Some days, when I leave my office dead to the world in the evening, I have a baseball itch that the television and computer just can’t fix. Yesterday was one of those days. So, following the drill, I raced home, changed into more comfortable gear and headed straight for Sox Park.
My friend, Pie — a semi-regular on the RSBS Podcasts and an all around Tiger lovin’ fiend — came with me.
And boy were we in for some treats.
Not only was the weather perfect, but so was Brent Morel’s glove skills and Carlos Quentin’s stroke. The game moved along at a nice, brisk pace… except when young Tiger hurler Andy Oliver was busy walking the bases loaded and giving up cheap runs. But perhaps the most satisfying part of this early summer contest is that it bore three firsts, something baseball is apt to do.
For example, last night Adam Dunn got his very FIRST hit off a lefty this season! And it was of the slow dribbler infield variety, proof that the baseball gods love extended metaphors even for big
burly worthless(?) free agent signings!
Also, this game featured a homerun by none other than Juan Pierre! Only his 15th career homerun in 11+ seasons, I had to ask Pie if I was dreaming when he pulled the ball up and out of deep right center as it was the very FIRST homerun I’ve ever seen Juan hit with my own eyes.
And, with the White Sox ultimately winning the game, last night presented to me the very FIRST time I’ve ever seen a disgruntled fan (my friend, Pie) take his scorecard — the same scorecard he meticulously filled out in detail during the entire game — and throw it away.
He threw it away!!!
I cried. A little. I hate to see a good scorecard die the same death as chewed gum, empty water bottles and hot dog boxes. But in this case, I am just filing this one away with the rest of the extended metaphors. May they extend until they can extend no more…
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
I am looking for a reason not to hate John Mozeliak; the Cardinals hodge-podge yet surprisingly effective pitching staff has given me hope (so far).
Milton Bradley is looking for someone to actually listen to his crybaby tantrums, but we are grown-ups; and we do not care.
North Korea is looking for a good old-fashioned ^ss-whoopin’; sources say firing nukes at your neighbors is an excellent way to accomplish that.
Still, others must turn to the long, twisted and always trustworthy inner-wirings of the world wide interwebs. And sometimes, dear readers, they end up here.
As they have in the past, the RSBS interns did their homework and now we present to you some of the most intriguing keyword searches responsible for bringing people right here to the land of the
free slightly tied down and the home of the brave pretentious and pompous, Red State Blue State:
“Red State / Blue State Means???”
It means Jeff and Allen are awesome. Look, I know you queried this from an IP address in Spain, but still… come on, hombre… we’re kind of a known thing.
“Carlos Quentin’s Descents”
There have been many… playing like crap for the Diamondbacks, breaking his wrist in a fit of rage, having a sore left foot… take your pick. I’d say the most influential one is the fact that he looks like a full-sized version of Herve Villechaize.
Now, now… let’s be nice and cordial here, Mr. Internet Searcher. I wouldn’t call my Tiger-lovin’ colleague, Mr. Krause, overweight. I would call him ridiculous (because he is) and anti-establishment (because he is) but not overweight (okay, maybe just a little). If it is indeed larger men you’re looking for, then I direct you *here*.
“What is the Lump in Nyjer Morgan’s Mouth?”
Uh, I dunno. Chewing tobacco? Tongue? Someone else’s tongue? Or maybe playing for the Pirates has given him the mumps. Whatever it is, we humbly admit that we have no friggin’ clue.
And finally, the most intriguing query of them all…
“What is Jeff Lung’s Problem?”
Well, if you don’t know by now, I guess you’re just gonna have to keep on reading.
But whatever you do, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
— Benjamin Franklin (1705 – 1790)
So? Maybe those troubles would actually be worth it, Benji. Ever think of that? Probably not.
Because you’re dead.
But if you were alive I don’t think you’d see the harm in my team having a good run like the Yankees did in ’96, ’98, ’99 and 2000 if it meant I’d have to endure a decade of them being awful. I do remember the ’90s I’ll have you know.
