Throw the Spaghetti in the Machine.
I’m a burning bush. I’m a wildfire. I’m singing in the rain and dancing again. Like Tim Tebow, I have a big god. BIGGER THAN ZEUS. I can put away my Club Confidential and stop pleasuring myself while crying. My iguana, Dudley, is beside himself too. We’re throwing confetti on each other, plowing through our best box of wine and eating marshmallows off the floor. For at least one week we’ll stop throwing flares at cars, getting arrested on our skateboards and falling asleep in alleys.
Because, for once, baseball took an unconventional route and picked fire-fire -flame-flame tapdancing bad@ss Justin Verlander as MVP. When we lost Buster Posey early in the season, Dudley and I had to act fast to find a baller we could have an unhealthy OBSESSION over; and Justin was our guy. He was the Hannibal Lecter to our Clarice. We even bought a special chianti.Dudley and I rarely missed a Verlander start. In between great Chrysler ads, he sat on my lap as we watched the Motown hero pitch deep into games, mystifying hitters, dropping jaws like change-ups. He was like Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler when he came back to take down Minnesota Fats. Nailed every rail. Hit every spot. Geometry and speed to perfection. (Fitting that Minnesota is in the AL Central too. See what I did there?)
It would have been easy to pick an everyday player like Granderson or Ellsbury. Sure, they had splendid seasons. But this was the year where a starter — the first since Roger Clemens — gave everything needed and CARRIED a team to the playoffs.
While defense in football can be boring, pitching and defense in baseball… I LIVE FOR IT. I wasn’t around for Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax. Wasn’t alive yet. But I love when the game offers pitchers whose starts you just can’t miss. When Pedro Martinez was in his prime I would’ve rather eaten my dinner off a urinal than miss a start.
And for next year? I’m looking at you, Stephen Strasburg. Throw the spaghetti in the machine and eat the children…
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And so in this Podcast…
Jeff and Johanna welcome a very special guest, Second City funny man Mark “Pie” Piebenga, to the Logan Square Studio for an RSBS Podcast pow-wow of epic proportions (we would like to thank Miller Lite for making it, as the kids say, ‘epic’)! From Jim Joyce’s ‘stache to Nolan Ryan’s pomposity to Nyjer Morgan’s right hook to Bobby Scales’… existence?… all the gloves come off as the fellas look back at the 2010 season and gear up for the winter with plenty of chuckles and plenty of beer. All to make you laughy laugh!
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For more on Mark’s work on RSBS‘ Ninemen’s Morris series, check out this story then click on the Ninemen’s Morris tag at the bottom for more early 20th century hilarity!
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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. Keith is involved in some impressive projects himself. Check out his work at Undercard Films. Seriously. You should do it. If you don’t, you might find out about his MMA skills first hand. Holla!!!
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Recorded Wednesday, November 10, 2010
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.
Yeah, Roy, I don’t blame ya. You get no run support. Your team owner has laughable baseball sense. Ed Wade is but a slave to the errant desires of said laughable baseball sense. Yeah. I wouldn’t wanna be a LOLstro either. But if I were in your position, you sure wouldn’t hear me cryin’ about it.
Unlike Roy Halladay’s situation of a year ago, when he quietly went to his GM requesting a trade — a request that the Blue Jays inherently blew out of proportion and blabbed to the media thus causing a tailspin of rumors that hurt everyone involved — Roy Oswalt’s recent proclamation via his agent to the press is more than just a bit off-putting.
Look, I know I have the reputation of bein’ old school. I don’t like interleague. I don’t like the DH. I don’t like players wearing the long pants. And in this case, I don’t like prima donna pitchers placing themselves above all others (even if performance warrants some discretionary leeway).
On the sandlots of Quincy, IL, if you took your ball and went home, we didn’t give a sh!t. We just got a new ball. We didn’t have time for whining, complaining, crying. And if you tried to come back and cause problems, you might go home with a few less teeth… and no ball.
Do you think Bob Gibson would ever cry to the media about being on a losing team? Koufax? Seaver? Hell, even recent phenoms like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez. Those men were men. Okay. Your team isn’t playing well. It happens. Deal with it. You’re making millions of dollars playing the greatest game in the land, you’re the envy of every 30-something sitting behind a desk (me), and all you want to do is complain about it?
