Results tagged ‘ MLB ’

We All Lose

terry_jones.jpg

Special days historically fall prey to those who use them for their own gain.  Like when god decided to send Jesus to earth on Christmas and then have him die on Easter.  Seriously, you’re god and that’s the best you could do?

It’s no different now.  From simple and relatively justified things like MLB putting players in pink for Breast Cancer awareness or having everyone wear number 42 to commemorate Jackie Robinson to things that don’t quite feel right like Glenn Beck marching on the National Mall and claiming the mantle of MLK on the anniversary of the “I have a Dream” speech, these days give both demagogues and dissenters context for their issues.

Sadly, most of the time it’s the demagogues who get the coverage.  I have spent a bit of time in Muslim countries and most of the people I have met are nice people who want to make a living and provide for their families.  Yes, they’re serious about their religion but they don’t use it as an excuse for violence. 

So what’s the point in getting them riled up by staging a Quran burning?  I know the event has been canceled and I know that the pastor of a small church in Florida does not deserve as much coverage as he has been given.  But when David Petraeus, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama and the Southern Baptist convention all agree that what you’re doing is a bad idea, maybe it’s time to stop and rethink.

As odious as the planned act may be, even worse is the day on which it falls.  Sometimes a Saturday
is more than just a Saturday.  Like when it’s September 11th.  Using a day like today that should be reserved for contemplation and mourning as a vehicle for the same kind of bilious beliefs that fueled the hijackers nine years ago means we all lose.

I preferred it when September 11th had no meaning, when it wasn’t a special day.  But that is no longer possible.  So maybe it’s time that people stop grandstanding and allow this day to have one simple message.  Hate kills.  That goes for Terry Jones, Glenn Beck and Michael Moore just as much as it does for Bin Laden.

-A

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

The Filibuster

What’d you guys think of your boy Zito drilling Prince Fielder for his
earthquake celebration? It’s only spring training and we’re already
seeing fireworks?!? What’s your take?

Sam
Carbondale, IL

____________________________________

Fielder_HBP.jpgFlush from yet another amazing Super Bowl game, the NFL recently took out its manhood, held it in both hands while staring proudly and then swiftly and viciously emasculated itself, leaving nothing but a bloody stump.  You like touchdown celebrations?  Well, let’s see how much you like them when it means giving the other team 15 yards on the kickoff.

Ostensibly, the owners made this decision to protect the game.  After all, football is a team sport that involves no individual glory and this is why players are all paid the exact same amount.  Oh, they aren’t?  Uh, nevermind then.

My point is, the NFL could take a lesson from MLB and how it deals with this sort of issue.  Guys like Prince Fielder are free to celebrate their heroics however they want.  If that means running around the bases quickly with their head down, that’s fine.  And if it means setting up a choreographed event at home plate with your teammates, that’s fine, too.  But you’re going to have to face the consequences.

The consequences for Prince’s actions were a plunk in the back.  Prince has adequate padding so I’m sure there will not be any long lasting effects.  But it did let the Brewers know their actions hadn’t gone unnoticed.  Sure, it’s sad that it had to come from close personal friend of RSBS, Barry Zito, but them’s the breaks.

That’s the thing.  Baseball has rules against retaliation but unless it’s so blatant as to be unignorable, most umps are going to turn the other way.  It’s part of the game and has been for a long time.  In fact, this is probably one of those few areas where orthodox fans like Mr. Lung and reformed fans like myself can find grounds for agreement.  Baseball is a game where things get settled on the field (unless you’re Michael Barrett and Carlos Zambrano) and the NFL could take a lesson.

Let a guy like TO or Ochocinco do a little dance and get down after making a spectacular catch.  And then let them put 2 and 2 together when they get their teeth knocked out the next time they catch a ball.  It won’t take long before the celebrations get tempered of their own accord.

That things like these go without saying is part of what makes baseball a great game.  It’s not just about individual valor and team glory.  It’s also the tradition and the melodrama.  You think the Brewers will have forgotten that “pitch that got away” the next time they’re playing the Giants?  And do you think the Giants will go easy on Fielder the next time he’s up to bat?  No way, man.  And that’s just one more reason to be watching those games.

-A

***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 about the lovechild of Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh also welcome.

Towards a Truly World Series

NHL_ALL_STARS.jpgWhen the NHL switched it’s All-Star game format in the late 90′s from the typical conference vs. conference match-up to a North America vs. The World battle royale, it seemed to herald the dawn of a new, global style of sport. Of course there are the Olympics and the World Cup but if sports like hockey were going to take on an internationalist bent, it was only a matter of time before the whole world came on-board.

Five years later the game reverted back to it’s traditional format and globalism had lost a bit of its luster but the overall move towards a more universal sporting life continued to pick up steam.

