Tagged: Hockey

Incarnations, Reclamations and Exhortations

george_steinbrenner.jpgJane Heller had an interesting question regarding yesterday’s filibuster post. She asked:

Does this mean, Al, that you would have taken Steve Howe back 6 times like Steinbrenner did? He picked up Strawberry and Gooden too. He loved reclamation projects.

Now, first of all, I have to say that it’s a pretty low blow to compare me to satan incarnate. Am I older than god and incontinent? No. But the question itself is interesting. Baseball, like life, seems to be all about reclaiming, recycling and otherwise reusing. Honestly, is there any other reason that Kyle Farnsworth still has a job?

The first part of the question is easy. The only Howe that I would take multiple times is Gordie and any true Michigander would be right there with me. But if you look at baseball right now, how many players are in their newest incarnation as the result of some sort of experiment, some sort of reclamation? Rick Ankiel. Josh Hamilton. The existence of the designated hitter shows the natural (or unnatural, depending on who you ask) evolution of this philosophy.

But I guess here’s what I’ll say. If you can pick up a guy who’s iffy and he’s not going to be a cancer in the clubhouse, why not give it a try? And if you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work but you have a new approach this time, I say go for it. In the end, that’s what sets your run of the mill GM or owner apart from the greats. The great ones recognize who can still contribute and in what way while the other guys just fish around and hope for the best.

Here’s a good rule of thumb, though. Kyle Farnsworth is beyond reclamation. Can we just agree on this once and for all?

-A

Bedlam! Yay!

chicago theatre.jpgGet ready world, the Second City is about to take second stage (duh, the Cardinals and Tigers are playing) as Ozzie Guillen and his White Sox make their annual vomit inducing trip to that sacred dump on the Northside, Wrigley Field.  Emergency rooms from East Chicago to Oak Park, all the way up to Waukegan are expecting a full flow of the black and blued.

The only bad thing about this series is that it’s simply too short — and, for whatever lame reason (to curb unwanted drunken injuries perhaps?) the schedule puts chapter one of the 2009 Crosstown Classic on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday rather than stage the regular weekend raucous which often leads to… well, death.  Insatiable bloodsuckers like myself will have to find another way…

Still, this will be a memorable occasion.  Think Bob Probert with fangs versus Chris Chelios with brass knuckles, both of them drunk enough to do Phyllis Diller in a well lit room.  To celebrate the awesome combination of equally bitter/mediocre clubs sharing this fine city, we would like to continue what has become an RSBS tradition, with the sacred presentation of the worst rap song ever made:



“Black and blue, daz wha you gonna be!”

“Oh, yeah? It’s the Crosstown Ri-val-ry!”

No ball game — no matter how poorly played or mismanaged or lackadaisical — could be more embarrassing than that.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*Remember, starting tonight, the Cardinals try to put an end to the blasphemy spewed by my Tiger-lovin’ colleague, Mr. Krause, and his incessant yet feeble attempts at revisionist history.  You had your Denny McLain, Mr. Krause.  We had our Wainwright.  Get over it. 

**Special shout-out to Tom Walsh from Rocky Mountain Way for taking the time to meet with me on Monday. Good times.  Post to come.

***Oh, and a special thank you to Sammy Sosa for making this Crosstown Classic buzz with juicy revelations!
 

Metamorphoses

dontrelle_willis.jpgLast year I made the mistake of placing my faith in the savior apparent of the Detroit Tigers, a man I lovingly referred to as my big, black baby Jesus. He rewarded my faith by issuing more free passes than a scalper outside a Washington Nationals game. But after some time in the minors and a stint on the DL for an “anxiety disorder,” Dontrelle Willis finally made it back to the big leagues last night. And didn’t do a whole lot to allay our fears.

It’s rare that we see our heroes crumble into dust and then reemerge as a better version of themselves. Al Gore and Andre Agassi are good examples of how that works out at it’s best but, unfortunately, the Dontrelle Willis route is much more common. Something happens, something disappears and suddenly the person is a shell of their former self. It’s like the final episode of Seinfeld. We recognize it as being Seinfeld but its essential Seinfeldness wasn’t there.

That’s why I especially appreciate it, though, when heroes of my childhood reemerge in a better if not stronger form. Sergei Fedorov leads the Red Wings for years and then plays his heart out for the Washington Capitals. Kirk Gibson lays it on the line for the ’84 Tigers and then comes back and provides the spark for the ’88 Dodgers as well. But if I have to choose only one hero who has come back better, stronger and faster, well, I think this video will explain:

Willie Tanner: a poor man’s Eraserhead.

-A

The Filibuster

This weekend we saw a series pitting the team with the best record in
the league against the team with the worst record. At what point in the
season do you think we’ll see this again and which teams will take part
the next time around?

–Allen
__________________________________________

Bush_Nats.jpgAs long as the Washington Nationals continue to be a baseball franchise (sorta), you can be quite sure that this scenario will pop up once again.  Will they be playing the MLB best Cardinals next time?  The Dodgers?  The Blue Jays in June during interleague play?

