It has become obvious to me that baseball managers do not read this blog. How do I know this? Because how else can you explain the fact that Kyle Farnsworth STILL has a job?! Have I not made this clear? The dude is poison. The Cubs didn’t blow the 2003 NLCS because of Bartman. It was Farnsworth. He makes every team worse.
But, despite my multitude of cautions and unwavering admonitions, teams with hopes of making the postseason still go out and pick this guy up. His latest victim? The Braves. And there’s no way they can say they didn’t see it coming. Just scroll down through the article and, after reading about how he pitched this time, relive the magic of his previous outing with the Braves.
At least Farnsworth didn’t go crazy after the game like some other NL East relievers. Instead he just accepted it as another day at the park: “Can’t do anything about it. Just got to keep your head up and keep going.”
Really, Farnsy? Because I think you actually can do something about it. I think these GM’s could get their heads out of their a$$es and make a decision not to hire you anymore. They did it to Barry Bonds and he at least performed. I should probably keep it down, though. Even if the managers don’t read this, you might and I wouldn’t want to see you cry again.
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.
Baseball, Apple Pie & Lobster
While still behind the modern US American game in terms of global appeal, Japanese baseball does have a special place in the universe of our national pastime. Indeed it has evolved much beyond the infant and fundamentally challenged Chinese game and the linguistically worldly fella in me likes to think that even Japanese basebrawls tend to be a bit more aggressive than their Korean counterparts’ elusive yet intriguing pitcher’s mound chicken dance routine. Still, there is more to it than that.
During my first year in China, I had a Japanese roommate named Hayashi Nobuhide. Nobby — as we white devils called him because, well, it was easier to pronounce — was a rabid baseball fan. In fact, our friendship, which was predestined to be rocky due to 60 years of bad history, was solidified by our matched passion for the game.
Some of my fondest memories revolve around us getting up at 5am to watch the 1999 World Series during which he vehemently professed his equally tired hatred of the New York Yankees — for they were, to Nobby and his Japanese brethren, holistically representative of “all that’s bad with America” (his words, not mine, though most probably true, especially when considering the likes of Roger Clemens, Chuck Knoblauch and Tony Tarasco).
And that year, Nobby cheered on the Atlanta Braves just like any other rabid Japanese nationalist: while wearing a Seattle Mariners cap.
Ichiro! Ichiro! Ichiro!
“But what about Hideki Irabu?” I asked.
“**** that traitor! Go Ichiro!” he replied.
“But Ichiro’s not playing.”
“He should be! ICHIRO!!!”
To hear Nobby tell it, Ichiro Suzuki was more popular, more influential, more inspiring than Jesus Christ himself (not to mention having a better stylist). Everything about Ichiro, from his odd pregame warmups to his ritualized on-deck routine to his classic power pose at the plate was unequivocally all-things Japanese: systematic, graceful and proud.
Consider the fact that this undying allegiance came during the height of the steroid era, and I gotta admit, Nobby had a damn good point:
Sensationalized as the above may be, the truth remains: Ichiro is powerful.
And now, that power has multiplied. The Japanese gifts continue to grace diamonds all across US America. From Ichiro Suzuki to Takashi Saito to
Kaz Matsui Kosuke Fukudome Hiroki Kuroda, the game has plenty of room for Japanese imports.
If we’re lucky, maybe someday we can even borrow the Hiroshima Toyo mascot; ‘cuz nothin’ says powerhouse baseball like a wet, smelly Carp.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
As a born and bred resident of South Carolina, there isn’t a whole lot
to get excited about when it comes to baseball. The Braves suck, the
Nats suck. Really, we’re pretty limited when it comes to our options.
But here’s my question. If our governor, Mark Sanford, were a baseball
team, which team would he be and why?
Be not afraid, for the South Carolinian MLB plight has not gone unnoticed during the ostensibly offensive tenure of RSBS. My sister lived there for a year and I remember her husband complaining that there wasn’t much of a buzz for the game at its highest level — that people got more excited about NCAA Gamecocks baseball than the Major League playoffs. Look, I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to follow the Braves or the Nationals, as it is obvious that neither team has the “game” nor the “co<k” (proverbial as it may be) to be a bonafide winner.
That’s just the truth.
But let us focus on the crux of your question, Francis, which seems to key in on our special talent of personifying baseball entities with tangible political failures. While this challenge may not seem as tantamount to society as our Modern Era All-Corrupt Baseball-Poltico Team, it certainly is as important in gauging the ever growing dissatisfaction of the masses and their subsequent loss of face. Especially in South Carolina — a red state that suffered the humiliation of a US American intent on saving the “education like such as South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and” exposed on national television — the tragedy of Mark Sanford must be discussed in terms of its baseball counterpart:
The Chicago Cubs.
But wait! How can I equate the Cubs with just another high profile politician caught in a sexy web of lies? It’s quite easy. Because like Mark Sanford, the Cubs are posers.