Just take a look around the major American sports. The NBA is still dominated by Americans but Europeans, South Americans and even the Chinese have become stars in their own right. The NFL is probably the only league that can still claim to be nearly 100% American but that probably owes much to the fact that the rest of the world is more than happy with their own version of football.

Even the most traditionally American of sports has taken on a greater international context in the past decade with the creation of the World Baseball Classic. And MLB has no plans to stop there. Just this past week it was reported that Bud Selig has been in discussions with his Japanese counterpart for a match-up between the two countries’ respective champions. Maybe it’s only two countries at this point but there’s no doubt that baseball will follow soccer’s lead and institutes some sort of World Club Championships pitting the best club teams from around the world against each other.

It makes sense. There seems to be no end to what consumers are willing to suck up and with all the money to be made from the merchandising, not to mention the actual playing of these games, the different national leagues would be foolish not to join in. Bud Selig will do anything at this point to have his legacy be something other than the steroid era and this would definitely be one way to do that.

Lost in all this is the fact that despite its near collapse a few seasons ago, the NHL may have had it right after all. You can fight globalization and maybe you’ll win some battles. But the war has already been won and it’s here to stay. Baseball appears ready to embrace that.

-A

Sympatico

Rabbi_Baseball.jpgWell, it seems that once again my erudite co-blogger and myself have found something on which we can agree. As right as the Tigers were to hold the line on the start of their Good Friday game, the Yankees and MLB are wrong in caving to the Yom Kippur lobby.

Now, I understand the concern. As I’ve mentioned before, I lived in NYC and that place is a ghost town on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. But moving up the start time so a few people can get their fast on? Sorry, no. Even in Saudi Arabia World Cup qualifiers are still taking place despite the fact that it’s smack dab in the middle of the fasting month of Ramadan. If the Saudis aren’t changing that up, maybe MLB should take note.

However, it’s nice that Mr. Lung and myself can agree on something. After all the hyperbolic excesses of the past couple weeks, I find it reassuring that there are still areas where we are sympatico.

But, since it is Labor Day and on this day of rest it is only natural that we should turn to questions of labor, I wonder what his thoughts are on the place of labor and collective bargaining in baseball today. I ask this because there is a law in the Federal government that even though employees may unionize, they do not have the right to strike. Should baseball consider setting up some sort of similar agreement? Since it is America’s past time, shouldn’t it be considered just as essential?

-A

The Filibuster

When the Catholic church complained about teams playing/opening their
season on Good Friday, you guys were all over it – “reminding” us all
of the separation of Church and State. So, will we also get a public
reminder of that over the New York Congressman writing to Uncle Bud
complaining about ESPN’s decision to move the Red Sox-Yankees game to
8pm on September 27th and the fact that it started after sundown on Yom
Kippur. MLB & ESPN caved and the game will be played at 1pm and
shown only on ESPN. Is one religious holiday more “holy” then another?
Where is the public outcry? Inquiring minds want to know your opinion.

Julia
Julia’s Rants
Massachusetts
____________________________________

church and state.jpgDespite what they may tell you in church, or temple or mosque or whatever… the founding fathers of our great US American nation had a pretty good sense of how detrimental, confusing and manipulative the institution of the Church could be to the sanctity of the State.  Of course, these men were no angels, but they did know enough to make it clear that the two entities should never intersect — one shouldn’t influence the other.

Unfortunately, even after hundreds of years, those pesky little zealots continue to infiltrate where they shouldn’t.  They meddle in my schools.  They lobby in my government.  And now they are sticking their hypocritical hands into my national pastime

And I don’t like it.

You see, dear readers, to be frank, I really don’t care if you are religious or not.  If you choose to put all your faith in recycled fairy tales that is most definitely your choice, your right.  I will not judge you because I don’t really care and I don’t claim to know the answer to any of those questions that religion supposedly answers either.  I just know that it isn’t for me.  But when it comes to your life, it’s your life and you should be allowed to live it however you want.

But in return for this congenial act of courtesy, I ask that religious folk kindly extend me the same respect.  Don’t tell me I’m going to hell.  Don’t tell me what I should believe.  Don’t stick your nose in my bedroom.  Don’t blow up my cities.  Don’t tell my kids (speaking for the future) that they have to pray before algebra class.  Stay out of my business and I’ll stay out of yours.

And that includes my game.

Just stay out of it.  If a game is being played during your ‘holy’ day then don’t go to the game.  And don’t complain about it.  What’s so hard about that?  I don’t complain when you want to say a prayer before dinner.  I just let you do it and go about my business.  Because I respect your decisions, your choices, your thoughts.

Doesn’t mean I have to believe them or practice them. 

New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, the one responsible for sparking this childish debate, said:

“Practicing your
religion shouldn’t conflict with rooting for your home team.”