The truth is: I have absolutely no clue.

Because so far nothing this season has been on my radar: that the Cardinals’ piecemeal bullpen could hold itself together through April… that the Blue Jays would find a way to win in the AL East… that no one wants Pedro Martinez…

But in the end, one thing will always remain certain: The Washington Nationals are a national joke.

After some hardcore number-crunching analysis, one might conclude that their suckage is rooted in their inherent identity crisis:
 

  • Are we the Expos?
  • Are we the Senators who are now the Twins?
  • Are we the Nationals who were the Expos?
  • Are we the other Senators who are now the Rangers?

Or perhaps it stems from their dizzying closet of uniform combinations:

washington nationals uniforms.jpgWho knows? Maybe the Nats are an embarrassment because they find this food stand inside Nationals Park to be a family-friendly establishment:

senators sausages.jpgDear readers, I could go in a million different directions with that snafu of a baseball bodega — none of them good — but I will save you (and myself) from the certain discomfort and unpleasant visualization it would cause.

Whatever the reason for the Nationals’ lack of success, I must admit how sad it was for me — as a baseball fan — to see such a beautiful ballpark only a quarter full for a Friday night game.  It was disappointing too that there were more Cardinal fans in attendance than Nats fans and that the loudest cheers I heard all weekend were in response to the Capitals vs. Penguins playoff hockey game — the favorable D.C. score of which was posted on the jumbotron in between innings, thus rousing Washingtonians into a fervent coup d’etat aimed towards building a bigger hockey arena while at the same time finding a more thirsty suitor for the oh-so-lowly Nats, all of their prior nicknames, logos and dysfunctional sausages.

So far, no takers.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

(Senators Sausages image courtesy of Wonkette)
(Uniform image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Chili (and Change) We Can Believe In

obama_bens.jpgAfter barely surviving the sucker punch that was 2008, 2009 appears to be treating the Michigan diaspora a little better. For instance, this past week we learned that Curtis Granderson will be representing the USA in the World Baseball Classic. Now, I’m not saying that Granderson is the best center fielder out there but he has developed into a talent to be watched over the past couple seasons and it’s nice to see him get a little more recognition for that. It was also nice to see the Red Wings take down the red-hot Blackhawks on the ice at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day.

However, there was another red-hot piece of news that truly warmed my heart as an American and current denizen of our nation’s capitol. Although it was never really in doubt, President-elect Obama reconfirmed yesterday that that we truly share the same values. Now, I’ve mentioned the DC institution and National’s ballpark mainstay, Ben’s Chili Bowl, before but it bears repeating that this place is beyond amazing. And when I watched footage yesterday of Mr. Obama’s visit to Ben’s, I realized that here this man is in touch with the nation’s stomach in a way we haven’t seen since Clinton’s first term. I mean, here is a guy who appreciates the chili-cheese half-smoke and unabashedly supports a single baseball team. Could anything be more American?

Now, I know that the months ahead are going to be difficult for Obama and his team. In fact, one might even compare it to the torment that is the line at Ben’s around 2 in the morning on a weekend. But, if the past week is any indication, maybe we are seeing change we can believe in. I just hope that CG and the Tigers offer me a little of the same.

-A

Chaos A.D.

chaos.jpgHold on to your money-makers, dear readers… this is gonna be a thrashing ride reminiscent of Clint Malarchuk’s 1989 throat-slashing — the first and only image on television that made me actually throw up. 

Bleh.

Verily, NBC gave her demonic highness, Ann Coulter, the greatest public relations gift in the history of the human race by banning her for life from their network and all like-minded lefty-linked affiliates.  This decision was made in lieu of Coulter’s new book which attacks the media as being a farcical, one-sided (left), pretentious boys club incapable of stomaching any of her ranting diatribes, most of which we learned folks have grown to just call ‘crap’.  Strongly suggestive of fecal matter or not, Ms. Coulter is still a US American, one who is astutely literate in the land of fantasy writing and one who has the same exact rights that all of us share in making our voice and our opinions known.  Nothing good can come from this.  She’s going to run with it ad nauseum and in this case, NBC clearly proved the exact point she’s been trying to make all along.

And it might not make me want to vomit as much as the above, but Pat Burrell is now a Tampa Bay Ray and in doing so virtually shuts the door on my boyhood hero, Ken Griffey, Jr. ever getting another shot in the playoffs.  Having shored up their veteran/DH hitting needs, I doubt the Rays will have much interest in Junior now.  In my mind, this can only mean he’ll likely end up with that cyclical hell-hole of a franchise known as the Seattle Mariners (for nostalgia’s sake — yack).  Sorry, Junior.  I really am.

And just as sure as I was that the Democrats’ insatiable desire for unwanted negative attention had already met Biblical proportions, it got worse when Rod Blagojevich appointee and prophetic puppet, Roland Burris, said he was the junior Illinois senator because “the Lord has ordained” him.  How come the Lord is always talking to everyone except me? 

