September 2012

The Filibuster

Are the Giants better off without Melky?

Mark 
Oak Park, IL

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On August 15 the Giants were 64-54 after losing to Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.  That same day they found out that they would be losing Cabrera for the rest of the regular season due to a 50-game ban.  Since then, the Giants won 27 games and only lost 11 on their way to clinching the division with a couple weeks left to go.  Now, there’s no doubt that Cabrera, juicing or not, can hit.  In reality, the drugs just made him better.  And it’s also pretty evident that he was on track for the NL batting title.  But when you look at the record compared to what the expectations were following news of Cabrera’s ban and one thing becomes obvious.

The Giants are a good team.

And they might be even better without Melky.

Look at the numbers.  With Melky the Giants were 10 games over .500 and doing well in the West but still not a sure thing.  Without Melky this same team is 26 games over .500 as of Friday and simply blew away the rest of the division.

What that tells me is that something changed in the collective psyche of the Giants when Melky got the boot.  The knew they could no longer depend on one guy to come up with the clutch hit and, as a result, it has been a whole bunch of guys who have had to come up with the hits and catches.  This makes them a team as opposed to a collection of players brought in as a supporting cast for the one star.

I don’t know if the Giants have the magic to make a run this year like they did in 2010.  If I had to guess, I’d probably say no since baseball is so wildly unpredictable.  But they seem to be coming together as a team more now than they did with Melky leading the charge so anything is possible.  Throw in the fact they don’t have to worry about facing Strasburg in the postseason like they did back on August 15 and it means that their chances are just a little bit better.

-A

The Decided Voter

I know I’ve already talked about it but at this time of year, we hear a lot about the “undecided voter.”  Here’s the thing, though.  This is what an “undecided voter” really looks like:

I don’t know about you but I prefer not to leave my future in the hands of that guy.

You know whose hands I don’t mind leaving my future in?  This guy:

Hopefully there are no undecided voters when it comes time to vote Miggy for MVP.

-A

Why I’m Rooting Against the Angels

It’s nothing personal.  Really.  Halos fans are cool.  And when I lived in SoCal, one of my favorite things to do was head on down to the Big A.  But this has nothing to do with the Angels or their fans and everything to do with her.

I am over her.  I am.  We had our good times, and yeah, she broke my heart into a bazillion little pieces, but it’s over now.  I’ve been over it.

For a while now.

It’s just that running into her during the playoffs — seeing how shiny and beautiful and happy she is with another man — well, just the idea of it happening like that so fast makes me want to puke.  And while I’m sure there will be a time when seeing her prosper will not make me dizzy with envy, that time is not now.

Not yet.

Go A’s!

Post-Podcast Pizazz!

We interrupt this pennant chase to bring you a special collection of non-baseball-politico related punk-jazz awesomeness from our podcast engineer and all-around cool cat, Keith Carmack.

ENJOY!

Tangible Intangibles

Although both political candidates and baseball teams have spent hundreds and thousands of hours working on strategy and trying to put together the perfect roster to bring home a win in November, there’s just no way they can prepare for the intangibles, what Donald Rumsfeld would call the “unknown unknowns.”  For the sports teams, there’s always the specter of injury as well as the impossible to predict quality of “getting hot at the right time.”  In politics, the things that keep campaign managers up at night include supposedly off-the-record comments and the fickleness of the “undecided voter.”

Guess that means it’s time to spend another couple hundred hours on strategy.

-A

The Filibuster

Who should throw out the first pitch if the Nats make the Series?

Natalie
Washington, DC
__________________________

In a city known for its hot-winded bureaucracy, I can definitely see this scenario as something DC suits would fight for.  I mean, who wouldn’t welcome the public relations boost that would come with leading the charge in Washington’s first World Series since 1933?

The problem is, I wouldn’t want any currently serving politicians out there on the mound.  Obama, a clumsily outspoken White Sox fan with an awkward delivery, would not be a good choice considering the pending presidential election and his penchant for wildness.  And asking a former president such as George W. Bush, a man who can certainly hold his own on the baseball diamond, would also be a bad choice considering the awful PR that would go with it.

