Results tagged ‘ Mariano Rivera ’

The Filibuster

Holy crap.  September 28, 2011.  Has there ever been a better day of baseball?

Anna
South Bend, IN
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One of the greatest aspects of our hallowed national pastime is that every day has the potential to bring greatness.  You might see a no hitter.  You might see a triple play.  You might see four homeruns in one game by the same player.

In fact, just this season I witnessed Derek Jeter collect five hits in a game.  TWICE.  I saw Justin Upton hit a broken bat homerun.  I saw Mariano Rivera become the undisputed king of the save.

I also saw back-t0-back bunt basehits to start off a game.  I saw Shelley Duncan have the defensive game of his life by making three nearly identical amazing grabs in left to rob the Rangers.  And I saw Adam Dunn get a base hit off a lefty.

Magic.  Baseball has it.  And some days it has it more than others.

I would put September 28, 2011 in that category for sure, because on that day FOUR games provided unparallelled magical endings, nearly simultaneously.

But I also can’t think of September 28th without thinking about 2007 Game 163 or the 2008 Game 163 or the 2009 Game 163!!!  In fact, I still consider that 2009 Tigers v. Twins contest to be the most jaw-dropping game I have ever witnessed with my own two eyes.  Clearly, when we reach the end of September and regular season games carry the weight of sending teams on to capture even more glory, the potential for being among the best is like a batting practice fastball.

Right down central.

In the end though, what qualifies as the “best day in baseball” is obviously relative.  For me, I can’t seem to get past October 27, 2006.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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The Filibuster

What’s more impressive?  3,000 hits or 600 saves?

Aaron
Hammond, IN
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Before really getting into it, I just want to make it perfectly clear.  Either 3,000 hits or 600 saves merit you getting into the Hall of Fame.  However, now that I’ve put that out there, let’s get into the comparison.

To get to 600 saves, you need to average 30 saves a year over the course of 20 years or 40 saves a year over 15 years.  Either one of those numbers is pretty gaudy but that’s just the number of actual saves recorded over a 162 game season.  There are also non-save opportunities for closers and the occasional blown save.  There’s also that rare occasion when you come in to record a 4 or 5 out save.  So let’s assume you’re playing about 24 weeks a season, this means that you’re making a minimum of 2 to 3 appearances a week and pitching an inning at a time.  Those numbers add up, especially when you include all the warm ups and the up and down in the bullpen as you get ready to enter.

That being said, 3,000 hits over a 20-year career works out to 150 hits a year, almost a hit a game.  The more likely scenario is a 15-year career and that means averaging 200 hits a year.  But you’re not just getting at-bats, you’re also playing on a regular basis.  Although hitting takes a toll on a player, a much greater physical price is exacted by the daily grind of playing a position.

This question takes on added significance this year with Jeter almost certain to pass the 3,000 hits plateau and the possibility that Rivera could make it to 600 saves.  Both men are gifted athletes and both will most likely be first ballot hall of famers.  So, which one is more impressive?

This question gets muddied a little with Jeter’s dip in production over the last season and a half but let’s face it.  The guy has held down shortstop for the Yankees full-time since 1996.  I’m not sure there’s a more stressful position in MLB.  And while Rivera has also held a full-time position on the Yankees since 1997, there’s a reason that Jeter is the captain.

That’s the long non-answer.  The short answer is that although comparing the two things is not all that different from comparing apples and oranges, at the end of the day you do have to make a decision between the two.  I can’t tell you exactly why and I don’t necessarily have the stats to make an open-and-shut case but I happen to think that 3,000 career hits is pretty damn impressive.  You can always find a closer.  You rarely find a Jeter.

-A

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The RSBS Podcast, Episode 23: Buster’s Broken Body… and Other Stuff

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles

Jeff and Johanna join forces in what is secretly designed as an intervention for Allen and his anachronistic memory.  The three of them then launch into some raunchy debates over this young MLB season, including but not limited to double headers, home plate collisions, “offensive” t-shirts and much, much more… all to make you smile for berry berry long time!

Holla!

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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. Make sure you take some time to check out Keith and his crew’s laugh-riot podcast. Follow him on Twitter to get the latest updates.  They’re doing some fantastic work!  You can find out more at Undercard Films.

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Recorded Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Filibuster

Opening Day saw some pretty spectacular bullpen meltdowns.  But what
does it say about the game that teams have become so reliant on the
bullpen that relievers can pretty much make or break a season?  Have
pitchers gotten soft?

