And now, 1,597 posts.
Red State Blue State was born out of the fiery email exchanges between Messieurs Krause and Lung during the 2006 World Series — a World Series that saw Jeff’s Redbirds trounce Allen’s Tigers (although until his dying breath Mr. Krause will blame the pitching fielding errors over an inept offense for Detroit’s shortcoming — one that would not be their last, obviously).
Over the last five years, we have enjoyed all of the benefits of writing a hit MLBlog. Jeff got to interview Ken Griffey, Sr., Dave Winfield and his boyhood idol, Ozzie Smith. He also went to the 2009 All Star Game and reported on that experience. Hell, last year he even went to the World Series! — twice — and then popped champagne as his boys brought it all home. Allen, well, he drew particular pride from the fact that RSBS ended up getting banned by the censors in Saudi Arabia.
But it wasn’t just about the sports. Although RSBS started life as a baseball blog, the second and equally important pillar, was a shared enjoyment of the drama and often maddening inconsistencies with the American political system. We found a way to combine sports and politics with literary bindings, and from that we engaged in quite a few intellectual debates that strung our worlds together. The highlight of Jeff’s political revelations had to be his Libertarian coming out party — the one that Mr. Krause so dutifully lampooned.
For Allen, the Post-Partisan Playoff Preview presented an opportunity to truly combine postseason baseball and postseason politics into an orgy of prognostication. Sure, the only time he may have truly gotten it right was in 2008’s initial edition but he still made a valiant effort in the close but not quite there predictions of 2011 and 2010. Allen’s political evolution may have been less dramatic than Jeff’s as he stayed continuously true to his blue state roots but this led to a moment he’ll never forget, being there for the inauguration of Barack Obama.
However, probably our finest RSBS achievements have to do with a little ditty by David Archuletta and the underground hip-hop sensation, Jesus Hates the Cubs.
Today is a day different from all the rest. Today we publish our last post. It is not without sadness that we do this, but, like many others experience in life, the time has come for us to move on.
If you would like to follow Allen’s post-RSBS exploits, visit him at his new blog, The Nomadic Revue, where he will continue to provide political commentary as well as entertainment and restaurant reviews.
And if you would like to follow Jeff’s sensational running career (and all the creative introspection born from that), then check out The Run Factory.
More than anything, we want to thank YOU, dear reader. Thank you for joining us on our journey. Thank you for all your comments, all your emails, all your Twitter love.
Thank you all very, very much.
Jeff and Allen
The rottenness I’m talking about is the foul stench that emanates from a past-his-prime public relations disaster who seems to have eaten Tony Gwynn on his way to joining the Sugar Land Skeeters. That’s right, as if taking a page right out of Jose Canseco’s book of insanity, Mr. Clemens, the fallen idol of my youth, is now preparing to embarrass himself with what I can only assume is a Favrian attempt to prolong the inevitable Hall of Fame first ballot denial.
If Roger can get on a Big League roster, he’ll get another five years before being considered. And who knows, by then they might be banning people 50 games for NOT TAKING EFFING STEROIDS.
And happy Friday!
Roger Clemens is not guilty.
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.
The 2012 season will be Chipper Jones’ last, signifying for me a quaint full circle of baseball life. From a goofy-grinned rook to an over-the-hill vet, I had the pleasure of witnessing it all, and I can’t help but tip my cap to the future Hall of Famer for all he’s done throughout his career, on and off the field.
With that, here is what immediately enters my mind whenever his name comes up:
The 1995 Season
Infuriated by a silent October in ’94, I vehemently quit on Major League Baseball. I will have nothing to do with those crooked chumps! Who do they think they are taking away my Fall Classic!?!? Troglodytes the whole lot of ’em!
Yeah, but… see, there’s this guy named Chipper. He’s with the Braves. He’s gonna be a superstar.
And he was. 23 bombs. 86 RBIs. And one cool stroke, from both sides of the plate. By the second half of the ’95 season, all had been forgiven and I was hoarding baseball cards of a man with a goofy name.
