This might keep me from being one of the cool kids, but I’m not sweatin’ it because I’ve been there in the flesh, watched it on T.V. and the truth is: the Home Run Derby blows.
It’s boring. It’s fabricated. It’s full of… nothing happening.
It’s made for T.V., that’s for sure, but it’s not baseball. It takes one small, often over hyped aspect of the game and blows it up to the point where it’s just senseless action with little at stake. Sure, I admit Josh Hamilton’s Yankee Stadium display was something otherworldly, but c’mon, that was just one time it was interesting. It’s usually just a bunch of mindless yakking from Chris Berman (another over hyped blah) peppered with the occasional home run and a bevy of unclever insurance ads.
Me? I’ll be watching Le Tour in anticipation of the actual All Star Game (also known as “Better than Christmas” at my house). And yes, I understand the Tour de France (and the entire sport of professional cycling) has a bigger PED problem now than baseball has ever had, thus possibly “tainting” the experience for unseasoned cycling fans, but let me tell you: if any event warrants blood doping, it’d be Le Tour.
I do not advocate it, but I get it. These guys are KILLING themselves, over three weeks, every single day, and if it were up to me, they could inject new blood into their own veins as much as they wanted.
Endurance events get me fired up. That’s one of the reasons why I love baseball so much: it’s a GRIND. Every day. In harsh conditions. Moving forward. But in baseball you rarely see the agony on the players’ faces.
In Le Tour, the agony starts at the gun and doesn’t reach its apex until the finish line is crossed. I can appreciate that, and will, much more than listening to obnoxious Chris Berman catchphrases while guys hammer batting practice fastballs over the wall in Kansas City.
Hate me. It’s cool. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Simplistic campaigns to hunt down public enemies (like Kony 2012) are all the rage these days. When will you all be launching Selig 2012?
It is no secret that the authors of these pages hold no love for the staunch bureaucratic policies and seemingly never-ending reign of King Bud the Nosepicker. Indeed, we’ve ripped the man’s decisions in every which way and have even gone as far as to say that George W. Bush would make a perfect Commissioner in comparison (no joke here, we really do think Dubya would be perfect for the job). But to compare Bud Selig to the heartless, maniacal, baby-raping mass murderer Joseph Kony? Um… that’s a bit much.
But just a bit.
The good news is, people are getting educated on Kony’s crimes. And they’re doing something about it (unless *this* derails it). However, when it comes to the tyranny of King Bud, we already know about the bevy of shenanigans. There’s just nothing we can do about it.
If I may break from the usual ‘ol crotchety me for a moment, I would like to point out that, in my opinion, the overall state of our national pastime is as good now as it’s ever been. Seriously. If you turn your head from the silliness that is King Bud’s All-Star Game, and if make yourself forget about that whole Ryan Braun cheating thing, and pretend like the overall muscle bulge of the 90s and early aughts was caused by “supplements” that can easily be purchased at your local GNC, then you might conclude that, indeed, baseball’s vibe is very good right now.
The networks are fighting to get in on the expanded playoffs. Parity is slowly squeezing its way into all divisions. And the Pirates still suck!
More than that, people are still paying money to watch Adam Dunn play. Erin Andrews is still showing up in dugouts. And Tampa Bay seems to be in the playoff picture every year now, despite the fact that no one in Tampa Bay seems to care.
But most importantly of all, the St. Louis Cardinals are World Champs!
So for now, I can take a couple more years of bassackwards politickin’ from the usurping Milwaukee millionaire.
But I swear, Brad, if he reigns for more than two more years, you, me, Mr. Krause and the entire baseball universe are taking to the streets with Louisville Sluggers and Molotov cocktails (not to be confused with pet names for Kevin Millar).
Hate me. I don’t care. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
_ _ _
And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
After a rough night of Pirate inspired debauchery, Jeff and Johanna clear the cobwebs (and police reports) to make room for special guest, Paul Lebowitz. It doesn’t take long for them to get riled up as they touch on the evil FOX chimera Joe McCarver, Clint Hurdle’s Pirates, the White Sox’s diamond impotence and much, much more!
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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
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Recorded Saturday, July 16, 2011
Tracy Tzu: You’re acting like a child.
Stanley White: Well, a great man is one who in manhood still keeps the heart of a child.
There’s no baseball till Thursday. At all. Do not tell me there is. YOU CANNOT DISSUADE ME.
So this week I thought I’d let you kids know what has been filling the void in my life and I’m sure without a doubt you WANT to know this crap because everything is about ME.
