Results tagged ‘ Blue Jays ’

The Apocalypse Wears Number 21

dontrelle willis.jpgMaybe Dick Cheney is right.  We’re all gonna die.  And soon.

Dear readers, the end-time omens are racking up: the Toronto Blue Jays are atop the AL East; Wanda Sykes is somehow relevant; and Dontrelle Willis is back in the big leagues.

That’s right, folks.  D-Train (or “Big Black Baby Jesus” as my Tiger-lovin’ colleague, Mr. Krause, likes to call him) has crawled his way back into Detroit’s starting rotation.  And on Wednesday, we will all get the chance to see (and perhaps mock) the pitcher he has become after his long soul searching journey to recapture the glory days of 2003 and 2005.

In other words: we are all going to die.

Because, in my humble yet accurate opinion, Willis lost it a long time ago.

Remember last year when he went 0-2 with a 9.38 ERA and walked half of US America?

I do.

Okay, so he’s gone 25 2/3 innings with a 3.85 ERA in the minors this year.  Well, lahdy frickin’ dah.  If Willis really has rediscovered himself, he should be putting up lights out numbers against the young’ins down on the farm.  Instead, Tigers’ skipper Jim Leyland is calling him up because:


“He’s throwing pretty much around the plate all the time…”
 (MLB Story Link)

Pretty much around the plate.  Hm.  Okay.  Well, that sounds like a perfectly good reason to throw him back into the lions den and, you know, hope for the best.  I mean, Rick Ankiel threw “pretty much around the plate” during the 2000 playoffs.  So did I during my legion ball days of the mid 90s.  Hell, my little sister could throw “pretty much around the plate” if it had a picture of Zac Efron on it.

At least D-Train has the right lackadaisical attitude going into his first start of the year:


“There are worse things than playing baseball, you know?”
(Morning Call Story Link)

Yes, you are correct, Dontrelle.  There are worse things than playing baseball… like not being able to find the strike zone while playing baseball or doing shots with Amy Winehouse at an open bar or admitting that Dick Cheney may have a point.

In this case, I’m going to hope that I’m wrong… just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

This weekend we saw a series pitting the team with the best record in
the league against the team with the worst record. At what point in the
season do you think we’ll see this again and which teams will take part
the next time around?

–Allen
__________________________________________

Bush_Nats.jpgAs long as the Washington Nationals continue to be a baseball franchise (sorta), you can be quite sure that this scenario will pop up once again.  Will they be playing the MLB best Cardinals next time?  The Dodgers?  The Blue Jays in June during interleague play?

The truth is: I have absolutely no clue.

Because so far nothing this season has been on my radar: that the Cardinals’ piecemeal bullpen could hold itself together through April… that the Blue Jays would find a way to win in the AL East… that no one wants Pedro Martinez…

But in the end, one thing will always remain certain: The Washington Nationals are a national joke.

After some hardcore number-crunching analysis, one might conclude that their suckage is rooted in their inherent identity crisis:
 

  • Are we the Expos?
  • Are we the Senators who are now the Twins?
  • Are we the Nationals who were the Expos?
  • Are we the other Senators who are now the Rangers?

Or perhaps it stems from their dizzying closet of uniform combinations:

washington nationals uniforms.jpgWho knows? Maybe the Nats are an embarrassment because they find this food stand inside Nationals Park to be a family-friendly establishment:

senators sausages.jpgDear readers, I could go in a million different directions with that snafu of a baseball bodega — none of them good — but I will save you (and myself) from the certain discomfort and unpleasant visualization it would cause.

Whatever the reason for the Nationals’ lack of success, I must admit how sad it was for me — as a baseball fan — to see such a beautiful ballpark only a quarter full for a Friday night game.  It was disappointing too that there were more Cardinal fans in attendance than Nats fans and that the loudest cheers I heard all weekend were in response to the Capitals vs. Penguins playoff hockey game — the favorable D.C. score of which was posted on the jumbotron in between innings, thus rousing Washingtonians into a fervent coup d’etat aimed towards building a bigger hockey arena while at the same time finding a more thirsty suitor for the oh-so-lowly Nats, all of their prior nicknames, logos and dysfunctional sausages.

