Results tagged ‘ Hall of Fame ’

Sometimes in July

It happens on a regular basis, this gathering of young talent and grizzled veterans. The two sides (with input from the people of course because, after all, this is America) pull the brightest stars from their respective firmaments, bring them together and then allow them duke it out. And it seems like each time the result plays an increasingly ambiguous role in what eventually happens in November. Yep, that’s what the nominating conventions are all about.

Political_convention.jpgOh, I’m sorry. Did you think I was talking about the All-Star game?

All Star Weekend 7.12.2009 010.jpgIt’s no coincidence that baseball and politics have so much in common. The two are intertwined in American history. Even now, Hall of Famer and former Detroit Tiger Jim Bunning terrorizes opponents from his seat in the US Senate just like he used to do from his spot on the mound.

And as I was watching the Minor League All-Star game the other day, I was reminded again of how fleeting fame can be to both baseball players and politicians. Each and every one is fighting for a chance to reach the big time, to really stand out. But it’s hard to know who has what it takes.

A year ago there was talk of Mark Sanford as a possible McCain running mate and it was almost a foregone conclusion that he would be in the thick of things when the next election cycle began. Now, he’s an also-ran, an afterthought, a cautionary tale. A teary-eyed Alex Rodriguez but with no more comeback.

Or take Sarah Palin, the politician’s equivalent of Sammy Sosa. Both had talent but made it as far as they did for all the wrong reasons. Now they’re little more than whipping boys, examples of all that’s wrong with a broken system.

However, it’s better to focus on the positives at this time of year, on people like Brandon Inge and Tim Wakefield who finally got a little respect even if things didn’t play out exactly the way they might have hoped. Because, for all the ridiculousness associated with the All-Star game or with political conventions, they really are a good show and you aren’t going to find anything like ‘em except in the good ol’ US of A.

Welcome back from the All-Star break!

-A

Life in the Afternoon

Wrigley Field.jpgUnlike Ernest Hemingway’s poignant parlay into the world of non-fiction, mine hath not the slightest utterance of death today… unless, of course, you consider the thousands of Cub fans who felt stabbed through the heart after their sloppy loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

For today was a celebration, not only for the Redbirds’ ultimate triumph, but also for good company.  Indeed, dear readers, I have friends who don the Cubby blue, like one soon-to-be-wed Adam Marshall — talented author of Our Man In Los Angeles — who was crazy enough to arrange for 22 Cub fans and one Cardinal fan (me!) to stake our claim amongst the bleacher bums at Wrigley Field on what may have been the most beautiful day of the year.

Ozzie Smith Ryne Sandberg.jpgMy first stop was to pay homage to the wondrous artwork to the right, found at the Addison Red Line stop, depicting heroic Hall of Fame icons Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith in a too-close-to-call play at second base.  I scrounged through the melee of already drunk Cub fans and snapped this amateur photo, hoping it would bring me good luck.

It did.

Dear readers, I have been going to Major League Baseball games my entire life and I have never, ever caught one ball, be it foul, fair, or B.P.  Never. 

Once inside the cathedral dump also known as Wrigley Field, I went straight for the beer man, bought myself a cold one and swarmed through the slew of drunkards to find an open seat.  Entering to an onslaught of “F*** your mother”, “Go back to St. Louis”, and “Cardinals su<k”, I did my very best to make sure my Bud Light did not spilleth over.  While perfecting this baseball ballet, I noticed the crowd around me take to a chorus of oohs and ahhs, duck and spread.  I looked up and there it was: a ball coming straight towards me at a rifling speed.  With no time to react, I simply stuck my chest out, felt a thump, looked down, and in my left hand was a baseball!

After 30 years, folks,  I finally caught one.

A Colby Rasmus batting practice homerun at Wrigley.

And my beer did not spill one drop.

Colby Rasmus Homerun.jpgFrom there I knew it was going to be a good game.

And it was, if you consider sloppy defense good.  In fact, Cardinals left fielder Chris Duncan put on a clinic of how not to play the position.  Then again, so did Alfonso Soriano.  And in the end, Duncan’s bat powered the Redbirds to a win.

Of course, no Cub game would be complete without crying; and Milton Bradley came on late with the bases loaded, looked at six straight pitches without swinging the bat, then whined like the spoiled brat child he is before getting tossed.

