Tagged: Fans

The Importance of Losing

On Saturday I did what any sane, obsessed ultrarunner might do on a fine sunny morning by running 32 miles on a 400 meter track.  That’s 128 laps for you mathematicians.  And a lot of left turns.

The infield of this particular track at Dunbar Park in Chicago hosts several tee-ball and tiny-tot little league games, so while I ran myself in delirious circles, I was entertained by our national pastime at its tiniest level.  Sort of.

I understand tee-ball and coach-pitch teams are for the young ones.  I would guess they were between 5-7 years old.  But some of what I saw on those fields turned my stomach.

During one game I counted 20 defenders in the field.  In another, a kid grounded out but was still allowed to occupy first base.  I even heard “let’s have a do-over” from one of the “coaches”.

I know we live in a semi-psychotic, hopey-changey surreality, where everyone is a “winner” and negativity is shunned like logic at an evangelical mega-church.  But I think people are missing the point here: there is very valuable lesson in failure.

Seriously.

Life sucks sometimes.  It’s hard.  It’s cruel.  It’s relentless.  But it’s also rewarding and serendipitous and full of potential.  If we rely on sheltered observations to teach our youth that failure and shortcomings are not a part of the process, then we are going to end up with a planet full of passive, stale, robots incapable of innovation and creativity.

Mistakes are a part of the success equation.  Let’s not rob our future of that valuable lesson.

Also, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Ba$eball $tar$

Sports Illustrated‘s annual Fortune 50 list of the 50 highest-earning American athletes list is out and Major League Baseball is heavily represented.  In fact, 36% of the athletes are baseballers — some better than others (looking at you, Barry Zito).  And while I’m sad to see an star like Floyd Mayweather, Jr at the top, one who eschews real glory at the highest level for a comfortable place atop boxing mediocrity, I am glad that baseball players are makin’ that pay-puh.  It makes me feel less suicidal when I pay $8 for a 16 oz beer.

Here’s a quick rundown of the highest paid American baseball players and their overall ranking among American athletes in parenthesis.

1.  Alex Rodriguez (6)
Too bad for the Yankees A-Rod can’t be young and steroided like the good old days.  His health is just going downhill from here.

2.  Derek Jeter (9)
He can do no wrong.  I would pay this man a bazillion dollars a year if I could.  And since Albert left me, I have no problems admitting my 17-year Jeet man-crush.

3.  Joe Mauer (12)
Really?  12th highest paid American athlete overall and third highest Major Leaguer?  I would feel better about this if he could hit it over the Target Field fence once in a while.

4.  Vernon Wells (17)
PSSSHH!!!!  I just ruined my keyboard with a mouthful of coffee.

5.  C.C. Sabathia (20)
Mo’ money, mo’ foooooooooooooooooood!

6.  Mark Teixeira (21)
Nothing says $23 million a year like a YEEE-HAW JAW!

7.  Prince Fielder (22)
I have a feeling if I make one more Prince Fielder fat joke then I’m going to be… eaten…

8.  Adrian Gonzalez (25)
He may have lost his power stroke, but with $21 million a year I’m sure he’s strokin’ plenty of power.

9.  Justin Verlander (28)
A man’s man, I would prefer to see Verlander at the very top of this list, or at the very least, have the opportunity to rifle a fastball at Mayweather’s head.

10.  Cliff Lee (29)
Way to go, Phillies.  You’re making Clifton Phifer look bad.

11.  Ryan Howard (32)
While many of my Cardinal fan brethren choose to hate on Albert, I prefer to hate on Howard, the man who made signing Albert impossible.

12.  Roy Halladay (35)
Way to go, Phillies.  You bring in the best pitcher in baseball to get you over the hump then s*** the bed three years in a row.

13, 14, 15.  Barry Zito, Carl Crawford, Albert Pujols (Tied for 36 overall)
One of these things is not like the other…

16.  Josh Beckett (44)
Is it me or has he gained like 40 pounds since he was traded to the Red Sox?

17.  Jake Peavy (45)
Up until this year, I thought dude was done.  Yes, the crow I’ve been eating tastes bad.

18.  A.J. Burnett (49)
Huh?  How did A.J. get on this list?  I’d like to know the same.  He should’ve signed two contracts, one for each of his personalities.  At least he’s been living up to it ever since his worst day ever.

