Sunday was my first opportunity to get to the ballpark in 2012, so I grabbed a friend, put on some summery clothes and headed to Sox Park for Jackie Robinson Day!
I’ve seen some great baseball on Jackie Robinson Days past, all of which were pitchers duels (my drug of choice), but with a Rick Porcello v. Chris Sale matchup looming, I wasn’t expecting much. The pair would end up surprising me, but that wasn’t all:
- This was the FIRST April baseball game in Chicago I have ever attended where a hat, gloves and scarf were not needed. No joke. I was in a t-shirt. Sweating at times.
- Miggy can play D. I hung two stars on my scorecard for him, including a barehanded grab-and-throw that nailed a speedy Alexei Ramirez at first.
- I understand the importance of Jackie Robinson Day and all, but is it necessary that EVERY player and EVERY coach wears the same number 42? It is a scorecard junkie’s worst nightmare! Every time I looked up I had no idea who was doing what.
- And those ugly throwback ’72 Sunday home game red-pinstriped White Sox unis didn’t last past the 70s for a reason. They are HIDEOUS. Throw them out! Along with Alex Rios!
- It was a day game. Sure it was a bit overcast, but there was sunlight. Plenty of it. But that didn’t stop the White Sox personnel from turning ALL the stadium lights on like it was a night game! There was WAAAAY too much light. WASTED light! I know ‘Merica is a nation of excess, but good grief.
- Despite the new uniform, Prince Fielder is still fat.
Hate me ‘cuz I take tedious notes, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!
On Wednesday, in his Bold Names column of sneezes from around the Major Leagues, Chicago Tribune reporter Mark Gonzales enlightened us on the snazzy stylings of White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez. Gonzales wrote that Ramirez “opened some eyes among his teammates when he walked into the visitor’s dinky clubhouse at Wrigley” because he “sported a white Cuba jersey with his name and number on the back.”
Nothing wrong with that. So Alexei is cool. The Missile dons dapper duds. I’m down.
“Reliever Octavio Dotel, a native of the Dominican Republic, liked the jersey so much he wore it for a few minutes. Unfortunately for Ramirez, Dotel said he might be subjected to a fine for not adhering to dress code rules on the road — yes, even at Wrigley Field.”
And after wearing Alexei’s jersey for a few minutes, Dotel told Gonzales:
“‘The jersey smells good… he’s [Ramirez] still learning and a young guy from Cuba but doesn’t know a lot of things about the States.'”
Yeah, you’re obviously dead on, Octavio. I mean, I cannot think of a more common pastime, in the States, than going around sniffing your friends’ clothes.
That crazy Cuban Alexei… jeesh, he’s got a lot to learn.
Hate me ‘cuz I don’t sniff my buddy’s clothes, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
“huge gamble.” Of course, you could argue that an even bigger gamble
took place when Pete Rose threw down money on games or when Tim Donaghy
decided to just throw a few games in the NBA. What do you think is the
biggest gamble (legal or otherwise) that has taken place in baseball
recently and how does it compare to McCain’s?
Gambling, throwing all you’ve got behind one decision, taking a risk… these are paramount aspects of the game of baseball. Without them, the game would be boring. When players and managers break from the norm and go out on a limb, we get excited: distancing oneself from the same old thing causes excitement.
And there has been no shortage of temerity nor bold decision making in our most beloved game over the last several years. Of course, as a Monday morning quarterback, it’s easy to call these moves audacious, ill planned, unrefined after the fact. Sometimes, as in the case of the GOP’s pick of one Sarah Palin, the decision need not be analyzed over and over again to find sound reasoning: there just isn’t any.
Like Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS after giving up three straight hits with only five outs to go and a three-run lead. That was dumb no matter how you look at it. And if it weren’t for 2004 and 2007, Sox fans would still be teeming with angst.
Like scores of players (McGwire, Bonds, Giambi, just to name a few) cheating their fans and cheating themselves by altering their physiology in order to make an extra multimillion or three, break records, tarnish the game. While I understand the desire to perform at the highest level possible, I tend to admire the natural approach over the Frankenstein method. With information regarding the rigorous side effects of performance enhancing drugs being as known as ABC’s — these guys took a big, dumb gamble and now — for the most part — we despise them for it.
