In recent days, my aloof and oft persnickety colleague, Mr. Krause, waxed on instant replay in baseball, making assumptions about my demeanor reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh calling out the obese.
Am I “old school” in my baseball philosophy? Yes. You could say that. But just like in any endeavor worth dedicating one’s life to, things change, and adaptations are necessary for survival.
Baseball needs instant replay. There are just too many important calls that get blown that could be remedied with a simple review of the tape. There are countless examples, but the two most devastating of recent memory include the Pirates/Braves 19th inning Jerry Meals fiasco of 2011 and Armando Gallaraga’s perfect game being robbed by Jim Joyce*. These are just two extreme examples, but blown calls happen quite frequently and they could be fixed just as easily as they fixed the home run by review situation.
Sure, baseball is a long, slow paced game. Sure doesn’t seem to stop people from caring about it though! Attendance is up, viewership via TV, computer, smartphone is at an all-time high. Does Mr. Krause seriously think that all the baseball nuts in the world are going to stop watching the game if it’s 5 minutes longer?!?!
Just get the call right. That’s what the fans care about. We want… the umps… TO GET IT RIGHT. That’s it. And now, deeply immersed in all avenues of technocracy, is the time to start implementing some of the modern tools that are there to make things better.
And no, constitutional scholars, this ain’t no slippery slope situation. Balls and strikes are not reviewable. Period.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m grounded in common sense, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*Also, I am still not over Don Denkinger’s blown call from the 1985 Series. Some things take longer to heal.
Unless we’re talking about the cavernous anatomy of a female Kardashian, despite my best efforts, I still have not been able to pinpoint the location of a reachable and workable worm hole. Hadron Colliders the size of Prince Fielder’s appetite are also difficult to find these days. And let’s not even start talkin’ about the insane price of rocket fuel!
So how do I propose we travel back in time?
We open our eyes and take in the train wreck that is the Republican primary!
Want to live in a world where a woman’s reproductive rights don’t matter? Vote Republican!
Want to live in a world where your life is governed by an invisible sky daddy whose literary tome is as angry, erratic and suspect as a Manny Ramirez press conference? Vote Republican!
Want to live in a world where the ONE candidate who ACTUALLY MAKES SOME SENSE is so shunned that he doesn’t even have ONE person embedded in his campaign to report what is actually going on? Vote Republican!
We might not be able to travel back in time to stop the JFK assassination or Don Denkinger’s blindness during the ’85 Series, but as the above scenarios prove, we can go back about 100 years without much effort. Just know that, if we do, it may only be a matter of time before they may decide it is okay to own human beings and to kill others simply because they believe in a different fairytale.
Hate me. Whatevs. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
Jeff tries his darnedest to be as polite as possible during his unfettered gloating of World Championship status (Go Cards!) while Second City’s Mark Piebenga adds some level-headed awesomeness to Johanna’s outlandishness and Allen’s seasoned straight man routine. Among the topics of discussion are “the greatest game ever”, the woes of rebranding an already twice championed franchise (talkin’ to you, Marlins), Theo Fever in the Chi, b!tch t!ts and much, much more!
Now grab some Crown Royal and enjoy yo’ self!
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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
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Recorded Saturday, November 12, 2011
And so in this Podcast…
Jeff and Johanna clink Tanqueray and tonics over a (not-so) serious discussion of Atlanta’s rerise to fame, Sweet Lou’s gunt, Feliz Hernandez’s magical ways and much, much more… including a special guest appearance by comedy genius Tracy Morgan! Get out the Kleenex, y’all, ‘cuz tears of joy are on the way!
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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
*Special thanks to Keith Carmack — our engineer, director, editor and all-around sound guru. Check out his Undercast podcast and visit his movie-making website Undercard Films if you know what’s good for you. I mean, Keith got invited to the Hall of Fame for Pete Hill’s re-induction ceremony. Talk about bein’ connected…
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Recorded Saturday, October 2, 2010
For the Matt Drudges, Satanic She-Worms and Jabba the Huts of the world, President Obama’s controversial decision to seat an inexperienced left-leanin’ lawyer to the world’s highest court is not going too well. Indeed, dear readers, the rip-roarin’ has already commenced with character-bashing slander at the ready: “she has no experience!”… “she’s part of the Chicago machine!”… “She’s ugly! You sure that ain’t Gary Dell’abate!?!”
