Results tagged ‘ Ozzie Smith ’

RSBS Sits Down with Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith

ozzie smith 85 nlcs.jpgGrowing up a kid in America is synonymous with being a dreamer.  We’re taught that anything is possible if we’re dedicated, if we work hard.  And we often model ourselves after those we look up to, our heroes.

I always had two: my dad, whom I got to see everyday, and St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop, Ozzie Smith.  Many a summer afternoon was spent in the backyard… swinging like Ozzie, diving like Ozzie, smiling like Ozzie.

“I want to be Ozzie Smith,” family members recall me saying, “I want to be Number One.”

So what does one say when he finally gets to have a conversation with his boyhood hero?

“My grandpa had Musial.  My dad had Gibson and Brock.  I had you, Ozzie.”

And Ozzie’s response?

“Cool.”

Of course, I expected nothing but the coolest things from the man who gave us reason to Go crazy, folks, go crazy!  Heck, it’s been nearly 25 years since that homerun prompted Jack Buck to give us his iconic call, but I promise you this: to a Cardinals fan, it never gets old.

“It never went away,” chuckled a candid Ozzie Smith, “and as a matter of fact, it’s still reverberating today.  I have little kids coming up to me, reciting that.  So yeah, it’s pretty cool.”

Indeed it is pretty cool and so is Ozzie Smith, the man: 15 time All-Star, 13 time Gold Glove Award Winner, Hall of Famer and all around good guy.

He may be retired from baseball, but work never stops; and this summer Ozzie has teamed up with Ken Griffey, Sr., Len Dawson, Mike Bossy and Jim Kelly in the Depend Campaign to End Prostate Cancer.

The seriousness of prostate cancer cannot be overstated.  In fact, 1 out of every 6 men will experience the disease, as it is the second-leading cause of male cancer-related deaths in the United States.

I’m just here to encourage all men 50 or older (40 or older for African-American men and those with a family history of the disease) to get involved, talking with their doctors about prostate health.  Because with early detection, prostate cancer isn’t only treatable, it’s beatable.”

As was Ozzie’s signature game plan on the field, the best way to beat this disease is with strong defense.  And if anyone knows anything about defense, one need look no further than The Wizard.

After a decade plus of abnormal offensive numbers in baseball, Ozzie sees the current renaissance of pitching and defense themed ball-clubs as a natural, cyclical part of the game.

“It’s the way the game is supposed to be played.  You can get a lot more out of playing the game the proper way than just building your team from an offensive standpoint.”

If you’re looking for an example of such managerial strategy, Ozzie suggests we look at those teams at the top.

“The Atlanta Braves in the East, I think they’re one of those teams.  Not a whole lot of power, but they certainly do the little things that it takes to win.  The Cardinals have always been one of those teams that have done that and I think it’s part of what’s allowed the Cincinnati Reds to lead their division this year.”

Such game theory often begins with the manager and Ozzie Smith was lucky enough to serve under one of the best, one of this summer’s Hall of Fame inductees: Whitey Herzog.

“As a manager, the goal is always to make players better than they are.  Whitey was certainly one of those people.  The relationship we had was of admiration and respect.  A good manager, like Whitey, only has two rules: be on time and give a hundred percent.  As a professional athlete, that’s all you can ask, to be given the opportunity to do what it is you do.  If you can’t abide by those rules, then you shouldn’t be playing.”

And as we gear up for the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim, it’s a pretty safe bet that the players involved abide by those rules.  One cannot be the best without giving his best.  As a 15 time All-Star himself, Ozzie was quite comfortable being at the top of his game.  When asked to describe his fondest All-Star memories, he was quick to answer.

“The first one I had a chance to go to in 1981 and then my final one in 1996, those two really stand out.  The first one simply because of the excitement of going to your first All-Star Game and the festivities, the lockering, visiting with guys you admired from afar and played against, having a chance to play with them was very special.  Then the reception I received in Philadelphia for my final one was very, very special.”

