I’ll be the first to admit that we point a lot of fingers over here without always recognizing people who are doing a good job. For instance, Bud Selig, although old, ugly and responsible for some of the worst excesses in the game of baseball’s long history, has also helped several teams secure the funding they needed to build new stadiums and has so far managed to avoid contraction.
The same thing goes for the government. It’s easy to focus on the guys who show up on MSNBC and Fox News to spout whatever partisan talking points have been approved for the day but we tend to hear a lot less about the guys who stand up and give it to us straight or who quietly support something they believe in personally even if it doesn’t necessarily follow the party line. So here’s a few guys with whom I generally disagree but who deserve some respect anyway.
This one is pretty easy because Gates has actually been a very effective and post-partisan Secretary of Defense. However, he recently brought it to another level as he took Congress to task for wasteful defense spending and then spoke his mind in front of the graduating class at West Point. Gates is on his way out so it’s a little easier for him to call it like he sees it but it’s still something worth mentioning.
Alito is a conservative’s conservative. Even when he does something I agree with, it’s usually for a completely different reason than why I would have done it. However, when he voiced the sole dissent with the Court’s opinion in the Westboro Baptist Church case, you had to feel a little twinge of pride. Sure, I don’t agree with his legal reasoning and the court made the right decision in light of the First Amendment. However, Alito expressed what pretty much all the rest of us were thinking when he wrote “In order to have a society in which public issues can be openly and
vigorously debated, it is not necessary to allow the brutalization of
innocent victims like petitioner. I therefore respectfully dissent.” I respectfully concur.
Yep, he made the list, too. And honestly, generally Dick is a dick. But like any parent, when you mess with his kids, you wake up a giant. You don’t want to do that, especially when it’s a giant who shot his own friend in the face with a shotgun. So it really shouldn’t come as any surprise to find out that Dick does not toe the party line when it comes to gay marriage, especially since one of his daughters is gay. Cheney even famously parted ways from his Commander in Chief when it came to the issue of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Hey, maybe he’s not such a dick after all.
Being a Senator means that sometimes you get to be above the fray. In general, it’s a contemplative body that acts as a check on the hot-headedness of the House. So in an era when disentangling the US from any sort of foreign involvement has become the mantra of the Right, it’s nice to see a Senator from the Right stand up and say that what we need is a more robust and intelligent foreign involvement. You tell ’em, Lindsey.
Sure, Graham and Gates tend toward the more moderate positions so maybe this isn’t all that bold of a list. But I still think it’s important to give credit where it’s due. More than that, it’s nice to see some politicians show some balls. Too bad the Democrats can’t do it from time to time.
In 2005, the St. Louis Cardinals called up a 27 year-old lifetime minor leauger to get his first hacks at the big league level. That man’s name was John Rodriguez.
Don’t remember him? No worries. Most people don’t.
Mr. Rodriguez came on pretty strong during his brief glimpse of the Majors, hitting .295 with 5 HRs and 24 RBI in 149 at-bats. The folks in St. Louis liked him and his cinderella story so much that someone decided to grace Mr. Rodriguez with the nickname: J-Rod (a la A-Rod, K-Rod, YourMom-Rod, et al).
J-Rod *ahem* wasn’t a fan of the name. Why? Maybe because he wasn’t A-Rod! To be honest, he wasn’t anywhere close to being an A-Rod type player. His greatest downfall was was being born with the same easily nicknameable name as poster boy Alex while also having a first initial that contained just one syllable (you see, W-Rod would never work).
Flash forward to December 7th, 2009 and my trusty misanthrope of a colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, deigns us with the phonetically challenged nickname “Pla-Po” for his beloved (and now long gone from Detroit) Placido Polanco.
Pla-Po? Are you kidding me? How is that even pronounced? PLAY-Poh? Plah-POH? Ah, forget it; all I know is that it sucks.
