August 2012

Where Is Jaws When You Really Need Him?

It’s Shark Week.  But you knew that.  What you might not know is how dire the level of stupid is that permeates our planet.

Which makes me ask: WHERE IS JAWS WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HIM?!?!

Why not show up in the Red Sox clubhouse?  Talk about sharks in the water, my goodness.  Isn’t it funny how a couple of World Series titles make us forget just how endearing the Red Sox used to be?  Nowadays, The Nation seems more like an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  Incessant and annoying bickering from privileged entitled millionaires ad nauseum.  Before the season started, I was so excited Bobby Valentine was back in the manager’s seat because I knew he would bring drama to the league.  This is NOT the drama I was looking for.

Nor was I looking for the Vice President of US America to be just as stupid as I’ve always thought he might be.  Well, turns out he is.  Joe Biden’s mouth seems to be about as large as Jaws’, yes, it’s just too bad he uses his for talking instead of devouring prey.

And while I realize Jaws tends to reside in the warm coastal waters off the North Atlantic, would it be too much to ask for him to swim down, out and around on up to the San Francisco Bay?  There’s one fraudulent outfielder there who could use a good ass-chewin’.

Hate me ‘cuz I’m angry, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

If Miguel Cabrera and Delmon Young Were Cats

I realize this is a semi-outdated (but, is it?) low blow that isn’t quite suited for a respectable blog.

However, it is also hilarious.

Happy Tuesday!

Jeff

Back to Reality

I’ve been pretty focused on the Olympics for the past couple weeks.  I’ve watched enough handball to hold me over for the next four years and realized that men’s basketball is much more fun to watch than women’s basketball.  I’ve seen decathlons, pentathlons and heptathlons.  And the best part was, I used all the Olympic goodness to ignore the silliness of what passes for news in the US as of late.  Well, that’s over.

Now it’s all about Paul Ryan and Chick-Fil-A.

Paul Ryan?  Not really a big fan.  He seems to be a return to the Bush years, years that didn’t really turn out so well for America

Chick-Fil-A?  Well, it’s chicken.  Some people love it, others don’t really care.  Me, I don’t think I’ve ever actually had Chick-Fil-A.  It’s kind of funny.  The only time I ever remember even wanting it was when I was flying through Cincinnati one afternoon.  Everything else just looked nasty so I thought I’d give it a chance.  Except that it was a Sunday so there was no Chick-Fil-A to be had.  Not exactly a point in their favor.

Man, this is going to suck.  I love politics but this race has already gone ugly and the chances of it coming back up out of the gutter are slim.  Even baseball doesn’t seem to have the power to overcome the post-Olympics slump, although I’m still holding out hope.  And if worse comes to worst, there’s always football.  It just won’t be the same without Usain Bolt, though.

-A

The Filibuster

Usain Bolt is looking to try out with a British soccer team. What athlete that you’ve seen in the Olympics would you most like to see trying out for an American baseball team?

Ethan
Santa Clara, CA
_________________________

Olympians turned baseballers?  I like the way you think, Ethan.  And I welcome the possibilities!

I can’t help but think Michael Phelps would look good in Yankee pinstripes.  The man has 20 Olympic medals — hardware that would surely look good next to 27 World Series trophies.  And let’s face it, the dude has earned the right to be as cocky and off-putting as he is.  He might not have Derek Jeter’s golden little black book yet, but some time around the Captain and soon he too could be kissing mirrors of himself.

When it comes to actual physical strength though I might suggest Holley Mangold take up a spot in the American League as a DH.  She wouldn’t have to actually do much running or having anyrefined skills other than swinging for the fences; and accounting for her already buoyant build, I don’t think we would have to worry about any Giambian steroid scandals.

Of course, no baseball league is complete without its lovable losers.  And considering how much crying Jordyn Wieber did in the 30th Olympiad, I think she’d be a perfect fit for the Chicago Cubs.

But let’s not forget, when it comes to an Olympian I want on my baseball team, there is no one other than THE Usain Bolt.

Holy jerk chicken, that guy is a bonafide SUPERSTAR!!!

Have you EVER seen anything more exciting the last 4 years than watching that man run!?!?!  Unbelievable!  I’d want him in center field, catching everything in between the foul poles.  At the plate, I’d have him try to walk as much as possible, just to mess with the opposing pitchers’ mind before taking off to fly around the bases.  And look out if he actually hits a ball out of the infield, ‘cuz dude is gonna turn singles into doubles and doubles into inside-the-parkers!

Not only that, but Bolt is also insanely entertaining in the most endearing of ways — a happy-go-lucky clowner who can back it up with performance as opposed to the psychotic shenanigans of a WAY less talented Tony Plush.

Forget soccer, Mr. Bolt, please come wear the birds on the bat.

And 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.

