As if your inferior baseball acumen were not enough to cause acid reflux among dear readers galore, Mr. Krause, you just had to top it off by insulting a fellow US American and subsequent baseball god: the Albert Pujols.
“reknowned Mexican wrestler, Albert Pujols, won the NL MVP…”
— Allen Krause, Fenway to Foggy Bottom
What!?! Look, Mr. Krause, you’re extremely lucky that you live in the safety of our nation’s capital. Slinging slapdash remarks like that could get your legs broken — and I don’t mean by me, but by the 10 million Dominicans who now want your head on a plate having desecrated their larger than life island hero.
Mexico does not equal the Dominican Republic.
And besides, I think we all know that A.P. moved to the States at an early age and found his stroke in Independence, MO of all places.
Set free thy hate, groundling!
NL MVP Albert Pujols bleeds US American red, white and blue just like you and I do. In fact, he scored a perfect 100 on his citizenship test.
Can you say that, Al?
No. Yet you find it in your heart to say you could “care less” about Pujols and Pedroia’s crowning achievements.
Well, lahdy frickin’ da, Mr. Krause. You are a letch. I didn’t want to believe it; but you are.
On the one hand, you have who could quite possibly be the perfect baseball player in Albert; on the other you have a paragon of scrappy overachievement in Pedroia.
And you could “care less”.
That’s just… well, it’s just… un-American.
You probably also care less about our modern day messiah turning to that same old Washington crap to fill his cabinet posts. I understand fist bumps and shout-outs to fellow Dems who helped you get elected, but is Hillary Clinton really the “change” America needs? I’m not convinced.
We, the People, did the right thing and put Obama in office based on his platform of Hope and Change politics. In turn, I believe We, the People, deserve to see that plan put in to action. With the pantheon of bad news coming out of the world markets and my downtrodden colleague posting ill-aimed remarks at the greatest living baseballer on earth, I would like to hang my proverbial hat on at least something positive.
Like this: I, Jeffery Lung, agree with Mitt Romney.
And no, that’s not a joke, my friends. In fact, his recent opinion-editorial in the New York Times is the smartest thing I’ve read since Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.
Now that’s smart!
So go ahead, Al, hate me for siding with a Mitt on this one. Hate me for respecting the magnificence of Albert Pujols and Dustin Pedroia. But goddamn it, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
‘Tis the season for MLB Awards, fa la la la la, la la la la. And what a bunch of awards. Jeff is happy because reknowned Mexican wrestler, Albert Pujols, won the NL MVP and some parts of the east coast are happy because the shortest, hardest-working man in baseball, Dustin Pedroia, picked himself up an MVP award, too. Me, I couldn’t care less.
Yep, if Albert hadn’t been in St. Louis this year, they probably would have finished with 90 something losses. And Pedroia hits a lot bigger than he looks. But it just isn’t that exciting. It’s nothing like Jimmy Rollins fueling the Phillies improbable run into the playoffs last year. Even Alex Rodriguez, last year’s winner in the AL, felt like a more justifiable pick compared to the scrappy but ultimately undeserving Pedroia. Don’t get me wrong, both winners are incredible baseball players. But forgive me for being underwhelmed.
Who would I have picked? Well, to be honest with you, I’m not sure. There’s not really anyone who sticks out in my mind. In fact, I think this is one of those years when it would be better if MLB had the option of designating no winner at all.
In a lot of ways, this whole thing mirrors another tough choice being made right now. Every four years the new (or re-elected) president has to decide who his chief diplomat will be and it appears that this year’s choice is the junior senator from New York. Once again, forgive me for being underwhelmed. To be fair, though, I wasn’t really all that impressed with any of the other candidates, either. Bill Richardson? I’ve already shared my thoughts on him. John Kerry? I’m sorry but I can’t think of one person I would less want running an agency devoted to talking through problems and avoiding embarrassing verbal slip-ups. Other front runners like Chuck Hagel have taken themselves out of contention which means that the task of managing one of the government’s largest bureaucracies will most likely fall to soon-to-be President Obama’s vanquished rival from the primaries. I’m not sure what I’m feeling right now but it sure isn’t awe.
