“At what point in the season will you cry hardest: when the Cubs win the
NL Central or when the Cards are mathematically eliminated from the
playoffs? And which brand of tissue will you use to wipe your nose?”
Such a pleasant surprise to see you stretch those muscles of intelligentsia by presenting me with such a highly researched question of moronic proportion, Mr. Krause. Though I am not immune to dodging your loquacious prods that are ultimately meant to force my hand into an all-out rant with repercussions that would probably get me into a lot of trouble, in this particular case, I am inclined to take the high road and make you look like an idiot. But since you’re already an idiot, my job is just that much simpler.
Due to the fact that the foundation of your question is completely erroneous in itself, let me address it by quoting the infamous Jimmy Dugan:
So there, Al. Now that you know there is no crying in baseball, you know I won’t be crying about anything. But — and let’s just say I’m entertaining your idiocy here — even if there was such a thing as ‘crying in baseball’, what in the world makes you think I would have anything to cry about? Would I cry about a team that has already surpassed the expectations of every single baseball-follower on the planet? A team that boasts a record of 16 wins, a half game out of first place as we come to the end of April? A team that presents a spring of young, exciting, homegrown talent with names like Brendan Ryan, Skip Schumaker and Colby Rasmus? A team that has arguably the best player in the entire game in A.P.? A team that has won with a no-name starting rotation (ironically) named Wainwright, Lohse, Wellemeyer, Looper and Pineiro/Thompson? A team that is a perennial contender? A team that manufactures wins where other teams (i.e. the Tigers) just kind of give up after they find themselves down? Yeah (*cue the sarcasm), I’m extremely disappointed in this team’s performance thus far. Yeah, I’m real upset that we’re winning without a lineup full of underachieving, overpaid superstars and a pitching staff more volatile than nuclear fission who collectively find themselves at the bottom of the AL Central. Yeah, I’m real upset about that.
And you’re asking me — in April — which event(s) that may or may not happen in October are going to make me cry harder? Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. October is the furthest thing from my mind right now and you shouldn’t even think about it at all because you’ll just be setting yourself up for disappointment. That’s right, Mr. Krause. What I’m more worried about is whether or not you’ll become suicidal when my prediction of the Tigers missing the playoffs all together comes to fruition (and it will, so start the Paxil cycle now). In fact, Al, you have a lot of nerve asking me such a question when your team can’t seem to figure themselves out while the Sox continue to win and C.C. and the Tribe find their old game. Hockeytown has never seen such implosion — oh wait, yes they have (see the 2006 WS or any of their 100 loss seasons for more information).
What kind of tissue will I use? Come on, Al, you’re starting to sound like a Cub fan. Really. Next thing I know, you’ll be creating racially insensitive t-shirts and selling them on the streets, getting drunk at 11 a.m., and knocking over little kids and their dreams to get your hands on a foul ball.
Besides, real men don’t use tissue. They use their sleeves.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
**Click here for the Jason Grilli ERA Watch Update. The Italian Stallion’s back in the ring!
It’s no secret, folks. As a Cardinals fan living on the Southside of Chicago, when it comes to American League baseball, I align myself with the only team whose fans love to hate the Cubs more than I do: the White Sox. Besides our distaste for the Northsiders, we share many things in common: we are Winners (see 2005, 1917, ’06 for the Sox, see 2006, 1982, ’67, ’64, ’46, ’44, ’42, ’34, ’31, ’26 for the Cards) and the Sox, under Ozzie Guillen, tend to play a little faster, smaller game reminiscent of the National League style. I get to see my Redbirds when they come to Wrigley each season, but because the idiots who made the schedule this year decided the Cubs/Cards series wasn’t important enough that they should maybe play a set in Chicago before August, I have to whet my appetite with the team just blocks from my home.
On Saturday, I woke up still hung over from the onslaught of fan-mail and paparazzi chasings resulting from MLB’s recognition of Red State Blue State. The rain was falling at a steady pace creating gloomy shadows on my plans for the day, but the Tigers were in town (I could smell their stink from my house) and nothing would please me more than to see the Good Guys beat the Bad Guys. There was no staying home.
Fighting my way through the crowd outside 29th & Poplar Ave, I managed to meet the #8 Halsted bus just as it was arriving. I got on and kept my head low; it wasn’t until we reached 35th St. that someone finally recognized me:
“Hey, aren’t you that guy from Harry Potter?” some kid said.
“No. That’s not me.”
“You sure? You look just like Harry Potter.”
“No, you probably recognize me from Red State Blue State, the MLBlog made famous by–
“Shut up. You’re Harry Potter. Can I have your autograph?”
