Results tagged ‘ Johan Santana ’

Forget Me, Forget Me Not

It is my hope that, a year from now, the likes of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Arte Moreno’s checkbook exist merely as fuzzy postulations of the delusional masses — mere hiccups in the digestive tract of progress.  Of course, I realize one of these three is never going to go away, so I have to do what I can to temper the sadness it has caused.

But sometimes things go away, never come back and leave us wondering… what if?

Slap bracelets?  Hello?!?!  Where have you gone, fine fashion accessory from my youth?

Meanwhile, let’s examine those forgotten baseballers of 2011 and determine if they should forget me, or forget me not.

Milton Bradley
FORGET ME.
Dude, seriously.  115 plate appearances in 2011 was 115 plate appearances too many.  Known exclusively as an overpaid hot-head wife-beater who had ONE good season, there’s no reason for Milton to get another chance.  If his outrageous childlike behavior and .212 BA over the last two seasons aren’t any indication that it’s time to forget this loser, maybe the fact that NO ONE LIKES HIM is.

David Eckstein
FORGET ME NOT.
It’s difficult for me to believe that no one had any use for this scrappy go-get-em baseballer in 2011.  How did the Padres — a 91 loss team! — not have any role for Eckstein last year?  The dude does just about everything and he does it all right.  He’s a leader, a teacher, a fighter.  In my opinion, many teams could have used his services last season and I don’t see how that situation would change in 2012.  Any team’s super utility role should be considered for the former World Series MVP.

Manny Ramirez
FORGET ME.
Like Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Vanilla Ice, Manny being Manny has long lost its charm.  The man is a cheater.  A wife beater (notice the theme here?).  A creep.  He was caught (AGAIN) ‘roiding up and instead of acting like a man, ‘fessing up and handling his business with dignity, he ran away and hid from his fans, not saying a word.  Now he wants back in.  Not only that, but somehow he has snaked his way out of serving the 100 game ban deemed necessary for repeat ‘roid offenders and lucked out with only facing a 50 game suspension.  Manny reeks of insidious ego.  STAY AWAY PLEASE.

Johan Santana
FORGET ME NOT.
Never thought I’d say this, but I feel sorry for the Mets.  I really do.  Just a game away from the World Series in 2006, who knew they would fail so hard in 2007, sign the biggest free agent pitcher on the market to a $137 million contract, fail even harder in 2008, then fall into baseball hell with more problems than the Congressional Reform Act?  There was a time when Santana on the bump meant I had to watch that game.  With all of his recent injuries, I doubt that will ever be possible again, but I still want to see the man pitch.  And soon.

And finally…

Brandon Webb
FORGET ME.
I’m still trying to figure out how Webb was able to land a $3 million contract last season after not having pitched AT ALL since 2008*.  Indeed, he had a good run from ’06 t0 ’08, getting guys out with one of the nastiest sinkers I’ve ever seen,   but when your rotator cuff no longer rotates, I think it’s time to stop chasing the glory that once was.

Hate me ‘cuz I’m blunt, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*Actually, Webb pitched 4 innings in 2009.  He gave up 6 runs off 6 hits before his arm fell off and he disappeared from baseball relevancy; but in my opinion, that hardly counts as “pitching”.

Also, FORGET RSBS NOT and 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.

Setting the Mahmud

RSBS Special Correspondent and Podcast Schmegleschleimer, Mr. Johanna Mahmud reports:

In Memoriam.  Hallelujah.

My favorite part of any award ceremony — be it the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys or Tonys — is the part where they celebrate those who passed on into the good night. As we wind down this great baseball season, Setting the Mahmud has prepared its own In Memoriam of sorts, to remember those who are no longer with us whilst honoring some of TV’s greats!

Adam Dunn/Steve Landesberg
“Arrest the first naked guy you see with a dirty mouth.”
His fate is yet to be determined. One of the most consistent players EVER was anything but this year. I wish all the best for my large bat wielding friend. Hope he can Lazarus himself mightily next season.  (Also, Barney Miller is one of the most underrated shows of all time). How is Abe Vigoda still kickin it and Steve Landesberg just kicked it??

