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 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!
When I was 7 years old I watched Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. That one game had a huge impact on me, my imagination and why I eventually became the baseball-lovin-monster I am today.
It was the first time I’d ever witnessed “a miracle”, the first time I really understood you need 27 outs to win a baseball game and the first time I realized that there is no substitute for hard work.
Years later, as a teenager, I recall hearing Gary Carter tell his version of what took place in Flushing that night, that during his at-bat that started the astonishing go-ahead rally his only thought to himself was “Don’t make the last out.”
That resonated with me.
Don’t make the last out.
Don’t ever give up.
Don’t give any effort but your best.
Rest in peace, Number 8.
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…
One with the birds-on-the-bat forever, being relished with the Medal of Freedom, still the subject of myriad barbershop tall tales.
And one who has a lot of thinking to do.
Regardless, everyone will shut their traps if you just go out and win it all in 2011.
So yeah. Go and… uh… do that.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
The Hall of Fame, PEDs and the suggested fondness of Phil Rogers is all it takes to get Jeff and Johanna attempting to kill each other. Allen probably wished at least one of them would have succeeded… but you’ll have to decide for yourself as the fellas discuss all things controversial and racy (almost like ‘sexy’ but less sexual). Keith Hernandez gets a mention. And the Kirk Gibson story… well ya need to just hear it… all to make you Sir or Madame Smilesalot!
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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, so go check it out!
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Recorded Saturday, January 8, 2011
To quote a local legend who has as many haters as he does supporters, “sit back, relax and strap it down!” because I’m about to do something I don’t ever do. Ever.
That’s right, folks. I’m gonna admit to some mistakes.
Three of them. To be exact.
Now since such an occasion is as rare as Amy Winehouse is sober, y’all might wanna bookmark this for future reference (I’m sure my perverse and oft headstrong colleague, Mr. Krause, has already done so). The truth is, in order to be a true progressive — someone who is always striving to be, to do, to get better, at any and everything — one must be able to call out his own mishaps, learn from them, and then grow from them.
After being a slave to nicotine for 12 long years, on December 30, 2009, I had an epiphany (not to mention a scary heart palpitation) which forced me to quit smoking — cold turkey — forever and ever. That 180 degree turnaround inspired me to get healthy, to learn about nutrition, to educate myself on how to feel good.
And it worked. Physically and emotionally, I have never felt better in my life!
One year ago, as we stewed over the 2010 Hall of Fame ballot, I was quite adamant in my belief that Roberto Alomar didn’t qualify as a lock for the Hall. My reasoning had nothing to do with the spit-take sitch, and everything to do with my memory of how bad he was in a Mets uniform. Unfair as that assessment is/was, I went back and looked at his numbers and came to the realization that he was one of the best second basemen of all-time.
And after years of being bullied by my rowdy college mates for not seein’ what they saw in Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala during those Star Wars prequel disasters, I finally realized what the problem was: my first and lasting impression of sweet Natalie was as a 13 year-old girl engaging in strange and subtle sexual tension with a scruffy lookin’ Jean Reno. How could I be turned on by that?!?!
So yeah, me and my manliness can both attest to a completely deserved and sexified 180 turn around in that regard. Just in time too, now that Natalie is off the market and devoted to makin’ babies.
Oh well. There’s always Padme’s body double!!!