Everyone does. Right?
22-year veteran. Stand-up, lunch pail guy from Peoria. No nonsense, just give me the bat and let me hit ’em far. Defensively challenged, yes, but in a funny ha-ha way (not a funny-sad Carlos Lee way).
That’s Jim Thome. And everyone loves him for it.
Except one thing: Jim Thome still doesn’t have a ring.
All around the world and I – I – I – I can’t find my baby…
This, of course, is true despite his strong efforts to land on a contending team. He had several chances with the Indians before going to the Phillies. But just as the Phillies were developing into a powerhouse, Thome left for the newly crowned World Series champion White Sox after the ’05 season. He then wandered in south side purgatory before getting a shot with the playoff-bound Dodgers in ’09, then signed with an up-and-coming Twins club that nosedived him back into the lap of Cleveland — a team that just couldn’t hang around the top long enough to give him another shot at a championship.
So he resigned with the Phillies. Best pitching staff in the Majors. Potent offense. Okay, anemic offense. But they were supposed to be potent. Doesn’t matter anymore.
Thome is in Birdland now. And while I love the move and think the young kids in Baltimore are gonna learn a heck of a lot from the old man, I really don’t think the Orioles are going to contend for the World Series title.
I just hope Jim is cool with another spin around the world, so he can find his bay-beh…
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Over the past few days a couple of interesting things happened. In Iowa, Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll in elegant fashion:
What do these two events have in common? Minnesota. And the fact that they scare me. I just hope that Bachmann follows in the Twins’ footsteps and slowly dwindles away.
The last couple days have been rough for the city of Detroit. The practically hometown Spartans were annihilated by UNC’s modern day version of George and Lennie, Ty and Tyler, while the Tigers have once again managed to open the season with consecutive losses. And if the losses weren’t bad enough, Detroit’s big offseason acquisition, Brandon Lyon, has so far proven to be a huge bust.
But, it’s time like these when I like to remind myself that it could be worse. At least we no longer have to deal with Kyle Farnsworth.
In his first outing of the season yesterday, Farnsworth managed to blow a great outing by Gil Meche when he dished up a three-run, game-winning homerun to Jim Thome with two out in the eighth. Now, to anyone familiar with Farnsworth’s body of work, this certainly came as no surprise. I used to watch him throw BP during the eighth inning of close games back when I was living in Chicago in 2003. But when it happens to a team that will in all likelihood end the season 20 games under .500, well, you just feel kind of bad.
For the team and the fans that is. For Farnsworth? Hell no. He’s baseball’s living embodiment of the Peter Principle. As Phil Rogers points out in his column in today’s Chicago Tribune, “[Farnsworth] throws hard. He can’t be trusted. But teams can’t stop thinking that
they are going to be the one to make him into a top-of-the-line setup
man, if not a closer.” Just ask the Cubs, Yankees and Tigers how that worked out for them.
As an unrepentant realist, here’s how I see it. Farnsworth should not play above triple-A, the Tigers are not going to the playoffs and Michigan State never had a chance. But, I’m not opposed to looking for the silver lining. For instance, at least I’m not a mouth-breathing, inbred okie. So, there’s that. And there’s this:
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.
Ask anyone in my Southside Chicago neighborhood who they’re voting for this November and you might hear about a lot of Jim Thome/John Danks ticket write-ins. For now. While we all know how easily the magnanimous momentum of baseball can change, what we know for sure, at this exact moment in time, is that the Chicago White Sox are indeed the AL Central Champions.
So, EAT IT, Mr. Krause!
While you’re doing that… our dear RSBS readers would like to know the answers to the following:
What hurts more, Al? The Sox winning the Central or your Tigers being puke-spitting awful and finishing in dead last?
What keeps you up at night, Al? Not being able to win an argument or not putting in the time to win an argument?
Wrap your head around those inquiries, Mr. Krause. I understand that you may need a minute or a day, year, decade. That’s fine. By the time you’ve formulated your meticulous thoughts, I bet Sarah Palin will be writhing in her own talking points as she prepares to take on Senator Biden on Thursday night.
