Results tagged ‘ Notre Dame ’

A Snake in the Grass?

venezuela_tigers.jpgThere is no Irish in baseball. Well, unless you include Jeff Samardzija, formerly of the Fightin’ Irish from Notre Dame. But today is a good day so I don’t want to talk about that. No, today is a day when we celebrate the completely fabricated story of St. Patrick ridding the Emerald Isle of snakes. However, apparently there are snakes aplenty within the comfy confines of the World Baseball Classic.

Much attention has been focused over the past few days on the Venezuelan fans booing of Magglio Ordonez. Now, when you seem to have become the lapdog of old friend of RSBS, Hugo Chavez and you are playing in front of a bunch of people who left Venezuela because of Hugo Chavez, well, it makes sense that something has to give. And so far that something has been any residual love for Maggs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about booing hated players. My brothers have made a sport of riling opposing outfielders from the cheap seats in left field and I’ve been known to throw a few choice words the way of batters during tight softball games. But the thing those people have in common is that they play for the opposing team. When you have become a pariah to even your own fans, it might be time to rethink your actions.

I’ll admit, I hated Maggs, too, but only when he was on the White Sox. Once he joined the Tigers and especially after that killer blast against the A’s that sent the Tigers to the 2006 World Series, he could do no wrong. But supporting the man who has managed to turn his capital city into the murder capital of the world? That might not have been the best choice.

Against Puerto Rico, some of the hatred seemed to subside and in a tight game, the Venezuelan fans were cheering every hit their team could muster. But pity the man if he pulls a Buckner or manages to strike out at an inopportune moment. Maggs, you’re on notice.

-A

2008: Rest In Peace (Part I)

RSBS_Mlb.made.LOGO.jpgStill pissed off that Santa didn’t bring me the one thing I wanted most this year (a competent General Manager running the St. Louis Cardinals), I have little choice but to fully embrace the intangible magic of humility.  In doing so, I have decided to channel the tenacity of my bitterness and turn it into sincere, reflective admiration for all that has been accomplished here at RSBS this year.

Not only did we create a unique baseball-politico universe full of hyperbolic criticism and satirically erratic fandom, we also had the good fortune of being surrounded by fabulously smart and like-minded baseball nuts with passionate political views within the MLBlogosphere.

Indeed, in 2008, we saw dreams come true; we saw corruption, glory, beauty, heartbreak, Cinderella, more corruption, more beauty and more heartbreak.  We saw it.  We reported it.  We ripped it to shreds.

In honor of RSBS‘ rapturous reportage, babbling blabberings and partisan posts, I have pulled out the top three 2008 RSBS entries written by that misguided Tiger fan you have all learned to feel sorry for… the one and only Mr. Allen Krause. 

The 1st Runner-Up:

Diversionary Tactics — September 18, 2008
A fat incompetent college football coach, a Broadway musical composer and an old Topps baseball card featuring a solid porn mustache have never made such sweet, sweet love.

The Runner-Up:

Golden Parachutes — December 10, 2008
Hip, Sexy, Current… these three words don’t just sound like a hit NBC mini-series; they also describe the tone of this well-written commentary exploring the ins and outs of our ever-failing government, the ever-declining mystique of Detroit sports franchises and the ever-growing… well, fellas, you know what I’m tryin’ to say… (*Ladies, please ignore that last line ;-)

…and the Winner is:

Allen’s Post-Partisan Playoff Preview — October 1, 2008
Hardly known for his loquaciousness, Mr. Krause really put it to dear readers galore with this existentialist exercise in post-modern fantasy capped off by… well… by being RIGHT.  Fine tuned to the unique political and social caricatures of our dear elected leaders, my colleague done me proud with this little ditty of a post — so much so that I… well… I peed a little from all the excitement.

Go ahead, hate me, folks.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Dramatic and Devastating

Did I forget to say “Happy Autumn” last week? If I did, I truly apologize. I guess I figured that most RSBS readers had already figured out the change of season. It’s usually pretty evident from the bite in the air, the start of the football season and the Mets’ annual late-season choke.

