As we enter the beginning of the most exciting time of year (baseball playoffs and football season and an election, oh my!), I think it’s important that we keep in perspective that which brings us the most joy. Sure, hosting a Guinness keg party while dressed in my Yadier Molina jersey flanked by the Shannon twins is pretty much the happiest day of my life (that hasn’t happened yet but might), I still know that even if all that other stuff falls through, I will always have baseball.
And sometimes, within the game of baseball, we can find something much simpler that pushes the happy button. I know a lot of folks have been wrapped up in the admirable and impressive play of Mike Trout. People are just as infatuated with his grace and dominance as I
was am infatuated with Stephen Strasburg and all things Strasmas. It’s the little injections of youthful awesomesauce that often remind us why we love baseball so much. It is a kid’s game after all.
But sometimes waiting for the next big thing isn’t necessary. I have found that out this year by following Coco Crisp very closely. My history with Crisp has been one of hilarity, peppered with some dazzle. And while his offensive numbers may not hypnotize scouts, enough can never be said about how he plays the game.
He plays hard. He plays to win. He’s in on every pitch and he goes balls-to-the-wall. In fact, I have gotten to the point where I’m watching replays of his relay throws and conducting frame-by-frame analysis on his routes to fly balls.
If I could get to Oakland, I’d rather watch Crisp long-toss than Cesepedes take BP.
Okay, so maybe I’m lyin’ a little bit in that last sentence, but one thing is for certain: Coco Crisp’s defensive play is worth focusing on and if you focus long enough, you’re probably going to see something that puts a smile on your face. Maybe even an afro.
With legitimate superstars like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw anchoring the team, it was only a matter of whether or not off-the-field issues would cause a disturbance. Now that there aren’t any, they’re free to do their thang, and as long as that includes Andre Ethier knocking in everyone in front of him and stellar performances from castaways like Chris Capuano and the longtime hookin’ lefty, Ted Lilly, then it really is their division to lose. Kemp is currently on the 15 day DL and they’re still mowing through the opposition.
To me, the Nats aren’t a suprise either. I think the consensus among learned baseball folk was that they were going to be good soon, it was just a matter of how soon. With Michael Morse sidelined due to injury and an anemic offense through the first several weeks of the season, it seemed like they had some time before they’d be that team to beat; but pitching wins championships and their pitching has been as impressive as the St. Louis Cardinals’ travel day attire.
The real surprise — the real head-shaker du jour — is the cartoon bird in Baltimore bringing a moribund and aloof baseball club back to serious life. Last year saw them get off to a good start, and I thought they might really be making a move back to the Oriole Way, but their youthful inexperience eventually backfired, ending in a bucket of Showalterian scowls.
But consider the performances of Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom, Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, Darren O’Day and even Kevin Gregg — yes, KEVIN GREGG — and you’ll see that it’s easier to win ballgames when your bullpen doesn’t come in and yack up the place. For those of you who follow the Birds, you know that a yackin’ bullpen has been as much a staple of the beltway as corrupt politicians screwing their constituents. Yeah, well, not everything can change.
Just as excited as I am about the Orioles’ resurgence, I’m equally as revved about the Toronto Blue Jays, yet another AL East team that just won’t back down. They’re hitting everything. They are pitching with authority. And their Canadian poster-boy is keen on taking on the silliness that is MLB umpiring, one batting helmet at a time.
Also, there’s this:
Ah… to be 8 years old and Canadian… no suprise there.
Hate me if you want, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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Have you ever hit that point in a game of pool where you drink just the right amount and everything just seems to go in? You’re not overthinking your shots. You move with fluidity. You’re like Minnesota Fats mixed with Michael Jackson. It’s a spectacular feeling but, unfortunately, one that tends to slip quickly into sloppy drunkeness where even hitting a ball with the cue stick would be an accomplishment.
Well, it’s possible you weren’t just imagining that feeling. It turns out that drinking can be good for you. But hey, you probably already knew that, didn’t you? I sure do. For a guy like me, even talking to girls was impossible. A half of a forty of Mickey’s later and suddenly I’m Cyrano de Bergerac mixed with, uh, well, not Michael Jackson. But you get the point.