But hopefully, we’ll hear what you have to say by the time the Cubs drop their first game to the Dodgers.
It’s all in the timing, my man.
So go ahead. You’ve done it before. Sure, go ahead and hate me, Al, but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
One great thing about living in Chicago is being bombarded by the endless marketing ploys dished out by the often overlooked and under appreciated White Sox. With the grade-A inferiority complex harbored by many a Sox fan living in the shadows of an historically challenged Cubs franchise to the north, it’s easy to see why the Southside brass does all it can to create a buzz for a team that — on paper — shouldn’t need it considering how successful they’ve been in recent years.
You can squak about the 1919 squad throwing the series. You can jest that the Sox have a hard time filling their ballpark. You can overlook the Southside’s ’05 World Series championship all you want… but you have to admit one thing: the White Sox make some pretty damn good commercials.
Like this one:
And now that Quentin is out of the lineup, let’s hope that Thome remembers his previous self…
…and let’s hope they don’t move that sign.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
The way the balls were jumping out of The Joan today, one might have thought that the Chicago Air Show started a day early. That wasn’t the case. No. Those were homeruns flying out of the ballpark, not F-14s, and at least four of them flew out in a row: back-to-back-to-back-to-back.
When you say that out loud, it sounds like a bad rap song.
And it got me thinking…
Rarely do things as delightful as homeruns occur four times in a row (especially in the post-PED era) … so when they do, it surely is magical. What else would I like to see back-to-back-to-back-to-back?
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Saves by the St. Louis Cardinals Bullpen:
Because of the rarity of this now-merely-theoretical possibility, I am beginning to think that the 2008 Cardinals are looking more and more like the 2007 Cardinals. And folks, let me tell ya, that ain’t a good thing.
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Republican Sex Scandals:
Foot tappin’ in an airport bathroom stall, meth dealin’ gigolos, married northeastern governors who just happen to dig guys more than their wives… keep ’em comin’!
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back French Male Olympians Crying After Competition:
Why? Because the only thing better than watching a Frenchman cry is watching four Frenchmen cry — in a row. “Zee wemen… zay sink zee cry-eeng… eez sexy.” Ah, the French are such easy targets sometimes.
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back World Series Titles for a Team NOT Named the Yankees:
It could happen. No. Seriously. It could. Okay… no. You’re right.
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Presidential Terms for the Democratic Party:
FDR did it — by himself — and he was awesome. I’m not saying let’s rewrite the Constitution. I’m just saying we could use a good twelve to sixteen years to get some s*** done — for real.
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back RSBS Posts Where Allen Krause Doesn’t Offend a Great Number of People:
Look, in this case, I agree with you, Mr. Krause; but somebody has to stop those Christians from firebombing my house! Enough already!
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Evenings Where I DON’T Receive a Soliciting Phone Call from the Number 800-450-9135:
I signed up for one non-profit organization that stands for making the earth a little bit better place and now, every day, non-stop, I get anonymous phone calls from this number asking me to donate to (insert random charity name here). No. I’m through giving my money away. Why do you think I’m still single?
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Pow-Wow Sessions with the Staff of Arizona via Slough:
I realize that I’m starting to sound like a real perv here, but trust me: I’m not. I’m interested in his staff because they are smart problem-solvers with real world experience and decorated graduate degrees. That’s it. That’s the only reason. Oh — and they know how to order Chinese food properly as well. Very important.
I leave the last one up to you, dear reader. Leave us with your back-to-back-to-back-to-back dream and we’ll see what we can do to make it come true.
I promise. It won’t include rhyming.
You can hate me ‘cuz I’m a dork… but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Okay, Mr. Krause. You said your answer was simple, but in fact, it wasn’t. Spoken like a true politickin’ politician, you pulled the ‘ole ‘leave the answer up to the reader’ move. Nice job. Passing the buck has never appeared so graceful.
