Tagged: Chicago Tribune

From the “Eww” File

alexei ramirez smells good.jpgOn Wednesday, in his Bold Names column of sneezes from around the Major Leagues, Chicago Tribune reporter Mark Gonzales enlightened us on the snazzy stylings of White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez.  Gonzales wrote that Ramirez “opened some eyes among his teammates when he walked into the visitor’s dinky clubhouse at Wrigley” because he “sported a white Cuba jersey with his name and number on the back.”

Nothing wrong with that.  So Alexei is cool.  The Missile dons dapper duds.  I’m down.

Gonzales continued:

“Reliever Octavio Dotel, a native of the Dominican Republic, liked the jersey so much he wore it for a few minutes.  Unfortunately for Ramirez, Dotel said he might be subjected to a fine for not adhering to dress code rules on the road — yes, even at Wrigley Field.”

And after wearing Alexei’s jersey for a few minutes, Dotel told Gonzales:

“‘The jersey smells good… he’s [Ramirez] still learning and a young guy from Cuba but doesn’t know a lot of things about the States.'”

Yeah, you’re obviously dead on, Octavio.  I mean, I cannot think of a more common pastime, in the States, than going around sniffing your friends’ clothes.

That crazy Cuban Alexei… jeesh, he’s got a lot to learn.

Hate me ‘cuz I don’t sniff my buddy’s clothes, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

Everyone hates me! I don’t understand it. It’s like I’m the anti-Midas.
Instead of turning to gold, everything I touch turns to s**t. And now
they’re even booing me! I just want to be loved. What do I have to do
to be loved?

M. Bradley
Chicago, IL
__________________________________________

milton_bradley_angry.jpgRSBS‘ dear readers know that I am always one for some good old japery, so I will ignore the fact that this question comes to us from a Hotmail address with the username LouBrockLover67 attached and assume that you, M. Bradley, were at one time a huge follower of the powerhouse Cardinal club of the mid to late 60s and just go with it.  Of course, I am also secretly holding my breath that the Chicago Tribune gets word of this post and in digging through the RSBS archives publicizes the fact that I have called a certain M. Bradley a “whiny spoiled crybaby man-child” on more than at least twenty occasions.  Hey, It worked for J-Rod and Raul Ibanez…  ah… yes, a fettered blogger can dream; I suppose that is still legal and accepted (for now).

But, at this time, what causes my greatest concern is the notion that the Chicago Cubs are being hijacked by just one individual’s antics, gaffes and overall lack of production at the plate, which runs contrary to the the aged tradition of the Cubs’ losing woes being dependent on a complete team effort (or, more appropriately, the lack thereof).

Yes, M. Bradley, everything you touch does turn to s**t, but at least you have the good sense to throw it back into the stands — with only two outs.  Look, they are going to boo you just like they boo Fukudome and Soriano and Lee, just like they booed Kyle Farnsworth and Jacque Jones and Keith Moreland before.  Cub fans boo.  That’s what they do.  There ain’t no changing that.

Still, a less hostile playing environment at Wrigley could be had if you, M. Bradley follow these simple guidelines for success: a) hit over .230 b) bash a Gatorade cooler in the dugout with a bat and c) give back that $30 million and just play for the fun of it!

See?  Now that was the easy part.  Unfortunately, M. Bradley, since Northsiders have proven over the years that they are absolutely incapable of love (see Bartman, Sammy Sosa and Dusty Baker), I am afraid that you will just have to do without while patrolling the swirling winds of fickleness at Clark and Addison.

Beer.  That is the only thing Cub fans love.  Buy the right field bleacher bums a couple of rounds of beer with that fat, zero laden paycheck and you might just get the impression that you’re liked… sorta.

Until they sober up.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****

Something on your mind?  Want to see Jeff and Al sweat (separately, not together, eww)?  Think you got a real stumper?  Send us your Filibuster question(s) by commenting or emailing them to us at kraulung@gmail.com. 

***Pictures of Sarah Palin in a swimsuit also welcome.

Remember Tim

“Baseball. If there’s a more beautiful word in the English language, I
have yet to hear it… baseball has served as such a powerful link
between Dad and me, and later between me and my son.”

