In baseball, the very best players fail seven times out of ten. With defeat as the understood underwriter of the game, we as fans tend to not flip every time a batter makes himself an out. Instead, we get over it, move on, and wait for the next opportunity.
The tentacled world of international diplomacy, however, does not feature such a luxurious background. So when it was announced that former president Bill Clinton was to head the rescue mission of two American journalists imprisoned in the mysteriously wacky, pro-proletariat North Korea, I breathed an ecstatic sigh of relief.
Because if anyone can woo the pants off a frail, old, tyrant dictator who fancies Don King hair and Elvis sunglasses, Bill Clinton certainly can.
And like Albert Pujols at the dish with 2 outs, bases loaded and the entire game, season, legacy on the line, Slick Willy delivered.
Of course, while he was there, he did do Al and I a favor by getting Kim’s personal thoughts on Red State Blue State, which Kim supposedly reveres despite his having to ban it in North Korea due to its “flamboyant content” and “excessive skin service“:
Yep. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right. That’s all I ask.
(*Images courtesy of the Associated Press)
It’s amazing to me how creative people can be when trying to avoid admitting something embarrassing. Like Bill Clinton’s infamous definition of “is” or A-Rod’s original interview with Katie Couric, there are little embellishments, and large ones as well, that seem incredibly obvious in retrospect.
However, what I find even more telling is the response when they’re finally called out and forced to tell the truth. Maybe it’s a short statement issued over a weekend before disappearing for a week (or ten) like John Edwards. Or maybe it’s a couple lawyers finally letting slip that Sammy Sosa was juicing, something most of us had probably already figured out
But today brought around one of my favorites. The Republican paragon of virtue congressman admitting to an extra-marital affair. I mean, we expect this sort of thing from the Democrats. They are the party of Kennedy after all. But the Republicans? How sad is it when the titular head of the Democrats, Barack Obama, is a once married family man while the Republican leadership is full of guys like Newt Gingrich and John McCain who have multiple marriages under their belts, some of which came out of less than squeaky clean circumstances.
It is possible that there’s an upside to all this fudging and creativity, though. If we could just get our leaders to apply some of that creativity to the economy, maybe they could turn it around. What’s that you say? They already tried that and it didn’t work? Well, I guess we could just stuff our money in a mattress. That always seems to work.
Feisty factions of conservative right wing constituents are finally going to get what they have always wanted. Indeed, after a series of anti-republican films exploiting the low-blow antics of unsavory characters such as Richard Nixon and George W. Bush reached wide audiences in 2008, the GOP is all smiles knowing the biggest, baddest politico docudrama to ever hit the big screen is well on its way!
Special Relationship, the upcoming film starring Julianne Moore as democratic juggernaut Hillary Clinton and Dennis Quaid as the always promiscuous Bill Clinton, will explore the finer points of Slick Willy’s extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky and his wife’s subsequent decision to stick by his side (so she could run for the New York senate, and eventually the presidency).
Moore is a decent actress. I see her pulling off this role of a lifetime no problem. Quaid as Clinton? What a wonderful opportunity to repeat his 1987 world-class performance from Inner Space! I can hardly wait, folks!
And the Hollywood hoopla doesn’t just end there, dear readers. I am super excited about some other upcoming films that are in the early stages of development:
The Little MVP Who Could: The Dustin Pedroia Story
Starring Macaulay Culkin as Pedroia, this film aims to highlight the undying will of small stature phenoms on baseball diamonds all across the galaxy. Also features Manny Ramirez as the evil space alien predator intent on disrupting all things Red Sox until the bitter intergalactic end.
Jacked! The Alex Rodriguez Story
Pre-production on this film has been stalled until Alex can get his entire story straight. While the writers continue to amend the script as best they can, more problems seem eminent as Vin Diesel, originally slated to star as A-Rod, pulled out of the project noting that not even he would subject himself to performance enhancing drugs, whether his trusted cousin bought them in the D.R. or not.
Yeah, I Hit .213 Last Year, What’s It to Ya, Buddy? The Khalil Greene Story
Sean Penn stars in this not-so-action-packed drama about how decent defense often allows a poor offensive performer to wallow in the ongoing apathy that is the San Diego Padres (and later, St. Louis Cardinals).
Where Have I Gone? The Rafael Palmeiro Story
In perhaps the most poignantly cast role of the century, Tony Danza portrays PED-raging anti-hero Rafael Palmeiro not because he looks like him (he doesn’t) but because his career is as equally irrelevant.
