Results tagged ‘ Olympics ’

Back to Reality

I’ve been pretty focused on the Olympics for the past couple weeks.  I’ve watched enough handball to hold me over for the next four years and realized that men’s basketball is much more fun to watch than women’s basketball.  I’ve seen decathlons, pentathlons and heptathlons.  And the best part was, I used all the Olympic goodness to ignore the silliness of what passes for news in the US as of late.  Well, that’s over.

Now it’s all about Paul Ryan and Chick-Fil-A.

Paul Ryan?  Not really a big fan.  He seems to be a return to the Bush years, years that didn’t really turn out so well for America

Chick-Fil-A?  Well, it’s chicken.  Some people love it, others don’t really care.  Me, I don’t think I’ve ever actually had Chick-Fil-A.  It’s kind of funny.  The only time I ever remember even wanting it was when I was flying through Cincinnati one afternoon.  Everything else just looked nasty so I thought I’d give it a chance.  Except that it was a Sunday so there was no Chick-Fil-A to be had.  Not exactly a point in their favor.

Man, this is going to suck.  I love politics but this race has already gone ugly and the chances of it coming back up out of the gutter are slim.  Even baseball doesn’t seem to have the power to overcome the post-Olympics slump, although I’m still holding out hope.  And if worse comes to worst, there’s always football.  It just won’t be the same without Usain Bolt, though.

-A

The Filibuster

Usain Bolt is looking to try out with a British soccer team. What athlete that you’ve seen in the Olympics would you most like to see trying out for an American baseball team?

Ethan
Santa Clara, CA
_________________________

Olympians turned baseballers?  I like the way you think, Ethan.  And I welcome the possibilities!

I can’t help but think Michael Phelps would look good in Yankee pinstripes.  The man has 20 Olympic medals — hardware that would surely look good next to 27 World Series trophies.  And let’s face it, the dude has earned the right to be as cocky and off-putting as he is.  He might not have Derek Jeter’s golden little black book yet, but some time around the Captain and soon he too could be kissing mirrors of himself.

When it comes to actual physical strength though I might suggest Holley Mangold take up a spot in the American League as a DH.  She wouldn’t have to actually do much running or having anyrefined skills other than swinging for the fences; and accounting for her already buoyant build, I don’t think we would have to worry about any Giambian steroid scandals.

Of course, no baseball league is complete without its lovable losers.  And considering how much crying Jordyn Wieber did in the 30th Olympiad, I think she’d be a perfect fit for the Chicago Cubs.

But let’s not forget, when it comes to an Olympian I want on my baseball team, there is no one other than THE Usain Bolt.

Holy jerk chicken, that guy is a bonafide SUPERSTAR!!!

Have you EVER seen anything more exciting the last 4 years than watching that man run!?!?!  Unbelievable!  I’d want him in center field, catching everything in between the foul poles.  At the plate, I’d have him try to walk as much as possible, just to mess with the opposing pitchers’ mind before taking off to fly around the bases.  And look out if he actually hits a ball out of the infield, ‘cuz dude is gonna turn singles into doubles and doubles into inside-the-parkers!

Not only that, but Bolt is also insanely entertaining in the most endearing of ways — a happy-go-lucky clowner who can back it up with performance as opposed to the psychotic shenanigans of a WAY less talented Tony Plush.

Forget soccer, Mr. Bolt, please come wear the birds on the bat.

And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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Olympic Living

Most of the athletes competing in the Olympics compete for nothing more than the love of their sport.  Let’s face it, being the 10th best ping-pong player in the world probably isn’t going to make you a whole lot of money.  I think that’s one of the reasons that this Forbes slideshow is interesting.  Granted, it shows mainly the haves of the international sporting circuit but it also shows the disparity between mainstream and non-mainstream sports.

If you really want to see what sports can get you, though, it’s too bad they didn’t include baseball in the Olympics this year.  If so, they could have featured Derek Jeter’s Tampa monstrosity:

LeBron may be king but Jeter has the palace.

