Results tagged ‘ Royals ’

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

Tiger Spring!

RSBS Special Correspondent and Wikipiebenga Creator, Mark “Pie” Piebenga reports:

As soon as Victor Martinez went down, I thought, “well, season’s over.” [1] But then the Tigers won the Fielder sweepstakes (at a cost that boggles the mind: apparently Little Caesar’s is a pretty lucrative organization. Everybody reading this please buy a five dollar Hot N Ready so they can pay the Prince. And here is my obligatory admission that the back end of that contract is going to be a total nightmare). A season that looked suddenly suspect just as suddenly became the most exciting spring I can remember.

If they can keep healthy, and get production anywhere close to last year from Delmon Young, Alex Avila[2], and Brennan Boesch’s first half, and get consistent quality from Messrs. Verlander, Fister, Scherzer, and Porcello (not to mention the newly Dotel-ified bullpen), it augers Another Very Interesting Year To Be A Tigers Fan.

There are still some big question marks. It’s looking like a platoon of Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago at second, which doesn’t do us a ton of favors at the plate. With the diminished defensive range and crInge worthy batting of the once-exceptional Brandon Inge,[3] the Miguel Cabrera return-to-third experiment will be interesting and hopefully not embarrassing. Danny Worth and Don Kelly[4] will probably spot start there as well. Finally, can Austin Jackson achieve leadoff effectiveness even approaching two years ago?

For the last seven years or so I’ve approached the start of the season with same kind of a nervous ambivalence. The most positive outlook I’ve had could be described as ‘cautious optimism,’ which I feel now. It’s a very strange feeling to see the Tigers as the projected favorite to win the A.L. Central (hell, until last year, we hadn’t done it since 1987. Didn’t even do it in ’84.) The Tigers have been good lately, but as a typically suspicious and superstitious fan, I’m always nervous. In ’06 they got in the playoffs as a wildcard. When they forced the 163rd game with the Twinkies in ’09, I never had the feeling that we were a legit contending team. Last year they didn’t really seem to have any implicit dominance until rifling off that twelve game winning streak in September. (My father and I credit ourselves for that, having seen live their last loss before the streak started at a blinding hot day game Sept 1st, when the Royals came to Detroit.)

Speaking of which, I am very nervous about the Kansas City Royals. They were rated the 11th best team in the league in the ESPN prospects power rankings (I don’t know if this is a remotely useful metric, but Buster Olney seems like a smart guy). At the game with my dad September First we were sitting along the third base line, and during a lull in the game Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas was shooting the bull with the umpire and throwing the ball around. He was basically standing in the coache’s box, well behind third and in foul territory, and dude scooped up lazy grounder that came his way. Barely breaking eye-contact with the ump, he made a throw off his back foot that looked casual as hell, but judging by the angry snap of the leather Eric Hosmer’s glove at first, it could’ve been shot from a rifle. The lineup is getting spooky over there.

It’s foolish to make predictions about what’s going to happen, and we’re still forty four days till opening. Naturally when things don’t go your way for a couple of decades, you begin to doubt that anything good is going to happen. But the Tigs lately have provided all one can demand of any team, and that’s meaningful baseball in August and September. It will be really interesting to see what this team does in the face of injuries, statistical regression, and the rigors of the season.


[1] I can be a little dramatic.

[2] Verlander’s remarkable season was well documented. While he was hardly under the radar, I think a brief digression on Alex Avila is in order here. He had a .389 OBP (10th highest in baseball), an .895 OPS (8th in the AL), and hit .295. All while catching 133 games, and ranking top five among AL catchers in most defensive categories (e.g., tied for 1st with 40 runners caught stealing). And one of my least/most favorite things was the sheer number of times he got hit by deflections. I know catchers get hit all the time, but honestly I can’t remember seeing anything like his 2011 season behind the plate. (for example, check out sparks flying off his mask, and him getting hit in the neck.)

[3] He seems ever so far removed now from his ridiculous first half in 2009 that made him an All-Star (21 HR before the break!).

[4] Don Kelly fielded eight positions in 2011, everything except 2B. It’s well documented that I am transfixed by this guy, and his huge ALDS Game 5 dinger versus the Wankees made me so happy for him.

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 29: Remembering Ugueth’s Urbina and Other Stuff

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles

Jeff tries his darnedest to be as polite as possible during his unfettered gloating of World Championship status (Go Cards!) while Second City’s Mark Piebenga adds some level-headed awesomeness to Johanna’s outlandishness and Allen’s seasoned straight man routine.  Among the topics of discussion are “the greatest game ever”, the woes of rebranding an already twice championed franchise (talkin’ to you, Marlins), Theo Fever in the Chi, b!tch t!ts and much, much more!

