Results tagged ‘ Closers ’
For the record, Dear Readers, I am only one and three quarters of an inch shorter than my self-aggrandizing friend and normally trustworthy colleague, Mr. Allen Krause — not “a lot shorter” as he so vainly suggested in his most recent post. Inches, mere inches, I really am not one to be fraught over inches. In so being, I would like to extend the arm of peace to my friend by quoting Rebecca West when I say Mr. Krause “is every other inch a gentleman.”
And with that bit of business out of the way, I would now like to take this opportunity to ignore the Cardinals’ recent acquisition of Khalil Greene. Why? Why would I disregard such a move that even I admit looks to be beneficial for the 2009 squad? Because of Trever Miller, that’s why. The addition of Miller to the bullpen is supposed to make me feel better, Mr. Mozeliak? Hardly. Give me Brian Fuentes. Give me J.J. Putz. Give me a real closer. Give me something!
Let’s look at something more interesting… like the freakazoids who inhabit this planet. Not satisfied with your everyday sports memorabilia? How about you get on eBay and buy some game-worn underwear soiled by your favorite superstars Alex Rodriguez, Josh Beckett and Kevin Youkilis?
No? Perhaps you’d like to make a deal with the devil herself and get behind the liberal head-hunting train, because, in her opinion, it’s your duty as an US American to hope your new administration fails. Duh. Of course, Ms. Coulter’s got it right: nothing’s more American than hoping your American brethren suffer beyond measure.
But folks, this is just a small sampling of the oddities gnawing at my corrigible conscious. The recently acquired RSBS staff (graciously borrowed from Russell at Arizona via Slough who seems to have gone on an extended vacation) has gone through the StatCounter files and found quite the eclectic collection of keyword searches leading the masses to the hallowed pages of RSBS. There are a slew of nutball examples, but I’ve pulled my five favorites for your viewing pleasure:
“Allison Stokke Drunk”
Okay, okay. I get it. She’s hot. Unattainable even. So you think you gotta get her drunk first to have a shot. Well, she could be lying dead in the middle of a desert and you still don’t have a shot, Sicko!
“Wemen Hitting Mens Balls”
Hmm. Alright, let’s pretend that the spelling error doesn’t exist — that this is just a case of a concerned individual who wants to know how women should go about hitting men’s balls. Hmm. Nah, still doesn’t make any sense.
“Kwame Kilpatrick In Cuffs Picture”
Right on, brother. Right on. Detroit has never been more proud.
Yep. I feel ya. I voted for him just because he’s from my neighborhood too. Well, that and it was the right thing to do.
“Attractive Chinese Wemen”
Whoa! How did you know? Oh, and also, a word of advice: you might want to learn how to spell “women” before you start looking for them on the internet.
I know this — from experience.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
With the imminent advent of a new football season, it’s time for RSBS to explore areas where a brown, oblong ball and a small, white ball overlap. The basics are pretty clear in that they both include a ball and two opposing teams but beyond that, there really isn’t that much they have in common. Maybe the silly tight pants? However, there is one area where they bear a striking resemblance.
Baseball today subscribes to the adage that you can’t win without a dominant closer. He can be a finesse guy, he can be an overpowering guy but he has to be able to shut down the other team for somewhere between 1 or more innings at the end of a game. This ranks them right up there in the same category as field goal kickers.
Now, before you start complaining, I fully recognize that both field goal kickers and closers are gifted with incredible physical talents. There’s no way I could kick a 50 yard field goal. In fact, there’s no way I could kick a 15 yard field goal. Similarly, I probably can’t throw a baseball more than 60 miles an hour, much less hit that tiny little strikezone.
But that doesn’t change the fact that both kickers and closers are specialty guys who come in for very specific tasks that have evolved with their respective games. And the rewards for these thankless jobs are relatively miniscule. Except on rare occasions, their best hope is just to remain invisible while attempting to succeed. Because when they fail, you can be sure their picture will be splashed across the front of the sports section (or the front page of various blogs).
Closers come from different backgrounds, sometimes converted starters who just can’t handle the innings anymore or guys with funky deliveries who can’t last outside of 25 pitches. And kickers tend to be guys who got kicked off the soccer team in high school or who were just too small to play any other position. Seriously, can you imagine Martin Grammatica playing wide receiver? He’d die, simple as that.
I suppose everything in life these days is heading towards more specialization and it’s rare that you find a renaissance man who can perform more than one task (unlike the ubermensch pictured here). But it’s kind of a shame that guys like Carlos Zambrano and Micah Owings are more the exception than the rule.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no purist and I have no desire for things to go back to the days of Babe Ruth or Bronko Nagurski. If you think players get injured a lot now, just imagine if they had to do double duty. But, I think we can shed a single tear for the end of an era before we except our new, super-specialized overlords.
That westerly breeze you folks on the East Coast felt today had nothing to do with Tropical Storm Fay; no, it was the collective sigh of relief from Cardinal fans the world over as the team announced Jason Isringhausen’s season is most probably over.
In what has become an abomination of a year for the formerly revered closer, this once imaginary ending has turned into reality, causing Cardinal fans to yet again face their own unique brand of pessimism: that Izzy’s departure is still bitter-sweet. Sweet in that we can all relax knowing he won’t screw things up anymore. Bitter because we can be sure that someone else will.
And let’s face it: though we’ve all maintained the customary party line that the 2008 Cardinal bullpen woes have been a ‘team thing’, we all know that it began with and was perpetrated by Jason Isringhausen and his lackluster performance(s). As the leader in the bullpen, the go-to guy in the 9th, the man who got things done, Izzy’s inablility to close games this year caused a ripple effect of incompetence all throughout the bullpen. In his destructive wake, Izzy’s fellow relievers found themselves under an immense amount of pressure — pressure they haven’t been able to overcome still to this day.
I am not ungrateful. Jason Isringhausen has put together some great seasons in St. Louis. And there have been times when my cheers were among the loudest. But there comes a time when your best just isn’t your best anymore — when you just don’t have it in the tank — when you discover that yes, the rose does have thorns and now that the pretty red petals have all died and fallen off, all you have left in your hand is a prickly stem with very few aesthetic attributes.
Three reoccuring nightmares have haunted me this season:
1) The Cubs win the pennant
2) The man featured below worms his way back into the political spotlight
3) Izzy enters a game with less than a 10 run lead
While one of those nightmares will continue to pester me until the seaon’s end, at least the last one looks like it is merely a thing of the past.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.