-A

The Irony of Immigrants

Baseball, for the most part, takes place in the well-trodden hinterlands of the United States.  Sure, much of the talent may come from various islands off the coast of Florida but ultimately they make their way through towns like Lansing, Peoria and Lehigh in hopes of being called up to Cincinnati, Kansas City or Pittsburgh.  Being a baseball player often means getting an up close and personal lesson on US geography.

At the same time, many of these same fans who cheer for the Venezuelan or Dominican shortstop coming up with the team through the minors fail to see the irony in their universal distaste for immigrants and immigration.  How do you think your Mexican pitching ace got here in the first place, shitforbrains?  Sometimes it’s not so surprising when you consider the fanbase:

While these baseball migrants experience US geography firsthand and slowly learn more about their adopted country, many Americans willingly refuse to learn anything about the world around them.  This is never more apparent than during the Olympic games.

The opening ceremony is a case in point with people scrambling for their atlases as soon as Albania and Algeria march in.  It’s a little more disconcerting when even major US news sources can’t figure out the differences between the countries.

Luckily, though, the swimming, gymnastics and running are almost complete so there’s only one more week until we can go back to ignoring the world.  Even more importantly, we can get back to fighting the menace of immigration.  Well, unless it means picking up your new Japanese pitcher.  Seriously, Texas, how do you think Yu Darvish got there?

-A

Why I’m Cool with A Baseball-less Olympics

When baseball lost its status as an Olympic sport after the ’08 games, I admit, I was a little ticked off.  How dare you take away my precious pastime, Jacques Rogge! 

But having immensely enjoyed the 30th Olympiad from London thus far, the truth is, I don’t miss it at all.  In fact, if I want to watch the best baseball in the entire world, I just flip over to any of the 15 games being broadcast on my DirectTV Extra Innings package (do I get a credit for that plug?).

And really, that’s the only reason needed for not including baseball as an Olympic sport.  Remember how excruciating it used to be watching Olympic basketball without the finest athletes in the world participating?  And that’s in a sport lucky enough to have worldwide appeal.  Sure, we US Americans love our baseball, but the truth is, outside of Japan and a few pockets of Canadian air, the rest of the world could care less.

In fact, unless you grow up around the game of baseball, it’s pretty darn impossible to learn the rules of the game.  Believe me, during my four years in China, I tried like crazy to teach it to anyone who would listen.  But after a few hours of mass confusion, people tended to pretend they had to be somewhere, anywhere, just to get away from the crazy white guy wielding a stick and three different leather gloves.

Honestly, a professional-less international baseball tournament would be a pretty boring affair.  The World Baseball Classic already features the best of the best, and even that has proven to be an extremely hard sell.

What makes the Olympic games so appealing, to me, is that it really is a celebration of glory.  The absolute greatest athletes in their respective sports, from LeBron James to Roger Federer, Mary Keitany to Usain Bolt and hundreds more in between, all come to the same place, and the world is watching.

Albert Pujols ain’t gonna show up.  Neither is Derek Jeter nor any other Major League Baseballer.  And even if they did, the world wouldn’t care.

IOC Chairman Jacque Rogge’s original statement to MLB columnist Mark Newman sums it up pretty well:

“To be on the Olympic program is an issue where you need universality as much as possible. You need to have a sport with a following, you need to have the best players and you need to be in strict compliance with WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). And these are the qualifications that have to be met. When you have all that, you have to win hearts. You can win the mind, but you still must win hearts.”

Oh yeah, then there’s that whole juicing thing…

Hate me ‘cuz I’m cool with the Olympics as is, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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

Remember When…

Remember when…

The Pirates were a perennial losing franchise?

Remember when…

Bob Costas’ pretentious Olympian superlatives weren’t pretentious because they were about baseball, something the man truly loves?