So, please know, Mr. Krause, that from now on we are calling for a complete ban on poorly constructed nicknames, specifically on those you created. For those of you dear readers unaware, the following Krausian nicknames shall no longer be used, under any circumstances, lest you wish the worst on the baseball-politico community:
- Matt Holliday — Ma-Ho
- Barack & Michelle Obama — Bachelle
- Albert Pujols — A-Jols (read “A-Holes”)
- Dick Cheney — Dick-Chin
- Pablo Sandoval — P-Sand
- Harry Reid & Nancy Pelosi — Harry Nancy
- Carlisle Littlejohn — C-Lit
- Michael Cuddyer — Mi-Cudd
- Ann Coulter — ‘Lil Beotch (it should be “Big Beotch”)
- Kevin Youkilis — K.Y. Kill-Us
And of course, let us not forget to mention the ongoing ban against one of the crappiest nicknames of all time, also penned by Mr. Krause, for his dilapidated Mo-Town Tigers team:
‘Cuz unless finishing the AL Central in second place qualifies you as a ‘winner’, then this just needs to stop.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m brash, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Oh no. There he goes again. Indeed, dear readers, my errant and oft annoying colleague, Mr. Krause, is in desperate need of some verbal “fire” — the vitriolic, infernal, flesh-eating kind most notably invoked by the devil and his evil minions.
He did the unthinkable.
He threw down the gauntlet.
He insulted Albert Pujols’ mama.
Where does Mr. Krause find all this idle time to waste on shameless maternal attacks? As a Cardinal fan sitting on top of a 10 game lead in the NL Central, I can certainly see where I would have the time from now until October. But Mr. Krause would make better use of his by pondering the pain he will feel once his streaky Tigers get eliminated early on in the ALDS.
Meanwhile, I’m feelin’ pretty damn good… so good that I’d like to just go on a rampage and say:
- Miguel Cabrera’s mama is so ugly, she makes Willie McGee look like a GQ model!
- Carlos Zambrano’s mama is so lazy, she makes Big Z look like a hard worker!
- Ryan Braun’s mama’s teeth glow so yellow, she can almost lead the Brewers out of the darkness of the NL Central! (nah, nothing glows that yellow)
- Manny Ramirez’s mama is so dirty, her batting helmet has a biohazard label on it!
- And, of course, Mr. Krause, yo’ mama is so dumb, she’d probably fall for this lame Glenn Beck advance:
Hate me ‘cuz I come back fivefold, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
The beautiful thing about the politics of today and yesterday is that one thing remains the same. No matter whether you’re wrong or right, all you have to do is make some sort of ad hominem attack and it will get you air time.
This has become increasingly true during the normally boring Washington summers when the news channels are just itching for something to break the tedium of the recess. And this year has provided plenty of sparks. Dick Cheney has made himself more accessible than he was during the eight years of Bush’s presidency, emerging on a regular basis to proclaim that Obama is making the country less safe. And everyone seems to be lining up to take a whack at the universal health care plan although it’s interesting to note how many of those people already have insurance.
But I also realized something. Baseball is seriously lacking these same types of attacks. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before but at this time of the year, when all the races are heating up, where’s the fire? Why aren’t the Giants and Rockies cracking on each others’ mothers? Why aren’t the Rangers poking fun at Pedroia’s size? And why aren’t the Tigers and Twins provoking Ozzie Guillen into even crazier rants?
C’mon people. This is baseball. America’s pastime. And you know what else America is home to? The yo’ mama joke. See the connection? Ok, let’s get on it. I’ll start. Albert Pujols’ mama is so dumb, she thinks a shortstop is when she runs into 7/11 for a hotdog and a Slurpee.
Just as the homerun he gave up to Albert Pujols during the 2005 NLCS finally falls back to earth, so too does Brad Lidge’s status as an elite Major League closer. Having notched his seventh blown save of the season (by giving up a game-tying single to bonafide bust Milton Bradley no less), Lidge forces us to ask the serious question:
Who in the world is going to be fooled by that low and away slider when you throw it on the first pitch?
And then, I gotta follow up by asking:
Who in the world is going to be fooled by that right-down-central fastball you are forced to throw after they don’t swing at the low and away slider early in the count?
There was a time (it was just last year actually) when Brad Lidge was one of the most feared pitchers in the league. Nowadays he’s looking more and more like Mitch Williams circa 1997 (or Kevin Gregg today — in both cases, it ain’t good).