And finally, what promises to be a most entertaining entanglement of hopes, dreams, egos and narcissism:
Me, Me, Me! The Curt Schilling Story
Posthumously directed by Stanley Kubrick, this tale of unfettered vainglory explores the tired, whiny affectations of one number 38 through standard Kubrick mind-busts like a minimalistic score and plenty of drawn-out steady-cam shots. Accurately portraying the role of Schilling will be the outspoken and very homosexual Nathan Lane. Who else to better force Curt into yet another self-consuming fit of rage than a flamboyantly gay ultra-liberal left wing Broadway icon with plenty of career left in him?
Yes, my friends, going to the movies has never seemed so good.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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.
After barely surviving the sucker punch that was 2008, 2009 appears to be treating the Michigan diaspora a little better. For instance, this past week we learned that Curtis Granderson will be representing the USA in the World Baseball Classic. Now, I’m not saying that Granderson is the best center fielder out there but he has developed into a talent to be watched over the past couple seasons and it’s nice to see him get a little more recognition for that. It was also nice to see the Red Wings take down the red-hot Blackhawks on the ice at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day.
However, there was another red-hot piece of news that truly warmed my heart as an American and current denizen of our nation’s capitol. Although it was never really in doubt, President-elect Obama reconfirmed yesterday that that we truly share the same values. Now, I’ve mentioned the DC institution and National’s ballpark mainstay, Ben’s Chili Bowl, before but it bears repeating that this place is beyond amazing. And when I watched footage yesterday of Mr. Obama’s visit to Ben’s, I realized that here this man is in touch with the nation’s stomach in a way we haven’t seen since Clinton’s first term. I mean, here is a guy who appreciates the chili-cheese half-smoke and unabashedly supports a single baseball team. Could anything be more American?
Now, I know that the months ahead are going to be difficult for Obama and his team. In fact, one might even compare it to the torment that is the line at Ben’s around 2 in the morning on a weekend. But, if the past week is any indication, maybe we are seeing change we can believe in. I just hope that CG and the Tigers offer me a little of the same.
The five living US American presidents met earlier this week to discuss their hopes and dreams for the 2009 MLB season.
When asked who they thought would win it all this year, they responded with the following:
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
As if your inferior baseball acumen were not enough to cause acid reflux among dear readers galore, Mr. Krause, you just had to top it off by insulting a fellow US American and subsequent baseball god: the Albert Pujols.
“reknowned Mexican wrestler, Albert Pujols, won the NL MVP…”
— Allen Krause, Fenway to Foggy Bottom
What!?! Look, Mr. Krause, you’re extremely lucky that you live in the safety of our nation’s capital. Slinging slapdash remarks like that could get your legs broken — and I don’t mean by me, but by the 10 million Dominicans who now want your head on a plate having desecrated their larger than life island hero.
Mexico does not equal the Dominican Republic.
And besides, I think we all know that A.P. moved to the States at an early age and found his stroke in Independence, MO of all places.
Set free thy hate, groundling!
NL MVP Albert Pujols bleeds US American red, white and blue just like you and I do. In fact, he scored a perfect 100 on his citizenship test.
Can you say that, Al?
No. Yet you find it in your heart to say you could “care less” about Pujols and Pedroia’s crowning achievements.
Well, lahdy frickin’ da, Mr. Krause. You are a letch. I didn’t want to believe it; but you are.
On the one hand, you have who could quite possibly be the perfect baseball player in Albert; on the other you have a paragon of scrappy overachievement in Pedroia.
And you could “care less”.
That’s just… well, it’s just… un-American.
You probably also care less about our modern day messiah turning to that same old Washington crap to fill his cabinet posts. I understand fist bumps and shout-outs to fellow Dems who helped you get elected, but is Hillary Clinton really the “change” America needs? I’m not convinced.
We, the People, did the right thing and put Obama in office based on his platform of Hope and Change politics. In turn, I believe We, the People, deserve to see that plan put in to action. With the pantheon of bad news coming out of the world markets and my downtrodden colleague posting ill-aimed remarks at the greatest living baseballer on earth, I would like to hang my proverbial hat on at least something positive.
Like this: I, Jeffery Lung, agree with Mitt Romney.
And no, that’s not a joke, my friends. In fact, his recent opinion-editorial in the New York Times is the smartest thing I’ve read since Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.
Now that’s smart!
So go ahead, Al, hate me for siding with a Mitt on this one. Hate me for respecting the magnificence of Albert Pujols and Dustin Pedroia. But goddamn it, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Every media outlet has been full of Olympic coverage for the past few months. We watched as French surrender-monkeys and dentally deficient Britons tried to tackle, steal or otherwise snuff the Olympic flame during its journey to the Bird’s Nest and then we saw the Chinese defy gravity to set the torch alight and begin the games.
Although the passing of the torch always seems to provoke strong emotions, these emotions tend to play out differently depending on the setting. When Jesse Owens overcame the Fuhrer’s supposedly invincible Aryan champions at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he tried to defuse the situation by saying that Hitler had shown him respect. Michael Phelps managed to show a touch of class this year as he overcame Mark Spitz’s decades old record.