So far, no takers.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

(Senators Sausages image courtesy of Wonkette)
(Uniform image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Polish Panache with a Hint of “Arrggh!”

a.j. pierzynski 12.jpgThere is no stat for tenacity, no quantitative analysis for bark, no computation for grindership.

But if there was, you could be damn sure that A.J. Pierzynski would lead the Major Leagues in all of three of them — every year, all the time.

Late in the White Sox game against the visiting Blue Jays Sunday, the score was tied with two men on base when a Jays batter hit a knuckling dribbler down the third base line.  Everyone at Sox Park was thinking the same thing as A.J. while he all-out-hustled after the ball: Let it be foul.

Eventually, the ball found its way over the white lip, into the grass, foul ball.  The crowd sighed in harmonious relief.

But instead of simply picking up the ball, Pierzynski, with his glove, slapped it violently towards the home dugout with the type of ferocity more often seen from 1980s era offensive tackles loaded up on juice.  He let out a hellacious “ARRRGGGHHH!” then stared down the anxious baserunners with that A.J.’s-gonna-kill-you-in-your-sleep-and-eat-your-children-raw glare. 

It was awesome.

Say what you will about A.J. Pierzynski, but with fierceness like that, the dude is an instant and absolute asset to his team.  It’s only April and on every single play he’s grinding like it was Game Seven of the World Series — as if his life, his country, his freedom were on the line.

That’s someone I want on my team — if not for his competitiveness, then for his uncanny foray into the wild world of comedy:

Love him or hate him, A.J. is the Polish Prince of Pertinacity.  You’d have to kill him to make him go away; and if you do kill him, you still better watch out because I bet zombie A.J. would be much scarier, much more lethal than alive-and-breathing A.J.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Centrifugal Force


ahmedijad.jpgAs if the world wasn’t overflowing with enough bad news already, Iranian officials came forth on Thursday to boast of their newly installed 7,000 centrifuges, presumably to scare we evil US Americans into bowing down to their racist demands or else.

During the kangaroo court adminstration of ‘Lil Bush and Smokin’ Dick Cheney, this clear and present danger would have been immediately dismissed like a young Dubya D.U.I. arrest.  Unfortunately, Iran is not North Korea: they are not just playing around.  And thankfully the Obama adminstration is making a sincere effort to work out these serious issues.

That being said, the topic of nuclear weapons is not what interests me on this day; rather, it is the centrifugal technology behind it that leads to such scary development.

For it is this exact same technology that the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays are currently utilizing to trick their fans in to thinking they have an actual shot at competing this year.  After one series apiece, both teams find themselves with more wins than losses.

The Orioles?  Well, they just got lucky.

The Blue Jays?  They played the Tigers.

blue jays collide.jpgAnd it’s gonna be all downhill from here because let’s face it: centrifugal force is and always will be a pseudo-force – one that originates from within and does not interact with other, real forces.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

The Pittsburgh Pirates managed to lose a game the other day to a local
community college. Granted, it wasn’t their best players on the field
that day but they did still lose to a community college. Now, we’ve
spent a lot of time talking about the highlights we expect to see in
the upcoming season but what are some of the bloopers and sob stories
you are looking forward to as well?

–Allen
__________________________________________

pirates fan.jpgThe Pirates’ saving grace (after losing to a community college) is the fact that they themselves are a team better suited for the community college circuit.  Boasting players most of us have never heard of like Nyjer Morgan, Brandon Moss and Ross Ohlendorf, is it any surprise that the perennial underachieving Buccos start the season picked to win a mind-blowing 65 games?  I think not.

But as my sludge-dredging colleague, Mr. Krause, so coyly alludes to, this will be just one of the many “sob stories” we baseball fans are looking forward to in 2009.  Now I am no soothsayer; nor am I blessed with magical powers allowing me to predict which gaffes and gripes will take centerstage this season; but let’s face it: some things are just a given.  For example:

The Orioles and Blue Jays Will Simply Disappear
If they haven’t already, by the time we hit the month of May, I foresee that all relevance of baseball in Baltimore and Toronto will cease to exist.  After a steady diet of Yankees, Red Sox and Rays is slammed down our throats, who will care that Brian Roberts is a shining star in a sea of apathy or that J.P. Ricciardi is single-handedly destroying what was once a proud baseball organization?  No one.  That’s who.