Year of the Dragon. This is when Mickey Rourke was absolutely killin it in the mid-eighties and was on his way to becoming the next Marlon Brando. He’s volatile, violent, smooth, exasperating, and so un-George Clooney that real men felt they could be him. After this film, he had a bad boxing career, messed up his face, had multiple plastic surgeries and started living in a closet with his poodle before eventually reinventing himself. If he had died when he was 30 (and I’m shocked that he didn’t) he’d be mentioned in the same breath as Hendrix, Morrison, and Cobain.
Film Score that hurts it’s so good:
Either watch Vertigo or just check this Bernard Hermann link. Between Jimmy Stewart’s obsessiveness and the awesome direction of Hitchcock, the music from this movie makes me weep like when I watch a Derrick Rose crossover. It goes from wispy to dramatically sad to the most desperate feeling music could ever make you feel.
Watch Lombardi on HBO. As a Bears fan, spending and hour and a half focusing on a Green Bay legend was a little surreal, but it was so good I was swept up in the majesty of his greatness. He was also a genuinely well-liked guy. I would have put on a jock strap for the skipper. Or is it gipper?
QUESO FUNDIDO WITH CHORIZO. This stuff is unbelievable and I get it mostly at El Cid in Chicago or Arturo’s Tacos. Hot gooey cheese and meat you slather on tortilla chips. Eat it fast or else it turns into playdough.
Sea Salt Brownies from Trader Joe’s. They won’t make it home. At least not all of them. I’m not a sweets guy but these are so good I’d submit to the true death True Blood style if its my last meal.
Casey Anthony is not hot, but I’d probably do some shots with her.
So that’s what I did so far this week because there’s NO BASEBALL!!! I mean Jeffy and I still watched the fake game that decides the fate for home court advantage in the Super Bowl but that’s just because we like to snuggle and eat salty brownies.
In my house, the MLB All-Star Game is almost Christmas. It’s a time for being with friends and family, for stuffing your face with unhealthy food and coming up with a believable excuse for missing work in the morning while you nurse that helluh-bad hangover.
But to do it, ya gotta do it right. So here is a list of things the RSBS interns and I deem necessary for an enjoyable ASG experience:
Or wine, or gin, or vodka, or peach Faygo (if you’re Mr. Krause)… or whatever it is you shove down your gullet to help you forget Joe Buck is annoying, go for it.
Like I said, Joe Buck — the king of pretension — will have your ears bleeding by the 7th inning stretch if you don’t have a quick finger on the proper controls.
Until the World Series rolls around, the All-Star Game seems to be the one game the rest of the world actually pays some attention to (I know this ‘cuz my mom always texts me during the ASG, commenting on things happening during the game, as if I’ll be impressed). The problem is, the folks at FOX cater to that crowd and seem to feature a ton of feel-good filler before and during the game. Look, that’s cool and all, but I only care about the game, not about hometown heroes or how so-and-so grew up poor and blind and is now an All-Star who can see… sorry. I know that makes me sound like an a-hole, but the truth is: fluff has a time and a place, neither of which are during a game that supposedly COUNTS, which brings me to the next must-have…
A Sense of Humor
Now it counts! This time it counts! The All-Star Game counts! Yeah, okay, whatevs.
A Keen, Observing Eye
This part is tough, especially after about 10 peach Faygos… but the MLB All-Star Game is the one All-Star Game that is played true. It’s not a show of offense. Guys don’t ease up or fall back. They play just like they usually play: hard and to win. When I attended the 2009 ASG in St. Louis, I marveled at each player’s individual effort. Seeing a star-studded field of players who were obviously giving their best to win was a real treat and it’s something that only happens once a year, so PAY ATTENTION DAMMIT!
And, of course, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Since it’s the start of the All-Star break, who’s your All-Star so far this season?
First of all, major cap tip to ultimate All-Star, The Captain, Derek Jeter, a man who has been giving me goosebumps for 17 years and counting. Dude is a paragon of class, someone who always goes hard and who seems to have a natural knack for the dramatic.
Jeter is one of those duh, no kidding he’s an All-Star sorta guys, the Pete Rose type, the kind of player you always expect to be an All-Star ‘cuz that’ s how he carries himself, on and off the field. But there’s another type of All-Star, the kind who generally isn’t included in the actual All-Star Game… they are the grinders, the 110% effort guys, the ones who find clean uniforms shameful.
When I was playing legion and high school ball, I was never the best on the team. I was short. I was skinny. I pretty much had zero tools… but I always went hard. Bruises, cuts, scrapes… I was tattooed with them. One day, after a particularly poor team performance, Coach said we needed to give more effort, to go harder. He said, “Lung has more energy in his pinky finger than the rest of you do as a team.”