Likewise, Congressman, your religion should not conflict with how I or a baseball team or television network goes about business.  Isn’t religion all about sacrifice?  Then sacrifice the game.  Forget the game.  Go do your thing and keep everyone else out of it.

The Tigers didn’t give in to the Catholics in April.  They made the right choice.

ESPN and MLB shouldn’t have caved in to the Jewish faith on this matter either; because now they’re forcing me to live my life how they want me to live it… and I ain’t down with that. 

King Bud screwed up again.

It’s sorta his m.o.

Hate me ‘cuz I don’t like religion forced down my throat, just don’t hate me ‘cuz — as a baseball fan and as a US American — I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pujolsandlidge.jpgIt’s recently occurred to me that Albert [Pujols] is on pace to challenge Maris’
single season HR mark.  If he does this he becomes the first player NOT
implicated in steroids or other PED’s to do so.  Should baseball make a
bigger deal out of this?  I kind of doubt MLB would (it would look like
they were admitting Bonds and Sosa’s and McGwire’s big home run years
were illegitimate), but baseball fans should be rejoicing in what has
quietly become a potentially historic season.
Your thoughts?

Ted
Chicago, IL
__________________________________________

As arrogant and scapegoating as MLB’s front offices are,  we would be much better off betting our 401k’s that Sarah Palin will become the next president than we would on MLB making any mention of this highly inconvenient fact.  But that does not mean we, the fans, and other knowledgeable folks can’t start stirring up some serious crap.

And who shall be our leader in this sanctimonious crusade?

bob costas.jpgBob Friggin’ Costas.

For those of you who tuned into the MLB Network on Thursday night to watch the Mets get blown out by the Dodgers, you already know what I’m talking about.  For the rest of you, let me fill you in…

Inspired by the overhyped drama of Manny’s first series in New York after his embarrassing steroid reveal, Bob Costas came out to his colleague Jim Kaat and declared that McGwire’s record, Bonds’ record and the rest of those monumentally tainted blips of prestige could be thrown out and dismissed entirely by any Joe Fan — any human being capable of understanding how marred the game had become during the ‘steroid era’ — and that according to such logical folks, Roger Maris’ 61 and Hank Aaron’s 755 still stood as the true records — the unclouded, inarguable, uncontested homerun records of Major League Baseball.

MLB won’t ever tell you anything like that.

Bob Costas will.

And did.

Is it fair to knock Major League Baseball for doing what is really the only logical thing they can do given the circumstances?  No.  Probably not. 

But fair is a relative concept — one no one (including me, I admit) had the balls to contest when guys like Ivan Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro and Paul Lo Duca were raking dingers like I chug Bud Light on the weekends.

Still, as a lowly MLBlogger, I adhere to my spawning necessity to stir up a bunch of crap for no good reason, hoping someone will actually take notice, even if I do contradict my own penned tirades from time to time.

But, Ted, let me tell ya, I’m rejoicing, man.  And in my world, Roger Maris is at the top (except for that one moment back in ’98 when McGwire took Steve Trachsel deep at Busch II) and Hank Aaron is tops too because I simply cannot stand Barry Bonds, his runaway forehead, or his smug crybaby I’m-the-victim routine.

Alleluia!

I’m a US American!  It’s in my blood to flip-flop; it’s in yours too and you know it. 

So go ahead and hate me ‘cuz I’m a greasy s***talker, just 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. 

***Pictures of a scantily clad Courtney Cox circa 1998 also welcome.

Identity Crisis

question_mark.jpgListen up, Major League Baseball.  I love you.  I really do; and sometimes being in love means having to bring you back down to earth, to be horribly blunt and to shower you with lots of smack (the slang, not the drug, though sometimes the drug seems like a better option in extreme cases, like when you overflow my inbox with crap I don’t want and never asked for).

MLB, you are not the NFL.  You are not the NBA.  You are MLB.

So while I commend you for trying to drum up interest in something — the first year player draft — that is, on the surface, boring and otherwise three to four years removed (if that) from the current game, I must ask you to please snap out of it

For the record, I do not care about the NFL and NBA drafts either, but I can certainly see why people do.  If you are a basketball and/or football fan, you have seen the potential draftees come up through the highly competitive elite forces of the NCAA.  Bowl games are slammed down your throat.  March Madness is so mad that it doesn’t end until April.  You know the players.  You’ve seen their talents.  You hope your pro team gets a shot at their services.

In contrast, the potential baseball draftees are as familiar to us fans as is a logical, amicable, non-infuriating Ann Coulter.  In the NFL and NBA, if you get drafted, your chances of seeing playing time at the top are almost a given, while most of the guys drafted in the MLB draft will never put on a big league uniform.  Sure, your Griffeys, A-Rods and Verlanders — guys who go in the first round or two — will most likely make it; but the majority of the rest will wallow away in the minor leagues, battle disillusionment, come to grips with not being good enough and before you know it they’re faxing TPS reports behind a desk while reading RSBS for giggles.