The 2008 Season and Media Guide Photo
Now a lot of stuff happened between 1995 and 2008, but I want to focus on the monster season Chipper had. I recall arguing here with my lugubrious and oft-crotchety colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, whether or not Chipper could realistically hit .400. He made a good run at it, but had to settle for .364, and in the process provided one of the worst media guide photos of all time:
All-Star Weekend 2009
I had the good fortune of attending the ASG in St. Louis and taking in all the awesome that comes with such an extravaganza. As you can imagine, heavy drinking was involved, and on the evening of July 13, at a seedy bar deep in the heart of Soulard, I was an accomplice to my friend losing a $100 bar bet on whether or not Chipper played any significant time at any other position than third base during his career. I found out it only takes a few vodka bombs to forget that Chipper spent a some years manning left field for the Bravos. I think my pal has forgiven me for that absentmindedness. Now if only we could remember how we ended up in Sauget smelling like frosting, covered in glitter.
Yes, I’d say Chipper had a brilliant career, even if the last few years have looked more like an AH-64 Apache helicopter crash after attempting to push its limit. What’s THAT look like? Glad ya asked!
I’m a big believer in the adage that you don’t count your chickens before they hatch. But after prevailing in Iowa and cleaning up in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney sure is starting to look like a full on chicken. This could mean either that a certain influential (and voting) subset of Republicans is making its voice heard. Or, it could just mean that New Hampshire is made up of relatively normal people and once South Carolina gets its say, Romney will again have to face his Santorum problem.
The process kind of reminds me of the recently completed Hall of Fame vote. There are the clear winners, like Barry Larkin and Mitt Romney. But it’s a lot harder to make any sort of conclusion about the other guys, the Ron Pauls and Jack Morris of the world. Did they come close? Sure. Will it be enough to get them over the hump at some point? Your guess is as good as mine. But are they going to keep on going? You betcha’.
McGwire, Paul, Santorum. It’s all part of the messy fun that makes up democracy.
“Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t.”
Those who know me know I like to do odd things, like throw myself off bridges, eat cuttlefish or play H.O.R.S.E. … with myself. But that’s not why I called.
In the spirit of odd things, I thought I’d use the funniest movie of all time to deal with all the MLB Hall of Fame talk.
Congrats! You made it out alive, Barry!!!
As we celebrate Barry Larkin’s entry to the hallowed Hall (even though it took three stupid years) I thought we should take a look at those who didn’t quite make it out of Overlook Hotel, the ones who will probably be there a while.
Jack Torrance: Do you have the slightest idea what a moral and ethical principle is? Do you?
I can’t out think a potato, but I know this: Piazza, Kent, Bagwell and Big Mac aren’t getting in. EVER. And I don’t think I have to explain why. But I digress…
Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in. Not by the hair of your chiny-chin-chin? Well then I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in. [Axes the door]
Wendy, you’ve got a big surprise coming to you. You’re not going anywhere.
From one Jack to another… of course, Allen’s Jack Morris slipped through the cracks again. I feel for the kid (Allen), but I personally believe Jack will be dead before he leaves the snowy mountaintop of baseball’s purgatory labyrinth.
God, I’d give anything for a drink. I’d give my god-damned soul for just a glass of beer.
Good Luck, Lenny Dykstra… maybe next year… yeesh. And maybe stop talking for a while.
Follow Johanna on Twitter!
By now, my century long-depressed baseball brethren on the north side of Chicago are aware that, despite Prince Charming occupying the king’s seat at Addison and Clark, Cubbie Land might still get turned on its head.
If Ryne Sandberg becomes the new manager of the St. Louis Cardinals — THE WORLD CHAMPION ST. LOUIS CARDINALS — then I think I might just pee on myself.
Oh, the joy… to think, that one of the greatest Cubs in the history of the world — THE SAME CUB WHO WAS SNUBBED OVER FOR MIKE “LAME DUCK” QUADE — could sit at the St. Louis helm with those beautiful, beautiful birds on the bat, blazing across his Hall of Fame chest.
Oh sure, Francona would be great. Oquendo too. Hell, even Pettini is good in my book.
But Ryno… oh Ryno… *SALIVATES*
A friend of mine ran into Ryno, his wife and some friends of theirs in Times Square this summer. He said he was so in awe of the Hall of Fame second baseman that he sort of lost track of his thoughts and the forced conversation sorta became… awkward.
I imagine it was the same sort of awkward that would come from him championing the Cardinals to a World Series title in 2012…
The world moves faster now than it did just decade ago. In fact, while writing that last sentence, I lost two bets, texted a girl without using my fingers and imagined an elaborate Broadway staging of my favorite Bukowski quote.
So naturally, it would be easy to miss out on some important informational nuggets throughout the day. But do not fear. The RSBS interns have been hard at work to bring you these five things you NEED to know NOW:
1. Rick Perry Is Insane
You didn’t have to watch the *YAWN* GOP debate last night to know that. All you need to know is that he truly believes setting aside an entire day for his state leaders to focus on talking to their imaginary friend is an acceptable way of tackling Texas’ problems. Um… please, someone tell me that being “delusional” makes one unelectable in a general election???
2. MLB Playoff Changes Are a Comin’
If today was September 8, 2012, the Cardinals, Giants and Rays would all still be fighting like hobos for the last drop of playoff wine. Generally speaking, I don’t like change; but to be fair, this seems imminent and fitting. I give it my blessing. VOILA!
3. Mr. Krause’s Retort Is Weak
In his most recent attempt to derail my celebratory allegiance to Liberty, he wrote: “I don’t have time to go back and correct all of his logical and factual fallacies one by one,” which is Big Government Liberal speak for: “I don’t know how to slip that dude’s jab-jab-right hook-left cross combination so let me try and talk around it.” Just sayin’!
4. John Smoltz Is Awesome… At Everything
He was a bad@$$ mound maestro during his playing days. He also was/is one hell of a golfer — good enough to, at one point, even consider going pro. And after listening to him in the broadcast booth as the color commentator on an entire season’s worth of games, I gotta say: Smoltz is one hell of a broadcaster. With a Hall of Fame baseball acumen, superior poise and uncanny timing, he definitely warrants kicking Tim McCarver’s dusty rump aside.
5. The Astros Will Be Going to the American League
Don’t worry. No one will probably even notice.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
“KEITH, GET A BUCKET!”
After Jeff and Allen dragged Johanna’s almost lifeless body out of the Lollapalooza bullpen, the RSBS crew sat down to smack down on all-things baseball. Joined midway by special guest, Tim Baffoe of The Heckler and AM 670 The Score, everybody gets in on the roller coaster that is Chicago baseball, Tony LaRussa versus the World, Derek Jeter’s legacy and a hypothetical question involving the conflicting theologies of Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton.
This is some shizz ya ain’t gonna wanna miss!
And make sure to follow Tim Baffoe (aka the Ten Foot Midget) on Twitter. Dude’s got a lock on sports satire!
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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. Make sure you follow him on Twitter and check out his sweet Undercast. And, also, if you haven’t already, check out the teaser to his film-in-progress and don’t be afraid to help a brotha out!
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Recorded Saturday, August 6, 2011
As many of you may know, Keith is our Podmaster (podcast director, editor and all-around-everything guy) and while he’s not making us sound good, he’s working very hard on a fantastic project that I’d like to share with you.
It’s a feature-length independent documentary entitled “Is This Heaven?” chronicling the fascinating life and career of Negro League star and Hall of Famer, Pete Hill, a man who hit 28 homeruns the same year Babe Ruth hit 29 (1919) and who may have the longest hitting streak in baseball history.
He may have been one of the greatest of all time but somehow this champion of America’s past time was almost completely forgotten.
After a storied career and incredible life everything about the man is lost, maybe even the man himself. However, a struggle to find the truth is underway. Independent historians and baseball fans have begun a long journey to restore a legacy. “Is This Heaven?” takes a look at the seemingly impossible task of righting the wrongs that have been done to Pete Hill posthumously.
Here is the teaser:
Since we first met, Keith has been working very diligently on this project and I have been very impressed with his progress. He has worked with Negro League scholars, Pete Hill descendants and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
He got on base. Moved to second. Moved to third, and now he and his crew are ready to come home. But, like any indie project, they need help. Please visit Keith’s “Is This Heaven?” Kickstarter page to see how you can help see this project to completion. Every little bit helps.
And baseball will never forget you for it.