Roger Clemens is not guilty.
Can this be over now?
Of course it can’t. It never will. For now until the end of time we’ll still be talking about the steroid era and those who made it infamous. Clemens is just one of many.
Still, I think it is safe to say his role in the overall picture of the steroid era is a bit larger than the rest. He’s up there alongside Barry, considering his Hall of Fame credentials and repugnant personality.
Before any of this steroid silliness was known, I loved Roger Clemens. He was a beast on the mound — a Nolan Ryan/Bob Gibson throwback. Proud, nasty, BALLSY.
But the Mitchell Report tainted his reputation, whether guilty or not, and Roger then ruined it further himself by being an outspokenly whiny ass. I understand the potential frustration that could come from having a tarnished reputation, but there are ways to handle adversity with class and there are ways to handle it like a jerk.
Clemens took the jerk route.
And undoing what ya done ain’t easily done.
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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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If Kim Kardashian’s well-traveled yet consistently hypnotizing room-shaker just doesn’t calm that nasty case of televisionitis anymore, do not fear.
This is the 21st century. And armed with both an MLB.TV subscription AND an MLB Extra Innings package on Direct TV, you never have an excuse to sully your brain again (unless Las Vegas is involved).
There are three basic rules.
Watch Tony Campana. That’s right. I can’t help but tune into this wily sCrUB. He’s great television! Seriously, the dude looks like he should be delivering my newspaper every morning on a magenta, one-speed Huffy, not working a walk so he get on base to haunt opposing pitchers. Perhaps it’s because my imagined baseball skill-set is similar to that of Campana’s that I often find myself glued to his base-running. Or maybe it’ s just because the guy is a buzzing gnat in a game full of free-swinging giants.
WATCH the American League East. Doesn’t matter the team. Yankees. Drama. Red Sox. Drama. Orioles? DRAMA! Blue Jays? MORE DRAMA! Rays… oh the Rays… they are the KINGS of DRAMA. On any given night no one knows what the hell is gonna happen in this division. It’s a baseball fanatic’s wet — okay. Sorry, chuggin’ the verklempt there.
Bryce. Friggin’. Harper.
Watch this dude. Seriously.
I gotta tip my cap to Mike Rizzo and the Nats. Both of their high profile picks have delivered early in their careers, not with just talent, but with poise and brass balls. Watch Bryce Harper play a baseball game and tell me he doesn’t love it more than anything else on the planet, that he doesn’t live his every waking second for the opportunity to play the game we love so much to the best of his ability, AT ALL TIMES.
Isn’t that a great example of how life should be lived by us all?
Stay tuned to Bryce Harper. That kid is fantastic television.
And go ahead, hate me. I don’t care. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
April counts, yo! And here are some reasons why, after just one month into the season, I’m as jazzed as Mitt Romney during a temple garment clearance sale!
The Oriole Way
I am old enough to remember the Orioles being a staple of sound, fundamental baseball. And though those days seemed to disappear into Jeffrey Maier’s malicious mitt, it looks like they may be back! Let’s hope they are back to stay.
The AL Central
The Tigers are going to run away with the division you say? Not so fast. I know it’s only been one month, but the White Sox and Indians are right there with ’em, and unless the Tigers start putting a hurtin’ on the opposition instead of Jewish folks at a New York hotel, things could get interesting.
Love him or hate him, he makes things interesting. And oh how interesting things have been for the Boston Red Sox. I LOVE IT!!! The NBA may have all the drama, but when every day could be your last as a Red Sox, I start craving chicken, beer and video games.
The Pujols-less Cardinals
I’m not gonna bask in AP’s struggles, but I am gonna point out that the Cardinals have yet to lose a series (except that one against the Cubs where they were gifted a win by the umpiring crew). Onwards and upwards!
The AL West
Have you seen a Rangers game lately? I’ve been watching them almost every day! THAT’S how ya git’er done, folks. Meanwhile, the Halos are as nervous as Rick Santorum at a Santorum Party! As the Yankees and Red Sox learned before them, a bazillion dollars worth of free agent signings does NOT a champion make.
The Toronto Blue Jays
Not only do their uniforms look right again, but they’re also making the AL East insanely good! If only they could make Colby Rasmus less whiny.
The Youth Movement
I remember the excitement involved with Ken Griffey Jr. breaking into the league. Chipper Jones too. Now that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have made their debuts, a similar buzz is in the baseball air. Throw in a slew of sophomores and third year players making headlines and baseball looks to be badass for a very long time.
The Year of the Pitcher enters its THIRD year and I couldn’t be more excited! As a self-confessed pitchers duel fiend, I live off serious heat, nasty breaking balls and backdoor sliders. We’ve already seen a perfect game and some no-hitter flirtations. But it’s the heroics of Joe Saunders, Kyle Lohse, Colby Lewis and the like that really get my gears greased.