I signed the autograph. I signed it “Eat Me” in big block letters and was off the bus before anyone noticed.
A brisk walk later, I was standing in front of the glory that is The Joan (aka U.S. Cellular Field, The Cell). At first sight, it was a dreary picture:
I did have to take a moment and pay homage to the commemorative 2005 sculpture out front with bronze likenesses of Ozzie, Paulie, Crede, Dye & Co.:
But enough about my perils and lack of humility. There was a game going on, and as you can see from this picture, everyone was out to see it by first pitch:
p; If only I were a trustfund baby on the Northside and Mommy and Daddy would support my drinking habit and I could go to that sold out 1:20 p.m. start on a Thursday because I don’t have to work for a living…
Sorry. The game. I was talking about the game. Not much was going on really. Verlander and Floyd were dealing. It was fast. Orlando Cabrera put one on the boooooooaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrd, YES! and Carlos Quinton gunned a man out at the plate and Joe Crede had a move at third that would make Brooks Robinson proud. But not much else. The rain. The rain never stopped.
Then I looked up at the centerfield clock. It read 1:05 p.m. Game started at 12:05. We were already in the middle of the 5th inning! I looked at the scoreboard and saw quite the anomaly: all zeros across the DET line. I nudged my buddy, Ron Harlow, and said, “Hey, pal. Look at the scoreboard.” Our eyes locked, we shut up and we enjoyed the magic.
The Sox went on a scoring spree.
Gavin Floyd dealt.
Having never witnessed a no-hitter in person, I was praying that Gav could pull through. But in the 8th inning, only five outs away, Edgar Renteria hit a bloop single to right and the no-no was no more. Gavin got a huge ovation from all 1,000 of us who were there and Ozzie ran out and gave him the hook.
Good Guys 7, Bad Guys 0, Final.
It was a great first game to see. Can’t wait for the next one.
In the meantime, Allen’s Hockeytown Tigers continue to disappoint (but they’re still gettin’ paid). It’s a shame. A travesty. Sickening. I have a feeling we’ll be talking about this team for years to come as the most underachieving in history.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*Click here for the Jason Grilli ERA Watch.
Tommy LaSorda is fat. I mean really fat. So is John Kruk. Which current
ballplayer or manager is most likely to become grotesquely obese like
these two men?
Due to the recent developments and growing notoriety of Red State Blue State, it is certainly arguable that I may have lost any sense of humility I once had. My attorney has advised me to remain silent on this issue, so I will; however, I cannot stop myself from pointing out the increasingly shallow nature of my colleague, Allen Krause. After much deliberation, my agent has advised me to go ahead and tackle this insensitive inquiry despite the possible repercussions because “there is no such thing as bad press.”
So, Al, my aura and I will now address your lowbrow turn from inquisitive, thought-provoking debate:
Yeah, Lasorda is overweight. Kruk is overweight. A slew of baseball folks easily fit into that dangerous weight category. But you know what? That’s just one of the many reasons why I enjoy the game of baseball more than any other sport.
How many competitive sports do you know where a 300 pound man without muscle tone toting around a big, paunch beer belly can be considered a real athlete? Sure, the NFL has 300+ pound men all over the field, but those guys work out and look good (for the most part). Meanhwile, big slobby-lookin’ dudes like David Wells, Bobby Jenks and David Weathers thrive as dominant athletes… well, Wells (used to) and Jenks (does) anyway.
I find it quite satisfying seeing an everyday-lookin’ joe like Jenks or Kruk achieve all that success with such a corpulent physique. It reminds me that baseball is a game that anyone can play — fat guys included — so it creates the illusion that even I, a 29 year old, 5’8, 155 lb. Mandarin-speaking white guy with a 48 mph fastball and a slider that always hangs, could possibly make it to the Big Leagues. Okay, maybe I’m totally wrong on that… but you get my point.
Of course, this isn’t what Mr. Krause wants to hear. What he is really asking is which current manager/player is most likely to be the face of NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig.
That is the dumbest question I have ever heard, Al, and you should be ashamed for taking up such precious MLBlog space by asking it. The 2008 season has begun, your team stinks, my team is in first place, the Jason Grilli ERA Watch has dipped considerably (8.44 at the time of this publication), the Diamondbacks are the best team in baseball, the Sawx v. Evil Empire series is in full-force and all you can muster out of that skinny little head of yours is ‘who will be the fattest person in baseball?’
I see what you’re trying to do: you’re trying to paint me into a corner, force me to make a fool of myself and talk about something else so we will be distracted from the atrocities of the Tigers and your point of view. Mr. Krause, I will not subject our readers to such shallow diatribes.