I freely admit that I’m a glass half-full kind of guy. And you should feel free to disagree with me on my conclusions here. But, as my friend Mr. Lung likes to say, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
That’s right, dear readers, Albert Pujols is the National League MVP — again — and most deservedly, as this is the A.P. whom the critics said wouldn’t make it through 2008 without having season-ending surgery. This is the A.P. who, without much protection, rarely saw good pitches — ever. This is the A.P. who was forced to bear the enormous weight of a subpar bullpen with a penchant for blowing big leads late and an organization run by a pompous penny-pinching pariah pleasantly pleased with mediocrity.
While I am ecstatic for my man-crush’s crowning achievement, the nihilist in me cannot stop seeing this as yet another detrimental development in John Mozeliak’s quiet quest to do nothing in the way of spending dollars to put together a true contender in 2009.
But what do I know?
I certainly didn’t know that Nate McLouth had any business getting MVP votes, but some writer (most probably a pissed off Pittsburghian with a propensity for pot-smoking) thought it’d be a funny afterthought to include him in the big picture.
I found it… um… awkward.
Speaking of awkward, never before have I seen two grown men sit down together with such unease as I did today when the president-elect met with Sen. McCain for what appeared to be a publicity stunt meant to mend the dissonance between the two camps. Sure. Sounds good. But McCain had to go and bring up what is quickly becoming known as the Annhilation of the Bears, which immediately put Obama (and subsequently me) in a very, very uncomfortable place. I was sorta hoping that Barack would have had the good sense to remind the senator from Arizona about Dennis Green’s post-game meltdown a couple years ago after that torrid Monday Night game in which we all found out:
Well, the Bears still are who we thought they were: not good enough; but you didn’t have to go and bring it up, John McCain. You see, I thought this meeting was supposed to be about healing and planning and bipartisanship. But since you decided it wasn’t, how ’bout those ’08 Diamondbacks?
Regardless, I’m not going to let another Republican rain on my parade of good feelings abound.
Albert Pujols — the most fascinating man in sports — is the NL MVP.
So eat it!
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
74-88. That was the Tigers’ record for the 2008 season. After 130 million dollars were wasted on an AL Central last place finish in which the Kansas City Royals had a better squad (for a mere $57 million), realistically, where do the Tigers go from here?
It goes without saying that the Tigers face some pretty serious questions going into this offseason. For better of for worse, this is a team that was built to win this year. Not only did they trade away some fine young talent (Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller) in order to obtain the underwhelming Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, they also got rid of veteran leadership during the season when they sent Pudge to New York in return for Kyle Farnsworth. The former was a gamble that didn’t pay off and we all know how I feel about the latter.
But, to answer your question, I’m not sure where the Tigers go from here. Despite his poor season, Justin Verlander is still one of the most exciting young pitchers in the game. Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya have the entire (hopefully Guitar Hero free) offseason to get healthy. And Maggs’ resurgence over the past couple years makes him an attractive bargaining chip to other teams looking for an offensive bump that will put them over the top. I’m sure the Cubs or Cardinals have already placed an offer.
I’m not sure where we stand, though. This was supposed to be our year, the year when we finally put it all together and no almost .500 Cardinal team would be able to stand in the way. But, like John McCain on November 5, we’re staring at the wreckage and wondering how it all went so wrong.
Personally, I don’t think the Tigers will challenge for the AL Central next year. The Division isn’t all that strong but the Tigers are missing a lot of necessary pieces. The pitching is questionable, the offense never showed up and most of these guys weren’t really brought in because of their defensive skills. We don’t have a catcher, shortstop is a big question mark and I have no idea who is going to fill out the rotation.
You know what, though? At the end of the day, you never know what’s going to happen. Barack Obama was a footnote when he started his run for the Senate in 2004. And no one gave him a chance against Hillary in 2008 either. I don’t think anyone imagined the Rays would emerge from the AL East as Division champs and then slug their way into the World Series. So, I’m going to do what I always do and hope that Dombrowski and team are making the right moves to ensure that 2009 looks more like 2006 and a lot less like 2008. But I expect to be disappointed.
The Lovable Losers, while accurately representing at least one of those monikers, managed to lose three straight NLDS games for the second year in a row. As good a team as they were on paper and throughout the season, is it safe to say that the “curse of the billy goat” is indeed a real phenomenon?