So let’s just entertain this idea for a second and ask the baseball gods to grant me these three wishes:
May the Cardinals Reach the Post-Season
Doesn’t seem like this is still out of reach but I feel like I better wish for it anyway. The rest of the schedule appears to support the possiblity: three games with the Cubs — who have proven thus far in September that they are still the Cubs — and then the Pirates, Reds, three more with the Cubs, then the Diamondbacks and Reds to finish out the season. Excluding the NL Central leaders, it doesn’t seem like that tough of a task.
Then again, “the Cardinals shouldn’t have made it this far” say the baseball pundits.
May the Palin Hype Be Exposed for What It Actually Is: HYPE
Yeah, I know it’s asking a lot to have the baseball gods interfere in politics, but this is important… very important. Sure, she’s attractive. She’s sassy. She’s got that sparkly star-quality that has been absent from the GOP since the Reagan years. But does she really warrant this?
I think as the double standard dissolves, the hair comes down and we US Americans get a handle on what she really stands for (teaching creationism in schools, taking away a woman’s right to choose, making sure firearms are still readily available) people will get a clue and start digging on those issues. Having Palin one literal heartbeat away from the highest office in the world is pretty scary s*** if you ask me.
May Successful Baseball Players Learn Not to Injure Themselves In Frustration and Damage Their Teams’ Chances at Making a Playoff Run
Carlos Quentin slamming his wrist against his bat because he was upset that he struck out was not cool. Carlos Quentin slamming his wrist against his bat (because he was upset that he struck out) and subsequently ending his season was definitely not cool. Didn’t anyone learn anything from Kevin Brown? If your name is Donnie Dolittle and you ride the bench, fine, go ahead and take yourself out of the lineup indefinitely. But if you’re the catalyst for everything that has been good for the surprise Southsiders this season, then you certainly need to grow up and NOT hurt yourself.
Thankfully, the Sox aren’t out of the playoff hunt because of this, but they are a million times better with Quentin in the lineup.
These are the only things I ask for, folks. That’s it. Nothing else…
But before I go, I’d like to introduce Gov. Palin to Bill Maher:
You can hate him. You can hate me. But don’t hate us ‘cuz we’re right.
One great thing about living in Chicago is being bombarded by the endless marketing ploys dished out by the often overlooked and under appreciated White Sox. With the grade-A inferiority complex harbored by many a Sox fan living in the shadows of an historically challenged Cubs franchise to the north, it’s easy to see why the Southside brass does all it can to create a buzz for a team that — on paper — shouldn’t need it considering how successful they’ve been in recent years.
You can squak about the 1919 squad throwing the series. You can jest that the Sox have a hard time filling their ballpark. You can overlook the Southside’s ’05 World Series championship all you want… but you have to admit one thing: the White Sox make some pretty damn good commercials.
Like this one:
And now that Quentin is out of the lineup, let’s hope that Thome remembers his previous self…
…and let’s hope they don’t move that sign.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Just when I thought the Chicago Cubs had genuinely forgotten how to lose this season they surprised me and went on a well-deserved five-game losing streak. For the last several days, seeing them falter to the festering Phils and resurgent Astros, I have been reminded that indeed: they are still the Cubs. And losing Carlos Zambrano for a stretch due to rotator cuff tendinitis sure won’t help their case to win the Central.
Now, am I willing to go there and say there’s a chance they could continue on this hapless streak, not win the Central and miss the playoffs entirely? Not on your life, dear reader. I’d like to have the guile to say that, but I’m just not that dumb. I’ve been watching this team destroy my worldview all year long and I don’t expect them to stop until they reach the playoffs.
Just set your clocks for them losing in the first round.
And since we’re on the topic of losers, let me add to the list that my not-exactly-humble colleague, Allen Krause, so graciously offered.
