Who should throw out the first pitch if the Nats make the Series?
In a city known for its hot-winded bureaucracy, I can definitely see this scenario as something DC suits would fight for. I mean, who wouldn’t welcome the public relations boost that would come with leading the charge in Washington’s first World Series since 1933?
The problem is, I wouldn’t want any currently serving politicians out there on the mound. Obama, a clumsily outspoken White Sox fan with an awkward delivery, would not be a good choice considering the pending presidential election and his penchant for wildness. And asking a former president such as George W. Bush, a man who can certainly hold his own on the baseball diamond, would also be a bad choice considering the awful PR that would go with it.
The first pitch in the World Series should be by someone who is just as much a part of the spirit of Nationals baseball as the players and coaches and front office. It should be someone with great leadership skills. Someone who is adored regardless of political affiliation. Someone who is dead.
It should be Teddy Roosevelt.
Since the Expos became the Nationals, fans of this ill-fated franchise have had little to cheer for… except for Teddy Roosevelt. And yet despite leading the charge during the Spanish-American War, despite conquering an elusive elephant whilst on African safari, and despite surviving a bullet shot from John Schrank’s gun, the stuffed man still cannot find a way to sit atop the Presidents Race podium.
The very least DC could do is give him the first pitch.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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What MLB team does the GOP most resemble?
You can draw a lot of different analogies between baseball and politics and you can draw even more between baseball and the Republican party. A bunch of rich white guys with a sense of entitlement and maybe a token minority or two thrown in just for flavor? We could be talking the Republican party or the baseball owners. A scorched-earth policy that leaves everyone worse off? That could be either the baseball owners in the 1994 strike season or the Republican leadership team in 2008. Considering that one of the baseball owners became President and de facto leader of the Republican party for eight years in 2000, it would be pretty easy to say that GOP most resembles the owners.
But that’s not the question. The question is which team does the GOP most resemble and that requires a little more analysis.
My first thought, especially with the recent rise to prominence of Paul Ryan, was the San Francisco Giants. The Giants used to be known for their history with inspirational guys like Willie Mays and Dave Dravecky. That’s like the old GOP, the party of Lincoln and even Nixon, minus the whole Watergate thing. Now, though, the Giants are the team of Barry Bonds and Melky Cabrera. They’re the team of liars. After Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention that even a Fox News commentator called “deceiving” and the absolutely flabbergasting claim by Ryan that he ran a sub three hour marathon (since “corrected”), you’d have to put him in the same category as Bonds and Cabrera.
Still, that doesn’t seem to be enough. Lying is well and good, even when called something different, but RSBS readers demand more.
There are a bunch of other possibilities, from the Red Sox to the Dodgers but really, when you stop and think about it, there’s only one answer to this question. The GOP could only be the New York Yankees.
A group of millionaire crybabies who routinely underachieve despite having every advantage known to man? Could be the Yankees, could be the Republicans. Supporters incessantly screwed over by a leadership group that routinely takes money from supporters’ pockets while those supporters not only cheer them on but also keep coming back for more? Hm, really could be either one. An unnatural love of pinstripes? I think you can see where this is going.
Really, the answer couldn’t be any easier and I’m almost ashamed to have to say it. But just because it’s easy that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Occam’s Razor, my friends.
A couple years ago I was out with some friends and even though it was still early in the night, one of the guys started dancing with a relatively unattractive young lady and making overtures to convince her to come with him and get out of the place. When I say early, it wasn’t even midnight yet and the place was open for another couple hours. It didn’t make any sense to me because a bevy of beautiful young ladies were still floating around, getting drunk and and seemingly unattached. I couldn’t understand what was happening because this guy isn’t bad looking, has an interesting job and should be able to do better.
As soon as possible, I pulled him aside and asked what he was thinking. He listened to my arguments for a moment and, once I had finished, responded with three words: “Go ugly early.”
In retrospect, he had a point. At the end of the night, all the pretty girls left and the rest of us were still there, desperately and drunkenly hitting on what was left. His thought was, why delay the inevitable when you can take care of things early and be assured of some sort of result. It may not be a winning strategy in terms of quality but it seems to work in terms of quantity.
This is why I’m not all that surprised to see the Presidential race already shaping up to be nasty. I guess if there’s any surprise, it’s that Obama, Mr. “Hope and Change,” seems to have gone there first and seems to be doing so pretty effectively.
