Results tagged ‘ Chicago Tribune ’

A Corrective Footnote to an Otherwise Good Deed

While New York state takes the social lead in legalizing gay marriage, I think it’s appropriate to also give props to the professional athletes who have joined the proactive “It Gets Better” video campaign.  Grant Hill, Kevin Youkilis, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and many more, have joined the cause to remind LGBT teens that they have a right to live happy lives, just like the rest of the world, and that the bullying stewing from ignorance and intolerance will eventually get better.

Chicago Cubs rookie second baseman, Darwin Barney, has also joined the cause.  Chicago Tribune writer Paul Sullivan, wrote a nice piece about Barney’s involvement and, again, I highly commend Darwin for doing so.  However, he did say something that must be corrected, something that is, at this point laughable for anyone to actually believe.  He said:

“It hit home for me because … I have a few family members who are gay. There’s nothing weird about it. It’s a decision that you should be able to make and not be discriminated against.”

Darwin Barney, being gay is not a choice.  There is no decision to make, just like I did not have a decision in what color my skin would be, or how tall I would eventually become.

One is either gay, straight or all of the above.  There is no choice involved.

And this is something that needs to be understood completely if things are truly going to get better.

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

Peace,

Jeff

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 17: The Lifestyles Hall of Fame Hot Tub Special… and Other Stuff

rsbs podcast photo 5.jpg

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles

The Hall of Fame, PEDs and the suggested fondness of Phil Rogers is all it takes to get Jeff and Johanna attempting to kill each other.  Allen probably wished at least one of them would have succeeded… but you’ll have to decide for yourself as the fellas discuss all things controversial and racy (almost like ‘sexy’ but less sexual).  Keith Hernandez gets a mention.  And the Kirk Gibson story… well ya need to just hear it… all to make you Sir or Madame Smilesalot!

Holla!

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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack.  You can experience Keith’s wicked podcast and subsequent film projects at  Undercard Films.  Keith is a hot topic right now!  Not only is he filming that cool baseball doc, but now he’s got some commercial gigs from the Undercast, so go check it out!

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Recorded Saturday, January 8, 2011

 

A Lesson Before Lying

mark kirk.jpgThe English language is such that certain phrases, through overuse, become cliches because they tend to contain some inherent truth, some life-lesson validity, something worth paying attention to.  That’s why when Momma says “honesty is the best policy”, you can be pretty sure that indeed, telling the truth is an excellent formula for leading a controversy-free life.

But this is US America, and in US American politics, the reverse seems to be most popular among the entitled electorate.  I mean, how else can we explain the pure idiocy that runs rampant among big-headed suits who think they can get away with chasing skirts, hooking up in airport restrooms and misappropriating federal funds, without someone figuring it out, eventually?

This is the INFORMATION AGE, people. Technocracy trumps everything.  Go ahead and lie to my face.  No, really.  Do it.  Just know that I can uncover your lies and ruin your reputation with just a few simple finger strokes on my smartphone. 

Yeah, my phone is smart, dude; much smarter than US Senate candidate Mark Kirk (R-IL), who once challenged on his myriad military record embellishments, is finally starting to remember what actually happened.

Yeah, he said he fought in Operation Desert Storm.  That’s a lie.

Yeah, he said he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Uh… yeah, that’s a lie.

And… yeah, Kirk also said he won the Navy’s award for Intelligence Officer of the Year.  Yep.  You guessed it.  That’s a lie, too.

Of course, Congressman Kirk is admitting to all this stuff now, because he’s being called out on it by the press — y’know, people with a lot of access to actual information.  The irony here is that now Kirk — who based on character alone was an excellent candidate to defeat mafia-tied Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in the Illinois US Senate seat race — now appears less appealing to the public than his allegedly corrupt opponent.

tim johnson.jpgGood grief, don’t any of these guys know who Tim Johnson is!?!?!?

This, dear readers, is just further proof that baseball is the game above all games.  We are adamantly vitriolic towards those baseball entities who lie about their past (Tim Johnson, Mark McGwire and Pete Rose come to mind initially), but in the political world, we’ve come to expect such shenanigans and are surprised by (or at least suspicious of) those who appear squeaky clean.