— Tim Russert (1950-2008)

tim.russert.jpgRare are the journalists who represent both the passions and worldviews of their audience to the extent that they stop at nothing to capture and highlight that fermented, weathered, collective voice.  John Kass of the Chicago Tribune comes to mind… Bob Costas has his moments… and in a wayward, selfish context, I believe Tim Kurkjian fits that role by feeding my insatiable taste for quirky, useless baseball tidbits plucked down from the ether of madness.  Still, in my opinion, when it comes to the elite of the elite, no one even came close to Tim Russert.

This weekend marks the anniversary of Tim’s death and while I still succumb to shock every time I turn on Meet the Press and realize he is no longer moderating the debate, I like to think that some of that knowledge, that swagger, that desire Tim portrayed all those years, lives on through me.  Not to get overly emotional or anything, but I always felt some sort of transcending connection to Russert; I still feel it today.

Now I know why: Tim Russert was a baseball guy.

Just like me.

And though we shared similar political views and put great value on our relationships with our fathers, in the end, baseball was and always has been the glue — that thing, that commonality, that mutual bond.  You cannot make up that kind of understanding, cannot create that kind of unity.  It just happens. 

Baseball.  If there’s a more beautiful word in the English language, I have yet to hear it…

Baseball people get baseball people.

And Tim Russert was baseball people.

Peace,

Jeff

(Image courtesy of TIME)

Big Lay-Z

the big z.jpg“I’ll be running nice and easy, just taking my time, not hustling.  I apologize to the Cubs fans.”
 — Carlos Zambrano, on how he’ll play upon his return from the disabled list
 (Chicago Tribune Article)

The good news is Carlos Zambrano doesn’t have to take the fall for this mope wreck of a statement.  The chain of command comes from up high and the Chicago Cubs suits are proving that not only do they not know how to win when it matters, but they also don’t know how to manage the public image of their players.

So, the really bad news is that baseball has openly lowered its standards.  You don’t have to hustle anymore, folks — especially if you’re a ticking time-bomb with a slingshot arm and a once-sore hammy that has now fully healed, leaving no pain.

Indeed, Cy Young is rolling in his grave.

Okay, so I gotta ask:  If Zambrano feels no pain then why won’t he be hustling on the field? 

In the wake of steroids, with pandemic doubt blanketing the game from New York to Los Angeles to Los Angeles of Anaheim, the last thing we (and especially Cubs) fans need is to know that some players aren’t giving it their all and that management is okay with that.  If you’re not healthy enough to play the game the way the game is supposed to be played, then you shouldn’t be playing the game… I don’t care how talented you are.

Note to Cubs: either sew Zambrano’s mouth shut or hire a new P.R. person.  I got just the guy for you too — even colored his hair to match your duds:

perez hilton.jpgDon’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

An Ode to Mouthbreathing and Crying

The last couple days have been rough for the city of Detroit. The practically hometown Spartans were annihilated by UNC’s modern day version of George and Lennie, Ty and Tyler, while the Tigers have once again managed to open the season with consecutive losses. And if the losses weren’t bad enough, Detroit’s big offseason acquisition, Brandon Lyon, has so far proven to be a huge bust.

But, it’s time like these when I like to remind myself that it could be worse. At least we no longer have to deal with Kyle Farnsworth.

farnsworth cries.jpgIn his first outing of the season yesterday, Farnsworth managed to blow a great outing by Gil Meche when he dished up a three-run, game-winning homerun to Jim Thome with two out in the eighth. Now, to anyone familiar with Farnsworth’s body of work, this certainly came as no surprise. I used to watch him throw BP during the eighth inning of close games back when I was living in Chicago in 2003. But when it happens to a team that will in all likelihood end the season 20 games under .500, well, you just feel kind of bad.

For the team and the fans that is. For Farnsworth? Hell no. He’s baseball’s living embodiment of the Peter Principle. As Phil Rogers points out in his column in today’s Chicago Tribune, “[Farnsworth] throws hard. He can’t be trusted. But teams can’t stop thinking that
they are going to be the one to make him into a top-of-the-line setup
man, if not a closer.” Just ask the Cubs, Yankees and Tigers how that worked out for them.

