April 2012

Notes from a Semi-Regular Tradition

Sunday was my first opportunity to get to the ballpark in 2012, so I grabbed a friend, put on some summery clothes and headed to Sox Park for Jackie Robinson Day!

I’ve seen some great baseball on Jackie Robinson Days past, all of which were pitchers duels (my drug of choice), but with a Rick Porcello v. Chris Sale matchup looming, I wasn’t expecting much.  The pair would end up surprising me, but that wasn’t all:

  • This was the FIRST April baseball game in Chicago I have ever attended where a hat, gloves and scarf were not needed. No joke. I was in a t-shirt. Sweating at times.
  • Miggy can play D. I hung two stars on my scorecard for him, including a barehanded grab-and-throw that nailed a speedy Alexei Ramirez at first.
  • I understand the importance of Jackie Robinson Day and all, but is it necessary that EVERY player and EVERY coach wears the same number 42? It is a scorecard junkie’s worst nightmare! Every time I looked up I had no idea who was doing what.
  • And those ugly throwback ’72 Sunday home game red-pinstriped White Sox unis didn’t last past the 70s for a reason. They are HIDEOUS. Throw them out! Along with Alex Rios!
  • It was a day game. Sure it was a bit overcast, but there was sunlight. Plenty of it. But that didn’t stop the White Sox personnel from turning ALL the stadium lights on like it was a night game! There was WAAAAY too much light. WASTED light! I know ‘Merica is a nation of excess, but good grief.
  • Despite the new uniform, Prince Fielder is still fat.

Hate me ‘cuz I take tedious notes, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

If you were in the A’s bleacher section, and you could only choose one, would it be bacon or beer?

Mark
New Albany, IN

___________________________________

Jeff continuously tells me how engaging the NBA has become.  According to him, it’s not just the quality of the professional game, it’s also the personalities and all the drama surrounding them.  To use a direct quote, “It’s a goddamn soap opera.”

Baseball, on the other hand, is rather tame.  Sure, there are historic villains like Ty Cobb and uplifting stories like Jackie Robinson and Josh Hamilton.  But it’s all kind of “Touched by an Angel” while the NBA is more “The Wire.”

The perfect example of this is Jeff Francoeur and his love affair with the Oakland fans.  Sure, it’s great that Francoeur has made a personal connection with the fans of another team.  But is that really good for baseball?  Wouldn’t it be better if Francoeur had left Oakland after coming up with the team and was greeted by a beer shower while trotting along the warning track?

That kind of rancor just doesn’t exist in baseball today.  Albert Pujols left behind a city that adored him and although St. Louis fans are heart-broken, most of them still respect Albert and remember him fondly.  Johnny Damon not only left the Red Sox, he went to play for their arch-enemy and shaved his beard.  Boston fans were upset but they didn’t hate him with the cold intense hatred that Cleveland has for LeBron James.

Maybe it’s because baseball is played in summer and draws families out to watch games together.  Maybe it’s the stir-craziness of winter and the 60 minute intensity of a basketball game that creates an aura around the game as a whole.  Or maybe baseball just doesn’t have the same type of personalities you find in basketball.  Let’s be honest, how often do you hear about a baseball player choking his coach or punching out a fan?

I don’t see that changing.  Sure, I’d love to say that if I was one of those fans in Oakland, I’d keep the money and throw the baseball back.  The fact is, though, I’d be thrilled to death.  And that’s not just because being an A’s fan is even worse than being a Royals fan.

Somebody needs to spice things up a bit, give people a reason to hate.  And no, I’m not talking about Milton Bradley, preschool-esque drama.  I’m talking pure, LeBron James type anger.  I think Francoeur has a golden opportunity to start it off, too, by taking that relationship he has built with the Oakland fans and totally misusing it.  In fact, I even have the perfect recipe:

I bet no one would choose a caramel onion.

-A

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

Texts from Mitt

It’s official.  The Battle Royale known as the 2012 US Presidential Election will pit the titleholder, Barack Obama, against the challenger, Mitt Romney.  But that presents a problem for Mitt.  He won the primary by being the least bad choice and through blatant pandering to the base.  That probably won’t work for the general.  The fact of the matter is, Mitt is looking for ideas and he’s looking for them anywhere.  So, why not turn to Obama’s last real challenger:

image via textsfromhillaryclinton.tumblr.com

That’s not a terrible idea.  Kind of unfortunate for a Mormon, though.  Hold on a second.  I know!  Maybe man’s best friend can help out:

image via textfromdog.tumblr.com

Uh, nope, not so much.

Wait a minute.  I’ve got it!  Since Florida is important and the Republicans aren’t doing so hot with the Latino vote, why not kill two birds with one stone.  I’m sure Ozzie Guillen would be willing to help out:

"I love Fidel Castro!"

Oh boy.  That’s gonna hurt.  Ozzie just turned himself into Florida kryptonite.