I am not sure that she is not Gary Dell’abate.
She has no experience. So what? Does she have what it takes? Does she have the balls to — wait, never mind.
As is the case with baseball, experience doesn’t always guarantee success.
Mike Leake never pitched a game in the minors and yet he has a record of 3-0 right now, one of those wins coming against the sCrUBS (which nets him extra points ‘cuz I say so).
Don Denkinger never had any experience being completely retarded for one single World Series play yet he managed to get the job done in 1985.
And let me remind you of a fella who didn’t have any managerial experience whatsoever: a man, who as a player achieved a lifetime batting average of .219 with 32 homers and 112 RBI. That man’s name is A.J. Hinch and that man manages the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Arizona Diamonbacks are… um… the D’backs are…
Pay no attention.
We’re all in this US American mess together.
Hate me ‘cuz it’s trendy, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Such cases have been well documented: In 1985, Don Denkinger handed the World Series Championship directly to the Royals. Some twenty years later, Hall of Famer George Brett revealed to the world his celebratory penchant for soiling himself.
And now, in 2009, Royals ace Zack Greinke hopes to snatch the Cy Young Award from big name, big money pitchers from big markets.
When Greinke wins on Tuesday it will be an historic event. For the first time ever in the history of the franchise, the Royals will be relevant for something other than a bunch of s***.
And that, dear readers, is called crawling out of the gutter… where they will quickly return to on Wednesday.
Hate me ‘cuz I prey on the weak, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Image courtesy of Getty Images)
If you are an MLB.TV subscriber, you may have noticed that between innings you will see the occasional commercial now. Most likely it will be an annoying five dollar foot long spot. But if you’re lucky, you’ll get a poorly produced advertisement for a Major League Baseball umpiring school!
Nevermind the reality that you have a better chance becoming a Major League baseball player than you do an umpire, because that, dear readers, is not important here.
What is important is that you know umpiring is sexy now. And anyone can do it. Hell, Don Denkinger did it and he su<ked!
So go for it! Just make sure you come prepared and look the part… no friggin’ skinnies allowed!
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
If you called me an insane, obsessed, socially maladjusted freak in regards to my passion for the game of baseball, you would be absolutely correct. Try as I might to cover up the idiosyncratic ticks that put me at the top of the weird charts, there really is no denying my beyond reasonable quirkiness. In fact, baseball has long affected my dating life, my filial responsibilities, my job.
So you can imagine the worry and fear experienced by my dearest friends and loved ones when the MLB Network officially launched earlier this year. It has been alluded to that since the network aired, getting in contact with me has been harder than taking Sarah Palin seriously. This I cannot deny.
Besides getting the inside scoop on all things off-season baseball from the Hot Stove Show, shedding man-tears watching Mookie’s grounder trickle between Buckner’s legs and vehemently arguing/defending the selections of Prime 9, I have also been forced to evaluate the roots of my undying passion for our national pastime and why it means so much to me.
Which takes me back to the beginning…
Unlike many young boys, my father had very little to do with my interest in baseball. As great a man as he was (still is), he always had a calm reserve — an indifferent nature towards the game. Sure, he was a fan of sorts; but he wasn’t nuts about it in any way. His sister was. Yes, it’s all her fault. My dear Aunt Alice and her husband, Uncle Iggy, were absolutely wild about baseball and they molded me into a young, opinionated, domineering superfan at an early age.
Indeed, no two people had a greater effect on my psycho-following of the St. Louis Cardinals. They ate, slept and breathed Cardinals baseball (still do); their fiery enthusiasm infected me before I could even walk. Upon reflection, my earliest baseball memory is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s front page color photo of bedlam at Busch after the 1982 World Series. Emulating Jack Clark’s short swing and despising Don Denkinger came soon after. With the help of my aunt and uncle, it wasn’t long before I was memorizing the starting lineup of the ’85 club and dreaming of being Ozzie Smith.