Cards win.  Cubs lose.  I live.

Oh, and those crazy bleacher bums oft known to take an afternoon dip down the urinal trough?  They were out in full force.  There were a few tiffs and tussles, some skiffs and struggles.  They were loud.  They were obnoxious.  They were obscene.  Business as usual… like this clever diva who scribbled out some nonsense on a piece of cardboard and passed it off as truth:

Cards Suck Nuts.jpg(If you look closely, you’ll see it says: “Cardinals su<k nuts”)

Apparently she was too intoxicated to realize that the Cardinals won the game… or the fact that Wrigley Field’s peanuts are quite savory and that any Redbird would be a fool to not at least try them… just once.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Racism’s Rainbow

ty_cobb.jpgTy Cobb could not play baseball today. Oh, maybe he had the skills and the guts to succeed but you wouldn’t find him in the majors. There’s one simple reason for this. Bigtime sports depend on marketing and it’s really hard to market a racist ^sshole. Just look at John Rocker. Say the wrong thing to the wrong person and soon enough you’re signing baseball cards at convention centers instead of trotting in from the bullpen.

Now, it hasn’t always been this way and the fact that a guy like Ty Cobb is in the Hall of Fame shows that sometimes those lesser angels of our nature don’t disqualify you from everything in life. But in the last few years, as baseball and other sports have become more dependent on the revenue generated by the family friendly aspects of the game, it has become rarer and rarer to see someone go off and really call it like they see it. That’s why I want to remind us all of some of the more glaring instances in a segment I like to call: Holy Sh!t! Did he really just say that?

Gary Sheffield:
sheffield.jpgI begin with my hometown Tigers and an homage to our recently departed designated hitter. Now, Sheff has been a fount of inspired insanity over the years and everyone knows about his comments regarding Latino players. He also famously said that Derek Jeter wasn’t “All the way black.” But the genius of Sheff can only truly be summed up in his response to a question about fathering two children before he was old enough to vote: “That was part of my plan. I didn’t want to be the typical athlete who’s single all his career.” Sheff shows that racism comes in a rainbow of colors.

John Rocker:
Rocker_Alicia.jpgQuite possibly the biggest homophobe and xenophobe to emerge from baseball since Ty Cobb, Rocker once remarked, “The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the
foreigners … You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not
hear anybody speaking English
.”
Even his annual apologies provided nonstop fun. Only Rocker could manage to understate the severity of a situation by starting out “My comments concerning persons afflicted with AIDS as
well as various minority groups have left people wondering if I am a
racist.” However, he also manages to retain the power to confound his critics and proved it once again by taking up with the beautiful Alicia. You stay classy, John Rocker!

Norm MacDonald:
However, nothing quite tops this video of Norm Coleman hosting the Espy’s a decade ago. Do yourself a favor. Even if you can’t quite sit through the entire eight and a half minutes, fast forward to the 7:53 minute mark and prepare to be amazed by the absolute sadistic ruthlessness with which he builds up Charles Woodson and then cuts him off at the ankles. It ain’t pretty but it gets him a spot on RSBS:

Happy Saturday!

-A

What In the Ahmadinejad Is Wrong With Allen Krause?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.jpg
Sometimes I can’t help but claw my face off and scream: Is this really happening!?!?!

Apparently, it is.

My errant, crass, flagitious friend and colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, channeled his inner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and once again said something he shouldn’t have by blaspheming the fairest of all sideline sports reporters in Erin Andrews.  All of Ms. Andrews’ gangly gawkers (me included) are hereby pissed off.  And we are tired of Allen’s unbending defiance towards she and all her… er… beauty.

It must stop.

For the same reason I can’t understand why Tyler Perry is allowed to make movies, I cannot even begin to understand how Mr. Krause is able to continually force his imprudent worldview upon the dear readers of RSBS.  Sure, Erin Andrews’ sister, Kendra, is an attractive lady.  But she ain’t no Erin:

erin andrews.jpgkendra_andrews.jpg
Unless I’m consistently finding myself in the mood for beyond fictitious hair colors and high school senior-year picture poses, I’ll take Erin any day of the week.