Now grab some Crown Royal and enjoy yo’ self!

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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. Follow Keith on on Twitter and make sure to check out his crew and their gut busting Undercast! podcast.

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Recorded Saturday, November 12, 2011

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 25: Audible Pantslessness… and Other Stuff

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And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles

After a rough night of Pirate inspired debauchery, Jeff and Johanna clear the cobwebs (and police reports) to make room for special guest, Paul Lebowitz.  It doesn’t take long for them to get riled up as they touch on the evil FOX chimera Joe McCarver, Clint Hurdle’s Pirates, the White Sox’s diamond impotence and much, much more!

Check out Paul’s baseball blog, The Prince of New York, and also consider checking out his books, like the 2011 Baseball Guide (I’m using it to destroy my fantasy baseball foes right now).

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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. Make sure you follow him on Twitter!  And if you’re into raunchy stunts and Hooter chicks, make sure to check out Keith’s Undercast at Undercard Films!

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Recorded Saturday, July 16, 2011

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 23: Buster’s Broken Body… and Other Stuff

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And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles

Jeff and Johanna join forces in what is secretly designed as an intervention for Allen and his anachronistic memory.  The three of them then launch into some raunchy debates over this young MLB season, including but not limited to double headers, home plate collisions, “offensive” t-shirts and much, much more… all to make you smile for berry berry long time!

Holla!

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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. Make sure you take some time to check out Keith and his crew’s laugh-riot podcast. Follow him on Twitter to get the latest updates.  They’re doing some fantastic work!  You can find out more at Undercard Films.

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Recorded Saturday, May 28, 2011

Operation Plan C

Zack Greinke 3.jpgUh oh.  Don’t look now, Evil Empire, but the Yankees probably aren’t going to be successful in Plan B now that the shirt untucking Brewers have jumped in and made a deal for Zack Greinke.  And since the only other arm out there not attached to a ticking time bomb (*ahem* Carlos Zambrano) is Carl Pavano, well, that leaves the Yankees… er… in quite an uncomfortable situation.

Ready to entertain creative alternatives to mend their starting rotation holes, Cashman and company have taken to the teeny bopper concert scene.  Indeed, a young arm stuck in the sea of puberty is just ready to make his (or her) debut:

More accurate than Joba.  And probably a lot less annoying. 

I say go for it.

Hate. Me. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Something to Say

alf_something_to_say.jpg

We all have something to say.  The difference is in how and when we choose to say it. 

The nice thing about blogging is that we get to say it when we want to and, with the exception of a few words that our hosts choose to censor, we get to say what we want. 

The Freedom of Speech guaranteed under the Bill of Rights is arguably the most powerful right we have as Americans.  It’s the reason Orel Hershiser can thank god after winning a game and the reason why I can tell him that god doesn’t exist.  It’s the reason A-Rod and his agent can announce a contract extension during the middle of a World Series in which he isn’t playing and it’s also the reason why I can say that I think A-Rod and his agent are both worthless kangaroo placentas. 

Around this time of year the debate over what constitutes free speech ratchets up another level, though.  Political adversaries regularly find a way to push their constitutional freedoms to illogical extremes.  It’s not enough to say you disagree.  If you can’t figure out how to disagree and simultaneously accuse your opponent of raping and/or clubbing baby seals, you’re just not doing your job.

That’s why I choose to stand aside from name-calling and ad hominem attacks this post-season and political season.  I will not mention the Yankees’ illegal dog-fighting ring in which they set underfed terriers against various members of the Royals’ bullpen unless I have proof.  And I refuse to talk about Joe Biden and Christine O’Donnell’s secret Wiccan connection until no doubt remains in my mind to its veracity.

Additionally, I call on my co-blogger, Mr. Lung, to publicly announce his willingness to toe this line.  That is, if he’s not too busy fantasizing about he and Albert Pujols holding hands while clubbing and/or raping baby seals.

-A

The Filibuster

Once again the Twins beat up the AL Central and might even catch
the Yankees for the best record in baseball.  Can we reasonably say at
this point that the Twins are the best run team in baseball?
 
Rob

Duluth, MN
_______________________________

chairman mauer.jpg

All biases aside, Rob, to say the Twins “beat up” the AL Central sorta glides over the fact that, outside of the White Sox, the Twins really had no competition going into the season to begin with; that the White Sox totally derailed (twice!) only made the Twins look more dominant.