Cub Fans Will Be Whining About Something
They always do.  They always will.  They never stop.  Whether it’s invoking the spirit of Cub castaway Steve Bartman, repeating ye ole circa 2003 mantra: “Prior and Wood, Prior and Wood, Prior and Wood” or just getting too drunk to know what’s actually going on during the game, Cub fans were born to lose.  And in personifying their joyous moniker of “Lovable Losers”, they love to whine.  Sure.  They’ll win the division.  How can they not?  But they’ll find a way to blow it in the playoffs and we sane baseball folk will be subjected to yet another lengthy offseason of wouldas, couldas and shouldas — a century old Northside tradition.

Gary Sheffield Will Say Something Stupid
Happens every year, folks.  He might even box someone too, that is, if he can find the strength to walk from homeplate all the way out to the mound.  And if he plays in more than 114 games, there’s a good chance that he’ll add even more guts and gore to that Phillies/Mets rivalry we’ve all come to enjoy over the last few years.  Sheff is certainly setup to give new meaning to the phrase “choke artist”.  All Cole Hamels has to do is open his mouth.

Joba Chamberlain Will Try His Luck with Erin Andrews — Again — and Fail Miserably — Again
I know, I know.  Ms. Andrews said it was nothing, but we saw the video (which has conveniently been erased from the entire interweb) and let’s face it: Joba struck out like Adam Dunn after an all-night bender.  Having been in that situation myself, and being a guy, I think it’s safe to say Joba will go there again.  Men are stupid.  Ladies, am I right?

Yet looking into my crystal ball, dear readers, the one blooping gaffe that is bound to come up again and again this season is almost too easy to call:

farnsworth cries.jpgKyle Farnsworth Will Be the Laughingstock of Major League Baseball
They hated him in Chicago.  They hated him in New York.  They hated him in Detroit.  If the Royals had any fans, they would hate him in Kansas City too.  But at the end of the day, no one can deny that Farnsy has become the whipping boy of baseball sadists all across US America.  When a kind-hearted She-Fan openly in love with her beloved Yankees rips the man to death in her best-selling book, it is safe to say that Kyle Farnsworth is and always will be fair game.  He should’ve known better: “There’s no crying in baseball!”

Hate me ‘cuz I can be an ^ss, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

RSBS TV: 2009 AL East Preview

Produced, shot and edited by Atonal Studios.

Special thanks to Theo Roll.

Very special thanks to Alex Rodriguez for giving MLBloggers blog fodder for life.

(For best playback results, watch in High Quality)

- – - –

**Programming Note**

Tuesday and Wednesday’s posts will both be the result of a small experiment between Mr. Lung and Mr. Krause.  The title for each post will be the exact same and was co-created by each constituent in an odd writing exercise known to literary dorks as “build-a-sentence”.  Mr. Lung wrote a word, then Mr. Krause wrote a word, Mr. Lung wrote a word, etc., until there was a complete sentence that sorta made sense. 

Stay tuned and see the true difference between these two baseball-politico minds and find out just where that co-created title will take them, whether it be down the same jaded street or off into themes yet undiscovered like Red Sox fans who never complain about anything (yeah right, like there is such a thing).

You know what we mean.

What Joe Carter Taught My Dad About His Son

joe carter.jpgIf you called me an insane, obsessed, socially maladjusted freak in regards to my passion for the game of baseball, you would be absolutely correct.  Try as I might to cover up the idiosyncratic ticks that put me at the top of the weird charts, there really is no denying my beyond reasonable quirkiness.  In fact, baseball has long affected my dating life, my filial responsibilities, my job.

So you can imagine the worry and fear experienced by my dearest friends and loved ones when the MLB Network officially launched earlier this year.  It has been alluded to that since the network aired, getting in contact with me has been harder than taking Sarah Palin seriously.  This I cannot deny.

Besides getting the inside scoop on all things off-season baseball from the Hot Stove Show, shedding man-tears watching Mookie’s grounder trickle between Buckner’s legs and vehemently arguing/defending the selections of Prime 9, I have also been forced to evaluate the roots of my undying passion for our national pastime and why it means so much to me.