The study also maybe justifies the much-maligned decision of several of last season’s Red Sox to drink in the clubhouse. They weren’t being selfish, egomaniacal @ssholes. They were merely “enhancing their problem solving skills” through oral application of a legal substance. Let’s face it, although baseball players have significant physical skills, what separates the wheat from the chaff is the mental aspect. If beer can fill that void, I say “drink up!”
Okay, I’m not Irish. I’m Scottish. We make the whisky. But when it comes to beer, it just doesn’t get any better than Ireland’s very own Guinness!!! I’m assuming you already have a pint in your hand. If not, GET ONE!
And while doing so, please take a moment to join RSBS and Guinness in setting the world record for the largest St. Patrick’s Day party on the planet! It’s easy. Just go to Guinness.com, verify you’re 21 years or older, then click “Join The Party.” Just type in your first name, country and zip code and then in the “optional code” box, enter the code “REDS” and Guinness will send $1 to RSBS, a dollar which we’ll be donating to Baseball Tomorrow Fund participant, Noble Network Charter Schools.
To show our appreciation, think on the following:
And the only active baseballers I can think of named Patrick right now are… none! Since Pat the Bat retired, I can’t think of a single one player named Patrick.
So that would be right around the same time the Cubs celebrate 8,853 years without a World Series title.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
What’s the best way for me to indulge my twin passions of drinking and anything baseball related before the season starts?
Thank you for putting the ball on the tee, Shaun!
Indeed, drinking and baseball go together like politicians and gibberish, and we here at RSBS are no exception. In fact, if it weren’t for this liberating combination of US American pastimes, there would be no Bleacher Bums, no Pirates fans (how could they survive?), no Miguel Cabrera.
So that is why we are proud to team up with Guinness, one of our favorite beers (Mr. Krause and I co-hosted a Guinness keg party in college, no joke) to set a record for the biggest St. Patrick’s Day party EVER!
The big day is getting closer and closer and we want YOU to be a part of it. Unlike an evening with Mr. Krause, the process is simple and non-invasive. All you have to do is follow THIS LINK, verify you’re 21 years of age or older, then click to “join the party”.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, in the “optional code” box, make sure to enter code “REDS“. For each participant using that code, the good folks at Guinness are going to donate $1 to our charity of choice, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund and its Chicago chapter. That’s right. Your commitment to having a good (and responsible) time translates to more balls, bats, gloves and other baseball equipment for Chicago’s youth.
Now ain’t that a good thang!?!?
So if you haven’t done it yet, go do it! Then sit back, crack open a tall can of Guinness and smile knowing you did something good.
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Theocracy hasn’t worked so well as a system of government. Putting aside the cozy politico-religious oligopolies of yesteryear (I’m looking at you, France, and you too, England), today we don’t have to look much further than Iran or Afghanistan to see that basing civil code on religious doctrine leads to a pretty unsavory state of events. Which leads me to ask, how can anyone still be taking Rick Santorum seriously?
Make no mistake, when Santorum (the “man”, not the “frothy mixture“) says that he doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state, what he is really saying is that he thinks US law should be based on the ten commandments. Maybe I’m dense but I don’t see how basing a system of government on the Bible is really all that different from basing a system of government on the Quran or on the Torah for that matter, both of which I’m pretty sure Mr. Santorum is against. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a fundamentalist is a fundamentalist is a fundamentalist.
Quite honestly, the only place I want to see the church governing anything is when it comes to the brewing of beer. And when I say “governing,” I really only mean allowing monks to keep doing that voodoo that they do so well. If beer can keep you alive while fasting for a month, it obviously has some sort of higher power.
The seperation of church and state exists for a reason and that’s to keep one single person from becoming both the church and the state. What happens when one man becomes both?
He may be the most interesting man in the world but I don’t think I’m ready for him to be running America.
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It’s time for THE FILIBUSTER to settle back in the Sunday slot at RSBS! No matter what the query, send it to RSBSBlog@gmail.com and we’ll let you know what we think.
8. Subjected Myself to Amy Grant’s Greatest Hits
7. More Beer
5. NBA Network
4. Dissected a Battery, Smoked What I Found, Had a Conversation with a Fern
3. Murder (Not Telling… HINT: Involved a Smurf)
1. This Video… Over and Over and Over Again…
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.