But in my opinion, the biggest recent risk sure to backfire on the gambling party was the cave-in decision made by the Red Sox to ship Manny Ramirez out of Boston for Jason Bay. The baseball pundits have spoken, and I have to agree: Jason Bay — no matter how good he is — is no Manny Ramirez. The Red Sox may squeak into the playoff picture, but they are not near as good now as they were with Manny in the lineup and I expect they won’t make it too far without him. The whining and crying of Ramirez was nothing new to Boston’s brass and erasing him from the team not only left a hole in the four spot, it also diminished the impact of one David Ortiz.
And losing Ortiz at-bats to walks sure does make a difference in the wrong direction.
Of course, there are always those gambles that seem ludicrous yet turn out to be smart in the end as well.
Like Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa batting the pitcher in the eight hole to create more opportunities for Albert Pujols. Though seemingly odd because it was such a staunch break from the norm, essentially what TLR has done is make sure AP gets up in the first inning, then contributes as a clean-up hitter for the remainder of the game. It’s hard to argue against that logic and I’m surprised more managers haven’t followed suit.
TLR isn’t the only NL Central manager who has gained notoriety for his arduous risk-taking skills. “Sweet” Lou Piniella, when faced with an ailing Kerry Wood, had nothing but faith in a young rookie call-up from Notre Dame. He threw Jeff Samardzija in the limelight and hasn’t looked back since. With Samardzija pitching as well as he has in recent months, the Cubs bullpen, for the first time that I can ever remember, has suddenly become an asset rather than a liability.
But no gamble in recent memory has turned out as splendidly as that taken by White Sox GM Kenny Williams in trading Chris Carter to the Diamondbacks for Carlos Quentin. Sure, one could argue that giving up a relatively unknown minor league first baseman for the once considered underachieving Quentin was hardly a risk. But put in perspective: trading Garland for Cabrera and Linebrink, cutting Podsenik, resigning Uribe, demoting Josh Fields, putting faith back in Joe Crede while giving a young Alexei Ramirez a shot at second base… Kenny Williams has been a very busy man and the moves he’s made — while controversial — have all turned out for the better. The White Sox have rediscovered their grinder swagger and as I predicted at the beginning of the season, have made a case for winning the AL Central and beyond.
I don’t know what political affiliations Kenny Williams has, if any, but I do know that the GOP’s decision making skills pale in comparrison to the Sox GM. The invasion of Iraq, the atrociously late and unorganized response to Hurricane Katrina victims, the gross misspending of our inflated tax dollars… and now putting Palin — a woman so unqualified to lead a nation that I can’t help but tell myself this is all just a big joke (punchline to come?) — in line for the highest office in the land; all I can say is:
That was dumb.
And let me tell ya, you can go on and hate me for my wordy rhetoric, my inspiring the people, my loose analysis of managerial decisions, but you shouldn’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
The way the balls were jumping out of The Joan today, one might have thought that the Chicago Air Show started a day early. That wasn’t the case. No. Those were homeruns flying out of the ballpark, not F-14s, and at least four of them flew out in a row: back-to-back-to-back-to-back.
When you say that out loud, it sounds like a bad rap song.
And it got me thinking…
Rarely do things as delightful as homeruns occur four times in a row (especially in the post-PED era) … so when they do, it surely is magical. What else would I like to see back-to-back-to-back-to-back?
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Saves by the St. Louis Cardinals Bullpen:
Because of the rarity of this now-merely-theoretical possibility, I am beginning to think that the 2008 Cardinals are looking more and more like the 2007 Cardinals. And folks, let me tell ya, that ain’t a good thing.
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Republican Sex Scandals:
Foot tappin’ in an airport bathroom stall, meth dealin’ gigolos, married northeastern governors who just happen to dig guys more than their wives… keep ’em comin’!
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back French Male Olympians Crying After Competition:
Why? Because the only thing better than watching a Frenchman cry is watching four Frenchmen cry — in a row. “Zee wemen… zay sink zee cry-eeng… eez sexy.” Ah, the French are such easy targets sometimes.
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back World Series Titles for a Team NOT Named the Yankees:
It could happen. No. Seriously. It could. Okay… no. You’re right.
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Presidential Terms for the Democratic Party:
FDR did it — by himself — and he was awesome. I’m not saying let’s rewrite the Constitution. I’m just saying we could use a good twelve to sixteen years to get some s*** done — for real.
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back RSBS Posts Where Allen Krause Doesn’t Offend a Great Number of People:
Look, in this case, I agree with you, Mr. Krause; but somebody has to stop those Christians from firebombing my house! Enough already!