But I will post some pictures of my favorite plus-size ballplayers, past and present:
So there you have it. 9 of my favorite players with above average appetites. All this writing about it is making me hungry. I think I’ll just have an apple.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
So Alex Rodriguez makes more money than the entire Florida
Marlins team. Must be pretty hard to
live up to such high expectations – especially in a bullying market like New York. Until recently, I couldn’t even begin to
fathom what that kind of pressure is like.
…and then I (we, Allen Krause and I) became famous.
Sure, it all started out quietly, you know, like that hushing
wind that breezes across the plains accompanied by purple skies right before
the big storm. So the Detroit Tigers/Hillary Clinton comparison I made was masterfully quoted on the MLB.com homepage – big deal. Just doing my bloggin’ thang… fillin’ the role
I was meant to fill because all my sliders hung and I couldn’t get around on a
65 mph fastball. Some are born to play
ball, some are born to rant on ball.
And then it happened.
At 5 a.m. this morning I got the call:
PHONE CALLER GUY: Hey, is this Jeff Lung?
PHONE CALLER GUY: Whoa, it’s really you?
ME: Yes, it’s
me. What do you want? It’s 5 in the morning.
PHONE CALLER GUY:
Wow, I can’t believe it’s really you.
ME: Who are you and
what do you want!?!
PHONE CALLER GUY: Your picture is on MLBlog’s homepage and I just wanted to pick your brain about what it’s like to be on the internet underneath Jose Reyes?
Life hasn’t been the same since.
I walked out of my Southside apartment this morning to a deluge of paparazzi. I smiled and nodded, answered some
questions from my fans but I must be honest: it was tiresome, and I still have a day job, so I had to punch (WHAM!) one of them (one of the paparazzi, not one of my fans) to get away.
On the 29/State bus it was the same: mobs of people begging
for my autograph, picture, a Jason Grilli ERA Watch report. I obliged but I gotta admit, it was tiresome, overwhelming
and downright stressful.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time. Tomorrow I am going to my first game of the year: White Sox
v. Tigers at the Joan. Fearing more of the same mob
mentality from those who come within ten feet of my aura, I will do my best to ‘fit in’ tomorrow by wearing a disguise and I will certainly
not make any public statements. I’m sorry, but even a guy like me needs a break once in a while.
In fact, afterwards, I’ll probably have to go to Evanston — to take a breather and get away from it all.
So, while I’m relaxing, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m beautiful…or because I’m right. Please? Okay, pretty please?
Excuse me, Mr. Krause, I didn’t know that you were stumping for office. You see, I must admit that you indeed fit the mold. You are quite good at flip-flopping positions and sighting “literary technique” as an excuse for your haphazard quips and careless backstreet follies. Let’s face it, Al. You’re wrong and I expect you to start rolling up your sleeves and kissing babies any minute.
So while you do that, let me play the role of *high-road pundit and pull back the *proverbial curtain on your shortcomings. (*These are literary techniques used to ridicule and embarrass. You see, there is no such thing as an ‘high-road pundit’ and ‘proverbial’ references a really groovy book in the bible. These are techniques that *slick willies [oops, another literary technique known as senseless name-calling] like Allen Krause use when trying to *pull the wool over our eyes [just a dumb cliche].)
“…fans, especially new ones and for better or for worse, are much more
willing to pay money to see home runs than they are to see drawn out
pitchers duels. Do you like the new Busch Stadium? Do you think it
would have been built if the Cards would have had Greg Maddux instead
of McGwire? Yeah, I think not.”
–Allen Krause, The Incredible Lightness of Being…obtuse
First of all, the Atlanta Braves did have Greg Maddux and I’d say he was an integral part (if not the part) that shaped and revitalized an otherwise dying franchise during the 90s. That new stadium they got built down there during his tenure as their posterboy? Uh, yeah, I’m pretty sure the Atlanta fans like it a lot and owe much of its existence to Mr. Maddux himself. So to say fans can’t/won’t appreciate superior pitching because they want more *bang for their buck (literary technique) makes you the blogging equivalent of Michael Dukakis in a tank — it just don’t make sense.
Secondlly, would the Cardinals have a new Busch were it not for McGwire? I think the bigger, more important question is would any team have a new ballpark (or fans for that matter) without McGwire. And I include the fantasyland amusement park known as Comerica in there too. You see, if it weren’t for that magical summer of ’98 when Mark and Sammy brought the game back to the fans after years of bitterness and neglect, we might be talking about the lackluster Reno Tigers rather than the Hockeytown Tigers that are stumbling along right now. For that egregious error, you owe a humble apology to both McGwire and Sosa… and me, of course.