Yep.  It sure was.  In fact, I fondly remember… crying.  I was 17 years old, my hero was retiring and I was morbidly afraid of baseball without Ozzie.

But I quickly learned: no one can take away memories, no one can take away dreams.  The game continued on and Ozzie never really went away.  The moments he created are remembered today.  His work ethic is passed down.  His desire to help those in need, to educate, to make life better wherever possible through public service, as he’s doing with the Depend Campaign, all these things make him forever an All-Star.

Forever a hero.

Forever a reason to go crazy, folks.

Go crazy.

Written by Jeffery Lung

Special thanks to
Kristin Adams of Taylor PR for arranging the interview.

Click *HERE* to read Jeff’s interview with Dave Winfield.

Click *HERE*
to read Jeff’s interview with Ken Griffey, Sr.

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 5: Bonilla’s Bonus Button… and Other Stuff

rsbs podcast photo 3.jpg

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast…

Jeff, Al & that rock-n-rollin-Cub-lovin’ sage Johanna Mahmud take on all things ‘Merica, including (but not limited to) Rinku and Dinesh, Carlos Zambrano, The Hills (seriously? that happened?), the All-Star Game, the Lou
Piniella Mailbag and much,
much more… all to make you laughy-laughy!

Holla!

-
– -

Subscribe
to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe

via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special

thanks to Keith Carmack — our engineer, director, editor and
all-around sound guru.  His Undercast
podcast is a must-listen (listen to it!).  It’s available on iTunes and
is posted regularly at Undercard

Films.

Recorded Monday, July 5, 2010

The Filibuster

cover-image-al.jeff.deepthoughts.jpgI liked the link you had to that hottest baseball wives site. I voted several times. You guys ever think of doing something like that?

Josh
Berwyn, IL
____________________________________

Indeed, Mr. Krause and I may be seedy scoundrels, but believe it or not, we actually respect the creative ingenuity of other people, so much so that we would never steal ideas from another valiant force.  Of course, we also do subscribe to the ethics of reciprocity, and encourage everyone to do the same.  We are US Americans!  Rejoice in the merits of thy brethren yo!

The entry to which dear reader Josh refers can be found *here*, and the contest sported by the Fantasy Baseball Dugout pitting the most attractive baseball players’ wives is still going on *here*.  Stop by and make your, er… voice heard before August 31.

But since it is no secret that Mr. Krause and I have the propensity to feature the aesthetics of beautiful women here at RSBS, I bring you a very special treat. 

I am a child of the ’80s.  When I revert back to that happy place in the sky, it involves a lot of Duran Duran, Ozzie Smith back-flips and the original Star Wars trilogy.  Now, as a grownup (sorta) it also involves… well, let me just show you that perfect storm:

“Even I get boarded sometimes.”

Touché.

Hate me ‘cuz I say what you’re thinking, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

***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 Prince Fielder in skinny jeans also welcome, but of course, there ain’t no such thang.

The Filibuster

lady killer.jpgWe all know how much you love the Cardinals. And we all know how
the Julio Lugo trade has left you despondent. But here’s the question.
If you were cast away on a desert island and could choose only one
Cardinal, past or present, to be with you, who would you choose?
 
Harriet S.

Charlotte, NC
__________________________________________

While the human condition often leads us to fantasize about achieving maximum fame — to be known throughout the world as easily as a McFlurry, the Bible or Michael Jackson — the truth is, most of us would be extremely lucky just to get that fifteen minutes everyone talks about.  So when posed with a question of such magnitude, of course, my initial list of suitors would already seem to be set in stone.  My grandfather’s generation would say Stan Musial.  My father’s would say Bob Gibson.  Mine, Ozzie Smith and today’s would most assuredly go with Albert. 

But here’s the thing: with any one of those St. Louis Cardinal icons, there is no question that I would cower from awe, go silent from my insecurities, shy away with humbling woes of unworthiness.  In other words, I would hardly be good company, especially for someone on a deserted island.