Now, I’m actually of the opinion that Obama’s first term has been relatively successful. His actions and those of his team prevented the recession from deepening into a depression. Whether you agree with his politics or not, stepping in to save GM prevented catastrophic job loss at a moment when the economy could have crumbled under the weight of all those jobless people. However, it’s hard to prove a negative so Obama is instead saddled with the weight of continuing economic sluggishness and jobs numbers that just refuse to grow.
But that’s not the story at this point. Sure, it’s the summer and that means the undecided voters haven’t really tuned in yet. But it was also summer when the Bush campaign launched its “Swiftboat” campaign against John Kerry and when people finally started paying attention, that had become part of the narrative. Obama has managed to “Swiftboat” Romney with the tax return issue and if history serves, the issue will still be front and center come September when voters tune back in.
The story becomes even more interesting if you buy into the theory floated by Businessweek earlier this week. Romney has adamantly refused to release his 2009 tax returns despite calls by some in his own party to do so. This “lack of transparence” has damaged Romney’s standing but still he holds firm. Why? Well, Businessweek’s hypothesis is, maybe Romney didn’t pay any taxes that year!
It makes sense. The very wealthy took a bath in the 2008 crash but losing a lot one year often means a huge tax break the following year. So, if Romney’s fortunes took a dive, it’s natural and perfectly legal that he didn’t pay any taxes the next year. However, try explaining that to the millions of unemployed out there or the sizable number of voters already paying a higher tax rate than Romney in a normal year. The American electorate is notoriously immune to nuance. News of Romney not having to pay taxes in 2009, justified or not, could pretty much lock up re-election for Obama.
So, Team Romney sits tight and continues to get battered from all sides. Maybe they’re playing a Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope and want to wait until the news cycle is in their favor before releasing what might be completely innocuous tax returns. Or maybe they’re just going to play it this way all the way through to the end. All I know is that if Obama does win in November, you can chalk part of it up to my buddy’s strategy. Go ugly early.
Simplistic campaigns to hunt down public enemies (like Kony 2012) are all the rage these days. When will you all be launching Selig 2012?
It is no secret that the authors of these pages hold no love for the staunch bureaucratic policies and seemingly never-ending reign of King Bud the Nosepicker. Indeed, we’ve ripped the man’s decisions in every which way and have even gone as far as to say that George W. Bush would make a perfect Commissioner in comparison (no joke here, we really do think Dubya would be perfect for the job). But to compare Bud Selig to the heartless, maniacal, baby-raping mass murderer Joseph Kony? Um… that’s a bit much.
But just a bit.
The good news is, people are getting educated on Kony’s crimes. And they’re doing something about it (unless *this* derails it). However, when it comes to the tyranny of King Bud, we already know about the bevy of shenanigans. There’s just nothing we can do about it.
If I may break from the usual ‘ol crotchety me for a moment, I would like to point out that, in my opinion, the overall state of our national pastime is as good now as it’s ever been. Seriously. If you turn your head from the silliness that is King Bud’s All-Star Game, and if make yourself forget about that whole Ryan Braun cheating thing, and pretend like the overall muscle bulge of the 90s and early aughts was caused by “supplements” that can easily be purchased at your local GNC, then you might conclude that, indeed, baseball’s vibe is very good right now.
The networks are fighting to get in on the expanded playoffs. Parity is slowly squeezing its way into all divisions. And the Pirates still suck!
More than that, people are still paying money to watch Adam Dunn play. Erin Andrews is still showing up in dugouts. And Tampa Bay seems to be in the playoff picture every year now, despite the fact that no one in Tampa Bay seems to care.
But most importantly of all, the St. Louis Cardinals are World Champs!
So for now, I can take a couple more years of bassackwards politickin’ from the usurping Milwaukee millionaire.
But I swear, Brad, if he reigns for more than two more years, you, me, Mr. Krause and the entire baseball universe are taking to the streets with Louisville Sluggers and Molotov cocktails (not to be confused with pet names for Kevin Millar).
Hate me. I don’t care. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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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
Dickensian Asylum, One Good Player, Bad Paper. Little to Make Me Excite.
The Cubs, for me, are pushing the human existence backwards and making hearts sad.
Another season is already bogging me down.