My suggestion for you is the following: in the future, instead of trying to hyperbolize to make a point, try to simply *analyze instead. (*This is yet another literary technique called ‘rhyming’ which is often used by Shakespeare, leprechauns and Method Man with varying levels of success. In fact, it was Method Man himself who once said: “Can’t forget Bobby if I did I feel gip, like my sandwich ain’t a sandwich without Miracle Whip.”)
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
P.S. Pop the champagne! The Tigers finally won a game! But they’re still 5 games behind the Royals. And for all of you who demand the Jason Grilli ERA Watch, it now stands at 19.29. Whoa, watch out! He’s on fire!
The score that matters: Cardinals 6, Astros 4
Look who’s in first place.
Note to Brandon Backe: don’t mess with the best, pal.
If I were a Tiger fan (ahem, Allen Krause) I would go the airport, buy a ticket to the most remote war-torn nation, find a spot of uninhabited land, dig a hole, get in it, and light myself on fire. Okay, maybe I wouldn’t take the time to dig a hole, but I would certainly light myself on fire. At the very least I would kick down Dave Dombrowski’s door and demand he give me a refund for my hard-earned money, hopes, dreams. Because as much as the Tigers stole the headlines away from the evils of New York, Boston and L.A. during this past offseason, they sure are reneging on every dime invested. Yeah, yeah, I know. There are still 155 games remaining in the season but their lackluster performance and the sheer absence of urgency in their play proves to me that their season is pretty much in the can. I suppose they’ll get hot at some point and make a little noise but by then it will be too little too late. In essence, the 2008 Tigers are the baseball equivalent of the Clinton campaign — great resume, great talent, would probably do a decent job, but so far behind there is no possible way they can win it all. So do us all a favor and get out of the race so we can concentrate on the important stuff, like the teams that are winning.
Bench Magglio. Sit Cabrera. Weld Granderson’s hand back together. I know it’s not the popular thing to do. I know you didn’t spend 140 million dollars to sit your franchise players — but you sure didn’t spend 140 million to be the only team in the Majors without a win thus far. Tick people off. Light some fires under some tooshies. Get ’em motivated for crying out loud.
The Royals are motivated. They beat the Evil Empire today to go to 5-2 on the young season, even with the White Sox, who (ahem), destroyed the Tigers on national television Sunday night. Heck, even Baltimore’s fired up. At 6-1 they probably feel like they’re cheating their fans by actually being worth the price of admission. Allen could’ve been one of those fans, but he said he would eschew the whole Oriole scene because they were “terrible”.
Terrible is what the Tigers will be thought of when this season is over. After Boston they have to come to the Southside. Then they face the Twins, Indians and Blue Jays next week before they get somewhat of a breather with the Rangers (though I’m pretty sure they’ll find a way to lose that series too). But then it’s on to play the Angels and Yankees and by the beginning of May they could possibly be worse than the 1988 Baltimore Orioles who forever live in infamy for losing their first 21 games of the season. Don’t feel bad, at least you and all your Hockeytown brethren have four months of NHL playoffs to look forward to, eh?
But who really cares about the Tigers anyway? Why am I spending so much time talking about these overpaid losers? How ’bout a proven winner, how ’bout those Cardinals! The old adage you’re only as good as your pitching still rings true (just ask the Yankees) and the Cards have been getting brilliant outing after brilliant outing to start the year. With Carp and Mulder on the DL and Matt Clement still rehabbing, it has been a pleasant surprise to see Kyle Lohse (who didn’t even have a job in the Big Leagues at the beginning of March) come through and pitch the hell out of the number two spot. Wainwright has been stellar. Wellemeyer, Thompson and Looper have all added to that super-impressive team ERA. In their win tonight, Anthony Reyes (a bonafide Tiger killer, see ’06 WS, Game 1) gave them three scoreless innings in relief, which gave Glaus enough time to drive in two big runs.
I’ve been watching these guys every day and I’ve noticed something you’ll never see in any box score: they really believe in themselves. Even if no one else does, they do. They just do. And they don’t care what anyone else says or thinks in regards to their less-than-stellar-on-paper rotation. They have spark, they have guts, and they’re having a ton of fun.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?
I feel alive again. Al, you better check to see if you still have a pulse.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Once again, Mr. Krause, you have managed to blasphemy the greatest game on earth, prove your idiocy with your prose and wholly embarrass me in public. It’s one thing to like one league over the other. But gay porn? Al, are you completely lost? Have they been waterboarding you down there? I’m concerned about your mental health.