I’ve seen and heard some pretty crazy things in my time. I have a friend who swears on his life that he saw the ghosts of three children in his room one night while we were both living in Africa. Personally, I had a snake in my house one day that a neighbor told me was the result of a curse. And you know what? I don’t doubt either one of those things. But if you try to tell me that the Cubs lost because of some long dead cloven-hoofed animal, well, I’ve got a bridge up in Brooklyn I wouldn’t mind selling you.
The fact of the matter is, the Cubs just stunk. They couldn’t field the ball. They couldn’t hit. And they definitely couldn’t score runs. The real problem with the Cubs was not a curse. It was hubris. As you have mentioned several times, including the other day, the Cubs, along with the whole north side of Chicago, were sure that this was their year. It had been 100 years and they had the best team in the NL. What could possibly stand in their way? It was their turn, right? But, the Cubs suffered the same fate as Hillary Clinton. Entitlement is no substitute for elbow grease as both Mrs. Clinton and the Cubs discovered.
I want to get back to the idea of curses, though. Athletes and sports fans tend to be a superstitious lot and so the notion of a curse makes perfect sense in that context. Hell, I’ve been a Lions fan for years and if any team’s fans have the right to believe they’re cursed, the Lions’ sure do. But really, the Lions are just a terrible team with poor management. Curses are the easy way out.
Believing in curses is like believing in god. If it’s what gets you through the day and keeps you from chopping up someone on a bus, go for it. But the idea of some guy cursing a team because he couldn’t watch a game with his goat 60 years ago makes only slightly more sense than the idea of the entire world being made in 6 days, six thousand years ago by some omnipotent being with a split-personality disorder. Again, if you buy that I’m willing to throw in that bridge for only a few dollars more.
So here’s a short but sweet answer to your question: The Cubs lost because of hubris and curses are the “opiate” of the fans. And yes, it really is that simple.
Just like the primaries and the general election, baseball also has its own storylines. There are the fairy tale Rays, the quietly impressive Angels, the never-say-die Brewers and those loveable losers themselves, the Cubs. However, sometimes these stories and those from the political arena bear an uncanny resemblance to each other.
If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, you don’t have to wait any longer. Here it is. The first, quadrennial RSBS Presidency Postseason!
We start with the new kids on the block. Both the GOP and the AL came into existence a while after their older siblings but they both became powerhouses rather quickly. Quite frankly, both the Republicans and the free-swinging American Leaguers have also been putting their older brethren to shame in recent years. The AL’s Ronald Reagan, the New York Yankees, can’t be with us this year but we still pay our respects to those who try to carry the pennant.
When it comes to this year’s participants, it only makes sense to start in Abraham Lincoln’s home state and look at the Chicago White Sox. Unfortunately, the White Stockings are sadly reminiscent of the prescient yet unappreciated Ron Paul. They fight and they fight, just to even get into the dance but even though they seem to have the right pieces, it just ain’t gonna’ happen. No one appreciates them but that’s how these brutal games work.
Mike Huckabee and the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays have to be two of the most compelling stories of the year. They’re fresh, they’re chock-full of talent, they lost a ton of weight and wrote a book about it. But even though they make a great run at it and continue to push despite knowing they’ve already lost, the fact of the matter is that they, well, lose. Put them down for the semis but that’s where the story ends.
On paper the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) have to be the most impressive team, eerily evocative of their doppleganger, Mitt Romney. They have everything going for them from the best closer in baseball to really great hair. But looking good on paper doesn’t always translate to real world success. Early defeat dooms both and they’ll look back and wonder how it happened.
Which leaves us with the soon-to-be AL champion Boston Red Sox. A while ago, the Red Sox just couldn’t put it all together. There was Bill Buckner, the epic 2003 failure against the Yankees and a basic inability to get things done. Basically, they were circa 2000 John McCain. But similar to the phoenix that was the 2004 Red Sox, McCain has come soaring back in 2008. As soon as you count either one of them out you’re going to be in a whole world of hurt. And that’s why, just like McCain, the Red Sox will advance to the final.
