung will respond to the Cardinals’ lack of trade deadline imagination?  Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing kraulung@gmail.com or by commenting below.

 

The Graphic Truth: Reasons Why Kenny Williams Still Has a Job


I live just a few blocks from Sox Park.  There was a time where I wanted to spend all of my free time there.

But that stopped around May.

They are just an infuriating lot to watch play baseball.

“All in” my @$$.

Happy Saturday!

Jeff

Sovereign Default and the Dodgers

As the possibility of an US default on its sovereign debt draws agonizingly close, I’d like to try and put this in terms that baseball fans can understand.  The USA, the greatest country in the history of the world, is about to become to world finance what the Dodgers are to MLB.  Yeah, this is bad.

Basically the US is like a rich guy who can keep borrowing money as long as the bank keeps upping his credit limit.  He has enough money to pay the interest on the debt and as long as that continues, the bank will keep lending.  But when he misses a payment, the bank has to do something about it.

Think Frank McCourt.  Dude had money, that’s for sure.  But he mismanaged his cash flow and when he and Jamie went bust, the bank took notice when he couldn’t quite make the payments anymore.  Pretty soon after that, although maybe not soon enough, MLB took notice, too.  Now McCourt has no Jamie and no Dodgers.

The much publicized divorce between the tea fueled Republicans and the spineless Democrats has led the country to the brink of a similar epic failure.  There are still a few days left but at this point they’re looking more Frank and Jamie than Nestor and Kristina.

So, for anyone out there who still isn’t convinced that a sovereign default is a bad idea, let me ask you this.  Was allowing Frank McCourt to run the Dodgers into the ground a bad idea?  If your answer is yes, than it’s time for you to call your congressional representatives.  If no, well, you’re either a Giants fan or Michele Bachmann.

-A

“Is This Heaven?”

Being an uber-awesome-baseball nerd certainly has its perks, and for me, one them has been getting to know Keith Carmack.

As many of you may know, Keith is our Podmaster (podcast director, editor and all-around-everything guy) and while he’s not making us sound good, he’s working very hard on a fantastic project that I’d like to share with you.

It’s a feature-length independent documentary entitled “Is This Heaven?” chronicling the fascinating life and career of Negro League star and Hall of Famer, Pete Hill, a man who hit 28 homeruns the same year Babe Ruth hit 29 (1919) and who may have the longest hitting streak in baseball history.

He may have been one of the greatest of all time but somehow this champion of America’s past time was almost completely forgotten.

After a storied career and incredible life everything about the man is lost, maybe even the man himself. However, a struggle to find the truth is underway. Independent historians and baseball fans have begun a long journey to restore a legacy. “Is This Heaven?” takes a look at the seemingly impossible task of righting the wrongs that have been done to Pete Hill posthumously.

Undercard Films

Here is the teaser:

“Is This Heaven?” Teaser from Undercard Films on Vimeo.

Since we first met, Keith has been working very diligently on this project and I have been very impressed with his progress.  He has worked with Negro League scholars, Pete Hill descendants and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

He got on base.  Moved to second.  Moved to third, and now he and his crew are ready to come home.  But, like any indie project, they need help.  Please visit Keith’s “Is This Heaven?” Kickstarter page to see how you can help see this project to completion.  Every little bit helps.

And baseball will never forget you for it.

Peace,

Jeff

Setting the Mahmud

RSBS Special Correspondent and Podcast Casanova, Mr. Johanna Mahmud reports:

Dear Lord Baby Jesus and Taco Bell I’m Playing a Guitar Solo On Top of a Moving Train

In honor of the football lockout ending, I’ve decided to tell the world about the dumbest things in sports. I consider myself a world class dope, and this stuff blows even my face off.

Glasses on top of the hat in a baseball game when it’s sunny.
GUH… Ezequiel Carrera did this Sunday in the Indians/White Sox tilt. Amazing. He had sunglasses on his hat, didn’t wear them and then lost an easy popup in the sun that cost the Indians the game. I understand that the flip-down glasses aren’t cool and you feel like an octogenarian wearing them, but sorry, Eqequiel, you’re stupid. So stop it and wear them or continue to look like a fool and drop fly balls in the outfield and fumble about looking like a drunk college girl at a VH1 summer bash in Cancun.

