Results tagged ‘ Jeff ’

The Filibuster

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

Jack
Bridgeview, IL
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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

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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

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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 House that Ron Paul Built

There aren’t a whole lot of things that Mr. Lung and I agree on.  Or rather, we generally agree on the big picture things (capitalism is generally preferable to communism) while disagreeing on the smaller things (no, the dead ball era was not a superior form of baseball).  However, we usually agree that Cubs fans are the Midwest’s intellectual neanderthals.

Turns out we might have been just slightly off on that.  Or maybe “Cubs Fan 77″ is simply the exception that proves the rule.  Either way, Mr. 77 pretty much calls it exactly the way I see it.

Call me crazy but there’s a part of me that kind of wants to see Mr. Paul’s house.  I’m pretty sure it would like something like this:

-A

RSBS Turns Four!

Four years ago today, I wrote the first post in RSBS history.  It was terrifyingly awful.  What terrifies me even more is that at that time in 2008, I had incredibly high hopes for the Tigers’ upcoming season based on some high-profile acquisitions they had made.  Four years later, I’m still haunted by that 2008 season and experiencing no small amount of deja vu (all over again).

If there’s one thing that gives me hope, though, it’s the fact that sometimes triumph is born from the ashes of despair and failure.  That first post was awful but the throw-away line at the end ended up becoming Mr. Lung’s regular sign-off.  And even though Dontrelle Willis didn’t work out for the Tigers, Miguel Cabrera has been a godsend.  Paired with Prince Fielder, I can’t say as though there has been a more feared power duo in the AL since the days of the Bash Brothers.

Sometimes you have to let go of the past and just realize that it’s over.  So, with that in mind, happy fourth birthday Mr. Lung.  And a special thank you from both of us to the interns for their years of unpaid but essential work.  But most of all, thank you to our loyal readers who keep coming back, in spite of RSBS‘ inauspicious beginnings.  Hopefully in 366 days we’ll be blowing out another candle together.

-A

Mr. Lung, Superstar

I’m a day early but these things are rarely exact.  No one really knows for sure if Jesus was born 2,012 years ago, for instance.  But I can tell you for sure that Jeff was born 33 years ago as of tomorrow.  I just hope that Jeff doesn’t decide to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.  See, after disappearing for 30 years between his birth and the start of his ministry, Jesus managed to piss off the entire Roman Empire and the Jewish elite in three short years and get himself killed.

I don’t want to say the allusion is exact but for the past three years Jeff has been pissing off the MLB empire and the baseball elite (including getting kicked off Barry Zito’s Twitter feed).  So far there have been no threats against Jeff’s life but MLB is sneaky like that.

It’s a day early but happy birthday Mr. Lung.  And please, beware of crowds bearing palm fronds.  You know what happens a week later.

-A

Before There Was RSBS, There Was Free Pudding

That’s right.  In a galaxy far, far away… before the interns, before the Digests, before I was “always right”, there was…

FREE PUDDING.

The above picture is one of the remaining relics from that year 2000 sketch production extraordinaire staged at Kalamazoo College that brought its fans FUN, LAUGHS and FREE PUDDING.  (Not kidding, we actually served free pudding to all patrons.)

Of course, dear readers galore know what eventually became of my persnickety and oft lugubrious colleague, Mr. Krause and I.  Y’know, how we blew up the internets with our unique take on the baseball-politico world and all.  But what of that crouching fella in the middle there?

That’s Jordan Klepper.

And here is Mr. Klepper, recently, with the lovely Laura Grey.

STILL KICKIN’ COMEDY TAIL!

Mr. Klepper grew up a huge Ryne Sandberg fan, and while living in The Chi, he wore his Cubs hat proudly.  But then he moved to New York, and after a couple of Mets games we took in last summer, I couldn’t help but notice him salivating all over  R.A. Dickey.

Happy Saturday!

PS. The dude with the do-rag is Nick. I have no idea where or what he is doing in the world today but I’m sure he’s rockin’ it ‘cuz he was super cool back in school.

PPS. Yes.  Mr. Krause is doing “the double handed shocker”.

Happy New Year…or Die Hard

If, like Jeff, you spent your Christmas like this:

Hopefully this will help you forget the indignity as you start your 2012:

Happy New Year…or Die Hard!!

-A

Happy Christmas, Merry New Year and All That Jazz!


From the bottom of our baseball-politico lovin’ hearts, we at RSBS would like to wish you all a very happy holiday season!  As is tradition here, Mr. Krause, Mr. Mahmud and I will be taking a week off to reflect on the year, spend time with our respective families and enjoy a nice Christmas ale (or ten).

We’ll be back to business as usual on Jan. 1st.

Until then, be merry and be safe!

Peace,

Jeff

RSBS’ Biggest Fan!

Congratulations to Kristen from This Is A Very Simple Game (a damn fine blog in its own right!) for winning the RSBS Biggest Fan Contest, sponsored by Crown Royal.  Soon Kristen will be enjoying Albert Pujols in the bright SoCal sun with well protected eyes as she is going to receive a pair of sweet Oakley Blender Sunglasses.  Hot dang!

And if that’s not hot enough, check out her winning entry below.  Your taste buds will thank you!

Kristen writes:

Caramelized Red Onion State, Blue Cheese State, Bacon Lavosh!