Remember when…

I mocked Sarah Palin’s mocking of Obama’s proposed “hopey-change” politics?

Remember when…

Everyone discounted the Cardinals’ playoff hopes with three weeks left in the season?

Remember when…

The GOP wasn’t an absolute joke?

Remember when…

Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise was the greatest thing that ever happened in comic book film history? (WARNING: Major spoiler alert with that link)

Remember when…

NBC didn’t ruin every single sporting event it broadcasted?*

Remember when…

US American politicians really worked for the people?

Oh, wait.

Remember when…

Clint Hurdle was orange?

And remember when you didn’t hate me ‘cuz I was right?

Peace,

Jeff

*Not including the XFL, which was a brilliant endeavor, even if it was extremely stupid.

Baseball Needs a Drinkhall

Although I probably should be watching baseball, I find myself oddly enthralled by the Olympics.  Ichiro’s chops as a Yankee?  Nah, I think I’ll watch some women’s badminton instead.  Fister putting a brief stop to the Tiger’s road woes?  Hm, I guess I’m going to go for some ping-pong (table tennis, if you want to be stuffy about it).  Rivalry weekend in America?  Nope, women’s skeet shooting.

I’m not saying I’d want to watch these games all the time.  I love women’s gymnastics as much as the next guy but I can only take so much of it.  But at the same time, there’s something special about the Olympics.  For instance, yesterday I was watching a British dude named Paul Drinkhall advance to the third round in men’s table tennis.

First of all, his name is “Drinkhall.”  How awesome is that?  That’s like a German guy named “Biergarten.”  Or an American named “Applebees.”  Second, this dude has little or no muscle tone, pasty white skin, horrible shorts and an equally terrible haircut but he’s an Olympic athlete.  That, my friends, is badass.  Badass in the same way as David Wells and his Churchillian physique somehow destroying opposing batters.

I freely admit that a lot of it is the novelty.  It’s hard for the 162-game slog of baseball to compete with the instant gratification of a Moroccan/Uzbek flyweight boxing match.  And once the new “Dream Team” really get’s going, baseball is going to find it tough going.  I guess it’s kind of like the guy who has always sworn that he’d never leave his frumpy but faithful wife but somehow finds himself behind the wheel of a convertible with his 24-year old secretary.  Sure, it’s cheating but really, what were you supposed to do?  Odds like those don’t come up everyday.

So, I’d like to say that this was just a weekend thing and tomorrow I’ll be back to MLB.  But we all know I’m lying.  Can you blame me though?  I mean, seriously, synchronized diving!!!

-A

They Said the Same Thing When the Expos Left

canada health care.jpg
And boy, you showed ‘em who’s boss, right, Washington?!?!?

Happy “Health-Care-Less” Friday!

Peace,

Jeff

(Image courtesy of BuzzFeed)

The Talented Mr. Costas

bob costas.jpgTip back that beer, rip off those clothes and go runnin’ through the streets, dear readers!  The Winter Olympics are here!

Yes.

That was a lame attempt at fake excitement for an entire world of sports I could care less about it.  At least I know I’m not alone.  In fact, a very tiny minority of US Americans actually know anything about ice dancing, mogul jumping and figure skater beating (see Tonya Harding meets Nancy Kerrigan circa 1994).

Even NBC has a pretty good idea that the next two weeks are gonna just plain suck, which is why whoever inked Bob Costas to lead that whole Olympic thing ought to get a raise.

You have heard me rave about Costas before, so I won’t bore you with any more bromantic praises for my mental doppelganger (at least, not now anyway); but I would like to present just one example of why Bob Costas is the bomb.

We all saw Costas buzz McGwire and stick handle Dubya, but have you ever seen him prod a foreigner towards the Dark Side?  Then you will enjoy this:

Ichiro is, of course, hilarious in this clip, but Costas’ body blasting reaction at the 25-second mark is just priceless.

And you know I’m right so don’t hate me.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

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