One of the best parts of election years is watching the candidates say things that you know are going to come back and bit them in the ass. The classic example is George Bush Sr’s famous “Read my lips: No new taxes” quote. It’s kind of like guaranteeing a victory in the NFL playoffs or calling your shot in baseball. If you make good on it, you look like a genius. And if you don’t, well, you just look like an ass.
The thing about GB Sr., though, is that his promise was rather benign. No new taxes. Sure, that sounds good even if it isn’t really all that realistic. And compared to what the candidates are saying this time around, well, it also sounds rather sane.
Consider Newt Gingrich’s recent promise to colonize the moon by 2020. Now aside from the fact that there is really no good reason to establish a permanent base on the moon nor any feasible way of doing so, it also seems like maybe we should focus the immense resources needed for such a mission on infrastructure projects or the like, things with tangible benefits that can not only be shared by all citizens but also put the those same citizens to work. Call me crazy but that’s just how I look at things.
When it comes to crazy, though, the moon base is only one of Gingrich’s many issues. In fact, the more you look at what the guy says and does, the more you realize that he probably is legitimately mentally ill. Megalomania, irrationality, wild mood swings. It’s all there on the public record and in the numerous articles written about the former Speaker.
I don’t know, though. Even though it’s terrible for the country and would turn the general election into a joke, there’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind seeing Newt get the nomination. Who knows what other gems might be uncovered as he reaches for the highest office in the land? More than that, at least his crazy is kind of fun. It’s much better than the kind of crazy that says rape victims should “Make the best out of a bad situation.” That, my friends, is truly insane.
Although we tend to compare baseball and politics here and find the areas where they intersect, the truth of the matter is that sometimes it doesn’t work. Baseball box scores tell stories and those stories are comprised of facts. Either a guy gets on base or he doesn’t. Either a team wins a game or it doesn’t. It’s hard to revise baseball history, at least when it comes to the games and the records.
Politics is another matter. Not only can history be revised, it happens regularly. Abraham Lincoln came close to losing his party’s nomination for a second term but is now regarded as one of our greatest Presidents. George H. W. Bush lost a second term because of the economy but his foreign policy now seems eerily prescient. In fact, I even think there’s a good chance that down the road Iraq will once again become a stable, functional country and W will be somewhat vindicated for his actions.
But there’s one thing I have a really hard time believing. I really don’t see how it’s possible that Sarah Palin could ever be considered a legitimate leader. Sure, in an era of anti-elitism, she’s a rockstar. But I like my leaders to be a little elite. Why would I follow one of my peers? I want someone who knows more than me but I also want someone who considers their options and makes an informed decision. Based on what we’ve learned previously and seen over the past week, Ms. Palin fits neither bill.
Even if the midterms signal the start of the campaign 2012 is still a ways away. A lot can happen in that amount of time. Between now and then, I’d love to see Ms. Palin simply fade away. The country has real problems and we need real leaders with real solutions to address them. But if this is too much to ask for, maybe I’ll just wish that the Lions could win a road game in that amount of time. Or maybe we could just retroactively decide that the Tigers won the ’06 Series. Revisionist baseball. Think about it.
And so in this Podcast…
Jeff and Johanna welcome a very special guest, Second City funny man Mark “Pie” Piebenga, to the Logan Square Studio for an RSBS Podcast pow-wow of epic proportions (we would like to thank Miller Lite for making it, as the kids say, ‘epic’)! From Jim Joyce’s ‘stache to Nolan Ryan’s pomposity to Nyjer Morgan’s right hook to Bobby Scales’… existence?… all the gloves come off as the fellas look back at the 2010 season and gear up for the winter with plenty of chuckles and plenty of beer. All to make you laughy laugh!
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For more on Mark’s work on RSBS‘ Ninemen’s Morris series, check out this story then click on the Ninemen’s Morris tag at the bottom for more early 20th century hilarity!
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*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. Keith is involved in some impressive projects himself. Check out his work at Undercard Films. Seriously. You should do it. If you don’t, you might find out about his MMA skills first hand. Holla!!!
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Recorded Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Despite my slight leftwards tendencies, one of my favorite presidents is the first George Bush. He wasn’t a flashy guy. He simply knew what job he had to do and then got it done. Unfortunately for him, parts of his legacy wound up being attributed to Clinton but the smoldering wreck currently being dealt with in Mesopotamia shows just how impressive his foresight was. Bush was an understated guy and it was that understatement that eventually cost him his job.
If I had to pick one guy in baseball who reminded me of George H. W. Bush, that guy would be Sparky Anderson. Sure, he was a great manager and the first one to manage a team to a World Series title in both leagues. Ultimately it was Anderson’s understatement that made him a success but that same quality led to his undoing.
For better or for worse, Sparky Anderson always found a way to keep the focus elsewhere. When you’re dealing with the kind of egos Sparky had to deal with, though, that type of personal understatement is a necessity. Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench. The name, The Big Red Machine, says it all. He found a way to keep those personalities in check. But when he followed up the big wins with mere second place finishes, it wasn’t enough for the Reds and his understatedness made him a perfect scapegoat. It’s like 1991 for Bush. Sure, he may have guided the US through the Gulf War but what have you done for us lately?
Although things didn’t end quite the same way with the Tigers, Anderson’s understatement was still his undoing. When he left the Tigers in 1995, Sparky had to feel more than a little disappointed that no one came calling. And for a guy who did as much for baseball as Anderson, it’s a reflection on his humility that he refused to step foot in the Hall of Fame until 2000 when he was inducted.
Understatement seems to be the trait that follows Anderson throughout his career and his life. Even in death he requested that no funeral or memorial be held. I guess for me, though, Sparky is one of those guys who, despite his natural avoidance of the spotlight, still defined baseball as I was growing up. He’s a guy who knew what job he had to do and then got it done.