The first pitch in the World Series should be by someone who is just as much a part of the spirit of Nationals baseball as the players and coaches and front office.  It should be someone with great leadership skills.  Someone who is adored regardless of political affiliation.  Someone who is dead.

It should be Teddy Roosevelt.

Since the Expos became the Nationals, fans of this ill-fated franchise have had little to cheer for… except for Teddy Roosevelt.  And yet despite leading the charge during the Spanish-American War, despite conquering an elusive elephant whilst on African safari, and despite surviving a bullet shot from John Schrank’s gun, the stuffed man still cannot find a way to sit atop the Presidents Race podium.

The very least DC could do is give him the first pitch.

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.

Things Still Fall Apart

Like any good book, the baseball season unfolds as a series of intriguing stories.  Mike Trout.  Bryce Harper.  The Baltimore Orioles.  The Boston sell-off.  ROIDS!!!  These are all striking plot lines that draw us in, forcing us to check Twitter and MLB Trade Rumors and MLB Tonight as often as Mr. Krause uses a 5-year old picture of me looking like a goof.

Yet, at the end of the season, after the World Champions have been crowned, the champagne has been drunk and Ozzie Guillen has said something unintelligible on live television, I firmly believe that the biggest story of the year could be the complete reversal of what up until a few weeks ago looked like a major headline grabber.

That’s right.  I’m talking to you, Pittsburgh Pirates.

Not even International Talk Like A Pirate Day could save loyal baseball fans in the Steel City from wanting to bring back the brown paper bags from the last 19 years.

With the losses on Wednesday and Thursday, the Pirates find themselves back where they belong, with a losing record.

It’s sad, right?  I guess.  No.  I know.  It is sad.  But for a realist like me, it was also predictable.  The Pirates doing well would be a surprise.  Seeing them sink back into loserdom is not.

Speaking of losers, you are not one today, my friend.  In fact, you just won!  What did you win?  Well, I can’t leave you feeling so sad on a Friday… so here are 18 glorious minutes of bloopers from The Office.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury…

The other day my good friend and colleague, Jeffery, publicly mocked me for not being tuned in to Anibal Sanchez’s at-the-time no-no.  In his screed, Jeff notes how he sent me text, a text that compelled me to call him and find out what was going on.  However, when you read a little more closely, you realize that this all happened on Saturday.

Now, I’m sure I don’t need to point this out to any of our RSBS readers but this past Saturday also happened to be a day chock-full of various other sporting events including some important early-season college football games.  Being the sports enthusiast that I am and due to the Tigers’ increasingly erratic play, I made the decision to focus on college football.

What happened next is the very definition of what you are not supposed to do when a no-hitter is in the offing.  Jeff texted me a vague, leading question which demanded a response.  As I called and Jeff picked up the phone, Sanchez let loose the the pitch that would end the no-hit bid.  Now, I ask you, members of the jury, who bears the blame for this unfortunate series of events?  Is it Allen, the attentive friend, responding to his buddy’s inarticulate and unclear question? Or is it Jeff, the person who set these events in motion and instigated the fateful phone call?

The answer is clear my friends.  And if Johnny Cochran were here with us today, this would be the point where we’d hear him say: “Texting is key, Jeff’s guilty.”

-A

RSBS Presents: Candidate, Inc.

Just like baseball teams and really any other sports franchise, politicians also are enterprises.  They may not be incorporated in quite the same way and maybe the legal terminology is different but look at the facts.  They have to build a brand around a name.  They want to figure out how to get you, the consumer, to spend your hard-earned cash on whatever it is they happen to be peddling.  They have no trouble floating with the winds of whatever fad has taken the country by storm at a certain point in time.  The sad fact of the matter is that Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Smith never really existed except for in our collective imagination.

But this is where it gets fun.  Sure, it’s easy to compare different sports franchises with different companies, expounding on their similarities and noting the token differences.  But if politicians are corporations, too, how do they stack up against their private sector counterparts?

Well, luckily for you, RSBS is here to fill you in.  Since we don’t have enough time to go down the list and match up every politician with the business that he most resembles, we’re just going to use the four most important politicians of the moment, the presidential and vice-presidential candidates.  So, without further ado, RSBS presents:  Candidate, Inc.

