Results tagged ‘ MLB ’

An Unseasonably Warm Lament

gravestone.jpgIt’s 55 degrees in Chicago today and my entire Bridgeport neighborhood is wet with the sound of Irish keening.

We should all be outside, throwing the ball around with the neighborhood kids, hitting grounders with the fungo bat and telling little Jimmy to keep his eye on the ball, to level his swing.

Instead, we find ourselves trapped inside our apartments — breaking things — deeply saddened by today’s news and seriously questioning our loyalty to a game that continues to let us — an entire nation — down.

This, my friends, will be the legacy of Bud Selig.

Screw revenue sharing.  Forget the WBC.  Eat it on interleague play.

Bud Selig is the sole reason why we the fans — the rock-solid foundation of Major League Baseball — find ourselves in the midst of yet another seriously debilitating depression.

Go ahead, Bud.  Pretend like you didn’t know anything.  Entertain your highfalutin, self-righteous, narcissistic thoughts as being the trailblazing ambassador of the game.

We know. 

Yes.  We all know.

The Truth is: YOU dropped the ball.

And you will forever be remembered for that.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

This Should Be A Joke But It Is Not

bud.selig.jpg
Major League Baseball Commissioner and de facto Dear Leader Bud Selig makes $18.35 million a year.

Yes, I said, Bud Selig makes $18.35 million a year!

Pick your jaw up off the floor and wipe it clean with that $12 MLB hoodie you got on sale at Target — the kind King Bud would never wear because a) he’s still not cool and b) a $12 anything is certainly well below him.

Everybody still with me?  Great.  Now, realize that Bud Selig makes more money a year than Albert Pujols ($13.87 million), Ryan Howard ($10 million) and Magglio Ordonez ($15.77 million) not to mention a slew of other superstars who have had way more to do with the current success of the commercialized game than Selig could ever dream of having.

If anything, Bud Selig is the supreme benefactor of being in the right place at the right time.

Because really, what has Selig done during his tenure to make baseball as popular as it is today?  Well, let’s see…

He oversaw the devastating strike of 1994.

He realigned everything, making sure to put six teams in the NL Central (the largest division in baseball while the AL West has just four teams), which causes the Cubs and Cardinals to only play each other twelve times a year as opposed to twenty, further decimating and devaluing one of the best rivalries in the game.

He gave us the inexcusable, outlandishly silly “this time it counts” scenario of the All-Star Game winner having home field advantage during the World Series.

He ignored the blatant, in-your-face warnings that a large faction of players were doping it up, thus hitting balls out of the park at a fervent pace.  This, of course, peaked the interest of all because who doesn’t love a homerun or seventy?  Suddenly, more people start to show up at the park, putting more money in his pocket… so, really, can anyone really chide Selig for his unethical behavior?

Yes, we can.

But what is done is done.  We cannot undo anything.  What we can do is scream, yell, break things and blog about it (Selig, you owe me a new computer screen).   

If Bud Selig makes $18 million a year, then by my calculations, which are based on his overall worth to the game of baseball (and you Sabermetric guys can jump in here if I am off), Manny Ramirez should be making $75 million a year; A-Rod, (making note of his abysmal playoff khalil greene.jpgperformances) should be paid $55 million a year and Khalil Greene, after cashing in on an incentive-based package requiring him to record at least one base hit in each month of the season (so, let’s say at least six), ought to be bringing in a cool $29 million a year.

Looks like the fantasy baseball season never ends if your name is King Bud Selig.  I just hope he remembers to pay his taxes.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Verdict: Selig Still Not Cool

bud selig.jpgIn an innocuously desperate attempt Thursday to prove to MLB owners, players and fans that he is indeed “cool”, Commissioner Bud Selig failed even the slightest of notice despite donning some super-slick tip-top-trendy chick-magnet Blublockers.

Ironically, he did turn heads by becoming the first person to ever replace himself as Captain Obvious when he cautioned MLB owners about the failing world economy.  (*Selig originally became Captain Obvious when he warned the league that some players may in fact be using steroids and other PEDs.  This, of course, came after ten years of simply ignoring said problem while MLB made mad money off now twice-said problem.)

