Results tagged ‘ All Star Game ’

Expos Jersey = Instant Notoriety

All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 038.jpgI am not so full of myself that I believe everyone wanted
a piece of me during yesterday’s All-Star festivities; but wearing
throwback gear from a team long dead certainly gave me an edge.  As a
walking memory, representing Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and Delino
Deshields with porn ‘stache swagger, I was definitely drawing
attention.  Unfortunately, the security people holding me back at field
level, blocking my attempts at getting a word with Erin Andrews did not
find me as irresistible.

“I need to talk to Erin Andrews.” I told them with confidence.

“Why?”

“Because, it’s my destiny.”

“Get the hell outta here before I throw you the hell outta here.”

‘Nuff said.

Oh
well.  Had to keep my head up.  I was part of the Homerun Derby.  Busch
III was electric.  And despite all the partying, I was somehow still
alive.

The Derby?  Well, it was what I thought it’d be: very
exciting for the first half hour, then pretty boring after that. 
Several balls came close to us in our right field seats, but one guy –
the SAME GUY — caught two balls (one from Ryan Howard and one from Joe
Mauer) and after standing for the three hour event and being
shot down by Erin’s handlers before I even had a chance, I ended up
leaving Busch III ball-less… well, sorta.  Anyway, here are some pics
from Fanfest and the evening’s homerun contest.  Click on them for
closer view.

The ticket:

Thumbnail image for All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 001.jpg
Big Balls:

All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 005.jpg

All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 027.jpg
Three of the ten World Series trophies the Cardinals have brought home.  Read ‘em and weep, sCrUBBIE fans:

All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 008.jpg
Me and Jackie’s duds:

All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 011.jpgMy best impression of an irate Cub:

Thumbnail image for All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 026.jpgThe ‘Lou:

All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 031.jpgSome random guy excited to see me… gee, I wonder why?

All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 043.jpgThe view from our seats:

All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 068.jpgConcentration or solace in my futile attempts at meeting Erin?

All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 053.jpgJ.W. and I… still sober?  What’s wrong with this picture!?!?!

All Star Weekend 7.13.2009 066.jpgOkay, y’all.  I’m gearing
up for the big game tonight, Molina jersey on my back, praying the that
the National League doesn’t embarrass me… again.  This would be as good
a time as any for us to win this thing (not that I really care) and I
have a feeling I’ll have a better shot at meeting President Obama than
I will Ms. Andrews.

She doesn’t know what she’s missing.

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

Peace,

Jeff

Buzzing with Testosterone Fueled Accoutrements

lady killer.jpgI did it.  It’s done.  It’s bad^ss.

Keith Hernandez, say hello to the Lady Killer.

Gotta admit, since crafting the ‘stache, I creep myself out every time I catch my reflection, but I fit right in here at the All-Star festivities in St. Louis.  An old man in a Mets hat even asked me for my autograph (he thought I was Thomas E. Dewey until his caretaker reminded him that Dewey died in the early ’70s).  So I did the right thing, lied and told him I was Dewey’s son.

That was a stellar start to what turned out to be a pretty disappointing day. 

Because after only three outs were recorded in the Futures Game the sky turned black, thunder cracked and it rained… and rained… and rained…

A lot.

After walking the concourse for four hours, drinking my weight in beer and buying more overpriced All-Star trinkets than one person will ever need, me and my buddy decided to book.

So we met some friends, went to a bar and watched the Cardinals beat the Cubs.

Good friends, good game, good times.

And today is gonna get even better.  Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of the Homerun Derby.  Watching it on TV is about as boring as watching Nascar: boring!  But I have a feeling that being there, in right field, in prime homerun territory, it’s going to be something to remember — especially if I snag some homers using the swagger and intimidation factor of my new accoutrement: the Lady Killer ‘stache.

Watch out!

In order that my aging father can find me easily during and camera shots of right field, I’ll be donning my 1980s era Montreal Expos jersey and cap — making this a special occasion indeed.

