October 2012

Burning Down the House

Through years of tradition and arbitrary custom, decisions in the United States are often made by random groups of people whose legitimacy owes itself to nothing except that tradition.  Exhibit A, the Electoral College.  Exhibit B, the House of Representatives.  Exhibit C, the Baseball Writers Association of America.

The first one isn’t going anywhere and except in random cases like the 2000 election, hasn’t actually thwarted the will of the people.  Sure, it does give outsized importance to states like Ohio and Florida that really should be sold back to the French and Spanish, respectively, but it doesn’t make me hate myself.

The House of Representatives, on the other hand, is where intelligence and common sense go to die.  Take Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia who sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology as an example.  Rep. Broun’s membership on a relatively unimportant committee wouldn’t matter too much except for one thing.  He believes that “evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell.”  Broun also has stated that he believes that the earth is about 9,000 years old.  That an idiot of this magnitude could be elected to Congress, and is running unopposed this year as well, is indicative of the collective intelligence of the body (and the American people, unfortunately).

Need more proof?  Take the House Republicans’ hearing on Libya that took place last week in which they not only failed to resolve anything but also managed to blow the CIA’s cover in Benghazi in the process.  Seriously, this is more appropriate to the plot of a Coen brothers’ movie than it is to the lower house of of our esteemed national legislature.

And finally we come to the Baseball Writers who have the power to hand out post-season awards as well as decide who is elected to the Hall of Fame.  Considering that the list of members includes Woody Paige and Buster Olney, I’m not inclined to give much credence to anything they say.  The only good thing about having them around is that there’s a good chance they’ll give the AL MVP to a Detroit Tiger for the second consecutive year, despite the strong case that could be made for Mr. Trout.  And, at the end of the day, if I had to wish for the unholy death of one group of people, I’d probably give the nod to the House over the sportswriters.  That could all change if Miggy doesn’t get the MVP, though.  Writers, you have been warned.

-A

On the Right Side of Beltran

You know what was going through my mind yesterday?  How terrifyingly awesome it must be to plummet towards earth at the speed of sound.  You know what else was going through my mind?  How glad I am that we have Carlos Beltran.

And I’m not just talking about a mild-mannered ball-bashing Carlos Beltran either.  No, I’m talking about a mild-mannered ball-bashing and JADED Beltran.  Despite what little Beltran has made of it to the press, I would guess there’s a certain undefinable stick-it-to-em-ness in Carlos’ bat this National League Championship Series, and whatever angst it might have been made of certainly stuck it to ‘em last night.

I mean, I saw it too, how the Giants turned their noses up towards the possibility of keeping Beltran through free agency last winter.  In fact, they didn’t even make dude an offer, opting to bank on the offense of Melky Cabrera instead of having the solid (and, I should add: CLEAN) Mr. Beltran anchoring the middle of their lineup.

Well, we all know how well that turned out, don’t we?  Meanwhile, all Beltran did was play 151 games with 26 doubles, 32 homers and 97 RBI.

Still, here we are: Cardinals and Giants, NLCS, and only three wins away from defending our World Series crown.

Boy am I glad Beltran is on our team.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right (and biased).

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

How did you guess the Cards would get past the Nats?

Eric
Reston, VA

_________________________

Guess?  Eric, in my world, Guess is a brand of jeans, not a verb.  This, my friend, is destiny.

The Tigers and Cardinals have a history and that history refuses to be delayed by something as simple as the Washington Nationals.  Now, a Nationals team with Stephen Strasburg taking the ball in games 1 and 5, that could have been a different story.  But as we all know, Strasburg wasn’t there and the Nats couldn’t make a 6-0 lead hold up in game 5.  On top of that, the Cards got a huge boost with the successful return of Chris Carpenter.

So, let’s do the math.  The Cards add Carpenter while the Nats subtract Strasburg.  If the old adage that “Pitching wins championships” is true, then the Nats never had a chance.  And the facts bear this out.

Now, to be fair, none of this entered my thought processes while making my predictions.  I didn’t sit down and draw out the strengths and weaknesses of the teams or look at the probable pitching match-ups.  That wasn’t necessary.

Here’s the thing: The Nats are a young team with a bunch of stars and they’ll be back.  They have a great bullpen (despite Storen’s meltdown in Game 5) and with pitchers like Zimmerman and Strasburg along with stars like Harper, they have a bright future.  The Cards, though, they’ve been here before and they know how to deal with the pressure.  On top of that, they barely even made it in and without a lucky in-field fly-rule call during the play-in, they probably wouldn’t even be here.   Since no one expects them to do much, despite being the defending champions, there’s very little pressure.  They have nothing to lose.