Actually, you know what, maybe Hillary wasn’t such a bad idea after all.  Couldn’t hurt to try again, right?

textsfromhillaryclinton.tumblr.com

There’s always drinking…

-A

Joey Devine and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Few Years

Dr. James Andrews and his ground-breaking Tommy John surgical procedure has given many years of service back to Big Leaguers who may have otherwise been forced to retire.  It has also provided many extra years of thrills for fans.  Without the surgery, we don’t have Strasburg.  We don’t have Adam Wainwright.  We don’t have A LOT of big time stars.

But, not everyone recovers as planned.

Enter, Joey Devine.

Despite the surname, his career path has been anything but.  After a promising 2008 season where he went 6-1 in 42 appearances with a STUNNING .59 ERA, dude got kissed by the angel of shoulder death and was forced to have the highly effective surgery.  Unlike most people though, two years later, he still hadn’t recovered properly; and now, in 2012, it appears Mr. Devine has to have Tommy John surgery AGAIN.

If Devine ever makes it back to the Bigs, you bet I’m gonna stand and applaud his every appearance.  For the fortitude it must take to stay focused, to battle back against such adversity, would surely require we all do so.

Unfortunately, the current situation doesn’t look good.  So I’m gonna pour out some liquor for his career.

Hang in there, Joey Devine.  If it makes you feel any better, I know a Cantonese stripper named Joy Yee Divine.  So every time I hear your name I chuckle.  To myself, of course.

Hate me ‘cuz I make it rain sometimes, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

An Evening with Yu

It may not have been Strasmas, but according to the lunar calendar (and millions of Japanese people) April 9th proved to be an equally auspicious day, no matter what, because it was the very first Major League appearance by the highly touted (and valiantly unashamed to be naked) Yu Darvish.

Like you would expect, I made an evening of it.  Here’s a play-by-play:

4:30 p.m.
Still at work.  I have looked at the clock every minute for the last thirty minutes, and will continue to do so for thirty more.  I finish up the last of my TPS reports, turn them in to my boss and shriek when he yells “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS???”

5:30 p.m.
At the gym.  Working on my… nah, who am I kidding, every time I look at a hot chick working out next to me she has Yu Darvish’s face, which I find as distracting as I do disgusting.  Going home now.

6:30 p.m.
Dinner (sushi, of course) has been eaten.  Feet are up.  Beer is in hand.  Let’s DO THIS!  *Belch*

7:05 p.m.
FSSW misses Darvish’s first pitch.  Nice work, dingleberries.  The biggest pitch of the year so far and you miss it.  They come back from commercial break and the count is already 1-0 to Chone Figgins.  AGGGHH!!!  Then Darvish quickly walks him.  Um… this is not how it’s supposed to go, guys.

7:09 p.m
After striking out Ackley on a NAAASTY breaking ball, Ichiro steps in.  Japan loses its mind.  Then Ichiro singles on a blooper to left and, already, I’m realizing Yu ain’t Strasburg (yet).

7:16 p.m.
Now Justin Smoak is on first, bases are loaded with one out for Kyle Seager.  Bases loaded?  I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR NO BASES LOADED!!!

7:18 p.m.
Two-run gapper to right and now I’m pissed.  I could have been out on a date tonight!  With a real, live woman!  And I passed it up for this crap???!!!  WTF are YU DOING!?!?!

7:23 p.m.
Darvish makes Miguel Olivo look like Johnny Bench and I’m bored.  More Daisuke, less Nomo.  Not even close to Strasburg.  He doesn’t even have a weird hitch in his delivery like all the Japanese greats do!

7:25 p.m.
He just walked in a run.  It’s 4-0.  EFF THIS.

Seriously, I know this is a small sample size, but I ain’t impressed and I’m changing the channel… to watch Freese and Holliday and Molina (they all homer)… CHAMPIONS.

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

Peace,

Jeff

***

Once the game was over, it was evident he battled back and settled down.  The offense helped him out and he recovered well, and even fooled some hitters.  But the hoopla was a bit much for me for him not to deliver with jazz hands.  Or maybe I’ve just been spoiled by so much great pitching the last couple years that I expect greatness every game.  Either way, I’ll check in again next time.  I just ain’t makin’ a night of it.

Righting a Wrong

Photo via kids.aol.com

In all the hubbub of Opening Day last week, we forgot one very important thing.  Before you can yell “Play ball,” you have to sing the anthem.  Here to right that wrong is Frank Drebin:

Ok, now it’s official.  Play ball!!!

-A

The Filibuster

Is the hype to be believed?  Could the Nationals actually contend this year?

Sawyer
Ballston, VA
___________________________________

Sexy superlatives and arduous absolutes, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your 2012 Washington Nationals!

Could they actually contend?  Hmm… does watching a pitcher’s duel strike me with uncontainable bonerjamz?  HELL to the YES, my friend!  There are 159 games left in the season, and the Nats could win ‘em all!

Or not.  Still, this is not your embarrassing Expo leftover Natinal squad of old; rather, this is a team with bona fide pitching, timely bats and a revered sage at the helm!  Do you think Davey Johnson thinks they can contend?  I’d bet my 1986 eight-ball wrapper collection he does.

