Results tagged ‘ Josh Hamilton ’

The Filibuster

You guys seem to have an opinion on most everything.  So tell me, what
do you think about the Reds, the Rays and the oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico?  Any chance they’re related?

Evan
Sandusky, OH
____________________________________


Us?  Have an opinion?  Ya don’t say!  Shall we?

dusty baker reds.jpgSubject: The Cincinnati Reds
Like oil spills, Republican victories and the birth of Mr. Krause, accidents do happen, people.  Does a team led by a professional arm-killer who says “dude” way too often despite his old age have what it takes to stay in contention all year long?  Probably.  I mean, Dusty Baker has done it before.  But just like before, this team too will eventually find a way to sink back down towards expectations.  Let’s face it: the only reason the Reds are atop the Central Division right now is because the Cardinals are faltering… but they won’t for long.
Opinion: Overrated, destined to fail, not worth your time

Tampa Bay Rays.jpgSubject: The Tampa Bay Rays
Gee whiz!  If ever there were a case for the evangelical loonies to get involved with Major League Baseball (not counting Josh “I love Jesus when he lets me do body shots” Hamilton) then this rise to the top for the Tampa Bay Rays is certainly it.  Who knew that the only key to success for this once hapless franchise was to remove the word “devil” from their name?  Any guesses for when the Yankees will try to follow suit by removing “New York” from theirs? 
Opinion: Playoff Bound

chase utley oily hair.jpgSubject: BP Oil Spill
Like the Cincinnati Reds, Republican victories and the birth of Mr. Krause, accidents do happen, people.  Oh… wait, did I already use that line?  That must’ve been Johnnie Walker talking.  Unfortunately, no amount of whisky will make this terrible accident and its disastrous effects go away anytime soon.  Not since Chase Utley last removed his cap has the planet been exposed to such oil laden horrors; I expect clean-up efforts will require immense patience, determination and confidence… which, coincidentally, is also the recipe for surviving a summer in Philadelphia.  Not everyone makes it out alive.
Opinion: This really sucks

Now… are they related you ask?

In as much as these events and situations are all taking place on the planet earth, in the month of May, two years before our imminent destruction predicted by the Mayans… yes, they are related.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry too much. 

So don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

***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. 

***A lock from Jayson Werth’s now shaven beard also welcome… Al is weird like that.


Incarnations, Reclamations and Exhortations

george_steinbrenner.jpgJane Heller had an interesting question regarding yesterday’s filibuster post. She asked:

Does this mean, Al, that you would have taken Steve Howe back 6 times like Steinbrenner did? He picked up Strawberry and Gooden too. He loved reclamation projects.

Now, first of all, I have to say that it’s a pretty low blow to compare me to satan incarnate. Am I older than god and incontinent? No. But the question itself is interesting. Baseball, like life, seems to be all about reclaiming, recycling and otherwise reusing. Honestly, is there any other reason that Kyle Farnsworth still has a job?

The first part of the question is easy. The only Howe that I would take multiple times is Gordie and any true Michigander would be right there with me. But if you look at baseball right now, how many players are in their newest incarnation as the result of some sort of experiment, some sort of reclamation? Rick Ankiel. Josh Hamilton. The existence of the designated hitter shows the natural (or unnatural, depending on who you ask) evolution of this philosophy.

But I guess here’s what I’ll say. If you can pick up a guy who’s iffy and he’s not going to be a cancer in the clubhouse, why not give it a try? And if you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work but you have a new approach this time, I say go for it. In the end, that’s what sets your run of the mill GM or owner apart from the greats. The great ones recognize who can still contribute and in what way while the other guys just fish around and hope for the best.

Here’s a good rule of thumb, though. Kyle Farnsworth is beyond reclamation. Can we just agree on this once and for all?

-A

The Filibuster

A sober Sidney Ponson can only mean one thing.. The guy must’ve
discovered another substance to abuse, evidently one that gives the
public the illusion he’s a moderate man while not enhancing his
performance [not just because it's illegal but because, after all,
failure is the one thing he can accomplish at any level of
intoxication]. Is RSBS aware of his alternative to the booze? If so,
did he receive it from a certain former Texas teammate that sure as
hell had me fooled into thinking he sobered up [until the photographic
evidence emerged]?

Vanessa
Flair for the Dramatic
New York City

____________________________________

Josh Hamilton.jpgIn general, I try not to take anything too seriously. That’s just not how I am. Like the eponymous character from “The Big Lebowski,” I abide. But there are some things I take seriously. And addiction is definitely one of them.

Now, I’m a lucky guy. I don’t have an addictive personality. I’ve done my fair share of things I shouldn’t have done but I gave them up in a second with no cravings or anything. I guess I’m just blessed like that. However, that’s not how it usually happens. Addiction isn’t a one-time battle that you just suddenly win. It’s a daily struggle and what we’ve seen happen with Josh Hamilton is proof enough of that.

