One and a half times. That is how many times I have been able to watch the Brandon McCarthy play where a darting Eric Aybar comebacker destroys the Oakland A’s pitcher’s skull. Holy mother of invisible friends, that hurts.
The first time I saw it my stomach dropped and I got real dizzy. When the replay was shown again — this time in slow-motion — I anticipated the skull crushing but still wasn’t able to get through it. I thought I was going to be sick.
I was sick the first time I saw Clint Malarchuk get his neck sliced by a Steve Tuttle’s skate back in Buffalo too. In fact, I remember asking my dad if it was even real, hoping that the spewing, rhythmical blood staining the ice might be some cute Hollywood trick designed to draw in more fans. Sadly, the situation was quite real.
As was Joe Theismann’s career ending leg snap, courtesy of Lawrence Taylor. Even Homer Simpson had a hard time stomaching that!
The truth is, as much as we enjoy our professional sports, they do carry with them an incalculable element of danger. Even with all that open space in Oakland, a ball can still easily find one’s head. It found Brandon McCarthy’s, and it will find someone else’s too someday. It’s all a part of the game.
Which reminds us that these people we watch and cheer and boo, they’re real people. They bleed too, just like us. And while they may have more zeroes in their bank accounts, they are putting themselves in danger for our enjoyment. I think it’s important to remember that.
A baseball, a skate, a weakside linebacker, they can all become deadly weapons, at any time.
Get well soon, Brandon. And here’s to hoping you get that threesome someday.
Andy Williams had it all wrong. I’m sorry, but I’ll take September’s non-stop MLB pennant chasing + NFL + Notre Dame losing to Michigan combination over cold and snow and fake Santas any day. In fact, since it’s an election year, we get even more drama to go with our Irish-trouncing, and if you wait until the end of this post, you’ll even see that the Republicans have JOKES!
But first thing’s first: TUNE IN TO BASEBALL. My lord, between the AL Central showdown, the A’s/Angels wild card battle and the AL East title three-way, I can’t imagine a more exciting scenario (except maybe a non-baseball related three-way, but that’s for a different blog). Consider the NL wild card race and the fact that one of the three AL East teams could also nab the last AL West wild card spot and now allow your mind to be blown (again, maybe better for another blog).
And I haven’t even mentioned the myriad story lines decorating the start to the NFL and college football seasons!
The fact is, for dudes like Mr. Krause and I, it really doesn’t get much better than this. Unless you want to throw in some flaccid punchline deliveries (ZING!)…
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
The closer we get to the election, the more the rhetoric heats up. Both sides fling out unbelievable claims trying to sway the “undecided” voter who somehow gets to decide every election. Both parties try to get propositions and amendments on the ballot as well in an effort to get normally apathetic voters out to vote and hopefully, by extension, then also vote for that party’s guy. It’s a cynical tactic, especially when you realize that these “tactics” affect real people.
I think that’s why I appreciated the letter Minnesota Viking’s punter Chris Kluwe recently wrote in support of Baltimore Raven, Brendon Ayanbadejo. His second point is particularly important as it brings up something that should hit close to home for any baseball fan. Yes, while we generally prefer that our sporting heroes don’t remind us of the difficult realities faced by many people and while many of us prefer to use sports as a means of escape, sports and the athletes who play them have a unique ability to reach a mass audience and to change social norms. Jackie Robinson wasn’t just a baseball player. He was the death knell of Jim Crow. Hopefully guys like Kluwe and Ayanbadejo can do the same to this insane war on human rights being waged right now in the US.
P.S. I can’t wait to hear Baseball Serendipity’s response to this one. If it’s anything like last time, we’ll all be in for a treat.
What happened to the Twins?
Saint Paul, MN
Ah, yes, the Minnesota Twins. What did happen to those paragons of fundamentally sound baseball? An analysis of such depth requires patience, dedication and an insatiable hunger for the truth, so I put the RSBS interns to the task and they have provided the following slide show:
Nope, not even the healthy return of Morneau could make the pain of the above image go away. In fact, 2012 sorta seems like a good time to reset everything. Surprisingly, the Twins do have some decent offensive production (Mauer, Morneau, Willingham, Plouffe), but their pitching has been atrocious. Like, Kent Hrbek farting in your face type of “atrocious”. The average ERA of their six starters is over 5 and they have been blown out (lost by 5+ more runs) 23 times so far. And the bullpen? YIKES! Don’t ask them to hold a lead ‘cuz it’ll be difficult!