The NL, like the Democrats, is an enigma. They seem to have the talent, the flair, the running game but they just can’t put all the pieces together. Yeah, there are flukes like the Marlins, the Cardinals and Jimmy Carter. And every once in a while a real dynasty (the old Cincinnatti Reds, Bill Clinton) comes along. But that’s about as rare as a lump of steak tartare. So, how do the perennial also-rans figure in this year?
Just like her team, the Chicago Cubs, Hillary Clinton appeared to have everything going for her. The large war-chest, the aura of inevitability. And just like Hillary, I expect the Cubs to make it to the semifinals. However, that’s where it ends for both of them. It’s a nice story but it just won’t cut it.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers bear an uncanny resemblance to Mike Gravel. They don’t really seem to know what’s going on, no one is quite sure what they’re doing here and most everyone just wants them to leave. As they go quietly into the night, people will ask themselves if that really happened. Yeah, it did but don’t worry about it.
On the opposite end of America, from a cosmopolitan megalopolis where $400 haircuts are the norm, come the Los Angeles Dodgers, the soulmate of John Edwards. Yep, they may have come from humble roots but you’re not kidding anyone these days. The question is, will Alyssa Milano turn out to be the Dodgers’ Rielle Hunter? Either way, neither the Dodgers or Mr. Edwards are going to stick around long enough for us to find out.
And that brings us to the Philadelphia Phillies. Yep, that’s right. Long-suffering Philadelphia is our Barack Obama, a story that tells us that, yes, we can. Trust me, I didn’t see it coming anymore than you did but baseball, like politics, is a funny game. They both look kind of different (Obama, in fact, may have gotten his ears from the Phillie Phanatic) and neither one of them would be the obvious pick but somehow they both make it through and remain standing in the end.
However, all of this only brings us to the final act. And this one is a doozy. The heir apparent to the fortunes of the AL East against a former also-ran from the NL East. Like McCain and Obama, both teams have the pedigree to be crowned the champions but it is a contest and, like the Higlander, there can be only one.
So, how does it end, you’re probably asking? Well, although I don’t expect either McCain or the Red Sox to lose their heads (HA HA HA), this is the year of the “How’d they get there?” scrappers. That’s right. Get excited Philadelphia! C’mon and say it with me now: Yes, We Can!
Every media outlet has been full of Olympic coverage for the past few months. We watched as French surrender-monkeys and dentally deficient Britons tried to tackle, steal or otherwise snuff the Olympic flame during its journey to the Bird’s Nest and then we saw the Chinese defy gravity to set the torch alight and begin the games.
Although the passing of the torch always seems to provoke strong emotions, these emotions tend to play out differently depending on the setting. When Jesse Owens overcame the Fuhrer’s supposedly invincible Aryan champions at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he tried to defuse the situation by saying that Hitler had shown him respect. Michael Phelps managed to show a touch of class this year as he overcame Mark Spitz’s decades old record.
But sometimes the old guard is reluctant to let the torch out of their grasp. When the Yankees had the Red Sox in a 3-0 stranglehold during the 2004 ALCS, it seemed that the old guys had a little life left in them. But they should have realized that they had used up all the gas in the tank during the previous year’s ALCS. The Yankees may have won that 2003 series but in reality, Pedro Martinez body-slamming Don Zimmer was emblematic of the rivalry’s not too distant future. And in 2004 they proved it by fighting back to win the ALCS and then the World Series.
A similar fight broke out during the primary season as the junior senator from Illinois took on the Clinton juggernaut. And when the dust finally settled at the Democratic National Convention last night, it was obvious that the party the Clinton’s created was now firmly in the hands of Sen. Obama. Sure, there were a few last grasps for the torch (Hillary’s non-concession speech back in June for example) but the look on former President Clinton’s face during Sen. Clinton’s speech Wednesday night told the whole story.
So, how does one pass the torch gracefully and not get burned in the process? Well, you could take a lesson from Ted Kennedy (2008 Ted Kennedy, not 1980 Ted Kennedy)
Or you could look to Richard Nixon who so graciously handed off to Gerald Ford in 1974. However, I suggest avoiding the example of the 1997 and 2003 Florida Marlins. Or Jay Mariotti. Burning bridges and fire sales are tacky even in the best of times.