July 2012

Is There a Harper and Trout Remix?

I want to hate Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.  Maybe if they played for the Tigers I’d love them but two guys that young, that talented and that successful who aren’t on my team?  Honestly, I really want to dislike them.

With Trout it’s a little harder because somehow he comes across as a good guy and great teammate despite only being 20 years old.  Harper, it’s a little easier because he’s even younger, bro’ed out and he knows he’s good.  That kind of self-assuredness often comes off as cockiness and that makes it easier to hate someone.

Yeah, I really want to hate these guys, especially Harper, and I feel like I made an honest effort at it.  Sadly, it kind of went like this:

I can’t help it.  I’m hooked.

-A

You CAN Go Home Again, Twice, Even If You’re Called Out (Do Umpires Get a Re-Do?)

In lieu of The Filibuster this fine Sunday afternoon, let us bask in the fever pitch of the most exciting play in sports combined with some… er… awkward umpiring:

Whoopsie!  And… YAY!… I mean, if you’re a Padres fan and all.

Shame on Kenley Jansen for 1) falling asleep on the mound 2) making a terrible throw home and 3) not covering home in a timely manner.  Seems like that’s the recipe for a Donnie Baseball @$$ chewing.  And by the look of those jaws, I wouldn’t want any part of that.

Happy Sunday!

Jeff

Spread the CoCo Love

As we enter the second half the 2012 MLB season, I want to revisit, in my (correct) opinion, the most amazing play of the year thus far.  It is a play that should be repeating on every sports highlight reel in existence, but one that, like most things do in Oakland, has evaporated into east bay obscurity.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear readers and Mom, I give you the ASTONISHING, the ASTOUNDING, the AMAZING Covelli Loyce “Coco” Crisp:

Hang a star on that one, baby, ‘cuz that ain’t somethin’ you see every day… or EVER!

So why no love from the worldwide leader in campy schtick?  Why did MLB Network not make this THE top play of June?  Do they have something against Coco?  Something against Oakland?

I understand that this wasn’t a DeWayne Wise “The Catch” type of play — that there was little at stake in this otherwise tame regular season baseball game.  But come on.  Dude made a sliding catch, then, FROM HIS BUTT rocketed the ball to second to double-up Nelson Cruz, no slouch in his own right.

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe my love for Coco’s crazy is overriding my rationality, causing me to overvalue such Houdinian moves.

Or, maybe the rest of the world is WRONG.

Pretty sure it’s the latter.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

JV=mc²

First off, I’d like to point out that I was pretty much dead on with my predictions in this past Sunday’s filibuster.  Verlander started the game.  Prince won the derby.  Cabrera won the MVP (Melky, not Miguel but still…).  And Mr. Lung, although he may not have done so in public, disagreed with me and was soundly spanked (much like a typical Saturday night in Mr. Lung’s love life).

Despite all the brilliance flowing from the pages of RSBS I’m sure that some people out there are trying to find fault with this performance, especially as a result of Verlander’s performance.  Number one, shut up.  Number two, this is exactly why the All-Star Game shouldn’t count towards anything of importance.

That being said, I’d like to go back to Verlander’s “debacle” and take a new look at it in light of recent scientific input.  Yes, it’s probably fair to say that Verlander melted down but as the article points out, when the speed of the ball is approaching the ridiculous speeds at which Verlander throws, well, friction leads to uncontrollable fusion which leads to nuclear mayhem.  We’re just lucky that only Verlander imploded and didn’t take the rest of the stadium with him.

-A

Pelosi’s Inscrutable Boehner

We all know people who are absolutely inscrutable.  You study the face but you have no idea what’s going on behind the eyes, what gears are turning inside the head.  It’s maddening.

That’s why I like Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner.  There is absolutely no doubt what either one of them are thinking:

Pelosi – “Oh my god, I’m so happy I think I might cry!”

Boehner – “I will wait until they become tears of sorrow then lick the salt from your face.”

Maybe that’s why I like baseball as well.  Guys get emotional and even when they’re wearing a game face like “Bulldog” Hershiser, it’s not hard to imagine what they’re thinking.  Kind of like these guys:

Napoli – “C’mon, let’s get this guy…..oh my god, we’re all gonna die!”