And it’s even better this year with the Yankees relegated to the sidelines. In fact, except for some minor concerns (the credit crisis and imminent depression, Michigan’s loss to Notre Dame), things couldn’t be much better right now.

But I can’t just leave it at that. That’s not how I roll. No, just like my buddy John McCain, I need to make a “dramatic and devastating” statement.
http://www.comedycentral.com/sitewide/video_player/view/default/swf.jhtml
And here it is: I will not write any more mean things about either the Republican Presidential nominee or the Republican Vice Presidential nominee. Like my mother always told me, if you can’t say anything nice, just don’t say anything at all.

Instead, it’s only going to be important, sports-based commentary as we shift our focus towards the ongoing playoff races. For instance, have you been watching those Mets, Phillies  and Brewers as they battle for the NL wild card? Or how about the dogfight between the White Sox and Twins in the AL Central? And what about that USC-Oregon State shocker Thursday night? And…uh, well, and…

….I’m sorry. I just can’t do it. I mean, have you seen this:

This is Bill Buckner-esque. I have very low expectations when it comes to our elected officials but at this point I think I’d rather have Harry Caray as VP. I’d rather have Joe Buck. Hell, I’d rather have Erin Andrews and you all know my views on her.

You know what’s beautiful, though? Even though we have no control over the playoff races and what happens to our teams, we do have a say in who gets elected in November. And that’s why I want to take this opportunity to urge any RSBS readers out there who aren’t already registered to make sure they do it soon. If you aren’t or you just aren’t sure, here’s a great site that will help you either figure out where you are registered or take you through the process for the first time. It doesn’t matter if you “Rock the vote” or “Vote or die.” What matters is that you vote.

-A

Trading Deadline Blues

Farnsworth for Pudge? You’ve got to be kidding me. Although maybe the Tigers know something I don’t. I mean, that Jeff Weaver trade didn’t turn out so bad considering he totally tanked with the Yankees. But Farnsworth? When I was living in Chicago I used to watch him throwing BP. The only problem was that it was during the 7th inning of close games and that’s not a good time to be giving up round-trippers. But, maybe Dombrowski is ahead of the curve. Maybe he wants to put together a stable of the hardest throwing guys in the Major Leagues. But Farnsworth? Farnsworth is to baseball what this kid is to basketball:

 

What is it about the trading deadline that makes people crazy? Griffey is probably heading to the White Sox, Texeira is now an Angel, Manny might be a Marlin and Pudge will be wearing pinstripes. Everyone is making deals. Well, except for the Cardinals, of course. Sorry about that one, buddy. Maybe they’ll do something in the offseason and have a chance next year.

But I’d still rather my team did nothing than have to support a team that trades away an All-Star for a bad punchline. Yeah, Pudge is getting old and yeah, Pudge doesn’t hit like he did when he was on the juice. But Farnsworth? I just can’t accept this. The only way it could be worse is if I find out that he’s also a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

Rocket_Ismail.jpgSpeaking of which, there is one other specter that haunts me that Mr. Lung forgot to mention. And no, I don’t mean Arlen Specter although he is old and old people generally scare me. I mean another former Fighting Irish who still runs through my dreams. And runs is definitely the correct word since I’m talking about “Rocket” Raghib Ismail. Man, that guy caused as much heartburn in Michigan as the Big Three’s ongoing inability to make a profit. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was glad to see him go.

Anyway, I guess I should let this all go and just accept that Farnsworth is on the team through the end of the season. Maybe he’ll be great. And maybe Fernando Rodney won’t blow any more saves. And maybe Hillary will still get the nomination. Thank god I’ll only have to live with two out of those three things. And I can still go to my happy place.