Which would lead me to choose that St. Louis Cardinal who isn’t quite the paragon of baseball supremacy — the one who I feel like I could carry on a legitimate conversation with sans all the slobber, the one who all Cardinal fans know, but aren’t likely to jump at spending any hang-time with.  And that man’s name, dear readers, is Fernando Tatis.

fernando tatis.jpgDespite playing in just 300 games for the Cardinals between 1998 and 2000, Tatis is as recognizable a name in St. Louis as Hornsby, Brock and Herzog; and his name is known for one thing and one thing only: making history on April 23, 1999 by becoming the only Major Leaguer to ever hit two grand-slams in the same inning!

Clearly, this accomplishment is almost as intriguing and noteworthy as creating a number one hit single called “Jesus Hates the Cubs”, so I am satisfied that Fernando and I would get along just swell on our little deserted island with plenty of ways to relate.

And considering Fernando’s consistent injury issues, I feel like my role in keeping us alive would be much greater than if I were stranded with King Albert, who might just eat me to make things easier.  Plus, I’m pretty sure I could get my slider by Fernando which would go a long way in keeping my spirits high.

So go ahead and hate me ‘cuz I’m so unpredictable, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

***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 a skinny Bartolo Colon also welcome but we don’t think such a thing exists.

Life in the Afternoon

Wrigley Field.jpgUnlike Ernest Hemingway’s poignant parlay into the world of non-fiction, mine hath not the slightest utterance of death today… unless, of course, you consider the thousands of Cub fans who felt stabbed through the heart after their sloppy loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

For today was a celebration, not only for the Redbirds’ ultimate triumph, but also for good company.  Indeed, dear readers, I have friends who don the Cubby blue, like one soon-to-be-wed Adam Marshall — talented author of Our Man In Los Angeles — who was crazy enough to arrange for 22 Cub fans and one Cardinal fan (me!) to stake our claim amongst the bleacher bums at Wrigley Field on what may have been the most beautiful day of the year.

Ozzie Smith Ryne Sandberg.jpgMy first stop was to pay homage to the wondrous artwork to the right, found at the Addison Red Line stop, depicting heroic Hall of Fame icons Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith in a too-close-to-call play at second base.  I scrounged through the melee of already drunk Cub fans and snapped this amateur photo, hoping it would bring me good luck.

It did.

Dear readers, I have been going to Major League Baseball games my entire life and I have never, ever caught one ball, be it foul, fair, or B.P.  Never. 

Once inside the cathedral dump also known as Wrigley Field, I went straight for the beer man, bought myself a cold one and swarmed through the slew of drunkards to find an open seat.  Entering to an onslaught of “F*** your mother”, “Go back to St. Louis”, and “Cardinals su<k”, I did my very best to make sure my Bud Light did not spilleth over.  While perfecting this baseball ballet, I noticed the crowd around me take to a chorus of oohs and ahhs, duck and spread.  I looked up and there it was: a ball coming straight towards me at a rifling speed.  With no time to react, I simply stuck my chest out, felt a thump, looked down, and in my left hand was a baseball!

After 30 years, folks,  I finally caught one.

A Colby Rasmus batting practice homerun at Wrigley.

And my beer did not spill one drop.

Colby Rasmus Homerun.jpgFrom there I knew it was going to be a good game.

And it was, if you consider sloppy defense good.  In fact, Cardinals left fielder Chris Duncan put on a clinic of how not to play the position.  Then again, so did Alfonso Soriano.  And in the end, Duncan’s bat powered the Redbirds to a win.

Of course, no Cub game would be complete without crying; and Milton Bradley came on late with the bases loaded, looked at six straight pitches without swinging the bat, then whined like the spoiled brat child he is before getting tossed.

Cards win.  Cubs lose.  I live.