I never forgot that. And even though I didn’t have the talent to be a starter, or to be successful at baseball at all, I did learn to walk pretty tall after that because everyone knew I gave it everything I had on every play.
Nyjer Morgan does that today.
Shocking, yes, I know, that I would praise the talents of a misfit who plays for a rival team. But have you ever watched Nyjer Morgan play baseball? That dude is fired up! And he plays helluh-hard! There is no let-up in his game and above all the homeruns, the no-hitters, the miraculous defensive plays in the field, I would rather watch nine Nyjer Morgans play against nine Nyjer Morgans than any of the aforementioned spectacles.
He may be odd, he may be hot headed and he may be just a few clicks shy of stupid, but Nyjer Morgan loves baseball like I love baseball, and he plays it in such a way that I can’t ever take my eyes off him.
He’s my undisputed off-the-radar All-Star.
Hate me, it’s cool… just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
**Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Want a free pimp for your blog? Would you like to know if Mr. Krause’s rumored affinity for little people is true? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing email@example.com or by commenting below.
Just like a Cub fan’s hopes for a victorious 2011 season, this is gonna be quick, probably ugly and will require more alcohol consumption than a weekend with Lindsay Lohan:
Those Damn Pirates!
By now, everyone on the planet with the barest inkling of baseball acumen is amazed, flabbergasted and floored that, going into the weekend before the All Star Game, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a winning record. While a lot of folks find that to be pretty swell, I find it to be a major pain in the @$$, because now half of my jokes aren’t even relevant. Thanks a lot, Clint Hurdle. At least, there’s always Bachmann… and Palin… and Beck… and, okay, nevermind, everything’s cool.
The RSBS interns recently handed me a report that suggests White Sox outfielder, Juan Pierre, could very well be an RSBS dear reader galore. In fact, after our very own schlumbach, Johanna Mahmud, went off on a Charlie Sheenian rant slamming the aging speedster, all Pierre did was go 11 for 31 with 2 doubles, 7 RBIs and act as the game winning hero THREE GAMES IN A ROW. To even hint that J.P. is in the same class of awful as Chone Figgins and Raul Ibanez should be a crime. So, next time I see Mr. Mahmud, I’m gonna shoot his eyes with Sriracha and cut off his supply of Goldfish crackers.
Ernie Has Lost His Mind!
Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks, was recently quoted as saying the following about current Cubs shortstop, Starlin Castro:
“He’s a great player. He can hit, he can throw. He’s a good young player. He’s better than me.”
*HEAD TWISTS AROUND ITSELF, EYES POP OUT, TONGUE RENDERED USELESS*
Look, the kid is good. But he’s like 10 years old and is baseball stupid. He makes mistakes… all the time! I hope this isn’t a sign that Banks isn’t all there. For a team that doesn’t have much to feel good about, at least they can always feel good about Mr. Cub — that is, until he loses his mind, which may have already happened…
Happy Friday! Call a cab! It’s easy!
And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
Jeff and Johanna dig into the bowels of the current Major League season and compare
sizes opinions on myriad topics, including but not limited to what makes an ideal fanboy merkin, the Cubbies‘ goat fiasco, Pat Burrell’s unfortunate meeting with a wall and much, much more! … all to make you laughy-hurty-face!
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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
– – –
Recorded Saturday, June 18, 2011
I know, dear readers. It’s only been three days. And sprinkled in there I got to indulge in a long awaited Senior Circuit victory in the only All-Star Game that US Americans actually care about. But three days is three days; and without a constant barrage of baseball stuff (pick-offs, home-plate collisions, oppo-taco bombs) I tend to go a bit batty.
Thankfully, our trusted RSBS interns know how to quell my baseball madness as they were able to use their unpublicized delinquent ways to grab me a sneak peek at the much anticipated and poignant decision making tell-all by our 43rd president, George W. Bush. The book is called Decision Points.
And yes, that title (with that author) is an oxymoron.
Still, we think you’ll appreciate these snippets of Dubyan enlightenment:
“I ran the country like I ran the Rangers and if that meant sitting in the bottom of the West, well, then that’s what it takes… or is it took? Tooken? Yeah, that’s what it tooken.”
“I told Mel Gibson, ‘if you’re gonna make a Jesus movie, make sure there’s lots of blood. Whip that Jesus! And make Mary Magdalene hot. No fake boobs, but make her hot.’ Did you know Mel Gibson’s from Austria? He don’t even have an accent.”
