Results tagged ‘ Nolan Ryan ’

A Pitcher is Worth a Thousand Words

dallas_braden.jpgIn the past few days two pitchers with the same kind of heart but very different skill levels achieved notoriety from very different results.  Since we here at RSBS try not to judge, we won’t say that one did better than the other.  But we will say that both brought a smile to our faces.

Dallas Braden was the main story, of course, with his nine innings of perfection.  He’s no David Wells and that’s probably a good thing.  And he’s still known as the guy who told off A-Rod.  But he’s also the guy who no-hit the hottest team in baseball.

Meanwhile, in another ball park not so far away, minor leaguer Rojo Johnson attempted to come back after a rough life that saw him spend some time in the cooler.  The results, although not unexpected, probably weren’t all that he had hoped for……or maybe they were.  We’ll let you be the judge:

Looks like he might have been channeling Nolan Ryan there for a second.  I think we can all get behind that.

Happy Tuesday!

-A

The Luck of the Irish

four_leaf_clover.jpgToday we drunkenly celebrate Irish heritage by doing what the Irish do better than most: getting drunk.  And we here at RSBS want to do our part to aid in the celebration.  Since we can’t serve up Irish Car Bombs via the internet, we figured we would instead present a rousing tribute to Irish baseball players.  Until we made a not entirely unexpected discovery.  There really aren’t any. 

Sure, guys like Fancy O’Neil and Cyclone Ryan may have played at one time.  And if you include players with Irish last names, the list is a little longer.  There are even some impressive names on there, like Nolan Ryan, for instance.

But, it appears baseball just isn’t what gets the Irish going.  It’s probably hard to follow all the rules when you’re on your tenth Guinness anyway.

Instead, we’ll salute Ireland the same way we did last year.  Take it away, Swedish Chef!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

-A

Ruminations on Perfection

parker_bohn.jpg

Very few pursuits allow for perfection. In bowling, there’s the 300 game but how much of that has to do with luck? Football quarterbacks can post a perfect passer rating but that usually still involves incompletions which is far from perfect in my book. And let’s be honest, when you’re forced to define perfection by a mathematical formula, how perfect is it really? (No offense to any of the mathematicians out there, obviously.)

But in baseball, perfection exists. And when Mark Buehrle hit the mound the other day, we got to see it. There were tense moments and some great plays that made it happen. But it was perfection.

The most amazing thing about perfection is how it’s a snapshot in time. No one is going to achieve perfection over the course of a season. No batter is going to get a hit every time he’s at the plate, no pitcher is going to avoid giving up a hit during every outing. The reason that perfection appeals to us is because it happens so rarely.

Some of this sentiment also plays into the betrayal many have felt at the hands of various players who used PEDs. I still remember the summer when Sosa and McGwire were racing for the home run crown and how astounding it was to watch them rack up those totals. They made the extraordinary ordinary. And when Bonds came along and shattered those records, it almost became mundane. We came to expect these kinds of feats and now we’re disappointed by their absence, a problem similar to what swimming is now facing with the ban on many of the new suit technologies. No one wants to ride in coach after they’ve experienced first class.

mark_buehrle_no_hitter.jpg

But the perfect game stands out because it is one of those things that is still so rare. Clemens may have been juicing and he may have been a dominant pitcher but that never earned him perfection. Nolan Ryan threw seven no-hitters but none of them were perfect. But a guy like David Wells, all 250 plus pounds of him, managed to do it. 

Possibly the best part of Buehrle’s perfect game, though, is the time in which it came. This season has been marked so far by Manny’s suspension, A-Rod’s admission and several mediocre divisional races. It’s only fitting that the thing that takes our minds off of the mediocrity and failure……is perfection.

-A

The Filibuster

Players across the sports spectrum seem to be feeling their oats the
past couple weeks. The Lakers-Rockets NBA series has turned into a
brawl and baseball has seen several ejections and suspensions handed
down over the last several days. Are we seeing the effects of over (or
under) officiating or are players really more on edge these days?

–Allen
__________________________________________

ryan_ventura.jpgMy unwieldy colleague and line straddling co-author, Mr. Krause, the spin-doctor extraordinaire, has done it again, folks.  Surprise, surprise.  He just doesn’t get it.

Suspensions, brawls, warnings, headhunters, beanballs, ejections… these are all integral tenets of the sports we love.  Without them, the stakes would be as dramatic as an afternoon pinochle tournament at your local retirement home (and even those can turn violent without  proper supervision).

Personally, I could care less about what the Los Angeles Lakers of Los Angeles are fighting about with the Houston Rockets (those are basketball teams, right?).  But perennial crybaby and major league fire-starter Milton Bradley?  Foot-in-mouth Bobby Jenks?  Two-packs-a-day Jimmy Leyland?

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Indeed, the cast of characters may change from year to year, but the subtle game of intimidating your opponent and firing up your team with guts, fists and butt-busting fastballs hasn’t.  Ty Cobb anyone?

No matter what the era, baseball players have always found a harmonious balance of edge and competitiveness.  When your livelihood is on the line, you bet you’re gonna go out and stand up for yourself.  Those who don’t… well, they end up like Mr. Krause, pushing pencils and checking email forty times a day.