And finally… the most titillating of them all so far…
ADAM. FREAKING. DUNN.
As a longtime resident of the south side of Chicago, the last thing I wanted to do was waste my summer days talking folks down off the ledge like I did last year. But since it appears Dunn sold his 2011 soul to Albert Pujols, I’m free to party my ass off at the fake B-Dubbs on 35th & Halsted. HOLLA!!! And buy me a drink!
Go ahead, hate me ‘cuz I’m easily titillated, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!
The Drah-mah in Bahhhh-ston
Leave it to the Red Sox to be all dramatified in the offseason. As if their 2010 free agent signing flop and subsequent September fail-to-the-finish that included video games, fried chicken and an “Adios, Tito!” (let’s leave the beer out of this, shall we?) wasn’t enough drama for one year, they had to go and add to the pile by involving Bobby Valentine in their managerial search. Don’t get me wrong. I love Bobby V and I really hope he gets the job ‘cuz he’s a bad@ss whose mere presence makes the league better (and more entertaining); but he also comes packin’ drama. And the fact that the owners interviewed him before allowing new GM Ben Cherington to have his say suggests that the drama between ownership and the front office will continue to rival that of its on-the-field representation.
Pepper Spray: “It’s a Food Product, Essentially”
Fox News host Megyn Kelly should consider a move to the Food Network. I think spraying Emeril Lagasse with a jumbo-sized canister of pepper spray would add some much needed tension to their programming. And besides, pepper spray is “a food product, essentially”.
At a time when a Lil Wayne-impersonating white dude from Pittsburgh is tops on the music charts — in effect CRUSHING my hope for a revival of real, genuine rap music — I would like to personally thank the Toronto Blue Jays for coming back to earth, for finally being real. When you have a classic look, there’s never a reason to change it. The Yankees have managed this. So have the Cardinals. Sure they update to keep up with trends, but the core design never changes. The Blue Jays had one of the classiest, cleanest, most memorable unis in all of baseball.
And then they changed it all for… black and gray?
It’s good to see them making good decisions again.
Over the last several days, the St. Louis Cardinals have done a number on my heart rate, sending my anxiety levels soaring with on-again-off-again torments akin to those of jilted lovers past. Are the Cardinals trying to teach me a lesson for giving up on them in August? Do they not know that I have kowtowed my ignorance, begged them for compassion? Pleaded for forgiveness?
I NEVER LEFT YOU, MY FRIENDS. I COULD NEVER LEAVE YOU. SO STOP FREAKING ME OUT.
There are three games left. They’re behind the Braves by one game. And they get to play the LOLstros.
Win, and there is great potential that I will break things in my apartment from all the excitement. Lose, and there is great potential that I will break things in my apartment from all the excitement.
I need to get out of the house.
So I’ll be at Sox Park, where the home team will put you to sleep faster than a handful of benzodiazepines chased with a bottle of scotch. I’m hoping the visiting Jays can distract me from the tension filled anxiety of my own nervous psyche. But I will be scoreboard watching. You can be sure of that.
And, when it comes time to break things, I’ll fit right in. No one will probably even notice.
A bunch of teams are clustered right around .500 and above and no division is even close to being set at this point. Does this mean baseball is starting to reach parity?
IT’S A TRAP!
It’s not real.
The truth is, the same old teams are still atop the same old divisions. The Yankees. The Red Sox. The Phillies. Okay, so the Mets and Dodgers may be out, but it’s not their faults! They can blame poor ownership and mishandled funds!!!
I know that a quick glance at the standings may confuse the casual onlooker, that one could be easily misguided by the way the teams stack up. But let’s face it: the NL and AL Centrals have been crapshoots for a decade, the NL West has been a contest in mediocrity for a long time. The Angels’ dominance of the AL West was only usurped last year and in 2011 they have put themselves back in contention.
This is not parity. This is, like our US American social ladder, a classic case of 99% of the wealth being in the hands of 1% of the population and everyone else is left to fend for himself. The effect resembles something like parity. But it ain’t.
I really believe that the Mitchell Report and its subsequent juicy fallout has forced teams to go back to what always works: good pitching. With good pitching, you might have a decent shot at accumulating wins. The Giants are a perfect example of a team that gets by on minimal offense and middle-of-the-pack payroll. It’s not the stuff of dynasties… but when it works, it works, and that’s what teams are doing.
The Pirates are winning because of pitching (they can’t hit). The Braves are winning because of pitching (they have a hard time scoring too). The Diamondbacks could always hit, but this year they have… PITCHING.
Great pitching is the best defense against great hitting. I didn’t write that. Baseball wrote that.
When the Orioles and Blue Jays can compete in their own division… when the Nationals have a shot at the big boys in the NL East… that’s when I’ll consider parity’s existence.
But right now that seems like something that could only be found in a galaxy far, far away.
Hate me. Fine. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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