Oh, and those crazy bleacher bums oft known to take an afternoon dip down the urinal trough?  They were out in full force.  There were a few tiffs and tussles, some skiffs and struggles.  They were loud.  They were obnoxious.  They were obscene.  Business as usual… like this clever diva who scribbled out some nonsense on a piece of cardboard and passed it off as truth:

Cards Suck Nuts.jpg(If you look closely, you’ll see it says: “Cardinals su<k nuts”)

Apparently she was too intoxicated to realize that the Cardinals won the game… or the fact that Wrigley Field’s peanuts are quite savory and that any Redbird would be a fool to not at least try them… just once.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Bit Tidding Tidbits

Baseball chick.jpgPut away that bottle, throw away those needles, quit workin’ that corner, folks!  Baseball is back!  Finally, we have something to live for again…

Here is but a sampling of the goings on around the league:

Alex Rodriguez Homers in Spring Training Opener
Immediately after he hit that bomb, all controversy of A-Rod’s MVP PED use and the subsequent tarnishing and questioning of his character disappeared like the hopes and dreams of Pirates fans.  Well, maybe not, but one can fantasize, right?

Ryan Dempster Has Yet to Say Something Stupid
Last year during spring training, Dempster guaranteed Cub fans a World Series title.  His foot-in-mouth silence at the start of this season practically guarantees another stellar regular season record, followed by a quick division series exit to the tune of 101 years.  Which leads me to the fact that…

Cub Fans Still Hungover from 2008, 2007, 2003, etc.
A simple stroll through Wrigleyville these days will yield much more than the average Barleycorn date-rape and trust-fund-baby all-night-party — both of which have long been synonymous with the neighborhood.  Nowadays you can still see the aftershocks of that disappointing NLDS performance against the Dodgers in the face of this guy and this guy and these guys.

Khalil Greene On Pace to Replace Ozzie Smith as Shortstop Icon
Don’t look now, but after one spring training game, off-season blockbuster acquisition Khalil Greene is on pace to hit .333 this year — which is way better than his .212 average of 2008!  While John Mozeliak sits back and strokes his pompous ego, we Joe Six-Pack fans are left daydreaming of that fifth-place NL Central finish.

Yankees Lend a Helping Hand: Willing to Pay Off the Country’s $1.75 Trillion Deficit
Okay, this is a lie; but the Yankees unwillingness to cooperate just proves how anti-American the organization really is.

Ann Coulter Is Still Crazy
An excerpt from her February 25th blog post reads:

“But as long as the nation is obsessed with historic milestones, is no
one going to remark on what a great country it is where a mentally
retarded woman can become speaker of the house?”

Ann, sweetie-pie, remember: we had a mentally retarded man with a fancy-rich last name as president for 8 years.  Let us have our speaker and please stop talking.

Indians Fans and Cub Fans Breathe Collective Sigh of Relief
Joe Borowski, possibly the all-time scariest closer for all the wrong reasons, officially announced his retirement.  There are parties in the street.  Check ‘em out.

Tigers Fans Better Off Watching Hockey
After my esteemed colleague and Tigers apologist Allen Krause wrote his annual lament on the sad state of his team, one clever commenter riffed:

“When the tigers crush your soul as they inevitably will, just remember to look on the brightside, we still have the Red Wings.”

Enough said.  Thanks, D.K.

No One Cares About Blagojevich Anymore
Or Roland Burris… or Dick Durbin strong-arming Burris to get out of town… or the poor economy… or world hunger… or the climactic dictatorship of one Hugo Chavez… dude, who cares?  There’s baseball to watch!

And at last…

The MLB Network Is Seriously Affecting My Loyalty to American Idol

I apologize to all my supporters, for it is true: in my living room, the MLB Network has temporarily taken the place of American Idol. Two weeks have gone by and I haven’t watched a single A.I. episode.  I know, I know.  This situation is difficult to accept for all.  But believe me when I say it hurts me more than it hurts you.  For some reason, Barry Larkin’s nonsensical ramblings and Al Leiter’s delusions of grandeur are just way more entertaining than Ryan Seacrest’s hair and Simon Cowell’s cliche Britishness.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

The Unforgotten

rod_blagjojevich.jpgWhen Chicagoans have lost interest in a political scandal, then it’s safe to say, so has the rest of the country.