And why not?  Without Howard and Utley for a good stretch, the Phillies find themselves offensively challenged.  The Braves, still salty from their epic fail of 2011, certainly don’t have all the answers.  I’m not convinced the Marlins are really any better than they were before they decided to blind us with ugly and the Mets are the Mets (though don’t sleep on them either, as a .500 season is not entirely out of the question).

The truth is, the NL East isn’t as predictable as it used to be.  And the addition of another wild card team makes it possible to hope a little longer.

But the number one reason why the Natinals have a legitimate shot at competing for a playoff spot this year is… The ONE.

Okay, wrong ONE.  But believe me, to Stephen Strasburg, there is no spoon.  Also taking the red pill this year are Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, Ross Detwiler and (presumably) John Lannan.  That’s one helluva starting rotation+.

When Bryce Harper eventually finds his way into the rabbit hole, there will be even MORE reason to respect the potential of the Washington Nationals (not to mention a tomfoolery fodder spike for Deadspin).

Would I put big money on the Nats now?  Maybe not.  Would I put money on them to be a cellar dweller?  Absolutely not.  This team could find its identity and they could do it as soon as now.  They could be the ’11 D’backs or the ’08 Rays.

Better yet, they could be the 2012 Nationals. (see what I did there?)

Hate me ‘cuz I love Stephen Strasburg as if he were one of my own, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

Dirty Dancing at the World Bank

In response to the twin shocks of the Great Depression and World War II, the allied powers decided to cooperate on a system that would hopefully prevent another catastrophic financial collapse.  The plan they came up with, the Bretton Woods system, created two of the most powerful financial institutions in the world today, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

By convention, the IMF is headed by a European and the World Bank by an American.  And since voting is by quota, not by a one vote per person system, it’s relatively easy for this practice to continue.  That doesn’t mean the unwritten policy is always appreciated, though.  For instance, the World Bank is in the process of electing a new president who is not the top choice of the African continent and most of the developing world, the constituencies most served by the Bank.  If you’re curious as to who this person might be, wait until about the two minute point in this video and you’ll see him:

Yes, he’s the former President of Dartmouth.  Yes, he’s a founder of Partner’s in Health which has ostensibly helped many poor people in Haiti access health care.  However, Mr. Jim Yong Kim is not a good dancer.  He also has no background in economics despite that being somewhat germane to the subject matter.  Actually, let’s really simplify this.  Bud Selig is more qualified to be MLB Commissioner than Kim is to be World Bank president.  Man, that statement even scares me.

-A

Three Up, Three Down

Just like a rainbow themed slap bracelet, this is gonna be loud, colorful and could quite possibly cause a ripple in your otherwise tame relationship.

The Iron Fist of King Bud’s Court
Troy Tulowitzki pisses off Ubaldo Jimenez.  Jimenez subsequently beans Tulowitzki.  Jimenez gets slammed with a 5-game suspension.  And speaks:

“I can’t control what people say. People act like this is the first time that somebody got hit. It happens in the game. That’s part of the game. It’s always been part of the game.”

Ubaldo is right.  We don’t know if it was on purpose.  Beanballs happen all the time.  We can assume it was intentional considering the circumstances, but we can’t be sure beyond a reasonable doubt.  This is the beauty of the unwritten rules of baseball, a game where players police themselves and do what they gotta do to survive.  But alas, there is no constitution in King Bud’s dictatorship.  If these guys didn’t bank millions of dollars I’d expect an uprise.

If Only 4 Days Meant “Forever”
Pennsylvania Taliban leader, Rick Santorum, is taking 4 days off from his fledgeling  (not to mention INSANE) republican primary campaign.  Why?  I dunno.  Maybe he realizes a 4th grade life skills level isn’t enough to be in such a demanding position.  Maybe he fears a widespread Santorum epidemic.  Or maybe his invisible friend in the sky who hates women and gay people told him to.  I don’t know.  I only wish it were forever.

The Heat Is On!
Baseball is back to FULL THROTTLE, my friends, and that means no more dirt kickin’, no more gloomy day sobfests, no more Perfect Strangers marathons on sleepless nights (okay, maybe I can’t go that far, yet).  But the truth is: baseball is back for a long, long time.  So let’s live!  To celebrate, Igive you the song I remember most from my youthful, endless summers at Busch II.  Whenever I hear this song, I immediately picture an Ozzie to Tommy to Jack double-play.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

You, Robot

Robots do pretty much everything these days.  They build cars, they do the vacuuming.  Some of the more nefarious ones get sent back from the future to kill unsuspecting young men while others freakishly decapitate fiancees leading to epic quotes like, “That’s not your arm.  That’s my bitch’s arm.”

Ok, so maybe the last two aren’t real but robots have advanced by leaps and bounds.  In fact, there’s a good chance that someday soon one of those leaps or bounds could be by a robot chasing you down in the streets.  Don’t believe me?  Check this out.  If that doesn’t scare you, how about this little factoid?  Your grandkids are going to have sex with robots.

One thing you don’t have to worry about, though, is robots taking over baseball.

Yep, we’re safe for now.

-A

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