After an emergency board meeting with RSBS interns, I conclude that the moniker “cool” will never be applicable to Bud Selig.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Let’s Get It Right, Shall We?

baby yawn.jpgAs if the ho-hum disinterest of the 2008 World Series wasn’t enough to slow us down, now we die-hards have to wait and see what happens with mother nature before our venerable King Bud passes down his judgment so that the game can ultimately go on.  Having fully digested this oddity of baseball circumstance, the feeling I have now is eerily similar to that which I had on Election Night 2000 when a clear winner for the White House could not be determined with 100% accuracy.  Instead, I was forced to wait… and wait…

…and then suffer — for eight years.

But in this case, such doom seems unlikely.  In fact, with Hamels out and David Price in (maybe?) I’d say the advantage definitely goes to the Rays; which means there is hope that I will conclusively prove Mr. Krause wrong (yet again)!

I like that.

What I don’t like is public displays of idiocy: GW Bush, Amy Winehouse, MLB.com.

Yeah, I said it. 

Because when I logged on this morning to get an update on the weather situation, the graphic they had blasting over the front page had a couple of big fat ugly typos on it:

pittsburgh.jpgSure, they fixed it about an hour after I first saw it, but in this line of business, there is no excuse for misspelling words — even if it seems like people from Pittsburgh never pay attention to baseball.  And unless the Roots are designing graphics for MLB.com, “Phildelphia” is not a real place.

We here at RSBS have a full staff of highly educated pompous grammar-wh0re proofreaders — and by “full” I mean Mr. Krause and I.  But that seems to –

- – - – - – - * * * * – - – - – - – * * * * – - – - – - – * * * * – - – - – - –

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ANNOUNCE THAT WE HOPE TO RESUME WRITING SAID POST AS SOON AS THE ELEMENTS ALLOW AND WE’D JUST LIKE TO ADD THAT WE DON’T KNOW WHEN THAT WILL BE EXACTLY BUT WE PROMISE THAT IT WILL ADD TO THE ANTI-CLIMACTIC NATURE CLEARLY EVIDENT IN BASEBALL THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS SO YOU’LL AT LEAST GET WHAT YOU’VE BEEN GETTIN’

- – - – - – - * * * * – - – - – - – * * * * – - – - – - – * * * * – - – - – - –

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Kind, Gracious Words from the Top

ozzie smith jersey.jpg“In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking but now, God knows, anything goes.”
      — Cole Porter (1891 – 1964)

Indeed, anything goes, including the meteoric rise of two previously unknown baseball nerds from Anytown, USA.  Yes, dear readers.  Who would’ve ever thought that a white guy who speaks Chinese Cardinal fan from the Southside of Chicago and an equally white guy who speaks French Tiger fan from the politicking capital of the world (D.C.) would ever be at the top of… well, anything?

Neither did we.

But now we know.  It’s official.  You, dear readers, have put RSBS on the MLB map, making us the number ONE fan blog in a community of myriad deservees; now, like my childhood hero, I too can proudly wear the number one on my back.

Of course, the good work has only just begun and now is no time to quit.

Sure, the Cardinals can’t win under pressure this year.  But you know what?  I love them anyway.

Sure, Palinmania has temporarily replaced Obamamania.  But you know what?  The Truth will soon rear it’s ugly head. 

Sure, our leaders are borrowing money from China to build a self-serving infrastructure in a little-known least understood country named Georgia when that money could probably be better spent developing universal health care plans and/or educational benefits right here in good old US America.  But you know what?  I have a choice this November and my voice will be heard.

So, too, will yours, dear readers.  With the recent success of RSBS, you have already proved that much.

And now is not the time to stop the good fight.  Mr. Krause and I would like to sincerely thank you for your loyalty, your kind words, your hateful words, your love and your passion for the greatest game on earth. 

That passion, that fire, that spirit is what keeps our hopes alive…

So keep the comments coming, the arguments burning, the fandom sizzling… and as always, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Belle of the Ball

I think I’ve been going about this all wrong. Perhaps experience really isn’t all that important. Look at the Rays, for instance. They go 0-7 at Fenway for the first part of the season and then pull out two impressive wins on the road against the Red Sox when it means the most. It’s like the ’06 Tigers against the Yankees. Or the ’07 Rockies against the entire National League.