But I understand your want, your desire, your dream to cast the Twins in a plushy role like that of the highfalutin, media-darling Yankees.  Well, brother, dream on… ‘cuz, reasonably speaking, the Twins ain’t the Yankees. 

Nor are they the Rays.

Nor the Phils.

Hell, they’re not even close!

In my opinion (which happens to be right), those three are the best teams in baseball right now.  And when you add the qualifier of “best run”, well, sorry.  I really can’t look any further than the best teams.  Period.

Are the Twins good?  Yes.  Are they capable of going all the way?  Sure.  Can I slot them in as the best run team in baseball?  No way!

Believe me, I tip my cap to the entire Twins organization.  They build from the ground up.  They instill in their players the concept of playing the game the right way.  They do the little things well and fundamentally, they are as sound as a team can possibly be.

But when the pressure is on, they fail.  When they need to win the big game, they don’t.  Not yet, at least.  And going into a short series with Liriano, Pavano and Duensing isn’t quite as mortifying to the opposition as going in with Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt (lookout!).

To me, being the best run team in baseball would require, at the very least, a track record of winning when it matters the most — a trip to the World Series would be even better.  But the Twins haven’t been in that situation since Danny Gladden hit leadoff and Barry Bonds had a normal sized forehead.  And despite all the good things the Twins’ brass has done in recent years, can I really celebrate a front office that let Johan Santana go for Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey?!?!?!?

No way.

I love me some Joe Mauer and Delmon Young just as much as the next baseball dork, but, let’s be honest with ourselves: they ain’t scarin’ anybody.

Yet.

Hate me ‘cuz I think the Twins’ are the weakest playoff link, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

(Chairman Mauer image courtesy of Twinkie Town)

***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. 

***Information that pins Mr. Krause as a closet Tea Bagger also welcome (he won’t stop talking about Christine O’Donnell, you know. Just sayin).

Races in Stasis

With much of the playoff picture slowly coming into focus, we shift our gaze over here at RSBS to other important races still in progress.  Of course the political scene commands a fair amount of attention with the crazies trying to “take back” the government.  And with Michigan 3-0 on the season and both big state schools beating Notre Dame, I’m loving the college football for the moment.

But what about the race to the bottom?  You would think that KC would have the toilet bowl of the AL Central wrapped up in a death grip but Cleveland still has a very real chance at snatching it back.  Even more amazingly, two other teams in the AL have less wins than the Royals or Indians.

I guess that’s another one of those great aspects of baseball.  Even when it’s over, it’s not quite over.  And even though it may not be pretty, it’s usually entertaining.  Kind of like these guys:

-A

The Filibuster

The sCrUBS are now 3 and 9 against the
Pirates. 
I am just wondering how much more the Pirates have to do before we can
replace
them with the sCrUBS as the doormat in the National League.

Great Blog Guys,
Mike
Chicago, IL

____________________________________

pirates fan.jpgMike,

I like the question but I’m going to have to remand you to basic math.  Yes, the Cubs are terrible and they seem to reserve their worst for the Pirates.  As a Tigers fan, I’m all too well-acquainted with this phenomenon which I like to call Royal-itis.  Sweep the season series from the Yankees?  Sure, why not.  Beat the two decade doormats of the AL Central more than once per season?  Nah, not really feeling that.

But, the fact of the matter is that the only number that really counts is the overall win-loss figure.  And when you look at those numbers, for both this year and for the recent past, you can see that there’s no real comparison between the Buccos and the Cubs.  Despite all their hyjinks and Zambrano’s incredible implosion, the Cubs are still 6 games ahead of the Pirates and barring Lebron James’ conversion to baseball and subsequent saving of the Pirates, they appear well on their way to another impressive losing season.  The Cubs will finish where they always do, just a little ways south of their expectations.

Really, the best that we can hope for out of either of these teams is a little entertainment.  God knows that Cub fans don’t really go to the ballpark to watch the game.  They go to be seen and to drink themselves stupid.  Pirates fans?  Honestly, I have no idea why they go.  Pittsburgh must be an incredibly boring town if that’s the best thing you can come up with.

Here’s my final take on things, Mike.  The Cubs may be the personal doormats of the Pirates but with the twenty year record the Pirates are sporting, they’ll be holding on to that overall doormat title for a while yet.  Here’s an analogy that might help you understand the situation.  The Cubs are like a West Virginia coal miner’s doormat.  It’s dirty but you expect it.  The Pirates are more like the doormat you’d find in front of a frat house at the end of second semester, right after they’ve thrown the biggest kegger in school history while it was raining.  Yeah, sometimes you might as well just throw the thing out and start over.  Hope that helps.

-A

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