Now I don’t propose an increase to the level of violence on the field; but hell, don’t peel it back.  I need that respite of poorly timed right hooks (see Shields v. Crisp, 2008), knee-buckling vengeance (see Bradley v. The World, 2007) and knuckles-to-skull contact (see Ryan v. Ventura, 1993).  Anyone who says he/she doesn’t is a liar.

Baseball does not suffer from under or over officiating.  It’s doing just fine the way it is.  Fights, ejections, suspensions… they’re all just a part of the game.  When it becomes bedlam…

… well, then we might have to reevaluate.

Until then, just keep on hating me.  But don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

***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 hot chicks also welcome.

Alternatives to Armageddon

texas fireball in sky.jpgYes, folks, the sky is falling.

Texans have long brought the drama.  Whether we are talking about Nolan Ryan throwing seven career no-hitters, Ross Perot anteing up his own funds to eradicate the national debt or Roger Clemens going out with a bang, the good people of Texas are rarely light on theatrics. 

With this in mind, it should be no surprise that Texans are looking to the skies and hypothesizing that what they see may very well be the beginning of the end of life as we know it.  Humans are hardly rational beings, and as the world economy plummets, the earth itself rots and our heroes fall, it is no wonder why people actually believe UFOs are coming to invade us, kill us and eat our brains.

Alas, dear readers!  While the recent UFO/meteor sightings in Texas appear to be mysteriously detrimental to our society, I have done ample research and settled on the following alternative explanations for this fierce phenomenon:

  • That’s no UFO; it’s the ball Albert Pujols hit off Brad Lidge in the 2005 NLCS finally falling back to Earth
  • That’s no UFO; it’s the wrath of God shooting down the twisted ideology of the devil herself
  • That’s no UFO; it’s the collective failures of one Kyle Farnsworth crashing and burning (was supposed to land in Kansas City but due to a sincere lack of notoriety, Kansas City’s exact location could not be determined)
  • That’s no UFO; it’s Roland Burris doing his best Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial impression to make us forget that his story doesn’t quite add up
  • That’s no UFO; it’s Manny being Manny exercising his final, most breathtaking stunt to get a multi-year deal making A-Rod money (sans the special sauce one can only hope)

manny being manny.jpgDon’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Polymathic Ponderings

the thinker.jpgEver since the accident (see comments), I’ve been having difficulty focusing my thoughts; but don’t worry.  I will still find a way to express them in a brilliant, informative manner as is always expected here at RSBS.  I am many things, but a quitter without an opinion I am not. 

So…

Picture it: October 2008.  The first round of the MLB playoffs are in full stride and not a Red Sox or Yankee is anywhere to be found.  Yes.  It could happen, folks.  For the first time in recent memory, both the Yankees and the Red Sox may find themselves sitting out during the important games.  The Rays and Angels look to be locks and it seems that the Twins and White Sox are in a tussle for the other two spots in the AL.  I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but it’s hard to dismiss the possibility.  Think of the chaos, the madness, the tantrums that would follow.  At least emergency rooms in the northeast would be more quiet than usual. 

Imagine my horror.  Finally over the disappointment of not being able to see Allison Stokke vault her majesty in the Olympic games, I found myself settling on Swedish hurdler Susanna Kallur to satisfy my propensity for body-gazing during female competitions.  Yes.  My mind was made up.  She was going to be the one.  And then she knocked down the very first hurdle, fell to the ground and didn’t finish the race, further proving my theory that the combination of beauty and athletic prowess is more rare than me having somewhere to go on a Saturday night.

susanna kallur 2.jpg
susanna kallur.jpg
Envision the face of Barack Obama’s Vice President.  Is it male?  Female?  White?  Black? (doubt it)  Latino? (double-doubt it)  In any case, we should know soon and I have a feeling it will be someone whom we never even thought of.  (No, silly, it won’t be me.  I’m too busy blogging and raising cain, but thanks for the thought).

Think about it.  Wouldn’t that USA/China baseball spat have been more exciting and more newsworthy if some real punches had been thrown?  Look, I get it.  The Olympics is all about class and sportsmanship but this isn’t the floor exercise we’re talking about here: this is baseballOur sport.  Our way.  And we fight.  Robin Ventura, Nolan Ryan, Michael Barrett, A.J. Pierzynski… those guys would have tore heads off — they would’ve brought bloody pride to the Red, White and Blue.  A knockdown at home plate, some bean balls here and there… jeesh.  I was really disappointed.

See the world the way my colleague Allen Krause sees it and see a world that revolves around the wonders and blunders of one irksome Venezuela.  Yes, dear readers, I ask the same question you do: What the hell is up with all of these Venezuela postsThis one and this one and this one… I understand that Venezuela is quickly rising the ranks to be the proverbial pebble in US America’s shoe, but come on… Mr. Krause is talking about the degrees of handsomeness between Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez and Ozzie Guillen.  That’s crazy.  That’s just plain crazy

And you know it’s crazy.  You know you’ve had enough.  And you know there’s no reason to hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

Thursday night’s brawl between the Rays and the Red Sox showcased, once
again, that baseball players just can’t fight very well. So, here’s the
question (in two parts): 1) What is the best baseball brawl you’ve ever
seen and 2) which 2 players would you most like to see duke it out?

