Results tagged ‘ Hot Stove ’

The HOT Hot Stove

Right now, dear readers, you are probably experiencing the same agonizing symptoms of baseball withdrawal that Al and I are.  We are here to remind you that we know: it hurts.  It will continue to hurt… until pitchers and catchers report.  If your symptoms gain in severity, do not hesitate to contact your primary caretaker (for those of you who can afford health care, that’d be your doctor; for those of you who cannot, try calling your congressman.  I’m sure that will work).

Football and hockey can only carry us so far (not very, especially if you’re a jaded Bears fan, or in Mr. Krause’s case: a lowly win-deprived Lions fan), so we are left to rely on the offseason baseball hot stove for our daily fixins.

We like our hot stove like we like our coffee: hot.

And INTENSE:

(Mr. Levin is doing just fine.  His skin graph surgeries were successful — well, most of them anyway.)

Hate me ‘cuz I tricked you into processing that painful imagery, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Literalism Always Trumps Idealism

jeff_allen_nats_pose.JPGIndeed, it is no secret that whilst in our bogarting college days, I brought my dubious and oft erratic colleague, Mr. Krause, up on a live stage in front of hundreds of people with the promise of providing wholesome entertainment only to publicly embarrass him by tying him down and shaving his overgrown forest of an otherwise pasty white chest.

Something tells me he hasn’t gotten over the humiliation.

Which explains his hurtful yet accurate tirade ridiculing the Julio Lugo/Chris Duncan exchange from earlier this week. 

But let me step away from the GOP-like mudslinging smackdowns and ask this simple question: Can we not just call this trade what it is?  Literally? 

It’s crap for crap.

And no, I ain’t happy about it.

But I have found that in the darkest of hours, the most tumultuous of times, the most republican of regimes, that sniffing through all the sugar-coating just to figure out what is really going on often brings out the heartiest of laughs. 

Don’t believe me?

Watch this:

Now if that doesn’t make you want to relive 1983 — and laugh all the way — then I don’t know what will.

I do know that giving up a top prospect (Brett Wallace) and some minor leaguers for the player formerly known as Matt Holliday (now just a shell of his former slugging self) is something that will keep the smiles off my face and torment my sleep patterns.  Until I see some serious power surge protection for Albert Pujols from our new unsignable Scott Boras client, I am not going to budge from my disgusted stance.  Ah, the pain… I cannot help but remember that Dan Haren and Kiko Calero trade for Mark Mulder a few years back.  But hey, if this motivates Tony LaRussa to stay on with the Cardinals, then I suppose it is more than worth it… that and as long as Jesus continues to hate the Cubs.

Happy Friday!  And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*And a special RSBS cap tip to St. Louis boy, Mark Buehrle, for not only achieving perfection, but for providing me with uber-stimulation while I should have been working.

H.R. & HRs: We Can Do Better

stop hand.jpgWhen Joe Torre, one of the untouchable paragons of class, is getting slammed for allegedly revealing all the Evil Empire‘s dirty secrets in a book that no one has had the chance to even read yet, I think it’s a pretty clear sign that we’ve run out of things to talk about this off-season.  Manny being Manny being unsigned is now as interesting a story as Bea Arthur is sexy.  The Varitek saga in Boston is teetering on the pathetic.  And when the Rangers look to be the best bet for unreliable dark horse Ben Sheets, does anyone really care anymore?

Zzzzzzzzzzz

How about a new MLB Network drinking game?  It may not be that ramshackle of japery that we created back during the post-season/presidential debate, but it sure will sauce your inhibitions quicker than Rush Limbaugh will make you want to commit suicide.

It’s simple.  Tune in to the Hot Stove Show and anytime Harold Reynolds leads the panel in a symphony of phrases uncomfortably coated by the word “guy”, take a drink.  You’ll be hammered ten minutes in to the program. 

Believe me. 

harold reynolds.jpgLook, I have nothing personal against Harold Reynolds and his self-serving ramblings.  He seems like a genuinely nice man and most of the time I actually get something out of his demonstrations on the diamond; but I sometimes feel dumb listening to his emphatic, annoyingly frequent use of the word “guy”.  Let me paraphrase a sample, dear reader — a hypothetical spew based on several weeks of actually listening to the man:

A guy like Manny… Manny Ramirez is a guy who just doesn’t change a team, he changes a division.  Guys see a guy like Manny in the clubhouse and then guys are suddenly seeing changes.  He’s a guy who has the ability to go out there and be that guy that all the other guys are honing in on — a guy who can beat you every time he takes the field.  And guys on the other side, guys on your side, those guys see that too.  Makes them want to go out there and be more competitive guys, guys that get things done.  You see guys change, not just guys on the team, but guys throughout the division.