One thing is for certain: Kirk ain’t gettin’ my vote.  And neither is Alexi.  Yep, I feel another Frank Thomas write-in campaign might be necessary…

Hate me ‘cuz I’m known to flip out, 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

Why We Love LaTroy Hawkins

latroy hawkins.jpgThere was a time when LaTroy Hawkins acted as a personal savior of mine; because I knew the minute he came into a ballgame wearing that Cubs uniform, the chances of them losing took an astronomical leap.  While those days may be over — and the nomination of the world’s worst reliever has shifted to the awkwardly clumsy Kyle Farnsworth — I am happy to report that LaTroy Hawkins has given me yet another reason to worship him.

During Monday night’s game against the Cubs — as an Astro — Hawkins verbally and physically questioned the merits of homeplate umpire Mike Everitt, which eventually got him tossed.  Since then, Hawkins has suffered from a severe case of logorrhea and has had no problem jawing out at Everitt.  Now, Major League Baseball is investigating the incident.

“I have my own opinion, and he had his opinion,” he [Hawkins] said.  “He [Everitt] thought I was showing him up.  I saw Alex Rodriguez do way worse when I was in the American League.  He undressed the umpire.  Whatever he said, it was in his face.  It’s America.”

You’re damn right, LaTroy!  It is America!  It’s US America and I don’t care who you are — Alex Rodriguez or not — one should never be allowed to undress the umpire.  Who does this Rodriguez fella think he is anyway?  Some pretty boy poster child for Details magazine?  What a pompous sicko!

We applaud you, LaTroy, for saying what we were all thinking and going after the bad guys behind the plate.

And in the future, LaTroy, instead of getting into a war of words — a war that is rarely won by a journeyman reliever — you may want to follow the stellar example set by Chinese professional athletes and just pulverize your enemy:

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

It Takes a Special Kind of Delivery

barack obama white sox cap.jpgAttacking our Commander in Chief for his administration’s slow recovery from eight long years of poor GOP policy is one thing; attacking him for his pitching mechanics is another and, frankly, I find it to be an undermining, un-American, unnecessary derision of the US American psyche.

I mean, this is not Barry Zito we’re talking about here.  This is the President of the United States of America!

Yet it didn’t take long for Chicago Tribune writer Rick Morrissey to launch an offensive on Barack Obama’s ceremonial first pitch from the 2009 All-Star Game, highlighted by his glib crack which stated “he throws like someone who hardly has played sports” and “If I’m North Korea, I attack right now.”

Wow.  Hope you got a bunker, Rick.  You’re gonna need it.

Seeing President Obama walk out on the field was a special treat for me; and while from my right field vantage point I did notice somewhat of an awkward arc to his ball, I would never say it looked like an nonathletic toss.  Verily, Albert Pujols saved him from bouncing one in front of the plate; but believe me, I have seen much, much worse.

Mayor Mallory anyone?

Of course, when it comes to stellar ceremonial first pitches and beyond fantastic form, it would be exceptionally difficult to beat the Japanese:

Take note bottom-dwelling, low-drawing, aesthetically-challenged Major League Baseball clubs: get this gal to throw all of your ceremonial first pitches and watch the magic unfold (or just watch her chest through that low cut pinstriped top).

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Suppress Thy Sore Loser, Loser

alfonso soriano.jpgFor those of you Cubbie-lovin’ pipedreamers out there who still believe in that wretched mantra of “this is our year” — a mantra disproved over and over and over again — then I got another nugget of fact to help bring you down from that dark cloud of praise.

Paul Sullivan, of the Chicago Tribune, writes:

When manager Lou Piniella spoke to [Alfonso] Soriano last week in Pittsburgh and told him he would be
giving him a few more days off, Soriano said he understood. But Soriano
was miffed when he learned his name wasn’t in the starting lineup
Wednesday after he had a pair of hits Tuesday night.

“That’s why I’m mad,” Soriano said. “If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn’t come today ready to play.”

Wow.

Did he really say that?  Let’s look again:

“If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn’t come today ready to play.”

Yep.  He said it.  And yes, this proves it: Alfonso Soriano is an idiot.

Call me loopy, but if I were making $17 million a year to show up, ready to play baseball every day, then you could bet your behind I would be ready to play baseball — every day.  Starter or sub, leading off or in the eight-hole, you’re a goddamn professional baseball player, Alfonso Soriano.  You’re living a dream.  Okay, you’re living a nightmare, but still, it’s a dream and you should treat it as such.

Goats, black cats, Steve Bartman, decking Michael Barrett, Sori’s hop, Big Z’s hot head, Dempster’s celebratory broken toe, Zambrano vowing to lollygag, the defunct abomination that is Milton Bradley…

Is it any wonder that the Cubs continue to disappoint?