Which takes me back to the beginning…

baby jeff lung mike lung.jpgUnlike many young boys, my father had very little to do with my interest in baseball.  As great a man as he was (still is), he always had a calm reserve — an indifferent nature towards the game.  Sure, he was a fan of sorts; but he wasn’t nuts about it in any way.  His sister was.  Yes, it’s all her fault.  My dear Aunt Alice and her husband, Uncle Iggy, were absolutely wild about baseball and they molded me into a young, opinionated, domineering superfan at an early age.

Indeed, no two people had a greater effect on my psycho-following of the St. Louis Cardinals.  They ate, slept and breathed Cardinals baseball (still do); their fiery enthusiasm infected me before I could even walk.  Upon reflection, my earliest baseball memory is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s front page color photo of bedlam at Busch after the 1982 World Series.  Emulating Jack Clark’s short swing and despising Don Denkinger came soon after.  With the help of my aunt and uncle, it wasn’t long before I was memorizing the starting lineup of the ’85 club and dreaming of being Ozzie Smith. 

My father took a backseat to this unruly creation of a Redbird child.  While supportive of my decision to “go crazy, folks, go crazy” while reenacting Ozzie’s fist pump around the bases, it was clear that Dad didn’t quite understand what all the fuss was about.  Despite the quizzical looks he gave when I argued to stay home and watch the game rather than go to the video arcade, he accepted the fact that his son was some kind of weirdo.

As soon as I could operate the VCR, I was recording any and every baseball game on television.  During the long the winter months I watched those games with the same intensity with which I watched them the first time.  Then I’d watch them again.  And again and again.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for jeff lung mike lung.jpg“What are you doing, Jeff?” my father would say.

Shh.  It’s Tewksbury versus Sutcliffe, Dad.  Pena’s gonna throw Walton out at second. Wait and see.”

“But you’ve seen this game already.”

“I haven’t seen all of it.  There’s too much going on all at once.  I’m watching just Pena this time.  Just Pena.  Watch.”

And he would… he would placate my desire… because he saw how important it was to me.

It was very important to me.

My parents were divorced.  It got ugly at times.  I lived with my dad, separated from my sister, who lived with my mom a hundred miles away.  While my childhood spun around in chaotic circles of arguments, misunderstandings and fear, the melodic pace and harmonic rhythm of baseball calmed me like no drug ever could: the unique sound of Tom Brunansky’s bat, a whipping line-drive snagged by Pendleton at third, a Ken Daley strikeout.  No matter what the final score, baseball, with its disregard for time and its indifferent ability to create heroes and villains and bystanders, became the one constant in my life.

It kept me sane.

So it was October, 1993, and I found myself in a certain state of panic.  I was a selfish 14 year old boy who couldn’t imagine missing Game 6 of the ’93 Series and I wasn’t about to be quiet about it.  In Tulsa, Oklahoma at the time to cheer on my dad (a marathon runner) in the 15k Tulsa Run, my complaining escalated — eventually becoming more annoying than persuading.  The race was long over, but we were not anywhere near a television; the game had started and the anticipation was killing me.

“Dad, we have to go watch the game!” I whined.

“Okay, we will.”

“No, now! We’ve already missed the first inning!”

“We will.  We’ll go in a little bit.  It’s just the Blue Jays and Phillies anyway –

“Just the Blue Jays and — Dad, it’s important!  We have to go!”

Several shrills of suffering and an hour or so later we were finally in the comforts of a relative’s home, watching the game.

My dad rested his tired legs and read the newspaper while I glued myself to the t.v. set, still jittery, shaken, upset from missing the first five innings of play.  It was 5-1 Blue Jays and Dad uttered: “See, it’s gonna be a blowout anyway, Jeff.”

I grit my teeth.

And when the Phillies went on a tear in the seventh inning, scoring five runs to take a 6-5 lead, I looked back at him and said, “This is why you can never turn off a game, Dad.  Anything is possible.”

Dad managed but a glance away from his paper.

The ninth inning rolled around.  I shook with nerves at the suspenseful drama, mystique, myriad possibilities.  Dad was unmoved.  “Game’s over, Jeff.  Mitch Williams is coming in.” 

“You never know, Dad.  You never know.  You have to watch.  Just watch.”

Williams walked Rickey Henderson.

“Just watch, Dad.  Please.”