I understand that it sucks playing for a losing team… that being in an organization as backwards as the Astros have been the last few years must take a damaging toll on one’s psyche… but to b^tch and complain about it to the press rather than take it behind closed doors like a respectable ballplayer… that just rubs me the wrong way…. it even causes me to be lazy and use tired cliches (see this run-on sentence).
Take your ball and go home, Roy.
Unless you want to sign with the Cardinals, then, by all means, come on over, grab a jersey and let’s go. I’ll even give ya a hug!
Hate me ‘cuz I’m old-school, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
P.S. Rumor has it the Cubs have an eye on Oswalt… to bring him in and make him a set-up man.
As no exception to this eons-old rite of passion, I couldn’t stand the drought any longer, and on Wednesday night I ventured on over to my neighborhood cathedral: the ever tantalizing, the ever teasing, the ever titillating Sox Park.
I scored like no man has ever scored before.
Scorecards tell stories — great, fantastic stories that can be pieced together with digits and asterisks and squiggly lines. Each one is unique — each scorer different from the next, yet universally similar enough to enlighten anyone else willing to read them.
When I was a kid I found scorecards from the ’60s an uncle of mine had kept. There I was, decades later, in a dark basement in the dead of winter, recreating the majesty of Ken Boyer and Bob Gibson and Tim McCarver on a hot July afternoon… in my head.
So go ahead, take a gander… and try not to drool (click image to enlarge):
Hate me ‘cuz you’re allowed to, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
A few days ago I was at a Christmas party thrown by a client of my employer, and just like at any other social event, I tried to curb my baseball talk as much as I could because, well, not everyone is as enthusiastic about baseball as I. Some people even think I’m a weirdo.
But then I got to talking to a high school kid — a kid who has drawn attention in the Chicago area for perhaps having what it takes to someday get to the big leagues — and before long we were discussing the finer points of pitching. Like the Cardinalphile that I am, I had no choice but to reference the gutsiness of one Bob Gibson.
“Who?” the kid asked.
It took a lot out of me to not deck this kid in the face for not knowing who Bob Gibson was, but I took a deep breath and decided to educate him on the Hall of Famer the best I could: by telling a story.
“By 1975, Gibson had already lost much of what made him the baddest, scariest, most dominating pitcher in the National League, but he still had guts. Still had pride.
“The last batter he ever faced in the big leagues was a pinch hitter by the name of Pete LaCock. The Cardinals were playing the Cubs and LaCock came in with the bases loaded.
“LaCock hit a grand slam.
“Years later, in an old timer game, Gibson is on the mound and guess who comes to the plate to face him. Yep. Good ‘ol Pete LaCock.
“Gibson drilled him in the back.”
I finished my story and looked at the kid, waiting to see what kind of reaction I’d get, knowing that I had just hit a homerun in conveying what kind of bad^ss Gibson really was.
But the kid was laughing — a snicker at first, then a chuckle, then an all out cackle.
“What?” I asked. “What’s so funny?”
“Dude,” said the kid, “That guy’s name was LaCock?! LaCock! Hahaha! LaCOCK!”
Gotta admit: I snorted a little when I joined in the laughter.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Albert Pujols has played just nine Major League seasons and in each and every one of them he’s hit over 30 homeruns, collected more than 100 RBI and batted over .300. Those aren’t just good numbers, folks. Those are astronomical numbers.
And this is his best year yet.
I think it’s time we stop referring to Albert Pujols as the future Hall of Famer that he is — because let’s face it, if the man’s career ends today he’ll be a first ballot lock* — and start acknowledging that he is indeed one of the greatest players to ever play the game, all-time, in the history of the game.
In our present game, today, right this second, we are witnessing a rare and genuine paragon of baseball supremacy.
Stop — and — think — about — that.
My Dad saw Gibson.
My Grandpa saw Musial.
And Albert will trump them both.
By a long shot.
I know it’s hard to understand while it’s happening. I realize that, in most cases, we do not realize what great feats we are witnessing firsthand until it’s too late, until our heroes are lifted in the 7th for defensive replacements, until they’re embarking on sappy, over-produced farewell tours.
But right now we all have the opportunity to savor the greatness, to take it all in, to let it move us.
Great presidents abound in Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Washington; but there is only one Abraham Lincoln.
Sure, Metallica is great and all but there’s only one Pink Floyd.
And yes. There is only one Albert Pujols.
Don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
*As one reader pointed out, a player needs 10 years in the Majors before being eligible; consider my phrase a simple bout of hyperbole