Such cases have been well documented: In 1985, Don Denkinger handed the World Series Championship directly to the Royals. Some twenty years later, Hall of Famer George Brett revealed to the world his celebratory penchant for soiling himself.
And now, in 2009, Royals ace Zack Greinke hopes to snatch the Cy Young Award from big name, big money pitchers from big markets.
When Greinke wins on Tuesday it will be an historic event. For the first time ever in the history of the franchise, the Royals will be relevant for something other than a bunch of s***.
And that, dear readers, is called crawling out of the gutter… where they will quickly return to on Wednesday.
Hate me ‘cuz I prey on the weak, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Image courtesy of Getty Images)
Albert Pujols has played just nine Major League seasons and in each and every one of them he’s hit over 30 homeruns, collected more than 100 RBI and batted over .300. Those aren’t just good numbers, folks. Those are astronomical numbers.
And this is his best year yet.
I think it’s time we stop referring to Albert Pujols as the future Hall of Famer that he is — because let’s face it, if the man’s career ends today he’ll be a first ballot lock* — and start acknowledging that he is indeed one of the greatest players to ever play the game, all-time, in the history of the game.
In our present game, today, right this second, we are witnessing a rare and genuine paragon of baseball supremacy.
Stop — and — think — about — that.
My Dad saw Gibson.
My Grandpa saw Musial.
And Albert will trump them both.
By a long shot.
I know it’s hard to understand while it’s happening. I realize that, in most cases, we do not realize what great feats we are witnessing firsthand until it’s too late, until our heroes are lifted in the 7th for defensive replacements, until they’re embarking on sappy, over-produced farewell tours.
But right now we all have the opportunity to savor the greatness, to take it all in, to let it move us.
Great presidents abound in Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Washington; but there is only one Abraham Lincoln.
Sure, Metallica is great and all but there’s only one Pink Floyd.
And yes. There is only one Albert Pujols.
Don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
*As one reader pointed out, a player needs 10 years in the Majors before being eligible; consider my phrase a simple bout of hyperbole
It happens on a regular basis, this gathering of young talent and grizzled veterans. The two sides (with input from the people of course because, after all, this is America) pull the brightest stars from their respective firmaments, bring them together and then allow them duke it out. And it seems like each time the result plays an increasingly ambiguous role in what eventually happens in November. Yep, that’s what the nominating conventions are all about.
Oh, I’m sorry. Did you think I was talking about the All-Star game?
It’s no coincidence that baseball and politics have so much in common. The two are intertwined in American history. Even now, Hall of Famer and former Detroit Tiger Jim Bunning terrorizes opponents from his seat in the US Senate just like he used to do from his spot on the mound.
And as I was watching the Minor League All-Star game the other day, I was reminded again of how fleeting fame can be to both baseball players and politicians. Each and every one is fighting for a chance to reach the big time, to really stand out. But it’s hard to know who has what it takes.
A year ago there was talk of Mark Sanford as a possible McCain running mate and it was almost a foregone conclusion that he would be in the thick of things when the next election cycle began. Now, he’s an also-ran, an afterthought, a cautionary tale. A teary-eyed Alex Rodriguez but with no more comeback.
Or take Sarah Palin, the politician’s equivalent of Sammy Sosa. Both had talent but made it as far as they did for all the wrong reasons. Now they’re little more than whipping boys, examples of all that’s wrong with a broken system.
However, it’s better to focus on the positives at this time of year, on people like Brandon Inge and Tim Wakefield who finally got a little respect even if things didn’t play out exactly the way they might have hoped. Because, for all the ridiculousness associated with the All-Star game or with political conventions, they really are a good show and you aren’t going to find anything like ’em except in the good ol’ US of A.
Welcome back from the All-Star break!