This is a quick and dirty weeknight dinner that tastes gourmet and doubles nicely as a game day snack. But, since you can’t exactly tell how amazing this smells and tastes from the photo, here is the recipe. I get the impression that Johanna cooks but I don’t know if Jeff and Allen do, so the recipe is written for both the well stocked kitchen and the un-stocked kitchen:

Ingredients for 2 Lavosh:

  • 5 slices of bacon (because, hello, Bacon? Is there any ingredient more charismatic?)
  • 1 Red Onion, cut in half and sliced into thin rings
  • 3 cloves fresh crushed garlic  (or one teaspoon dried, if that’s what you have)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil for cooking
  • 2 pieces lavosh (whole wheat works well here too. If you don’t have access to lavosh, what the heck kind of Trader Joe’s do you have there in Chicago? ;) And/or you can use pita, tortillas, or even pizza dough instead.)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Crumbled Blue Cheese (roughly 4 oz. which is to say, basically a palm full. I don’t really prescribe to the tyranny of traditional “standard” measurements unless I am baking or performing some other form of chemistry, LOL.)  I like Trader Joe’s Salem Blue or Point Reyes Blue Cheese if I have it around, but any will work.
  • Optional – 1/2 cup of _______ meat. I used leftover roast chicken the evening I took the photo because we roasted chicken-zilla earlier in the week and had it on hand. But diced deli meat works wonderfully too – turkey, roast beef or, if you’re feeling especially porcine inclined, ham or prosciutto (yum!).
  • Salt and pepper to taste (sea salt and fresh ground pepper if you have it, no worries if you don’t)

Instructions:

1.     Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.     Cook the bacon until it is almost cooked to your preferred level of doneness, then set aside. Chop when cooled.

3.     Heat the cooking fat (and use some of the bacon drippings for 1 tablespoon of the cooking fat , if you dare). Add the garlic (if you’re using fresh) and sauté for a few seconds before adding the onions.

4.     Keep stirring the onions. Season with a little salt and pepper (and the dried garlic if you’re using dried) once the onions are coated in the oil. You want to almost fully caramelize the onions – sauté them, stirring from time to time, until they are browned slivers of completely limp, tasty oniony goo.

5.     Put the lavosh on cookie sheets (or prep for a pizza stone if you have one and have time to heat it) and cover each of them in half of the mozzarella cheese in a thin layer stretching out to the edges.

6.     Sprinkle each evenly with half of the bacon, cooked onions, blue cheese and extra meat (if you are using).

7.     Dust both lightly with pepper.

8.     Bake for roughly five minutes, turn and then five minutes more (much longer if you are using pizza dough), until the cheese is bubbly and golden in spots and the edges of the meat and lavosh are crisp and browning.

9.     Cool slightly, slice and enjoy!

10.  Serve with dark beer or red wine (ideally a good, rich Rhone style blend. Feel free to ask if you would enjoy any California-centric suggestions J).

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YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM!!!

Special thanks go out to all those who submitted entries!  We love you all.  Now go make some lavosh and get krunk!

Jeff & Al

A Christmas Wrap-Up (Part 1)

Every December we like to take a look back at what happened during the year in RSBS.  And with Christmas upon us and the annual RSBS holiday break about to take place, it’s that time of year again.  Granted, there’s no way we could do this without all the hard work put in by the interns so I want to take this opportunity to personally thank them and ask them to keep up all the good work next year.

Now, before I get to the part you’re all waiting for, I want to take a moment to recognize a couple other people without whom this blog would be a much sadder place.  The regulars probably know him best from his appearances on the podcast but for me, his occasional pieces really put into words what I wish I could express.  In particular, this year I appreciated Mark Piebanga’s midseason post about Don Kelly.  For me, it crystallized who the Tigers were at that point in the season.

Similarly, the brilliant ranting and raving of Johanna Mahmud always bring a mid-week smile to my face.  Whether he’s once again lamenting the shortcomings of the Cubs via musical theatre allusions or cautiously hoping for change with the arrival of Theo Epstein, Jo hits the nail on the head as often as not in a way only he can.  However, the edition of Setting the Mahmud that really did it for me was his takedown of the Red Sox in the key of Arthur.  Nothing says b*tchslap quite like setting your role model loose on the AL underperformer of the year.

For the main event, though, I thought long and hard about the season my co-author had.  I watched with amusement his two-part Libertarian “coming out” as he confessed his love for the still-feisty Ron Paul.  I also applauded along with everyone else as Jeff completed his first marathon, and this from a guy who, two years ago,  was out of breath after running a block.

But the real marathon was the baseball season and if you don’t believe me, just go back through the record.  It started in April with Franklin’s blown saves and four months later, Jeff had all but given up on the Cards (and totally given up on the Rays).  Just a few short weeks later, though, his dreams came true while attending his first World Series game and a few days later, that dream reached its apex as the Cardinals won the World Series.  But as happy as he may have been in that moment, and all joking aside, I don’t think any of us could possibly understand how hard the Albert Pujols news hit him.  Baseball, just like that marathon, has its extreme highs and lows.  In 2011 we watched Jeff live them both.

-A

Don’t forget our awesome Oakley Blender sunglasses give-away, made possible by our friends at Crown Royal!  If you would like to win these sweet shades, all you gotta do is send us a picture showing why you are RSBS’ biggest fan.  Email it to us at RSBSblog@gmail.com.  The winner will be announced this Saturday, December 24th.

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