What happened to the Twins?
Saint Paul, MN
Ah, yes, the Minnesota Twins. What did happen to those paragons of fundamentally sound baseball? An analysis of such depth requires patience, dedication and an insatiable hunger for the truth, so I put the RSBS interns to the task and they have provided the following slide show:
Nope, not even the healthy return of Morneau could make the pain of the above image go away. In fact, 2012 sorta seems like a good time to reset everything. Surprisingly, the Twins do have some decent offensive production (Mauer, Morneau, Willingham, Plouffe), but their pitching has been atrocious. Like, Kent Hrbek farting in your face type of “atrocious”. The average ERA of their six starters is over 5 and they have been blown out (lost by 5+ more runs) 23 times so far. And the bullpen? YIKES! Don’t ask them to hold a lead ‘cuz it’ll be difficult!
Like old baseball men love to say, “You’re only as good as your pitching”, and, well, when your pitching resembles the bottom of a porta-potty and the rest of the team can’t stay healthy, awful is pretty much what ya get. Don’t believe me? Ask the perennial sCrUBS.
Hate me ‘cuz I made you look at that famous Mauer back hair guy again, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Jeff (and interns)
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But having immensely enjoyed the 30th Olympiad from London thus far, the truth is, I don’t miss it at all. In fact, if I want to watch the best baseball in the entire world, I just flip over to any of the 15 games being broadcast on my DirectTV Extra Innings package (do I get a credit for that plug?).
And really, that’s the only reason needed for not including baseball as an Olympic sport. Remember how excruciating it used to be watching Olympic basketball without the finest athletes in the world participating? And that’s in a sport lucky enough to have worldwide appeal. Sure, we US Americans love our baseball, but the truth is, outside of Japan and a few pockets of Canadian air, the rest of the world could care less.
In fact, unless you grow up around the game of baseball, it’s pretty darn impossible to learn the rules of the game. Believe me, during my four years in China, I tried like crazy to teach it to anyone who would listen. But after a few hours of mass confusion, people tended to pretend they had to be somewhere, anywhere, just to get away from the crazy white guy wielding a stick and three different leather gloves.
Honestly, a professional-less international baseball tournament would be a pretty boring affair. The World Baseball Classic already features the best of the best, and even that has proven to be an extremely hard sell.
What makes the Olympic games so appealing, to me, is that it really is a celebration of glory. The absolute greatest athletes in their respective sports, from LeBron James to Roger Federer, Mary Keitany to Usain Bolt and hundreds more in between, all come to the same place, and the world is watching.
Albert Pujols ain’t gonna show up. Neither is Derek Jeter nor any other Major League Baseballer. And even if they did, the world wouldn’t care.
IOC Chairman Jacque Rogge’s original statement to MLB columnist Mark Newman sums it up pretty well:
“To be on the Olympic program is an issue where you need universality as much as possible. You need to have a sport with a following, you need to have the best players and you need to be in strict compliance with WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). And these are the qualifications that have to be met. When you have all that, you have to win hearts. You can win the mind, but you still must win hearts.”
Oh yeah, then there’s that whole juicing thing…
Hate me ‘cuz I’m cool with the Olympics as is, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
It may not have been Strasmas, but according to the lunar calendar (and millions of Japanese people) April 9th proved to be an equally auspicious day, no matter what, because it was the very first Major League appearance by the highly touted (and valiantly unashamed to be naked) Yu Darvish.
Like you would expect, I made an evening of it. Here’s a play-by-play:
Still at work. I have looked at the clock every minute for the last thirty minutes, and will continue to do so for thirty more. I finish up the last of my TPS reports, turn them in to my boss and shriek when he yells “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS???”
At the gym. Working on my… nah, who am I kidding, every time I look at a hot chick working out next to me she has Yu Darvish’s face, which I find as distracting as I do disgusting. Going home now.
Dinner (sushi, of course) has been eaten. Feet are up. Beer is in hand. Let’s DO THIS! *Belch*
FSSW misses Darvish’s first pitch. Nice work, dingleberries. The biggest pitch of the year so far and you miss it. They come back from commercial break and the count is already 1-0 to Chone Figgins. AGGGHH!!! Then Darvish quickly walks him. Um… this is not how it’s supposed to go, guys.
After striking out Ackley on a NAAASTY breaking ball, Ichiro steps in. Japan loses its mind. Then Ichiro singles on a blooper to left and, already, I’m realizing Yu ain’t Strasburg (yet).