Maybe he’s been talking to Al Franken too.  No matter what, the Minnesota senatorial feud will be nothing short of a long, drawn-out, party-dividing legal and social battle that will only make us hate politicians that much more, if that’s even possible… wait, yeah… yeah it is… because there’s still this guy:

bill richardson.JPGOh and yeah, there’s also still this guy:

rod blagojevich smiling.jpgAnd of course his team is just one passing physical away from putting another ice pick in my chest and signing Milton Bradley to a three-year deal.  In essence, the Cubs continue to get better, continue to open their change purse, continue to be savvy in all their dealings.

Note to John Mozeliak: You might want to consider waking the hell up!

And no, Mr. Mozeliak, I do not consider your signing of left-handed bullpen scrub Royce Ring, who finished 2008 with an ERA higher than Method Man and Redman on a Saturday night backstage (his ERA was 8.46), to be a “savvy” move.

(*insert dramatic pause while I take the time to puke… again.)

Ahem.

So what do I do when the world around me crumbles like Amy Winehouse during happy hour?

I tune into the wondrous world that is Red State Blue State

But, folks, it ain’t always pretty.  And it’s painfully obvious to anyone with a remedial math education that whether I’m younger by twelve years or twelve days or twelve hours than my cooped-up colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, I am and always will be younger than he, and more eloquent, and better at baseball.  That’s just the hard, undeniable truth.

And yes, just as Mr. Krause stated in his low-blow, I did indeed spend some quality years without a steady girlfriend.  This I cannot deny.  But to call me out on the transgressions of the past without expecting a wicked rebuttal is quite juvenile. 

Alas!  Mr. Krause has long been the New York Yankees of meaningful romantic relationships: he was always in one, always spending too much money, always on top (so I hear).

Equally, I have long been the Tampa Bay Rays: never actually in the race, always flirting with free-agent wh0res who weren’t worth the inflated dollars, always on the bottom (cuz that’s just how I roll).

But (and I think we can all see where this is going here) like all facets in the grand scheme of life, balance ultimately plays a most crucial role.  And nowadays it’s pretty apparent that I’m on top (with a hot girlfriend) while Mr. Krause wallows in the despair that is not making the “playoffs” for the first time since 1993.  Don’t worry, Al, I’m sure they seat parties of one on Valentine’s Day somewhere in the nation’s capital.  If not, you can always give Eliot Spitzer a call.  I’m sure he knows some “people”.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Please Excuse My Colleague’s Blind Ignorance; He’s a Michigander and Therefore Knows Not the Error of His Ways

kathy bates misery.jpgIndeed, Misery, thy name is Detroit.

Equally so, Ignorance, thy name is Mr. Allen Krause.

“…the fact is, neither of them [Albert Pujols, Dustin Pedroia] deserved the MVP for this year.”
       — Allen Krause, Misery, Thy Name is Detroit

Ordinarily, I prefer to eschew my impetus to pass judgment and/or speculate the grounds of one’s idiocy, but in this case, Mr. Krause, I’m afraid there is no explanation for your blasphemy other than to say you must be smoking the same stuff as our dear leader; and it’s certainly beginning to show.

Next you’ll be saying things like:

Or…

Or even worse:

Look, I and our dear readers all know that even though you reside in Washington, D.C., you’re still a Michigander at the core of your being and with that comes a certain inherited blind ignorance in the way of assessing athletic achievement.  And we all realize that, aside from your Hockeytown Redwings, you don’t have much to cheer about these days.  U of M looks like a pop-warner team.  The Tigers are the baseball equivalent of our nation’s financial mess.  The Lions are an absolute abomination, better fit for cleaning toilets in an Amtrak restroom than trying to execute the fundamentals of football.

But when you say that both Pujols and Pedroia were not rewarded for their efforts this season but rather for feats of the past, I have no choice but to postulate: what the $#%& is wrong with you?!?!

Pujols’ numbers were hands down the best of anyone this season.  He is always an MVP candidate for the simple fact that he is always getting better and always carrying his team.  He won the MVP in 2005.  He should’ve won in 2004.  This year, 2008, above any else, was certainly cause for him to win again because without Pujols in that lineup, the Cardinals would’ve probably been the 20 games under .500 team everyone thought they’d be at the start. 
   
In the case of Pedroia, his 2008 achievements were far better than his 2007 achievements.  He proved himself an invaluable leader throughout the season both with his bat and his glove, not to mention his guts and brawn.

So where the hell do you find it reasonable to compare these two paragons of baseball accomplishment to Denzel Washington and his role in Training Day, which, by the way, was also very well acted no matter what you think, Mr. Krause.

I’d suggest that you take this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday to give thanks that despite your inability to successfully formulate sensible arguments with actual information to back yo ^ss up you still have a cushy intellectual job that turns a blind eye to your inaccuracies, as grave as they are.

Oh yes, Al, you can hate me.   That’s fine.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy