Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’

Hey, D.C., Phillies Called, They Want Their Fans Back

BOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

That was the sound of the Washington Nationals faithful… before the NLDS Game 3 even started.

That’s right, while the Cardinals personnel was being announced prior to the game, Nationals fans invoked their inner “Philly-ness” and slaughtered the birds on the bat with their vocal angst (the birds on the bat slaughtered the Nats on the field).

The booing only increased towards raucous levels through the first and second innings as the Cardinals piled up runs.  By the 7th inning, most of the fans were already gone, giving up on their team before the game was over.

Classy, D.C.  Very classy.

I’m still scratching my head on this one.  When did D.C. fans become so entitled?  They haven’t won anything yet!

Nationals Park is one of my favorite baseball havens of all time.  I have been there several times now, most of those games against the Cardinals, and I have never seen nor heard the fans act like such a-holes.

I guess the transient Beltway fans have taken over for the real deal — if the real deal actually exists.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals (and their fans) remain awesome.  I’m proof.  Seriously.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

Are the Giants better off without Melky?

Mark 
Oak Park, IL

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On August 15 the Giants were 64-54 after losing to Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.  That same day they found out that they would be losing Cabrera for the rest of the regular season due to a 50-game ban.  Since then, the Giants won 27 games and only lost 11 on their way to clinching the division with a couple weeks left to go.  Now, there’s no doubt that Cabrera, juicing or not, can hit.  In reality, the drugs just made him better.  And it’s also pretty evident that he was on track for the NL batting title.  But when you look at the record compared to what the expectations were following news of Cabrera’s ban and one thing becomes obvious.

The Giants are a good team.

And they might be even better without Melky.

Look at the numbers.  With Melky the Giants were 10 games over .500 and doing well in the West but still not a sure thing.  Without Melky this same team is 26 games over .500 as of Friday and simply blew away the rest of the division.

What that tells me is that something changed in the collective psyche of the Giants when Melky got the boot.  The knew they could no longer depend on one guy to come up with the clutch hit and, as a result, it has been a whole bunch of guys who have had to come up with the hits and catches.  This makes them a team as opposed to a collection of players brought in as a supporting cast for the one star.

I don’t know if the Giants have the magic to make a run this year like they did in 2010.  If I had to guess, I’d probably say no since baseball is so wildly unpredictable.  But they seem to be coming together as a team more now than they did with Melky leading the charge so anything is possible.  Throw in the fact they don’t have to worry about facing Strasburg in the postseason like they did back on August 15 and it means that their chances are just a little bit better.

-A

The Filibuster

Who should throw out the first pitch if the Nats make the Series?

Natalie
Washington, DC
__________________________

In a city known for its hot-winded bureaucracy, I can definitely see this scenario as something DC suits would fight for.  I mean, who wouldn’t welcome the public relations boost that would come with leading the charge in Washington’s first World Series since 1933?

The problem is, I wouldn’t want any currently serving politicians out there on the mound.  Obama, a clumsily outspoken White Sox fan with an awkward delivery, would not be a good choice considering the pending presidential election and his penchant for wildness.  And asking a former president such as George W. Bush, a man who can certainly hold his own on the baseball diamond, would also be a bad choice considering the awful PR that would go with it.

The first pitch in the World Series should be by someone who is just as much a part of the spirit of Nationals baseball as the players and coaches and front office.  It should be someone with great leadership skills.  Someone who is adored regardless of political affiliation.  Someone who is dead.

It should be Teddy Roosevelt.

Since the Expos became the Nationals, fans of this ill-fated franchise have had little to cheer for… except for Teddy Roosevelt.  And yet despite leading the charge during the Spanish-American War, despite conquering an elusive elephant whilst on African safari, and despite surviving a bullet shot from John Schrank’s gun, the stuffed man still cannot find a way to sit atop the Presidents Race podium.

The very least DC could do is give him the first pitch.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

The Filibuster

Who is the man with the masterplan?

Jake 
Macomb, IL

_________________________

Good question, Jake!  And the answer isn’t as easy as one Dr. Dre would lead you to believe.