The right answer is: Shawn Chacon is replaceable. Blackball the guy, turn your back on him, punch him in the nuts, whatever — anyone who behaves like that doesn’t deserve the opportunity to play baseball at the Major League level and doesn’t deserve to make Major League dollar$. If I physically attacked my boss at work tomorrow I’m pretty sure word would get around (after I’m fired) to those in the Asian art world that I was bad news. No way I’d get a job in the industry again and I wouldn’t deserve it if I did.
If someone like Alex Rodriguez or Albert Pujols attacks his GM (neither ever would), I could entertain the idea of giving him a second chance based only on the idea that there is no replacing an Alex Rodriguez or an Albert Pujols. But Shawn Chacon? A paragon of mediocrity? No way. I can’t wait to pull into a Texas service station and have him rotate my tires.
But who cares anyway? Much more exciting things in the news today…
Like Kyle Lohse’s outstanding ESPN primetime performance against the now below-.500 Manuel-era Mets. Lohse has been an absolute stud this season. Everyone credits Dave Duncan — as they should — but Lohse must get props for putting the plan into action. Speaking of Dunc, I’m pretty sure Orel Hershiser was getting mad wood every time he brought up Dave Duncan during the ESPN telecast, which seemed to be every home inning. It’s okay. I was getting the same reaction.
And there was a lot of reaction from the sore-losing Northsiders in the Loop today. Hey, all you loser sCrUB fans who gave me hell last weekend — who refused to answer my phone calls, emails, text messages during the Southside whoopin’ ya’ll took this weekend, I got two words for you: EAT IT!
I feel better now.
And so does Nick Swisher… and Jim Thome, obviously. Don’t look now, but these two streaky hitters are getting hot and there’s no limit to the damage they can do in tandem alongside Quentin and Dye. Look out world, look out.
Now that the Windy City (Crosstown) Classic is over, and we’re all even, I think it’s time to pay homage to the absolute worst commercial in the history of Chicago. Leave it to Chevrolet to think it’d be really awesome for an old Italian and an aging Latino to perform a rap song about baseball in the Second City. Not since Puff Daddy and Mase destroyed the legendary memory of Biggie has the music world seen such an abomination of a duo.
In case you missed it, or in case you don’t live in Chicago, here it is. I’m just warning you: Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right:
There are a lot of things at U.S. Cellular Field (aka The Joan) that have the potential to creep me out: that feeling of loss I get after spending fifty bucks on seven Miller Lites and never catching a buzz; that strange foot tapping from the stall next to me in the men’s room; that chili-cheese nacho induced sleep-stopping jolt of fear at four in the morning. Yeah. Sure. There is no doubt that these situations can freak me out a little bit, but when it comes right down to it, they could just as easily happen in any ballpark in Anywhere, USA.
However, to my knowledge, the good folks at The Joan really do know how to go above and beyond in the ‘creepy’ department. They have proven that they can not only freak out children, but adults as well and force all those in attendance to shake off the willies every time a White Sox batter comes to the plate.
The stands have eyes.
On the lip of the grandstands that wrap around from the left field foul pole, behind home plate, and back out to right, is a thin video board that most parks use for advertising or god forbid: scores, balls and strikes, pitch counts, radar gun, etc. In fact, when the visiting team is hitting, they tend to throw some of those arbitrary numbers up there. But when the Sox are hitting? No way. Why is that?
The stands have eyes.
And it’s not just a photograph of the players’ eyes. No. It’s an approximately sixty second looping video complete with blinks, scowls, crud, tears, whatever. If you want to see the batter’s cheesy press photo, his stats, interesting notes about his childhood, check the center field scoreboard. If you want to get that creepy, icky, dirty feeling of being watched and in the process get distracted from what’s actually happening on the field so that when Thome hits a racing foul ball right towards you (‘cuz he wouldn’t hit one fair) you’re not paying attention, consequently get hit in the orbital socket, bleed out, make a scene and die… then keep looking at those damn eyes.
And just because you’re dead is not an excuse to hate me ‘cuz I’m right…
The friggin’ stands have eyes! Look!