Results tagged ‘ Designated Hitter ’

The Filibuster

Usain Bolt is looking to try out with a British soccer team. What athlete that you’ve seen in the Olympics would you most like to see trying out for an American baseball team?

Ethan
Santa Clara, CA
_________________________

Olympians turned baseballers?  I like the way you think, Ethan.  And I welcome the possibilities!

I can’t help but think Michael Phelps would look good in Yankee pinstripes.  The man has 20 Olympic medals — hardware that would surely look good next to 27 World Series trophies.  And let’s face it, the dude has earned the right to be as cocky and off-putting as he is.  He might not have Derek Jeter’s golden little black book yet, but some time around the Captain and soon he too could be kissing mirrors of himself.

When it comes to actual physical strength though I might suggest Holley Mangold take up a spot in the American League as a DH.  She wouldn’t have to actually do much running or having anyrefined skills other than swinging for the fences; and accounting for her already buoyant build, I don’t think we would have to worry about any Giambian steroid scandals.

Of course, no baseball league is complete without its lovable losers.  And considering how much crying Jordyn Wieber did in the 30th Olympiad, I think she’d be a perfect fit for the Chicago Cubs.

But let’s not forget, when it comes to an Olympian I want on my baseball team, there is no one other than THE Usain Bolt.

Holy jerk chicken, that guy is a bonafide SUPERSTAR!!!

Have you EVER seen anything more exciting the last 4 years than watching that man run!?!?!  Unbelievable!  I’d want him in center field, catching everything in between the foul poles.  At the plate, I’d have him try to walk as much as possible, just to mess with the opposing pitchers’ mind before taking off to fly around the bases.  And look out if he actually hits a ball out of the infield, ‘cuz dude is gonna turn singles into doubles and doubles into inside-the-parkers!

Not only that, but Bolt is also insanely entertaining in the most endearing of ways — a happy-go-lucky clowner who can back it up with performance as opposed to the psychotic shenanigans of a WAY less talented Tony Plush.

Forget soccer, Mr. Bolt, please come wear the birds on the bat.

And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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Stick with What You Know

There was a time when I thought I would become a painter.  I had never painted anything.  I was modestly talented at drawing with pencil and paper; but I went to a glitzy art show, which inspired me to buy a basic painting kit and suddenly I had delusions of grandeur.

Except for one little problem: I sucked at painting.

So I quit.

But sometimes, we can’t always quit the things we’re not good at.  Carlos Lee is really good at hitting home runs.  Playing defense?  Not so much.  But El Caballo plays for the Houston Astros, in the National League (I know, I know, hello sweet irony), so if he’s gonna hit bombs, he’s gonna have to fiddle around with a glove on his hand too.

For now anyway.

But that’s not all that Carlos is good at.  Apparently he’s also quite good at sharing his name.  In fact, he has two sons, Carlos and Karlos.  He has a daughter named Karla.  He also has a brother named… yep, you guessed it, Carlos.

Stick with what you know.

And don’t hate me.  ‘Cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Incarnations, Reclamations and Exhortations

george_steinbrenner.jpgJane Heller had an interesting question regarding yesterday’s filibuster post. She asked:

Does this mean, Al, that you would have taken Steve Howe back 6 times like Steinbrenner did? He picked up Strawberry and Gooden too. He loved reclamation projects.

Now, first of all, I have to say that it’s a pretty low blow to compare me to satan incarnate. Am I older than god and incontinent? No. But the question itself is interesting. Baseball, like life, seems to be all about reclaiming, recycling and otherwise reusing. Honestly, is there any other reason that Kyle Farnsworth still has a job?

The first part of the question is easy. The only Howe that I would take multiple times is Gordie and any true Michigander would be right there with me. But if you look at baseball right now, how many players are in their newest incarnation as the result of some sort of experiment, some sort of reclamation? Rick Ankiel. Josh Hamilton. The existence of the designated hitter shows the natural (or unnatural, depending on who you ask) evolution of this philosophy.

But I guess here’s what I’ll say. If you can pick up a guy who’s iffy and he’s not going to be a cancer in the clubhouse, why not give it a try? And if you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work but you have a new approach this time, I say go for it. In the end, that’s what sets your run of the mill GM or owner apart from the greats. The great ones recognize who can still contribute and in what way while the other guys just fish around and hope for the best.