I was watching the Rockies kill/drub/maim the Cubs on Sunday (the same expansion team that has already been to a World Series, and, like the Marlins teams that have won two so far, also have exciting young talent despite playing in a small market) I couldn’t change the channel back to the NBA playoffs fast enough.
My beloved Bulls and D. Rose are the only things keeping me breathing.
With the Cubs, it’s not so much the bad baseball and the lack of power, but mostly just the fact that they’re boring and unsatisfying. I think I’d rather watch a touring band of angry flying Arabs and Mexicans on ice. Then you’d have something! Or just So Taguchi.
Starlin Castro might be the best player in Chicago, and some hope exists for that fact alone, but with all the bad contracts and old players getting older, I must face the music now: the Cubs can’t compete for baseball immortality by winning the World Series for at least another 2-4 YEARS. I guess that’s not the end of the world given the century mark came and went.
But, it still blows.
I had a birthday recently and time moves faster now. When I was 15 I thought I’d never be 25, but that happened. Then I knew I had forever til 30. Then… that happened.
The Cubs last had a real chance of winning it all three years ago. Swept by the Dodgers and feeling and hurting and poopooing and getting raped way too much like when they were swept the year before. Look, this isn’t 1500 words about how much pain I’ve endured in my life being a Cubs fan. This is about “I know they’re not great and won’t be for a while but please let them just. be. fun……”
They play station-to-station baseball, have very little power and carry a distinct lack of personality (the personality I get from Carlos Zambrano I don’t need so much). So in essence, they’re a slow team that can’t hit bombs and are extremely boring. On a daily basis. GUHHH…… HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??
The one thing to rely on (we thought) was decent starting pitching. Currently the Cubs have the least amount of quality starts in baseball.
For the love of god, if you’re going to suck, at least be fun! I mean be like fun bad!!?? Like when the Bears are bad you’ll at least have a good time watching Devin Hester returning kicks or Jay Cutler throwing it all over the field or Lovie Smith waking up once in a while to say something to our lesbian-looking offensive coordinator Michael Martz in a roller coaster train wreck loss. That can be fun!
The Cubs were terrible ten years ago but Sammy Sosa at least was exalting the baseball gods with soaring rips into the bleachers completely unaided by anabolic substances of any kind. Seriously. This is true. He told me. When Kerry wood pitched, grown men wept, women went into early labor, George Bush liked black people, and I thought Creed had potential as a legitimate artistic talent. Dusty Baker gave verbose speeches of the utmost linguistic integrity, dripping with so much backwoods gibberish that I hung on his every word and swooned with how a man so simple could speak so eloquently…
“It’s called hitting, and it ain’t called walking. Do you ever see the top 10 walking? You see top 10 batting average. A lot of those top 10 do walk.”
“When you first come up, you want to get some hits”
“Peoples have been trying to bring me down. That’s OK, that’s how it is. Actually, that makes me stronger. It’s OK. What are you going to say when I kick somebody’s butt?”
When I first moved to Chicago, going to Wrigley was a cathartic experience. Finally, I could go to games whenever I wanted, which was something I remember dreaming of when I was just a pup watching with Grandpa every Saturday on WGN with Stone and Harry. After watching the game with Grandpa, I would immediately run outside to field tennis balls off the concrete stairs, pretending I was Shawon Dunston.
I don’t have great memories of Wrigley anymore. Just heartache and a wanton desire for greatness. The fond memories I have of the Cubs are really just afternoons hangin with Grandpa. That’s what I miss.
Now it’s just pain.
And again, I’d see a priest but I’m still good looking enough that he might try to do odd things to me.
The Cubs may lose this season but for the love of god…. give me excite!!
And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
Jeff, Allen, Johanna and Second City’s Mark Piebenga knock off the winter rust and gear up for what looks like a fantastically competitive 2011 season. Besides being racy, risque and borderline offensive (or, just plain offensive), the topics of discussion include but are not limited to the best orange juice of all time, Michael Young’s precarious situation, Major League collisions and much, much more… all to make you happy face!
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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. You can experience Keith’s wicked podcast and subsequent film projects at Undercard Films. Keith is a hot topic right now! Not only is he filming that cool baseball doc, but now he’s got some commercial gigs from the Undercast, AND he’s investing in fleshlights! Pay him a visit!