My father took a backseat to this unruly creation of a Redbird child. While supportive of my decision to “go crazy, folks, go crazy” while reenacting Ozzie’s fist pump around the bases, it was clear that Dad didn’t quite understand what all the fuss was about. Despite the quizzical looks he gave when I argued to stay home and watch the game rather than go to the video arcade, he accepted the fact that his son was some kind of weirdo.
As soon as I could operate the VCR, I was recording any and every baseball game on television. During the long the winter months I watched those games with the same intensity with which I watched them the first time. Then I’d watch them again. And again and again.
“Shh. It’s Tewksbury versus Sutcliffe, Dad. Pena’s gonna throw Walton out at second. Wait and see.”
“But you’ve seen this game already.”
“I haven’t seen all of it. There’s too much going on all at once. I’m watching just Pena this time. Just Pena. Watch.”
And he would… he would placate my desire… because he saw how important it was to me.
It was very important to me.
My parents were divorced. It got ugly at times. I lived with my dad, separated from my sister, who lived with my mom a hundred miles away. While my childhood spun around in chaotic circles of arguments, misunderstandings and fear, the melodic pace and harmonic rhythm of baseball calmed me like no drug ever could: the unique sound of Tom Brunansky’s bat, a whipping line-drive snagged by Pendleton at third, a Ken Daley strikeout. No matter what the final score, baseball, with its disregard for time and its indifferent ability to create heroes and villains and bystanders, became the one constant in my life.
It kept me sane.
So it was October, 1993, and I found myself in a certain state of panic. I was a selfish 14 year old boy who couldn’t imagine missing Game 6 of the ’93 Series and I wasn’t about to be quiet about it. In Tulsa, Oklahoma at the time to cheer on my dad (a marathon runner) in the 15k Tulsa Run, my complaining escalated — eventually becoming more annoying than persuading. The race was long over, but we were not anywhere near a television; the game had started and the anticipation was killing me.
“Dad, we have to go watch the game!” I whined.
“Okay, we will.”
“No, now! We’ve already missed the first inning!”
“We will. We’ll go in a little bit. It’s just the Blue Jays and Phillies anyway —
“Just the Blue Jays and — Dad, it’s important! We have to go!”
Several shrills of suffering and an hour or so later we were finally in the comforts of a relative’s home, watching the game.
My dad rested his tired legs and read the newspaper while I glued myself to the t.v. set, still jittery, shaken, upset from missing the first five innings of play. It was 5-1 Blue Jays and Dad uttered: “See, it’s gonna be a blowout anyway, Jeff.”
I grit my teeth.
And when the Phillies went on a tear in the seventh inning, scoring five runs to take a 6-5 lead, I looked back at him and said, “This is why you can never turn off a game, Dad. Anything is possible.”
Dad managed but a glance away from his paper.
The ninth inning rolled around. I shook with nerves at the suspenseful drama, mystique, myriad possibilities. Dad was unmoved. “Game’s over, Jeff. Mitch Williams is coming in.”
“You never know, Dad. You never know. You have to watch. Just watch.”
Williams walked Rickey Henderson.
“Just watch, Dad. Please.”
Fed up with my whining, he reluctantly put his paper down just in time to see Devon White fly out.
Paul Molitor singl
Joe Carter dug in.
I heard the rustling of Dad’s newspaper again, but before he could get into the reading position I shot him a glare so vicious, so maniacal, so threatening that he had no choice but to put it back down and focus on the game… just in time to see this:
Unaffiliated with the Blue Jays, unaffiliated with the Phillies, but fully affiliated with the wondrous game of baseball, I shot to my feet and screamed like a little girl. My whole being gushed with excitement, with incredulity, with a burning sensation never before felt as Carter jumped and ran the bases.
I looked at my dad, his jaw on the floor, eyes lit up like the Skydome fireworks.
“Did you see that, Dad!?! Did you see that!?!”
“I… I saw it. I don’t believe it but I… I saw it.”
“Don’t you see, Dad? Anything’s possible.”
“I guess you’re right. Anything is possible.”
If you can dream it, it can happen.
That’s the lesson baseball taught me, the lesson Joe Carter taught my dad, the lesson that comes from having a father who believes in you…
I love you, Dad. And don’t forget… you can’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right. You said it yourself on October 23, 1993.