Jake
Morristown, NJ
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k rod jail.jpg‘Tis the season to yack up ballgames, fa la la la la, la la la AGGGHHHH!!!!

*Breaks window, jumps from the second story, runs down the street screaming even though forgot pants*

Believe me, Mr. Jake, I am really trying to tackle this one without any bias, without any memory of Opening Day in the ‘Lou, without a mammoth-sized chip on my shoulder.  But let’s be honest: in baseball, there isn’t much worse than watching your team dominate throughout a game, only to blow it all in the 9th when the win is on the line.

My Redbirds managed to do that on Opening Day.  The Brewers did too (all credit goes to John Axford).  The Mets ran into it last night with Jail-Rod’s shenanigans (Also, his unfettered desire to fight people proves that pitchers — at least this one — have not gotten “soft”… unless the pitcher’s name is Kyle Farnsworth).  Hell, ask the 2010 Baltimore Orioles… they know all about losing games late considering they blew more games last year than Lil Kim did Bad Boys in the 90s.

But what does it say about the game that teams have become so reliant on the bullpen that relievers can pretty much make or break a season?  Gee, I’m not sure it’s really come to that.  The ’08 Cardinals were pretty awful, as I remember the bullpen yacking up over 25 games late… but, after giving it the old eye test, I’m not sure it’s really fair to say that the state of Major League bullpens is any different than it has been in years past.  You either have a good one, a mediocre one, or a bad one. 

And even when you have a bad one, that doesn’t necessarily spell gloom and doom for one’s team.  2009 Brad Lidge comes to mind; my pedestrian and oft frightened colleague, Mr. Krause probably could’ve done a better job on the hill than Lidge that season, but the Phillies still managed to grind their way to the World Series.

Unfortunately, these days, the role of a “closer” and “set-up man” and “7th inning guy” has been magnified because of money.  The more money involved, the more pressure.  The more pressure, the fewer who can actually deal with it. 

In fact, for my money, there’s only one closer who is reliable every single day and that man’s name is Mariano Rivera.  I think the Yankees could realistically state that their season might rely on Mo’s cutters; but then again, their set-up man saved 40+ last year.  And, oh yeah, their all-star lineup doesn’t hurt either.

But for the other 29 teams, yeah, it could be a problem.  But when your team is in flux — featuring an unsigned future Hall of Famer, a sidelined perennial Cy Young contender, and an All-Star outfielder absent because of an appendectomy — then you got more problems than you can actually stomach right now.  The bullpen is just one of many.

Don’t hate me.  ‘Cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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I Know It’s Only ONE Game…

ryan-franklin sad.jpgBUT…

When that one game exposes a rudimentary flaw that I have been gripin’ about for over three years now, then that’s when trouble starts.  That’s when walls in my apartment become punch-holed and that’s when my neighbors consider burning me at the stake for my insane bouts of baseball rapture.

Ryan Franklin… brother… I love ya… and I know you only blew two saves last year, but you ain’t a closer.

Pitching to contact is fine if you’re Derek Lowe.  It’s fine if you’re a starter.  Heck, it’s fine if you’re guaranteed that the batted balls are going straight into someone’s glove.  But in the 9th inning, with a one run lead… I don’t want ANYONE ON BASE.  NO ONE. 

Ya hear me?

When I bring a guy in to close a game, I want someone with firepower, someone with strikeout potential… someone who throws GAS, someone with a wicked slider, someone with an impossible-to-hit cutter. 

Think Mo Rivera.  Think Dennis Eckersely.  Think Neftali Feliz.

The closer’s job is to come in and close the game, not to let ‘em hit it and hope your defense saves you. 

No. 

The best way to close a game is to miss the hitters’ bats.  And Ryan Franklin has a real hard time doin’ that.

Now, for more on this, let us turn to our junior RSBS correspondents:

http://www.viddler.com/player/63ff3f60/

Happy Friday!

Jeff

The Filibuster

So what are you guys looking forward to the most this season?

Tim H.
Bowen, IL

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baseball.jpgI don’t know what to do with 2011.  First off, it’s a prime number.  Ok, I’m not completely sure on that and I don’t really feel like doing the math to check but I feel pretty safe in saying that it’s prime.  Prime numbers just generally give me the creeps so I’m feeling a little unsettled.