Here’s a good rule of thumb, though. Kyle Farnsworth is beyond reclamation. Can we just agree on this once and for all?

-A

Memorial Day War Cry

iwo jima.jpgPitchers should hit.

Old defensive liability power hitters who strikeout 150+ times a year and can’t hang in the National League should retire.

And yes, perhaps players should go back to wool uniforms (‘cuz when you’re itchy, you play with an edge).

Verily!  The Gospel according to Jeff hath been spoken.

With that, I virtually extend my hand through the interwebs and take that of my calloused and oft misguided colleague, Mr. Krause.  Indeed, I accept his dubious (and ultimately self-deprecating) proposal knowing full well that victory is in my near future.

And, since we’ve opened up the Gospel, let it also be known that:

albert pujols.jpgThe squeeze play is the most exciting play in all of sports.

The closer is the most overrated role in baseball.

And Albert Pujols is the only man who could make me gay.

Wait, did I just say that?

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Deconstruction of a Constructionist

Let me try to understand this hifalutin statement:

“When it comes down to it, sports exist to entertain the masses and it
is the masses that decide what they want. This leads to inevitable
conflict between the strict constructionists (people like you) and the reformers (people who wear pink hats).”

–Allen Krause, The Filibuster, May 4, 2008

When Allen says, “people like you”, he’s referring to people like me — smart, charming, extremely good-looking, etc.  Apparently, I must remind everyone that I am the brains of Red State Blue State, strict constructionist or not, and this statement is just the sort of blatant, pretentious animosity that gets slung around Washington in order to hide an individual’s own errant shortcomings.  

Allen’s mishaps, misspeaks and misappropriations are far too many to document here; I will save you from another verbal sparring match and just inform you that, in his last post, he both favored and opposed the DH rule, thus proving his inability to lead and his tendency to flip-flop.  It’s not the first time this has happened.  Click here to see when he became a Nats fan and click here to read my story of how he was once a Cubs fan.

And while these bouncy sentiments are disturbing, nothing is more disturbing than Mr. Krause’s hinting that a game requiring more thinking skills and more management fineness (ie NL style baseball) would be less entertaining than the alternative: a slimy attempt to make more money (ie AL style baseball).  In defending his argument, Allen used the analogy of basketball by contemplating how boring it would be if it hadn’t changed from Dr. Naismith’s original rules (which did not include a shot-clock, three pointers, etc.). 

Well, Al, I don’t know.  Are you belittling the intelligence of the masses by saying we can’t appreciate a thinking man’s sport?  That we have to see non-stop scoring throughout to be entertained, to be drawn in, to be a fan? 

Let’s analyze this from the point of view of the world’s most popular sport: soccer (football for you non-US Americans).  Do you think soccer has suffered much from being a low scoring, highly intellectualized sport of refined athletic ability?  Though I can’t call myself a huge soccer fan, I can attest to being extremely entertained and very involved even during nil-nil matches.  And the masses seem to be liking it just fine the way it is.  In fact, the masses would sooner beat you to do death than allow you to instigate a Designated Striker rule: every time the regular striker crosses midfield, the well-rested Designated Striker sprints in and attacks without abandon, thus creating a better chance to score.  Yeah, I’d like to see you try it. 

spaceman.jpgAnd don’t forget, the masses had nothing to do with implementing the DH rule in the first place.  No, it was a decision made by 8 crusty, old rich men (spearheaded by Charlie O. Finley) who wanted to put more money in their pockets.  Well, they did, and in the process they also took away a fundamental right of all baseball players — the right to hit.  If you ever want to know how devastating that decision was on American League pitchers, read Spaceman Bill Lee’s book.  It forced him to do drugs and get traded to Montreal, which was so bad that he had to do more drugs until he just settled for barnstorming the globe… and doing drugs.

Is the American League more entertaining than the National League?  Calculating for my natural bias, the answer is still no.  It’s not.  It’s a different game and I don’t like it as much as I do the alternative, purer form.

