Results tagged ‘ Filibuster ’

The Filibuster

Steinbrenner says the Yankees aren’t for sale. A few billion would be tough to turn down though, so do you believe him?

Kevin
Ferndale, MD
___________________________________

I still remember the first time I missed out on my first billion.  In fact, it was just a couple days ago when no one took me up on my brilliant idea to go mine asteroids.  Seriously people, where are your priorities?

Selling the Yankees, though?  A team with a new park, an amazing history and a corporate and real fan-base unmatched anywhere else in baseball?  If the Dodgers are worth $2.175 billion, a team with broke-down finances and a fickle group of fans, you can only imagine that the Yankees would fetch a price well north of that.

But, the Yankees are not for sale, at least not according to Hal Steinbrenner.  And honestly, I don’t blame him.  For a guy like Frank McCourt, the Dodgers were simply a means to an end.  For a family like the Steinbrenners, the Yankees are a way of life.  The Yankees without a Steinbrenner would be a like a snickers without the peanuts.  Sure, it’s still tasty but it’s no longer a Snickers.  It’s a Milky Way.

So yeah, I believe Hal.  Even if I can’t help but picturing him responding to the question of selling the Yankees with a soothing, “I’m sorry, Dave.  I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.”

The other part of the equation is that although the Yankees may be worth $2.5 billion today, just imagine how much they’ll be worth in another few years.  The Yankees are more than a baseball team, they’re a global brand easily recognizable on the hats of millions of people around the world.  There is practically no large city in the world where you can walk around without seeing someone wearing a Yankees’ cap.  Hell, holding on to the Yankees isn’t even speculation.  It’s just plain and simple good sense.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are going to have to be content with our possible billion dollar schemes.  For me, that means dreaming of space asteroids and slowly going mad.  “Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it.”

-A

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

The Filibuster

Taking into account the fantastic starts for Baltimore, Washington and the Dodgers, which one surprises you the most?

John
Fredericksburg, MD

___________________________________

The only thing that suprises me about the Los Angeles Dodgers this year is that they sold for over two billion dollars.  TWO.  BILLION.  DOLLARS.  Holy Koufax, Batman!  That’s Albert Pujols money!!!

With legitimate superstars like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw anchoring the team, it was only a matter of whether or not off-the-field issues would cause a disturbance.  Now that there aren’t any, they’re free to do their thang, and as long as that includes Andre Ethier knocking in everyone in front of him and stellar performances from castaways like Chris Capuano and the longtime hookin’ lefty, Ted Lilly, then it really is their division to lose.  Kemp is currently on the 15 day DL and they’re still mowing through the opposition.

To me, the Nats aren’t a suprise either.  I think the consensus among learned baseball folk was that they were going to be good soon, it was just a matter of how soon.  With Michael Morse sidelined due to injury and an anemic offense through the first several weeks of the season, it seemed like they had some time before they’d be that team to beat; but pitching wins championships and their pitching has been as impressive as the St. Louis Cardinals’ travel day attire.

The real surprise — the real head-shaker du jour — is the cartoon bird in Baltimore bringing a moribund and aloof baseball club back to serious life.  Last year saw them get off to a good start, and I thought they might really be making a move back to the Oriole Way, but their youthful inexperience eventually backfired, ending in a bucket of Showalterian scowls.

But consider the performances of Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom, Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, Darren O’Day and even Kevin Gregg — yes, KEVIN GREGG — and you’ll see that it’s easier to win ballgames when your bullpen doesn’t come in and yack up the place.  For those of you who follow the Birds, you know that a yackin’ bullpen has been as much a staple of the beltway as corrupt politicians screwing their constituents.  Yeah, well, not everything can change.

Just as excited as I am about the Orioles’ resurgence, I’m equally as revved about the Toronto Blue Jays, yet another AL East team that just won’t back down.  They’re hitting everything.  They are pitching with authority.  And their Canadian poster-boy is keen on taking on the silliness that is MLB umpiring, one batting helmet at a time.

Also, there’s this:

Ah… to be 8 years old and Canadian… no suprise there.

Hate me if you want, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

The Filibuster

Looks like MLB is going to televise the first part of the draft again.  Will Bud ever learn?