Anything wrong with that?  Not in my opinion.  In a world full of greed, hate, debauchery and Cubs baseball, I find solace knowing that even the tireless spin-doctoring and smoke-screening of Rod Blagojevich eventually falls on the deaf ears of a nation distracted with the task of rebuilding itself.

Blago’s days as governor are as numbered as Joe Morgan is annoying; and soon, he will just be another political coelacanth — a footnote in the oppression and wasted tax-dollars of a people.

Good riddance.

In my fervent bidding adieu, I refuse to let Blago’s self-indulgent, gloomy demise get me down.  The older I get, the more I realize how little my brain can actually remember if not trained otherwise; thus, I find it best to replace negativity with post-partisan positivity.  So it is, on this four degree Sunday afternoon, with a broken heart and three cups of coffee too many, that I find grace in the baseball-politico memories dearest to me.

Of course, there are always the Joe Carters, the Kirk Gibsons, the Ozzie Smithsthe inauguration of a new hope for my country… those are all givens.  Today I focus on the obscure, the seemingly minute, the more poignant personal moments that help me to forget about what an awful place this earth can be sometimes.  And so I begin…

Ozzie Guillen Goes to Bobby Jenks
A move he’s made several times, but never as interesting as it was during the 2005 post-season when Ozzie motioned for Jenks by extending his arms out sideways as if to say: “Bring in the fat fella.”

Talking to Carlos Lee Outside Wrigley Field
Having gone hitless against Ted Lilly that night, I was stunned to see a smiling Carlos Lee on the corner of Sheffield and Addison waiting to get on the Astros player’s bus.  I approached him — all gargantuan 230 plus pounds of him — and flippantly asked: “Caballo, what happened?”

“Ball move too much, man.”

I’m still laughing at that one.

“Yes We Can” Viral Video

Sure, I admit I’m a sucker for inspirational acts of creativity… this one still gets me.

Brian Anderson’s Catch
Picture it, October 1, 2008… a one game playoff between the White Sox and Twins to crown the AL Central winner, and a Jim Thome homerun is all that separates the two when we reach the top of the ninth and two outs.  A sharp flare streamlines to right center field, in comes Brian Anderson… instant party on the Southside.

Bill Clinton on Carroll Quigley, DNC 1992

As a young, impressionable, questioning 12 year-old, this quote pushed me in to politics… to stay.

Adam Wainwright’s Curveball
Whether it was striking out Carlos Beltran looking or Brandon Inge swinging, I’ve never seen a more devastating hook — ever.

Barack Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote Address
I thought a change was a comin’… didn’t know it was going to take so long, but it got me revved up nonetheless.

Yadier Molina Hitting .304 in 2008
After the rocket homerun he hit off Aaron Heilman to beat the Mets in the 2006 NLCS, Molina became my indisputable hero.  To see him blossom into a true hitter in conjunction with his unrivaled defensive skills just makes me want to hug the guy any chance I get.  Yadi, you out there, pal?  Let’s hook that up.

Grandma Lois Talking Baseball
May she rest in peace, my beloved grandmother was talking Cardinals baseball like no other 84 year-old I knew.  Before the 2004 season, she told me: “It’d be nice to see Edmonds and Rolen have really good years.”  She died on April 20, 2004; Jimmy and Scott both put up career numbers and vied for the MVP.  I know she’s still smiling about that one.

Post 9/11 Baseball in New York

I’d be hard pressed to find a more inspiring, more electric, more communal surge of patriotic energy and overall bipartisan goodwill towards all through the greatest game on earth than what took place in New York City that fall. 

I still get goosebumps just thinking of it.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

What Joe Carter Taught My Dad About His Son

joe carter.jpgIf you called me an insane, obsessed, socially maladjusted freak in regards to my passion for the game of baseball, you would be absolutely correct.  Try as I might to cover up the idiosyncratic ticks that put me at the top of the weird charts, there really is no denying my beyond reasonable quirkiness.  In fact, baseball has long affected my dating life, my filial responsibilities, my job.

