If you had to choose between watching the Heat and the Mavericks in the NBA Finals or the Cubs and the Pirates playing a mid-week series, what would you choose?
Hold on a second here, Henry. I know where you’re going with this and believe me, the old me would high-five you, pat you on the back for representin’ the greatest game on earth and laugh in the face of all those suckas entranced by David Stern’s tamed down version of the WWE. The problem is, a funny thing happened to me during the baseball offseason, and now I too can be considered a cog in the NBA machine.
This is not a bad thing!
To me, baseball still sits atop the professional sports world. It simply can’t be beat. If you are looking for an exact explanation as to why I feel this way, just check the over 1100+ posts in our RSBS back catalogue, consider my socially-backwards tendencies of staying home on Friday and Saturday nights so I can watch five straight hours of baseball undisturbed and you should be drunk with the RSBS brand of baseball championing.
But there’s something subtly intoxicating about the NBA this year too, from the LeBron disaster to the fall of the Lakers to the bright futures of Westbrook, Rose and Durant… I mean, watching those guys drive to the hoop over 7 foot monsters is pretty close to watching a suicide squeeze late in a tight ballgame. And I can appreciate this electrifying comparison — finally, after a self-imposed decade long hiatus from basketball fandom — because this year I had my very own private NBA tutor walk me through what I have missed (the storylines, the heroics, the defeats — it’s all very soap opera-ish), to explain what “pick and pop” means, to show me the entire floor for a full understanding of the sport.
So to answer your question, Henry… I will be watching Heat/Magic on Tuesday. You bet. I wouldn’t miss Dirklicious schoolin’ the most hated man in all of sports. Of course, I’ll be watching it! But, like all the other games before it, I will be watching with one caveat: that my laptop is running four live baseball games and my finger is set to scroll my MLB Extra Innings package during all commercial breaks.
Who said a man can’t have his cake and eat it too?
IMA GIT ME SOME CAKE!!!
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Early in the baseball season, it’s hard to separate the contenders and the pretenders. Kansas City regularly sits somewhere near the top of the AL Central after the first couple weeks and sometimes even holds on through the first couple months. Last year even the lowly Pirates looked decent for the first month or two. Unfortunately for both teams, it’s a lot better to be in first place at the end of the season then at the beginning.
It’s not all the much different in the political world. It’s pretty safe to assume that Obama will get the Democratic nod heading into the next Presidential election but the Republican field is wide open. A prime example is Donald Trump’s “candidacy.” This is a man who’s really only famous for being famous and who, despite his reality TV shows and real estate empire, still managed to go bankrupt. Yet somehow he and a decent number of Republicans think he can steer the country through it’s current financial straits. Let’s see what Donald actually looks like on the trail:
He may be on to something. I’m sure the Gettysburg Address would have been much more memorable if Lincoln could have dropped a couple F-bombs in there.
Granted, there are also serious contenders. Like him or not, Mitt Romney has the pedigree and the record to make a serious run. Jon Hunstman looks a lot like the 2010 Giants or Rangers and everybody loves a dark horse. When you figure in the Tea Party contingent and their sway in the primaries, there’s just no telling where the race will end up.
What is apparent at this point, though, is that with the economy apparently picking up jobs and OBL slowly disintegrating in the Indian Ocean, Obama is enjoying a momentary upswing. If the economy continues to pick up, he might end up like the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, an inevitability if there ever was one. After all, let’s face it. The man is as cool as the day is long. This performance at the Press Corps Dinner took place hours after he made the decision to take down Bin Laden and hours before the raid happened:
Admit it, if you were in the same position you would have been sitting in an empty room, rocking back and forth and staring at a blank wall.
It’s still early in the season. There’s a lot of ball to be played. But despite all the speculation and analysis, no one has any idea what’s going to happen. Don’t worry, though. You keep coming back this way and we’ll make sure you stay up to date.
The human mind searches for patterns in everything. Numbers, deaths, waves of killer bees. We’re programmed to find a rational underpinning for why things happen.
That’s one of the reasons why Operation Geronimo thrills us to our core. Sure, we got public enemy number one. We killed the boogie man. But there’s a symmetry that makes the story even more compelling. Ten years ago the US was attacked and now, ten years later, we finally got the SOB that did it. We can ignore the ongoing wars and the financial ruin they’ve wreaked because OBL’s arrival and departure neatly bookend a ten-year stretch in which we were forced at times to question who we were as a nation but ultimately overcame. It’s the American Dream writ large.
Outside of the existential thrill of taking down Bin Laden and reaffirming the American Dream, though, there’s another story here. Where was the President during those long days fighting over the budget? What was he doing while people accused him of being a secret Muslim sleeper agent and insinuated he wasn’t even American? Turns out we finally have our answer:
Selig and the owners finally had enough of McCourt and took action, but
what about the franchises that are still technically solvent but just
suck? Why hasn’t the commish done something about the Pirates?
why shouldn’t they? In all of professional sports, one would have quite a
difficult time finding a more moribund team than the lowly Buccos.
While all of the big four US American sports thrive by having a healthy,
parity-laden cycle of teams going from the top of the ranks to the
bottom and everywhere in between, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been stuck
at bad. For 18, long, terrible, horrible, awful, green-pea-spew inducing years.
In a row.
So, indeed, Mr. Dan, you bring up an excellent question: How is it that MLB sees no issue intervening with financially strapped clubs like the current Dodgers or the late Expos de Montréal (pouring out some liquor for my boy, Youppi yo!) but meanwhile sits back and says nothing as the Pirates organization embarrasses itself year after year after year, alienating the five or so fans left in western Pennsylvania in doing so?
That’s easy, Dan. One word:
The Pirates may have more issues than Lindsay Lohan on $5 Jaegerbomb night, but, when all is done, the Pirates still MAKE MONEY.