As a head-in-the-sand Tiger fan, I’m sure Mr. Krause will appreciate the losership of one Detroit ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his likely fall from power. Now I have bashed Kwame for his idiocy in the past, but I must admit how impressed I am that he was able to get those charges (perjury, assault, etc) dropped to just a couple counts of obstruction of justice. I guess when you’re that big and that scary looking you can get away with being an ^sshole — just ask Roger Clemens.
Or ask his former team, the New York Yankees, who are vying for the top spot in disappointing loserdom this season. While the curtain hasn’t made its final descent on the Yankee stage, you can be sure that the damn thing is on fire and burning into oblivion, as are the hopes and dreams of a Yankee post-season appearance. The Prince of New York has done them in — read article — and so have I.
There. I just did it.
Did you see that?
No? Okay, well, did you see that White Sox sensation Carlos Quentin is out with a wrist injury for an undetermined amount of time? If you’re a Sox fan, this is not good news and you should be invoking the baseball gods for Ken Griffey, Jr. to return back to his 1997 form right now. Give up your first born… eat a cat… whatever, you gotta do something. And let me tell ya, the worst amount of time to be out of the lineup is an ‘undetermined amount of time.’ I had a girl tell me that she wanted to see other people for an ‘undetermined amount of time’ and that didn’t go so well.
But let me tell you about the loser in Jordan — yes, that’s right, the country: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan — who did a Yahoo! search for:
“what outlandish mean you are red white and blue”
…and was lucky enough to find the RSBS blog as the first site to pop up.
Gee, that guy was probably all excited to find some US Americans to hate on but instead what he found was a plethora of ingenious posts written by two well-spoken, edumacated MLBloggers with the propensity to post pictures of pretty, powerful, secular women whom would never be invited to serve as one of the seventy-two virgins.
Ouch. Don’t hate me on that one ‘cuz you know I’m right.
“huge gamble.” Of course, you could argue that an even bigger gamble
took place when Pete Rose threw down money on games or when Tim Donaghy
decided to just throw a few games in the NBA. What do you think is the
biggest gamble (legal or otherwise) that has taken place in baseball
recently and how does it compare to McCain’s?
Gambling, throwing all you’ve got behind one decision, taking a risk… these are paramount aspects of the game of baseball. Without them, the game would be boring. When players and managers break from the norm and go out on a limb, we get excited: distancing oneself from the same old thing causes excitement.
And there has been no shortage of temerity nor bold decision making in our most beloved game over the last several years. Of course, as a Monday morning quarterback, it’s easy to call these moves audacious, ill planned, unrefined after the fact. Sometimes, as in the case of the GOP’s pick of one Sarah Palin, the decision need not be analyzed over and over again to find sound reasoning: there just isn’t any.
Like Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS after giving up three straight hits with only five outs to go and a three-run lead. That was dumb no matter how you look at it. And if it weren’t for 2004 and 2007, Sox fans would still be teeming with angst.
Like scores of players (McGwire, Bonds, Giambi, just to name a few) cheating their fans and cheating themselves by altering their physiology in order to make an extra multimillion or three, break records, tarnish the game. While I understand the desire to perform at the highest level possible, I tend to admire the natural approach over the Frankenstein method. With information regarding the rigorous side effects of performance enhancing drugs being as known as ABC’s — these guys took a big, dumb gamble and now — for the most part — we despise them for it.
But in my opinion, the biggest recent risk sure to backfire on the gambling party was the cave-in decision made by the Red Sox to ship Manny Ramirez out of Boston for Jason Bay. The baseball pundits have spoken, and I have to agree: Jason Bay — no matter how good he is — is no Manny Ramirez. The Red Sox may squeak into the playoff picture, but they are not near as good now as they were with Manny in the lineup and I expect they won’t make it too far without him. The whining and crying of Ramirez was nothing new to Boston’s brass and erasing him from the team not only left a hole in the four spot, it also diminished the impact of one David Ortiz.
And losing Ortiz at-bats to walks sure does make a difference in the wrong direction.