“Hehehe… wait til ‘Merica finds out I’m a big Nickelback fan. Look at this photograph… hehehe… it’s hard to say it, goodbye, goodbye. Kinda makes me wanna cry. Hey, that rhymes too! Hot dawg!!!”
“If it looks like a Saddam and it talks like a Saddam then it must be Osama bin Laden! Let’s blow some s*** up!”
Hate me ‘cuz I got to see it before you did, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Growing up a kid in America is synonymous with being a dreamer. We’re taught that anything is possible if we’re dedicated, if we work hard. And we often model ourselves after those we look up to, our heroes.
I always had two: my dad, whom I got to see everyday, and St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop, Ozzie Smith. Many a summer afternoon was spent in the backyard… swinging like Ozzie, diving like Ozzie, smiling like Ozzie.
“I want to be Ozzie Smith,” family members recall me saying, “I want to be Number One.”
So what does one say when he finally gets to have a conversation with his boyhood hero?
“My grandpa had Musial. My dad had Gibson and Brock. I had you, Ozzie.”
And Ozzie’s response?
Of course, I expected nothing but the coolest things from the man who gave us reason to Go crazy, folks, go crazy! Heck, it’s been nearly 25 years since that homerun prompted Jack Buck to give us his iconic call, but I promise you this: to a Cardinals fan, it never gets old.
“It never went away,” chuckled a candid Ozzie Smith, “and as a matter of fact, it’s still reverberating today. I have little kids coming up to me, reciting that. So yeah, it’s pretty cool.”
Indeed it is pretty cool and so is Ozzie Smith, the man: 15 time All-Star, 13 time Gold Glove Award Winner, Hall of Famer and all around good guy.
The seriousness of prostate cancer cannot be overstated. In fact, 1 out of every 6 men will experience the disease, as it is the second-leading cause of male cancer-related deaths in the United States.
“I’m just here to encourage all men 50 or older (40 or older for African-American men and those with a family history of the disease) to get involved, talking with their doctors about prostate health. Because with early detection, prostate cancer isn’t only treatable, it’s beatable.”
As was Ozzie’s signature game plan on the field, the best way to beat this disease is with strong defense. And if anyone knows anything about defense, one need look no further than The Wizard.
After a decade plus of abnormal offensive numbers in baseball, Ozzie sees the current renaissance of pitching and defense themed ball-clubs as a natural, cyclical part of the game.
“It’s the way the game is supposed to be played. You can get a lot more out of playing the game the proper way than just building your team from an offensive standpoint.”
If you’re looking for an example of such managerial strategy, Ozzie suggests we look at those teams at the top.
“The Atlanta Braves in the East, I think they’re one of those teams. Not a whole lot of power, but they certainly do the little things that it takes to win. The Cardinals have always been one of those teams that have done that and I think it’s part of what’s allowed the Cincinnati Reds to lead their division this year.”
Such game theory often begins with the manager and Ozzie Smith was lucky enough to serve under one of the best, one of this summer’s Hall of Fame inductees: Whitey Herzog.
“As a manager, the goal is always to make players better than they are. Whitey was certainly one of those people. The relationship we had was of admiration and respect. A good manager, like Whitey, only has two rules: be on time and give a hundred percent. As a professional athlete, that’s all you can ask, to be given the opportunity to do what it is you do. If you can’t abide by those rules, then you shouldn’t be playing.”
And as we gear up for the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim, it’s a pretty safe bet that the players involved abide by those rules. One cannot be the best without giving his best. As a 15 time All-Star himself, Ozzie was quite comfortable being at the top of his game. When asked to describe his fondest All-Star memories, he was quick to answer.
“The first one I had a chance to go to in 1981 and then my final one in 1996, those two really stand out. The first one simply because of the excitement of going to your first All-Star Game and the festivities, the lockering, visiting with guys you admired from afar and played against, having a chance to play with them was very special. Then the reception I received in Philadelphia for my final one was very, very special.”
Yep. It sure was. In fact, I fondly remember… crying. I was 17 years old, my hero was retiring and I was morbidly afraid of baseball without Ozzie.
But I quickly learned: no one can take away memories, no one can take away dreams. The game continued on and Ozzie never really went away. The moments he created are remembered today. His work ethic is passed down. His desire to help those in need, to educate, to make life better wherever possible through public service, as he’s doing with the Depend Campaign, all these things make him forever an All-Star.
Forever a hero.
Forever a reason to go crazy, folks.
Written by Jeffery Lung
Special thanks to
Kristin Adams of Taylor PR for arranging the interview.
Click *HERE* to read Jeff’s interview with Dave Winfield.
to read Jeff’s interview with Ken Griffey, Sr.