So as MLB pats itself on its self-aggrandizing back about televising this overblown shindig so they can sell lots of advertising to companies gullible enough to think that it will actually rival that of its football and basketball brethren, you can be sure that I will be spending my time wisely.  Dear readers, I advise you to do the same; and just in case you can’t think of anything better to do, here are some suggestions:

  • Remember, question and lament the hype of Pete Incaviglia
  • Write hate-mail to Rush Limbaugh and sign it “Jesus”
  • Clone Chris Carpenter
  • Come up with clever gimmicks to sell your new religion start-up (worked for me!)
  • Or, God forbid, watch an actual Major League Baseball game with real-life Major Leaguers

pete incaviglia.jpgIndeed, that is but a short list of things I will be doing instead of watching your draft, MLB.  I will not be listening to Harold Reynolds start every sentence with “Now, here’s a guy…” nor will I sing praises of your precious college phenom Stephen Strasburg when he is — as you already told me he would be — drafted in the first round.  I’ll wait until he collects the league minimum $400K for that.

I know a poser when I see one and it is because I love you, MLB, that I have to call you one to your face.  Go ahead and hate me ‘cuz I’m critical of your identity crisis, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Guest Relations

Jeff and Allen are cool.jpgDear readers!  There is finally a reason to read a news magazine!  That’s right, folks, the June 8th edition of Newsweek will be guest edited by neo-con-politico-pundit-funnyman, Stephen Colbert.  Don’t know who he is?  Don’t worry.  Neither does Kanye.  And Kanye is awesome.  

Admittedly, I haven’t read Newsweek since my high school AP History class and even then I was more interested in the pictorial court drama of O.J. Simpson than the actual news, but you can bet I’m gonna read this one because no one knows faux headlines like Colbert (well, maybe Katie Couric).

And I am not alone.  The buzz around this avant-garde editorial decision is already hyping the masses, which got me thinking… what kind of immediate and notorious media blitz would errupt around the interwebosphere if MLB.com allowed Mr. Krause and I (and our RSBS cronies) to guest edit its website and inform baseball fans galore on all the game’s most exciting threads.

Well, wonder no more ‘cuz we already started on the following headlines (just in case they come’a knockin’):

Fortune Teller Madame Zelda from a West Baltimore Shanty-Town Proclaims Cubs Might Win It All in 2208
…against their crosstown rival the Chicago Brewers of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

ESPN to Broadcast All Royals Games for an Entire Month
…subject to blackout where good baseball teams are appreciated

Did You Know President Obama is a White Sox Fan with Muslim Roots, a White Mom and an African Dad? That’s Crazy!!!
…it really is

Beat the Streak! Accurately Predict How Many Times Milton Bradley Will Go on the Disabled List and Win Free Gift with Purchase!
…minimum purchase of $500 to be eligible

David Ortiz Is Actually Cecil Fielder
…ah, yes, now it makes sense

Vote for Your Favorite Steroid Enhanced All-Stars; Cheating Welcome!

…Hint: Select Manny Ramirez for every position, for every team, forever

Entire MLB Network Staff to Be Fired Except for Mitch Williams

…’cuz Mitch is the only one worth saving

Mitchell Report Sequel Due Out Next Spring Entitled “THE MITCHELL MINORITY REPORT”
…features the plight of a distraught and sensationalized Tom Cruise jumping on couches determined to catch only minorities using PEDs before they actually use them

Charles Barkley to Write Weekly MLB Editorial Featuring Nothing but F-Bombs and P-Drops
…why? Because we can… we want to… and we know the FCC could use the money

And finally…

Please Buy Old Yankee Stadium Urinals
…’cuz we gotta pay C.C. and A.J. and Tex and A-Rod and Jeter and A-Rod’s child support and alimony and attorney fees and publicist and strippers and estranged cousin in the Dominican Republic and his child support and alimony…and….

MLB.com, if you’re reading, it’s time to give RSBS its guest editing wings and take this show to a new, exciting, frightening place.  And I guarantee that, in the end, you will hate me.

Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Paunch ‘Em Out!

If you are an MLB.TV subscriber, you may have noticed that between innings you will see the occasional commercial now.  Most likely it will be an annoying five dollar foot long spot.  But if you’re lucky, you’ll get a poorly produced advertisement for a Major League Baseball umpiring school!

Nevermind the reality that you have a better chance becoming a Major League baseball player than you do an umpire, because that, dear readers, is not important here.

What is important is that you know umpiring is sexy now.  And anyone can do it.  Hell, Don Denkinger did it and he su<ked!

So go for it!  Just make sure you come prepared and look the part… no friggin’ skinnies allowed!

umpire school.jpg

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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