Imagine for a second being in a job like a professional baseball player. Yeah, you may love the game and you may be completely devoted to watching your team everyday but imagine going out on the field, day in and day out, warming up and knowing that every little thing you do during the game, every little mistake will be analyzed by thousands and possibly millions of people. And if you don’t perform to the tune of the big bucks you’re making, your team has no problem dumping you on the landfill of history.

I have rough days at work, days when I’m sick and tired of it but it’s nothing compared to the stress these guys are feeling. Why else do they try to find the latest edge, legal or not, and do whatever they can to keep it their own? And when that edge starts to wear, when it’s no longer enough, something has to be done to dull the anxiety, keep away the fear. It’s no surprise to me that athletes turn to a little booze or some pot and it’s definitely no surprise that, like brother Axl told us, “The little got more and more.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s easy to laugh at the antics of a Ryan Leaf or Sidney Ponson or tsk-tsk when it’s a story like Josh Hamilton and his backsliding. But I’m thinking that although I have no room to pull any sort of holier-than-thou card out of the deck, maybe it’s time we applaud Sidney for getting his act together and focus on what Hamilton has accomplished despite the inevitable setbacks he is going to experience. One day at a time.

-A

Same Story, New Chapter

zack_greinke_si_cover.jpgLast year was the year of Josh Hamilton. By the time the All-Star game rolled around, you couldn’t turn on ESPN or hit the internet without running face-first into one of the ubiquitous pieces on Hamilton and his recovery from depression and drug addiction. In fact, I think that my colleague, Mr. Lung, may have actually written the best piece I read on the subject.

However, it seems that our esteemed sportswriters may have missed Jeff’s column because the same thing is happening again. This year’s poster-boy is Zack Greinke and even places like Deadspin have begun to focus on his issues along with those of guys like Dontrelle Willis and define them accordingly.

Now, I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, it is important to destigmatize issues like depression and drug abuse by talking about them. And when athletes come forward and admit even off-handedly that they, too, face these kinds of demons, it’s good for our awareness of the issue. But, when their whole story then becomes boiled down to a point where we see them only as the guy who fought depression or the guy who overcame his drug dependency, we eliminate all the gains and just create a new stigma. They are no longer people. Instead, they become the disease they defeated.

This issue is all the more important because it affects more than just athletes. Thousands of our friends and family members are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan having seen and experienced things that are truly beyond human comprehension. But when the inevitable depression and its symptoms like PTSD and drug abuse start to rear their heads, the stigma keeps them from being able to seek help. This isn’t a new problem. The same thing happened to veterans of Vietnam, the two world wars and as far back as Ajax in Greek mythology.

I admit that I don’t have an answer to this stigmatization problem. If Sophocles couldn’t answer it and the best minds in psychology today can’t figure it out, it’s probably a little out of my range as well. But, it might be nice if from time to time we stopped referring to Greinke’s “amazing comeback” or Hamilton’s “heart-rending journey” and just appreciated them for who they are. A couple of guys who have overcome the same kind of problems that a lot of us face day in and day out and also happen to be able to do amazing things with a baseball.

-A

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   

Pay-Rod: MSNBC’s Liberal Use of Famed MLB Moniker Proven Inaccurate

rod blagjojevich.jpgMSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews led off its December 15th
broadcast with the teaser line “Pay-Rod” next to a photo of a
disgruntled, egomaniacal Rod Blagojevich — a clear shot at the
shortcomings of Blago’s esurient character aimed to compare him to
Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez.  The joke here is obvious: pay to play.  But MSNBC got this baseball-politico comparison wrong and as the de facto authority on such surreptitious simile, allow me to tell you why:

alex rodriguez.jpgCall him greedy, call him seedy, call him needy: A-Rod (aka “Pay-Rod”) still produces results (*post-season not included in this study).

He
demands and receives big money because he is arguably the best player
out there; simple supply-and-demand economics only follow suit. 

Blago,
however, does not.  His record low approval rating (even prior to
Patrick Fitzgerald’s accusations) rivaled only that of our Dear Leader
Bush.  His refusal to live in Springfield has long angered tax-payers
and politicians alike.  His swashbuckling appropriations of state funds
caused him to be a Chicago Tribune target.  And let’s face it: his
hairdo sucks.

But the most appalling of all Blago character traits is his cocky swagger, his self-righteous talking points, his relentless refusal to come clean — to face the Federal music and tell the public what exactly is/has been going on.

In other words…

Rod Blagojevich is the Barry Bonds of politics.

Just as…

Marion Barry
is the Josh Hamilton…. and…

David Duke is the Ty Cobb… and…

Barney Frank is the Billy Bean

If we’re going to throw out catchy baseball player references in
relation to controversial politicians, MSNBC, let’s make sure they’re
accurate, shall we?

