Results tagged ‘ All Star Game ’

The Filibuster

Since it’s the start of the All-Star break, who’s your All-Star so far this season?

Paul
Cicero, IL
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First of all, major cap tip to ultimate All-Star, The Captain, Derek Jeter, a man who has been giving me goosebumps for 17 years and counting.  Dude is a paragon of class, someone who always goes hard and who seems to have a natural knack for the dramatic.

Jeter is one of those duh, no kidding he’s an All-Star sorta guys, the Pete Rose type, the kind of player you always expect to be an All-Star ‘cuz that’ s how he carries himself, on and off the field.  But there’s another type of All-Star, the kind who generally isn’t included in the actual All-Star Game… they are the grinders, the 110% effort guys, the ones who find clean uniforms shameful.

When I was playing legion and high school ball, I was never the best on the team.  I was short.  I was skinny.  I pretty much had zero tools… but I always went hard.  Bruises, cuts, scrapes… I was tattooed with them.  One day, after a particularly poor team performance, Coach said we needed to give more effort, to go harder.  He said, “Lung has more energy in his pinky finger than the rest of you do as a team.”

I never forgot that.  And even though I didn’t have the talent to be a starter, or to be successful at baseball at all, I did learn to walk pretty tall after that because everyone knew I gave it everything I had on every play.

Nyjer Morgan does that today.

Shocking, yes, I know, that I would praise the talents of a misfit who plays for a rival team.  But have you ever watched Nyjer Morgan play baseball?  That dude is fired up!  And he plays helluh-hard!  There is no let-up in his game and above all the homeruns, the no-hitters, the miraculous defensive plays in the field, I would rather watch nine Nyjer Morgans play against nine Nyjer Morgans than any of the aforementioned spectacles.

He may be odd, he may be hot headed and he may be just a few clicks shy of stupid, but Nyjer Morgan loves baseball like I love baseball, and he plays it in such a way that I can’t ever take my eyes off him.

He’s my undisputed off-the-radar All-Star.

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

Peace,

Jeff

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Three Up, Three Down

Just like a Cub fan’s hopes for a victorious 2011 season, this is gonna be quick, probably ugly and will require more alcohol consumption than a weekend with Lindsay Lohan:

Those Damn Pirates!

By now, everyone on the planet with the barest inkling of baseball acumen is amazed, flabbergasted and floored that, going into the weekend before the All Star Game, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a winning record.  While a lot of folks find that to be pretty swell, I find it to be a major pain in the @$$, because now half of my jokes aren’t even relevant. Thanks a lot, Clint Hurdle.  At least, there’s always Bachmann… and Palin… and Beck… and, okay, nevermind, everything’s cool.

J.P.!

The RSBS interns recently handed me a report that suggests White Sox outfielder, Juan Pierre, could very well be an RSBS dear reader galore.  In fact, after our very own schlumbach, Johanna Mahmud, went off on a Charlie Sheenian rant slamming the aging speedster, all Pierre did was go 11 for 31 with 2 doubles, 7 RBIs and act as the game winning hero THREE GAMES IN A ROW.  To even hint that J.P. is in the same class of awful as Chone Figgins and Raul Ibanez should be a crime.  So, next time I see Mr. Mahmud, I’m gonna shoot his eyes with Sriracha and cut off his supply of Goldfish crackers.

Ernie Has Lost His Mind!

Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks, was recently quoted as saying the following about current Cubs shortstop, Starlin Castro:

“He’s a great player. He can hit, he can throw. He’s a good young player. He’s better than me.”

*HEAD TWISTS AROUND ITSELF, EYES POP OUT, TONGUE RENDERED USELESS*

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Look, the kid is good.  But he’s like 10 years old and is baseball stupid.  He makes mistakes… all the time!  I hope this isn’t a sign that Banks isn’t all there.  For a team that doesn’t have much to feel good about, at least they can always feel good about Mr. Cub — that is, until he loses his mind, which may have already happened…

Happy Friday!  Call a cab!  It’s easy!

Jeff

The Filibuster

How come you get to vote up to 25 times for All Star selections?  Is one vote per person less democratic?

Nathan
Mattoon, IL
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MLB made $6.1 billion in revenue in 2010.  28% of that revenue ($1.7 billion), came from the New York Yankees.  The Phillies and Red Sox place in the top six most valuable franchises.  Until the Wilpons’ recent financial issues, the Mets also figured into this top tier of baseball royalty.

When you look at these clubs, you notice they have two things in common.  Number one, they generate large amounts of revenue for MLB and number two, they all belong to large east coast cities.  These two facts are closely related and this fact has not slipped MLB’s notice.

How do you keep a bunch of super-rich clubs happy?  Simple.  You make sure that their players get elected to the All-Star game.