And let’s not forget what really makes Erin tops among the Andrews sisters: she knows baseball.  Not only does she know it, she reports it, and she looks smokin’ hot doing it.  Any time a woman can distract my ogling eyes with a learned baseball vernacular which includes the tenets of situational hitting, bullpen side-sessions and last minute lineup changes, she automatically jumps to the top of any and all lists.

So until I see Kendra Andrews get felt up by Bruce Pearl or hit on by Joba Chamberlain, I’m sticking with the better half.

To stay on the subject of my myriad intangible crushes, I can’t help but wish there was some other connection between baseball and American Idol other than my inexplicable home-wrecking obsession with them both.

Say hello to Idol‘s newest doll-face, er… I mean, Idol‘s newest judge:

kara dioguardi.jpg
This might be a good time to push aside my man-crush for Albert Pujols and get on board the Kara DioGuardi train.  You might know her for her hit songs sung by other women whom I am sickly attracted to like Carrie Underwood and Christina Aguilera as well as Mr. Krause’s cherished boy-toy hero: David Archuleta.

In any case, I’ll take a sleeper car.

rickey henderson baseball card.jpgAnd for fear that you may have missed it, folks, last night on MLB Network’s Hot Stove show, Victor Rojas and Harold Reynolds had a sit-down discussion with the great Rickey Henderson in which Rickey said: “…my mom is the reason I’m goin’ to Coopertown.”

That’s right. 

Coopertown.

I hope Rickey still has his legs ‘cuz it’s a long way from Tennessee to New York.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

I Wonder if Their Mom is Julie

kendra_andrews.jpg

We have already learned much in the first 13 days of 2009. We know who our new representatives to the baseball Hall of Fame will be, even if the lack of transparency and intelligence associated with the voting process make the Electoral College seem positively inspired by comparison. We also know that Alan Trammell will not be entering the hall anytime soon and with that knowledge broke many a young man’s heart. Well, at least mine.

But, there is good news, too. Especially for people like my friend Jeff who are unnaturally taken with ESPN’s sideline reporter, Erin Andrews. It appears that Ms. Andrews was not the only temptress to spring forth from her mother’s womb because she also has a younger (and I might add, much more attractive) sister, Kendra.

That’s right, it now appears that the true battle to be waged by Mr. Lung and myself this season is over the relative merits of the Andrews sisters, not why the AL Central is superior to the NL Central. Obviously there are similarities. For instance the AL, like Kendra, is younger and vastly superior to its elder and more venerable sibling (last season’s World Series win by the Phillies not withstanding). However, this argument will not be settled overnight and we look forward to further exploiting the reporting prowess of Deadspin and Busted Coverage to bring you more of this developing debate.

-A

Oh, Rickey, He’s So Fine

rickey henderson.JPGThe only disappointing thing about Rickey Henderson being admitted to the Hall of Fame is the fact he’ll be going in alongside long-time Red Sox fan favorite Jim Rice.  Don’t get me wrong, dear readers.  I have absolutely nothing against Jim Rice, as a person or as a player; in fact, I would even say he deserves to be included in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.

Thing is: I feel sorry for him and the subsequent upstaging he’ll be forced to endure come July.  I mean, Rickey Henderson is the “greatest of all-time”. 

Okay, well, maybe he meant he was the greatest base-stealer of all-time.  In any case, I think we all know how much swagger Henderson brings to any field, locker room, podium.  The man has always been the cynosure of self-confidence, the quintessential self-promoter, the Barack Obama of baseball perhaps.

And that’s why I’m already salivating at the unscripted heroics of his forthcoming acceptance speech this summer.

Verily, I think we all have our favorite Rickey Henderson story.  Whether it’s his persistent third person self-references, sliding into home plate after hitting a homerun or his penchant for talking to himself in the most supportive of ways like “Don’t worry, Rickey.  You’re still the best”, I think we can all agree that his undying, unwavering, unparalleled belief in all-things Rickey Henderson made him the greatest lead-off hitter of all-time and an icon for baseball fans like myself.

I, too, have had the luxury of owning personal Rickey Henderson memories — memories that I will always hold dear to my heart.  Henderson’s career started the same year my life did and I can’t ever remember not being mesmerized by his speed, his bat, his patience at the plate.  For someone so fast, I never could get over how many pitches he was able to take in order to wear a pitcher down early.  And though I had no affiliation to the teams with which Henderson played, I remember coveting his baseball cards and having the sudden need to check box scores of A’s (and later Yankees) games to see how many bases he’d stolen, how many homeruns he’d hit.

