Results tagged ‘ Broadcasters ’

Sharing with Shapiro

cleveland indians logo.jpgNevermind all that pre-NLCS/ALCS buzz dancing around the internets and such as, the Iraq!  Soon we will all have more than our wanted fill of Joe Buck self-righteous proclamations and ear-numbing Chip Carary-isms.  For now, let us focus on the larger, more looming and lurid task of finding the Cleveland Indians a new manager.  Shall we?

Yep.  John Farrell is no longer in the mix.  They can’t afford Bobby Valentine.  And unfortunately, dear readers, Lou Brown has gone back to selling tires… forever.

That’s why I, along with the fastidious help of our always reliable RSBS interns, have prepared a list of potential managerial candidates for Indians GM Mark Shapiro, whom we all know is too busy lamenting the contract of one Travis “I Ain’t Got It No More” Hafner and the cruel reality of a midge-less postseason.

Mark, here is the shortlist of suggested targets:

Bill Parcells
Sure, the Big Tuna ain’t no baseball guy; we know that.  But he was born to win (and eat… a lot).  Besides, just think of what hiring this former Cowboy coach could do for the long neglected and oft polarized relationship between Cowboys and Indians.  Mark, it is time to heal these wounds.

Chief Illiniwek
Since being shunned and axed by his University of Illinois home (where he was a staple presence for 81 years), the Great Chief doesn’t really have much to do but stay in and get drunk all day.  Hey, you can get drunk at the ballpark too, Chief!  Plus, having such a standard bearer of Native American tradition might help the Indians solve that whole racist image thing they’ve had goin’ on for… y’know… ever.

Nap LaJoie
Oh, wait.  He’s dead.  Never mind.

Earl Averill
He’s dead too?  Sorry.

Lou Boudreau

Whoops.  My bad.  Okay.  No more dead guys of French descent.

Ahem.

Well, then that leaves me with just one more super managerial candidate for Mr. Shapiro and that person is:

sarah_palin.jpgSarah Palin
Look, if you’re gonna build a bridge to nowhere, ya might as well build it on the Cuyahoga River.

Hate me ‘cuz I’m on point, all the time, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Hiney Bird Swap: A Tale of Two Teams & their Switcheroo

hawk harrelson.jpg“A hiney bird is a bird that flies in perfectly executed concentric
circles until eventually he flies up his own behind and disappears
forever.”

– Ken “Hawk” Harrelson

Prior to the 2009 season, one would not be in error by labeling me a bonafide St. Louis Cardinal Hiney Bird.  Having not really addressed our bullpen woes of 2008, I seriously didn’t think the Redbirds had a chance at achieving anything this season. 

Obviously, I was wrong.  And I’ve apologized for that.

I did, however, look forward to an exciting new edition of my neighborhood Chicago White Sox.  And, yes folks, it does happen (albeit rarely): I was wrong… again. 

Whoops!

But I have to go out on a limb and defend Kenny Williams from Chicago Tribune reporter Phil Rogers who blamed much of the White Sox’s 2009 downfall on the trades of Nick Swisher and Javier Vazquez.

To quote the Hawk: “That’s just B.S.! B.S.! That’s just B.S.!”

Nick Swisher’s 2008 stint with the Sox was abysmal at best.  He underachieved in every category except rambunctiousness per game.  He was a shackle on the Sox’s youth movement and rumor had it that he was more interested in picking up chicks in the Viagra Triangle than he was picking up runners in scoring position.

Javi Vazquez never looked comfortable in the Chi.  Sure he’d get ya lots of strikeouts, but he also gave up a bunch of runs; and with Gavin Floyd and John Danks on the horizon of being dominating starters, it made sense to move Javi (and his paycheck) to make more room. 

But sometimes things don’t always work out (see Sarah Palin’s “political” career).  The ’09 White Sox have wallowed in mediocrity while the Cardinals are set to win the NL Central Division crown.

You see, dear readers, baseball is so captivating, so riveting, so followable because there is no such thing as a sure thing.  So to all you Hiney Birds (me included) here’s a lesson from possibly the world’s worst broadcaster:

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

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.

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.

Remember Tim

“Baseball. If there’s a more beautiful word in the English language, I
have yet to hear it… baseball has served as such a powerful link
between Dad and me, and later between me and my son.”

– Tim Russert (1950-2008)

tim.russert.jpgRare are the journalists who represent both the passions and worldviews of their audience to the extent that they stop at nothing to capture and highlight that fermented, weathered, collective voice.  John Kass of the Chicago Tribune comes to mind… Bob Costas has his moments… and in a wayward, selfish context, I believe Tim Kurkjian fits that role by feeding my insatiable taste for quirky, useless baseball tidbits plucked down from the ether of madness.  Still, in my opinion, when it comes to the elite of the elite, no one even came close to Tim Russert.

