Results tagged ‘ Stephen Strasburg ’

Dispatches From a Midwestern Stoic

tips_like_a_cow.jpgIn the middle west of our fair country, we hold many things sacred.  A short list would have to include potluck dinners, the right to call soda by its Michigan name, pop, and knowing the correct form for tipping over a sleeping cow.  We also used to hold college football sacred but now I’m beginning to wonder.

Sure, we’re in the middle of baseball season right now and there’s plenty to enjoy.  The Tigers aren’t too far behind, Strasburg finally made his move and there’s even a chance I might get to see him pitch against the White Sox next week.  Forgive me if I’m not just a little bit distracted, though, by the news coming out of Big Ten land.

Personally, I still think it’s a little bit of a travesty that the conference added Penn State but decided to keep calling itself “The Big Ten,” only paying lip service to the true arithmetic by getting all cutesy with the logo.  But now they’re going to add Nebraska, too?  Don’t get me wrong, I understand the pressure that exists in big time college sports and adding a team like Nebraska is definitely going to help the revenue stream.  That doesn’t mean I have to like it, though.

On the bright side, at least when they picked a team that starts with “N” they avoided the confusingly named Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.  I mean, they do realize that the name of the school is French but the mascot is a tiny Irishman, right? 

I guess it’s inevitable and I should probably get over it.  It just seems strange that as a Big Ten team you definitely won’t play all the other Big Ten teams.  It’s like being in the National League but never playing the Dodgers.  Where’s the sense in that?

Now that I’ve said my piece, it’s time to get back to another couple things we hold dear in the Midwest: Beer and stoicism.  I think I’ll hold off on the meth, though.

-A

Notes from a Strasburgian Night

stephen strasburg debut.jpg
As Matt Capps recorded the final out in what turned out to be the most entertaining game of the entire year thus far, and as the camera panned back to frame a victorious, fist-pumping Stephen Strasburg in his Major League debut, a young man dressed in the number 37 from the stands mouthed what was easily lip read as:

“This is a baseball town!”

And he wasn’t kiddin’…

Strasburg’s Stuff
If you know me, you know that nothing makes me “rise up” (wink, wink) quite like my Erin Andrews meets Kourtney Kardashian meets Jenna Fischer fantasy… okay, that and lights-out big league pitching.  Stephen Strasburg may not sport 32C’s, but his stuff is as filthy as my mind is imaginative, and that, dear readers, is about as dirty as it gets.

On Jeff Karstens
Jeff who?  Who is that?  No, seriously.  Who is he? 

Rise in Relevancy
Picture it: It’s a Tuesday evening… you just got off work… and all you want to do is rush home to watch that Pittsburgh Pirates/Washington Nationals game.  You’ve been waiting for it in eager anticipation for well over a week now, and finally, as you crack open that beer and get a glimpse of what magic may become, you settle in to what ends up being the most captivating game you’ve seen all year long, of any teams, in any league.

And it’s the Pirates. 

And the Nats. 

Seriously.

This is good for the game, people.  This is very, very good for the game.

Don’t hate me.  ‘Cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The Filibuster

Strasburg is looking pretty good in the minors but the Nationals are
putting together a surprisingly decent season so far.  How long before
he comes up to join the club and what kind of impact will he have?

Ashley
Frankenmuth, MI
____________________________________

stephen strasburg.jpgBefore I say anything, I just gotta ask: are you the same Ashley from Frankenmuth that my nefarious and oft sedated colleague Mr. Krause used to usher in and out of our college dormroom at odd hours back in the day, so as not to draw attention to his haphazard extracurricular activities? 

If you’re not, then just pretend this piece starts… now:

Okay, Stephen Strasburg.  Fine.  But please realize I ain’t no analyst.  I am not an insider.  I don’t have an ear within the organization nor do I claim to know what any of the higher-ups are actually doing.  I only have access to the same information you do… and considering that, I can tell you this:

Stephen Strasburg is wicked sick.

Believe me, I did not want to like this kid.  At all.  I cannot stand the overhyping of a young someone who has never faced any serious Major League competition, ever, in his life.  Sure, every once in a while the media gets it right.  But rarely.  For every Jason Heyward there are a bazillion Todd Van Poppels, Bill Pulsiphers, Brien Taylors.  And that’s not even including the fizzlers who succumb to injury like Mark Prior and lackluster primadonnas like Pete Incaviglia.

But this Strasburg fella… I think he’s the real deal.