I wish I were exaggerating.

H.R.’s inability to find a synonym for “guy” probably wouldn’t bother me so much if he didn’t subliminally infect the rest of the cast with his lecherous verbal disease.  Broadcasting newbies Barry Larkin and Al Leiter have picked up on it, and the ensuing cacophony is near deafening.

But, I keep watching… ‘cuz I love the MLB Network.  I can’t stop watching it.  So I might have a problem.

As much as I love it, there is one block of MLB Network programing that baffles me like a Spaceman eephus pitch.

ryan howard homerun derby trophy.jpgWhoever thought it would be a good idea to rerun old homerun derbies during a prime-time slot deserves to have John Kruk sit on his face during the two hours they’re being aired.  The homerun derby?  Really?  I’m supposed to get excited about watching a bunch of superstars hit lollygaggin’ Jamie Moyer fastballs from two, three, four years ago while Chris Berman entertains himself ad nauseum with his cutesy cleverness?  I didn’t care about the homerun derby the first time; why would I care now?

And even if you do enjoy the homerun derby (when it actually happens each July), do you really get excited about watching it again?  Save Josh Hamilton’s gargantuan effort of 2008 — a contest which he ultimately lost — is there really anything titillating in any homerun derby that makes you say: “Yeah!  Can’t wait to put aside two hours to watch that again!”

MLB Productions has done a fine job of producing edgy, dramatic, quality programs that explore the deep history and colorful characters of the game.  I haven’t been disappointed with one of their productions yet.  So I am both baffled and bored by the network’s decision to rerun past derbies instead of wowing us with original content.  Seems like they’re missing a big opportunity there.

The good news is: if I play the H.R. drinking game, I won’t be conscious enough to watch the derby reruns anyway.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy   

What Joe Carter Taught My Dad About His Son

joe carter.jpgIf you called me an insane, obsessed, socially maladjusted freak in regards to my passion for the game of baseball, you would be absolutely correct.  Try as I might to cover up the idiosyncratic ticks that put me at the top of the weird charts, there really is no denying my beyond reasonable quirkiness.  In fact, baseball has long affected my dating life, my filial responsibilities, my job.

So you can imagine the worry and fear experienced by my dearest friends and loved ones when the MLB Network officially launched earlier this year.  It has been alluded to that since the network aired, getting in contact with me has been harder than taking Sarah Palin seriously.  This I cannot deny.

Besides getting the inside scoop on all things off-season baseball from the Hot Stove Show, shedding man-tears watching Mookie’s grounder trickle between Buckner’s legs and vehemently arguing/defending the selections of Prime 9, I have also been forced to evaluate the roots of my undying passion for our national pastime and why it means so much to me.

Which takes me back to the beginning…

baby jeff lung mike lung.jpgUnlike many young boys, my father had very little to do with my interest in baseball.  As great a man as he was (still is), he always had a calm reserve — an indifferent nature towards the game.  Sure, he was a fan of sorts; but he wasn’t nuts about it in any way.  His sister was.  Yes, it’s all her fault.  My dear Aunt Alice and her husband, Uncle Iggy, were absolutely wild about baseball and they molded me into a young, opinionated, domineering superfan at an early age.

Indeed, no two people had a greater effect on my psycho-following of the St. Louis Cardinals.  They ate, slept and breathed Cardinals baseball (still do); their fiery enthusiasm infected me before I could even walk.  Upon reflection, my earliest baseball memory is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s front page color photo of bedlam at Busch after the 1982 World Series.  Emulating Jack Clark’s short swing and despising Don Denkinger came soon after.  With the help of my aunt and uncle, it wasn’t long before I was memorizing the starting lineup of the ’85 club and dreaming of being Ozzie Smith. 

My father took a backseat to this unruly creation of a Redbird child.  While supportive of my decision to “go crazy, folks, go crazy” while reenacting Ozzie’s fist pump around the bases, it was clear that Dad didn’t quite understand what all the fuss was about.  Despite the quizzical looks he gave when I argued to stay home and watch the game rather than go to the video arcade, he accepted the fact that his son was some kind of weirdo.