Whether it’s the crappiness of Old Style at a Cubs game or the deliciousness of Anchor Steam while watching the Giants, beer plays almost as integral a role in baseball as do the bat and ball. In fact, based on some of my experiences, maybe even a more integral role. It’s a lot easier to sit through an hour long rain delay when you have a 16 oz. beer in the cupholder in front of you.
Over here at RSBS, we believe in the power of beer. Sometimes it’s a Miller Lite while watching college football, sometimes it’s the more refined tastes that come out of Michigan’s own Bell’s Brewery. In honor of all the goodness that beer has brought to our lives, we present our own great moments in beer.
June 4, 1974
Of course any list that celebrates the great moments in beer on a baseball blog has to include Cleveland’s infamous 10 cent beer night. The plan was brilliant and the seats filled up. It’s just that you can afford to drink a lot of beer when it’s only 10 cents a cup. And when you’re a baseball fan, your team stinks and you’ve had a lot of beer, well, things can get a little out of hand. It may not exactly be a positive moment in the history of beer but it definitely counts as a great moment.
In the middle of the first Bush presidency, America needed a pick-me-up. Luckily, beer was there to provide the bootstraps and the pull. In case you don’t remember quite as vividly as my then 12-year old mind can still recall, 1991 was the year that Old Milwaukee introduced us to the Swedish Bikini Team. Ok, so they may not have actually been Swedish. And they may not have been an actual team. But that doesn’t make the moment any less memorable. Relive it again.
August 12, 2009
Sometimes when your team stinks and they’re getting pummeled once again, you feel the need to take things into your own hands. And who’s there when you’re looking for a sidekick? Why, it’s our old buddy beer. Sure, Cubs fans aren’t exactly known for being classy and this guy looks like a grade-A DB but it got the job done. I’m not condoning the act and I hope that karma took care of things but, I also bet Victorino thought twice the next time he went back for a fly ball in the Wrigley outfield.
September 15, 2010
However, one of the greatest moments in the history of beer took place only recently and it didn’t happen on a baseball diamond. Just this month man took another step in the evolutionary process when he finally learned how to deep fry beer. Oh yes, you heard me right. A Texas chef finally perfected the process for deep frying beer and the results will be introduced sometime this month. I think we can all agree that having a beer to wash down a deep fried beer might just be the moment of perfection that causes the universe to fold up on itself. I’m willing to give it a try, though.
Welcome to October!
Say what ya want about the mighty market divas of the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Dodgers. Go ahead and hate on A-Rod, slam Manny, spit on Youk… whatevs. Sometimes they deserve it; sometimes they don’t. It’s all a part of professional sports.
But no matter how infantile and annoying MLB superstars can be (yes, I’m looking at you, Milton Bradley), none of them quite qualify as being as toxically asinine as Nicolas Anelka and his band of busted b!tches that once formed the French national soccer team.
You think Roberto Alomar spitting on John Hirschbeck was bad? Imagine Roberto Alomar spitting on John Hirschbeck during the World Series, with a big nasty particle-filled loogey, and all his teammates joining in.
Yeah. That’s sorta what France’s World Cup was like. But at least it’s over. And now we can think about… things that are worse than France. For instance:
Duh. You knew that was comin’.
Rob Blagojevich’s Image
For all of you who live outside of Illinois, be glad you do; ‘cuz this Blago crap is just now gettin’ started for real. The lego hair, the smarmy and disingenuous smile, the creepy way he talks to every woman as if she were a dumb, money-chasin, cheap-trick-happy cocktail waitress… this dude is going to the joint. Eventually.
You knew that was comin’ too.
It makes me sick that he was in my neighborhood. It makes me even more sick to know that he was at Sox Park. And it makes me Bush-Sr-Throwin-Up-On-Japanese-People sick to know he tossed the first pitch to Mark Buehrle!
You didn’t think this could end with anything worse, did you? I’m pretty sure I heard the Astros’ team on-base-percentage was the worse on-base-percentage in the history of time, including all dimensions — even those we are unaware of yet…
That’s why they’re called the LOLstros.
Hate me. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
An interesting discussion arose yesterday based on Jeff’s post about Bud Selig’s “coolness.” Basically, the question of who Selig’s successor will be introduced itself into the commentary and made for some light jabs at the soon to be ex-president. However, the more I think about it, the more I think that the best possible person for the job would be my old friend, George W. Bush. Think about it.
There’s no possible way that GWB could run the league more ineptly than
has Selig. Now, I know his record of fiscal spending has not been what
one might call conservative but Bush’s handling of the Rangers as a
managing partner showed the first flash of business acumen that had
made his father and grandfather rich men. And who knows, maybe that
compassionate conservativism would make him want to help lower ticket
prices. I can dream, right?
Additionally, the man knows and loves baseball. You get that from watching him and from listening to him talk about the game. The Rangers definitely became a better team under him than they have been in the past several seasons and his actions made construction of a new ballpark possible. In addition, his dad even played baseball while attending Yale.
All of these things make him the anti-Selig. When I see Bud walking around, I get the feeling that he’s never even worn a baseball glove. He’s the guy who’s mom pinned a note to his shirt to get him out of gym class in middle school. It would be a nice change to have someone who actually cares about the game shepherding the league.
As if these weren’t reasons enough, I’ll leave it to the man himself to give the best reason of all. In the words of our 43rd president, “I never dreamed about being President, I wanted to be Willie Mays.”
So, it may still be a few years away but I would like to officially nominate George Walker Bush to be the next commissioner of Major League Baseball. And George, if you need it, I’m sure my friend, Mr. Lung, would be more than happy to be your chief-of-staff.