Like old baseball men love to say, “You’re only as good as your pitching”, and, well, when your pitching resembles the bottom of a porta-potty and the rest of the team can’t stay healthy, awful is pretty much what ya get. Don’t believe me? Ask the perennial sCrUBS.
Hate me ‘cuz I made you look at that famous Mauer back hair guy again, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Jeff (and interns)
Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.
As we enter the beginning of the most exciting time of year (baseball playoffs and football season and an election, oh my!), I think it’s important that we keep in perspective that which brings us the most joy. Sure, hosting a Guinness keg party while dressed in my Yadier Molina jersey flanked by the Shannon twins is pretty much the happiest day of my life (that hasn’t happened yet but might), I still know that even if all that other stuff falls through, I will always have baseball.
And sometimes, within the game of baseball, we can find something much simpler that pushes the happy button. I know a lot of folks have been wrapped up in the admirable and impressive play of Mike Trout. People are just as infatuated with his grace and dominance as I
was am infatuated with Stephen Strasburg and all things Strasmas. It’s the little injections of youthful awesomesauce that often remind us why we love baseball so much. It is a kid’s game after all.
But sometimes waiting for the next big thing isn’t necessary. I have found that out this year by following Coco Crisp very closely. My history with Crisp has been one of hilarity, peppered with some dazzle. And while his offensive numbers may not hypnotize scouts, enough can never be said about how he plays the game.
He plays hard. He plays to win. He’s in on every pitch and he goes balls-to-the-wall. In fact, I have gotten to the point where I’m watching replays of his relay throws and conducting frame-by-frame analysis on his routes to fly balls.
If I could get to Oakland, I’d rather watch Crisp long-toss than Cesepedes take BP.
Okay, so maybe I’m lyin’ a little bit in that last sentence, but one thing is for certain: Coco Crisp’s defensive play is worth focusing on and if you focus long enough, you’re probably going to see something that puts a smile on your face. Maybe even an afro.
If there’s one problem that baseball management and the Republican party have in common, it’s in trying to relate to hispanics. And whether it’s cultural differences, the language barrier or continued attempts to push everyone with a hispanic sounding last name out of the country, the problem won’t be going away anytime soon.
However, we here at RSBS prefer to be part of the solution so we have a suggestion for both the GOP and MLB front offices. The answer is “education.” If you don’t at least make an effort to understand the culture and the language, you’re going to find yourself on the wrong end of the bat nine times out of ten. I’m not saying you need to learn how to merengue or be able to tell the difference between a Venezuelan and Mexican accent, but you should at least have some basic level of understanding.
Now, I realize that with the end of season approaching and the general election in full swing, neither Republicans nor baseball’s movers and shakers have much extra time on their hands. Luckily, YouTube has once again come to the rescue. Give it a try and see if you don’t notice your multicultural empathy meter running over within minutes:
It couldn’t be any simpler. All you need to know is, “¿Que hora es?”
My entire family votes Republican. I am not kidding. With the exception of me and my siblings, my entire extended family pretty much votes a straight ticket. This makes sense for about half of them since that’s the military half of the family. Republican administration=increased defense spending=job security. But the other half are blue collar workers, many of whom saw their union jobs either shipped south of the Mason-Dixon line to right-to-work states or out of the country all-together. Clinton may have been the one who signed NAFTA but the idea behind it, and the resulting job losses across the rust-belt, were all Republican initiatives.
The point is, it doesn’t make much sense for a paper-mill worker like my dad to be voting Republican. I can kind of understand why a millionaire former baseball player like Curt Schilling now shills for the GOP. Tax breaks and loopholes keep his nest-egg more ostrich-sized while the rest of us deal with our quail egg savings. And if you think any part of the middle class will come out ahead under a Romney/Ryan administration, you need to pull your head out of the sand.
You know, this story could be told much more easily via pictures. Let’s try that.