Jack
Bridgeview, IL
___________________________________

When people want to explain how boring something is, they often resort to the idiom “Like watching paint dry.”  Well, compared to the MLB draft, watching paint dry is edge-of-your-seat, action packed drama.  The sad thing is, that doesn’t mean Bud won’t keep on trying.

We all know the problem.  Succeeding in baseball requires development and in all but the rarest of cases, it’s pretty much impossible for a player to jump directly to the big leagues and make an immediate impact.  There are a lot of adjustments that even the best ballplayers have to make before they’re ready to succeed in the majors.  Bud has been in the game a long time and he obviously knows this but something keeps him from accepting it.

I’m not sure what it is.  Maybe it’s an inferiority complex because of the craziness and drama inherent to the NFL and NBA drafts.  Maybe it’s an inability to accept that baseball is different.  Maybe it’s just that Bud is completely out of touch and has made a lot of bad decisions that should have long ago cost him his job.  Whatever it is, it means that once again the MLB draft will be televised and once again no one but the absolute junkies will tune in.  Don’t tell him I said this but I bet you that not even Jeff will watch.  Yeah, it’s that boring.

Don’t get me wrong here.  The draft is important and when you look at the recent success of this year’s National’s ballclub, it’s obvious how important a good draft strategy can be.  But just because the future success of a team depends on the players a team chooses, that doesn’t mean the process is all that exciting to watch.  We know the basketball players from following them through the NCAAs.  We know the football players from the bowl games and college football saturdays.  Baseball players?  These are guys coming out of random colleges, even more random Latin American development leagues and god knows where else.  There’s no story attached to them until they make it to the big leagues.

Let me put it another way.  We all know about Len Bias and his cocaine overdose death.  Bias never played a day in the NBA but is still spoken of with reverence.  Meanwhile, until he made it to the major leagues, Josh Hamilton was just another talented athlete with substance abuse problems.  If Hamilton hadn’t have made the bigs, he’d simply be in rehab somewhere or out on the streets.

I know what Bud’s doing here.  He thinks that he can drive revenue growth by trying to create drama around the sorting process.  But you have to be invested in a person’s story in order for there to be drama.  We don’t know anything about these young baseball players so there’s no drama in watching them get drafted.  Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say there’s about as much drama as watching paint dry.

-A

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

The Filibuster

Is pitching so good because guys aren’t juicing anymore or are pitchers just better than they were ten years ago?

Kathrine
Downers Grove, IL

___________________________________
This reminds me of when people ask if the Civil War was more about slavery or the fundamental differences between an industrial North and agrarian South.  The answer to the baseball question is pretty much the same as the answer to the Civil War question.  It’s both.

The apparent decrease in the use of PEDs in baseball has had an effect.  It’s unlikely you’re going to see many more 70+ homerun seasons in the near future.  But it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t just the hitters who were juicing during that period.  Roger Clemens taking a jab in his pale, fleshy ass was just as much a part of the era as Barry Bonds’ application of random creams and gels.  More than that, assuming that players are no longer juicing just because there hasn’t been as much of it in the news is naive at best.  It’s more likely that they have simply discovered a different, less traceable form.

Meanwhile, there’s no denying that some spectacular pitchers are playing the game these days.  Beyond the hype of guys like Strasburg, Lincecum and Verlander, even the mid-range starters have gotten better.  When the Rangers can add Neftali Feliz as their number five starter, that’s a sign there’s some scary talent out there.  The Nationals have become a force mainly through the development of guys like Strasburg, Storen and Zimmermann.  Pitchers are pitching not only better but smarter and that’s causing problems for hitters.

These things are cyclical, though.  Just because pitchers are handcuffing batters this season doesn’t mean the sluggers won’t figure out what’s going on next year.  It’s an arms race (literally and figuratively) between the two sides.  But it’s not just because of one aspect or another.  It’s the entirety of the situation.  You know, kind of like the Civil War.

-A

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

The Filibuster

It looks like Albert is off to a rough start in LA.  Have you caught yourself checking in on him yet?

Ian
Paris, TX
___________________________________

If by “checking in on him” you mean stalking his Facebook page, dialing his phone number then hanging up real quick and annoyingly asking our mutual friends if he’s really happy with his new lover, then no.  I haven’t done any of that.