But what do I know?  According to you, Al, I’m just a “strict constructionist”, which would either make me a supreme court justice or just a simple legal philosopher.  I’m not quite sure which of those career paths suits me best, but I know one thing for sure: you shouldn’t be a spelling teacher:

“If you aren’t convinced, maybe you should take a look at what Scalia,
Cheney and their merry band of strict constructionists have done to the
Consitution.”
[my emphasis]
–Allen Krause, The Filibuster, May 4, 2008

As a liberal, free-thinking man with myriad bounties, it’s hard for me to swallow you comparing me to the Milo Minderbinder of our time, Dick Cheney, but it’s even harder for me to accept that you don’t know how to spell “constitution”.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

PS, Don’t hate me cuz I was right in my Cardinals/Cubs prediction either.  Better get used to it.

Hyperbolize This!

Excuse me, Mr. Krause, I didn’t know that you were stumping for office.  You see, I must admit that you indeed fit the mold.  You are quite good at flip-flopping positions and sighting “literary technique” as an excuse for your haphazard quips and careless backstreet follies.  Let’s face it, Al.  You’re wrong and I expect you to start rolling up your sleeves and kissing babies any minute.

So while you do that, let me play the role of *high-road pundit and pull back the *proverbial curtain on your shortcomings.  (*These are literary techniques used to ridicule and embarrass.  You see, there is no such thing as an ‘high-road pundit’ and ‘proverbial’ references a really groovy book in the bible.  These are techniques that *slick willies [oops, another literary technique known as senseless name-calling] like Allen Krause use when trying to *pull the wool over our eyes [just a dumb cliche].)

“…fans, especially new ones and for better or for worse, are much more
willing to pay money to see home runs than they are to see drawn out
pitchers duels. Do you like the new Busch Stadium? Do you think it
would have been built if the Cards would have had Greg Maddux instead
of McGwire? Yeah, I think not.”

–Allen Krause, The Incredible Lightness of Being…obtuse

Dukakis_tank.jpgFirst of all, the Atlanta Braves did have Greg Maddux and I’d say he was an integral part (if not the part) that shaped and revitalized an otherwise dying franchise during the 90s.  That new stadium they got built down there during his tenure as their posterboy?  Uh, yeah, I’m pretty sure the Atlanta fans like it a lot and owe much of its existence to Mr. Maddux himself.  So to say fans can’t/won’t appreciate superior pitching because they want more *bang for their buck (literary technique) makes you the blogging equivalent of Michael Dukakis in a tank —  it just don’t make sense. 


sosa_mcgwire1998.jpgSecondlly, would the Cardinals have a new Busch were it not for McGwire?  I think the bigger, more important question is would any team have a new ballpark (or fans for that matter) without McGwire.  And I include the fantasyland amusement park known as Comerica in there too.  You see, if it weren’t for that magical summer of ’98 when Mark and Sammy brought the game back to the fans after years of bitterness and neglect, we might be talking about the lackluster Reno Tigers rather than the Hockeytown Tigers that are stumbling along right now.  For that egregious error, you owe a humble apology to both McGwire and Sosa… and me, of course.

My suggestion for you is the following: in the future, instead of trying to hyperbolize to make a point, try to simply *analyze instead.  (*This is yet another literary technique called ‘rhyming’ which is often used by Shakespeare, leprechauns and Method Man with varying levels of success.  In fact, it was Method Man himself who once said: “Can’t forget Bobby if I did I feel gip, like my sandwich ain’t a sandwich without Miracle Whip.”)

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

jason.grilli.jpgP.S. Pop the champagne!  The Tigers finally won a game!  But they’re still 5 games behind the Royals.  And for all of you who demand the Jason Grilli ERA Watch, it now stands at 19.29.  Whoa, watch out!  He’s on fire!

The score that matters: Cardinals 6, Astros 4

Look who’s in first place. 

Note to Brandon Backe: don’t mess with the best, pal.

I Need a Bigger Bus

Once again, Mr. Krause, you have managed to blasphemy the greatest game on earth, prove your idiocy with your prose and wholly embarrass me in public.  It’s one thing to like one league over the other.  But gay porn?  Al, are you completely lost?  Have they been waterboarding you down there?  I’m concerned about your mental health.

Look, I know it’s not entirely your fault.  It must’ve been hard growing up in a state where hockey is king, where the only car you are allowed to drive is a Ford and your greatest baseball icon was a gin shootin’, cleats-up-slidin’, wh0re mongering racist.  I’m sure that all had an influence on your childhood and blinded you from seeing how baseball is supposed to be played.  The pitcher is supposed to bat, Al.  In fact, some pitchers are really good hitters.  Have you ever heard of Rick Ankiel?  Carlos Zambrano?  Dontrelle Willis?  How about Babe Ruth?  