So here we go, folks… All-Star fun in full effect!  I will fight my way down to get a word with Erin… and in case you missed that Lady Killer, here are some more photos:

All Star Weekend 7.12.2009 009.jpg

The ticket for Sunday’s events was more entertaining than the actual Sunday events (which included mostly rain):

Thumbnail image for All Star Weekend 7.12.2009 006.jpgThe Stan Musial statue is quite stubborn and refuses to allow “FOX” to be shown in its entirety:

All Star Weekend 7.12.2009 010.jpgPirates prospect, Brad Lincoln, signs autographs while secretly pouting that he’s in the Pirates organization:

All Star Weekend 7.12.2009 027.jpgUS America rocked by St. Louis Cardinal hats… very cool:

All Star Weekend 7.12.2009 031.jpgA kid fighting to stay on his feet… and dry:

All Star Weekend 7.12.2009 037.jpgMe, rockin’ the ‘Spos cap with my friends Brian (left) and J.W. (right).  As I write this, Brian is heading out to Iraq for another tour.  Keep he and his family in your thoughts.

All Star Weekend 7.12.2009 041.jpgAlright y’all… hate me ‘cuz I’m gonna catch a homerun tonight, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right (even when I’m wrong).

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pujolsandlidge.jpgIt’s recently occurred to me that Albert [Pujols] is on pace to challenge Maris’
single season HR mark.  If he does this he becomes the first player NOT
implicated in steroids or other PED’s to do so.  Should baseball make a
bigger deal out of this?  I kind of doubt MLB would (it would look like
they were admitting Bonds and Sosa’s and McGwire’s big home run years
were illegitimate), but baseball fans should be rejoicing in what has
quietly become a potentially historic season.
Your thoughts?

Ted
Chicago, IL
__________________________________________

As arrogant and scapegoating as MLB’s front offices are,  we would be much better off betting our 401k’s that Sarah Palin will become the next president than we would on MLB making any mention of this highly inconvenient fact.  But that does not mean we, the fans, and other knowledgeable folks can’t start stirring up some serious crap.

And who shall be our leader in this sanctimonious crusade?

bob costas.jpgBob Friggin’ Costas.

For those of you who tuned into the MLB Network on Thursday night to watch the Mets get blown out by the Dodgers, you already know what I’m talking about.  For the rest of you, let me fill you in…

Inspired by the overhyped drama of Manny’s first series in New York after his embarrassing steroid reveal, Bob Costas came out to his colleague Jim Kaat and declared that McGwire’s record, Bonds’ record and the rest of those monumentally tainted blips of prestige could be thrown out and dismissed entirely by any Joe Fan — any human being capable of understanding how marred the game had become during the ‘steroid era’ — and that according to such logical folks, Roger Maris’ 61 and Hank Aaron’s 755 still stood as the true records — the unclouded, inarguable, uncontested homerun records of Major League Baseball.

MLB won’t ever tell you anything like that.

Bob Costas will.

And did.

Is it fair to knock Major League Baseball for doing what is really the only logical thing they can do given the circumstances?  No.  Probably not. 

But fair is a relative concept — one no one (including me, I admit) had the balls to contest when guys like Ivan Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro and Paul Lo Duca were raking dingers like I chug Bud Light on the weekends.

Still, as a lowly MLBlogger, I adhere to my spawning necessity to stir up a bunch of crap for no good reason, hoping someone will actually take notice, even if I do contradict my own penned tirades from time to time.

But, Ted, let me tell ya, I’m rejoicing, man.  And in my world, Roger Maris is at the top (except for that one moment back in ’98 when McGwire took Steve Trachsel deep at Busch II) and Hank Aaron is tops too because I simply cannot stand Barry Bonds, his runaway forehead, or his smug crybaby I’m-the-victim routine.

Alleluia!

I’m a US American!  It’s in my blood to flip-flop; it’s in yours too and you know it. 

So go ahead and hate me ‘cuz I’m a greasy s***talker, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****

Something on your mind?  Want to see Jeff and Al sweat (separately, not together, eww)?  Think you got a real stumper?  Send us your Filibuster question(s) by commenting or emailing them to us at kraulung@gmail.com. 

***Pictures of a scantily clad Courtney Cox circa 1998 also welcome.

Death by Chocolate

dual_willy_wonka.jpgThe events of the past couple weeks have obviously left me thinking quite a bit about the idea of mortality. Not my own, of course, as I don’t ever plan on dying. But rather the idea of mortality in a philosophical sense. There are so many different ways that one can shuffle off this mortal coil and it’s a topic we’re so obsessed with but, at the same time, we know next to nothing about it.

Some people make a grand exit, whether it be Reagan’s processional farewell, Michael’s tear-strewn send-off or Ted Williams’ bizarre, cryogenically frozen head. And some people just sneak away. Maybe there’s a small obituary, maybe even a large one if they were well-known, but the exit itself is quiet and unassuming.