So when I finally had the chance to see Rickey Henderson play in person during the 2003 season while living in Los Angeles, I told my buddy before the home half of the first: “Wouldn’t it be something if Rickey led off with a homerun?”

And by golly he did it.

Watching him jog around the bases brought an indescribable chill up my spine and a few man-tears to my eye.

I said a few.  Gimme a break.  I love this friggin’ game.

But that wasn’t the end of my personal Henderson drama.  Before a 2007 Saturday afternoon game at Wrigley pitting the Mets against the Cubs, I made it out to the left field wall for batting practice and was pleasantly surprised to see none other than Rickey himself shagging fly balls.

“Hey, Rickey, when ya gonna make another comeback?” I yelled from about 20 feet away.

“Hey, Rickey, you’re the greatest of all-time!”

“Hey, Rickey, you’re a first ballot Hall of Famer!”

After ten minutes of relentless hollers, Rickey finally acknowledged my existence with a simple yet earnestly eloquent: “Rickey fine!”

Indeed, Rickey fine.

So, so fine.

So don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Ron Santo’s Hall of Fame Caveat Has Helmet-Hair

ron santo rod blagojevich.jpg

Perhaps the Veterans Committee knows something we don’t…

This is Illinois.  This is Chicago, Illinois.

And in the Second City anything is possible.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Ron Santo Crybaby Camp Overshadows An Otherwise Respectable Career

chicago aerial.jpgAs a Chicagoan, I am expected to accept and endure the following three basic tenets of Chicago life, otherwise known as the Three C’s:

1.  Crappy weather

2.  Corrupt politicians

3.  Crybaby Cub fans

Because I love this fair second city and all the headaches associated with its underground, battled, scar-bearing character, I generally acquiesce and forego my impetus to break bones and punch walls in reaction to the ceaseless bombardment and annoying abundance of those Three C’s

But on a day like today, when it’s 30-some degrees outside with a steady, sloppy rain pouring down… when our dear Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich is arrested at his Northside home on federal corruption charges… when the Ron Santo camp is hogging headline space by going through its annual crybaby routine… when all three of these things converge on the same day in one unforgiving onslaught of discomfort, I am left exhausted, irked and very, very thankful that I am anti-gun.

It’s just too much for one man to take.

The weather, yeah.  Like an unwanted pregnancy, it happens.  We deal with it.

rod blagojevich.jpgBlagojevich, yeah.  I think we all knew he was a crook.  I met him at the 95th Street/Dan Ryan Expressway CTA station on election day 2006.  He smiled, shook my hand, patted me on the shoulder.  Five minutes later, as I was left admiring the indescribable solidity of his hair, I realized my wallet was gone.

But when it comes to the Hall of Fame hopes of one Ron Santo, I have absolutely had enough.  Enough!

I mean, when a woman says “no”, she means “no”, stupid.  If you ignore that you’re a rapist.

ron santo.jpgLikewise, when the Hall of Fame, whether it be the BBWAA, the Veterans Committee or the Baseball Gods themselves say “no” for twenty-five years, they mean “NO!!!!!… and stop bugging us.”  Because just like the yearly lament of “this is our year”, the we-were-robbed cries for Ron Santo routine is getting extremely old and intensely aggravating. 

Rick Morrissey, of the now bankrupt Chicago Tribune, cried out to his drones of readers, “What don’t Hall voters see in Santo?”

They don’t see a Hall of Famer, that’s what, Rick.  If doing the same thing over and over and over again while expecting different results is insanity then the crybaby Santo camp is absolutely DERANGED!

Get over it.

Ron Santo was a great baseball player.  He wasn’t one of the greatest of all time but he was better than average, better than good, better than what Cub fans have turned him into over the last several years: a whiny, sore losing, crybaby.  It’s not Ron’s fault.  Leave him alone.  He’s on your side.  Quit making him look like the fat kid in gym class that no one wants on his team.

You have a stronger case with Andre Dawson so go cry about that for a few decades, will ya?  By then Blagojevich might be ready to enter a work-release program cleaning up the beaches that will surround the then island of Chicago (it’s a polar ice cap melting thing).