However, that brings us to the real issue. Although the Rockies and Tigers put together great seasons and impressive runs, they both failed when it really mattered. And if there is a god, perhaps she’ll look down and have pity on us Americans. Maybe she’ll decide this is the year where experience no longer counts and the Rays will thunder through the playoffs but then spurn the misguided prayers of the GOP faithful.

The American public has already decided that experience doesn’t matter with their full fledged embrace of Sarah Palin. Yes, I know she was a mayor. And I know she is governor. But that kind of experience is akin to me saying that I can run Amnesty International because I once headed up a small nonprofit organization. Sorry folks. I’m not qualified and neither is she.

But if the Rays can do it, maybe she can, too. In fact, there’s already a precedent since the Republican Party seem to be borrowing tactics from MLB. Baseball has decided to focus on personalities, as my friend, Mr. Lung, so eloquently pointed out a few weeks ago. And the Republicans have also decided to avoid talking about the real story and try to make this election a popularity contest.

MissWasilla1984.jpg

 

 

“Look everyone! She’s a pretty girl! And everyone votes for the homecoming queen, right?”

 

 

 

So, maybe I’m still a little bitter about that 2006 World Series. And maybe I’d prefer a VP who understands that just believing something doesn’t necessarily make it true. What can I say? I’m tough to please and I make no apologies for that.

-A

 

A Technocratic Disruption of the Baseball Cosmos

baseball god.jpgInstant replay may be here for good but that doesn’t mean I have to like it; nor does it mean I have to support it.  Because I don’t.

And I won’t.

Before you get all sassy (Mr. Krause), let me just say that my basis for detesting this technological intrusion is not rooted in science.  It does not rely on tangible evidence.  It is based on one simple cosmological principle:

The baseball gods are pissed off.

For it is my strong belief that in baseball everything happens for a reason and eventually the inequalities of umpiring decisions (though visible and often game-altering) will be settled at a later time, when appropriate, when it’s most necessary.  This is how it has been for over a hundred years — or in other words: a long friggin’ time.

Had the argument against instant replay in baseball not been so stringent in the past perhaps I wouldn’t be so upset about it now; but to maintain the party line for so long only to crumble under the pressure of a few whiny millionaires is quite embarrassing.  Baseball is not football.  It is not basketball.  It is not hockey. 

It does not need instant replay — at all.  Ever.

Of course, now people like my colleague Mr. Allen Krause have embraced this technology because it will supposedly ensure that each homerun call is made correctly.  And though they say it will be reserved only for homerun calls, we all know that you can’t just have one cookie.  Before long everything from close plays at first to suspected trappings in the outfield to balls and strikes will soon be up for review by some Geek Squad reject in the New York main office, thus eliminating the human umpire element entirely, not to mention extending what many already consider a game that goes on too long.

This is not good, folks.  It’s not good at all.  And Mr. Krause, you’re completely wrong in your steadfast embrace of this electronic eye-in-the-sky Pandora’s Box. 

exorcist 2.jpgYou will be sorry.  You see, the baseball gods — now raging in their defiance towards this atrocious innovation — have myriad unfinished business in equalizing the poor calls of the past.  But now, since MLB has gone against its purist principles, all those yet to be righted face the harsh and difficult reality that they may never see justice on the field again.  Fate has been tested and one ought to know better than to mess with fate, or the supernatural.

Just ask Pete Rose.

Ever wonder why the Yankees World Series drought has lasted so long?  Ask Derek Jeter or Jeffrey Maier or Tony Torasco.  They know.  They were there.  

Ever wonder how a barely-above mediocre Cardinal squad won the 2006 World Series?  Ask Don Denkinger.  He knows.  He took it away from them 21 years earlier.

Ever wonder how a pompous autocrat like me got to write a hit blog?  Ask Greg Altmix, my high school baseball coach who sat me on the bench because I couldn’t hit the ball to the opposite field.  He knows.  I was a pull hitter.  You can’t change a pull hitter. 

Dear readers, for every wrong there is a right and the baseball gods know exactly what the hell they’re doing.

Call me a purist, call me old-school, call me Suzie… I don’t give a s***.  Go ahead.  Hate me if you must.