So you can imagine the worry and fear experienced by my dearest friends and loved ones when the MLB Network officially launched earlier this year.  It has been alluded to that since the network aired, getting in contact with me has been harder than taking Sarah Palin seriously.  This I cannot deny.

Besides getting the inside scoop on all things off-season baseball from the Hot Stove Show, shedding man-tears watching Mookie’s grounder trickle between Buckner’s legs and vehemently arguing/defending the selections of Prime 9, I have also been forced to evaluate the roots of my undying passion for our national pastime and why it means so much to me.

Which takes me back to the beginning…

baby jeff lung mike lung.jpgUnlike many young boys, my father had very little to do with my interest in baseball.  As great a man as he was (still is), he always had a calm reserve — an indifferent nature towards the game.  Sure, he was a fan of sorts; but he wasn’t nuts about it in any way.  His sister was.  Yes, it’s all her fault.  My dear Aunt Alice and her husband, Uncle Iggy, were absolutely wild about baseball and they molded me into a young, opinionated, domineering superfan at an early age.

Indeed, no two people had a greater effect on my psycho-following of the St. Louis Cardinals.  They ate, slept and breathed Cardinals baseball (still do); their fiery enthusiasm infected me before I could even walk.  Upon reflection, my earliest baseball memory is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s front page color photo of bedlam at Busch after the 1982 World Series.  Emulating Jack Clark’s short swing and despising Don Denkinger came soon after.  With the help of my aunt and uncle, it wasn’t long before I was memorizing the starting lineup of the ’85 club and dreaming of being Ozzie Smith. 

My father took a backseat to this unruly creation of a Redbird child.  While supportive of my decision to “go crazy, folks, go crazy” while reenacting Ozzie’s fist pump around the bases, it was clear that Dad didn’t quite understand what all the fuss was about.  Despite the quizzical looks he gave when I argued to stay home and watch the game rather than go to the video arcade, he accepted the fact that his son was some kind of weirdo.

As soon as I could operate the VCR, I was recording any and every baseball game on television.  During the long the winter months I watched those games with the same intensity with which I watched them the first time.  Then I’d watch them again.  And again and again.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for jeff lung mike lung.jpg“What are you doing, Jeff?” my father would say.

Shh.  It’s Tewksbury versus Sutcliffe, Dad.  Pena’s gonna throw Walton out at second. Wait and see.”

“But you’ve seen this game already.”

“I haven’t seen all of it.  There’s too much going on all at once.  I’m watching just Pena this time.  Just Pena.  Watch.”

And he would… he would placate my desire… because he saw how important it was to me.

It was very important to me.

My parents were divorced.  It got ugly at times.  I lived with my dad, separated from my sister, who lived with my mom a hundred miles away.  While my childhood spun around in chaotic circles of arguments, misunderstandings and fear, the melodic pace and harmonic rhythm of baseball calmed me like no drug ever could: the unique sound of Tom Brunansky’s bat, a whipping line-drive snagged by Pendleton at third, a Ken Daley strikeout.  No matter what the final score, baseball, with its disregard for time and its indifferent ability to create heroes and villains and bystanders, became the one constant in my life.

It kept me sane.

So it was October, 1993, and I found myself in a certain state of panic.  I was a selfish 14 year old boy who couldn’t imagine missing Game 6 of the ’93 Series and I wasn’t about to be quiet about it.  In Tulsa, Oklahoma at the time to cheer on my dad (a marathon runner) in the 15k Tulsa Run, my complaining escalated — eventually becoming more annoying than persuading.  The race was long over, but we were not anywhere near a television; the game had started and the anticipation was killing me.

“Dad, we have to go watch the game!” I whined.

“Okay, we will.”

“No, now! We’ve already missed the first inning!”

