A friend of mine came into town from Venezuela a week ago and she came bearing gifts. The first thing she handed me was a thoughtful yet dangerous history of the American cocktail. So many recipes, so little time. Next up was what is surprisingly my first Scrabble set.
But the final item, although the smallest, was really what got me excited. It’s a calendar handed out by the US embassy in Caracas where each month features a different Venezuelan major leaguer. Of course there was the requisite Johan Santana and K-Rod but when I reached November and Miguel Cabrera swinging a bat, that was when I realized just how great of a gift it was.
I didn’t realize how amazing it was, though, until I turned the final page to an unknown pitcher for the Tigers. Well, unknown at the time. In the last couple days I think the entire country, even someone who has never watched a baseball game in their life, now knows who Armando Galarraga is.
And with all the events of the last couple days, I got to thinking. Despite MLB’s reliance on Venezuelan superstar players, relations
between the two countries are not exactly warm. Was it possible that Joyce’s blown call at first base was actually a conspiracy? Was this a subtle thumbing of the nose toward the often belligerent president of Venezuela? And if so, why, two days later, has Mr. Chavez still not weighed in on the subject?
We don’t have answers to these questions but with the weekend approaching and another edition of El Presidente’s weekly diatribe, “Alo Presidente”, set to hit the airwaves, you can be sure he’ll have something to say. And as always, we here at RSBS will make sure to keep you updated on all the events. Well, unless we get sucked into that first gift. Who knew you could do so much with whiskey, sugar and a lemon?
Special thanks to L for the calendar and all the other gifts. Be safe down there.
With the new decade almost a week old, I figured it was about time for us to check in with our old pal, Hugo, in the baseball crazy nation of Venezuela. Now, in the ongoing drama playing out down south, we have most recently seen El Jefe making nice with close American ally, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and threatening his next door neighbor, Colombia.
However, with the long Christmas break just finishing up and the people full of holiday cheer, this would be the time to announce some good news and keep the warm fuzzies going, right?
Wrong. Instead the government decided it needed to ration electricity and one of the best places to start was with shopping malls. Now, much like New Jersey, shopping malls in Venezuela are the epicenter of the social scene. So, forcing the malls to close at nine o’clock is akin to telling New Jersey-ites that they can still go out to bars, they just can’t do any more Jager-bombs. Exactly, full scale revolt would ensue.
Luckily, the government has now eased the restrictions slightly but is that any way to start a new decade? And when you also stop and realize that Venezuela is a major oil-producer, you really wonder what’s going on. How is it possible that with all that oil they can’t find a way to keep the electricity flowing?
For the time being, things are fine. And I feel no need to get personally involved. But the second that Chavez tries to pull Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez back from the Tigers, well, then the blue state half of this duo might be forced to go reckon with that affront personally.
“We feel at home
here and among our brothers … we’re going to be together until the
end,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his Venezuelan
counterpart Hugo Chavez during a visit to Latin America on Wednesday.
Both leaders roundly denounced US “imperialism,” and Chavez also called Israel “a murderous arm of the Yankee empire.”
Was anyone else consumed by the heebie-jeebies while reading that little clip? Okay, good. Glad it’s not just me.
This odd world political pairing is akin to Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger teaming up on a spooky Friday night while unsuspecting horny high school kids party in a remote campground nearby.
In other words, it’s gonna get messy.
And here I thought the only ‘murderous arm of the Yankee empire’ belonged to a big portly fella by the name of Sabathia, backed by a pair of oversized pinstriped pants for an oversized caboose insured for around $161 million.
Yes, dear readers, I think it is safe to say that Ahmadinejad and Chavez are secret members of the Red Sox Nation.
Hate me ‘cuz I expose the truth, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
The other day I wrote what I thought was a heartfelt tribute to my good friend, Jeffery Lung. I lost a contest and as the terms of the contest dictated, I had to write an essay in praise of Jeff and that I did. However, it seems that everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Apparently the ethos of “gotcha’ journalism” has seeped into every aspect of American life to the extent that even a laudatory essay automatically becomes suspect. C’mon people. I am not Keith Olbermann. I am not these guys:
I lost fair and square and so I did what was asked of me.
Now, I could have gone to one of the two extremes. I could have given the Oliver Stone on Hugo Chavez hagiography treatment to Jeff and made myself into as laughable an icon as the director of Platoon has now become. Or, I could have gone the other direction and filled the entry so full of sarcasm and tongue in cheek humor as to lose all sense of the original terms of the contest. Like Robert Frost, though, when I saw two roads diverge in a wood, I took the one less traveled by. The honorable one.
But the honorable path apparently doesn’t mean much these days. You all want to hear me talk about Jeff’s impressive collection of exfoliants and cleansers. Or his inability to find a girlfriend. Or Fernando Tatis’ repeated requests to Jeff to stop sending him pictures and letters about how much alike their goatees look. But I drew a line and I refused to cross it.
So, you can continue waiting for the other shoe to drop, but you’ll be waiting a long time. Jeff is my friend and that means I don’t question his decision to hang a life-size poster of Patrick Swayze over his bed. Really, that is what being a friend is all about. And god knows it’s better than a life-size poster of Whoopi Goldberg.
From the beginning, RSBS has been about both baseball and politics. But, it’s easy to lose track of the politics when the baseball plays out like it did this year. Also, the politics have been sucking. I mean, something needs to happen with health care but I’m sick of talking about it and even more sick of hearing about it.
Luckily, whenever I hit a point where American politics isn’t doing it for me, all I need to do is look south. No, a bit further south. No, not Guatemala. Keep going. Ok, there it is. Venezuela and it’s coffee-swilling chuckle-head of a president. So, what’s happening in the mind of el presidente today?