Jorge Posada/Peter Falk
“Well, it’s better than a gallstone. Did ya ever have a gallstone ma’am?”
Surpassed defensively by Francisco Cervelli and out-hit by Russell Martin, this could very well be the end for Hip Hip Jorge!! And if it is, I think the YANKS will pull through. A $200 million payroll will do that for ya.

Miguel Tejada/Aaron Rowand/Bill Erwin 
“What are those bums doing back there?! It’s like watching a couple hyenas going through the garbage!!”
Designated for assignment for these cats. Rowand probably bashed his head into a wall too many times and Tejada is well… probably 50.

Johan Santana/Tom Bosley
Marion Cunningham: Richie just hasn’t got the appetite that Chuck has.
Howard Cunningham: Marion, Argentina hasn’t got the appetite that Chuck has.
A personal favorite of mine. His fantastic slider was a thing of GLORIOUSNESS.

And now, please enjoy the fine work of the Canadian Tenors! (Jeff Buckley won’t mind. Trust me.) Oh, and tip one out for Uncle Frank.


–Johanna Mahmud
Follow Johanna on Twitter!

What Miguel Cabrera Says About Immigration Policy

miguel-cabrera.jpgBaseball represents the best part of American immigration policy.  Sure, most baseball players come over on non-immigrant visas but when they arrive, they become part of a team and those differences of nationality and ethnicity disappear in the fight for a playoff spot.  Well, unless you happen to be a modern-day nativist like Gary Sheffield.  In general, though, baseball is a powerful tool for US diplomacy and relations in our own hemisphere.

But while writing the filibuster the other day, I got to thinking about an often overlooked part of baseball diplomacy.  Many of the players come from poor Caribbean or Latin American countries where people often have a hard time getting visas to come visit the US.  If you’re a non superstar type of guy or even just a young guy with an opportunity to try out for a team, how do you convince a visa officer that you’re going to return to your country if things don’t pan out?  Obviously this isn’t an issue for a Johan Santana or someone like that but most players are not Johan Santana.

The New York Times addressed this very issue recently but also brought up a point that hits home for any Tigers’ fan.  Beyond simply making the team, what happens to players who have proven their worth and no longer have trouble getting a visa but then go out and commit some sort of crime?  For instance, what happens to Miguel Cabrera after his recent DUI?  Although this is Cabrera’s first DUI, it’s not his first brush with law as a result of drinking.  These incidents definitely affect his eligibility and at the very least could hold up the process the next time he applies for a US visa.

No matter what happens to Cabrera, baseball consistently remains ahead of the curve in its anticipation of social change.  In much the same way that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the 40’s, the flood of baseball migrants heralds an eventual shift in our thinking on immigration policy.  Although Joe Autoworker from Detroit is sure that some immigrant took his job, he’s not interested in applying this same logic to Miguel Cabrera and his fellow Venezuelans playing for the Tigers.  The problem is, Cabrera might have just taken care of that issue of his own accord.

-A

The Filibuster

Once again the Twins beat up the AL Central and might even catch
the Yankees for the best record in baseball.  Can we reasonably say at
this point that the Twins are the best run team in baseball?
 
Rob

Duluth, MN
_______________________________

chairman mauer.jpg

All biases aside, Rob, to say the Twins “beat up” the AL Central sorta glides over the fact that, outside of the White Sox, the Twins really had no competition going into the season to begin with; that the White Sox totally derailed (twice!) only made the Twins look more dominant.

But I understand your want, your desire, your dream to cast the Twins in a plushy role like that of the highfalutin, media-darling Yankees.  Well, brother, dream on… ‘cuz, reasonably speaking, the Twins ain’t the Yankees. 

Nor are they the Rays.

Nor the Phils.

Hell, they’re not even close!