But sometimes the old guard is reluctant to let the torch out of their grasp. When the Yankees had the Red Sox in a 3-0 stranglehold during the 2004 ALCS, it seemed that the old guys had a little life left in them. But they should have realized that they had used up all the gas in the tank during the previous year’s ALCS. The Yankees may have won that 2003 series but in reality, Pedro Martinez body-slamming Don Zimmer was emblematic of the rivalry’s not too distant future. And in 2004 they proved it by fighting back to win the ALCS and then the World Series.
A similar fight broke out during the primary season as the junior senator from Illinois took on the Clinton juggernaut. And when the dust finally settled at the Democratic National Convention last night, it was obvious that the party the Clinton’s created was now firmly in the hands of Sen. Obama. Sure, there were a few last grasps for the torch (Hillary’s non-concession speech back in June for example) but the look on former President Clinton’s face during Sen. Clinton’s speech Wednesday night told the whole story.
So, how does one pass the torch gracefully and not get burned in the process? Well, you could take a lesson from Ted Kennedy (2008 Ted Kennedy, not 1980 Ted Kennedy)
Or you could look to Richard Nixon who so graciously handed off to Gerald Ford in 1974. However, I suggest avoiding the example of the 1997 and 2003 Florida Marlins. Or Jay Mariotti. Burning bridges and fire sales are tacky even in the best of times.
Michael Phelps and a few other American athletes have voluntarily
submitted to a higher level of drug testing in an attempt to head off
any questions about their impressive victories. If the US Olympic team
can do this, why hasn’t baseball taken similar steps to get rid of the
drug stigma surrounding the game today?
In a way, Major League Baseball, behind the leadership of Bud Selig and an overwhelmingly grumpy push from the US Government, has taken similar steps to get rid of the drug stigma, Mr. Krause. I’m not sure if you heard about it this past winter, but the Mitchell Report made quite a stir all over the baseball cosmos, and got a great number of ballplayers thinking “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t put this crap in my body anymore.”
While the drug screening program in baseball is still somewhat lax and random in its procedure, it is still light years better than what it was (non-existent) and does an adequate job by simply scaring people into doing the right thing. This is progress that at one time seemed improbable. Why? Because the don’t-ask-don’t-tell secret of performance enhancing drugs was bringing people to the ballpark. Whether it was the greenies of the 70s or the HGH of the 90s, fans were coming out to games in droves to witness the high octane occurrence of homeruns and 100 mph fastballs. You’ve said it here a million times, Mr. Krause, money is what makes the world go round and if shooting up brings it in then so be it.
Unfortunately, we US Americans sometimes have a conscious; and that’s the only reason why this phase has transitioned to a foreseeable end.
Are players still using PEDs? Probably. Are they using them as much as they used to? No. Not at all. Need proof? How about Richie Sexson, Eric Gagne, Paul Lo Duca just for starters. These guys are mere shadows of what they used to be while on the juice; because of that, I’m convinced that the biggest proverbial battles have already been fought and won.
Could more be done to ensure the sanctity of the game? Probably.
Will a more stringent array of tests similar to those of Olympians Michael Phelps and Dara Torres (both voluntarily) ever be instituted in Major League Baseball? I doubt it.
And here’s why: Player’s Union, Agents, Club Owners, the Players themselves. Try to get anything past these guys that could theoretically threaten profits and you’ll quickly realize you’re dealing with a much higher power than voluntary amateur athletes who compete for a friggin’ medal that everyone will forget about two months from now.
The difference between asking Michael Phelps to take a rigorous amount of drug tests to prove his purity and asking Manny Ramirez to do the same can be summed up in two words: Scott Boras.
Boras, evil incarnate, who single-handedly changed sports forever, will hunt down your children, cut off their heads and sell them to Colombian witchdoctors if it means he’ll get 10%. I guarantee you, if Boras represented Phelps (which would never happen whilst Phelps maintains amateur status), Andrea Kramer would be lucky if Phelps even acknowledged her existence after winning 8 gold medals.
Money. Money money money money money. Money. Money money money money. Money. Money money MONEY!
Of course, public relations and digesting the fact that hardworking US Americans actually do want to be assured that their national pastime isn’t being abused both factor into MLB’s stricter regulations; but MLB and its myriad components, from the owners to the players to Joe Blow who spent $48.50 of his paycheck to sit in the upper deck, will continue to do whatever they have to to straddle the precarious line between profit and purity.
It hasn’t been perfected in politics (see Bill Clinton, the Kennedy’s, John Edwards) yet, so it’s no surprise that baseball hasn’t a clue either.
I’m just glad that I can go to sleep at night knowing that I am PED free. A bulging forehead, weak libido and distending testicles wouldn’t be good for my image.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.