Touchdown dances that occur before ACTUALLY SCORING A TOUCHDOWN!
DeSean Jackson did this during a Monday Night Football game and foiled the hopes and dreams of about a thousand fantasy owners who were trailing by 4 points or fewer.  I WAS ONE OF THEM. He started dancing and gyrating and flipped the ball in the air before crossing the plane, and of course, he dropped the ball. Right then I wished and prayed a vampire would eat him from groin to chin.

Jacking up threes when being pulled.
Guys who ride the pine in the NBA do this constantly and make their coaches go mad. Basically, when a guy sees his replacement come up to the scorer’s table and knows he is about to be taken out, he calls for the ball and takes an awful shot to pad his own stats for the night, with no concern for the team. This makes me have bad-basketball-diarrhea.

Bill Belichick’s weekly undisclosed injury report made up of made-up things about players who are ALWAYS on my fantasy team because god and unicorns have no soul.
I’m reminded of this because EFFFFING FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!

And finally…

Andrew Luck staying in college instead of PLAYING IN THE NFL
He wants to finish his last year of school. To become an architect. His brain will be mush after large men sit on him before he can fulfill his dream to become the next Gaudi. Real architects work something like twenty years making forty grand a year before they ever get to create anything. They also work 90 hours a week and have no lives. That sounds way more awesome then being a starting quarterback in the NFL, getting tons of action and making MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

GUH!!!

–Johanna Mahmud

Follow Johanna on Twitter!

his brain will be mush after large black men sitting on him before he can fulfill his dream to become the next Gaudi.

Mr. Krause’s Rejoice!

All it took was a new NFL collective bargaining agreement to make my globetrotting and oft voguish colleague, Mr. Allen Krause (9 year-old version pictured above), rejoice like he was at a Justin Bieber concert.  Now that we know there will be football, Mr. Krause can use his soon-to-be Detroit Tigers disappointment as a perfect segue into yet another Detroit Lions season of disappointment.

The world will be good.

Still, I have a hard time congratulating a group of unionized millionaires on doing what they should have done to begin with.  I know the owners were skimming and scheming, but these things need to be addressed and taken care of PRIOR to a lockout, PRIOR to pissing off a Joe Six-Pack fan base, PRIOR to holding my sports news hostage.

DIDN’T THEY LEARN ANYTHING FROM THE 1994 MLB STRIKE!?!?!

Look, I nearly died in ’94.  I was crushed like a man forced to watch his lover in bed with another man.  I went so far as to QUIT baseball for the entire 1995 season.  If it weren’t for an Albert Belle sized tub of syringes and a jheri curl renaissance, I might still be hootin’ and hollerin’ over the CICL.

But, as is usually the case, no one cares how we, the fans, feel.  As long as we keep schleppin’ out the dough, sports franchises and the athletes who make them will continue to spit on us.  Because they can.

And, I can attest, a certain Mr. Krause would be the very first in line with a pocketfull of benjamins for some Matt Stafford lugeys.

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

Peace,

Jeff

Back to Black

I think I had a pretty typical reaction to the news of Any Winehouse’s death: “I wish I could say I’m surprised.  Seriously, what a waste of talent.” What’s even more sad is that Winehouse wasn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last person of whom we can say that.  Even in baseball, we run into similar stories.  They may not have wound up in a City of London body bag but they flamed out just as badly.

The first two guys that inevitably come up are Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.  Watching those two pitch in 2003, the entire NL and a good portion of the AL had to have been crapping themselves.  Sure, that was still the era of the long ball but you could see the future of baseball in the Cubs’ duo.  And then they disappeared.  Maybe Baker overused them.  Maybe they were always destined for injury because of how hard they threw.  Maybe it was just the baseball gods doing what they do with the Cubs once again.  Whatever it was, Prior and Wood wound up being legendary more for what they could have done than for what they did.

But if you really want to talk about baseball’s Winehouse, how about Daryl Strawberry?  Yes, I know he played almost two decades but he lost so much to health and drug problems considering the tools he had.  It’s especially sad because we can imagine what he could have done.  It’s the same thing as Winehouse.  It’s not that she wasn’t impressive and it’s not that she didn’t do anything.  It’s that she, like Strawberry, could have done so much more.

-A

 

The Filibuster

A bunch of teams are clustered right around .500 and above and no division is even close to being set at this point.  Does this mean baseball is starting to reach parity?

Sean
Caledonia, MI 
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Beware, my friend.  I sense… something.  This… parity you speak of…

IT’S A TRAP!

It’s not real.

Just make-believe.

