The Filibuster

Are the Giants better off without Melky?

Mark 
Oak Park, IL

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On August 15 the Giants were 64-54 after losing to Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.  That same day they found out that they would be losing Cabrera for the rest of the regular season due to a 50-game ban.  Since then, the Giants won 27 games and only lost 11 on their way to clinching the division with a couple weeks left to go.  Now, there’s no doubt that Cabrera, juicing or not, can hit.  In reality, the drugs just made him better.  And it’s also pretty evident that he was on track for the NL batting title.  But when you look at the record compared to what the expectations were following news of Cabrera’s ban and one thing becomes obvious.

The Giants are a good team.

And they might be even better without Melky.

Look at the numbers.  With Melky the Giants were 10 games over .500 and doing well in the West but still not a sure thing.  Without Melky this same team is 26 games over .500 as of Friday and simply blew away the rest of the division.

What that tells me is that something changed in the collective psyche of the Giants when Melky got the boot.  The knew they could no longer depend on one guy to come up with the clutch hit and, as a result, it has been a whole bunch of guys who have had to come up with the hits and catches.  This makes them a team as opposed to a collection of players brought in as a supporting cast for the one star.

I don’t know if the Giants have the magic to make a run this year like they did in 2010.  If I had to guess, I’d probably say no since baseball is so wildly unpredictable.  But they seem to be coming together as a team more now than they did with Melky leading the charge so anything is possible.  Throw in the fact they don’t have to worry about facing Strasburg in the postseason like they did back on August 15 and it means that their chances are just a little bit better.

-A

The Decided Voter

I know I’ve already talked about it but at this time of year, we hear a lot about the “undecided voter.”  Here’s the thing, though.  This is what an “undecided voter” really looks like:

[youtube http://youtu.be/ArC7XarwnWI]

I don’t know about you but I prefer not to leave my future in the hands of that guy.

You know whose hands I don’t mind leaving my future in?  This guy:

Hopefully there are no undecided voters when it comes time to vote Miggy for MVP.

-A

Why I’m Rooting Against the Angels

It’s nothing personal.  Really.  Halos fans are cool.  And when I lived in SoCal, one of my favorite things to do was head on down to the Big A.  But this has nothing to do with the Angels or their fans and everything to do with her.

I am over her.  I am.  We had our good times, and yeah, she broke my heart into a bazillion little pieces, but it’s over now.  I’ve been over it.

For a while now.

It’s just that running into her during the playoffs — seeing how shiny and beautiful and happy she is with another man — well, just the idea of it happening like that so fast makes me want to puke.  And while I’m sure there will be a time when seeing her prosper will not make me dizzy with envy, that time is not now.

Not yet.

Go A’s!

Tangible Intangibles

Although both political candidates and baseball teams have spent hundreds and thousands of hours working on strategy and trying to put together the perfect roster to bring home a win in November, there’s just no way they can prepare for the intangibles, what Donald Rumsfeld would call the “unknown unknowns.”  For the sports teams, there’s always the specter of injury as well as the impossible to predict quality of “getting hot at the right time.”  In politics, the things that keep campaign managers up at night include supposedly off-the-record comments and the fickleness of the “undecided voter.”

Guess that means it’s time to spend another couple hundred hours on strategy.

-A

The Filibuster

Who should throw out the first pitch if the Nats make the Series?

Natalie
Washington, DC
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In a city known for its hot-winded bureaucracy, I can definitely see this scenario as something DC suits would fight for.  I mean, who wouldn’t welcome the public relations boost that would come with leading the charge in Washington’s first World Series since 1933?

The problem is, I wouldn’t want any currently serving politicians out there on the mound.  Obama, a clumsily outspoken White Sox fan with an awkward delivery, would not be a good choice considering the pending presidential election and his penchant for wildness.  And asking a former president such as George W. Bush, a man who can certainly hold his own on the baseball diamond, would also be a bad choice considering the awful PR that would go with it.

The first pitch in the World Series should be by someone who is just as much a part of the spirit of Nationals baseball as the players and coaches and front office.  It should be someone with great leadership skills.  Someone who is adored regardless of political affiliation.  Someone who is dead.

It should be Teddy Roosevelt.

Since the Expos became the Nationals, fans of this ill-fated franchise have had little to cheer for… except for Teddy Roosevelt.  And yet despite leading the charge during the Spanish-American War, despite conquering an elusive elephant whilst on African safari, and despite surviving a bullet shot from John Schrank’s gun, the stuffed man still cannot find a way to sit atop the Presidents Race podium.

The very least DC could do is give him the first pitch.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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Things Still Fall Apart

Like any good book, the baseball season unfolds as a series of intriguing stories.  Mike Trout.  Bryce Harper.  The Baltimore Orioles.  The Boston sell-off.  ROIDS!!!  These are all striking plot lines that draw us in, forcing us to check Twitter and MLB Trade Rumors and MLB Tonight as often as Mr. Krause uses a 5-year old picture of me looking like a goof.

Yet, at the end of the season, after the World Champions have been crowned, the champagne has been drunk and Ozzie Guillen has said something unintelligible on live television, I firmly believe that the biggest story of the year could be the complete reversal of what up until a few weeks ago looked like a major headline grabber.

That’s right.  I’m talking to you, Pittsburgh Pirates.

Not even International Talk Like A Pirate Day could save loyal baseball fans in the Steel City from wanting to bring back the brown paper bags from the last 19 years.

With the losses on Wednesday and Thursday, the Pirates find themselves back where they belong, with a losing record.

It’s sad, right?  I guess.  No.  I know.  It is sad.  But for a realist like me, it was also predictable.  The Pirates doing well would be a surprise.  Seeing them sink back into loserdom is not.

Speaking of losers, you are not one today, my friend.  In fact, you just won!  What did you win?  Well, I can’t leave you feeling so sad on a Friday… so here are 18 glorious minutes of bloopers from The Office.

Happy Friday!

Jeff