Honestly, it’s hard to just pick one person and say he’s the man with the masterplan.  And since we here at RSBS like to avoid being too categorical, I’m going to give you a list of possibilities and let you decide.

First we turn to the world of baseball.  Here, you could say it’s the Washington Nationals, the former laughingstock of the league who now find themselves with the second best record in baseball, who are the man.  Or, how about the Cincinnati Reds with the best record in baseball?  Even that would be ignoring the Pittsburgh Pirates, who, although several games behind the Reds, are still in wildcard contention.  The Pirates?!

If that’s too vague for you, we could always try to drill down a little and offer up some individuals.  You can’t spit these days without hitting some news about Mike Trout.  However, at only 20 years old, it’s a little hard to say that he’s the man with the masterplan.  The same could be said of Stephen Strasburg, although the Nationals’ plan to limit his innings this season could be seen as a masterplan…..or a master cock-up if it costs them a playoff spot or a deep playoff run.

When you say masterplan, though, that seems to be a bit more global than just Major League Baseball.  This sounds more like it requires worldwide dominance in which case we should turn our eyes toward London and the Olympic games.  The obvious choices here are the US Men’s basketball team who unfortunately seemed almost human against the Lithuanians and Michael Phelps, the Midas of swimming who has a knack for turning almost everything gold.

However, it also doesn’t hurt to look a bit further afield.  For instance, how about a man who dabbles in and dominates a field of pseudo-gymnastics.  That’s right.  Olympic men’s trampoline champion, Dong Dong.  With a name like that and  the current title-holder as World and Olympic champion, it’s hard to say he’s not the man with the masterplan.

-A

“I thought he was a weird wuss anyway…”

That’s right.  Davey Johnson speaks for me.

In this case, we (Davey and I) are talkin’ about my surly and oft dour colleague, Mr. Allen Krause.  Surely these words sting, almost as much as watching Mr. Krause’s beloved Tigers defeat my WORLD CHAMPION ST. LOUIS CARDINALS in their recent 3-game series.

Indeed, Verlander is a beast.  But the following inequality is true:

Westbrook + Lohse > Verlander

Unfortunately, the following is also true:

Santiago + Peralta + Jackson + Berry > Marte

Ugh.

I’m sending my representation to handle the press conference:

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Harper’s Bazaar

Photo via Yahoo

The Washington Nationals are without a doubt one of the best stories of the year.  And, of course, you can’t talk about the Nationals without inevitably turning to the direct youth infusion that is Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.  Probably the most amazing thing about these two guys is how well they seem to be handling the pressure at their relatively young ages.

Ever since we first celebrated Stras-mas in 2010, we knew we were in for something special.  Bryce-giving has been almost as good.  Through half a season his numbers have him in a rarified group of baseball players and already have stat-heads drooling over his promise.  However, that initial part of the sentence, “through half a season,” should remind us that he’s not yet Micky Mantle.

If there’s one thing that really makes me believe that Bryce-giving could become the same annual holiday that Stras-mas appears possible to become, it’s this:

That question had foot-in-mouth disease written all over it.  But instead of pulling a Humberto Quintero:

…Harper gave just about the perfect answer.  Well played, young man.

-A

The Filibuster

Taking into account the fantastic starts for Baltimore, Washington and the Dodgers, which one surprises you the most?

John
Fredericksburg, MD

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The only thing that suprises me about the Los Angeles Dodgers this year is that they sold for over two billion dollars.  TWO.  BILLION.  DOLLARS.  Holy Koufax, Batman!  That’s Albert Pujols money!!!

With legitimate superstars like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw anchoring the team, it was only a matter of whether or not off-the-field issues would cause a disturbance.  Now that there aren’t any, they’re free to do their thang, and as long as that includes Andre Ethier knocking in everyone in front of him and stellar performances from castaways like Chris Capuano and the longtime hookin’ lefty, Ted Lilly, then it really is their division to lose.  Kemp is currently on the 15 day DL and they’re still mowing through the opposition.