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Time for a Major League Intervention

Josh Hamilton.jpgOkay, I’m through dancing around this touchy subject, folks.  I’m ready to face it and call it what it is: MLB is obsessed with “recovering” drug addicts and their attempts to get [back] into the big leagues.

If you’re like me (intelligent, charming, full of yourself) then you are decent enough to realize that yes, the Josh Hamilton story is important.  It proves that that we, as human beings, do have the ability to overcome adversity and reach the highest levels of success despite our shortcomings if we’re determined, disciplined, good hearted and humble.  That much is true.

However, when a player such as Josh Hamilton can no longer be recognized as anyone other than an ex/recovering junkie who just happens to be a successful baseball player, that’s when I have a problem. 

And the problem is growing…

Because now Major League Baseball, realizing that the Hamilton story may be losing some of its saleability due to overuse, is desperate to find its next “Josh Hamilton” in Marlins’ prospect Jeff Allison.

Jeff who?

Yeah, that’s what I thought too. 

And as we find ourselves down to the last six weeks of the regular season, where heated division races are made and/broken, where teams break away from the pack while others fade to black, MLB.com’s front page today ignored all of that and featured a prospect no one has ever heard of — solely because he’s a “recovering” drug addict — “like Josh Hamilton.”

jeff allison story.jpgDear readers, fear not, for I do not belittle the feats of these gentlemen in any way.  Honestly, having battled my own personal demons, like Hamilton and Allison, I am no stranger to overcoming the obstacles of addiction.  Indeed, I applaud them for their perseverance, their humility, their spirit.  They are not the ones to blame here.

We should be shaking a finger at Major League Baseball, the media and every other story-hungry leech out there who can’t see Hamilton (and now Allison) as anything but a story to sell. 

Google Hamilton’s name and see how many entries pop up that don’t mention his drug addiction.  Watch a Rangers game without hearing about Hamilton’s “incredible comeback”.  Bring up Hamilton’s name in any place in Anytown, USA and see what the discussion centers around.  His talent?  His numbers?  No. 

His drug habit.

That’s all you’ll hear.  That’s all anyone cares about.  But let me tell ya somethin’…

Addiction is not a character trait.

Addiction is not a reason to judge.

Addiction is a disease.  And just like leukemia, multiple sclerosis or pneumonia, this disease does not define the afflicted.  It is merely an obstacle: a hindrance to be overcome, defeated and moved passed but never one to ultimately define the character, the nature or the existence of the one who was chosen to endure its pain.

Don’t hate me, ‘cuz I couldn’t be any more right on this one.

Peace,

Jeffy

Blame It On the Booze

Yes, dear readers, our venerable GW Bush came out yesterday and enlightened us with what has really been going on with the continuously slumping economy.  Folks, it had nothing to do with poor management at home, questionable foreign policies nor an ever widening gap between Red and Blue US American ideologies.  No. 

“Wall Street got drunk.”
                       – G.W. Bush

Thank the gods.  I was a tad bit worried there as I watched gas prices in Chicago soar to $4.50 a gallon.  I was just slightly disturbed when I spent $40 bucks at CVS and all I bought were paper towels, crossword puzzles and American Pie: Band Camp on DVD.  And I was a tad nervous when the doctor told me he could remove the lesions if only I put on a blonde wig, some heels and called him “Daddy”. 

But thankfully, none of that was a result of a gummed-up government overrun by lobbyists and big oil.  No.  Wall Street has just been boozin’ a bit… and that, dear readers, is certainly understandable.

Because nothin’ says America like a good old buzz.

I certainly am not immune from this.  In fact, by perusing the plentiful posts here at RSBS one could rightfully gather that we (Allen and I) are a bunch of drunks ourselves.  It’s true!  We are not ashamed!

US America is a country built on the boozing backgrounds of Europeans, Asians, Africans — all drunks!  Like baseball and apple pie, an everlasting state of drunkenness is simply the American way; Wall Street could not hide for long.

In light of this new information, let us follow the President’s lead:

Every good drunk needs his drunken hero and baseball has always provided plenty.  From Babe Ruth to Ty Cobb to Josh Hamilton, the grandest game on earth has never stopped producing inebriated icons.  Jim Edmonds was mine until he switched sides, but I’ve included his picture here still because of the pleasant company he keeps while out on the town.  Nowadays, I look to the boozing comeback of Sidney Ponson for inspiration… what a story.  And Rondell White.  He wasn’t named in the Mitchell Report because of his weakness for Tanqueray and tonics *wink, wink* but the man was a leader in the party scene. 

jim edmonds.jpgsidney ponson.jpgThumbnail image for rondell white.jpgTo these baseball heroes and a quick hangover recovery for our economy I raise my glass with you and say “Cheers!”  I also ask that you don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m (burp) right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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