Hate me ‘cuz I didn’t make the list, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!

Peace,

Jeff

A Cookie for Your Tuesday

Like most fans, my undying love for baseball is deeply rooted in my youth.  Sifting through baseball card packs while watching a game just a foot or so from the old fashioned box television at my grandma’s house, equally mesmerized and infatuated with the moving pictures and colorful palette of MLB 1980s era uniforms popping off the cardboard… I can almost smell the goulash cooking in the kitchen and taste the brick flavoring of the free baseball card bubble gum.

For a long time now, I’ve been relying on a Tumblr blog to take me back, to calm me, to remind me how I came to love our national pastime.  So when you’re down and out or when you just need a smile to keep you going, head on over to 80s Baseball Player of the Day and enjoy the trip back in time.

I’ve been wanting to pimp this Tumlbr for a long time now.  I’ve just been waiting for the right moment.  And when dude hit the triumvirate of Bret Saberhagen (wearing his little brother’s jacket?), Atlee Hammaker (best name in baseball?) and Ozzie Virgil (he is the most interesting man in the world?), then I knew it was time.

You’re welcome.  Also, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

REAL Change You Can ACTUALLY Believe In

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?!?!

SILLINESS!

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.

Peace,

Jeff

*Also, I am still not over Don Denkinger’s blown call from the 1985 Series.  Some things take longer to heal.

Jim Thome’s Lisa Stansfield Problem

I love Jim Thome.

Everyone does.  Right?

22-year veteran.  Stand-up, lunch pail guy from Peoria.  No nonsense, just give me the bat and let me hit ’em far.  Defensively challenged, yes, but in a funny ha-ha way (not a funny-sad Carlos Lee way).

That’s Jim Thome.  And everyone loves him for it.

Except one thing: Jim Thome still doesn’t have a ring.

All around the world and I – I – I – I can’t find my baby…

This, of course, is true despite his strong efforts to land on a contending team.  He had several chances with the Indians before going to the Phillies.  But just as the Phillies were developing into a powerhouse, Thome left for the newly crowned World Series champion White Sox after the ’05 season.  He then wandered in south side purgatory before getting a shot with the playoff-bound Dodgers in ’09, then signed with an up-and-coming Twins club that nosedived him back into the lap of Cleveland — a team that just couldn’t hang around the top long enough to give him another shot at a championship.

So he resigned with the Phillies.  Best pitching staff in the Majors.  Potent offense.  Okay, anemic offense.  But they were supposed to be potent. Doesn’t matter anymore.

Thome is in Birdland now.  And while I love the move and think the young kids in Baltimore are gonna learn a heck of a lot from the old man, I really don’t think the Orioles are going to contend for the World Series title.

I just hope Jim is cool with another spin around the world, so he can find his bay-beh…

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

“I thought he was a weird wuss anyway…”

That’s right.  Davey Johnson speaks for me.

In this case, we (Davey and I) are talkin’ about my surly and oft dour colleague, Mr. Allen Krause.  Surely these words sting, almost as much as watching Mr. Krause’s beloved Tigers defeat my WORLD CHAMPION ST. LOUIS CARDINALS in their recent 3-game series.

Indeed, Verlander is a beast.  But the following inequality is true:

Westbrook + Lohse > Verlander

Unfortunately, the following is also true:

Santiago + Peralta + Jackson + Berry > Marte

Ugh.

I’m sending my representation to handle the press conference:

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Obligatory Roger Clemens Post

Roger Clemens is not guilty.

Great.

Can this be over now?

Of course it can’t.  It never will.  For now until the end of time we’ll still be talking about the steroid era and those who made it infamous.  Clemens is just one of many.

Still, I think it is safe to say his role in the overall picture of the steroid era is a bit larger than the rest.  He’s up there alongside Barry, considering his Hall of Fame credentials and repugnant personality.

Before any of this steroid silliness was known, I loved Roger Clemens.  He was a beast on the mound — a Nolan Ryan/Bob Gibson throwback.  Proud, nasty, BALLSY.

But the Mitchell Report tainted his reputation, whether guilty or not, and Roger then ruined it further himself by being an outspokenly whiny ass.  I understand the potential frustration that could come from having a tarnished reputation, but there are ways to handle adversity with class and there are ways to handle it like a jerk.

Clemens took the jerk route.

And undoing what ya done ain’t easily done.

Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff