Results tagged ‘ Twins ’

RSBS Undercover: Jeff as a Yankees Fan, Day 1

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Yeah, I got a big mouth.

Sometimes it gets me in trouble.  Sometimes it gets me… opportunity.

So that’s why when I told Confessions of a She-Fan author, Jane Heller, that I would throw all my postseason fandom towards the Evil Empire as long as she celebrated series clinchers with pics of she boozin’, I didn’t even think to… well, think.  At least, not too much anyway.

But what’s done is done.  And now I’m in.  With the Reds eliminated, I don’t have anything to lose this postseason… so gimme an interlocking “NY” and watch me chamelonize into a slithering, spoiled, seedy Yankees fan…

Jeff as a Yankees Fan, DAY 1:

7:30 a.m.
I put aside my normal breakfast of greek yogurt and blueberries for an authentic New York Jewish bagel. It’s so authentic, it insults me and tells me to go back to Hobboken.

9:45 a.m.
I tune into Sportscenter and am pleasantly surprised to see my newfound team featured in every, single, friggin’ segment.  Yeah, son! Yeah!

1:35 p.m.

Riding the bus, I see some chumwad in a Red Sox cap.  I am brought to my knees with an overwhelming sense of disgust, nausea and uncontained anger.  I march right up to him and say, “Hey, buddy, how’s the number 27 sound to ya? Huh? Yeah! Eat it, son! Eat it!”  Then the bus stops and I get off as fast as I can.

4:45 p.m.
The office manager was able to send out five faxes, five emails and five phone calls to our customers — all within one work day!  So I showed him I cared by giving him a shaving cream pie in the face.

6:15 p.m.
I turn on Sportscenter and am pleasantly surprised to see my pinstripers featured in every, single, friggin’ segment!

9:30 p.m.
Some jape wearin’ a Twins cap walks by my house so I yell out “Go Yankees!” and he flips me off so I moon him then he throws a rock at my window and then I shoot him.  In the face.

10:45 p.m.
Ohhhhhh what a day.  This Bronx Bomber stuff is really taxing; but it is good to go to sleep knowing that I rest on top of the sports universe — that all professional sports franchises in all corners of the known galaxy must look up at me, in my great big pinstriped bed.  Happy and relaxed, I flip on the t.v. and let Sportscenter and its endless Yankee-love-fest woo me to slumber.

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To be continued…

Still Don’t Have a Horse in this Race? RSBS is Here to Help!

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Things should be much, much clearer now.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

Allen’s 2010 Post-Partisan Playoff Preview

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Every year about this time a magical transformation takes place.  Normally sane people go stark, raving mad as they cheer their favorites to the finish.  The coolness in the air mirrors the coolness in neighbors’ stares as some new item of support gets unfurled in the yard.  Promises get made only to be broken soon thereafter.  And that’s just in the world of politics.

We are truly a blessed country because every fall we not only get the insanity of the baseball playoffs, we also get the truly mind-numbing inanity of the November elections.  But this year is extra special because in addition to the antics of Democrats and Republicans, we also get the often unbelievable but usually entertaining shenanigans of the Tea Party.

Over here at RSBS we’ve made a tradition of putting together our annual playoff preview and this year is no exception.  But each edition needs a theme and this year, in honor of our Teabagger friends, the theme just kind of put itself out there.  Let’s get to it.

National League

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Like the NL, green tea has pomp, circumstance and history.  The Chinese have been drinking the stuff since Europeans were letting blood to cure sickness and avoiding baths in the belief that water would kill you.  Although it may have never gone away in the Asian world, the green stuff has experienced quite a renaissance in the West with the discovery of all it’s anti-oxidant properties.  Likewise, with the NL finally in the driver’s seat after winning home field advantage at the All-Star game, you have to think they’re feeling a little renaissance of their own is due.  But renaissance in what flavor?

Starting in the east (naturally, since we are talking about tea), we have the two-time defending league champion Phillies, the Japanese green tea of our preview.  It’s classic, you know it and you know you’re probably going to see it again.  Not only that, it just makes sense.  Seriously, how would your bento box taste without the tea accompaniment?  It belongs.