To me, the Nats aren’t a suprise either.  I think the consensus among learned baseball folk was that they were going to be good soon, it was just a matter of how soon.  With Michael Morse sidelined due to injury and an anemic offense through the first several weeks of the season, it seemed like they had some time before they’d be that team to beat; but pitching wins championships and their pitching has been as impressive as the St. Louis Cardinals’ travel day attire.

The real surprise — the real head-shaker du jour — is the cartoon bird in Baltimore bringing a moribund and aloof baseball club back to serious life.  Last year saw them get off to a good start, and I thought they might really be making a move back to the Oriole Way, but their youthful inexperience eventually backfired, ending in a bucket of Showalterian scowls.

But consider the performances of Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom, Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, Darren O’Day and even Kevin Gregg — yes, KEVIN GREGG — and you’ll see that it’s easier to win ballgames when your bullpen doesn’t come in and yack up the place.  For those of you who follow the Birds, you know that a yackin’ bullpen has been as much a staple of the beltway as corrupt politicians screwing their constituents.  Yeah, well, not everything can change.

Just as excited as I am about the Orioles’ resurgence, I’m equally as revved about the Toronto Blue Jays, yet another AL East team that just won’t back down.  They’re hitting everything.  They are pitching with authority.  And their Canadian poster-boy is keen on taking on the silliness that is MLB umpiring, one batting helmet at a time.

Also, there’s this:

Ah… to be 8 years old and Canadian… no suprise there.

Hate me if you want, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

The Rules: Good Television Edition

If Kim Kardashian’s well-traveled yet consistently hypnotizing room-shaker just doesn’t calm that nasty case of televisionitis anymore, do not fear.

This is the 21st century.  And armed with both an MLB.TV subscription AND an MLB Extra Innings package on Direct TV, you never have an excuse to sully your brain again (unless Las Vegas is involved).

There are three basic rules.

Number One:

Watch Tony Campana.  That’s right.  I can’t help but tune into this wily sCrUB.  He’s great television!  Seriously, the dude looks like he should be delivering my newspaper every morning on a magenta, one-speed Huffy, not working a walk so he get on base to haunt opposing pitchers.  Perhaps it’s because my imagined baseball skill-set is similar to that of Campana’s that I often find myself glued to his base-running.  Or maybe it’ s just because the guy is a buzzing gnat in a game full of free-swinging giants.

Number Two:

WATCH the American League East.  Doesn’t matter the team.  Yankees.  Drama.  Red Sox.  Drama.  Orioles?  DRAMA!  Blue Jays?  MORE DRAMA!  Rays… oh the Rays… they are the KINGS of DRAMA.  On any given night no one knows what the hell is gonna happen in this division.  It’s a baseball fanatic’s wet — okay.  Sorry, chuggin’ the verklempt there.

Number Three:

Bryce.  Friggin’.  Harper.

Watch this dude.  Seriously.

I gotta tip my cap to Mike Rizzo and the Nats.  Both of their high profile picks have delivered early in their careers, not with just talent, but with poise and brass balls.  Watch Bryce Harper play a baseball game and tell me he doesn’t love it more than anything else on the planet, that he doesn’t live his every waking second for the opportunity to play the game we love so much to the best of his ability, AT ALL TIMES.

Isn’t that a great example of how life should be lived by us all?

Stay tuned to Bryce Harper.  That kid is fantastic television.

And go ahead, hate me.  I don’t care.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Ten Titillations!

April counts, yo!  And here are some reasons why, after just one month into the season, I’m as jazzed as Mitt Romney during a temple garment clearance sale!

The Oriole Way
I am old enough to remember the Orioles being a staple of sound, fundamental baseball.  And though those days seemed to disappear into Jeffrey Maier’s malicious mitt, it looks like they may be back!  Let’s hope they are back to stay.

The AL Central
The Tigers are going to run away with the division you say?  Not so fast.  I know it’s only been one month, but the White Sox and Indians are right there with ‘em, and unless the Tigers start putting a hurtin’ on the opposition instead of Jewish folks at a New York hotel, things could get interesting.