But let me get back to my original point.  This wasn’t some sort of lucky guess.  This is destiny.  The Tigers and Cards have a date in the World Series and it’s an encounter that promises to divide the RSBS team.  We’ll see you there.

-A

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Where Will Smith and Jayson Werth Come to Play

Man, that sure turned into a dogfight.  Seriously, just a few days ago it seemed like everything was decided and then, BAM, everything’s back up in the air again.  The thing is, we could really be talking about a few different things right now.  It could be Jayson Werth’s walk-off homer in DC to force a game 5.  It could be the two different series going to decisive game 5′s in spite of teams jumping out to a 2 games to none lead in both.  Or it could be the Vice Presidential debate where Joe Biden and Paul Ryan slugged it out like a couple of prizefighters.

In the end it really doesn’t matter which one you choose because no matter what, it was highly entertaining.  Me, I love Joe Biden so it was great to watch him come out swinging.  He didn’t win in a knockout but if you were scoring at home, it’s pretty safe to say he took the match on points.  Which may not be so surprising since this is who he was going up against:

Uh, dude, 1990′s Will Smith wants his outfit back.  The Fresh Prince of Hot Air, if you will.

But getting back to the entertainment aspect, the same goes for the playoffs.  There was drama all over the place and if the next round is half as entertaining as the play-in games and the Division Series, we’re in for some good baseball.  I love October, almost as much as Paul Ryan loves backwards hats.

-A

Hey, D.C., Phillies Called, They Want Their Fans Back

BOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

That was the sound of the Washington Nationals faithful… before the NLDS Game 3 even started.

That’s right, while the Cardinals personnel was being announced prior to the game, Nationals fans invoked their inner “Philly-ness” and slaughtered the birds on the bat with their vocal angst (the birds on the bat slaughtered the Nats on the field).

The booing only increased towards raucous levels through the first and second innings as the Cardinals piled up runs.  By the 7th inning, most of the fans were already gone, giving up on their team before the game was over.

Classy, D.C.  Very classy.

I’m still scratching my head on this one.  When did D.C. fans become so entitled?  They haven’t won anything yet!

Nationals Park is one of my favorite baseball havens of all time.  I have been there several times now, most of those games against the Cardinals, and I have never seen nor heard the fans act like such a-holes.

I guess the transient Beltway fans have taken over for the real deal — if the real deal actually exists.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals (and their fans) remain awesome.  I’m proof.  Seriously.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

A 47 Percent Rant

My dubious and oft out of touch with the public colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, shocked the baseball-politico world on Monday when he compared his beloved Detroit Tigers to the stiff stylings of Mitt Romney.  Now, lining one’s self up with the far right fed Tea Party and Christian Coalition is one thing, but talking out of one’s posterior in a public forum is another.

Mr. Krause said:

The Cardinals are playing with a ragtag team and no longer have master strategist La Russa at the reigns.

Um… what?

Ragtag?  RAG?  TAG?

What’s so ragtag about being World Champions?  What’s ragtag about Holliday?  Freese?  Molina?

RAGTAG?!?!

WTF?

Carlos Beltran?  Allen Craig?  Chris Carpenter?

WHAT IS THIS RAGTAG YOU SPEAK OF, MR. KRAUSE?!?

The only thing “ragtag” about your REIGNING… WORLD… CHAMPIONS… is that they might play this before each game:

Oh, wait.  That’s ragTIME.

Like it’s time to grab a rag and wipe up the locquacious mess left by my colleague.

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

Peace,

Jeff

RSBS Presents: Allen’s 2012 Post-Partisan Playoff Preview

This year there’s a good chance that the American elections and the World Series will end within a week of each other.  And since nothing says America like baseball and apple pie, that’s good news.  More than that, both of them have the chance to be doozies this time around.  Baseball had it’s first play-in wild card game.  The Presidential election has it’s first candidate who wears magical underwear.  The whole world has turned upside down but luckily we just get to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Normally I’d spend quite a bit of time here explaining how we get to the end and who goes where.  I’d predict the Yankees and Orioles while waxing rhapsodic on the Giants and Reds.  I’d try to compare each one to a major figure in the two parties and then slowly whittle both sides down until we had a final face off.  Somehow I’d work both Paul Ryan and Joe Biden in there, trying to set Biden’s propensity for off-the-cuff remarks (“He’s clean AND articulate!”) against Ryan’s propensity to rearrange the truth into a freakish facsimile of itself (“Yeah, bro, I totally ran a marathon in less than three hours despite having to stop to rescue a small child and his kitten from a burning tree”).