Meanwhile, the Lipton green tea of the NL, Atlanta’s own Braves, somehow found a way to get Bobby Cox back into the playoffs.  Sure, it may not have been your first choice but it will get the job done.  However, it’s also only going to get you so far.  More on that later.

In the heartland, the Reds find representation in the classic Gunpowder variety of green tea.  No one is quite sure how the tea got its name, maybe because it’s rolled into little pellets, maybe because it expands explosively when it hits the water.  But there’s one big problem here.  The way you know the quality is from the size of the balls.  Smaller balls, better quality.  Dusty Baker and his team aren’t exactly known for their small balls.  Do you remember that brawl with the Cardinals?  The Reds, their balls are a little too big.

Finally, out west we find the Giants, the Moroccan mint tea of the baseball world.  It tastes good, there’s a lot to like but something’s a little off.  Maybe it’s not strong enough, maybe there’s too much sugar but for whatever reason, it’s only good in small doses.  That’s probably all right, though, since all we’re going to get from the Giants is a small dose when they exit during the first round.

American League

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Black tea found a home in the west but purists still sniff at its lack of tradition.  Sure, it may have more caffeine, it may keep you going but where’s the ceremony?  Now the fans of black tea will argue that theirs is still a noble tradition and despite their blends and flavors and addition of milk, the tea is still central.  You’re not going to have any luck sliding that argument by the tea dogmatists, though.

Since black tea is a western thing, we’ll start out west with the preview as well.  That means we dive straight into a steaming cup of Irish breakfast tea, also known as the Texas Rangers.  Nolan Ryan owns the team and you don’t get much more Irish than that.  However, in the land of black tea, the English reign supreme.  Sorry, Nolan.  It just wasn’t meant to be.

This leads us to Minnesota where the Twins find themselves represented by….wait a minute!  That’s not tea.  That’s herbal tea!  C’mon guys.  I can steep dirt in water and call it tea but everyone is going to know it’s just mud.  Herbal tea is nice when you have a cold but it’s not “tea.”  Hm, I guess that’s kind of fitting since the Twins are a “playoff team” but aren’t really a playoff team.  Or at least won’t be for very long.

From here we find ourselves back east again with two very different teams.  We start with the Rays, the Massala Chai of the baseball world.  There are a lot of flavors going on there, it’s new, it’s hip.  And it definitely works for awhile.  The question is, when the chips are down and you have to pick just one, do you go for the spicy stuff or something proven?

And what could be more proven than the English breakfast tea that is the Yankees.  Personally, I don’t like the stuff but a lot of people do.  Not only that, it’s strong and it gets the job done.  Sure, the tradition may not go as far back as the NL but when you can throw around names like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Yogi Berra, you got something going on.

World Series
So what happens next?  Well, it’s pretty simple.  We line them up and see who lasts the longest.  I apologize to everyone who lives west of the Mississippi but when I read the leaves, their fortunes don’t look good.  Texas, Minnesota, San Fran and Cincy all go down in the first round leaving us an east coast finale in both leagues.  I’m sure this doesn’t bother the broadcasters who will be reading tea leaves of their own and I’m sure they’ll be even more happy when the Yankees and the Phillies emerge to once again do battle in the World Series.

So, it comes down to this.  Japanese green tea vs. English breakfast tea.  The fact of the matter is, anyplace else in the world the green tea wins hands down.  But this is America and the Anglo-Saxons decided to let all their chips ride on black a couple hundred years ago.  Good thing they did because the Yankees win again.

-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
_______________________________

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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).

The Filibuster

So, it looks like we’ll watch the playoffs from the sidelines this year
since both of our teams decided to nosedive in the second half.  Which
teams’ failure is the most discouraging, though, the Tigers or the
Cards?

-Allen
Tigers fan
_______________________________

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A clever move from my sinister and oft pejorative colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, inserting himself into the Filibuster box by stuffing it with this one question, over and over and over again.  I guess some part of Mr. Krause is looking for sympathy in the wake of yet another disappointing season in Detroit; because anyone with any sort of baseball awareness knows that the greater discouragement between these two teams most assuredly belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Hell, up to a few weeks ago we were all buzzing about how the Cards could just mail it in for the NL Central title.  How could they not?!?  A team anchored by two of the best pitchers in the game (Wainwright, Carpenter), flanked by serious ROY candidate Jaime Garcia, a solid Jake Westbrook… and I haven’t even gotten to the offense centered around Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday… a team like this… it screams playoffs.

