We almost lost another one on Wednesday night. While people were busy mourning the death of Michael, Erin almost slipped away. But more importantly, with her would have slipped away Jeff’s chances of ever getting his date with Erin Andrews. See, this is the weekend when it all happens. This is the weekend when Jeff, if he manages to stay sober and focused, will finally make good on a quest he was given by god. Well, a god of the MLBlogosphere, at least.
And that chance was almost taken away. I just hope that this event serves as a reminder to my friend that he must take nothing for granted while….questing. Times change and if we don’t adjust, we lose out. For instance, my friend likes to remind me of how the final out of the 2006 World Series involved Brandon Inge swinging wildly outside of the strike zone. But now that same man is representing the American League and Detroit in his first All-Star appearance.
Perhaps we will see a similar change in Jeff this weekend as he stop swinging wildly and finally embraces the porn-stache over which he waxed so eloquently the other day. Perhaps this testosterone fueled accoutrement could provide the same luck for him that it showered on Keith Hernandez.
Or perhaps this weekend will be just one more of those odd “what just happened” events where we try to forget all about it and hope to god that no one ever brings it up over dinner.
The choice rests in one man’s hands. So tell us Mr. Lung, what will it be? Are you Keith Hernandez or are you the woman with a squirrel between her breasts? The world needs to know.
Since you guys are always putting politics in baseball, why didn’t you
try to get out the All-Star vote? Not one post about voting for your
favorite all-star? I was shocked.
Well, Kellen, in what may have been the largest oversight since the creation of this blog, neither Jeff nor myself exploited this wonderful forum as a bully-pulpit for some sort of get-out-the-vote crusade. However, in typical politico fashion, I am going to refuse to admit to any sort of mistake and instead claim that this was all planned.
See Kellen, despite our obvious strong feelings toward our favorite teams and players, Jeff and I are also of the belief that the political process needs to proceed unfettered. And when I say unfettered, I mean that the same 18 guys should be voted onto the team every year because of their geographic location and attendant fan base. Is Derek Jeter the best shortstop in the AL? Uh, no. But he plays for the Yankees and that means he’s going to be representing the AL anyway.
Now, I could have gotten out there and exhorted you to vote for Adam Everett instead but would you have listened? No. You would have been more than happy to follow the crowd and vote your straight Red Sox, Yankees or Mets ticket. Or, in your case Kellen, probably a straight Cardinals ticket. Seriously, Rick Ankiel as an All-Star?
But we have more important questions and issues to face. Like what could possibly be going through Sarah Palin’s head? Or why have so many famous people died in the past 10 days? My best guess so far for both questions is Swine Flu.
Don’t get me wrong, Kellen. I appreciate your question and perhaps in the future one or the other of us (by which I obviously mean Jeff) will stoop to that level and cravenly demand your vote. But until that moment, RSBS will strive to remain above the fray because *cue patriotic music* America’s game demands American democracy.
And in that spirit Kellen, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to stuffing the virtual ballot box to make sure Brandon Inge makes it in to the game. Speaking of stuffing ballot boxes, any news on Mark Sanford?
Dear readers, let us all agree that the game is the game. It’s balls and strikes, it’s first to third, it’s infield shifts and 3-0 green lights. From Baltimore to Fresno to Okinawa to Calgary, baseball is a game. Or rather, baseball is the game.
Yet we follow it for the people.
Without the story lines, Kirk Gibson’s homerun is just another homerun, Derek Jeter’s dive into the third row is just a catch, Adam Wainwright’s curve to get Inge swinging is simply, just a curve. Stories make these plays so momentous, so glorious, so gut wrenching.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
So you can imagine my excitement at getting to meet Tom Walsh from the Rocky Mountain Way, a fellow baseball blogger with a commitment to the game, to its people, while his journey brought him to Chicago last Monday evening.
I took him to Beiguo, a gem of a Chinese restaurant in my Bridgeport neighborhood where they know me as that “baseball guy”, deep in the heart of the Southside. Hearing Tom’s stories about the fascinating people he has met and the powerful stories they have shared during his cross-country trek following the game reminded me exactly why baseball is the greatest game on earth.
It brings us together.
With baseball as my loyal ally, fellowship with like-minded fans, familiar or strange, is never difficult. Whether you live in Taiwan or Tacoma, we, as baseball people can always share in the power, the memories, the communitas that is the game.
Sure, if you wear your Cubbie blue and I wear my Cardinal red there’s a chance we might argue a bit, disgrace both of our mothers and end up in the hospital, drunk, but in the end, you’ll shake my hand and I’ll shake yours. Because we’re baseball people. And baseball people are the best kind of people.
Full of cumin spiced lamb, Yangzhou fried rice and a keener sense of Todd Helton, I wished Tom well on his journey and as he drove off west I looked down and realized my fortune cookie was unopened. Quickly, I snapped it in two, grabbed the small strip of paper, held it to the light and read:
(Image courtesy of Tom Walsh)
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.