Doumit – “Die?  I don’t wanna die!  Wait a minute, where are you going!?”

Oswalt – “Not gonna lie, my balls are tinglin’ a little.”

No inscrutability there.

-A

Skip the Derby, Watch the Tour

This might keep me from being one of the cool kids, but I’m not sweatin’ it because I’ve been there in the flesh, watched it on T.V. and the truth is: the Home Run Derby blows.

It’s boring.  It’s fabricated.  It’s full of… nothing happening.

It’s made for T.V., that’s for sure, but it’s not baseball.  It takes one small, often over hyped aspect of the game and blows it up to the point where it’s just senseless action with little at stake.  Sure, I admit Josh Hamilton’s Yankee Stadium display was something otherworldly, but c’mon, that was just one time it was interesting.  It’s usually just a bunch of mindless yakking from Chris Berman (another over hyped blah) peppered with the occasional home run and a bevy of unclever insurance ads.

Me?  I’ll be watching Le Tour in anticipation of the actual All Star Game (also known as “Better than Christmas” at my house).  And yes, I understand the Tour de France (and the entire sport of professional cycling) has a bigger PED problem now than baseball has ever had, thus possibly “tainting” the experience for unseasoned cycling fans, but let me tell you: if any event warrants blood doping, it’d be Le Tour.

I do not advocate it, but I get it.  These guys are KILLING themselves, over three weeks, every single day, and if it were up to me, they could inject new blood into their own veins as much as they wanted.

Endurance events get me fired up.  That’s one of the reasons why I love baseball so much: it’s a GRIND.  Every day.  In harsh conditions.  Moving forward.  But in baseball you rarely see the agony on the players’ faces.

In Le Tour, the agony starts at the gun and doesn’t reach its apex until the finish line is crossed.  I can appreciate that, and will, much more than listening to obnoxious Chris Berman catchphrases while guys hammer batting practice fastballs over the wall in Kansas City.

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

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

Any predictions for the All-Star Game?

Alice
Highland, IN

___________________________________

I was all set to write a response about “King Bud” and how he had perverted the fun of the All-Star game.  But then I realized something.  The All-Star game still is fun and especially for the guys getting picked to go for the first time, it has to be an amazing experience.  Sure, the game counts now and in a way that doesn’t really make sense.  But that’s secondary.  These are arguably the best players in baseball split up into two squads going head to head.  That’s pretty awesome.

But even though this event is about leagues as opposed to teams, I can’t help being biased toward my own guys.  That’s why my predictions revolve around the Tigers.  (Please note that I’m writing this on Friday evening so anything that happens between now and Sunday, when it goes up, well, it can be held against me but not in an ignorant kind of fashion.)

Prediction #1: Justin Verlander starts the game for the AL

Sure, even Verlander himself has said that the start in this year’s game should be based on this year’s events.  Maybe he hasn’t been as dominant this year as he was in his 2011 campaign but I’m pretty sure there’s still no hitter in either league that enjoys the thought of going up against JV.  More than that, Verlander has been practically unhittable for NL opponents with the best outings of his career coming against the NL.  If you want to start the game out on the right foot, put JV on the mound.

Prediction #2: Prince Fielder wins the home run derby

The guy is a monster talent and a monster plain and simple.  He’s also starting to rediscover the form he had starting off the season as he settles in behind Cabrera.  Put it all together with the start at first base for the AL squad and you have a Fielder ready to explode.  He won’t set a new record but he’s going to win.

Prediction #3: Miguel Cabrera wins MVP

There’s a lot of amazing talent on this year’s rosters and no shortage of candidates for MVP.  But something inside of me says that this is Miggy’s year and he comes up huge.  I’m thinking a three-run home run to bring the AL back from a 2-1 deficit to a 4-2 lead.

Prediction #4: Mr. Lung disagrees with everything I just predicted

There are optimists.  There are pessimists.  And there’s Mr. Lung.  Mr. Lung’s goal in life is to take the opposite view on everything I say.  It’s a noble objective even if it does mean that Mr. Lung is wrong a good percentage of the time.  Seriously, woolen stirrup pants on Houston Astros?  I don’t like the Astros either but let’s just admit that breathable synthetics have been good for the game.  To be fair, I don’t think it’s so much about being right or wrong for Mr. Lung as it is about the act of disagreeing.  It’s rebellious.  You know, like listening to Marilyn Manson.