Lidge lucked out in that his team won it in extras but that doesn’t change the fact that he gave Cardinal fans the type of heart attack once only attributable to prospective hunting trips led by Dick Cheney (no, that will never get old). The Phillies, this year, have proven over and over again that there ain’t no such thing as a sure thing and Lidge’s once-devastating slider is definitely not a sure thing.
You want a sure thing?
Bet on an MMA fight looking at least kinda gay.
Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
What do you think will happen first: the Iranians blow us up or the Royals win the pennant?
Blue Springs, MO
Tim, first of all let me say that I understand your frustration.
Waiting for mutually assured destruction or the return of the George
Brett era Royals can both be daunting and rather fruitless tasks. Remember,
I’m a Lion’s fan. During our glory days, Henry Ford was still signing
the checks over at his eponymous motor company. But fear not! I have
some bad news for you but it’s followed by something a little more
First, the bad. The Iranians will have the bomb well before the Royals
ever win another pennant. In fact, there’s a good chance that the
Congolese and Nepalese will have the bomb before the Royals head to the
World Series again. I don’t say that to be mean, I just want to be
honest with you. It’s therapeutic.
But now the good news. No one really cares if the Iranians get the
bomb. It’s kind of a dirty little foreign policy secret but most
everyone, even Dick Cheney,
assumes that they’re only a year or two from it happening anyway. If we
were to go in today and knock out the nuclear sites we know about,
there’s enough redundancy in the program that it would probably only
set them back by a few months. Like it or not, the world is going to
have to accept the idea of a nuclear-armed Iran.
However, here’s the better news. Despite occasional
crackpot pronouncements by certain leaders, the bomb tends to moderate
those who possess it. What’s the old phrase, “With great power comes
great responsibility?” Once you have the bomb, you kind of have to take
care of it. Otherwise, it’s possible that it just might blow up in your
So, Tim, take a lesson from Kubrick and Sellers and learn to stop worrying and love the bomb. Really, what do you have to worry about anyway? Let’s be honest, when the bombs start falling, Missouri is going to be some prime real estate. In fact, it will probably be the only untouched part of the country. Sleep tight, Timmy! You’re safe. Because, when you think about it, why would you nuke some wheat fields, a few cows and a really crappy baseball team?
Players across the sports spectrum seem to be feeling their oats the
past couple weeks. The Lakers-Rockets NBA series has turned into a
brawl and baseball has seen several ejections and suspensions handed
down over the last several days. Are we seeing the effects of over (or
under) officiating or are players really more on edge these days?
Suspensions, brawls, warnings, headhunters, beanballs, ejections… these are all integral tenets of the sports we love. Without them, the stakes would be as dramatic as an afternoon pinochle tournament at your local retirement home (and even those can turn violent without proper supervision).
Personally, I could care less about what the Los Angeles Lakers of Los Angeles are fighting about with the Houston Rockets (those are basketball teams, right?). But perennial crybaby and major league fire-starter Milton Bradley? Foot-in-mouth Bobby Jenks? Two-packs-a-day Jimmy Leyland?
Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!
Indeed, the cast of characters may change from year to year, but the subtle game of intimidating your opponent and firing up your team with guts, fists and butt-busting fastballs hasn’t. Ty Cobb anyone?
No matter what the era, baseball players have always found a harmonious balance of edge and competitiveness. When your livelihood is on the line, you bet you’re gonna go out and stand up for yourself. Those who don’t… well, they end up like Mr. Krause, pushing pencils and checking email forty times a day.
Now I don’t propose an increase to the level of violence on the field; but hell, don’t peel it back. I need that respite of poorly timed right hooks (see Shields v. Crisp, 2008), knee-buckling vengeance (see Bradley v. The World, 2007) and knuckles-to-skull contact (see Ryan v. Ventura, 1993). Anyone who says he/she doesn’t is a liar.
Baseball does not suffer from under or over officiating. It’s doing just fine the way it is. Fights, ejections, suspensions… they’re all just a part of the game. When it becomes bedlam…
… well, then we might have to reevaluate.
Until then, just keep on hating me. But don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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