Unlike Ernest Hemingway’s poignant parlay into the world of non-fiction, mine hath not the slightest utterance of death today… unless, of course, you consider the thousands of Cub fans who felt stabbed through the heart after their sloppy loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
For today was a celebration, not only for the Redbirds’ ultimate triumph, but also for good company. Indeed, dear readers, I have friends who don the Cubby blue, like one soon-to-be-wed Adam Marshall — talented author of Our Man In Los Angeles — who was crazy enough to arrange for 22 Cub fans and one Cardinal fan (me!) to stake our claim amongst the bleacher bums at Wrigley Field on what may have been the most beautiful day of the year.
My first stop was to pay homage to the wondrous artwork to the right, found at the Addison Red Line stop, depicting heroic Hall of Fame icons Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith in a too-close-to-call play at second base. I scrounged through the melee of already drunk Cub fans and snapped this amateur photo, hoping it would bring me good luck.
Dear readers, I have been going to Major League Baseball games my entire life and I have never, ever caught one ball, be it foul, fair, or B.P. Never.
Once inside the cathedral dump also known as Wrigley Field, I went straight for the beer man, bought myself a cold one and swarmed through the slew of drunkards to find an open seat. Entering to an onslaught of “F*** your mother”, “Go back to St. Louis”, and “Cardinals su<k”, I did my very best to make sure my Bud Light did not spilleth over. While perfecting this baseball ballet, I noticed the crowd around me take to a chorus of oohs and ahhs, duck and spread. I looked up and there it was: a ball coming straight towards me at a rifling speed. With no time to react, I simply stuck my chest out, felt a thump, looked down, and in my left hand was a baseball!
After 30 years, folks, I finally caught one.
A Colby Rasmus batting practice homerun at Wrigley.
And my beer did not spill one drop.
And it was, if you consider sloppy defense good. In fact, Cardinals left fielder Chris Duncan put on a clinic of how not to play the position. Then again, so did Alfonso Soriano. And in the end, Duncan’s bat powered the Redbirds to a win.
Of course, no Cub game would be complete without crying; and Milton Bradley came on late with the bases loaded, looked at six straight pitches without swinging the bat, then whined like the spoiled brat child he is before getting tossed.
Cards win. Cubs lose. I live.
Oh, and those crazy bleacher bums oft known to take an afternoon dip down the urinal trough? They were out in full force. There were a few tiffs and tussles, some skiffs and struggles. They were loud. They were obnoxious. They were obscene. Business as usual… like this clever diva who scribbled out some nonsense on a piece of cardboard and passed it off as truth:
Apparently she was too intoxicated to realize that the Cardinals won the game… or the fact that Wrigley Field’s peanuts are quite savory and that any Redbird would be a fool to not at least try them… just once.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Ty Cobb could not play baseball today. Oh, maybe he had the skills and the guts to succeed but you wouldn’t find him in the majors. There’s one simple reason for this. Bigtime sports depend on marketing and it’s really hard to market a racist ^sshole. Just look at John Rocker. Say the wrong thing to the wrong person and soon enough you’re signing baseball cards at convention centers instead of trotting in from the bullpen.
Now, it hasn’t always been this way and the fact that a guy like Ty Cobb is in the Hall of Fame shows that sometimes those lesser angels of our nature don’t disqualify you from everything in life. But in the last few years, as baseball and other sports have become more dependent on the revenue generated by the family friendly aspects of the game, it has become rarer and rarer to see someone go off and really call it like they see it. That’s why I want to remind us all of some of the more glaring instances in a segment I like to call: Holy Sh!t! Did he really just say that?
I begin with my hometown Tigers and an homage to our recently departed designated hitter. Now, Sheff has been a fount of inspired insanity over the years and everyone knows about his comments regarding Latino players. He also famously said that Derek Jeter wasn’t “All the way black.” But the genius of Sheff can only truly be summed up in his response to a question about fathering two children before he was old enough to vote: “That was part of my plan. I didn’t want to be the typical athlete who’s single all his career.” Sheff shows that racism comes in a rainbow of colors.
