With Major League Baseball and various publications handing out their end of the season awards, RSBS has decided to follow suit. Sure, our prizes may not come with any financial reward and they may not trigger any clauses in the affected players’ contracts. But, it is our civic duty. So, without further ado, we present Part I of our two part Postseason Awards Show. Allen, take it away.
Most Thunderdome worthy:
Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui
Both Damon and Matsui have been integral parts in the Yankees’ dynamo but with age and injuries taking a toll, one of them will most likely have to go. Obviously, the only fair way to settle the question is to have them fight it out in the Thunderdome. Granted, the one who dies will have a seriously decreased trade value but fair is fair.
Most Valuable Player for the Minnesota Twins:
Yeah, you thought it was Joe Mauer but with the Tigers holding a tenuous lead in the AL Central at the end of the season, Miguel Cabrera and his wife, Rosangel, made the alcohol-lubricated sparks fly at home. The aftermath saw Cabrera flop against the White Sox and the Twins pull even before winning the Central.
Jeff’s MDP (Most Dreamy Player):
I think we’ve already covered this one. I just hope this comes true for you one day, buddy. You and AP would make an adorable couple and I’d be honored to stand with you at the ceremony.
Most Transformative Player:
Transformations work in both directions and after going from Mitch Williams to Mariano Rivera to Eric Gagne in the space of three seasons, you have to wonder what Lidge will become next. If he ends up on the Tigers, I’ll say Trevor Hoffman. But my head says it’s the Canadian-American League.
Most Amazing RSBS Writer/Person:
Jeff Lung and Allen Krause (in a surprising tie)
We decided to leave this award to our respective mothers to decide. And neither one of them could be swayed to the other side. However, I can’t tell you which one they each voted for so we’ll just leave that to your imagination.
Tune in tomorrow as Jeff brings us Part II of the show. Rumor has it that several Cubs players may have been nominated. Stop by and see if they finally manage to win something.
This Going Rogue business is mostly all about making money… right?
If that’s the case, then great; I applaud thee, Sarah Palin. Sell your book! Make money! It’s the US American way!
Unfortunately, reason tells me that ex-Governor Palin has a hard time separating fantasy from reality — that she is absolutely serious when she says she wants to play a major role in American politics — that she isn’t going away anytime soon.
While she remains silent on any possible presidential plans, one must assume that is the ultimate goal.
And that is insane.
So too is her sheepish quip that she will run only “if people will have me.”
Hmm. Perhaps Madame Palin should start by asking the people of Alaska if they will have her after she abandoned them and her gubernatorial post midterm. Or perhaps she should ask the people of Russia if they don’t mind her looking at them from her living room. Or perhaps she should just take the money this book and subsequent tour will generate and run, run, run… back into relative obscurity — where she belongs.
We see this sort of thing in baseball all the time. Players come from out of nowhere. They shine. They burn out. They go away. Some quicker than others.
Mark Fidrych. Pete Incaviglia. Eric Gagne.
Remember, Sarah, remember. Remember Eric Gagne — a man who spent last season with the Quebec Capitales of the independent Canadian-American League. (Yeah, I’ve never heard of it either) Here’s a man who, at one time, was more than just unhittable. He was mad, maniacal, morbid in his destruction of opposing hitters. He recorded 84 consecutive saves for Christ’s sake! He was lights out! He was the master of the universe!
And that is sad.
Go away now, while you can, Mrs. Palin… go back to the wilderness while you still have some inkling of pride. I will support you in that endeavor.
Hate me ‘cuz I won’t buy this book, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
On Thursday, former New York Yankee disaster, Carl Pavano, made his
Cleveland Indians debut. In just one inning plus of work he allowed 9
runs on 6 hits (including 2 homers) and three walks. Cleveland was not
happy. But Pavano is just one of many pitching phenoms gone sour. If
you had to put together a pitching staff of current players designed,
destined and determined to fail, who would you choose and why?
The problem with this question is that it’s punditry in it’s most basic form. No matter what pitchers I name, you already have your mind made up and you’ve already decided that I’m wrong. It feels like I’m being forced to play Colmes to your Hannity. But, because I’m a good sport, I’ll do it. I will become Alan Colmes.
Any baseball team needs a quality starter, decent middle relief and a closer who can get the job done. So, it makes sense that our bizarro all-star team would want just the opposite: a starter who never fail to implode, a middle reliever with whom no lead is safe and a ninth inning finisher who puts the “lose” in closer.
It would be relatively easy to staff the entire squad with last year’s Tigers but at this point, only one of them truly deserves that roster spot. Last season Dontrelle Willis managed to single-handedly redefine the concept of crashing and burning and this year seems to be more of the same. How bad is it? Well, D-train is currently cooling his heels on the 15-day DL with the frighteningly worded injury, “Anxiety disorder.” For those escapades, Dontrelle, we make you our ace.