As an unrepentant realist, here’s how I see it. Farnsworth should not play above triple-A, the Tigers are not going to the playoffs and Michigan State never had a chance. But, I’m not opposed to looking for the silver lining. For instance, at least I’m not a mouth-breathing, inbred okie. So, there’s that. And there’s this:

-A

Ripping Us At the “Seems”

michelle and barack obama.jpgIf you are one to eschew the daily fear mongering and perpetual bad news infecting our world today, then I highly recommend you avoid reading the Chicago Tribune first thing in the morning.  Unfortunately, for me, the Tribune has become that thing I love to hate.  My self-inflicted aggravation is just one of the many results.

But today, I came across a titillating article by Stacy St. Clair which boasted and celebrated the harmony, the togetherness, the complete reciprocal adoration between Barack and Michelle Obama — our nation’s first couple.  Reading it made me feel good.

As the day went on, news broke of Alex Rodriguez — our collective fallen hero — and his stunning confession of guilt regarding his usage of banned performance enhancing drugs in 2003.  The image of Rodriguez discussing the issue with Peter Gammons flickered on my computer screen.  I was overwhelmed with sadness.

My thoughts immediately went back to the Obama article and I couldn’t help but ask myself: Is anything what it seems anymore?

Alex Rodriguez thinking.jpgAlex Rodriguez put on a great front.  Despite Jose Canseco’s self-righteous smear campaign and associated agenda, I never once questioned Rodriguez’s proclaimed innocence.  At no time did I suspect Rodriguez to be tainted in even the slightest of ways, for A-Rod was our hero.  He was the one targeted with pulling us out of the steroid era forever.  He was the one endowed with replacing Bonds as the all-time homerun king.  He was the one who seemed like the most talented, most gifted, most touted ballplayer I have ever witnessed play the game.

What you see is not always what you get.

John Edwards seemed like a family man.

Pete Rose seemed like the consummate all-American baseballer.

Eliot Spitzer seemed like a hard-nosed crime-stopper.

The Wizard of Oz seemed like an all-powerful wizard.

And it turns out they were all just… like… us:

H-U-M-A-N.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Impressions Great and Lasting

impeachment trial.jpgSpringfield, Illinois was the epicenter of public embarrassment today as Rod Blagojevich stepped up to the political plate and delivered his most compelling impression of a soulful, hardworking, genuinely honest human being:

“How is it an impeachable offense for helping low income families keep their health?  How can you impeach a governor when what we did was about helping families and kids?”
(image courtesy of the Chicago Tribune)

Uh… I think you are missing the point, Rod, because having something “(bleeping) golden” that you “just don’t give away for nothing” in regards to the vacated Illinois senate seat doesn’t really have anything to do with providing health care for low income families.  But since you brought it up, let it be known that my back hurts like a (bleeping) (bleep) and my (bleeping) health insurance won’t (bleeping) cover a chiropractor so I am stuck in (bleeping) (bleeping) pain while you waste my tax dollars on giving free CTA rides to seniors, threaten to fire Chicago Tribune editors and balloon state debt by borrowing millions of dollars from the future.

Nice try, Rod.

Yet, I tip my hat.  That performance in Springfield today was an excellent, Academy Award worthy acting job that will go down in history as being almost as entertaining as it was pathetic.  I especially liked how you invoked the spirit of the 2 million Illinoisans who elected you twice, Rod — the same 2 million Illinoisans who now want you out of office.

Your dramatic impression of an incorruptible man was one for the record books, indeed.

So in light of this depressing state of Illinois politics, the impending unemployment of the Cubs’ biggest fan and the overall economic bitterness shared by US Americans the world over, let me introduce to you, dear readers, a man who will surely make you smile: Batting Stance Guy.

If you haven’t seen him yet, you should, and in an attempt to inject spunk back into the hearts and souls of taxpayin, apple-pie-eatin’, baseball lovin’ Joe Six-Packs out there, why don’t you enjoy some classic stances from the St. Louis Cardinals:

And in honor of the kind tribute Mr. Krause mustered up last minute (after the fact I must point out), I would like to reach across the aisle and offer you some classic Tiger stances as well:

Man, is he good or what!?! 

Now those are what I call impressions.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m (bleeping) right.

Peace,

Jeffy

P.S.  He Gone!