Sure, they’ve sorta passed for a wholesome bunch of merry go-gettin’ winners (save Zambrano, Bradley, Lilly, et al) the last couple of years, and they always look good on the surface — good enough to convince the analysts they’ll win it all and good enough to draw in a bunch of weekday party-goin’ drunkards from well-to-do families who are so eager to overpay for an underperforming product that they’ll even sacrifice their dignity… but in the end, let’s face it: a hundred and one years is a long friggin’ time.
To put it bluntly, both the Cubs and Mark Sanford indeed have that swashbuckling debonair, that charismatic sheen, that alluring promise of ultimate perfection. They get higher and higher… and as soon as they try to take it all the way to the top…
…they fall flat on their face.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Gordon Beckham’s triumphant entrance into Major League Baseball did not come without supreme sacrifice. To make room for the rookie phenom, Chicago White Sox suits were forced to say goodbye to one of their greatest unknown infielder journeymen: Wilson “I Signed with the Braves When I Was 14 Years Old” Betemit.
Like the hopes and dreams of Cub fans during a National League Division Series, so too was Wilson hastily gone from this fair Second City of ourn. And, unfortunate was I, having not had a chance to offer my official farewells to old number 15.
So here I lie my scornful lament, for a better place than this there is not to vent…
No one ever wore Chris Sabo glasses so restless and so sleazy,
Your name is mispronounced, your voice all but groused, and your slide into second makes me queasy.
Traded with Marquez and Nunez for Swisher and K. Teixera,
Your batting average with the White Sox was as dry as the Sahara,
You came from the Dominican, with the attitude of Gilligan, and stats from the dead-ball era.
From the Braves to the Dodgers to the Yanks to the Sox,
To the streets of designated assignment buried deep beneath the rocks,
Remember we cared, remember all that we shared, but in the end you were let go ‘cuz you su<k.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Yeah, I wear a pinky ring. So what? I’m a made man and it’s the “company” rule.
And yeah, I have a Microsoft Zune… and no witty excuse other than to say, well, I got a good deal.
Yet to challenge my masculinity based on these attributes, Mr. Krause, is quite uncharacteristic, even for a flip-flopping self-loathing nihilist Tiger fan like yourself.
2006, my friend. 2006.
Still, this low blow to my sexuality got me wondering: do I really come off as a pansy?
So on Tuesday night I bought myself a case of MGD, stuck my hand in my shorts and plopped down on the couch to watch six hours of baseball. I even avoided eating and shaving — two things I try to do at least once a week.
And this is what I learned:
Brandon Phillips doesn’t care how many times Miguel Montero says “mercy”; he’s still beatin’ that dude’s ^ss:
Ignorance is bliss… unless you have no business being naked in public; that’s just plain cruel (and stereotypical Met fan behavior):
Hate me ‘cuz I wear the pinky rings; just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Images courtesy of the Associated Press and Getty Images)
Produced, shot and edited by Atonal Studios.
Special thanks to Theo Roll.
Very special thanks to Youppi, the vaguely effeminate mascot of the late great Montreal Expos for giving hope to French Canadians worldwide… okay, maybe not worldwide, but you get the idea.
(For best playback results, watch in High Quality)
Ken Griffey, Jr. found his way back to Seattle last week despite his
obvious decline in market value. What does it say about a team when
its best shot at putting fans in the seats is to sign a dilapidated
hero of old on the cheap? Will this be a trend? And ultimately, Is it
fair to the fans?
Dilapidated hero of old? I don’t remember you saying that when Griffey was playing for the White Sox last season. In fact, if I remember correctly, you were pretty excited about it. That statement is more than silly. It’s ignorant.
Here’s the deal, Mr. Lung. The Mariners are terrible. They lost more than 100 hundred games last year. But they’re also a proud franchise and a franchise that was built by that “dilapidated hero of old” that they just signed. This signing isn’t about turning the franchise around this season or building a playoff team around Junior. It’s about restoring some pride to the franchise and letting Griffey play his probable last season back where he began. It’s good for the team, it’s good for the fans and it’s good for Junior.
Now, if you want to look at the signing from a pragmatic standpoint, it still makes sense. After all the problems Griffey has had physically, he’s probably not going to be playing 162 games in the outfield. He’s also not the same player defensively that he was while playing with the Mariners back in the day. And that’s a liability in the National League. It’s the same problem the Giants ran into with Barry Bonds (along with, well, you know, that “other” problem). It didn’t make sense for Griffey to go to the Braves.
But Junior back in Seattle? That makes sense. When he’s healthy, he adds depth to their outfield and even when he’s not able to go at full speed, you can still include his bat in the DH spot. Yes, you’re right. Junior is not the same player that we grew up watching. But he’s still a formidable threat and it’s a win-win situation for the Mariners.
Now, as for your other question, about this being a trend for players to return to the teams they started off with, I don’t know if it is but I can think of worse things. It makes sense that Griffey should end his career in a Seattle uniform. It would make sense for Smoltz and Glavine to end their careers in Atlanta. It’s how we know them and it’s where they belong. I’m sure that if the Cards ever traded Pujols away, you’d still want him back, even if he wasn’t in MVP form. In many ways, free agency has gutted baseball but every once in awhile it works out in our favor. This is one of those times.
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.