“We will.  We’ll go in a little bit.  It’s just the Blue Jays and Phillies anyway –

“Just the Blue Jays and — Dad, it’s important!  We have to go!”

Several shrills of suffering and an hour or so later we were finally in the comforts of a relative’s home, watching the game.

My dad rested his tired legs and read the newspaper while I glued myself to the t.v. set, still jittery, shaken, upset from missing the first five innings of play.  It was 5-1 Blue Jays and Dad uttered: “See, it’s gonna be a blowout anyway, Jeff.”

I grit my teeth.

And when the Phillies went on a tear in the seventh inning, scoring five runs to take a 6-5 lead, I looked back at him and said, “This is why you can never turn off a game, Dad.  Anything is possible.”

Dad managed but a glance away from his paper.

The ninth inning rolled around.  I shook with nerves at the suspenseful drama, mystique, myriad possibilities.  Dad was unmoved.  “Game’s over, Jeff.  Mitch Williams is coming in.” 

“You never know, Dad.  You never know.  You have to watch.  Just watch.”

Williams walked Rickey Henderson.

“Just watch, Dad.  Please.”

Fed up with my whining, he reluctantly put his paper down just in time to see Devon White fly out. 

Paul Molitor singl
ed.

Joe Carter dug in. 

I heard the rustling of Dad’s newspaper again, but before he could get into the reading position I shot him a glare so vicious, so maniacal, so threatening that he had no choice but to put it back down and focus on the game… just in time to see this:

http://xml.truveo.com/eb/i/168978778/a/5f62953ab8dba73576711df5b5a4d647/p/1

Unaffiliated with the Blue Jays, unaffiliated with the Phillies, but fully affiliated with the wondrous game of baseball, I shot to my feet and screamed like a little girl.  My whole being gushed with excitement, with incredulity, with a burning sensation never before felt as Carter jumped and ran the bases.

I looked at my dad, his jaw on the floor, eyes lit up like the Skydome fireworks.

“Did you see that, Dad!?!  Did you see that!?!”

“I… I saw it.  I don’t believe it but I… I saw it.”

“Don’t you see, Dad?  Anything’s possible.”

“I guess you’re right.  Anything is possible.”

If you can dream it, it can happen.

That’s the lesson baseball taught me, the lesson Joe Carter taught my dad, the lesson that comes from having a father who believes in you…

I love you, Dad.  And don’t forget… you can’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.  You said it yourself on October 23, 1993.

Peace,

Jeffy

Ill Winds in December

sword in the stone.jpgCan I take just a minute to gloat here? No, not about that. That’s more humbling than anything. No, I want to gloat because I got an early Christmas present! That’s right, Kyle Farnsworth is leaving Detroit and heading off to beautiful Kansas City! My only real question is, did he cry this time? So long and good riddance.

But, that being said, I would like to thank all of our readers for coming back, even on days when I was writing instead of Jeff. I know my manner of arranging words and sentences into (somewhat) coherent thoughts may not be as silky smooth as Jeff’s Ozzie Smith-like turns of phrase but it’s still gratifying to check in and see that people are actually commenting. In fact, I’ll say right here and now that one of my New Year’s resolutions is to occasionally respond to those comments. It might even happen, too.

However, despite all the good cheer in the air, an ill wind blows in from Mordor on the Hudson carrying with it the stench of sulfur and brimstone. This must mean it’s the time of year when the Steinbrenners open up their checkbook and start wheeling and dealing. But there’s a peculiar, additional scent this time and an odd baseball shaped head that haunts my dreams. Yes, the Mets have created their own version of Hades out in Queens and the wailing you hear is the sound of MLB GMs wondering where they are going to find relief for sagging bullpens.

Is there a hero who can save us? Will our white knight prevent this Gotham centered frenzy? Well, I’m not sure yet but here at RSBS we will be tirelessly tracking down the answers and looking out for some minor-league prospect who can pull the sword from the stone and slay these dragons. Hopefully they can also get rid of some these mixed metaphors because they’re killing me.

-A

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

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