We learned many things from Jim Joyce, Armando Galarraga and the infamous Imperfect Game of June 2, 2010. We learned that throwing beer bottles at the wall may cause significant DAMAGE (to the beer bottle, possibly the wall too). We learned that styling one’s facial hair after the Pringles man cannot disguise MISTAKES. And we also learned that the best way to avoid controversy, is to AVOID controversy.
So when Philip Humber threw that wild 3-2 breaking ball two feet off the plate on Saturday and Brendan Ryan checked his swing, I felt all of the fury, all of the tension, all of the RAGE from the Imperfect Game ALL over again. Except homeplate umpire Brian Runge called it a swing, AJ Pierzynski threw the ball to first and the celebration began.
OH BUT THE CONTROVERSY!!!
In my house, I had a hard time celebrating Humber’s gem because I was already seeing the asterisk-calling headlines, I could already hear Mariners fans (all three of them) flooding the sports talk shows with vitriol. And as Brendan Ryan argued with Runge about the call, I knew it was time for me to go outside to get some fresh air before my phone started to blow up with imperfect texts.
Except… none of the above actually happened. Brendan Ryan dropped the subject. He tipped his cap and moved on. The networks — as if taken over by an Orwellian machine of greater good (a fantasy in itself) — didn’t even show the replays of Ryan’s checked swing. The Wizard said “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” and I — WE ALL — gleefully obliged, even though it sorta felt dirty doing so.
We owe that guilt-stained dirty feeling to Brendan Ryan. In fact, whether it is a good thing or not, Philip Humber’s perfect game will live on unscathed by controversy because Brendan Ryan simply let it go. He shut his mouth. He went about his business. And now we are to forget.
For a guy who was labeled as “a distraction” and a “clubhouse cancer” during his St. Louis Cardinal tenure, it’s nice to see Brendan being recognized for something else. Admittedly, I never would have bet it’d be for saying… nothing.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Um… okay. So this is what happens when Brendan Ryan becomes better known for a poorly marketed pornstache than his actual comeuppance as an everyday St. Louis Cardinals shortstop. Oh, wait. No comeuppance? He sucks? My bad.
Which is sorta why I haven’t really said much this offseason about my dearly beloved Redbirds. What’ s there to say? Jake Westbrook signed? Okay. Cool. We traded Blake Hawksworth for Ryan Theriot? M’kay… nice. I guess. Can we guarantee that Skip Schumaker won’t take another step backwards? How about facing the fact that closer Ryan Franklin really ain’t cut out to be a closer? And then…???
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I still haven’t really gotten over the crapfest that was the second half of the 2010 season. No one likes a sore loser, but goddamn it if I ain’t still sore as hell! Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter… YADIER MOLINA.
Friends, Romans, Cubs fans… those names command a division title.
And that’s what I want. At the very least, we ought to be slaying the Reds, the Cubs and whatever other foe floats carelessly towards the top.
Does Ryan Theriot magically make that happen? Uh… no. In fact, as a hitter, Baseball Reference has Theriot matched up with the likes of Aaron Miles, Jason Bartlett and former St. Louis Brown, Ernie Johnson. And while Bartlett had one good year, let’s not get too excited over these comparisons; ‘cuz frankly, there’s little that breeds excitement.
Yes, maybe Theriot will solve the leadoff problem that has crippled the Cardinals in recent years. Then again, he probably won’t. He’s gotta beat out Brendo and Skippy for a job first, which for us anticipating fans, is sorta like having to vote from a pool of John Kerry, George W. Bush and a bowl of potato salad.
Which one is the bowl of potato salad? I’ll leave that up to you.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m still bitter, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
The virgin voyage, y’all!
Okay, so you knew this was gonna happen eventually… just enjoy it. We did!
And so in this Podcast…
Jeff introduces Chicago rock phenom and avid Cubs fan, Johanna Mahmud to the RSBS family. When not front-manning the intoxicating alt-rock group, Meqqa, Johanna manages to drink Jeff’s beer and fantasize about a team made up of twenty-five Alfonso Sorianos. Okay. That second part may be a lie… but this part ain’t: when these two guys start talkin’ baseball, it’s all fun and games. Among the topics of discussion: Roy Oswalt’s bulldozer, Lou Piniella’s preggers look, the Brendan Ryan pornostache hysteria, Hanley’s lollipop and much, much more.
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*Special thanks to Keith Carmack — our engineer, director, editor and all-around sound guru. He always knows where Ryne Sandberg is. Always.
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Recorded Saturday, May 22, 2010
When I quit smoking, I took up the habit of chewing on toothpicks — to keep my orally stimulated addiction in check. The worst part about it? People often say: “Hey, Jeff, fiddlin’ with ‘dem toothpicks… you remind me of Dusty Baker.”
Being compared to Baker may make my skin curdle with infectious disgust, but I suppose that’s still better than blackening my lungs and dying young of emphysema.
Or is it?
Dear readers, believe me, I do respect Dusty Baker as a human being. I mean, look at him, he breathes on his own, his heart pumps without having to think about it… all very impressive indeed; but as a baseball connoisseur, there’s no way in Jesus-hates-the-Cubs-Hell I want him managing my baseball team. Often blamed for the mass destruction of young, promising arms with infinite potential (see Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Homer Bailey), Dusty Baker also lacks the one thing that makes good managers great and great managers Tony LaRussa… and that thing is: common sense.
In the 7th inning of last evening’s contest between the Cardinals and Reds, a game that at that point was still wide open, Dusty Baker brought in his nearly-virginal relief pitcher, young righty Logan Ondrusek, to face Brendan Ryan. With Albert Pujols on deck, Ondrusek quickly walked Ryan, unable to find the strike zone like Mr. Krause is unable to find a meaningful relationship with a woman (though, to his credit, he does surprisingly well with primates). Instead of yanking Ondrusek like he probably should have, Dusty left the kid — in only his second Major League appearance — in the game to face one of the greatest hitters of all time.
Albert rocked him.
So did Matt Holliday.
Welcome to the Big Leagues, kid! If your arm didn’t hurt before you became a Redleg, believe me when I say you won’t even be able to shake hands after Dusty’s done with ya!
Hate me ‘cuz I put it out there, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.