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Evenings Where I DON’T Receive a Soliciting Phone Call from the Number 800-450-9135:
I signed up for one non-profit organization that stands for making the earth a little bit better place and now, every day, non-stop, I get anonymous phone calls from this number asking me to donate to (insert random charity name here). No. I’m through giving my money away. Why do you think I’m still single?
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Pow-Wow Sessions with the Staff of Arizona via Slough:
I realize that I’m starting to sound like a real perv here, but trust me: I’m not. I’m interested in his staff because they are smart problem-solvers with real world experience and decorated graduate degrees. That’s it. That’s the only reason. Oh — and they know how to order Chinese food properly as well. Very important.
I leave the last one up to you, dear reader. Leave us with your back-to-back-to-back-to-back dream and we’ll see what we can do to make it come true.
I promise. It won’t include rhyming.
You can hate me ‘cuz I’m a dork… but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
There’s a buzz down here on the Southside of Chicago and it’s about a man by the name of Ramirezzzzzzzz. No, not that Ramirez (we civilized US Americans don’t support inhumane c0ckfight wranglers), I’m talking about Alexei Ramirez — the most influential skeleton playing second base in the Majors right now.
I think it’s safe to say that Kenny Williams — genius as he is — had no idea that things would quite work out this way. He re-signed Juan Uribe, then traded for Orlando Cabrera and moved Uribe to second base to make room. Uribe went down with an injury and Ramirez (aka The Living, Eating, Breathing, Hitting Skeleton) took over.
Uribe’s healthy now — healthy on the bench. And as long as Alexei keeps on doin’ what he’s doin’, that’s exactly where Uribe (aka Fat ^ss) will stay.
It’s true. Ramirez has lifted not only the spirits of Southsiders the world over, he’s lifted the team and lifted the W’s. With his game-tying homerun on Tuesday night, he proved that his previous five dingers weren’t all just flukes; he proved that a skin-and-bones scrapster from the slums of Cuba could actually swing for the fences and he did it in dramatic style.
But to look at the guy it’s hard not to ask yourself, “Really?”
He makes David Eckstein look like Barry Bonds.
Not since Manute Bol has a human skeleton demanded so much attention within professional sports. See if you can see the similarities:
My biggest fear isn’t that Ramirez will suddenly lose his flare for the dramatic or his step on a two-hopper or his penchant for a good eye. No. My biggest fear is that Juan Uribe will eat him.
Rumor is Uribe has been put on the Prince Fielder diet so as not to devour his teammates. I just hope it works.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
**ON A SIDE NOTE… Please visit the Prince of New York and sound off on why his latest experience with The Man is downright unjust. There are very few blogs that I read every single day of the week. His is one of those few. The guy knows what he’s talking about and he provides the information, research, numbers to back it up. His book is well-written, insightful and pertinent (also a great big help to fantasynerds like myself). Deleting comments on blogs is a crime. Unless a comment is so blatantly racist/vulgar that it can’t be left up for reasons that are otherwise outlined by the FCC, a real blogger who cares about what he/she does would not delete a comment. Neyer and DePodesta have proven that they’re not men enough to stand up to the fires that they helped start. So Allen and I would like to give them a great big RSBS “EAT IT!” for their idiocy, self-centeredness and blatant disregard for freedom of speech. Rock on, Prince, rock on.
It happens. Not very often, but when it does, it’s Pure-land Buddha bliss or 净土宗 as I like to say; and when it is, I get a great big… smile. On my face. It’s true.
On this one single night the Cardinals won (against a Tiger team that looks like *this*), the Cubs lost (at Wrigley!) and the Sox won (in L.A.!). Not only that, but the bus came right as I arrived at the bus stop this morning, my inbox was free from hate mail all day, I had gongbao jiding for lunch, Obama showed improvement in overall US American support and Bill O’Reilly was banned from ever opening his mouth again.
Okay. That last thing isn’t true — but the rest is.
So before I go too far and screw up the stars’ alignment, I will do something that has never been done before in the entire history of RSBS: just this once, I will rest my case… and take a moment to reflect on the almighty Amituofo name. Because after all, the Buddha is the one responsible for the Cardinals’ and Sox’s success so far this season… the Buddha is also responsible for the brainy combo of LaRussa/Duncan, Lazarus reincarnated as Alexei Ramirez and that pesky little goat that will bring the Cub faithful to their knees in agony… again.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right. This time, I got the inside edge.
Peace & 南無阿彌陀佛,