His motion is mechanically fluid.  His ball has jump.  He makes hitters look silly.

And his current line at AA Harrisburg reads as such:

3 W, 0.52 ERA, 0.577 WHIP, 11.9 SO/9

Uh… wow.

AND the Nationals are actually holding their own right now among the NL East hogs.  To hear the talking sports heads tell it, if the Nats continue to compete and Strasburg continues to dominate, we could very well see him this season.  And if we do, I would bet he’d destroy everyone he faces.

The first time around.

After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

But I do know one thing: when Strasburg does make it to the Bigs, he’ll be the most loved man in all of Washington, D.C. since January 20, 2009.

And we all know how loved POTUS is now.  Jeesh.  We US Americans… we’re a tough crowd.

Hate me ‘cuz it ain’t illegal yet, 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. 

***Nancy Pelosi’s original face also welcome. I wanna scare one of my neighbors.

Things Scott Boras Says from Behind the Plate

scott boras behind home plate.jpgYep.  We’re sick of seeing his smug mug behind the plate on every pitch too.  So in an effort to oust his recurring playoff cameo, we sent our RSBS interns into Angel Stadium with a mega-fortified parabolic microphone to pick up all the juicy sound bytes Mr. Boras let slip during the game.

Here’s what we heard:

“Jesus, look at A-Rod.  How’d I let that guy fire me again?  That oughtta be my ****ing walking wallet!  Mine!  My lord, those labrums!  Look at those labrums!  Best labrums in all of sports!”

- – -

“Forget Teixera… Matt Holliday is worth Babe Ruth like money.  How much money did Babe Ruth make again?  What?!?  $80,000 a year was his best?  F*** that, Matt Holliday is so worth Mark Teixera like money.”

- – -

“Why aren’t there gold flakes on this f***ing hot dog?  Huh?  Who the hell brought me this hot dog without gold f***ing flakes!?!”

- – -

“Jesus Christ, I can’t understand a thing Manny says.  How do you say ‘take a goddamn shower for crying out loud’ in Spanish!?  Anyone?  Anyone?”

- – -

“Holy s***, Alex Rodriguez… maybe I can get teams to think Ivan Rodriguez is actually Alex Rodriguez.  Quick trip to the Dominican Republic, grab some stuff from A-Rod’s cousin… shoot up Pudge and BAM!  He’s lookin’ like Alex did in that hot Details shoot.  Did I just say that?  F*** you.  Don’t look at me.  Watch the game.

- – -

“Ha ha.  I just remembered that Adrian Beltre deal.”

- – -

“Why does everyone hate me?  Because I’m rich?  Because I’m powerful?  Because I look like a young Rush Limbaugh?  Ha!  My bowel movements are worth more than these worthless fans’ entire lives put together and run through a gilding press that I bought with my money.  Where the hell is my goddamned organic vodka gimlet!?!  Jesus!”

- – -

“Someone remind me to tell Kyle Lohse he has really f***ing made me look bad.”

- – -

“$tra$burg… $tra$burg… $tra$burg…”

- – -

“Jesus, if I were gay, I’d totally do Alex… ha ha, but, y’know, I’d of course make a big deal of it to the press first before opting out at the last second… then, when things calmed down a bit… I’d fire that b****.”

- – -

Now you know, folks.  You aren’t surprised, are you? 

Hate me ‘cuz I bring it, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

That Thing No One Cares About

mark prior.jpgYep.  You guessed it.  I am talking about none other than Mark Prior.

Remember him?  He was the player touted as having the most perfect pitching mechanics ever, the guy who was going to break every pitching record ever, the man who would redefine pitching forever!

Yeah.  Not so much.

And now, after not making a Major League appearance since August 10, 2006, the San Diego Padres have officially relieved him of his services (or general lack thereof).

Dear readers, when the Padres organization doesn’t have any faith in your abilities, then let’s face it: you do not have any abilities.

Blame Dusty Baker.  Blame the Cubs curse.  Blame global warming.

He just didn’t have it.

To illustrate, please enjoy this visual representation of Mark Prior’s Major League career:

Are you paying attention, Stephen Strasburg?

Hate me ‘cuz I bring it, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Happy Friday!

Peace,

Jeff

An Inconvenient All-Star

an inconvenient truth.jpgI really haven’t had that exciting of a life. There
are a lot of things I wish I would have done, instead of just sitting
around and complaining about having a boring life. So I pretty much
like to make it up. I’d rather tell a story about somebody else.