Would You Do Me a Kindness? (Or, What MLB Teams Could Learn from Coldplay)

The most amazing thing happened to my sister and I on Wednesday night.  We were sitting in our waaaaaaaay up high nosebleed seats at the United Center, anxiously awaiting the start of the Coldplay concert whilst thumbing through the official Mylo Xyloto Tour program.  I was reading an interview with lead singer Chris Martin where he discussed his long held disdain for corporate sponsors taking up the prime floor seats at his shows with their stiff suits and stingy inability to have any sort of fun.

I was reading about how the band prevented that from ever happening again by sending their roadies into the rafters before the show to find their REAL fans and bringing them down, front and center.

Then a man tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Excuse me, are you a big Coldplay fan?” with a delightful English accent.  “Why don’t you come with me, I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

HOLY BALLS, I thought to myself.

A few album name drops, a reciting of “Chris, Guy, Will and Johnny” and a proud display of the custom-made shirts my sister made for us that boasted our favorite Coldplay lyrics later, and this kind English gentlemen handed us two comped tickets.  TO THE FRONT FRIGGIN ROW!!!

My sister started crying with joy, I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, and before I knew it, we were standing just a few feet away from one of the most fun, visual and musically stimulating concerts I’ve ever seen.  All around us were other gracious, seemingly dreaming uberfans plucked down from the rafters.  Every single one of us sure to remember that night in full, forever and ever.

I wonder if Major League teams have ever considered doing something like this for their fans.  I am guessing no.  But wouldn’t it be nice?  Wouldn’t it be nice if our favorite big league clubs would simply do us a kindness?  I’m pretty sick of seeing stuffy suits, collagen-plugged faces and Scott Boras sitting directly behind homeplate.

A man can dream right?  Hey, sometimes, dreams come true.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

Olympic Living

Most of the athletes competing in the Olympics compete for nothing more than the love of their sport.  Let’s face it, being the 10th best ping-pong player in the world probably isn’t going to make you a whole lot of money.  I think that’s one of the reasons that this Forbes slideshow is interesting.  Granted, it shows mainly the haves of the international sporting circuit but it also shows the disparity between mainstream and non-mainstream sports.

If you really want to see what sports can get you, though, it’s too bad they didn’t include baseball in the Olympics this year.  If so, they could have featured Derek Jeter’s Tampa monstrosity:

LeBron may be king but Jeter has the palace.

-A

The Irony of Immigrants

Baseball, for the most part, takes place in the well-trodden hinterlands of the United States.  Sure, much of the talent may come from various islands off the coast of Florida but ultimately they make their way through towns like Lansing, Peoria and Lehigh in hopes of being called up to Cincinnati, Kansas City or Pittsburgh.  Being a baseball player often means getting an up close and personal lesson on US geography.

At the same time, many of these same fans who cheer for the Venezuelan or Dominican shortstop coming up with the team through the minors fail to see the irony in their universal distaste for immigrants and immigration.  How do you think your Mexican pitching ace got here in the first place, shitforbrains?  Sometimes it’s not so surprising when you consider the fanbase:

While these baseball migrants experience US geography firsthand and slowly learn more about their adopted country, many Americans willingly refuse to learn anything about the world around them.  This is never more apparent than during the Olympic games.

The opening ceremony is a case in point with people scrambling for their atlases as soon as Albania and Algeria march in.  It’s a little more disconcerting when even major US news sources can’t figure out the differences between the countries.

Luckily, though, the swimming, gymnastics and running are almost complete so there’s only one more week until we can go back to ignoring the world.  Even more importantly, we can get back to fighting the menace of immigration.  Well, unless it means picking up your new Japanese pitcher.  Seriously, Texas, how do you think Yu Darvish got there?

-A

Why I’m Cool with A Baseball-less Olympics

When baseball lost its status as an Olympic sport after the ’08 games, I admit, I was a little ticked off.  How dare you take away my precious pastime, Jacques Rogge! 

But having immensely enjoyed the 30th Olympiad from London thus far, the truth is, I don’t miss it at all.  In fact, if I want to watch the best baseball in the entire world, I just flip over to any of the 15 games being broadcast on my DirectTV Extra Innings package (do I get a credit for that plug?).

And really, that’s the only reason needed for not including baseball as an Olympic sport.  Remember how excruciating it used to be watching Olympic basketball without the finest athletes in the world participating?  And that’s in a sport lucky enough to have worldwide appeal.  Sure, we US Americans love our baseball, but the truth is, outside of Japan and a few pockets of Canadian air, the rest of the world could care less.

In fact, unless you grow up around the game of baseball, it’s pretty darn impossible to learn the rules of the game.  Believe me, during my four years in China, I tried like crazy to teach it to anyone who would listen.  But after a few hours of mass confusion, people tended to pretend they had to be somewhere, anywhere, just to get away from the crazy white guy wielding a stick and three different leather gloves.

Honestly, a professional-less international baseball tournament would be a pretty boring affair.  The World Baseball Classic already features the best of the best, and even that has proven to be an extremely hard sell.