– Allen

                                                                                       

While it’s true that baseball players tend to be awful at fighting on the field, there is no doubt that a bench-clearing brawl is one of the most exciting parts of the game.  In every case there is some kind of ‘other’ energy at play as soon as a hitter decides to charge the mound and whether he lands a punch or not, most people would be lying if they said they didn’t enjoy watching that kind of drama unfold.  The brawls tend to be explosions of emotions that have been built up over a long period of time: clubs with histories, beanball wars, personal vendettas, et al tend to set the stage for the best fights in the game, and I totally get off on seeing those frustrations blow up.  The Prince of New York wrote a great post (*click here to read*) on the dueling psychologies of baseball brawl analysis and he’s absolutely correct in his conclusion that most people enjoy them (or get off on them like me) — even if they try to conceal it.

That being said, I have to admit that I often feel let down when a Coco Crisp or a James Shields wails and misses outright… or when an Iwamura throws a couple of sissy-punches that are more for show and less impacting.  It’s like watching softcore pOrn on Cinemax: show me the real thing or I’m better off watching reruns of Full House.

The best baseball brawl I’ve ever seen? 

I think we all know there is only one right answer to that question, so before I reveal what everyone already knows, let me make some honorable mentions:

zambrano_v_barrett.jpgBig Z v. Michael Barrett; Big Z v. Gatorade Cooler
Hands down, Carlos Zambrano is the most explosive personality in the game right now.  An atomic fist fight waiting to happen, Big Z showed some real hutzpah last year when he decked his own catcher, Michael Barrett, in the face after an onfield dispute regarding pitch selection or whatever… who cares… this fight was awesome.  Cardinal fans always love to see internal dissension in the home dugout at Wrigley, but what made it even more awesome was the jacked up face of Michael Barrett the next day.  Of course, in the end, this fight was the catalyst that got Barrett out of Chicago, setting the stage for Rookie of the Year candidate Geovany Soto to make his breakthrough as the Cubs’ catcher.  I’m hoping that Big Z can find a reason to hate Soto too, but I’m not putting any money on it.

What I am putting money on is that if Big Z gives up a go-ahead homerun to Matt Kemp late in an otherwise flawless pitching performance, not even the Gatorade cooler is safe.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the pounding Zambrano gave this poor, helpless, inanimate object.

Izzy Alcantara’s Foot v. Catcher’s Face

Besides having a really cool name, this Pawtucket minor leaguer will go down in history as one of the smartest basebrawlers of all time.  To ensure that the catcher wouldn’t hold him back, he gave him a swift back kick to the face!  What is sad about this fight is that when he finally reached the mound, he let everyone down by dancing around and ultimately getting mauled himself (*click here to watch*).  Ah, such wasted potential.

sweeney_v_weaver.jpgMike Sweeney v. Jeff Weaver
If ever there were two lameball pacifist fighters pitted against one another, these would be the two.  This fight didn’t even have anything to do with pitch location; it was all about something Weaver said (allegedly) behind his glove.  Sweeney didn’t like it and charged the mound while Weaver had his back to the plate.  What does make this an awesome fight is that Weaver had no idea Sweeney was coming and by the time he turned around, it was too late.  Much like Alcantara, Sweeney used a diversion tactic by first slinging his batting helmet at Weaver before taking him to the ground and landing a few solid body blows.  Good times.

Good times aside, these fights are equally catatonic in comparison to the greatest basebrawl of all time:

ryan_ventura.jpgNolan Ryan v. Robin “Sissy-pants” Ventura
There’s nothing quite like making a mannish dash for the mound to fight someone who is old enough to be your father and then getting put in a headlock only to have your skull, nose, jaw pounded on by the strikeout king.  I can’t say enough about how bad*ss the Ryan Express was in this matchup and I highly doubt anyone will ever come close to equaling his solidly aggressive performance — ever.  This fight is as unlikely to be surpassed as is Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hit streak.  It just ain’t gonna happen.

But there are some fellas I’d like to see go up against one another in the near future.  Albert Pujols is only one bad pitch away from knocking the snot out of Brandon Backe.  As their ongoing series of differences escalates, I believe Backe realizes more and more that he has absolutely no chance against an angry A.P., but if anything, Backe has already proven to the world that he’s not exactly Fulbright quality.  I eagerly await his date with number 5’s right hook.

But the potential ironclad matchup I deem most notable, most exciting, most entertaining would be: Milton Bradley v. Carlos Zambrano.  Both of these guys are nuts! and suffer from extreme anger management issues.  No one, no thing is safe when these two are on the field and that includes first base coaches, pitching hands and the aforementioned sufferings of that poor, helpless Gatorade cooler in L.A.

I’d give my left (ahem) to see Big Z pitch Bradley inside and just see what happens.  If there is a god…

…but just in case there isn’t, we’ll always have the mysteriously entertaining rituals of Ko
rean baseball brawls:

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right…

Peace,

Jeffy

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