However, sometimes the end is simultaneously quick and disturbingly bizarre. A case in point is  Vincent Smith, Jr. and his recent cocoa related misadventures. I mean, we expect strange things out of New Jersey but dying in a vat of chocolate?

So, as we head into the All-Star break and you start to realize that your team is either on life support or has already been declared DOA (I’m looking at you, Nats’ fans), remember that it could be worse. At least they didn’t die in a huge vat of chocolate.

-A

An Inconvenient All-Star

an inconvenient truth.jpgI really haven’t had that exciting of a life. There
are a lot of things I wish I would have done, instead of just sitting
around and complaining about having a boring life. So I pretty much
like to make it up. I’d rather tell a story about somebody else.


Kurt Cobain (1964-1994)

Instead of complaining about who isn’t going to the All-Star Game, I’d like to tell you a story about someone who is going to the All-Star Game:

Me.

Luckily, one of my best friends is a Cardinals season ticket holder.  And besides being the proud owner of Quincy, IL’s finest bar and grill (a place where even Mike Shannon has been known to drink) he also has a kind heart and agreed to take me along for all of the All-Star thrills, including acting as my official wing-man in my misguided quest for Erin Andrews glory.  Yes, that is still going on.  Admittedly, overcoming such built-in adversity will not be an easy assignment; it will be easier than overcoming the struggle against Nazi Germany (don’t tell Al Gore) but, dear readers, it will not be easy – especially since so many deserved, albeit inconvenient, All-Stars will not be present. 

Yet that does not mean they should not be recognized for their All-Starredness, no matter the capacity… so here are your RSBS All-Star snubs of 2009 whom I will proudly represent in St. Louis next week:

Mark Reynolds
Just like that frat guy named Hunter and his impervious flesh pursuit at the bar on $5 pitcher night, yeah, he strikes out an awful lot.  But he also surprises you every once in a while and hits some big-time bombs… or bombshells, whichever the case may be.

Mark Sanford

Stealing bases is one thing.  Stealing taxpayer money to bankroll an 8-year long international affair?  Now that’s All-Star material… because, well, it takes balls.  Balls of steel.

Stephen Strasburg
Being the most popular man in Major League Baseball without ever having played a Major League Baseball game is certainly something to tip your cap towards.  Just wait until you see the kind of velocity he can generate with those ears! I promise you: he is the best pitcher EVER in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD!

Sarah Palin

No one likes a quitter, but unlike Manny Ramirez, at least Palin looks good while doing it.

And finally…

Milton Bradley
As an unabashed Cardinal fan, there are about about 30 million reasons why this guy is a true All-Star.  Obviously, not one of them includes playing good, fundamentally sound baseball.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****

Something on your mind?  Want to see Jeff and Al sweat (separately, not together, eww)?  Think you got a real stumper?  Send us your Filibuster question(s) by commenting or emailing them to us at kraulung@gmail.com. 

***Pictures of Allen shot-gunning Old Styles also welcome.

The Filibuster

Since you guys are always putting politics in baseball, why didn’t you
try to get out the All-Star vote? Not one post about voting for your
favorite all-star?  I was shocked.

Kellen
Macomb, IL

__________________________________________

St_Louis_Gateway_Arch.jpgWell, Kellen, in what may have been the largest oversight since the creation of this blog, neither Jeff nor myself exploited this wonderful forum as a bully-pulpit for some sort of get-out-the-vote crusade. However, in typical politico fashion, I am going to refuse to admit to any sort of mistake and instead claim that this was all planned.

See Kellen, despite our obvious strong feelings toward our favorite teams and players, Jeff and I are also of the belief that the political process needs to proceed unfettered. And when I say unfettered, I mean that the same 18 guys should be voted onto the team every year because of their geographic location and attendant fan base. Is Derek Jeter the best shortstop in the AL? Uh, no. But he plays for the Yankees and that means he’s going to be representing the AL anyway.

Now, I could have gotten out there and exhorted you to vote for Adam Everett instead but would you have listened? No. You would have been more than happy to follow the crowd and vote your straight Red Sox, Yankees or Mets ticket. Or, in your case Kellen, probably a straight Cardinals ticket. Seriously, Rick Ankiel as an All-Star?