Quite possibly the biggest homophobe and xenophobe to emerge from baseball since Ty Cobb, Rocker once remarked, “The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the
foreigners … You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not
hear anybody speaking English.” Even his annual apologies provided nonstop fun. Only Rocker could manage to understate the severity of a situation by starting out “My comments concerning persons afflicted with AIDS as
well as various minority groups have left people wondering if I am a
racist.” However, he also manages to retain the power to confound his critics and proved it once again by taking up with the beautiful Alicia. You stay classy, John Rocker!
However, nothing quite tops this video of Norm Coleman hosting the Espy’s a decade ago. Do yourself a favor. Even if you can’t quite sit through the entire eight and a half minutes, fast forward to the 7:53 minute mark and prepare to be amazed by the absolute sadistic ruthlessness with which he builds up Charles Woodson and then cuts him off at the ankles. It ain’t pretty but it gets him a spot on RSBS:
Apparently, it is.
My errant, crass, flagitious friend and colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, channeled his inner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and once again said something he shouldn’t have by blaspheming the fairest of all sideline sports reporters in Erin Andrews. All of Ms. Andrews’ gangly gawkers (me included) are hereby pissed off. And we are tired of Allen’s unbending defiance towards she and all her… er… beauty.
It must stop.
For the same reason I can’t understand why Tyler Perry is allowed to make movies, I cannot even begin to understand how Mr. Krause is able to continually force his imprudent worldview upon the dear readers of RSBS. Sure, Erin Andrews’ sister, Kendra, is an attractive lady. But she ain’t no Erin:
And let’s not forget what really makes Erin tops among the Andrews sisters: she knows baseball. Not only does she know it, she reports it, and she looks smokin’ hot doing it. Any time a woman can distract my ogling eyes with a learned baseball vernacular which includes the tenets of situational hitting, bullpen side-sessions and last minute lineup changes, she automatically jumps to the top of any and all lists.
To stay on the subject of my myriad intangible crushes, I can’t help but wish there was some other connection between baseball and American Idol other than my inexplicable home-wrecking obsession with them both.
Say hello to Idol‘s newest doll-face, er… I mean, Idol‘s newest judge:
This might be a good time to push aside my man-crush for Albert Pujols and get on board the Kara DioGuardi train. You might know her for her hit songs sung by other women whom I am sickly attracted to like Carrie Underwood and Christina Aguilera as well as Mr. Krause’s cherished boy-toy hero: David Archuleta.
In any case, I’ll take a sleeper car.
And for fear that you may have missed it, folks, last night on MLB Network’s Hot Stove show, Victor Rojas and Harold Reynolds had a sit-down discussion with the great Rickey Henderson in which Rickey said: “…my mom is the reason I’m goin’ to Coopertown.”
I hope Rickey still has his legs ‘cuz it’s a long way from Tennessee to New York.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
We have already learned much in the first 13 days of 2009. We know who our new representatives to the baseball Hall of Fame will be, even if the lack of transparency and intelligence associated with the voting process make the Electoral College seem positively inspired by comparison. We also know that Alan Trammell will not be entering the hall anytime soon and with that knowledge broke many a young man’s heart. Well, at least mine.
But, there is good news, too. Especially for people like my friend Jeff who are unnaturally taken with ESPN’s sideline reporter, Erin Andrews. It appears that Ms. Andrews was not the only temptress to spring forth from her mother’s womb because she also has a younger (and I might add, much more attractive) sister, Kendra.
That’s right, it now appears that the true battle to be waged by Mr. Lung and myself this season is over the relative merits of the Andrews sisters, not why the AL Central is superior to the NL Central. Obviously there are similarities. For instance the AL, like Kendra, is younger and vastly superior to its elder and more venerable sibling (last season’s World Series win by the Phillies not withstanding). However, this argument will not be settled overnight and we look forward to further exploiting the reporting prowess of Deadspin and Busted Coverage to bring you more of this developing debate.