-A

(more…)

Slaying Allen’s Specters

Doggie guru Cesar Millan has taught me many a valuable life lesson.  The first — and most important — is that I am the pack leader.  In order to maintain pack leader status, I must emit a calm yet dominant energy.  A brief scan of recent RSBS posts would be more than enough to convince every living being of my fulfillment of this necessary role.  Second: happiness comes from excercise, discipline, then affection, in that order and in that order only.  Food is optional.  Just ask the Olsen twins.  They seem to be doing fine.  But sometimes, dear readers, these are not enough.  Fear is an untouchable giant among short people and fear can cause myriad setbacks to one’s personal success, satisfaction, serenity.
 
For this reason, I have decided not to argue with Mr. Krause on his most recent ramblings regarding MLB playoff restructuring.  Despite his fixation on how greedy and seedy MLB front offices tend to be and besides his disconnect with the purism-is-passion campaign I so wholeheartedly support, he does make a few good points.  In short, nothing is going to change right now, so I might as well get used to it and hope for the best.

Just for today, I’m content with that.

Fear, which has long been an issue my Tiger-lovin’ friend has struggled with, must be addressed.  If I were to walk away without confronting his deepest, underlying and now-in-the-open anxieties, I would be a poor voice for US Americans.  In his last post, he let it be known that:

“…a specter came back to haunt me today…”

That specter’s name is Jeff Samardzija — Notre Dame superstar and latest edition to the Chicago Cubs pitching staff.  Admittedly, I share no love for the man just as I share no love for Notre Dame nor the Cubs; however, to me, he is a man.  Unfortunately for Mr. Krause, Samardzija has taken on an entirely phantasmal nature capable of penetrating and destroying his entire being.

And Samardzija is not the only one…

Dear readers, this must stop.  It must stop today.  And as Cesar has so rightfully taught us, it will stop by confronting, defeating and slaying.  Attention all specters inhabiting Allen Krause’s mind: Be Gone!

regis.philbin.jpgRegis Philbin, Be Gone!
Famed Notre Dame alumnus known for entertaining housewives for over two decades now, this specter haunted Allen by asking “Who wants to be a millionaire?” to which Allen responded, “Who wants my foot in his ^ss?”

lidge_clemens.jpgThe Combination of Brad Lidge and Roger Clemens, Be Gone!
Lidge went to Notre Dame and became a fire-balling closer infamous for losing his mind under pressure.  Clemens wore a Notre Dame jersey for a publicity stunt and pressured his body by juicing it until he lost his mind.

Hannah-Storm.jpgHannah Storm, Be Gone!
This Notre Dame graduate (are you seeing a pattern develop?) became a female sports broadcasting star with NBC — the ultimate purveyor of all-things Fighting Irish.  In specter form, she subliminally caused Allen’s abhorrent distaste for white women.

phil.donahue.jpgPhil Donahue, Be Gone!
He’s loud.  He’s obnoxious.  He’s much older than Allen yet has more hair.  He supports Ralph Nader.  And oh yeah, he went to Notre Dame.

Carl.yastrzemski.jpgCarl Yastrzemski, Be Gone!
With that name, it’s hard to believe he went to Notre Dame but it’s true.  He did.  And his nickname was “Yaz”, which spelled backwards is “Zay”, like the language spoken in Ethiopia.  And you know what you can find in Ethiopia?  Missionaries.  Catholic missionaries.  Catholic missionaries who have ties to Notre Dame.  Yeah, Yaz’s specter is one that runs circles around Mr. Krause’s mind.

antonin.scalia.jpgAntonin Scalia, Be Gone!
Not a Notre Dame grad, but he might as well be.  A highly conservative supreme court justice who just happens to be Catholic (not a bad thing in my book — the Catholic part), Allen saw him wearing blue and gold once and jumped to conclusions… Scalia’s been fear-mongering ever since.

aaron.heilman.jpgAaron Heilman, Be Gone!
You guessed it.  A Notre Damer.  Also pitches in New York, for the Mets.  Famous for giving up the 9th inning dinger to Yadier Molina that put the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series against the Tigers (whom they eventually destroyed), Allen still holds a grudge against this specter.  Also interesting is the fact that Heilman sounds a lot like Heisman, which is a prestigious college football award bestowed upon Tim Brown — also from Notre Dame — in 1987, which is a year that the Cardinals went to the World Series and the Tigers did not (though they were close).

thomas.jpgClaren
ce Thomas
, Be Gone!
(see Antonin Scalia)

craig.counsell.jpgCraig Counsell, Be Gone!
Notre Dame grad.  Weird batting stance.  Doesn’t wear batting gloves.  ‘Nuff said.