But every starter needs a stopper. Although, in our case I guess what we’re looking for is more of a porous sieve. And there are plenty of them out there. Just today C.J. Wilson of the Rangers gave up four quick runs in relief of Kevin Millwood and managed to throw away what had been a shutout up til that point. But has anyone fallen as far or as fast as Eric Gagne? I mean this guy was lights out a couple years ago but now just mentioning his name around Red Sox or Brewers fans might get you punched out.
However, and I think it’s probably no surprise to anyone, the dirty lump of coal in in this torn stocking of a rotation has to be old friend of RSBS, Kyle Farnsworth. And he really deserves this honor on so many levels. Don’t just think of it as a reward for his incredible meltdown against the White Sox this past week. No, this is truly a lifetime achievement award. Farnsworth is the Mariano Rivera of blown opportunities and for that we salute him.
When it comes right down to it, though, I don’t know if anyone can really out-Pavano Carl Pavano himself. Seriously, how is this guy still pitching? When will GMs learn that he truly is kryptonite, anathema to the very idea of pitching. On the bright side, he is playing for the Indians and that makes me a little more optimistic for the Tigers chances this season. Hey, it’s Easter, a time of resurrection and rebirth. We all gotta’ hope, right?
Michael Phelps and a few other American athletes have voluntarily
submitted to a higher level of drug testing in an attempt to head off
any questions about their impressive victories. If the US Olympic team
can do this, why hasn’t baseball taken similar steps to get rid of the
drug stigma surrounding the game today?
In a way, Major League Baseball, behind the leadership of Bud Selig and an overwhelmingly grumpy push from the US Government, has taken similar steps to get rid of the drug stigma, Mr. Krause. I’m not sure if you heard about it this past winter, but the Mitchell Report made quite a stir all over the baseball cosmos, and got a great number of ballplayers thinking “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t put this crap in my body anymore.”
While the drug screening program in baseball is still somewhat lax and random in its procedure, it is still light years better than what it was (non-existent) and does an adequate job by simply scaring people into doing the right thing. This is progress that at one time seemed improbable. Why? Because the don’t-ask-don’t-tell secret of performance enhancing drugs was bringing people to the ballpark. Whether it was the greenies of the 70s or the HGH of the 90s, fans were coming out to games in droves to witness the high octane occurrence of homeruns and 100 mph fastballs. You’ve said it here a million times, Mr. Krause, money is what makes the world go round and if shooting up brings it in then so be it.
Unfortunately, we US Americans sometimes have a conscious; and that’s the only reason why this phase has transitioned to a foreseeable end.
Are players still using PEDs? Probably. Are they using them as much as they used to? No. Not at all. Need proof? How about Richie Sexson, Eric Gagne, Paul Lo Duca just for starters. These guys are mere shadows of what they used to be while on the juice; because of that, I’m convinced that the biggest proverbial battles have already been fought and won.
Could more be done to ensure the sanctity of the game? Probably.
Will a more stringent array of tests similar to those of Olympians Michael Phelps and Dara Torres (both voluntarily) ever be instituted in Major League Baseball? I doubt it.
And here’s why: Player’s Union, Agents, Club Owners, the Players themselves. Try to get anything past these guys that could theoretically threaten profits and you’ll quickly realize you’re dealing with a much higher power than voluntary amateur athletes who compete for a friggin’ medal that everyone will forget about two months from now.
The difference between asking Michael Phelps to take a rigorous amount of drug tests to prove his purity and asking Manny Ramirez to do the same can be summed up in two words: Scott Boras.
Boras, evil incarnate, who single-handedly changed sports forever, will hunt down your children, cut off their heads and sell them to Colombian witchdoctors if it means he’ll get 10%. I guarantee you, if Boras represented Phelps (which would never happen whilst Phelps maintains amateur status), Andrea Kramer would be lucky if Phelps even acknowledged her existence after winning 8 gold medals.
Money. Money money money money money. Money. Money money money money. Money. Money money MONEY!
Of course, public relations and digesting the fact that hardworking US Americans actually do want to be assured that their national pastime isn’t being abused both factor into MLB’s stricter regulations; but MLB and its myriad components, from the owners to the players to Joe Blow who spent $48.50 of his paycheck to sit in the upper deck, will continue to do whatever they have to to straddle the precarious line between profit and purity.
It hasn’t been perfected in politics (see Bill Clinton, the Kennedy’s, John Edwards) yet, so it’s no surprise that baseball hasn’t a clue either.
I’m just glad that I can go to sleep at night knowing that I am PED free. A bulging forehead, weak libido and distending testicles wouldn’t be good for my image.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
“MLB just handed down suspensions to Joe Girardi, Dusty Baker and Wally
Joyner as a result of recent disputes with umpires. Meanwhile, the umps
blew several calls over the past week, including what should have a
been a three-run homerun by Carlos Delgado last Sunday. Are umps
earning their money and has MLB become overly sensitive to criticism of
“Are umps earning their money…?”
