Like a lot of my fellow US Americans, my Sunday focus was on the U.S. women’s soccer team as they battled Japan for the World Cup title. I like soccer. I mean, I like it about every two years. I watch the men’s World Cup, watch the women’s World Cup the next year, then rest for two years, then back to the men’s World Cup, etc.
But when it comes to the female competition, I have an increasingly difficult time following the actual game, mostly because I find ogling the beautiful participants a novel distraction. It even serves as a warm-up to then Googling the beautiful participants, and before long, I am looking at a full computer screen of sweaty, seductive Hope Solos.
Is the game over yet?
I’m wondering this: do female baseball fans have the same problem? I mean, I know that the ladies love their baseballers… I can’t tell ya how many times my cousin Holly has declared her undying love for Jimmy Edmonds with his shirt off and one of my sisters never shuts up about what she’d do to Adam Wainwright; but seriously, do women lose track of what’s actually happening during the game because of that lust?
While I wait for your answer, you can find me on Alex Morgan’s website. I might be there a while.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Outside of baseball, there’s really only one man worth wearing the crown of my man-crushdom. Whether its his svelte good looks, his vocal charm, or his ability to cheat on multiple baby’s mamas and still be adored by all… this man is someone I’d like to be, if only for a day.
That man’s name is…
So imagine the pure shock, the horror, the Crying Game-esque gut twisting reaction I had when I was informed that Usher was responsible for the comeuppance, development and overnight success of the height-challenged lesbian look-alike from Canada, Justin Bieber.
If it’s pop-culture-to-baseball analogies you’re lookin’ for, look no more, dear readers. For Usher is the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s tops among R&B artists. He’s consistently good. He’s been around the winner’s circle. He belongs among the best.
Justin Bieber? He’s the Cincinnati Reds. A mere fart in the grand world of entertainment, he too will eventually dissipate back into nothingdom, where he belongs.
The Reds boast a team of Cardinal has-beens: Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds, Russ Springer… hell, even Walt Jocketty. During the course of a 162 game season, even has-beens find time to shine.
But like Justin Bieber and his awkwardly prolonged fifteen minutes of fame, eventually the Reds will burn out…
…the Cards will be on top…
…and Usher will be asking:
Hate me ‘cuz I wanna eradicate Bieber Fever, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Special thanks to C for the vomit-inducing photo)
The escalating crybaby tantrums that so poignantly characterize the 2009 Chicago Cubs are about as interesting to me as reading People Magazine‘s cover story on Bristol Palin and her five-month old child. Still, I admit: they’re both fun to look at.
Carlos Zambrano lost his cool again? Ya don’t say. If he’s not cussing himself out on the mound he’s throwing at someone’s head or beating the crap out of Michael Barret or, like yesterday, bumping umpires, throwing balls into left field, or bashing that poor Gatorade machine in the dugout.
Look, I like fiery baseballers just as much as the next pretentious a-hole, but when is enough finally going to be enough for Zambrano? If I threw such a fit at my job you can be sure that I’d be in the unemployment line that same afternoon; and my job doesn’t affect 24 other millionaires in the clubhouse and a neighborhood so jaded, so disgusted, so unruly that its people would actually run a guy out of town, fearing for his life.
Big Z, Milton Bradley, Ted Lilly…
Cub fans, this is why you don’t win championships. The World Series crown is reserved for respectable men who handle adversity with poise and class, who lift each other up with their actions, not tear the team apart. One would think that having Lou Piniella — the skilled master of argumentative persuasion who perfected competitive bluster without hurting his team, himself or others — would teach these rascals how to go about being grown men.
But such logic always seems to get lost in Wrigleyville.
On July 19, 2004, after beaning Jim Edmonds twice for allegedly showboating on a homerun trot, Carlos had this to say: “This is not a baby’s game. This is a man’s game.”
Yet Carlos Zambrano (along with spoiled co-whiner Milton Bradley) remains one of the biggest babies in this “man’s game”. The last time I threw a fit like Zambrano I was ten years old and my father did to me what someone should have done to Carlos a long time ago: he spanked the holy bejeebies outta me.
Until someone does that, there is no team — just a bunch of selfish individuals looking to cause a scene, which will ultimately lead to yet another year of hopeless dreams on the Northside.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m callous, hate me ‘cuz I use big words, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Anything wrong with that? Not in my opinion. In a world full of greed, hate, debauchery and Cubs baseball, I find solace knowing that even the tireless spin-doctoring and smoke-screening of Rod Blagojevich eventually falls on the deaf ears of a nation distracted with the task of rebuilding itself.
Blago’s days as governor are as numbered as Joe Morgan is annoying; and soon, he will just be another political coelacanth — a footnote in the oppression and wasted tax-dollars of a people.
In my fervent bidding adieu, I refuse to let Blago’s self-indulgent, gloomy demise get me down. The older I get, the more I realize how little my brain can actually remember if not trained otherwise; thus, I find it best to replace negativity with post-partisan positivity. So it is, on this four degree Sunday afternoon, with a broken heart and three cups of coffee too many, that I find grace in the baseball-politico memories dearest to me.
Of course, there are always the Joe Carters, the Kirk Gibsons, the Ozzie Smiths… the inauguration of a new hope for my country… those are all givens. Today I focus on the obscure, the seemingly minute, the more poignant personal moments that help me to forget about what an awful place this earth can be sometimes. And so I begin…
Ozzie Guillen Goes to Bobby Jenks
A move he’s made several times, but never as interesting as it was during the 2005 post-season when Ozzie motioned for Jenks by extending his arms out sideways as if to say: “Bring in the fat fella.”
Talking to Carlos Lee Outside Wrigley Field
Having gone hitless against Ted Lilly that night, I was stunned to see a smiling Carlos Lee on the corner of Sheffield and Addison waiting to get on the Astros player’s bus. I approached him — all gargantuan 230 plus pounds of him — and flippantly asked: “Caballo, what happened?”
“Ball move too much, man.”
I’m still laughing at that one.
“Yes We Can” Viral Video
Sure, I admit I’m a sucker for inspirational acts of creativity… this one still gets me.
Brian Anderson’s Catch
Picture it, October 1, 2008… a one game playoff between the White Sox and Twins to crown the AL Central winner, and a Jim Thome homerun is all that separates the two when we reach the top of the ninth and two outs. A sharp flare streamlines to right center field, in comes Brian Anderson… instant party on the Southside.
Bill Clinton on Carroll Quigley, DNC 1992
As a young, impressionable, questioning 12 year-old, this quote pushed me in to politics… to stay.
Adam Wainwright’s Curveball
Whether it was striking out Carlos Beltran looking or Brandon Inge swinging, I’ve never seen a more devastating hook — ever.
Barack Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote Address
I thought a change was a comin’… didn’t know it was going to take so long, but it got me revved up nonetheless.
Yadier Molina Hitting .304 in 2008
After the rocket homerun he hit off Aaron Heilman to beat the Mets in the 2006 NLCS, Molina became my indisputable hero. To see him blossom into a true hitter in conjunction with his unrivaled defensive skills just makes me want to hug the guy any chance I get. Yadi, you out there, pal? Let’s hook that up.
Grandma Lois Talking Baseball
May she rest in peace, my beloved grandmother was talking Cardinals baseball like no other 84 year-old I knew. Before the 2004 season, she told me: “It’d be nice to see Edmonds and Rolen have really good years.” She died on April 20, 2004; Jimmy and Scott both put up career numbers and vied for the MVP. I know she’s still smiling about that one.
Post 9/11 Baseball in New York
I’d be hard pressed to find a more inspiring, more electric, more communal surge of patriotic energy and overall bipartisan goodwill towards all through the greatest game on earth than what took place in New York City that fall.
I still get goosebumps just thinking of it.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
My favorite movie of the year so far is “The Dark Knight.” I could wax rhapsodic about this movie for hours (and have) because it encompasses the tension, debate and ambivalence swirling in the atmosphere surrounding the United States these days. However, the one quote from the movie that really stuck with me is when Harvey Dent says, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” The funny thing is that this sentiment is just as true in baseball as it is in Gotham City’s political arena.
This season saw the return of Jim Edmonds to the Midwest but probably not in the colors people expected him to wear. And I’m sure the Cardinals faithful, like my friend Mr. Lung, wished for a moment that he would have either retired or suffered some fate that would have kept him off the diamond as opposed to watching him run onto the field at Busch Stadium wearing Cubbie blue.
I’d bet it’s the same way Red Sox fans feel when they see a well-scrubbed Johnny Damon patrolling center field in the Bronx. Let’s be honest, the age of free-agency (and especially the Faustian machinations of Scott Boras) has not been kind to baseball fans. No sooner have you purchased your CC Sabbathia Milwaukee Brewers jersey then he’s shipping out to the east coast and the Steinbrenners’ warm embrace.
However, all this is nothing compared to the uproar if and when Manny signs with the Yankees. Yeah, he may have dogged it in Boston to secure a trade. He may have pushed around old men while he was there, too. But can you really imagine Manny in Yankee pinstripes? Even talking about it sounds kind of dirty. But that’s how it works today. One day a Cardinal, the next a Cub. Heart of the Red Sox in 2006, soul of the Yankees in 2008.
So what’s a baseball fan to do? How do you accept it when the guy who is the face of your franchise leaves for greener pastures? How do you not see the old hero you loved as the Benedict Arnold he has become? Well, it turns out that there’s one other movie franchise that reflects the world around us almost as well as Batman. And earlier this year in “Quantum of Solace” one of Mr. Bond’s associates said it best: “When one’s younger, it seems very easy to distinguish between right and
wrong. But as one gets older, it becomes more difficult… the villains
and the heroes get all mixed up.” It’s fitting that Bond would add nuance to a formerly black and white world. Still, that isn’t going to get me any money back on that Ivan Rodriguez Tigers jersey.
“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”
— Jim Valvano (1946 -1993)
Jimmy V is rolling in his grave.
On Thursday, in what became a Red State Blue State first, my once respected colleague and amicable opponent Allen Krause, officially gave up on his beloved Detroit Tigers. Though they’re only 7.5 games back of the first place White Sox, Mr. Krause could not help but revert back to his status quo of negativity, sighting that the Tigers’ outlandish payroll and futile mediocrity was just too much — an endeavor he hadn’t the heart nor the patience to endure. It caused shockwaves throughout baseball, causing these guys to say:
Congratulations, Mr. Krause, on joining the dishonorable ranks of fellow traitors Judas, Benedict Arnold and Jim Edmonds.
Honestly, this really shouldn’t be all that surprising to me; but in an odd sort of way, it is. We are US Americans. US Americans don’t give up. We never give up.
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, did we sulk and cry and feel sorry for ourselves?
Down three games to none in the 2004 ALCS, did the Boston Red Sox give up against the Evil Empire simply because the odds against them winning were next to none?
And what about the spirit of US Americans after 9/11, the Bush administration, a flailing economy, tarnished foreign policies and an ill-conceived war of shadow chasing? Did we all just throw our hands up in the air and ‘throw in the towel’?
When one loses hope — when he loses his identity, his affiliation for that which brings him joy — when he loses his propensity for positivism and forces his bleak outlook on the world using the headline Keep Ya Head Up, we — those who remain steadfast in our patriotic alliances to all things good — have no choice but to denounce and reject both the negativity monger and his infectious ideas.
You fooled me, Mr. Krause. You had me thinking you were with the Tigers all the way — unconditionally. Yes, you fooled me. You know, they have an old saying in Tennessee…
For future reference, Mr. Krause, if you’re gonna bail on your team, do us all a favor and please refrain from disgracing the hip-hop legend that is Tupac. He doesn’t deserve to be associated with your hapless despondency.
Because of you, he’s probably rolling around in his grave too. And by “grave” I do mean the champagne room in the back of a Las Vegas hot spot.
Oh yeah, he’ll be back.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Yes, dear readers, our venerable GW Bush came out yesterday and enlightened us with what has really been going on with the continuously slumping economy. Folks, it had nothing to do with poor management at home, questionable foreign policies nor an ever widening gap between Red and Blue US American ideologies. No.