…but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

This week saw the introduction of instant reply — a
technocratic advance many still consider blasphemy — in Major League
Baseball.  Currently, the only calls
deemed debatable are homerun calls.  But now that the surface has been cracked, is it not only a matter of time before
we are reviewing foul balls down the line, close plays at first and dare I say
the strike zone?  Where does one draw the
line and how will this impact the overall game?

 

– Jeff

                                                                      

arod_replay_homer.jpg

Ah yes, the ol’ slippery slope argument. If we do “x,” then “y” and “z” must follow. It’s an argument politicians have used for years to hold out against reforming everything from farm subsidies to gun ownership. But, the fact of the matter is that the argument holds no water.

Beyond that, however, is an even more important distinction when it comes to instant replay. The use of replay for this one small area of the game is a huge improvement over the old system.

Just this past week, replay was used to uphold an Alex Rodriguez home run and the game neither came to a screeching halt nor did the ghosts of long dead major leaguers suddenly come flying out of the ground to right some injustice that had been done to their memory. Replay equals innovation and evolution in the game.

In the old system, a bunch of middle aged men who saw the ball’s path from 300 feet away would get together and debate what had happened. Often, they got it wrong. So now, instead of paying the hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be necessary to put extra umps in the outfield, MLB came up with a suitable alternative.

No one who truly calls their self a baseball fan wants to see the abolition of the umpire. The call at home plate in a swirl of dust and dirt is as much a part of the game as the wooden bat and pinetar covered batting helmet.

But instant replay adds to the game. And in fact, in honor of its resounding success during its first week of use, I’d like to see it applied in other places where it’s never been seen before.

For instance, I’d like to see an instant replay of Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech at the Republican National Convention the other evening. Maybe then we can discover how someone who’s views so clearly fall outside the mainstream (creationism taught side by side with evolution?) has become an overnight media darling.

Or perhaps we could find out via replay how the Chicago Tribune came to print a story that so closely resembled my colleague Mr. Lung’s recent post.

No matter what, instant replay is here to stay along with the DH and All-Star Games that have way too much of an impact on October baseball. Instant replay, though, that’s change we can believe in.

-A

MLB’s Red State of Mind

No, I’m not saying that Major League Baseball is communist. Although, now that you mention it….

No, what I’m talking about is a frame of mind that seems to have taken over both MLB and Red America. Neither one of them can’t stand intellectuals. College boys (and girls) who have impressive vocabularies, use logic in the decision-making process and understand that the world is painted in shades of gray, not just black and white, just don’t have a place in MLB or the fly-over states. Let me explain.

The red state anti-intellectualism is pretty clear cut. A Harvard law grad with impeccable credentials and a strong history of community organizing is nothing more than a namby-pamby, arugula-eating, out-of-touch, East-coast liberal elite. Nuance is seen as flip-flopping or waffling and the only way to make a decision is to decide which side is evil and which is good and always go for good. Of course, this also means simplifying every argument.

elaine_v2.jpgFor instance, let’s take Elaine Benes, uh, I mean Sarah Palin. Although her oldest daughter got knocked up at 17 which would be unlimited fodder for Republicans if it had been a Democratic candidate, somehow the “Family Values” party doesn’t have a problem with this because the kids are getting married. Nevermind that this might be the worst possible outcome for the kid and for the two getting married. But, that’s the red state mindset. There is no gray. Only black and white.

In a similarly antiquated manner, red state politicians see no reason for their views to evolve beyond the social mores of 1776. If it was all right for Thomas Jefferson, it’s all right for them.

It’s just like the view that MLB takes when it comes to many of the technological and statistical updates that have inundated sports in the past few years. Of course there are people like Billy Beane and Theo Epstein who understand that using technology does not cheapen the game and, in fact, makes it more competitive. But the powers that be within the MLB hierarchy have fought back. People like Bill James get blackballed.

palin_v2.jpgAnd in the same way, it took a flurry of botched calls at the beginning of the season before they even considered instituting limited instant replay. No one wants to see the ump behind the plate replaced with a computer calling balls and strikes. But what’s wrong with taking another look at a play that took place 200 feet from where they were standing?

In the end, we have no control over what MLB does. It will take time but they’ll have to evolve to stay relevant. But we do have a choice when it comes to who leads our country. A little arugula anyone?

-A

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