But we have more important questions and issues to face. Like what could possibly be going through Sarah Palin’s head? Or why have so many famous people died in the past 10 days? My best guess so far for both questions is Swine Flu.

Don’t get me wrong, Kellen. I appreciate your question and perhaps in the future one or the other of us (by which I obviously mean Jeff) will stoop to that level and cravenly demand your vote. But until that moment, RSBS will strive to remain above the fray because *cue patriotic music* America’s game demands American democracy.

And in that spirit Kellen, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to stuffing the virtual ballot box to make sure Brandon Inge makes it in to the game. Speaking of stuffing ballot boxes, any news on Mark Sanford?

-A

Lord, What Have I Done?

erin andrews 2.jpgMake one declaration to the worldwide interwebosphere about how you’re going to do everything in your power to land a date with the most beautiful woman in sports broadcasting and suddenly you’re considered a creepazoid stalker who could use a lesson or two in social tact.

Creepazoid?  Maybe.  Tactless?  Probably.  Stalker?  No, sir.

I made my intentions very clear; and I’m pretty sure I was a perfect gentleman.  It’s 2009, y’all, and the internets is where it’s at.  I mean, you can do everything on this crazy series of tubes: order takeout, save money on your car insurance, get Twitter-blocked by Barry Zito.  Why should chasing Erin Andrews be any different?

“But, Jeff,” my mother said, “what if your girlfriend reads this?”

“My girlfriend does not read this blog, Mom.”

Boy, was I wrong.

I tried to play down my actions of sneaking around my girlfriend’s back to get a real shot at Ms. Andrews, but she wasn’t as understanding as I had hoped.  At least now she knows; and I am happy to report that she hasn’t broken up with me over this so things are working out pretty well.  I mean, let’s face it, a couple of cigarette burns to the chest are well worth her allowing me to continue on with my special project.

Still, there is just one small problem: Erin Andrews is a lot more mobile than I.  And, well, ESPN hasn’t helped me with passing on my messages (sweet as they all are).

Fear not!

What Fulbright Scholar would let such foibles deter him from accomplishing his task?

Indeed, I have a plan.  You see, I bought tickets to the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis.  I’ll be there for all the fan festivities: old-timers game, home-run derby, futures game — four days of pure debauchery — and a possible encounter with Ms. Andrews herself… that is, as long as Joba Chamberlain doesn’t get in my way (but who would make him an All-Star this year anyway?).

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

Peace,

Jeff

Vexing Developments Explode Inside Cramped Locker-room Havens: Allen’s Take

team_usa_wbc.jpgA loaded topic like this can really only take us in one direction: The weirdness that is the World Baseball Classic. Pedroia and Jeter trotting off the field together after a put-out at second base? That just doesn’t look right. Wright and Rollins manning the left side of the infield? Did I miss something?

Now, I realize that this weirdness can also happen during the All-Star Game but that’s a once a year freak-fest where the players wear odd uniforms and the outcome has taken on a disproportionate level of importance.

This is the World Baseball Classic, the World Cup of Baseball. I want drama. I want to watch MLB teammates like Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez whip themselves up into a nationalistic fervor so intense that they come to blows and then both demand trades. I want Jeter to talk about the toxic environment created by the presence of Red Sox players and former Yankees. I want David Wright and Jimmy Rollins to use this forum as an excuse to decide the NL East crown in the most logical fashion possible, pistols at dawn on the pitcher’s mound.

But no. Instead we get stories like this, where injured players are sticking around and other players are happy to sit the bench or take limited playing time just for the honor of being part of this team. Where’s a T.O. or a Latrell Sprewell when you really need them? Can we really allow this love fest to continue unabated?

However, there is still hope for the Scrooges among us. So far the US team has made congeniality easy by eking out a win over Canada and then pounding Venezeula. But what happens when they are faced with real challenges by way of Puerto Rico or Japan? Only then will we see what these players are really made of and what happens when vexing developments explode inside cramped locker-room havens.

But until that time I’m going to swallow my bile and cheer like a pre-pubescent girl at an early 90’s New Kids on the Block concert as the announcers rattle off the Pedroia to Jeter to Youkilis inning ending double-play. USA! USA! USA!

-A

This Should Be A Joke But It Is Not

bud.selig.jpg
Major League Baseball Commissioner and de facto Dear Leader Bud Selig makes $18.35 million a year.