But not this year.  This year is different.  This year is already set.  This is the year that Willard Romney and Barack Obama throw down for all the marbles.  And this is also the year that my Tigers and Jeff’s Cardinals meet again for a rematch of the 2006 World Series.

That’s right folks, although it may not seem probable or even possible, you heard it here first.  The World Series this year will be a Red State Blue State phantasmagoria.  Justin Verlander vs. Adam Wainwright.  Jim Leyland vs. the guy who replaced Tony La Russa.  Prince Fielder vs. not-Albert Pujols.  Triple Crown winner and likely MVP Miguel Cabrera vs. anyone stupid enough to actually throw to him.  It’s a matchup for the ages.

So, how does this match up with the Presidential race, you ask?  Well, like this:

Barack Obama, like the Cardinals, is the incumbent, and both find themselves in much shakier positions than when they last won.  The Cardinals are playing with a ragtag team and no longer have master strategist La Russa at the reigns.  Meanwhile, Obama is playing on a field that tilts a different direction each week depending on jobs reports and the unemployment rate.  The Cardinals come in on the high of winning the inaugural Wild Card play-in game while Obama has been surfing the wave of Bin Laden’s death.  But both of them have come crashing back to earth in the last few days with Obama’s performance in the first debate and the Cardinals’ dropping game one of the Division Series at home.  But you’d be stupid to count either one out just yet.

Willard “Mitt” Romney, just like the Tigers, almost made it to the finals last time but fell just short in the end.  And both of them seem to be getting hot at just the right time.  The Tigers finally found that next gear they had been missing all year as they sped past the White Sox and then took a quick 2-0 lead over the A’s in the Division Series.  Willard seemed to do the same as he used an excellent debate performance to make up ground in the polls.  Sure, he may not have been anyone’s top choice coming out of a field that included a man whose name is now synonymous with the “frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex,” but he did pull it out in the end (no pun intended) and now has the parties elites linded up behind him (again, no pun intended).  Similarly, the Tigers probably didn’t top anyone’s list limply sliding out of an impressively putrid AL Central (seriously?) but here they both are.

But, the answer you’re all dying to know is, “Who wins?”  And it’s a tough one to call.  On the one hand, I’d love to see my Tigers finally pay pack the Cardinals for ruining our run in 2006.  On the other hand, although I realize there aren’t that many differences between the Republicans and Democrats, I really don’t think that Romney’s indebtedness to the Christian right and the Tea-Party are good for our country’s future our for our role as a leader in the international community.  As I’ve said before, it’s great to have your team win but what happens in politics affects not just us but the rest of the world…

…which is why I will celebrate with a heavy heart when the Tigers win the World Series.  I’ll cheer my Tigers during the first week of November but I’ll grieve for my country in the second.

Don’t hate me because I called it right last time.  Hate me because I’m right this time.

-A

The Filibuster

What’s your biggest fear?

Mitch
St. Charles, IL
__________________________________

Right now?  Oh, that’s easy…

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Jumping Off the Walls from a One-Game Playoff

I like the extra wild card playoff.  Obviously.  My team (the reigning WORLD CHAMPIONS) are in because of it.  But I am not a fan of the umpteen ulcers currently destroying my insides as we face a do or die situation against Kris Medlen and the Atlanta Braves.

To prove it, I was going to post a picture of myself suffering from said anxiety before I realized that doing so would drive people away rather than draw them in, so instead I give you a wet and bouncy Michelle Jenneke.

Go Cards!

Jeff Takes a Bath

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about my buddy Jeff is his ability to admit when he’s wrong.  And despite what he may say at the end of every post, there have been plenty of times that he has had to admit to errant predictions or inappropriate accusations.

That doesn’t make it any less refreshing when it happens, though.  For instance, his recent mea culpa for getting the AL Central race so wrong came as a breath of fresh air.  And if anyone should know about never counting a team out you would think that it would be the guy who supports the Cardinals, a teams whose 2006 season was the ultimate story of lucking into the playoffs and then getting hot at the right time.

Now, I’m a much more cautious person than Jeff.  I’m not going to make any wild predictions about the Tigers winning the pennant, much less the World Series.  However, the 2006 Cardinals (and the 2011 Cardinals, for that matter) proved that anything is possible and the Tigers definitely have a team that, if everything clicks, could do some damage.

Hey, what could be better than Jeff taking a bath?  Or a shower, as it were.

-A

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