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Recorded Saturday, January 29, 2011
My morose and oft despondent colleague, Mr. Krause, recently addressed our mutual passion for the sport of long distance running, and in doing so, alluded to the fact that such passionate loyalty requires a certain tolerance for pain.
Indeed, running begets pain. But said pain often calluses the soul, prepares it for the ultimate fight — whether physical or mental — and breeds a certain unparalleled toughness that can guide one through any hardship. This I know.
Pain is a binding precursor to ecstasy. Without it, we wouldn’t know a good thing if it hit us in the face… which, would be ironic in this case, because — depending on what the object hitting us in the face is — that could possibly hurt.
But I digress.
Perhaps the following irony deficient examples will help better illustrate my point:
(aka Nipple Abrasions — minor yet aggravatingly debilitating)
Congratulations, Washington Nationals, on signing Alfonso Soriano 2.0! No, seriously, I really am happy for you. I mean, y’all have had some painfully troublesome moments in your six year history… y’know, like, sucking and all. Then Strasburg went down… Dunn got away… and now you dole out $18 million a year for SEVEN YEARS to your division rival’s 32 year-old third fiddle. Um… okay. The bad news is: you got screwed. The good news is: it’ll be over in seven years. By then you will be so learned, so deteriorated, so callused by anguish that every little victory will seem colossal. Maybe you’ll even smile. Maybe.
(aka Plantar Fasciitis — excruciatingly biting, often chronic)
Eight years of Dubya. A war in Afghanistan. A war in Iraq. The continued waste of an asinine war on drugs, on poverty, on progression in general. The complete upheaval of congress from one extreme to another, to another, then back to where it started again. We don’t have healthcare, we do have healthcare, we don’t have healthcare. We’ve no jobs. Our farmers are forced to grow crap crops to make corn syrup which is then injected into all your food so that you are prone to overeat, become obese, get diabetes and die. Yeah. That’s some real pain right there; makes Canada sound like the Playboy Mansion. Ms. Teen South Carolina, you with me?
The Pittsburgh Pirates
(aka Hitting the Wall or “Bonking” — worst case scenario your body loses the ability to function due to depleted glycogen stores)
Two words: Matt Diaz. Wow. Just… wow. Dear readers, when signing Matt Diaz is a big deal, you know your team is in trouble. In the Pirates’ case, they’ve been in trouble since 1992, they show zero signs of improvement, and life is just gonna get more and more painful for the handful of baseball fans left in Pittsburgh.
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
My advice? Go Steelers!
Hate me ‘cuz I bring da pain, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Um… okay. So this is what happens when Brendan Ryan becomes better known for a poorly marketed pornstache than his actual comeuppance as an everyday St. Louis Cardinals shortstop. Oh, wait. No comeuppance? He sucks? My bad.
Which is sorta why I haven’t really said much this offseason about my dearly beloved Redbirds. What’ s there to say? Jake Westbrook signed? Okay. Cool. We traded Blake Hawksworth for Ryan Theriot? M’kay… nice. I guess. Can we guarantee that Skip Schumaker won’t take another step backwards? How about facing the fact that closer Ryan Franklin really ain’t cut out to be a closer? And then…???
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I still haven’t really gotten over the crapfest that was the second half of the 2010 season. No one likes a sore loser, but goddamn it if I ain’t still sore as hell! Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter… YADIER MOLINA.
Friends, Romans, Cubs fans… those names command a division title.
And that’s what I want. At the very least, we ought to be slaying the Reds, the Cubs and whatever other foe floats carelessly towards the top.
Does Ryan Theriot magically make that happen? Uh… no. In fact, as a hitter, Baseball Reference has Theriot matched up with the likes of Aaron Miles, Jason Bartlett and former St. Louis Brown, Ernie Johnson. And while Bartlett had one good year, let’s not get too excited over these comparisons; ‘cuz frankly, there’s little that breeds excitement.
Yes, maybe Theriot will solve the leadoff problem that has crippled the Cardinals in recent years. Then again, he probably won’t. He’s gotta beat out Brendo and Skippy for a job first, which for us anticipating fans, is sorta like having to vote from a pool of John Kerry, George W. Bush and a bowl of potato salad.
Which one is the bowl of potato salad? I’ll leave that up to you.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m still bitter, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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.