The truth is, the same old teams are still atop the same old divisions.  The Yankees.  The Red Sox.  The Phillies.  Okay, so the Mets and Dodgers may be out, but it’s not their faults!  They can blame poor ownership and mishandled funds!!!

I know that a quick glance at the standings may confuse the casual onlooker, that one could be easily misguided by the way the teams stack up.  But let’s face it: the NL and AL Centrals have been crapshoots for a decade, the NL West has been a contest in mediocrity for a long time.  The Angels’ dominance of the AL West was only usurped last year and in 2011 they have put themselves back in contention.

This is not parity.  This is, like our US American social ladder, a classic case of 99% of the wealth being in the hands of 1% of the population and everyone else is left to fend for himself.  The effect resembles something like parity.  But it ain’t.

It’s pitching.

I really believe that the Mitchell Report and its subsequent juicy fallout has forced teams to go back to what always works: good pitching.  With good pitching, you might have a decent shot at accumulating wins.  The Giants are a perfect example of a team that gets by on minimal offense and middle-of-the-pack payroll.  It’s not the stuff of dynasties… but when it works, it works, and that’s what teams are doing.

The Pirates are winning because of pitching (they can’t hit).  The Braves are winning because of pitching (they have a hard time scoring too).  The Diamondbacks could always hit, but this year they have… PITCHING.

Great pitching is the best defense against great hitting.  I didn’t write that.  Baseball wrote that.

When the Orioles and Blue Jays can compete in their own division… when the Nationals have a shot at the big boys in the NL East… that’s when I’ll consider parity’s existence.

But right now that seems like something that could only be found in a galaxy far, far away.

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

Peace,

Jeff

**Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster?  Want a free pimp for your blog?  Curious to know just how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Mr. Krause?  Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing kraulung@gmail.com or by commenting below.

Seattle’s Only Thrill

At the break the Mariners were only 7.5 games back.  But let’s face facts here.  This team is not going to win anything this year.  Even the normally untouchable Saint Ichiro has been taking flak from fans and commentators.  Those 110+ win seasons remain nothing but a distant and faded memory.

But all is not lost.  Maybe the Mariners don’t win but at least they can still entertain.  Or at least their fans can:

Just don’t tell the kid that Michael is as dead as the Mariners’ chances at the pennant.

-A

Some Flagrancy for Your Friday

Since I enjoy the weekends almost as much as I enjoy watching the sCrUBBIES plummet to 21 games under .500, I better get rid of all this heat-induced angst now, so I can enjoy the next two days in peace.  That means y’all better get ready for some STOP ITs!

Aramis Ramirez
In the old days, being a Big Leaguer meant being the best you could be.  It meant putting forth maximum effort, doing things the right way and positioning one’s self to win.  After all, that’s the goal in baseball.  To win.  Of course, you could also be lame, like a very comfortable Aramis Ramirez, who is more inclined to settle for being a creaky cog in a wheel of crap at Wrigley Field than go somewhere his talents could actually be of some use.  He cites his “family” as the reason, but that’s stupid.  It’s two months.  And you’re a friggin’ millionaire, dude.  So STOP IT!  Just STOP IT!  Go win something.  Nothing infuriates me more than talented people wasting their talents.

The White Sox
Speaking of stupid, how long will Kenny Williams & Co. allow the $14 million strikeout machine to clog up any and all paths to winning?!?  Letting a marquis player work through a slump makes sense when the slump is… y’know, a slump.  But when it’s AN ENTIRE SEASON it’s time to make a change.  STOP IT, White Sox!  You bombard me with your 2011 slogan of “All In” and the only thing you’re “all in” to is a giant, heaping pile of suck.

The Heat
I love how we Chicagoans complain all winter long about how cold it is, then when summer comes along people are suddenly surprised they’re frying eggs on the sidewalk.  Chicago in the summer is HOT.  It has always been hot.  So stop acting like you didn’t know this.  Same thing goes for baseball players.  It’s been hot during the summer for the entirety of baseball history.  In fact, the old timers (REAL baseball men) used to wear WOOL UNIFORMS so STOP CRYING ABOUT IT, baseball players.  You make millions of dollars playing a game I’d do Precious for to play, so quit bitching about the heat and just concentrate on doing your job.

And, as if all of the above isn’t enough, apparently we here in US America can’t even get our own pastimes right.  No, I’m not talking about baseball.  I’m talking about pizza.

Yeah, our pizza experience has been outsourced to India too.  And, surprise, surprise… they do it better:


Happy Friday!

Jeff

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