This weekend marks the anniversary of Tim’s death and while I still succumb to shock every time I turn on Meet the Press and realize he is no longer moderating the debate, I like to think that some of that knowledge, that swagger, that desire Tim portrayed all those years, lives on through me.  Not to get overly emotional or anything, but I always felt some sort of transcending connection to Russert; I still feel it today.

Now I know why: Tim Russert was a baseball guy.

Just like me.

And though we shared similar political views and put great value on our relationships with our fathers, in the end, baseball was and always has been the glue — that thing, that commonality, that mutual bond.  You cannot make up that kind of understanding, cannot create that kind of unity.  It just happens. 

Baseball.  If there’s a more beautiful word in the English language, I have yet to hear it…

Baseball people get baseball people.

And Tim Russert was baseball people.

Peace,

Jeff

(Image courtesy of TIME)

Harry Kalas: Rest In Peace

harry kalas.jpgToday baseball says goodbye to one of its greatest voices.

You will be missed, Harry.

Jeff & Allen

H.R. & HRs: We Can Do Better

stop hand.jpgWhen Joe Torre, one of the untouchable paragons of class, is getting slammed for allegedly revealing all the Evil Empire‘s dirty secrets in a book that no one has had the chance to even read yet, I think it’s a pretty clear sign that we’ve run out of things to talk about this off-season.  Manny being Manny being unsigned is now as interesting a story as Bea Arthur is sexy.  The Varitek saga in Boston is teetering on the pathetic.  And when the Rangers look to be the best bet for unreliable dark horse Ben Sheets, does anyone really care anymore?

Zzzzzzzzzzz

How about a new MLB Network drinking game?  It may not be that ramshackle of japery that we created back during the post-season/presidential debate, but it sure will sauce your inhibitions quicker than Rush Limbaugh will make you want to commit suicide.

It’s simple.  Tune in to the Hot Stove Show and anytime Harold Reynolds leads the panel in a symphony of phrases uncomfortably coated by the word “guy”, take a drink.  You’ll be hammered ten minutes in to the program. 

Believe me. 

harold reynolds.jpgLook, I have nothing personal against Harold Reynolds and his self-serving ramblings.  He seems like a genuinely nice man and most of the time I actually get something out of his demonstrations on the diamond; but I sometimes feel dumb listening to his emphatic, annoyingly frequent use of the word “guy”.  Let me paraphrase a sample, dear reader — a hypothetical spew based on several weeks of actually listening to the man:

A guy like Manny… Manny Ramirez is a guy who just doesn’t change a team, he changes a division.  Guys see a guy like Manny in the clubhouse and then guys are suddenly seeing changes.  He’s a guy who has the ability to go out there and be that guy that all the other guys are honing in on — a guy who can beat you every time he takes the field.  And guys on the other side, guys on your side, those guys see that too.  Makes them want to go out there and be more competitive guys, guys that get things done.  You see guys change, not just guys on the team, but guys throughout the division.

I wish I were exaggerating.

H.R.’s inability to find a synonym for “guy” probably wouldn’t bother me so much if he didn’t subliminally infect the rest of the cast with his lecherous verbal disease.  Broadcasting newbies Barry Larkin and Al Leiter have picked up on it, and the ensuing cacophony is near deafening.

But, I keep watching… ‘cuz I love the MLB Network.  I can’t stop watching it.  So I might have a problem.

As much as I love it, there is one block of MLB Network programing that baffles me like a Spaceman eephus pitch.

ryan howard homerun derby trophy.jpgWhoever thought it would be a good idea to rerun old homerun derbies during a prime-time slot deserves to have John Kruk sit on his face during the two hours they’re being aired.  The homerun derby?  Really?  I’m supposed to get excited about watching a bunch of superstars hit lollygaggin’ Jamie Moyer fastballs from two, three, four years ago while Chris Berman entertains himself ad nauseum with his cutesy cleverness?  I didn’t care about the homerun derby the first time; why would I care now?

And even if you do enjoy the homerun derby (when it actually happens each July), do you really get excited about watching it again?  Save Josh Hamilton’s gargantuan effort of 2008 — a contest which he ultimately lost — is there really anything titillating in any homerun derby that makes you say: “Yeah!  Can’t wait to put aside two hours to watch that again!”

MLB Productions has done a fine job of producing edgy, dramatic, quality programs that explore the deep history and colorful characters of the game.  I haven’t been disappointed with one of their productions yet.  So I am both baffled and bored by the network’s decision to rerun past derbies instead of wowing us with original content.  Seems like they’re missing a big opportunity there.

The good news is: if I play the H.R. drinking game, I won’t be conscious enough to watch the derby reruns anyway.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy   

January 15, 1979: The Day the Earth Started Moving Again

kirk gibson tigers.jpgMy venerable colleague and longtime friend, Allen Krause, has been alive for thirty years now (as of today); I just put myself in his shoes and realized how miserable he must be having not seen his precious Tigers win a championship for a quarter of a century.