“Wall Street got drunk.”
— G.W. Bush
Thank the gods. I was a tad bit worried there as I watched gas prices in Chicago soar to $4.50 a gallon. I was just slightly disturbed when I spent $40 bucks at CVS and all I bought were paper towels, crossword puzzles and American Pie: Band Camp on DVD. And I was a tad nervous when the doctor told me he could remove the lesions if only I put on a blonde wig, some heels and called him “Daddy”.
But thankfully, none of that was a result of a gummed-up government overrun by lobbyists and big oil. No. Wall Street has just been boozin’ a bit… and that, dear readers, is certainly understandable.
Because nothin’ says America like a good old buzz.
I certainly am not immune from this. In fact, by perusing the plentiful posts here at RSBS one could rightfully gather that we (Allen and I) are a bunch of drunks ourselves. It’s true! We are not ashamed!
US America is a country built on the boozing backgrounds of Europeans, Asians, Africans — all drunks! Like baseball and apple pie, an everlasting state of drunkenness is simply the American way; Wall Street could not hide for long.
In light of this new information, let us follow the President’s lead:
Every good drunk needs his drunken hero and baseball has always provided plenty. From Babe Ruth to Ty Cobb to Josh Hamilton, the grandest game on earth has never stopped producing inebriated icons. Jim Edmonds was mine until he switched sides, but I’ve included his picture here still because of the pleasant company he keeps while out on the town. Nowadays, I look to the boozing comeback of Sidney Ponson for inspiration… what a story. And Rondell White. He wasn’t named in the Mitchell Report because of his weakness for Tanqueray and tonics *wink, wink* but the man was a leader in the party scene.
Having been the face of the Cardinals for 8 years, I’ll admit, Jimmy Edmonds looked pretty odd in a Padres uniform. The first feeling I got upon seeing Jimmy in his San Diego duds was that of extreme sadness. I felt sorry for the guy. He didn’t look right. It was a feeling akin to walking in on your mom while she’s taking a shower — a knee-jerk reaction followed by an expletive “yikes!” followed by years and years of therapy.
But Jim Edmonds in a Cub uniform? Now that’s just plain disgusting. Sacrilege. Taboo. Seeing number 15 wearing the big “C” and blue pinstripes is like eating raw sewage, thrusting katana blades into your own abdomen and then sleeping with your sister while your guts slosh around and flop on the floor. Then the dog comes in and starts eating your… well, let’s just say:
It’s not cool.
And I’m not bitter about Edmonds being out of the St. Louis nine — not at all — but of all the places he could’ve landed… why did it have to be with the Cubs? It bothers me. It shouldn’t. It’s silly. I know. I’ve tried to talk myself out of caring, but I can’t undo years of association and brand recognition. I care! I really do! When Willie McGee was traded to Oakland and then later to the Giants in the early 90s, I didn’t care as much. Of course, I was sad and I missed him in a Cardinals uniform, but I still rooted for him and wanted him to do well because he was a hero to me. I had the same feeling with Jack Clark. Of course, neither one of them played as Cub. But I am an intelligent adult who can see past color, right? I should be able to get over this nonsense. So I turned on the Cubs/Astros game this evening and put myself to the test.
Early in the game Edmonds fouled a ball of his ankle/foot area and was hobbling around gingerly. I cheered. I’m not proud to say it, but I did: I cheered. In fact, a big smile came across my face, followed by an evil cackle and then I did a little happy dance that one of my heroes got hurt. And boy, was I disappointed when he stayed in the game. “Take him out!” I yelled at the TV. “Bean him in the head!” I demanded of Astro starter Brian Moehler. But then, in the bottom of the 4th, Edmonds shook off my invocations of malice by making an unbelievable over-the-shoulder basket catch that would make Willie Mays proud.
And what did I do?
I threw things. I screamed. I kicked. I cursed. And then I flipped over to Intervention on A&E.
Because it just didn’t look right. Like these images:
There’s absolutely nothing wrong or shameful about being possessed by the devil, playing for the wizards, boys kissing boys, or white men dancing, but for all of these individuals, it just don’t look right…
…and I would appreciate it if you don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.