But I have watched an unhealthy amount of Angels games early this season (BECAUSE I CAN’T HELP MYSELF) and I have to admit: even watching Albert struggle early on is no consolation for his loss.  There is no consolation.  Period.  None.  So it does me no good to dwell on it anymore.

IT’S OVER.  FOREVER.

And that’s okay.

It is no secret that Albert’s decision to leave the St. Louis Cardinals left me DEVASTATED.  I was in deep mourning for most of January.  As February rolled along, I found myself dealing with the five stages of grief more intimately than I ever wanted. But by the end of March, I’d finally reached the road of acceptance.  I had no power to change anything anyway, so I could choose to be miserable or I could choose to move on.

I chose to move on.

Albert Pujols provided me with some of the greatest memories of my entire life.  It is my decision to hold those memories dear, to never let go, but to also accept the change that is reality and be one with it.  Harboring any ill will towards the man who brought me such joy has zero benefits.  Just like I wish myriad ex-girlfriends the best in their individual lives post-Jeff, I also wish Albert the best.  That being said, when he strikes out or grounds into a double-play, I become human at times and secretly engage in a bit of childish taunting.  But this is not done with a hateful or angry tone.  I am mindful of it. I acknowledge its silliness. I immediately let it go.

AP may not be off to a torrid start when it comes to power numbers, but the homers and RBIs are going to come.  And when they do, I’ll tip my cap just as I would anyone else: while hollerin’ “GO CARDINALS!!!”

Hate me.  I’m cool with it.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

If you were in the A’s bleacher section, and you could only choose one, would it be bacon or beer?

Mark
New Albany, IN

___________________________________

Jeff continuously tells me how engaging the NBA has become.  According to him, it’s not just the quality of the professional game, it’s also the personalities and all the drama surrounding them.  To use a direct quote, “It’s a goddamn soap opera.”

Baseball, on the other hand, is rather tame.  Sure, there are historic villains like Ty Cobb and uplifting stories like Jackie Robinson and Josh Hamilton.  But it’s all kind of “Touched by an Angel” while the NBA is more “The Wire.”

The perfect example of this is Jeff Francoeur and his love affair with the Oakland fans.  Sure, it’s great that Francoeur has made a personal connection with the fans of another team.  But is that really good for baseball?  Wouldn’t it be better if Francoeur had left Oakland after coming up with the team and was greeted by a beer shower while trotting along the warning track?

That kind of rancor just doesn’t exist in baseball today.  Albert Pujols left behind a city that adored him and although St. Louis fans are heart-broken, most of them still respect Albert and remember him fondly.  Johnny Damon not only left the Red Sox, he went to play for their arch-enemy and shaved his beard.  Boston fans were upset but they didn’t hate him with the cold intense hatred that Cleveland has for LeBron James.

Maybe it’s because baseball is played in summer and draws families out to watch games together.  Maybe it’s the stir-craziness of winter and the 60 minute intensity of a basketball game that creates an aura around the game as a whole.  Or maybe baseball just doesn’t have the same type of personalities you find in basketball.  Let’s be honest, how often do you hear about a baseball player choking his coach or punching out a fan?

I don’t see that changing.  Sure, I’d love to say that if I was one of those fans in Oakland, I’d keep the money and throw the baseball back.  The fact is, though, I’d be thrilled to death.  And that’s not just because being an A’s fan is even worse than being a Royals fan.

Somebody needs to spice things up a bit, give people a reason to hate.  And no, I’m not talking about Milton Bradley, preschool-esque drama.  I’m talking pure, LeBron James type anger.  I think Francoeur has a golden opportunity to start it off, too, by taking that relationship he has built with the Oakland fans and totally misusing it.  In fact, I even have the perfect recipe:

I bet no one would choose a caramel onion.

-A

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

The Filibuster

Is the hype to be believed?  Could the Nationals actually contend this year?

Sawyer
Ballston, VA
___________________________________

Sexy superlatives and arduous absolutes, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your 2012 Washington Nationals!

Could they actually contend?  Hmm… does watching a pitcher’s duel strike me with uncontainable bonerjamz?  HELL to the YES, my friend!  There are 159 games left in the season, and the Nats could win ‘em all!