So, enjoy the All-Star break and pay attention to see how many of these predictions come true.  And if you catch one of Prince’s derby balls, feel free to send it my way.

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

Happy Birthday America!

Technically the United States declared its Independence from Great Britain on July 2nd yet we celebrate the declaration on the 4th.  It doesn’t really make any sense but I’m all right with it.  And maybe that’s why I’m all right with going all patriotic on the 6th instead of the 4th.  Patriotism knows no boundaries, right?

Well, even if you don’t agree with me, here’s something I think we can all agree on:

USA!  USA!  USA!

Not enough for you?  Well this should get your man juices flowing which might then kick start the patriotism:

If you haven’t grabbed a Budweiser, jumped up on a table and started singing the Star-Spangled Banner yet, it’s just possible that you are technically dead.  Or maybe you were just waiting for…..

That’s right.  Ronald Reagan on a velociraptor.  Happy 4th of July!!

-A

REAL Change You Can ACTUALLY Believe In

In recent days, my aloof and oft persnickety colleague, Mr. Krause, waxed on instant replay in baseball, making assumptions about my demeanor reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh calling out the obese.

Am I “old school” in my baseball philosophy?  Yes.  You could say that.  But just like in any endeavor worth dedicating one’s life to, things change, and adaptations are necessary for survival.

Baseball needs instant replay.  There are just too many important calls that get blown that could be remedied with a simple review of the tape.  There are countless examples, but the two most devastating of recent memory include the Pirates/Braves 19th inning Jerry Meals fiasco of 2011 and Armando Gallaraga’s perfect game being robbed by Jim Joyce*.  These are just two extreme examples, but blown calls happen quite frequently and they could be fixed just as easily as they fixed the home run by review situation.

Sure, baseball is a long, slow paced game.  Sure doesn’t seem to stop people from caring about it though!  Attendance is up, viewership via TV, computer, smartphone is at an all-time high.  Does Mr. Krause seriously think that all the baseball nuts in the world are going to stop watching the game if it’s 5 minutes longer?!?!

SILLINESS!

Just get the call right.  That’s what the fans care about.  We want… the umps… TO GET IT RIGHT.  That’s it.  And now, deeply immersed in all avenues of technocracy, is the time to start implementing some of the modern tools that are there to make things better.

And no, constitutional scholars, this ain’t no slippery slope situation.  Balls and strikes are not reviewable.  Period.

Hate me ‘cuz I’m grounded in common sense, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*Also, I am still not over Don Denkinger’s blown call from the 1985 Series.  Some things take longer to heal.

Jim Thome’s Lisa Stansfield Problem

I love Jim Thome.

Everyone does.  Right?

22-year veteran.  Stand-up, lunch pail guy from Peoria.  No nonsense, just give me the bat and let me hit ‘em far.  Defensively challenged, yes, but in a funny ha-ha way (not a funny-sad Carlos Lee way).

That’s Jim Thome.  And everyone loves him for it.

Except one thing: Jim Thome still doesn’t have a ring.

All around the world and I – I – I – I can’t find my baby…

This, of course, is true despite his strong efforts to land on a contending team.  He had several chances with the Indians before going to the Phillies.  But just as the Phillies were developing into a powerhouse, Thome left for the newly crowned World Series champion White Sox after the ’05 season.  He then wandered in south side purgatory before getting a shot with the playoff-bound Dodgers in ’09, then signed with an up-and-coming Twins club that nosedived him back into the lap of Cleveland — a team that just couldn’t hang around the top long enough to give him another shot at a championship.

So he resigned with the Phillies.  Best pitching staff in the Majors.  Potent offense.  Okay, anemic offense.  But they were supposed to be potent. Doesn’t matter anymore.

Thome is in Birdland now.  And while I love the move and think the young kids in Baltimore are gonna learn a heck of a lot from the old man, I really don’t think the Orioles are going to contend for the World Series title.

I just hope Jim is cool with another spin around the world, so he can find his bay-beh…

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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