Fed up with my whining, he reluctantly put his paper down just in time to see Devon White fly out. 

Paul Molitor singl
ed.

Joe Carter dug in. 

I heard the rustling of Dad’s newspaper again, but before he could get into the reading position I shot him a glare so vicious, so maniacal, so threatening that he had no choice but to put it back down and focus on the game… just in time to see this:

http://xml.truveo.com/eb/i/168978778/a/5f62953ab8dba73576711df5b5a4d647/p/1

Unaffiliated with the Blue Jays, unaffiliated with the Phillies, but fully affiliated with the wondrous game of baseball, I shot to my feet and screamed like a little girl.  My whole being gushed with excitement, with incredulity, with a burning sensation never before felt as Carter jumped and ran the bases.

I looked at my dad, his jaw on the floor, eyes lit up like the Skydome fireworks.

“Did you see that, Dad!?!  Did you see that!?!”

“I… I saw it.  I don’t believe it but I… I saw it.”

“Don’t you see, Dad?  Anything’s possible.”

“I guess you’re right.  Anything is possible.”

If you can dream it, it can happen.

That’s the lesson baseball taught me, the lesson Joe Carter taught my dad, the lesson that comes from having a father who believes in you…

I love you, Dad.  And don’t forget… you can’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.  You said it yourself on October 23, 1993.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

As we near the end of the baseball season, it has become more and
more likely that the Yankees will not make the playoffs. Do you think
this heralds a return to their mid-80′s slump or is it merely a
one-year fluke? And should we even care?

– Allen

                                                                                        

yankees on fire.jpg
For someone who hates the Yankees as much as my colleague Allen Krause
does, he sure does spend an awful lot of time judging, thinking,
ranting and philosophizing about them.  The Yankees have been such a hot topic for Mr. Krause this season that I am beginning to wonder if he’s projecting such hatred to disguise his inner-lust.

Seeing that Mr. Krause is but a part-time Tigers fan
with the characteristic always-complaining-about-something Red Sox
attitude, I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds the Yankees impending
doom just a tiny bit sad. 

For the rest of us, we have the famous words of Mike Royko:

Hating the Yankees is as American as pizza pie, unwed mothers, and cheating on your income tax.”

It’s hard to argue with the validity of that statement.  In fact,
hating the Yankees has become somewhat of a sport of its own.  And no
longer is it regulated to the Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays and Orioles. 
No.  It goes much further than that, so far that my friend’s five year
old kid — who has been raised in a Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles
household — causes a rapture of laughter at dinner parties when asked:
“What’s your favorite team” and he replies: “I HATE DOSE DUM YANKEES!”

The signs of our times…

All hating aside, it still hasn’t settled in yet that the Yankees will
be watching post-season baseball on t.v. just like the rest of us
regular joes.  It’s kind of cool really.  But I don’t think this is
something that is going to last.  Sure, the Yankees roster will be
collecting Social Security soon and yeah, their pitching is a mess, but
the dollar$ are $till in the bank and a$ we all know: It’$ all about
the Benjamin$, baby
.

So I do look for them to get back on track during the off-season and start making moves that will put them back in contention. 

At the same time, it would be irresponsible of me not to mention the
three major warning signs that could perhaps lead one to believe that
another mid-80′s funk is in order. 

Warning Sign #1:

Thumbnail image for jason giambi.jpgThumbnail image for don mattingly 2.jpg

Warning Sign #2:
For the first time since the post-Torre era, the managerial position is no longer safe.  Giardi, if not careful, may get the Billy Martin treatment because… (continue reading below)

Warning Sign #3:

Hank Steinbrenner is related to George Steinbrenner.  If the Steinbrenners are anything, they are ruthlessly arrogant, pompous, outspoken, loquacious, ranting, raving, maniacal blowhards who don’t really think things through.  The Joba drama, Hughes, Kennedy… all mishandled and misguided by the front office of one Steinbrenner. 

As long as someone with that name is steering that ship, there’s always a chance that it will slam into the big iceberg known as colossal failure.

In the end, Mr. Krause, you shouldn’t really be focussing on the Yankees’ downfall this season.  You should be focussing on that embarrassing sub-.500 milllionare’s club known as the Detroit Tigers.

Now THAT’S what I call failure.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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