Kurt Cobain (1964-1994)

Instead of complaining about who isn’t going to the All-Star Game, I’d like to tell you a story about someone who is going to the All-Star Game:

Me.

Luckily, one of my best friends is a Cardinals season ticket holder.  And besides being the proud owner of Quincy, IL’s finest bar and grill (a place where even Mike Shannon has been known to drink) he also has a kind heart and agreed to take me along for all of the All-Star thrills, including acting as my official wing-man in my misguided quest for Erin Andrews glory.  Yes, that is still going on.  Admittedly, overcoming such built-in adversity will not be an easy assignment; it will be easier than overcoming the struggle against Nazi Germany (don’t tell Al Gore) but, dear readers, it will not be easy – especially since so many deserved, albeit inconvenient, All-Stars will not be present. 

Yet that does not mean they should not be recognized for their All-Starredness, no matter the capacity… so here are your RSBS All-Star snubs of 2009 whom I will proudly represent in St. Louis next week:

Mark Reynolds
Just like that frat guy named Hunter and his impervious flesh pursuit at the bar on $5 pitcher night, yeah, he strikes out an awful lot.  But he also surprises you every once in a while and hits some big-time bombs… or bombshells, whichever the case may be.

Mark Sanford

Stealing bases is one thing.  Stealing taxpayer money to bankroll an 8-year long international affair?  Now that’s All-Star material… because, well, it takes balls.  Balls of steel.

Stephen Strasburg
Being the most popular man in Major League Baseball without ever having played a Major League Baseball game is certainly something to tip your cap towards.  Just wait until you see the kind of velocity he can generate with those ears! I promise you: he is the best pitcher EVER in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD!

Sarah Palin

No one likes a quitter, but unlike Manny Ramirez, at least Palin looks good while doing it.

And finally…

Milton Bradley
As an unabashed Cardinal fan, there are about about 30 million reasons why this guy is a true All-Star.  Obviously, not one of them includes playing good, fundamentally sound baseball.

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 Allen shot-gunning Old Styles also welcome.

The Dog Days of June

interleague_logo.pngJune means two things: the heart of the blockbuster season in the nation’s movie theaters and interleague play in baseball. The big studios unleash their franchise players on a ravenous public while the American and National Leagues battle for supremacy. But, despite obvious cosmetic differences, the two things are not all that different.

By the time interleague play ends and the All-Star break rolls around, a lot of teams have already fallen out of contention. Does anyone really think that Cleveland is going to make a serious run at the pennant or that the Nationals are suddenly going to put it together and ride Stephen Strasburg into the World Series? Maybe they can play spoiler towards the end of the season but after you’ve passed interleague play, there’s not really much reason to watch them.

It’s kind of like the big blockbuster movies. Transformers II might not have much of a plot. Or a script. Or real acting. But it sure looks good on the big screen. Once it’s time has passed in the local cineplex, though, is there really any point to watching it? It’s not going to hang around for long. It’s there to make some money and get out.

And really that’s where we see the greatest similarity between the two. The money. Interleague play is a huge revenue generator for Major League Baseball. Mets and Yankees. Cubs and White Sox. Kansas City and…..well, maybe not KC. But there’s no doubt that MLB and the clubs are raking in the dough as a result of these matchups.

Just like the movie studios absolutely rake in the dough with their summer blockbusters. Sure, it costs a lot of money to make a new Spiderman movie but when it makes back twice as much as was spent, you can bet your *** they’re going to keep going back to the well on that one.

However, there’s one aspect of this whole thing that gives me some hope. Despite all the focus on the fanfare and hoopla surrounding the big releases and the marquee matchups, there are little things that slip through the cracks but go on to make all the difference. It can be a “My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding” that maneuvers around between the big boys and not only plays for awhile but also manages to make a lot of money and happily surprise people. Or it can be a so-so series that ends up having a much bigger impact later in the season. Do you really think that if the Yankees were to miss the playoffs by a game or two they won’t look back at that series with the Nationals and wonder what went wrong?

I guess that’s just one more reason why I love both baseball and movies. No matter how cynical I might become or how much I agonize over the state of the game or the state of the industry, there are always the little things that keep me coming back. Especially when it involves the Tigers.

-A

Quick! Give Him the Key to the City!

stephen strasburg.jpgWould someone please explain to me how MLB.com (in all its ballsy-get-outta-my-way glory) has no problem calling Washington Nationals’ first round draft pick, Stephen Strasburg, a “future ace” before he has ever put on a Big League uniform?  I speak Chinese.  I speak it really well.  That does not make me the “future ace” of Sino-US diplomacy.