Or not.  Still, this is not your embarrassing Expo leftover Natinal squad of old; rather, this is a team with bona fide pitching, timely bats and a revered sage at the helm!  Do you think Davey Johnson thinks they can contend?  I’d bet my 1986 eight-ball wrapper collection he does.

And why not?  Without Howard and Utley for a good stretch, the Phillies find themselves offensively challenged.  The Braves, still salty from their epic fail of 2011, certainly don’t have all the answers.  I’m not convinced the Marlins are really any better than they were before they decided to blind us with ugly and the Mets are the Mets (though don’t sleep on them either, as a .500 season is not entirely out of the question).

The truth is, the NL East isn’t as predictable as it used to be.  And the addition of another wild card team makes it possible to hope a little longer.

But the number one reason why the Natinals have a legitimate shot at competing for a playoff spot this year is… The ONE.

Okay, wrong ONE.  But believe me, to Stephen Strasburg, there is no spoon.  Also taking the red pill this year are Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, Ross Detwiler and (presumably) John Lannan.  That’s one helluva starting rotation+.

When Bryce Harper eventually finds his way into the rabbit hole, there will be even MORE reason to respect the potential of the Washington Nationals (not to mention a tomfoolery fodder spike for Deadspin).

Would I put big money on the Nats now?  Maybe not.  Would I put money on them to be a cellar dweller?  Absolutely not.  This team could find its identity and they could do it as soon as now.  They could be the ’11 D’backs or the ’08 Rays.

Better yet, they could be the 2012 Nationals. (see what I did there?)

Hate me ‘cuz I love Stephen Strasburg as if he were one of my own, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

The Filibuster

So the Cubs traded their best lefty (Sean Marshall) for Travis Wood and then Travis Wood doesn’t even make the team. Is Theo doing it right?

Gabe
Harvey, IL
___________________________________

Remember when Barack Obama first came into office and the U.S. and world economies were doing their best impressions of 1929?  Well, that’s kind of where Epstein sits right now.  It would be easier to just burn the place down and start over (which is always an option when you’re talking about Chicago) but there’s no way anyone would support that.  So, he’s going to have to make the most of what he has and slowly try to rebuild.

That doesn’t necessarily mean simply accepting the situation, though.  Normally, when you pay big money for a guy or give up a big name in a trade, the expectation is that new guy is going to play and you’ll just have to suffer if he doesn’t quite catch his groove right away.  Think Carl Crawford on the Red Sox.  Think Dontrelle Willis on the Tigers.  Think Barack Obama with TARP.  But leaders don’t always accept that situation.  Sometimes they have to make the tough decisions and break with expectations.  That’s what Obama did with GM and even made the government some money in the process.  It appears like maybe that’s what Epstein is trying to do with the Cubs, too.

Sean Marshall is a good reliever.  According to Epstein, he’s maybe the “most valuable left-handed reliever in all of baseball.”  But what good is having the most valuable left-handed reliever in baseball if your starting pitching is terrible, your defense is atrocious and you can’t score runs?  Epstein realizes the Cubs aren’t going to be a winning ball club this year.  He realizes they probably won’t be a winning ball club next year either.  But he’s setting himself up for success three or four seasons down the line.

Remind you of anyone else?  Bailing out the auto industry wasn’t popular but three years later, after watching the recession crest and slowly subside, we now see hiring going back up and the economy beginning to grow again.  That’s the difference between guys like Epstein and Obama and wannabes like Hendry.  Attempts to implement quick fixes for immediate results more often lead to systemic failure.  Epstein, like the president, has to slowly flush that through, suffering short-term difficulties for long-term success.

So, long story short, yeah, Theo is doing it right.  But that’s not going to stop people from yelling and screaming during the first few painful years.  Marshall is gone and Wood got sent to the minors.  But they have more money to go after other important pieces, they have a solid prospect in the minors who could work his way back and they didn’t try to force someone into a role they simply couldn’t handle at this point.  When you think about it, Theo seems positively presidential.

-A

_ _ _

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

The Filibuster

Simplistic campaigns to hunt down public enemies (like Kony 2012) are all the rage these days.  When will you all be launching Selig 2012?