The American League’s adoption of the designated hitter is a classic case of how easily greed can destroy the purities in life.  What was wrong with pitchers hitting?  Nothing.  Sure, the weakest hitting position overall is the pitcher’s spot — because they don’t hit every day.  But that’s exactly what makes the NL so much more exciting, more pure, more of a thinking man’s game.  You actually have to use strategy to accomplish your goal (*take note, Mr. President).  As a man in such a high political position as yourself, Al, I thought you would’ve had the basic knowledge to discern that.  In fact, the next time you hold a peace summit in some war-stricken African country, I’d like to see you replaced by a Designated Diplomat, someone who has a higher success average than you, because you don’t have the bells and whistles to make it theatric enough.  Actually, I’d be amused (if only momentarily) to see you be a little more one dimensional. 

Unfortunately, the AL didn’t end the DH experiment after its 1973 induction and now we never will.  Since it has translated into a major career-extender and equated bigger paychecks for aging vets who wouldn’t make a squad otherwise, the DH is now like that drunk uncle who is a complete mess at family functions.  We all do our very best to ignore him and not let him ruin the party because we know there will be less harm done to the group as a whole if we just let him destroy himself.

So eat a big fat one on that one, Al.

Oh, and I want to thank you for making my job easier today.  Your Filibuster is full of big, dark, gaping holes of contradiction.  I believe I said a long time ago that the AL Central would  indeed be interesting due to the Indians and White Sox.  In all honesty, I said the Tigers would miss the postseason completely.   As a matter of fact, a recent comment on your last post from mobaseball reiterates this bold (and most probably true) prediction:

“First of all, you do know that no team has ever lost 4 straight and
made the playoffs right? And the Tigers have now lost 6 straight.”

Actually, Al, looking back on your past heresies, you made myriad bogus claims on February 21, 2008:

“The Royals will be their same old selves…”

“I can understand why you have playoff envy since the Cardinals will be
lucky to finish the season 5 games under .500 with their offseason
“moves” and a much tougher NL Central. But don’t be a hater. The
Tigers, along with the Red Sox and the Tribe, are clearly the class of
the AL.”

“The proud state of Missouri will host not just one but two teams who
not only set new records for divisional futility but who also manage to
lead their leagues in losses. That’s right, the Cardinals and Royals
will end the season with identical losing records and in a tie for last
place in baseball. You heard it here first.”

jason.grilli.ERA.jpgLike I have had to say before, Wrong, Wrong, and WRONG.  Going into this evening, the Cardinals team ERA was second in MLB at 1.83 while the Royals’ were fourth overall at 2.67.  Do you know what Jason Grilli’s ERA is, Mr. Krause?  I’ll tell ya: 20.25!  Get this guy in the game, Jimmy!  My lord, hitters have to take washrags with them to the plate to clean up all the drool.  Oh, and did you see that game last night where the Sox destroyed Verlander and scored 13 runs?  I guess pointing out that the Kitty-Cats haven’t won a game yet this season (even the Giants have won a game!) would be pouring salt in your wounds.  Look, I know it’s early, and on paper they should be awesome, but right now, they’re awful.  And it can be quite challenging to crawl out from a ditch as big as the Tigers have dug.  I’m just sayin’…

As to what division is the strongest, most competitive, must-watch division… I meant it as a trick question.  I know you so well that I knew you would respond with some dumb denunciation of all things NOT the AL Central.  Come on, Al.  Do you honestly believe what you said?  The Padres/Dodgers/Dbacks/Rockies aren’t interesting to you?  The Mets/Braves/Phillies aren’t dramatic enough for you?  The Cards/Cubs/Brewers/Reds/Astros aren’t competitive enough for you?  Sure sounds a lot better than gay porn to me.  What about the M’s/Angels/A’s race?  Quintessential Yankees/Red Sox?  Get a grip, pal!  Look at all these great divisions!  I can’t find even one that won’t be interesting… and if your unabashed abhorrence for the AL East is so strong that it prevents you from recognizing the inherent drama, tension, beauty of this glorious game, then you are too far gone to be saved — even by me. 

You might as well be a Cub fan. 

And though I know this is going to be very difficult for you, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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