Or does it?

Now that I have suffered through Bud Selig mispronouncing Cincinnati as “Cincin-nattuh”, Harold Reynolds beating the meaning out of the word “signability” and the absence of MLB Tonight (perhaps the most entertaining baseball program on the planet due to its painstaking efforts to suck in the ADD crowd), I think I have a solution to all this draft hoopla.

Listen up, Washington Nationals.  Quickly, throw all the money you have at Strasburg, give him a private jet, a harem fit for a politician and whatever else he could possibly need, then let that boy prove himself at the Major League level.  Right now

The current state of the Nationals is, at best, barrenly bleak: their pitching staff is five Shairon Martis wins above absolutely atrocious, their defense makes Alfonso Soriano look like a diamond wheel gold-glover, Adam Dunn can’t get a properly fitted jersey to save his spare tire, the jerseys they do have are highly susceptible to the occasional spelling blunder (*ahem*, make that, blunders, plural), they suffer from an extreme identity crisis (are we the Nationals/Expos/Senators/Twins/Rangers/the other Senators?), enlist low-brow stomach-churning marketing, are exposed by their inability to properly discharge sausages into the stands, still employ Kip Wells and now they can’t even shoot off fireworks without dumping debris on their own city fire chief (thanks for the tip, Matt).

What the hell could it hurt to put Strasburg in the rotation? 

Throw him into the D.C. fire already.  Let’s see if this kid is indeed a “future ace”, an ace, a back-end starter or a just a plain old joke like the rest of the Washington Nationals.

Do it, do it quickly and do it now.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Identity Crisis

question_mark.jpgListen up, Major League Baseball.  I love you.  I really do; and sometimes being in love means having to bring you back down to earth, to be horribly blunt and to shower you with lots of smack (the slang, not the drug, though sometimes the drug seems like a better option in extreme cases, like when you overflow my inbox with crap I don’t want and never asked for).

MLB, you are not the NFL.  You are not the NBA.  You are MLB.

So while I commend you for trying to drum up interest in something — the first year player draft — that is, on the surface, boring and otherwise three to four years removed (if that) from the current game, I must ask you to please snap out of it

For the record, I do not care about the NFL and NBA drafts either, but I can certainly see why people do.  If you are a basketball and/or football fan, you have seen the potential draftees come up through the highly competitive elite forces of the NCAA.  Bowl games are slammed down your throat.  March Madness is so mad that it doesn’t end until April.  You know the players.  You’ve seen their talents.  You hope your pro team gets a shot at their services.

In contrast, the potential baseball draftees are as familiar to us fans as is a logical, amicable, non-infuriating Ann Coulter.  In the NFL and NBA, if you get drafted, your chances of seeing playing time at the top are almost a given, while most of the guys drafted in the MLB draft will never put on a big league uniform.  Sure, your Griffeys, A-Rods and Verlanders — guys who go in the first round or two — will most likely make it; but the majority of the rest will wallow away in the minor leagues, battle disillusionment, come to grips with not being good enough and before you know it they’re faxing TPS reports behind a desk while reading RSBS for giggles.

So as MLB pats itself on its self-aggrandizing back about televising this overblown shindig so they can sell lots of advertising to companies gullible enough to think that it will actually rival that of its football and basketball brethren, you can be sure that I will be spending my time wisely.  Dear readers, I advise you to do the same; and just in case you can’t think of anything better to do, here are some suggestions:

  • Remember, question and lament the hype of Pete Incaviglia
  • Write hate-mail to Rush Limbaugh and sign it “Jesus”
  • Clone Chris Carpenter
  • Come up with clever gimmicks to sell your new religion start-up (worked for me!)
  • Or, God forbid, watch an actual Major League Baseball game with real-life Major Leaguers

pete incaviglia.jpgIndeed, that is but a short list of things I will be doing instead of watching your draft, MLB.  I will not be listening to Harold Reynolds start every sentence with “Now, here’s a guy…” nor will I sing praises of your precious college phenom Stephen Strasburg when he is — as you already told me he would be — drafted in the first round.  I’ll wait until he collects the league minimum $400K for that.

I know a poser when I see one and it is because I love you, MLB, that I have to call you one to your face.  Go ahead and hate me ‘cuz I’m critical of your identity crisis, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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