Hm, a little baseball over in that corner of the brain which makes sense. I mean, he is Venezuelan. Yep, definitely a little crazy over in that corner which makes sense since he’s from the same country as Ozzie Guillen. But those are just sideshows. If you really want to know what’s going on just step into the three-ring circus of Hugo’s anti-American paranoia. It’s a non-stop riot of fire-breathing, wild animal taming and tiny cars full of clowns. And this time it’s all about the war the US is apparently trying to launch against Venezuela from Colombia.
Here’s the thing, Hugo. Even if we wanted to start that war (which we don’t because, let’s face it, no one really cares about Venezuela), we don’t have the resources to do so. Cutting off ties with Colombia over this makes about as much sense as the proverbial cutting off of the nose to spite the face. Really Hugo, you need to sit back and take a lesson from someone who understands putting aside differences so we can get along. Deuce Poppi, take it away:
Happy Monday, y’all.
With the disputed elections in Iran this past weekend following hot on the heels of Kim Jong Il’s announcement that his third son will take over the reins of a dysfunctional but nuclear-armed North Korea, we here at RSBS started to wonder who would take the crown as king of the crazies if we actually did the research. Luckily, the interns had nothing better to do while Jeff and I watched some interleague tom-foolery and they came up with this objective and quantitatively analysed list. So, without further ado, we present the results of the very first RSBS “Demented yet Debonair” contest.
If at first you
don’t succeed, nationalize! Now, I’m aware that this could also be
America’s motto right now but Hugo has been doing it for so many years
now that he’s an old pro. On top of that, rumor has it that after the
recent introduction of Coke Zero to the country of Venezuela, President
Chavez promptly banned it on vague charges of healthiness. This coming
from a man who drinks enough coffee in one day to single-handedly
support Juan Valdez’s retirement. El Presidente, we salute you.
1st Runner Up:
just the snazzy gray suit worn without a tie or the oft repeated urge to wipe
Israel off the map. No, Mahmoud has that little something extra that
makes you think he’s capable of so much more. Maybe it’s the malevolent
twinkle in his eye. Maybe it’s his ability to go from zero to rabid
anti-Semite in 4 seconds flat. Or maybe it’s how he flummoxed all the
pundits and wiped out the opposition in this past weekend’s elections.
Whatever it is, the Iranian president will always be a contender.
Kim Jong Il
In a region where political longevity is often measured in fractions of years, the Kim family has managed to hold onto power for several decades now. How do they do it? Well, let’s just say that it has nothing to do with extra doses of the warm fuzzies. And Kim Jong Il’s announcement that his son, Kim Jong Un, will take over upon his demise combined with new nuclear sabre-rattling just kind of makes observers scratch their heads and wonder what is going on. However, knowing that Mr. Kim is a huge movie buff, I bet the picture all looked much clearer and much better in his head.
Sadly, despite all the craziness in the world today, there can only be one winner of this year’s “Demented yet Debonair” contest. And I don’t think any of our readers will be surprised to see….
Yep, although Commissioner Selig hasn’t done anything too wild recently, he still has done quite a bit to earn this honor. There was the infamous tied All-Star game and his non-action during the steroid era. He also bears a lot of the blame for the out of control inflation within baseball that has driven many fans out of the park and left it open only to corporate bigwigs and smarmy lawyers. But more importantly, Bud Selig created Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds and that’s unforgivable. Granted, he may not be looking to blow up the world or start the Bolivarian revolution but he has besmirched the good name of baseball. That’s not something we look lightly on here at RSBS. I suppose that if he sent Erin Andrews to come and convince us otherwise, though, at least half of us would listen.
–Thanks to L for the Coke Zero story
Wherever the Chicago White Sox fan-in-chief goes, you can be sure that some part of the American polity will find a reason to complain. And so it has been over the past couple weeks as President Obama visited England for the G-20 summit and then headed to Trinidad and Tobago for a sit-down with his Latin American counterparts.
The funny part about these dust-ups with certain personalities, though, is that they have little or nothing to do with the President’s actual policies and everything to do with his actions. Actions, I might add, that were very open to interpretation.
First, we had the apparent broach of royal protocol when Michelle Obama put her arm around the queen. But is it really a faux pas when the queen is the first to break with tradition and put her arm around our First Lady? I’m going to have to go with a big fat no on that one.
And then some people called foul on what looked like a bow as the President approached King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Was it a bow? Possibly. Probably. Does it matter? No. In fact, I don’t really think it’s such a bad thing if we show a little respect to our “special” partner of the past 50 years. There’s a reason we pay less than three dollars for a gallon of gas and the rest of the world pays over five.
And speaking of gas, the event that really has the punditocracy up in arms and ready to revolt was a handshake between Obama and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Yep. A handshake. Imagine that. He actually attempts some sort of rapprochement with one of our top oil producing partners, a country with whom relations have been very strained lately, and the response is derision and cries of treason from the chattering class.
Seriously, I think the only thing worse than being President would be managing a baseball team. Can you imagine being Joe Girardi as your team gives up 14 runs in one inning? Or Manny Acta every day of the season? How about Grady Little after you left Pedro in the game in the 8th? Nope, none of that sounds like fun to me.
In fact, he only way it would even kind of be worth it to have such a high profile position is if you could just go a little crazy with it. Like Mark Cuban. Or Isiah Thomas. Or how about the President of Iran? You have to be someone special to make Mel Gibson seem sane by comparison. But even he has his problems. Don’t tell anyone, though. It’s a secret!