With fan voting and internet voting, of course the large metropolitan areas and the teams with large fan bases are going to ensure that their players get voted on to the All-Star roster.  Whether or not they belong there is an entirely different story.

As of 29 June, the leading vote getter among AL catchers was Russell Martin of the Yankees.  Martin’s batting average at this same point was .230, 10 points below the league average and 73 points lower than the second place catcher, Alex Avila of the Tigers.  Similarly, Derek Jeter sat half a million votes in front of Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera while Cabrera sat about 40 points ahead of Jeter in terms of average among AL shortstops.

The list goes on and on but the fact of the matter is, the story would be the same whether fans had only 1 opportunity to vote or 50.  MLB consciously made the choice to allow this because MLB is a business and businesses have to grow or die.

We could go back to the old way of choosing the All-Star team, the method they used before 1970.  Back then the players, coaches and managers voted on the All-Stars and this more or less insured that the best players, as opposed to the most popular, made the team.  But the fans weren’t all that interested.  They wanted to see “their” guys playing in the mid-summer classic, whether or not they were the best.  And because baseball is a business, baseball gave the vote back to the fans.

Should Russell Martin and Derek Jeter start for the AL this year?  Statistically, absolutely not.  But baseball is business and that means the answer has to be reformatted.  Should Russell Martin and Derek Jeter start for the AL this year?  Monetarily, without a doubt.

So, Nathan, the answer to your question is that giving fans 1 vote or 25 votes is actually equally democratic.  But if you go further and ask the question, “Does democracy work in the context of MLB All-Star voting,” you already have your answer.  The answer is Russell Martin.

-A

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The RSBS Podcast, Episode 24: A Fanboy’s Merkin… and Other Stuff

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles

Jeff and Johanna dig into the bowels of the current Major League season and compare sizes opinions on myriad topics, including but not limited to what makes an ideal fanboy merkin,  the Cubbies‘ goat fiasco, Pat Burrell’s unfortunate meeting with a wall and much, much more! … all to make you laughy-hurty-face!

Holla!

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*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. Wanna stalk Keith’s every move? Follow him on Twitter!  Wanna enjoy even more podcast hilarity?  Check out the Undercast at Undercard Films!

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Recorded Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mission Accomplished!

Phillies fan osama bin laden dead
Yes, dear readers!  Now the shortlist of unchecked tasks to bring peace and universal happiness to the entire world is down to just three:

1.  Reinstate the All-Star Game as an exhibition game with no World Series home field implications

2.  Get Charlie Sheen to go away

And…

3.  Figure out what the hell Brian Wilson’s beard is actually made of.

If we can do all of the above, then I would really be impressed.

And the world will thank us.

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

Peace,

Jeff

Ichiro and Friends

I have a confession to make.  I did not watch the MLB All-Star Game.  But I also didn’t watch the Pro Bowl, the NBA All-Star Game and whatever it is the NHL is doing these days.  Most of it was apathy, part of it was being busy.  But it’s hard to feel strongly about something that seems so contrived.

I suppose it’s somewhat blasphemous to have missed the mid-summer classic.  After all, it is an annual rite of passage and ever since King Bud decided to imbue it with meaning, it has taken on slightly more importance.  But really, why would I watch Ichiro and friends when I can watch Ichiro’s countrymen instead:

Seriously, Japan.  What are you guys doing over there?

Happy Saturday!

-A

Decision Points’ Decision Points

decision points george w bush.jpgMan, I miss baseball. 

I know, dear readers.  It’s only been three days.  And sprinkled in there I got to indulge in a long awaited Senior Circuit victory in the only All-Star Game that US Americans actually care about.  But three days is three days; and without a constant barrage of baseball stuff (pick-offs, home-plate collisions, oppo-taco bombs) I tend to go a bit batty.

Thankfully, our trusted RSBS interns know how to quell my baseball madness as they were able to use their unpublicized delinquent ways to grab me a sneak peek at the much anticipated and poignant decision making tell-all by our 43rd president, George W. Bush.  The book is called Decision Points

And yes, that title (with that author) is an oxymoron.

Still, we think you’ll appreciate these snippets of Dubyan enlightenment:

gw bush laughing.jpg“Making decisions… well, that’s hard.  Ya do it ‘cuz ya hafta.  Like
NAFTA.  But I didn’t do that.  What is NAFTA?  Does anyone know?  It rhymes.  I like rhymes… for the times… tequila and limes.  See!”

“I ran the country like I ran the Rangers and if that meant sitting in the bottom of the West, well, then that’s what it takes… or is it took?  Tooken?  Yeah, that’s what it tooken.”