Of course, there are always those gambles that seem ludicrous yet turn out to be smart in the end as well.
Like Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa batting the pitcher in the eight hole to create more opportunities for Albert Pujols. Though seemingly odd because it was such a staunch break from the norm, essentially what TLR has done is make sure AP gets up in the first inning, then contributes as a clean-up hitter for the remainder of the game. It’s hard to argue against that logic and I’m surprised more managers haven’t followed suit.
TLR isn’t the only NL Central manager who has gained notoriety for his arduous risk-taking skills. “Sweet” Lou Piniella, when faced with an ailing Kerry Wood, had nothing but faith in a young rookie call-up from Notre Dame. He threw Jeff Samardzija in the limelight and hasn’t looked back since. With Samardzija pitching as well as he has in recent months, the Cubs bullpen, for the first time that I can ever remember, has suddenly become an asset rather than a liability.
But no gamble in recent memory has turned out as splendidly as that taken by White Sox GM Kenny Williams in trading Chris Carter to the Diamondbacks for Carlos Quentin. Sure, one could argue that giving up a relatively unknown minor league first baseman for the once considered underachieving Quentin was hardly a risk. But put in perspective: trading Garland for Cabrera and Linebrink, cutting Podsenik, resigning Uribe, demoting Josh Fields, putting faith back in Joe Crede while giving a young Alexei Ramirez a shot at second base… Kenny Williams has been a very busy man and the moves he’s made — while controversial — have all turned out for the better. The White Sox have rediscovered their grinder swagger and as I predicted at the beginning of the season, have made a case for winning the AL Central and beyond.
I don’t know what political affiliations Kenny Williams has, if any, but I do know that the GOP’s decision making skills pale in comparrison to the Sox GM. The invasion of Iraq, the atrociously late and unorganized response to Hurricane Katrina victims, the gross misspending of our inflated tax dollars… and now putting Palin — a woman so unqualified to lead a nation that I can’t help but tell myself this is all just a big joke (punchline to come?) — in line for the highest office in the land; all I can say is:
That was dumb.
And let me tell ya, you can go on and hate me for my wordy rhetoric, my inspiring the people, my loose analysis of managerial decisions, but you shouldn’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
There are a lot of things at U.S. Cellular Field (aka The Joan) that have the potential to creep me out: that feeling of loss I get after spending fifty bucks on seven Miller Lites and never catching a buzz; that strange foot tapping from the stall next to me in the men’s room; that chili-cheese nacho induced sleep-stopping jolt of fear at four in the morning. Yeah. Sure. There is no doubt that these situations can freak me out a little bit, but when it comes right down to it, they could just as easily happen in any ballpark in Anywhere, USA.
However, to my knowledge, the good folks at The Joan really do know how to go above and beyond in the ‘creepy’ department. They have proven that they can not only freak out children, but adults as well and force all those in attendance to shake off the willies every time a White Sox batter comes to the plate.
The stands have eyes.
On the lip of the grandstands that wrap around from the left field foul pole, behind home plate, and back out to right, is a thin video board that most parks use for advertising or god forbid: scores, balls and strikes, pitch counts, radar gun, etc. In fact, when the visiting team is hitting, they tend to throw some of those arbitrary numbers up there. But when the Sox are hitting? No way. Why is that?
The stands have eyes.
And it’s not just a photograph of the players’ eyes. No. It’s an approximately sixty second looping video complete with blinks, scowls, crud, tears, whatever. If you want to see the batter’s cheesy press photo, his stats, interesting notes about his childhood, check the center field scoreboard. If you want to get that creepy, icky, dirty feeling of being watched and in the process get distracted from what’s actually happening on the field so that when Thome hits a racing foul ball right towards you (‘cuz he wouldn’t hit one fair) you’re not paying attention, consequently get hit in the orbital socket, bleed out, make a scene and die… then keep looking at those damn eyes.
And just because you’re dead is not an excuse to hate me ‘cuz I’m right…
The friggin’ stands have eyes! Look!