Seriously, Al? You act as if baseball has never seen a controversial call or a heated argument between umpire and manager before. Ejections, game-changing calls — right or wrong — are fundamental aspects of the game, Mr. Krause. They are as natural as the infield-fly rule or the strike-em-out throw-em-out inning-ending double play.
Your questioning of recent events yet again proves your ignorance for what has always been a defining element of the grand game of baseball.
What sets baseball apart from all the rest is that it doesn’t rely on the fast-paced pinpoint accuracy of machines to govern its highly relative rules. As a game that sees its best players fail 7 out of 10 times at the plate, baseball’s umpiring system — which has a much higher success rate — is bound to see a mistake or two during the long season. But to introduce technology (like instant replay) to arbitrate — even if it’s solely used for home run calls — would be nothing short of sacrilege in my point of view, which by the way, is the only correct point of view.
And I’m saying this as an avid proponent for burning down Don Denkinger’s house — still — 23 years after he singlehandedly destroyed my childhood by calling Jorge Orta safe when he was CLEARLY OUT during the 1985 World Series. A few years ago, I was going through some personal issues and while recovering made a list of all those whom I had hurt in some way with the ultimate goal of verbalizing an apology to them. I have said a lot of awful things about Denkinger in my lifetime and I am not proud of them. But when it came time to write an apology to him, the one person whom I hold more contempt for than even Bill O’Reilly, I was unable to reverse my absolute hatred. I even did extensive background research on Denkinger’s life, hoping that it would humanize him in some way that would make me feel bad about the anger I held inside.
But that’s just me. As an adult, I realize that that call was just a part of the game I love so much and that if I changed it, baseball would no longer be the rhetorical love of my life. It’s really as simple as that.
And while the league minimum salary for baseball players is around the $350K mark, the umpiring crews hover around $100K. The best umps in the game might make close to the player minimum, but of course, they’re doing it without any fanfare. They’re doing it while having to be on the road for every game, not just 81 games. They’re doing it while being targeted by angry fans in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Detroit. They’re doing it without any attention paid to how good of a game they might call and they’re doing it while being singled out only when they get one wrong, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t very often.
So they’ve had a bad week. So what. Their bad week pales in comparison to an Eric Byrnes, who is having a terrible season while getting paid over $6.5 million this year or an Eric Gagne, who is getting $10 million for throwing like a batting practice coach. These guys are the ones who aren’t earning their keep. These guys are the ones we should be talking about.
And if for some reason Bud Selig lets these idiots get to him with the whole instant replay institution, I will take to the streets French revolutionary style to ensure that the game stays just the way it is.
I may do it alone, but I will do it because it is right, because I am right. And whether I come out of it dead or alive, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right ‘cuz that’s all I have in this cold, cold world.
Humans are imperfect. That’s just the way we are. And even though I (and a select few i.e. Jesus, Gandhi and Kelly Clarkson) come close to perfection most of the time, part of being human is making mistakes. Jesus gave up a life with Mary Magdalene (mistake), Gandhi didn’t fight back (mistake) and Kelly Clarkson starred in From Justin to Kelly (big friggin’ mistake). Even my colleague, Allen Krause, makes a lot of mistakes — publicly, here on this blog. But I don’t hate him for that. I forgive him and move on. And sometimes, he even surprises me with interesting, near-perfect thoughts.
Closers are not immune from this inherent imperfection. The law of averages is an inevitable circumstance of life and if your closer mauls down opponents one after the other, night after night, then you better be ready for him to “average” out at some point. Fifty-five games in a row where Eric Gagne was unbeatable? Fifty-five games in a row, folks. 55! That’s a lot of games to save! Well, he’s “averaging” out now.
Sure, Izzy will get you through five in a row. Just know that after that he’s bound to blow two or three. That’s just how it is. Papelbon? Unhittable? For a while. But he is human and he’ll screw up to “average” himself out. This is symbolic of human nature. This is life itself.
Obama blew through the early primary stages — secured his lead. So he loses Indiana. Who cares? So West Virginia might not go his way. Let’s look at the big picture. Bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, 3-2 count, go-ahead runner on second, and a gunslingin’, gay-hatin’ redneck is at the plate. Who do you want on the mound?
Because he’s the man. More times than not, he’s going to be victorious.
Now, if you want to read great analysis on the possibility of a real paradigm shift regarding closing pitchers and the state of the game, check out The Prince of New York (buy his book!) by clicking *here*.
If you want to see me in all my (im)perfection, click *here* (I am the extremely attractive man dressed in black who takes the suggestion).
If you just want to see the most disgusting thing ever, click *here*. *Warning! These are Cub fans. They are sick people.
In closing, I may blow a game or two, but please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right. And for the record, I usually am right, so get used to it.