“I told Mel Gibson, ‘if you’re gonna make a Jesus movie, make sure there’s lots of blood.  Whip that Jesus!  And make Mary Magdalene hot.  No fake boobs, but make her hot.’  Did you know Mel Gibson’s from Austria?  He don’t even have an accent.”

“Hehehe… wait til ‘Merica finds out I’m a big Nickelback fan.  Look at this photograph… hehehe… it’s hard to say it, goodbye, goodbye.  Kinda makes me wanna cry.  Hey, that rhymes too!  Hot dawg!!!”

And finally…

“If it looks like a Saddam and it talks like a Saddam then it must be Osama bin Laden!  Let’s blow some s*** up!”

Hate me ‘cuz I got to see it before you did, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

RSBS Sits Down with Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith

ozzie smith 85 nlcs.jpgGrowing up a kid in America is synonymous with being a dreamer.  We’re taught that anything is possible if we’re dedicated, if we work hard.  And we often model ourselves after those we look up to, our heroes.

I always had two: my dad, whom I got to see everyday, and St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop, Ozzie Smith.  Many a summer afternoon was spent in the backyard… swinging like Ozzie, diving like Ozzie, smiling like Ozzie.

“I want to be Ozzie Smith,” family members recall me saying, “I want to be Number One.”

So what does one say when he finally gets to have a conversation with his boyhood hero?

“My grandpa had Musial.  My dad had Gibson and Brock.  I had you, Ozzie.”

And Ozzie’s response?

“Cool.”

Of course, I expected nothing but the coolest things from the man who gave us reason to Go crazy, folks, go crazy!  Heck, it’s been nearly 25 years since that homerun prompted Jack Buck to give us his iconic call, but I promise you this: to a Cardinals fan, it never gets old.

“It never went away,” chuckled a candid Ozzie Smith, “and as a matter of fact, it’s still reverberating today.  I have little kids coming up to me, reciting that.  So yeah, it’s pretty cool.”

Indeed it is pretty cool and so is Ozzie Smith, the man: 15 time All-Star, 13 time Gold Glove Award Winner, Hall of Famer and all around good guy.

He may be retired from baseball, but work never stops; and this summer Ozzie has teamed up with Ken Griffey, Sr., Len Dawson, Mike Bossy and Jim Kelly in the Depend Campaign to End Prostate Cancer.

The seriousness of prostate cancer cannot be overstated.  In fact, 1 out of every 6 men will experience the disease, as it is the second-leading cause of male cancer-related deaths in the United States.

I’m just here to encourage all men 50 or older (40 or older for African-American men and those with a family history of the disease) to get involved, talking with their doctors about prostate health.  Because with early detection, prostate cancer isn’t only treatable, it’s beatable.”

As was Ozzie’s signature game plan on the field, the best way to beat this disease is with strong defense.  And if anyone knows anything about defense, one need look no further than The Wizard.

After a decade plus of abnormal offensive numbers in baseball, Ozzie sees the current renaissance of pitching and defense themed ball-clubs as a natural, cyclical part of the game.

“It’s the way the game is supposed to be played.  You can get a lot more out of playing the game the proper way than just building your team from an offensive standpoint.”

If you’re looking for an example of such managerial strategy, Ozzie suggests we look at those teams at the top.

“The Atlanta Braves in the East, I think they’re one of those teams.  Not a whole lot of power, but they certainly do the little things that it takes to win.  The Cardinals have always been one of those teams that have done that and I think it’s part of what’s allowed the Cincinnati Reds to lead their division this year.”

Such game theory often begins with the manager and Ozzie Smith was lucky enough to serve under one of the best, one of this summer’s Hall of Fame inductees: Whitey Herzog.

“As a manager, the goal is always to make players better than they are.  Whitey was certainly one of those people.  The relationship we had was of admiration and respect.  A good manager, like Whitey, only has two rules: be on time and give a hundred percent.  As a professional athlete, that’s all you can ask, to be given the opportunity to do what it is you do.  If you can’t abide by those rules, then you shouldn’t be playing.”

And as we gear up for the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim, it’s a pretty safe bet that the players involved abide by those rules.  One cannot be the best without giving his best.  As a 15 time All-Star himself, Ozzie was quite comfortable being at the top of his game.  When asked to describe his fondest All-Star memories, he was quick to answer.

“The first one I had a chance to go to in 1981 and then my final one in 1996, those two really stand out.  The first one simply because of the excitement of going to your first All-Star Game and the festivities, the lockering, visiting with guys you admired from afar and played against, having a chance to play with them was very special.  Then the reception I received in Philadelphia for my final one was very, very special.”

Yep.  It sure was.  In fact, I fondly remember… crying.  I was 17 years old, my hero was retiring and I was morbidly afraid of baseball without Ozzie.