Yes, I said, Bud Selig makes $18.35 million a year!

Pick your jaw up off the floor and wipe it clean with that $12 MLB hoodie you got on sale at Target — the kind King Bud would never wear because a) he’s still not cool and b) a $12 anything is certainly well below him.

Everybody still with me?  Great.  Now, realize that Bud Selig makes more money a year than Albert Pujols ($13.87 million), Ryan Howard ($10 million) and Magglio Ordonez ($15.77 million) not to mention a slew of other superstars who have had way more to do with the current success of the commercialized game than Selig could ever dream of having.

If anything, Bud Selig is the supreme benefactor of being in the right place at the right time.

Because really, what has Selig done during his tenure to make baseball as popular as it is today?  Well, let’s see…

He oversaw the devastating strike of 1994.

He realigned everything, making sure to put six teams in the NL Central (the largest division in baseball while the AL West has just four teams), which causes the Cubs and Cardinals to only play each other twelve times a year as opposed to twenty, further decimating and devaluing one of the best rivalries in the game.

He gave us the inexcusable, outlandishly silly “this time it counts” scenario of the All-Star Game winner having home field advantage during the World Series.

He ignored the blatant, in-your-face warnings that a large faction of players were doping it up, thus hitting balls out of the park at a fervent pace.  This, of course, peaked the interest of all because who doesn’t love a homerun or seventy?  Suddenly, more people start to show up at the park, putting more money in his pocket… so, really, can anyone really chide Selig for his unethical behavior?

Yes, we can.

But what is done is done.  We cannot undo anything.  What we can do is scream, yell, break things and blog about it (Selig, you owe me a new computer screen).   

If Bud Selig makes $18 million a year, then by my calculations, which are based on his overall worth to the game of baseball (and you Sabermetric guys can jump in here if I am off), Manny Ramirez should be making $75 million a year; A-Rod, (making note of his abysmal playoff khalil greene.jpgperformances) should be paid $55 million a year and Khalil Greene, after cashing in on an incentive-based package requiring him to record at least one base hit in each month of the season (so, let’s say at least six), ought to be bringing in a cool $29 million a year.

Looks like the fantasy baseball season never ends if your name is King Bud Selig.  I just hope he remembers to pay his taxes.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

This week saw the introduction of instant reply — a
technocratic advance many still consider blasphemy — in Major League
Baseball.  Currently, the only calls
deemed debatable are homerun calls.  But now that the surface has been cracked, is it not only a matter of time before
we are reviewing foul balls down the line, close plays at first and dare I say
the strike zone?  Where does one draw the
line and how will this impact the overall game?

 

– Jeff

                                                                      

arod_replay_homer.jpg

Ah yes, the ol’ slippery slope argument. If we do “x,” then “y” and “z” must follow. It’s an argument politicians have used for years to hold out against reforming everything from farm subsidies to gun ownership. But, the fact of the matter is that the argument holds no water.

Beyond that, however, is an even more important distinction when it comes to instant replay. The use of replay for this one small area of the game is a huge improvement over the old system.

Just this past week, replay was used to uphold an Alex Rodriguez home run and the game neither came to a screeching halt nor did the ghosts of long dead major leaguers suddenly come flying out of the ground to right some injustice that had been done to their memory. Replay equals innovation and evolution in the game.

In the old system, a bunch of middle aged men who saw the ball’s path from 300 feet away would get together and debate what had happened. Often, they got it wrong. So now, instead of paying the hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be necessary to put extra umps in the outfield, MLB came up with a suitable alternative.

No one who truly calls their self a baseball fan wants to see the abolition of the umpire. The call at home plate in a swirl of dust and dirt is as much a part of the game as the wooden bat and pinetar covered batting helmet.

But instant replay adds to the game. And in fact, in honor of its resounding success during its first week of use, I’d like to see it applied in other places where it’s never been seen before.

For instance, I’d like to see an instant replay of Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech at the Republican National Convention the other evening. Maybe then we can discover how someone who’s views so clearly fall outside the mainstream (creationism taught side by side with evolution?) has become an overnight media darling.

Or perhaps we could find out via replay how the Chicago Tribune came to print a story that so closely resembled my colleague Mr. Lung’s recent post.

No matter what, instant replay is here to stay along with the DH and All-Star Games that have way too much of an impact on October baseball. Instant replay, though, that’s change we can believe in.

-A

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