In my opinion (which happens to be right), those three are the best teams in baseball right now.  And when you add the qualifier of “best run”, well, sorry.  I really can’t look any further than the best teams.  Period.

Are the Twins good?  Yes.  Are they capable of going all the way?  Sure.  Can I slot them in as the best run team in baseball?  No way!

Believe me, I tip my cap to the entire Twins organization.  They build from the ground up.  They instill in their players the concept of playing the game the right way.  They do the little things well and fundamentally, they are as sound as a team can possibly be.

But when the pressure is on, they fail.  When they need to win the big game, they don’t.  Not yet, at least.  And going into a short series with Liriano, Pavano and Duensing isn’t quite as mortifying to the opposition as going in with Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt (lookout!).

To me, being the best run team in baseball would require, at the very least, a track record of winning when it matters the most — a trip to the World Series would be even better.  But the Twins haven’t been in that situation since Danny Gladden hit leadoff and Barry Bonds had a normal sized forehead.  And despite all the good things the Twins’ brass has done in recent years, can I really celebrate a front office that let Johan Santana go for Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey?!?!?!?

No way.

I love me some Joe Mauer and Delmon Young just as much as the next baseball dork, but, let’s be honest with ourselves: they ain’t scarin’ anybody.

Yet.

Hate me ‘cuz I think the Twins’ are the weakest playoff link, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

(Chairman Mauer image courtesy of Twinkie Town)

***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****

Something on your mind?  Want to see Jeff and Al sweat (separately, not together, eww)?  Think you got a real stumper?  Send us your Filibuster question(s) by commenting or emailing them to us at kraulung@gmail.com. 

***Information that pins Mr. Krause as a closet Tea Bagger also welcome (he won’t stop talking about Christine O’Donnell, you know. Just sayin).

Island Dreams

pirate_camp_dr.jpgWhen people mention the Pittsburgh Pirates, you assume that nothing good can follow.  But there are exceptions to that rule, at least if you believe Time magazine.  Two weeks ago Time not only said the Pirates are doing something right, they also said the organization is an example to be followed

It’s no secret that MLB spends a lot of money looking for fresh talent overseas.  Many of the greatest players in the game today and in the past are products of that search.  MLB has harvested the fertile fields of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Curacao (just to name a few) to give us players like Big Papi, Johan Santana and Andruw Jones.  That is not going to stop.

But Time raises the alarmist cry, decrying the conditions in the DR and castigating teams for not providing the same level of living standards the writer claims exist for young players in the US.  At the same time, the article gets a little schizophrenic, insinuating that the DR will go the way of PR if baseball decides to treat them the same way it now deals with the territory.  The article claims, “After the U.S. commonwealth became subject to the draft in the (sic) 1989, the
number of Puerto Rican signees remained flat, while those in the D.R.
skyrocketed.” 

What I read in that, though, is that despite Puerto Rican players now going through the draft, the number entering MLB each year stayed constant.  If anything, that seems to imply that the system worked.  Puerto Ricans still made it to the majors, they just followed a route that ensured they got their fair share.  And if you can play, you’re going to get paid. 

dr_baseball_camp.jpgLook, it’s no secret that many kids see sports as a way out of a bad situation.  That’s just as true in the US as it is in the DR.  But do we crucify Nike for running basketball tournaments in the inner city where they can then get their hooks into promising young talent?  Do you think Coach K runs a basketball camp each year out of the kindness of his heart?  Both Nike and Krzyzewski realize that most of those kids are never going to make it, even at the collegiate level.  And it’s not like they’re taking care of them when the inevitable happens and the dream of an NBA career shatters.

This is how sports operate.  They offer the hope of a better future but that future is only available to a very select group.  What happens in the DR is sad and most of these kids will never end up making it.  But it’s even more sad that the government of the DR can’t provide basic services to its citizens and MLB is supposed to step in and fill the gap.  At least baseball offers them a dream.  That’s a lot more than the Pirates offer their fans.