…and finally, the biggest, most bothersome, most destructive specter of them all:

jeff lung with dog.jpgMe.
Nope.  No affiliation with the Fighting Irish.  But I do adore my beagle, come out of arguments on the right side and haunt Allen Krause to the utmost degree…

And I ain’t goin’ anywhere, Al, so you just better get used to it. 

I know it’s tough, but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Filibuster

As of this morning, the NL Central had three teams ten games
over 500 while the NL West leader
is barely at .500
! 
If the playoffs started right now, one superior team would be completely
left out while one mediocre team would get to compete for the World
Series title.  Should Major League
Baseball reexamine the playoff structure so that it actually sends the 4 best
teams from each league to the playoffs? 
If so, how would you propose this be done?

 

– Jeff

                                                                                     

Ever since 1969, when MLB first started using a playoff system to determine who would play for the World Series, purists have decried the vulgarization of the sport. And when the playoff system was expanded even further in 1994 so more teams could be involved, the old-timers cried themselves to sleep, I’m sure. However, as anyone who follows this blog is aware, I am not one to yearn for the good ol’ days. Baseball is entertainment and as such, it exists to make money. More teams in the playoffs means more money for the sport which means better facilities and the ongoing vitality of the game. But, there are downsides.

And the system could stand some revamping. As you point out, if the playoffs started today, a mediocre team would be in while an excellent team would be watching from home. On top of that, when you realize that due to the arbitrary makeup of the leagues a good team in a bad division has a much better chance at making the playoffs than an excellent team in a very competitive division, well, you can see how this creates a recipe for disaster. But the situation is not unprecedented.

Each year the BCS picks the two best teams in the nation to go at it in the National Championship game but every year controversy surrounds the pick. A two-loss LSU team gets in over a undefeated Hawaii squad? Yeah, LSU is better but they lost a couple games. And how are they better than a 2-loss Georgia team that went out and destroyed that undefeated Hawaii team?

NCAA football at least has a system that tries to take everything into account when deciding who will play in the championship. MLB randomly assigned teams to leagues and divisions and then wonders why people complain when a sub-par Cubs squad makes it in while a decent Padres team sits back in San Diego wondering how it all went wrong.

Suggestions exist for how the situation could be improved and it’s no surprise that Billy Beane would be putting it out there (scroll down to the very last item in the article). I don’t agree with both of his points because I don’t necessarily think the Division series’ need to be expanded but a new seeding format couldn’t hurt.

However, the likelihood of things changing soon is pretty small. If anything, maybe they’ll try to do like the NFL and expand the playoffs a little but it sure won’t be in a way that makes sense. What matters to the owners is that MLB continues to make money and teams like Boston, the Yankees and the Cubs that maximize MLB’s return on their investment continue to make it in. That’s just how it is.

Jeff_Samardzija_catch_crop.jpgNow, on a side note, a specter came back to haunt me today that now firmly roots me in the anti Cubs camp. As I was watching the scroll at the bottom of the screen on ESPN, a familiar name popped out at me. The man who got the save for Chicago today? Samardzija. Now, that’s not a name you see every day and the only other time I’ve ever heard it was was in reference to a receiver for the University of Notre Dame. And it’s the same guy. I’m sorry but I just can’t stand by as the Irish invade everything. Fighting Irish, that is. It’s bad enough that I have to accept them in the NFL but now they’re showing up in MLB as well? No, that’s just too far. And so to the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry I say, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Just had to get that out there. I feel much better now.

-A

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