Look, I know it’s not entirely your fault. It must’ve been hard growing up in a state where hockey is king, where the only car you are allowed to drive is a Ford and your greatest baseball icon was a gin shootin’, cleats-up-slidin’, wh0re mongering racist. I’m sure that all had an influence on your childhood and blinded you from seeing how baseball is supposed to be played. The pitcher is supposed to bat, Al. In fact, some pitchers are really good hitters. Have you ever heard of Rick Ankiel? Carlos Zambrano? Dontrelle Willis? How about Babe Ruth?
The American League’s adoption of the designated hitter is a classic case of how easily greed can destroy the purities in life. What was wrong with pitchers hitting? Nothing. Sure, the weakest hitting position overall is the pitcher’s spot — because they don’t hit every day. But that’s exactly what makes the NL so much more exciting, more pure, more of a thinking man’s game. You actually have to use strategy to accomplish your goal (*take note, Mr. President). As a man in such a high political position as yourself, Al, I thought you would’ve had the basic knowledge to discern that. In fact, the next time you hold a peace summit in some war-stricken African country, I’d like to see you replaced by a Designated Diplomat, someone who has a higher success average than you, because you don’t have the bells and whistles to make it theatric enough. Actually, I’d be amused (if only momentarily) to see you be a little more one dimensional.
Unfortunately, the AL didn’t end the DH experiment after its 1973 induction and now we never will. Since it has translated into a major career-extender and equated bigger paychecks for aging vets who wouldn’t make a squad otherwise, the DH is now like that drunk uncle who is a complete mess at family functions. We all do our very best to ignore him and not let him ruin the party because we know there will be less harm done to the group as a whole if we just let him destroy himself.
So eat a big fat one on that one, Al.
Oh, and I want to thank you for making my job easier today. Your Filibuster is full of big, dark, gaping holes of contradiction. I believe I said a long time ago that the AL Central would indeed be interesting due to the Indians and White Sox. In all honesty, I said the Tigers would miss the postseason completely. As a matter of fact, a recent comment on your last post from mobaseball reiterates this bold (and most probably true) prediction:
“First of all, you do know that no team has ever lost 4 straight and
made the playoffs right? And the Tigers have now lost 6 straight.”
Actually, Al, looking back on your past heresies, you made myriad bogus claims on February 21, 2008:
“The Royals will be their same old selves…”
“I can understand why you have playoff envy since the Cardinals will be
lucky to finish the season 5 games under .500 with their offseason
“moves” and a much tougher NL Central. But don’t be a hater. The
Tigers, along with the Red Sox and the Tribe, are clearly the class of
“The proud state of Missouri will host not just one but two teams who
not only set new records for divisional futility but who also manage to
lead their leagues in losses. That’s right, the Cardinals and Royals
will end the season with identical losing records and in a tie for last
place in baseball. You heard it here first.”
Like I have had to say before, Wrong, Wrong, and WRONG. Going into this evening, the Cardinals team ERA was second in MLB at 1.83 while the Royals’ were fourth overall at 2.67. Do you know what Jason Grilli’s ERA is, Mr. Krause? I’ll tell ya: 20.25! Get this guy in the game, Jimmy! My lord, hitters have to take washrags with them to the plate to clean up all the drool. Oh, and did you see that game last night where the Sox destroyed Verlander and scored 13 runs? I guess pointing out that the Kitty-Cats haven’t won a game yet this season (even the Giants have won a game!) would be pouring salt in your wounds. Look, I know it’s early, and on paper they should be awesome, but right now, they’re awful. And it can be quite challenging to crawl out from a ditch as big as the Tigers have dug. I’m just sayin’…
As to what division is the strongest, most competitive, must-watch division… I meant it as a trick question. I know you so well that I knew you would respond with some dumb denunciation of all things NOT the AL Central. Come on, Al. Do you honestly believe what you said? The Padres/Dodgers/Dbacks/Rockies aren’t interesting to you? The Mets/Braves/Phillies aren’t dramatic enough for you? The Cards/Cubs/Brewers/Reds/Astros aren’t competitive enough for you? Sure sounds a lot better than gay porn to me. What about the M’s/Angels/A’s race? Quintessential Yankees/Red Sox? Get a grip, pal! Look at all these great divisions! I can’t find even one that won’t be interesting… and if your unabashed abhorrence for the AL East is so strong that it prevents you from recognizing the inherent drama, tension, beauty of this glorious game, then you are too far gone to be saved — even by me.
You might as well be a Cub fan.
And though I know this is going to be very difficult for you, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.