So this one’s for you, Al.

Just pretend Ernie Harwell is saying “Happy Birthday” while Gibby circles the bases.

Happy friggin’ birthday, pal!

Peace,

Jeffy & RSBS Dear Readers Galore

A Break from All That “Inside Baseball Stuff”

Guess what.

I’m baaaack.

Indeed, after that long and winding baseball-politico season and the ominousness of losing every dime I’ve ever saved due to the current worldwide economic crisis, I deserved a damn vacation.

And vacation I did.

1108081731a_01.jpgI turned off the phone.  Eschewed the interweb.  Relaxed under the sun.  Got tan.  And I did it with family — Lung Family Reunion style. 

Which reminds me, don’t you just hate when you meet the perfect girl and you hit it off right away — so much so that you spend the entire day with her into the evening through the night and find out the next day that she’s your cousin? 

Happens to me every year.

But that’s not what I want to focus on today.  No.  You see, dear readers, while on my vacation, I missed out on some very important happenings: like Gov. Sarah Palin‘s adamant cry to NBC’s Matt Lauer that during the campaign she never got involved with that “inside baseball stuff” that supposedly divided her camp from Sen. McCain’s. 

Look, I don’t even pretend to know what she meant by calling it “inside baseball stuff” seeing how it had absolutely nothing to do with baseball; however, I can appreciate her obviously sentimental regard for greatest game on earth and implying that indeed, it’s complicated.

Because it is. 

The coast is clear now, but how is it that the Cardinals were even considering a trade for Matt Holliday?  A trade that would send away at least two (maybe more) of our most talented youngsters and leave us with a one-year rental of a player represented by Scott Boras?  Has John Mozeliak officially lost his friggin’ mind? 

The answer to that question is yes and I’m quite sure we St. Louis fans haven’t even seen the beginning of it.  Stock up on the painkillers, folks; 2009 could be a long one.

And how is it that Lou Piniella received the Manager of the Year Award?  Don’t get me wrong:  I have nothing but respect for Sweet Lou and I admire his guile, but this year he did what he was supposed to do (sorta) which was manage an extremely talented, high-priced ball-club to a winning season.  That’s like me getting rewarded for drinking beer and watching football on Sundays.  That’s what I do, people!

The Cubs were on cruise control all season until October and Lou didn’t have to work nearly as hard as the likes of Tony LaRussa or Joe Torre to get the job done with less talent. 

The one thing Lou was supposed to do this year (win playoff games) never happened.  I see that as one thing and one thing only: failure.  F-A-I-L-U-R-E.

On the other side of the Second City (my side), complications arise with Jermaine Dye and his future in a White Sox uniform.  Rumor is: Kenny Williams wants to get some fresh legs in exchange for the veteran outfielder who had a resurgent season in 2008.  I understand Williams’ point of view, but I’m pretty sure there will be rioting in the streets if Dye is traded away.  Even more rioting if Big Fat Bobby Jenks is dealt (which is also floating around the rumormill).

Just let me know if and when that’s going to happen, Kenny, because I’ll make sure to be back in South Padre until the Southside firebombing lets up.

I suppose Gov. Palin was right.  This “inside baseball stuff” is complicated.  And I gotta hand it to the Republicans.  They ran a good laughable race.  And the tides seem to be turning for the GOP: Mark Foley, while still making excuses for his pedophilia, is at least speaking to the media again; Alaska has more problems than just Palinmania; and Norm Coleman has a 209 vote lead (as I write this).

Like my boy Tupac used to always say: “Ya gotta keep ya head up.”

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Mellow Dramatics

Two games in and there is no denying that the 2008 World Series is a close one between two teams who are relatively new to the national spotlight.  For the most part, the pitching has been excellent, the fundamentals have been executed and scores have been close.  But despite Joe Buck’s irritating methodology of forcefully over-dramatizing each and every word, this Phillies/Rays series has been putting me to sleep.

And I swear it’s not the booze this time. 

For some intangible reason, I just get the feeling that this World Series is somewhat inherently spurious.  Perhaps it’s the fake grass that rubs me the wrong way… or the cheeseball John Williams-like teaser music that makes me feel like dinosaurs will suddenly take the field… or maybe it really is that I’m sick and tired of Joe Buck, who turned his back on his demographic earlier this year and sullied one of the greatest names in the history of the game.

The good news is, I have a mute button; I will use it liberally.

And it’s Friday and Fridays are always awesome.  In fact, since it’s Friday and there’s no baseball today and we’re getting down to the wire in all things important (baseball and politics) and I’m feeling good about life and it’s raining but not snowing and Halloween is around the corner and North Korea hasn’t blown anyone up yet, I thought: what better way to celebrate than to enjoy a good old political dance-off:

If that didn’t make your day, nothing will.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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