Now Justin Smoak is on first, bases are loaded with one out for Kyle Seager. Bases loaded? I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR NO BASES LOADED!!!
Two-run gapper to right and now I’m pissed. I could have been out on a date tonight! With a real, live woman! And I passed it up for this crap???!!! WTF are YU DOING!?!?!
Darvish makes Miguel Olivo look like Johnny Bench and I’m bored. More Daisuke, less Nomo. Not even close to Strasburg. He doesn’t even have a weird hitch in his delivery like all the Japanese greats do!
He just walked in a run. It’s 4-0. EFF THIS.
Seriously, I know this is a small sample size, but I ain’t impressed and I’m changing the channel… to watch Freese and Holliday and Molina (they all homer)… CHAMPIONS.
Hate me. I understand. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Once the game was over, it was evident he battled back and settled down. The offense helped him out and he recovered well, and even fooled some hitters. But the hoopla was a bit much for me for him not to deliver with jazz hands. Or maybe I’ve just been spoiled by so much great pitching the last couple years that I expect greatness every game. Either way, I’ll check in again next time. I just ain’t makin’ a night of it.
With the Japaranian sensation Yu Darvish making his Big League career official by signing with the Texas Rangers, I thought it appropriate to lay down some ground rules for the inevitable onslaught of awful puns that are certain to tattoo newspapers and interwebs around the world.
*Note: All italicized examples come from Lone Star Ball’s Yu! Darvish Pun Sweepstakes, and commenter credit appears parenthetically.
Yu can’t Yuse Yu as in “You” unless Yu’re clever about it. The proceeding sentence may or may not constitute “cleverness”. But I can assure Yu old, crotchety sports columnists (ahem, Phil Rogers) are going to think they’re so cool by substituting “Yu” for “You” and slapping it on a headline. It’s like pornography, Yu know it when Yu see it (rooster).
Flip the script. Surprise us with just how clever Yu can be. Don’t settle for the easy route. Dravish highlights are ridiculous. Yu should YuTube them (Gay for Feliz).
The most important rule when Yutilizing Yu puns… MAKE US LAUGH. Even if Yu have to pull a Hollywood and recycle old gags, just make sure they work.
So, Who’s on first, What’s on second and I don’t know’s on third – I get that.
And the pitcher is . . .?
That’s what I said, Me!
No Me is catching.
Proper grammar is I am catching.
No I’s the manager, the catcher is me, and the pitcher is Yu!
I can’t pitch!
Exactly, and Yu will pitch to me. Now you’ve got it.
“Hello little man, boy, I heard a lot about you.”
The news is in the for MLB, and well, there is no news.
But Paula Deen got hit in tha damn head with a ham!!!
Wish I threw it.
But there is a ham fighter (and occasional nude male model) on the loose. The Rangers couldn’t keep C.J. Wilson but they sure ponied up to possibly sign Yu Darvish. After the Los Angels signed Alberta de la Pujols, Texas had to do something and they definitely went BIG.
I don’t speak Farsi or Japanesy-Chinesey like Jeffy, but I’ve been all over this kid for a couple years and am eager to see him pitch in the Bigs. I finally have a Middle Eastern brother to watch!
Decision making while tired has happened many times whilst signing Asian ballplayers has been bad, (see Fukudome, Kosuke or K, Dice) but I think this cat has it going on. He’s extremely consistent statistically, has a powerful arm and my manometer is blasting! I will make a pilgrimage to Arlington to see him, which means I’ll probably have a woman shooting at me eventually. Everybody’s packing down there!
Anyway, this was early Xmas for me, (even though the Prince isn’t a Cub yet) so I got my reindeer sweater and I’m blastin this bomb.
“Jesus, that’s wet.”
Have a great whatever you do!
Follow Johanna on Twitter!
Okay, technically it was more of a catfight than a bidding war, but I guarantee you it was fierce. I was in college at the time, and I somehow duped two girls into believing I was A-list boyfriend material. A gnarly girlpocalypse ensued.
It was awesome.
Then there was also the time in middle school where, for a small fee of one US American dollar, I would open up my father’s Playboy collection for viewing, all in the name of health and sex education, of course.
But I’ve never been Yu Darvish-ed before. I mean, I’ve never had a bunch of folks throwing MAD MONEY at me just for the opportunity to negotiate a contract. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, but Nolan Ryan has never gone all in on my ass…ets. My assets. That’s what I meant to say.