In other arenas, 2011 is shaping up to be kind of blah.  Sure, Jeter will probably get his 3,000th hit and that’s pretty impressive.  But, the best case scenario only moves him up into the top 20 all time, which, although an exemplary accomplishment, still leaves him well south of Pete Rose. 

As far as overall baseball records go, Mariano Rivera could surpass Trevor Hoffman’s still warm saves record but if I can be perfectly blunt, who cares?  Again, yes, it’s impressive but when you trot out of the bullpen two or three times a week to get a couple outs, you’re not exactly the heart and soul of the team.  Closers are like field-goal kickers.  People know who you are and you have an important role on the team but no one really cares until you blow one.

So what does that leave?  There are no meaningful elections this year so that’s not an option.  Strasburg is going to miss the season so the game’s newest and greatest draw isn’t even going to be on the field.  Sure, I’m hoping the Tigers will make a good run this season but that’s just one team.  So what is there to look forward to?

I guess I’m looking forward to baseball without the bulls–t.  Sure, stories will come up and issues will be invented as the season moves on but at this point, it’s just 30 teams trying to make it to and win the World Series.  Ok, 29 because I’m pretty sure we can go ahead and count out the Pirates.  But the fact remains, at this point, a few days before the season begins, everyone has the same record and no one knows who might be this year’s 2006 Tigers, 2007 Rockies or 2010 Rangers.  Who knows, they might even push it a step further and actually win the thing like the 2010 Giants.

So that’s what I’m looking forward to.  No labor issues, no steroid scandals, no imperfectly-called perfect games.  Just baseball.  Throw in a little sunshine and some beer and I think we got ourselves a winner.

-A

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Lookin’ Good in Yankeeland

sexy-yankee-fan.jpgWHOA! Looking back at the weekend, I sat down to try and understand firsthand what offseason life must be like as a Yankees fan.  I got into it.  And I got sorta aroused. 

Mo’s back.

Jeter’s back.

And…

I found the picture to the right on a Google image search, hoping to find something that could illustrate just how arousing the above arrangement actually is.

If there were a hell, I’d be the president of it.

Hate me.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

RSBS Undercover: Jeff as a Yankees Fan, Day 11

jeff as yankees fan.jpgThe learning curve on being a Yankees fan isn’t nearly as forgiving as one might expect given the Evil Empire’s age old stranglehold on professional sports fandom.  I’m a smart guy; but even I am having a hard time understanding it all:

“We friggin’ HATE A.J. Burnett!”

“We friggin’ LOVE A.J. Burnett!”

“WHO the friggin’ frig is A.J. Burnett!?!?”

Uh… what?

But don’t let lightning fast fluttering allegiances get ya down, especially if you’re a bandwagoneer.  As long as you remember the basics (i.e. Jeter is GOD; Mo will kill you in your sleep and not break a sweat; Posada is a defense-challenged commodity) then you shouldn’t have any troubles navigating through the Yankees’ world of privileged self-righteousness.

Of course, there’s one more thing you should know: once you go there… you can never go back.  You can never unsee.  Never unfeel.

When Mark Teixeira went down with his injury the other night, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking…

albert pujols yankees.jpg
Now, pardon me while my conscious does battle with my psyche.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

Baseball Meets Art: “MO-na Lisa”

MO nah lisa.JPG
Whether it’s the smile or the cutter, you know it’s coming and you still can’t hit it.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Imagine the Impossible

derek jeter as red sox from welikeroywelikeroy.jpg
It has been well over a month since I first saw this doctored picture of Derek Jeter in a Red Sox uni, created and posted by Homer at We’re Talkin’ Homer, Blue Jays and MLB; but the damaging affects continue to haunt me today.

And I don’t even like the Yankees.

I know Brian Cashman is staying true to his hardline of not negotiating contracts during the season, but as long as Jeter isn’t guaranteed to be a Pinstriper next year, I am going to have to go to sleep each night knowing that the possibility he will be something else in 2011 still exists…

…and for a baseball purist like myself (bring back the wool uniforms, please) that is just unacceptable.

He’s Derek Friggin’ Jeter, Mr. Cashman.  Not Posada.  Not Mo.  Jeter.  The dude walks on water… and uses TWO HANDS!

So go ahead and hate me ‘cuz I appear to empathize with Yankees fans (in this situation and this situation only); just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Because I am.

Peace,

Jeff

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