Serendipitous truth in advertising:
R-Money – rapper, Mormon, Republican candidate for President:
Now, why exactly is anyone from the middle class or any fiscal conservative planning to vote for this guy? I guess I should just ask my family. Chances are, they’ll be doing so.
Does Justin Verlander ever sweat? Seriously, does he? Not only does his velocity rise late in the game, but he also does it with an air of easiness that makes us mortals hate ourselves as we pile on another helping of chips and salsa.
I don’t doubt he’s one of the hardest workers in baseball. Like Chuck Norris, Justin Verlander’s off days are probably harder than any busy day at the office I’ve ever had to endure. In fact, I bet Verlander could kick Norris’ butt, especially since Chuck is currently distracted by the unfounded promises of his invisible friend.
Chris Sale has a Verlanderish look in his eye. It says: I’m here to kick some ass and I’m gonna keep a straight, determined growly face just to show you that I really am an animal inside. Except once the lid comes off that attitude and runners start spilling onto the basepaths, Sale loses his game face.
Maybe he just needs time to work on it.
It took Verlander some time too. This whole ‘getting stronger as the game goes on’ phenomenon wasn’t something that Verlander started his Big League career with. He learned it. He perfected it. And now he’s cutting through a hot knife with butter and swimming through land and threatening death with a near-Verlander experience.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m rallying around Mr. Krause’s hero today, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Happy Labor Day!
What MLB team does the GOP most resemble?
You can draw a lot of different analogies between baseball and politics and you can draw even more between baseball and the Republican party. A bunch of rich white guys with a sense of entitlement and maybe a token minority or two thrown in just for flavor? We could be talking the Republican party or the baseball owners. A scorched-earth policy that leaves everyone worse off? That could be either the baseball owners in the 1994 strike season or the Republican leadership team in 2008. Considering that one of the baseball owners became President and de facto leader of the Republican party for eight years in 2000, it would be pretty easy to say that GOP most resembles the owners.
But that’s not the question. The question is which team does the GOP most resemble and that requires a little more analysis.
My first thought, especially with the recent rise to prominence of Paul Ryan, was the San Francisco Giants. The Giants used to be known for their history with inspirational guys like Willie Mays and Dave Dravecky. That’s like the old GOP, the party of Lincoln and even Nixon, minus the whole Watergate thing. Now, though, the Giants are the team of Barry Bonds and Melky Cabrera. They’re the team of liars. After Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention that even a Fox News commentator called “deceiving” and the absolutely flabbergasting claim by Ryan that he ran a sub three hour marathon (since “corrected”), you’d have to put him in the same category as Bonds and Cabrera.
Still, that doesn’t seem to be enough. Lying is well and good, even when called something different, but RSBS readers demand more.
There are a bunch of other possibilities, from the Red Sox to the Dodgers but really, when you stop and think about it, there’s only one answer to this question. The GOP could only be the New York Yankees.
A group of millionaire crybabies who routinely underachieve despite having every advantage known to man? Could be the Yankees, could be the Republicans. Supporters incessantly screwed over by a leadership group that routinely takes money from supporters’ pockets while those supporters not only cheer them on but also keep coming back for more? Hm, really could be either one. An unnatural love of pinstripes? I think you can see where this is going.
Really, the answer couldn’t be any easier and I’m almost ashamed to have to say it. But just because it’s easy that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Occam’s Razor, my friends.
Although most of the great non-U.S. ballplayers have come from Latin America, a fair number have also hailed from the East. No, I’m not talking about New Jersey. I’m talking about the land of the rising sun. Players like Ichiro in his heyday or the sometimes brilliant Yu Darvish. Or the professional pitcher pictured here at the right. But aside from a couple Koreans and one or two Chinese, baseball doesn’t seem to have had quite the same effect on the rest of the continent.
We could take the time to do an in-depth study of why certain Asian cultures have successfully assimilated baseball and I’m sure there are quite a few reasond to be found. However, we see no need to be scientific and instead decided to focus on the most important metric available in the internet age: Youtube videos.
So, in two steps, here’s why there aren’t more Asian ballplayers, moving from the west (Rinku and Dinesh??)…
…to the east:
I think that pretty much clears it up, even if the horsey dance is quite catchy.