What makes the Olympic games so appealing, to me, is that it really is a celebration of glory.  The absolute greatest athletes in their respective sports, from LeBron James to Roger Federer, Mary Keitany to Usain Bolt and hundreds more in between, all come to the same place, and the world is watching.

Albert Pujols ain’t gonna show up.  Neither is Derek Jeter nor any other Major League Baseballer.  And even if they did, the world wouldn’t care.

IOC Chairman Jacque Rogge’s original statement to MLB columnist Mark Newman sums it up pretty well:

“To be on the Olympic program is an issue where you need universality as much as possible. You need to have a sport with a following, you need to have the best players and you need to be in strict compliance with WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). And these are the qualifications that have to be met. When you have all that, you have to win hearts. You can win the mind, but you still must win hearts.”

Oh yeah, then there’s that whole juicing thing…

Hate me ‘cuz I’m cool with the Olympics as is, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

Who is the man with the masterplan?

Jake 
Macomb, IL

_________________________

Good question, Jake!  And the answer isn’t as easy as one Dr. Dre would lead you to believe.

Honestly, it’s hard to just pick one person and say he’s the man with the masterplan.  And since we here at RSBS like to avoid being too categorical, I’m going to give you a list of possibilities and let you decide.

First we turn to the world of baseball.  Here, you could say it’s the Washington Nationals, the former laughingstock of the league who now find themselves with the second best record in baseball, who are the man.  Or, how about the Cincinnati Reds with the best record in baseball?  Even that would be ignoring the Pittsburgh Pirates, who, although several games behind the Reds, are still in wildcard contention.  The Pirates?!

If that’s too vague for you, we could always try to drill down a little and offer up some individuals.  You can’t spit these days without hitting some news about Mike Trout.  However, at only 20 years old, it’s a little hard to say that he’s the man with the masterplan.  The same could be said of Stephen Strasburg, although the Nationals’ plan to limit his innings this season could be seen as a masterplan…..or a master cock-up if it costs them a playoff spot or a deep playoff run.

When you say masterplan, though, that seems to be a bit more global than just Major League Baseball.  This sounds more like it requires worldwide dominance in which case we should turn our eyes toward London and the Olympic games.  The obvious choices here are the US Men’s basketball team who unfortunately seemed almost human against the Lithuanians and Michael Phelps, the Midas of swimming who has a knack for turning almost everything gold.

However, it also doesn’t hurt to look a bit further afield.  For instance, how about a man who dabbles in and dominates a field of pseudo-gymnastics.  That’s right.  Olympic men’s trampoline champion, Dong Dong.  With a name like that and  the current title-holder as World and Olympic champion, it’s hard to say he’s not the man with the masterplan.

-A

RSBS Presents: How to Know When You’re in Detroit

After a smoking start to the second half, the Tigers have seen their fortunes wane.  Ok, they’ve sucked.  Sure, they’re only a couple games behind the White Sox but when you’re playing in a division as bad as the AL Central, that’s not really saying a whole lot.  Detroit could still make the playoffs and even if they don’t, it’s probably still safe to say that they’re the best team in the Central.  That being said, Detroit has become known for quite a few things as of late but they don’t tend to be baseball related.

If the Tigers do make the postseason, you may find yourself in the position of visiting Windsor’s American cousin sometime this fall.  And although Detroit does have a few well-known monuments like the giant tire and the River Rouge plant, it’s easy to find yourself wondering where you are.  Since we here at RSBS would hate for you to be unaware of where you are, today we provide you with guide to identifying that you have arrived to Detroit.

ZOMBIES

Well, not yet.  But if Mark Siwak gets his way, Detroit may soon be known for its roaming zombie hoards.  This isn’t all bad as the plan could provide a boost to the city’s GDP.  It could also increase the city’s DNA with all those body parts strewn about.

WILD DOGS

The most successful cities develop clusters that support and develop the culture and economy of an urban area.  London and New York are known for their clusters of financial whizzes while the area around San Francisco has developed a reputation for tech know-how and venture capital.  Detroit?  Well, it has clusters, too.  Clusters of feral dogs.  Chances are that if you are attacked by a pack of wild dogs in a major US city, it’s pretty safe to assume that you’re in Detroit.

HOPE

Despite everything else, Detroit has become somewhat unrecognizable as of late due to the arrival of something more foreign than zombies or wild dogs.  Hope.  The auto industry received a bail-out just when it seemed that Detroit’s last economic life-line was being cut.  The University of Michigan not only had a winning football season but also managed to beat Ohio State for the first time in seven years.  And the Detroit Lions, the holders of the only 0-16 record in NFL history, actually made the playoffs last year.  That’s even more hope-y and change-y than Barack Obama.

Hopefully we’ll see you in Detroit this fall for some postseason baseball.  If so, you’ll now be able to come prepared to identify where you are.

-A

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