Barack Obama

We begin with the sitting president and initiator of one of the most formidable marketing campaigns of recent memory, Barack Obama.  His meteoric rise from being born to a single mother to Chicago neighborhood organizer to President of the United States is the American Dream personified.  It hasn’t always been easy and six months ago it seemed that his run had finally come to an end.  But somehow he used his rivals’ mistakes and his own impressive skills to claw himself back from the edge of ruin.  Sound familiar?  It should because it’s pretty similar to the same path taken by one of the companies he saved, General Motors.

Joe Biden

Joe hasn’t always had an easy ride, even if it’s sometimes self-inflicted.  But the man just keeps coming back.  Severe stutter as a child?  Bounces back. Wife and daughter die in a car crash?  Bounces back.  Makes vaguely racist remarks about a fellow candidate?  Bounces back.  Sure, he may not have ended up being number one but vice-president ain’t too shabby neither.  And Joe has his moments.  Remember when he managed to drop an f-bomb on national television?  Or when he basically called the Republicans the reincarnation of Southern plantation owners?  You may not always love him and he may not have come out on top but the man has something.  Kind of like the Ford Motor Company.

Mitt Romney

Moving to the other side of the aisle, we have the scion of a wealthy and well-connected political family who just can’t seem to figure out what that all means.  Sure, he’s ambitious and it’s obvious that he’ll go to all sorts of lengths to win. But what does he really do?  What does he really stand for?  Does he attend NASCAR races to see fast cars driving in circles or to hang out with the team owners?  He’s kind of like Kodak.  Like Kodak, he had all the keys to success but then he couldn’t figure out how to reinvent himself when the paradigm shifted.  He was successful as governor mainly because he worked with the other party and even adopted some of their policies.  And you know what?  It worked!  But then his digital camera moment came along, the Tea Party, and despite having all the advantages, he just can’t seem to put it together.  The way things are going now, Romney appears set to follow in Kodak’s tracks.  I’m pretty sure losing the presidential election would hurt just about as bad as being dropped from the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Paul Ryan

And finally we come to the baby of the group, the newcomer who in the past two years pretty much has come to define what “Republican” means today.  The “Paul Ryan Budget” plan, the championing of causes close to the hearts of the Tea Party faithful, his anointment as heir apparent and placement on the presidential ticket.  It’s an amazing valuation for a young and relatively unknown congressman.  In fact, it reminds me a lot of another brand that rode to national prominence based on similar parlor tricks.  However, when you ask how Enron‘s stock is faring today, the best you can hope for is a look of awkward questioning as the other person hopes you’re just joking.  It turns out that it was all just smoke and mirrors.  Paul Ryan?  Pretty much the same thing.

In today’s political landscape where corporate cash injections pretty much determine the course of events, it makes sense that the candidates themselves would have to begin acting like corporations in order to succeed.  But since that mindset has become the de facto organizing principle for everything from baseball teams to high schools, chances are we should probably just get used to it.  But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to figure out what kind of businesses we’re dealing with.

-A

State of the RSBS Union

Superstition is not something I find myself drawn to ordinarily; however, certain recent circumstances have led me to question even my own staunch stance in reality.  On Saturday, while witnessing Anibal Sanchez’s no-hit bid against the lowly Indians, I thought to myself, surely my obstinate and beleaguered colleague, Mr. Krause, is enjoying this little bit of history-in-the-making.

To be sure, I sent him a simple (non-superstitious text) that read: You know what’s happening right now, don’t you?

Unfortunately, as the baseball gods shook their invisible heads in shame, Mr. Krause responded with a phone call, to ask me what I was talking about, and as soon as I answered the phone, Carlos Santana drove a deep drive over Austin Jackson’s head and the drama was dead.

Good job, Mr. Krause.  Seems to be quite the formula for the Tigers this season: flashes of brilliance followed by complete disappointment.  How long will the White Sox stay ahead of the Tigers?  Until the end of the season.  That’s how I see it.

As for me and my Cardinal fanatic family, sure we’ve been victimized by the same sort of blasé play lately; but never fear… our SAVIOR will be HERE… FRIDAY.

Hate me ‘cuz it’s Monday, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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