I asked a similar question in the hypothetical earlier this season but now that some aspects of the postseason have sorted themselves out, I have to ask again. What makes you more sad, the Cubs winning the NL Central or the Cards not making the playoffs?
For all of you who picture me sitting in the alcove of my apartment drowning in the proverbial sea of my own tears because the Cardinals will be home this post-season while the Cubs journey on, you’re probably not too far off from reality. Of course, the half empty bottle of Jack, the lonely cavern of my heart and the clear and present danger of having one Sarah Palin next in line to the highest office in the land most certainly have more to do with my wallowing than the current state of baseball.
As I have said here before, the Cubs were supposed to win the Central and be one of the best teams in baseball this year. So why, Mr. Krause, should I be so surprised to actually see this come true? We’re both highly educated, extremely learned, dashingly handsome young men, so cut me a little slack here.
Verily, the true river of tears has yet to flow. In fact, it is on standby until the final outcome of the AL Central battle. If my neighborhood Sox find a way to wiggle back in there, then all will be well again and I will have much to look forward to.
If the menacing Twins manage to squeak in (which would realistically only extend their inevitable fate of just not being good enough) then I will go ahead and cry… right along side Mr. Krause, who again, finds himself rooting for the worst team money can buy.
Crying is nothing new to baseball fans. The likes of Bill Buckner, Bartman and Don Denkinger — among myriad others — have long tortured the hearts and souls of those most loyal.
And no one will cry harder (or longer) than Mets fans if the the second team of New York blows it — yet again — at the very last minute. Stay tuned… or, just keep your ears open for the hisses and boos from the Met faithful. That ricketty old stadium may come tumbling down sooner — and in a more creative way — than we all think.
Don’t hate me, ‘cuz as always, I’m right.
Instant replay may be here for good but that doesn’t mean I have to like it; nor does it mean I have to support it. Because I don’t.
And I won’t.
Before you get all sassy (Mr. Krause), let me just say that my basis for detesting this technological intrusion is not rooted in science. It does not rely on tangible evidence. It is based on one simple cosmological principle:
The baseball gods are pissed off.
For it is my strong belief that in baseball everything happens for a reason and eventually the inequalities of umpiring decisions (though visible and often game-altering) will be settled at a later time, when appropriate, when it’s most necessary. This is how it has been for over a hundred years — or in other words: a long friggin’ time.
Had the argument against instant replay in baseball not been so stringent in the past perhaps I wouldn’t be so upset about it now; but to maintain the party line for so long only to crumble under the pressure of a few whiny millionaires is quite embarrassing. Baseball is not football. It is not basketball. It is not hockey.
It does not need instant replay — at all. Ever.
Of course, now people like my colleague Mr. Allen Krause have embraced this technology because it will supposedly ensure that each homerun call is made correctly. And though they say it will be reserved only for homerun calls, we all know that you can’t just have one cookie. Before long everything from close plays at first to suspected trappings in the outfield to balls and strikes will soon be up for review by some Geek Squad reject in the New York main office, thus eliminating the human umpire element entirely, not to mention extending what many already consider a game that goes on too long.
This is not good, folks. It’s not good at all. And Mr. Krause, you’re completely wrong in your steadfast embrace of this electronic eye-in-the-sky Pandora’s Box.
You will be sorry. You see, the baseball gods — now raging in their defiance towards this atrocious innovation — have myriad unfinished business in equalizing the poor calls of the past. But now, since MLB has gone against its purist principles, all those yet to be righted face the harsh and difficult reality that they may never see justice on the field again. Fate has been tested and one ought to know better than to mess with fate, or the supernatural.
Just ask Pete Rose.
Ever wonder how a barely-above mediocre Cardinal squad won the 2006 World Series? Ask Don Denkinger. He knows. He took it away from them 21 years earlier.
Ever wonder how a pompous autocrat like me got to write a hit blog? Ask Greg Altmix, my high school baseball coach who sat me on the bench because I couldn’t hit the ball to the opposite field. He knows. I was a pull hitter. You can’t change a pull hitter.
Dear readers, for every wrong there is a right and the baseball gods know exactly what the hell they’re doing.
Call me a purist, call me old-school, call me Suzie… I don’t give a s***. Go ahead. Hate me if you must.
…but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.