So how is it that they are dead?

Lack of motivation.  Sense of entitlement.  Clubhouse squabbling.  Streakiness.  The absence of a clear, dominating, team leader.

Really, that’s what it comes down to.

Meanwhile, the 2010 edition of the Tigers never had a chance to begin with.  Outside of Justin Verlander (who struggled early on), their pitching was a complete mess (Dontrelle Willis anyone?).  They started two rookies in Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore… and at the very last minute they signed a less-than-stellar Johnny Damon to… well, to do what, I don’t really know.  His non-impact did the talking.  Or not.  Depending on how you look at it.

So, Mr. Krause, of course the Cardinals’ 2010 fail remains more epic (as the kids iz sayin’) than your disastrous Detroit Tigers, who are apt to see Jimmy Leyland walk away after the season, so that he can spend more quality time smoking… and… smoking.

But not all hope is lost for the RSBS universe.  The Rays and Rangers look like fun teams to root for in the postseason, and let us not forget… Mr. Krause still has a horse in this race:

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Hate me ‘cuz I got people who can extract sensitive information, 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. 

***Pics of Mr. Krause declaring his love for Albert Pujols & Co. also welcome. I have a hunch…

RSBS Takes Another Seat with Hall of Famer Dave Winfield

dave winfield 2.jpg“By about 12 years old, I thought, ‘I wanna play professional baseball.'”

And for Dave Winfield, a man who was drafted by three different professional teams in three different sports, such an aspiration never seemed too lofty.

“People would say ‘yeah, yeah, yeah.’  But the thing was: I found something I loved.  And I was pretty good at it.  Next thing you know I was drafted.  Four years later, my dream came true.”

In the minds of today’s youth, such dreams continue to be commonplace, which is why Dave speaks with us from the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA, where his partnership with Ask.com and Susan G. Komen for the Cure continues its tireless campaign of awareness, action and prevention.

“I just think back to when my brother and I were playing baseball at this age, if we would’ve had the opportunity to play on these beautifully manicured fields against kids from around the world, this would’ve been the highlight of our lives.”

Luckily for Dave, his highlights came later in life, in the way of 7 Gold Gloves, 12 All-Star selections, a World Series ring and a spot in baseball’s coveted Hall of Fame.  But the kids in Williamsport still have plenty to look forward to:

“I know how much they love it.  And they’re excited about it and how they’ll remember this experience the rest of their lives.”

There’s no doubt about that.  And one needn’t look only to the Little League World Series to find such enthusiasm.  Just head out to your local youth ball field and watch how regimented, how jovial, how respectfully the game is played, even on a small level.  It is with that in mind that Dave recalls one of his more cherished little league memories:

“We used to take infield practice that was flawless.  That was our goal, to take these flawless infield practices before the game and it would set the tone and intimidate the opposition.  We were good.”

In fact, back then, growing up in Minnesota following the Twins, Dave’s focus was on defense.

“There were many players on that team but the one I really liked was Zoilo Versalles.  He was a shortstop.  And his glove was what I’ll never forget.  I followed those guys.  Harmon Killebrew.  Tony Oliva.  Guys like that.  We used to imitate all of them.”

llws2006.jpgKids will always imitate their heroes.  They will always dream big; always envision themselves in the spotlight.  But with only 30 teams and set 25-man rosters, the reality is that only 750 Major Leaguers can exist at any one time.  So Dave’s advice to kids with Big League aspirations is “to get their education.  Do well in school.  Be versatile.”

“Enjoy the sport.  Go hard.  We’ll give you every tool and every opportunity to succeed.  Just know that there are other things in life too.”

Of course, not every kid can grow up to be Dave Winfield.  But every kid can grow up to be like Dave Winfield — to do things the right way, to respect that which demands respect and work hard to make a difference.