Haven’t you noticed? To the suits picking each other’s noses up in the luxury boxes, it’s not about winning. It’s not about getting better. It’s not about keeping score or the waft of freshly roasted peanuts or the soothing effects of finely cut green grass on the old eyeballs.
It’s about making bank.
And as long as they line their pockets with plenty of paper, MLB ain’t gonna say jack.
Like my loquacious and oft contorted colleague, Mr. Krause recently pointed out, sometimes MLB gets it right. King Bud could not sit back and let one of the league’s most storied franchises fail because of atrocious financial mismanagement. And other times, MLB gets it way wrong… like they did in intervening with the Florida Marlins (a very successful organization in regards to winning) and the way they chose to spend profit sharing funds trickling down from the top*.
But one thing is certain: MLB is a business. MLB is about being a profitable business. As much as romanticized baseball super-nerd-dorks like Mr. Krause and I would like to believe that a certain utopian joy for the game and its purity is at the core of Major League Baseball’s business philosophy, the truth is: it ain’t.
If it were, the Expos would still be alive. The Dodgers would have never left Brooklyn. And someone would have intervened in the gargantuan atrocity also known as the Pirates’ front office.
Hate me. Fine. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*For an excellent read on just how wrong MLB was in their handling of the Marlins, check out this article from the Prince of New York.
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The only thing worse than supporting a team that loses all the time is supporting a team that doesn’t even put up a fight. I’m fairly open about the fact that I’m a Lions fan and as anyone who watches football knows, that’s a painful cross to bear. But a couple years ago, when they set a modern record for futility in losing every single game, they at least put up a fight. The seasons where they went 2-14 and, despite winning a couple games, it was obvious they just didn’t care, that was much worse. Honestly, I’ll take 0-16 over that any day.
This is why it’s also frustrating to follow US politics. It’s not so much seeing the democrats flounder away the high ground in all this budget mess or even seeing the republicans bully their way back into control of the House. It’s the absolute lack of fight in the democrats. Sure, there’s some occasional posturing but even that only serves to remind me of this:
I’m sure there are multiple reasons for this. Ok, not so much for the Pakistani boxer but for the democrats inability to stand up for themselves. According to one study, democrats systemically favor compromise. Honestly, that’s all right. That’s how government happens. But there’s a difference between compromising to keep the government running and compromising your basic principles.
Last year democrats finally showed some cojones when they jammed through the health care overhaul. They looked for compromise, they worked with their republican colleagues to come up with something that both sides could appreciate but at the end of the day, they finally made a stand. For that we can thank Obama.
And that’s the one thing that gives me hope in the current mess. Sure, the democrats lost control of the House. Yes, the republicans claim that they won’t stop pushing until health care is repealed and the US becomes some sort of Ayn Rand themed fantasy-land. But like the health care debate, democrats only seem to find their backbone when Obama enters the fracas. If recent microphone “slips” can be believed, it looks like the president might getting ready to once again ride that snake.
You know, I could deal with the Lions going 0-16. At the end of the day, football isn’t life and death. I don’t accept the democrats going 0-16 or even 2-14, though. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that Obama gets his colleagues to realize it’s time to win one for the Gipper.
But, too much confidence can be deadly.
To Red Sox Nation, who declared the season over before it even started, this message couldn’t be more true.
Or how about Charlie Sheen and his self-destructing, bridge-burning rampage against all-things reasonable? Couldn’t he have boned some pornstar chicks AND STILL gotten to work on time?
And to the US American electorate who expected the Obama administration to clap its hands and make 8 years of mess magically disappear, do you not understand that these things take time? That a Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachmann led fascist regime is not the answer? That political infrastructures aren’t as simple as iPhone apps or ordering chicken fried rice from your local Chinese joint?
Confidence is a good thing.
But, too much confidence can be deadly.
Just ask Mike Leake about his confidence in the good ole five-finger discount.
Hate me ‘cuz I say what you’re thinking, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Before you start jumping to conclusions, dear readers, let me just say that I don’t think Vice President Joe Biden’s aides were in the right for locking Orlando Sentinel reporter, Scott Powers, in the closet during a recent Alan Ginsburg-paid soiree to raise money for the 2012 election campaign. If Biden’s aides are as sexy and savvy as the RSBS interns, then they surely had a good reason for keeping Mr. Powers confined to a small space for such a long time.*
As a bonafide megafortified soused-out baseball fanatic, I can honestly say that I’d like to keep a few players in the closet for the entire 2011 season, so that I can concentrate on the games being played rather than the asinine soap-operatic subplots of the whiny and perpetually irritating.
Who shall we keep locked up this season you ask? Well, I’ll tell you:
This is a tough call because Nyjer’s antics often result in beanball wars and Jeff Lungian smackdowns — both staples of maintaining my healthy psyche. But, when a player constantly runs his mouth and ends up getting his teammates hurt, then I think it’s time to get out the jaw-wiring. Besides, Morgan’s a
Nat Brewer. No one will even notice he’s gone.
He’s an idiot. He’s a birther. He’s an Oriole. And all of those things make him… irrelevant. A perfect candidate to be closeted. For the season. All of it!
And finally, if we’re going to be throwing folks in the closet for the season, let us not leave out…
I know that being a Seattle Mariner inherently keeps Milton’s whining out of the headlines (few people care to read the perils of such a slogging team), but this dude isn’t just a baby. He isn’t just a clubhouse cancer. He’s also a wife-beater. Not only that, but the man is not a good baseball player. He had one decent year, got paid and then went back to being a snake.
To the closet they go!
Hate me ‘cuz I’m slingin’ mud, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*This is also how Mr. Krause’s parents shielded him from the temptations of adolescence.