-A

Special thanks to L for the article

An International Incident

galarraga_donald.jpgA friend of mine came into town from Venezuela a week ago and she came bearing gifts.  The first thing she handed me was a thoughtful yet dangerous history of the American cocktail.  So many recipes, so little time.  Next up was what is surprisingly my first Scrabble set. 

But the final item, although the smallest, was really what got me excited.  It’s a calendar handed out by the US embassy in Caracas where each month features a different Venezuelan major leaguer.  Of course there was the requisite Johan Santana and K-Rod but when I reached November and Miguel Cabrera swinging a bat, that was when I realized just how great of a gift it was.

I didn’t realize how amazing it was, though, until I turned the final page to an unknown pitcher for the Tigers.  Well, unknown at the time.  In the last couple days I think the entire country, even someone who has never watched a baseball game in their life, now knows who Armando Galarraga is.

And with all the events of the last couple days, I got to thinking.  Despite MLB’s reliance on Venezuelan superstar players, relations
between the two countries are not exactly warm.  Was it possible that Joyce’s blown call at first base was actually a conspiracy?  Was this a subtle thumbing of the nose toward the often belligerent president of Venezuela?  And if so, why, two days later, has Mr. Chavez still not weighed in on the subject?

We don’t have answers to these questions but with the weekend approaching and another edition of El Presidente’s weekly diatribe, “Alo Presidente”, set to hit the airwaves, you can be sure he’ll have something to say.  And as always, we here at RSBS will make sure to keep you updated on all the events.  Well, unless we get sucked into that first gift.  Who knew you could do so much with whiskey, sugar and a lemon?

-A

Special thanks to L for the calendar and all the other gifts.  Be safe down there.

The Filibuster

“As much as you dislike the National League, its purer rules have provided an abundance of drama this week as pitchers have been coming through at the plate: Micah Owings’ game-tying homerun versus the Astros, Carlos Zambrano’s opposite field shot at Wrigley and the Cincinnati Reds couldn’t get former pitcher Rick Ankiel out to save their lives.  It’s late in the game, your bench is empty, but you need a clutch at-bat from one of your pitchers.  Who do you send to the dish and why?”

–Jeff

                                                                                        

I actually think that this is a great question and it’s something I was thinking about earlier this week while I was looking at the recap of Owings’ heroics. As much as I talk about the American League being superior to the NL, I do like the analytical aspect of having the pitcher bat. It makes the role of the manager much more important and allows for more creativity.

However, I think this question also leads to some other interesting facets of the game because it’s interesting to see how pitchers react when they switch leagues. For instance, Johan Santana is not someone you think of as a hitter but that’s because he’s spent his entire career until now in the AL. But, when you look at his numbers in the few games he played interleague, he didn’t acquit himself all that terribly. So, the Mets, in addition to getting one of the best pitchers in the game, also picked up a guy who’s not a total liability in the nine-hole. That’s a huge advantage to any team.

Now, I’m not saying that I’d send Santana up to bat at the end of the game when I need some clutch hitting but it’s nice to get a little more than you bargained for. And let’s be honest here, at this point in the season, I’d say it’s a pretty easy decision that
the guy you’d love to have available is Micah Owings. I mean, the guy
is just a hell of a good hitter no matter how you look at it. Zambrano
has his upsides and Rick Ankiel is a good story but Ankiel is a
position player now so he doesn’t really count. And I’d say that
Zambrano and Owings are the only two pitchers I’d ever feel comfortable
sending to the plate when I really need to get something going.

Having said all that, I have to take exception to your initial premise that the NL is more pure. Like all sports, baseball has evolved over time and the DH is merely one more step in that evolution. You could easily argue that basketball is much less pure because they introduced the three point line and the shot clock. I mean, if it was still the same way Naismith wanted it, games would end 12-6 and you’d be bored out of your head. 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). So, perhaps “pure” is the correct term after all but pure does not always equate to “better.”  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.

-A

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