If every little leaguer can live up to those ideals, then the future is as bright as their dreams are big.

Written by Jeffery Lung

Special thanks to Zack Nobinger for arranging the interview.

For more information on Dave Winfield’s thoughts on the progression of little league baseball, check out his book Dropping the Ball.

Click *HERE* to read Jeff’s interview with Ozzie Smith.

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

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

(Top image courtesy of Essence.com)

(Bottom image courtesy of Tim Shaffer/Reuters)

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 3: The Stat Zombie’s Death… and Other Stuff

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Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast…

Jeff and Johanna welcome a paragon of baseball intelligentsia, Mr. Paul Lebowitz — the one and only Prince of New York!  If you aren’t already reading the Prince’s daily column *here* or *here* then you probably should get on that.  Like, right away.  Or else.  And if that ain’t enough, you can certainly follow him on Twitter too.  To be honest, the man is too ruthless and too unfettered for you to not be paying attention to him… so the RSBS crew made sure to get him at his best.  Among the titillating
topics of discussion: Jason Bay’s UZR, men left on base (LOB), Keith Hernandez’s hunches, BRAINS!!!!… the Lou Piniella Mailbag and much, much more!

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 the bomb shizzy, by the way.  It’s available on iTunes and is posted regularly at Undercard Films.

**Image by Annette T.  (Thanks, Annette!)  Check out her sweet@ss blog!

Recorded Saturday , June 12, 2010

Ideas Gone Bad

You know how sometimes something seems like a good idea?  Like when you walk the bases full to get to A-Rod and he launches a moon shot?  And then you realize that it really never was a good idea?

Well, just in case you still aren’t following, here’s another example that might help drive it home:

Happy Saturday!  And remember, just because something seems like a good idea, that doesn’t mean it is.

-A

Playing Favorites

jesus_runs.jpgI grew up in a very Christian house and I remember being tickled pink whenever one of my sports heroes would thank god after a big win.  Every Lions fan knew that Barry Sanders and JC were tight.  One of my earliest baseball memories is Frank Tanana on TV thanking the big guy for helping him win the game that clinched the division and got the Tigers into the 1987 ALCS with the Twins. 

But I started to wonder a few years ago: How come god plays favorites like that?  I mean, why did he help out Tanana that afternoon but then totally leave the Tigers hanging out to dry in the actual playoffs?  Were the Twins fans just praying harder?

Finally I realized that it has nothing to do with god at all.  If Dave Dravecky and Orel Hershiser, two incredibly (some might say fanatically) devout Christians, pitched against each other, god didn’t magically flip a coin and decide which one of his children would win and which would lose.  Either they made their pitches and got run support or they lost.

davidwells.JPGI guess my point is that I’d like to see us get beyond all of this.  Tim Tebow didn’t win a national championship for Florida because Jesus came down and guided his passes.  He won because he spent hours on the field and in the weight room preparing for those games.  I’m guessing Tanana did the same thing.  In fact, if there’s anything that should make you wonder about the possibility of divine intervention, consider David Wells.  How that man can launch that girth out of bed every morning, much less throw a perfect game, is the only evidence of miracles that I’ve ever seen.

-A

One Little Game

mlb_logo.jpgTechnically it means very little.  One game in the course of a 162 game season. But let’s face it.  Opening Day is something else.  It sets a tone.  In 2008, when all the cognoscenti had picked the Tigers to go all the way, those of us who follow the team definitely felt a little hint of worry when they got thumped by the Royals on the first day.  And if they could have won on Opening Day last year, that would have been enough to win them the Central and avoid an ill-fated playoff with the Twins.

For such an epic sport, a sport whose history goes back more than a century and whose season lasts more than half a year, baseball is a game of inches and moments.  And that’s why we love it.  It invokes the saga of multiple generations of both players and fans but allows us to live in the immediacy of a home run or a strikeout pitch.

Opening Day is baseball in miniature.  Yes, it’s only one game and yes it doesn’t technically mean that much being only one 162nd of the of the season.  But if you ask any of us sitting here watching our Opening Day starter take the mound if this game means something and you can bet your @$$ we’re all going to say yes.

Happy Opening Day and go Tigers!

-A

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