Personally, I cannot WAIT to see Yu Darvish in action. I’ve been salivating at his proposed Major League entry since the ’09 WBC and now it looks like I may finally get my wish. Picture a 2012 season with an Adam Wainwright, a Stephen Strasburg AND a Yu Darvish!?!?!? Somebody douse me with Gatorade!
Meanwhile, if Yu’s people are any good, then they got their Newt Gingrich on before teams put in their final bids. You know it, I know it and the American people know it: no one sells access like the Grand Old Party.
Oh the Dems do it too.
Ron Paul. That is all.
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Wilson Ramos Kidnapped
I know Venezuela has a vast array of domestic problems, but why kidnap Wilson Ramos?!?! While he may some day become a catching superstar for the Nationals, he only made the league minimum in his 2011 rookie season, and I can think of 18 million reasons why Carlos Zambrano would have made a better target.
Rick Perry Is a Moron
In case the whole let’s waste taxpayer money and time by devoting an entire day to praying that “God” will fix our country’s financial woes rather than taking any responsibility or doing any actual work to make things better strategy didn’t prove that presidential hopeful Rick Perry is a mindless delusionoid, then perhaps this republican debate gaffe will make it clear:
MLB & Taiwan All-Stars
Hooray! There was baseball in November… even if no one outside of Taipei paid any attention to it. I heard there were some exciting moments, but none could be considered as entertaining as my favorite Chinese baseball experience:
And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
The proverbial (and literal) gloves come off in this verbal masquerade of utter ridiculousness and yes, injuries do occur (though mostly to Johanna and, since they are mental in nature, hardly noticed). Among the topics of conversation one will find: Jeff’s wandering Forever 21 eyes, Zack Greinke’s ribs, the difference between a half and a full nelson, Cameroonian baseball, Bud Selig-bashing take 47 and much, much more… all to make you smile, laugh and play!
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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. Keith is all over the interwebz killin’ it. You should definitely check out his crew and their subsequently hilarious podcast at Undercard Films. And keep your eye out for what’s next. Dude’s makin’ a movie!
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Recorded Saturday, March 12, 2011
And since Japan has provided us with the talents of Hideo Nomo, Akinori Iwamura, So Taguchi, Ichiro Suzuki and many, many more, we would just like to remind them and everyone else touched by the recent disasters in the Far East that we definitely got their backs — that the power of many is stronger than the power of one.
The rebuilding process will be slow, but together we can get ‘er done.
For more information on how you can help, please visit The Huffington Post and examine its list of charitable foundations.
Jeff & Al
Billboards in New York City touted his valiant arrival. Buzzing baseball elite charged that he would revolutionize the Mets. Everyday fans scurried to find a suitable nickname for their new best player they’d never heard of.
It was the Spring of 2004 and if you asked me to speak some Japanese, even I probably would’ve said: Matsui-san. Kazuo Matsui-san.
Because I, too, joined the hype.
But why? Why was the baseball world so enamored with an import player whom no one knew anything about? Why did we allow his persona to be so pumped up with pomp, such expectation, sight unseen?
Indeed, Ichiro Suzuki changed the landscape of Major League Baseball — allowing for the mysteriously effective small-ball game to reinject itself into the big boppin’ steroidfest it had become. His mannerisms, his character, his magnetism — on and off the field — were a throwback to the baseball heroes of old. Marveled by his talent, we the US American public accepted and celebrated Ichiro for resurrecting respect in a league where little remained.
So I get it. I understand why we started to get excited about the Japanese baseball contention.
But, the fact is: for every Ichiro Suzuki there’s a Kosuke Fukudome, a So Taguchi, or worse, a Kaz Matsui. For every Hideo Nomo, a Kei Igawa, Hideki Irabu, Daisuke Matsuzaka.
And while it makes a good headline that the A’s and Twins are going out and bidding top dollar for the rights — yes, just the rights — to negotiate with Hisashi Iwakuma and Tsuyoshi Nishioka respectively, I still can’t help but feel sorry for the failure both are being set up for in the future.
American, Dominican, Venezuelan, Canadian, Japanese… there’s only one Ichiro.
And as proved by Kazuo Matsui’s silent saunter back home this offseason, expecting anything but is a guarantee for disappointment.
Hate me. Whatevs. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.