Bobby V
Love him or hate him, he makes things interesting.  And oh how interesting things have been for the Boston Red Sox.  I LOVE IT!!!  The NBA may have all the drama, but when every day could be your last as a Red Sox, I start craving chicken, beer and video games.

The Not-So-Natinals
Best starting rotation in baseball.  Bryce Harper.  Strasburgers.  Um, throw in a presidential race worth watching and I’m ready for Mr. Krause to buy season tickets.

The Pujols-less Cardinals
I’m not gonna bask in AP’s struggles, but I am gonna point out that the Cardinals have yet to lose a series (except that one against the Cubs where they were gifted a win by the umpiring crew).  Onwards and upwards!

The AL West
Have you seen a Rangers game lately?  I’ve been watching them almost every day!  THAT’S how ya git’er done, folks.  Meanwhile, the Halos are as nervous as Rick Santorum at a Santorum Party!  As the Yankees and Red Sox learned before them, a bazillion dollars worth of free agent signings does NOT a champion make.

The Toronto Blue Jays
Not only do their uniforms look right again, but they’re also making the AL East insanely good!  If only they could make Colby Rasmus less whiny.

The Youth Movement
I remember the excitement involved with Ken Griffey Jr. breaking into the league.  Chipper Jones too.  Now that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have made their debuts, a similar buzz is in the baseball air.  Throw in a slew of sophomores and third year players making headlines and baseball looks to be badass for a very long time.

Pitching!!!
The Year of the Pitcher enters its THIRD year and I couldn’t be more excited!  As a self-confessed pitchers duel fiend, I live off serious heat, nasty breaking balls and backdoor sliders.  We’ve already seen a perfect game and some no-hitter flirtations.  But it’s the heroics of Joe Saunders, Kyle Lohse, Colby Lewis and the like that really get my gears greased.

And finally… the most titillating of them all so far…

ADAM. FREAKING. DUNN.
As a longtime resident of the south side of Chicago, the last thing I wanted to do was waste my summer days talking folks down off the ledge like I did last year.  But since it appears Dunn sold his 2011 soul to Albert Pujols, I’m free to party my ass off at the fake B-Dubbs on 35th & Halsted.  HOLLA!!!  And buy me a drink!

Go ahead, hate me ‘cuz I’m easily titillated, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

Is pitching so good because guys aren’t juicing anymore or are pitchers just better than they were ten years ago?

Kathrine
Downers Grove, IL

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This reminds me of when people ask if the Civil War was more about slavery or the fundamental differences between an industrial North and agrarian South.  The answer to the baseball question is pretty much the same as the answer to the Civil War question.  It’s both.

The apparent decrease in the use of PEDs in baseball has had an effect.  It’s unlikely you’re going to see many more 70+ homerun seasons in the near future.  But it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t just the hitters who were juicing during that period.  Roger Clemens taking a jab in his pale, fleshy ass was just as much a part of the era as Barry Bonds’ application of random creams and gels.  More than that, assuming that players are no longer juicing just because there hasn’t been as much of it in the news is naive at best.  It’s more likely that they have simply discovered a different, less traceable form.

Meanwhile, there’s no denying that some spectacular pitchers are playing the game these days.  Beyond the hype of guys like Strasburg, Lincecum and Verlander, even the mid-range starters have gotten better.  When the Rangers can add Neftali Feliz as their number five starter, that’s a sign there’s some scary talent out there.  The Nationals have become a force mainly through the development of guys like Strasburg, Storen and Zimmermann.  Pitchers are pitching not only better but smarter and that’s causing problems for hitters.

These things are cyclical, though.  Just because pitchers are handcuffing batters this season doesn’t mean the sluggers won’t figure out what’s going on next year.  It’s an arms race (literally and figuratively) between the two sides.  But it’s not just because of one aspect or another.  It’s the entirety of the situation.  You know, kind of like the Civil War.

-A

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.
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