As soon as I could operate the VCR, I was recording any and every baseball game on television.  During the long the winter months I watched those games with the same intensity with which I watched them the first time.  Then I’d watch them again.  And again and again.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for jeff lung mike lung.jpg“What are you doing, Jeff?” my father would say.

Shh.  It’s Tewksbury versus Sutcliffe, Dad.  Pena’s gonna throw Walton out at second. Wait and see.”

“But you’ve seen this game already.”

“I haven’t seen all of it.  There’s too much going on all at once.  I’m watching just Pena this time.  Just Pena.  Watch.”

And he would… he would placate my desire… because he saw how important it was to me.

It was very important to me.

My parents were divorced.  It got ugly at times.  I lived with my dad, separated from my sister, who lived with my mom a hundred miles away.  While my childhood spun around in chaotic circles of arguments, misunderstandings and fear, the melodic pace and harmonic rhythm of baseball calmed me like no drug ever could: the unique sound of Tom Brunansky’s bat, a whipping line-drive snagged by Pendleton at third, a Ken Daley strikeout.  No matter what the final score, baseball, with its disregard for time and its indifferent ability to create heroes and villains and bystanders, became the one constant in my life.

It kept me sane.

So it was October, 1993, and I found myself in a certain state of panic.  I was a selfish 14 year old boy who couldn’t imagine missing Game 6 of the ’93 Series and I wasn’t about to be quiet about it.  In Tulsa, Oklahoma at the time to cheer on my dad (a marathon runner) in the 15k Tulsa Run, my complaining escalated — eventually becoming more annoying than persuading.  The race was long over, but we were not anywhere near a television; the game had started and the anticipation was killing me.

“Dad, we have to go watch the game!” I whined.

“Okay, we will.”

“No, now! We’ve already missed the first inning!”

“We will.  We’ll go in a little bit.  It’s just the Blue Jays and Phillies anyway –

“Just the Blue Jays and — Dad, it’s important!  We have to go!”

Several shrills of suffering and an hour or so later we were finally in the comforts of a relative’s home, watching the game.

My dad rested his tired legs and read the newspaper while I glued myself to the t.v. set, still jittery, shaken, upset from missing the first five innings of play.  It was 5-1 Blue Jays and Dad uttered: “See, it’s gonna be a blowout anyway, Jeff.”

I grit my teeth.

And when the Phillies went on a tear in the seventh inning, scoring five runs to take a 6-5 lead, I looked back at him and said, “This is why you can never turn off a game, Dad.  Anything is possible.”

Dad managed but a glance away from his paper.

The ninth inning rolled around.  I shook with nerves at the suspenseful drama, mystique, myriad possibilities.  Dad was unmoved.  “Game’s over, Jeff.  Mitch Williams is coming in.” 

“You never know, Dad.  You never know.  You have to watch.  Just watch.”

Williams walked Rickey Henderson.

“Just watch, Dad.  Please.”

Fed up with my whining, he reluctantly put his paper down just in time to see Devon White fly out. 

Paul Molitor singl
ed.

Joe Carter dug in. 

I heard the rustling of Dad’s newspaper again, but before he could get into the reading position I shot him a glare so vicious, so maniacal, so threatening that he had no choice but to put it back down and focus on the game… just in time to see this:

http://xml.truveo.com/eb/i/168978778/a/5f62953ab8dba73576711df5b5a4d647/p/1

Unaffiliated with the Blue Jays, unaffiliated with the Phillies, but fully affiliated with the wondrous game of baseball, I shot to my feet and screamed like a little girl.  My whole being gushed with excitement, with incredulity, with a burning sensation never before felt as Carter jumped and ran the bases.

I looked at my dad, his jaw on the floor, eyes lit up like the Skydome fireworks.

“Did you see that, Dad!?!  Did you see that!?!”

“I… I saw it.  I don’t believe it but I… I saw it.”

“Don’t you see, Dad?  Anything’s possible.”

“I guess you’re right.  Anything is possible.”

If you can dream it, it can happen.

That’s the lesson baseball taught me, the lesson Joe Carter taught my dad, the lesson that comes from having a father who believes in you…

I love you, Dad.  And don’t forget… you can’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.  You said it yourself on October 23, 1993.

Peace,

Jeffy

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

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