I know, I know.  Even I am beginning to think my Cub-bashing agenda has become hackier than hack.  Still, what has to be said has to be said because the pain is now inching into my personal life.

My nephew is almost one year old now.  While his mother (my sister and devout Cardinal fan) tries the best she can, still, having a Cub fan as a father has already begun to affect him with serious, damaging, negative results. 

Here’s what he looks like when his mom dresses him in Cardinals gear:

P1000865.JPGAnd when his Cub-lovin’ daddy takes over?  Much different story:

downsized_0709091926.jpgIn this devastating world of hurt, do yourself a favor and try to smile a little bit, my plebeian brethren.  See the light, wear the STL.

And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

From the “Eww” File

alexei ramirez smells good.jpgOn Wednesday, in his Bold Names column of sneezes from around the Major Leagues, Chicago Tribune reporter Mark Gonzales enlightened us on the snazzy stylings of White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez.  Gonzales wrote that Ramirez “opened some eyes among his teammates when he walked into the visitor’s dinky clubhouse at Wrigley” because he “sported a white Cuba jersey with his name and number on the back.”

Nothing wrong with that.  So Alexei is cool.  The Missile dons dapper duds.  I’m down.

Gonzales continued:

“Reliever Octavio Dotel, a native of the Dominican Republic, liked the jersey so much he wore it for a few minutes.  Unfortunately for Ramirez, Dotel said he might be subjected to a fine for not adhering to dress code rules on the road — yes, even at Wrigley Field.”

And after wearing Alexei’s jersey for a few minutes, Dotel told Gonzales:

“‘The jersey smells good… he’s [Ramirez] still learning and a young guy from Cuba but doesn’t know a lot of things about the States.’”

Yeah, you’re obviously dead on, Octavio.  I mean, I cannot think of a more common pastime, in the States, than going around sniffing your friends’ clothes.

That crazy Cuban Alexei… jeesh, he’s got a lot to learn.

Hate me ‘cuz I don’t sniff my buddy’s clothes, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

Everyone hates me! I don’t understand it. It’s like I’m the anti-Midas.
Instead of turning to gold, everything I touch turns to s**t. And now
they’re even booing me! I just want to be loved. What do I have to do
to be loved?

M. Bradley
Chicago, IL
__________________________________________

milton_bradley_angry.jpgRSBS‘ dear readers know that I am always one for some good old japery, so I will ignore the fact that this question comes to us from a Hotmail address with the username LouBrockLover67 attached and assume that you, M. Bradley, were at one time a huge follower of the powerhouse Cardinal club of the mid to late 60s and just go with it.  Of course, I am also secretly holding my breath that the Chicago Tribune gets word of this post and in digging through the RSBS archives publicizes the fact that I have called a certain M. Bradley a “whiny spoiled crybaby man-child” on more than at least twenty occasions.  Hey, It worked for J-Rod and Raul Ibanez…  ah… yes, a fettered blogger can dream; I suppose that is still legal and accepted (for now).

But, at this time, what causes my greatest concern is the notion that the Chicago Cubs are being hijacked by just one individual’s antics, gaffes and overall lack of production at the plate, which runs contrary to the the aged tradition of the Cubs’ losing woes being dependent on a complete team effort (or, more appropriately, the lack thereof).

Yes, M. Bradley, everything you touch does turn to s**t, but at least you have the good sense to throw it back into the stands — with only two outs.  Look, they are going to boo you just like they boo Fukudome and Soriano and Lee, just like they booed Kyle Farnsworth and Jacque Jones and Keith Moreland before.  Cub fans boo.  That’s what they do.  There ain’t no changing that.

Still, a less hostile playing environment at Wrigley could be had if you, M. Bradley follow these simple guidelines for success: a) hit over .230 b) bash a Gatorade cooler in the dugout with a bat and c) give back that $30 million and just play for the fun of it!

See?  Now that was the easy part.  Unfortunately, M. Bradley, since Northsiders have proven over the years that they are absolutely incapable of love (see Bartman, Sammy Sosa and Dusty Baker), I am afraid that you will just have to do without while patrolling the swirling winds of fickleness at Clark and Addison.

Beer.  That is the only thing Cub fans love.  Buy the right field bleacher bums a couple of rounds of beer with that fat, zero laden paycheck and you might just get the impression that you’re liked… sorta.

Until they sober up.

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 Sarah Palin in a swimsuit 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)

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