So yeah, go ahead.  Hate me.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Warm and a Bit Too Fuzzy (or How to Overuse Italics)

achtung.jpgAchtung!  For my esteemed yet often misguided colleague, Mr. Allen Krause has finally done what no one ever thought possible: he emptied his soul of memories sweet and dear to his heart, thus proving that indeed, he does obtain some semblance of emotion, a hint – albeit faint — of feeling.

But just who knew his heart was set on Alan Trammell?

Well, actually, I did… but that’s only because I’ve been listening to Mr. Krause’s Ode-to-Trammell for over eleven years now.  Trammell this and Trammell that… Trammell and Whitaker and Lemon and Gibson and Parrish and Trammell and Trammell and TRAMMELL!

Alright.  I get it.  We get it.  Mr. Krause is in love with Alan Trammell

Fine.  There’s nothing wrong with that, Al.  And I especially applaud you for realizing that despite your ongoing man-crush and ever-growing infatuation with all things #3, that you are still able to logically conclude that Trammell has no business in the Hall of Fame.  Because he doesn’t.  If you really want to argue the HOF case of a deserving ex-Detroit Tiger, come to your senses and rally behind the Jack Morris train. (*for more information on the blasphemous errors of Mr. Krause’s ways regarding HOF worthy Tigers, click *here*)

What I (and most probably all RSBS readers) can’t seem to understand is why, if Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker remain so dear to thy heart, Mr. Krause, could you not find a better picture of this treasured double-play combo than this:

trammell and whitaker.jpgIt’s 2008, Al, and with the advent of the interweb, CNN’s ability to “beam” people “up” on live television and the fact that a black man will be the president of US America, one would think you’d be able to find at least one decent picture of your childhood sweethearts.

The one you provided looks awfully similar to this anomaly of reality:

bigfoot.jpgOr, this:

ufo.jpgEither way, they’re all too fuzzy… too fuzzy to be considered anything but fantasy.

And you’re right, Al, the possibility of Trammell ever donning his face on a Cooperstown plaque is about as possible as Bigfoot piloting a UFO over Detroit during a World Series championship parade.

It just ain’t gonna happen.

So go ahead.  Do what you do.  Hate me.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

This is not about Rickey Henderson

trammell and whitaker.jpgYou know, I could sit here and cry about how my favorite player from my childhood is on the Hall of Fame ballot but won’t make it in just like my friend Mr. Lung. And the thing is, I really could. I mean, not only did Alan Trammell play for one of the best Tigers’ teams ever back in ’84, he also has the same first name as me(!), even if he does spell it incorrectly. But, it’s just not in me.

It really all comes down to what Mark at MLBlogs had to say, “These plaques go next to those of
Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Walter Johnson, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial.” As much as I loved watching Trammell at shortstop, turning those sweet double plays with Lou Whitaker and as great as his ’83 and ’84 seasons were, I can’t really say that he belongs next to those names.

Now, I’ll admit that it’s a little more difficult to say the same thing about McGwire. Even if he is a juiced up steroid junkie who probably can’t touch his hands together over his head, he was exciting to watch. More than that, McGwire rewrote the record books until Barry Bonds came along and really started flexing his PED-built muscles. And like Mr. Lung says, there are definitely some incorrigible characters in the Hall.

However, the one thing you don’t see in the Hall are cheaters. Shoeless Joe Jackson has the third highest career batting average in the majors but you won’t see his name in Cooperstown. Same goes for Pete Rose even if it is the result of something that didn’t happen on the field. If you’re going to bar these guys and their amazing records, I don’t have a problem with keeping Mr. McGwire out, too.

bud selig ear.jpgThis whole debate is ridiculous, though. We all know that Rose should be in the Hall and, even if he was a cheat, there’s no dismissing McGwire’s ability and contribution to the game of baseball. In the end, it’s just sad that a no-talent ^ss-clown like Michael Bolton, uh, I mean Bud Selig should be able to keep people from even coming up for a vote. Let Rose on the list and then let the sportswriters decide if he merits entry. Same goes for Bonds when he becomes eligible. The Hall of Fame does not exist to serve the whims of the Commissioner. It’s there so that fans can celebrate the greatest players to ever step on a baseball diamond. That means you, Rose. You too, McGwire. And what the hell, get on in there, Bonds.

-A

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