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.
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 Smiths… the 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.
Nothing says autumn like a good old heated political firestorm coupled with a stretch battle for a final spot in the MLB playoffs. Right now, it’s all gettin’ really good. So, dear readers, let us not forget to let it all sink in (the arguments, the media gaffes, the low blows) and really enjoy what we have going on here.
And more importantly, let us not forget to honor our heroes.
When I think of John McCain, the first thing that comes to mind is: HERO. You can’t be a prisoner-of-war survivor and not be a hero. Having spent the first 18 years of my life in a sequestered Illinois river-town also known as the armpit of the mighty Mississippi, I like to think that I understand what it means to be imprisoned by the enemy without any of the amenities I have come to enjoy in my adulthood. Because of that, my hat will always go off to Senator McCain… for his loyalty, his passion and his love of country.
But I can’t help but think about how he came to be a POW in the first place: while flying his plane over Hanoi he was shot down by the Viet Cong. In other words, he failed his mission. Now, I’m not trying to belittle his accomplishments in uniform — not at all — but what I am trying to say is that this hero persona that the GOP is clinging to with all their might is really exposing the fact that Senator McCain has already proven his ability to ‘fail’.
It’s sort of like me saying: “Well, sir, at least I didn’t get your daughter pregnant.” And he replies: “That’s because you’ve been doing it in the ^ss.”
Okay, well, maybe it’s not quite like that but I think you understand my point.
So today I’d like us to shift focus from one hero — the one who’s heroics have been thoroughly documented and vetted and celebrated and characterized and relied upon and written about — to one who very few people recognize at all: Yadier Molina.
Quite possibly the most talented of all the Molina brother catchers, young St. Louis Cardinal Yadier gets very little credit for his mounting heroics. My man-crush for Yadi began the very first time I saw him rifle a ball to second base. Blessed with a pure cannon of an arm, I soon learned that potential base-stealers would be smart to shorten their leadoffs from first as well; because no one guns ’em out at first better, with more accuracy or more surprise than good ‘ol Number 4.
As a matter of principle, I tend not to purchase MLB jerseys with a player’s name and number on the back for fear that his tenure may not outlast the jersey’s wearability; but when Yadi singlehandedly sent the Cardinals to the World Series in 2006 by jacking that 9th inning homer off Aaron Heilman, I couldn’t help myself. I went out and bought his jersey the next day.
Yadier became my hero.
He still is. Not only has Molina’s defense gotten consistently better and devastatingly fearsome over his four and a half years in the big leagues, but he has suddenly found a live offensive stroke to go along with it. He hits for average and almost never strikes out, making him one tough total package on both sides of the field.
And that toughness has never been more apparent than it was last night when Molina was absolutely railroaded, steamrolled and body slammed by Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly in a collision at the plate. Molina is a catcher. Getting clocked is a part of his job. But I’m pretty sure most of us average joes would’ve had a hard time getting up from that, or take getting plowed by a pitcher with such grace, let alone continue the game, taking at-bats, calling pitches. I was amazed he made it through four innings.
I’d probably still be lying on the ground right now if that were me.
Which is reason enough to prove that I, dear readers, am not a hero. Sung or unsung, left or right, red or blue, I’m just that guy you love to hate…
…because you’re always allowed to hate me; but you can’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Doggie guru Cesar Millan has taught me many a valuable life lesson. The first — and most important — is that I am the pack leader. In order to maintain pack leader status, I must emit a calm yet dominant energy. A brief scan of recent RSBS posts would be more than enough to convince every living being of my fulfillment of this necessary role. Second: happiness comes from excercise, discipline, then affection, in that order and in that order only. Food is optional. Just ask the Olsen twins. They seem to be doing fine. But sometimes, dear readers, these are not enough. Fear is an untouchable giant among short people and fear can cause myriad setbacks to one’s personal success, satisfaction, serenity.
For this reason, I have decided not to argue with Mr. Krause on his most recent ramblings regarding MLB playoff restructuring. Despite his fixation on how greedy and seedy MLB front offices tend to be and besides his disconnect with the purism-is-passion campaign I so wholeheartedly support, he does make a few good points. In short, nothing is going to change right now, so I might as well get used to it and hope for the best.
Just for today, I’m content with that.
Fear, which has long been an issue my Tiger-lovin’ friend has struggled with, must be addressed. If I were to walk away without confronting his deepest, underlying and now-in-the-open anxieties, I would be a poor voice for US Americans. In his last post, he let it be known that:
“…a specter came back to haunt me today…”
That specter’s name is Jeff Samardzija — Notre Dame superstar and latest edition to the Chicago Cubs pitching staff. Admittedly, I share no love for the man just as I share no love for Notre Dame nor the Cubs; however, to me, he is a man. Unfortunately for Mr. Krause, Samardzija has taken on an entirely phantasmal nature capable of penetrating and destroying his entire being.
And Samardzija is not the only one…
Dear readers, this must stop. It must stop today. And as Cesar has so rightfully taught us, it will stop by confronting, defeating and slaying. Attention all specters inhabiting Allen Krause’s mind: Be Gone!
Regis Philbin, Be Gone!
Famed Notre Dame alumnus known for entertaining housewives for over two decades now, this specter haunted Allen by asking “Who wants to be a millionaire?” to which Allen responded, “Who wants my foot in his ^ss?”
The Combination of Brad Lidge and Roger Clemens, Be Gone!
Lidge went to Notre Dame and became a fire-balling closer infamous for losing his mind under pressure. Clemens wore a Notre Dame jersey for a publicity stunt and pressured his body by juicing it until he lost his mind.
Hannah Storm, Be Gone!
This Notre Dame graduate (are you seeing a pattern develop?) became a female sports broadcasting star with NBC — the ultimate purveyor of all-things Fighting Irish. In specter form, she subliminally caused Allen’s abhorrent distaste for white women.
Carl Yastrzemski, Be Gone!
With that name, it’s hard to believe he went to Notre Dame but it’s true. He did. And his nickname was “Yaz”, which spelled backwards is “Zay”, like the language spoken in Ethiopia. And you know what you can find in Ethiopia? Missionaries. Catholic missionaries. Catholic missionaries who have ties to Notre Dame. Yeah, Yaz’s specter is one that runs circles around Mr. Krause’s mind.
Antonin Scalia, Be Gone!
Not a Notre Dame grad, but he might as well be. A highly conservative supreme court justice who just happens to be Catholic (not a bad thing in my book — the Catholic part), Allen saw him wearing blue and gold once and jumped to conclusions… Scalia’s been fear-mongering ever since.
Aaron Heilman, Be Gone!
You guessed it. A Notre Damer. Also pitches in New York, for the Mets. Famous for giving up the 9th inning dinger to Yadier Molina that put the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series against the Tigers (whom they eventually destroyed), Allen still holds a grudge against this specter. Also interesting is the fact that Heilman sounds a lot like Heisman, which is a prestigious college football award bestowed upon Tim Brown — also from Notre Dame — in 1987, which is a year that the Cardinals went to the World Series and the Tigers did not (though they were close).
…and finally, the biggest, most bothersome, most destructive specter of them all:
And I ain’t goin’ anywhere, Al, so you just better get used to it.
I know it’s tough, but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.