Brad
Annapolis, MD
___________________________________

It is no secret that the authors of these pages hold no love for the staunch bureaucratic policies and seemingly never-ending reign of King Bud the Nosepicker.  Indeed, we’ve ripped the man’s decisions in every which way and have even gone as far as to say that George W. Bush would make a perfect Commissioner in comparison (no joke here, we really do think Dubya would be perfect for the job).  But to compare Bud Selig to the heartless, maniacal, baby-raping mass murderer Joseph Kony?  Um… that’s a bit much.

But just a bit.

The good news is, people are getting educated on Kony’s crimes.  And they’re doing something about it (unless *this* derails it).  However, when it comes to the tyranny of King Bud, we already know about the bevy of shenanigans.  There’s just nothing we can do about it.

If I may break from the usual ‘ol crotchety me for a moment, I would like to point out that, in my opinion, the overall state of our national pastime is as good now as it’s ever been.  Seriously.  If you turn your head from the silliness that is King Bud’s All-Star Game, and if make yourself forget about that whole Ryan Braun cheating thing, and pretend like the overall muscle bulge of the 90s and early aughts was caused by “supplements” that can easily be purchased at your local GNC, then you might conclude that, indeed, baseball’s vibe is very good right now.

The networks are fighting to get in on the expanded playoffs.  Parity is slowly squeezing its way into all divisions.  And the Pirates still suck!

More than that, people are still paying money to watch Adam Dunn play.  Erin Andrews is still showing up in dugouts.  And Tampa Bay seems to be in the playoff picture every year now, despite the fact that no one in Tampa Bay seems to care.

But most importantly of all, the St. Louis Cardinals are World Champs!

So for now, I can take a couple more years of bassackwards politickin’ from the usurping Milwaukee millionaire.

But I swear, Brad, if he reigns for more than two more years, you, me, Mr. Krause and the entire baseball universe are taking to the streets with Louisville Sluggers and Molotov cocktails (not to be confused with pet names for Kevin Millar).

Hate me.  I don’t care.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

_ _ _

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

The Filibuster

Dear RSBS Linguistics Dept.,

How the hell do you pronounce Mike Stanton’s new name?  Is it “Gee-an-carlo” or “Jon-carlo”?  I’m going to keep pronouncing it “Mike”.

Jonestein
(pronounced “Joan-steen”)
Fort Worth, TX
___________________________________

Being a nation of immigrants means that US phone books are full of many sometimes unusual names.  Some of my favorites include Christian Okoye, the KC Chiefs’ Nigerian Nightmare; Juan Pierre, who can’t seem to decide if he’s French or Spanish; and, of course, Barack Obama.  Unless you’re a modern-day Nativist, like the un-ironically Catholic Newt Gingrich, you realize that this inflow of names, traditions and cultures makes our country a more interesting place.

That makes me wonder how a guy like Stanton got tagged with the name “Mike” in the first place.  He was drafted by the Marlins, a team based in south Florida where there is no shortage of hispanic first or last names, out of southern California where the same holds true.  So how, in either of those environments, does a guy like Stanton get forced into assuming a name he has never used?

I find it even more interesting that I’m answering this question the day after St. Patrick’s Day as the Irish were undoubtedly one of the primary targets of mid-19th Century Nativism in the US.  Part of it was poverty, part of it was religion.  But all of it was xenophobic.  150 years later, not only are people with Irish last names found everywhere in the United States, we also dedicate a day to them each year on March 17th.

True, sometimes this influx of last names from all corners of the earth leads to problems.  For instance, I’m not really sure how Keith Jackson would handle a name like Ndamukong Suh.  But athletes, just like any other American, have the right to use and be called by their real name.  Sure, it might get mispronounced from time to time but I think that if the tables were turned and it was any Tom, Dick or Harry arriving in another country, they’d still rather be called by their own name.  Hell, sometimes it even works out in your favor.  My last name often gets mispronounced as “Cruise,” which leads to getting asked if I’m related to Tom.  I just smile, give a non-committal answer and let them keep pronouncing it however they want.

-A

P.S. I’m pretty sure he’ll respond to either pronunciation.  I’d just avoid using Mike.

_ _ _

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 67 other followers