But I quickly learned: no one can take away memories, no one can take away dreams.  The game continued on and Ozzie never really went away.  The moments he created are remembered today.  His work ethic is passed down.  His desire to help those in need, to educate, to make life better wherever possible through public service, as he’s doing with the Depend Campaign, all these things make him forever an All-Star.

Forever a hero.

Forever a reason to go crazy, folks.

Go crazy.

Written by Jeffery Lung

Special thanks to
Kristin Adams of Taylor PR for arranging the interview.

Click *HERE* to read Jeff’s interview with Dave Winfield.

Click *HERE*
to read Jeff’s interview with Ken Griffey, Sr.

RSBS Sits Down with Hall of Famer Dave Winfield

dave winfield.jpg“I come from a family that always believed: If you have a little, give a little. If you have a lot, give a lot.”

And there is no doubt.  Hall of Famer Dave Winfield gives. A lot.

From being the first active professional athlete to establish an official 501(c)(3) charitable organization (The Winfield Foundation) to funding the Dave Winfield Nutrition Center at Hackensack University Medical Center to providing entire blocks of game tickets for underprivileged youth in San Diego, giving back to the community has always been a high priority for the 12 time Major League All-Star.

“I think part of it comes from the area of the country I’m from in St. Paul and Minneapolis, major corporations used to always give a part of their pre-tax dollars to charity.  For some reason, that’s just always sunk in.”

“And with my Winfield Foundation, we try to give to things that deal with health and education; I’ve used sports as a kind of carrot to lead people into these areas.”

But as Winfield admits, the strongest inspiration for his remarkable spirit of philanthropy comes from his mother, Arline, a selfless woman who tragically passed away from breast cancer after seeing her son play in the 1988 All-Star Game.  In an effort to further educate the public, Winfield has teamed up with Ask.com and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation to form “Answers for the Cure”, allowing baseball fans and people everywhere to get involved in the fight against breast cancer.

For every person who goes to Ask.com/ForTheCure and uses the search engine, Ask.com will donate ten cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Contributions will help fund life-saving research, education, screening services and community outreach projects.

“Early detection is the most important thing,” Winfield remarks.  “There is no cure, but if you detect it early on, you can combat it.  If you’re late, there may not be a second chance.”

In his mother’s case, there was no second chance; but by giving back to the community, Winfield keeps her spirit alive.  And he is not alone.

In fact, many current Major Leaguers have adopted Winfieldian philanthropic lifestyles, donating their time, money and efforts to educating the public on important health and educational issues.  Nick Swisher, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira… these are just a few of those giving back.

“Derek Jeter,” says Winfield, “he stands out as a person who has been totally committed, using his career and his life to be a role model and a good example for others to follow.  He has a great foundation.  He’s raised millions of dollars.  He has helped so many kids.  One day, when he retires, he will have affected tens of thousands of people for sure.”

Indeed, Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation and Jeter’s Leaders Program have both done incalculable work inspiring young people to live active, healthy, substance free lives, rewarding academic achievement and promoting social activism.  And Jeter’s inspiration for establishing such charitable work?

dave winfield hall of fame.JPGDave Winfield.

One might even say Winfield inspires us all to give back to our respective communities.  Who else could turn an unfortunate (and inadvertent) 1983 Toronto seagull killing into a charitable endeavor that raised over $60,000 by donating two paintings to an Easter Seals auction?

Whether it’s hitting a World Series winning double off Charlie Leibrandt in extra innings or educating the public through selfless charity work, one thing is certain:

Dave Winfield is clutch.

And now you can be too.  Join Dave and RSBS in the fight against breast cancer.  Make a difference today.

Written by Jeffery Lung

Special thanks to Zack Nobinger of Taylor PR for arranging the interview with Dave Winfield.

Click *HERE* to read Jeff’s interview with Ken Griffey, Sr.

(Top image courtesy of Exposay.com, Albert L. Ortega Photos)

(Below image courtesy of Padres Nation)

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 5: Bonilla’s Bonus Button… and Other Stuff

rsbs podcast photo 3.jpg

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast…

Jeff, Al & that rock-n-rollin-Cub-lovin’ sage Johanna Mahmud take on all things ‘Merica, including (but not limited to) Rinku and Dinesh, Carlos Zambrano, The Hills (seriously? that happened?), the All-Star Game, the Lou
Piniella Mailbag and much,
much more… all to make you laughy-laughy!

Holla!

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to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

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via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special

thanks to Keith Carmack — our engineer, director, editor and
all-around sound guru.  His Undercast
podcast is a must-listen (listen to it!).  It’s available on iTunes and
is posted regularly at Undercard

Films.

Recorded Monday, July 5, 2010

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