Tagged: Joe Torre

Three Up, Three Down

Just like the Cubs’ shot at the 2012 World Series crown, this is going to be fleeting, groan-inducing and will probably offend a great number of people.

The Popey Pope

That guy in the pointy hat made another statement on gay marriage recently, saying it is “one of the most serious threats to the traditional family unit” and that it undermines “the very future of humanity.”

Hmm.  I can think of a bazillion things that are a far greater danger to the very future of humanity, like, protecting monsters who rape children, making it illegal for someone to marry whom he/she loves, and not challenging a discourse that is solely based on bronze age delusions “encouraged” by an invisible sky daddy.

Two More Years of Bud Selig

Ugh.  Really?  If only MTV could rock the MLB owners’ vote.  No more King Bud!  Things have gotten better recently, yes, but there are at least three egregious errors committed during his reign that demand a new king: 1) Not addressing the PED issue until it was too late 2) the ongoing All-Star Game yields World Series home field advantage fiasco and 3) being the last of the big four to launch its own network (seriously, it’s sad when the NHL beats you, at anything).

Also, I can think of at least three perfect candidates for the commissioner’s job: Joe Torre, Bob Costas and ME!!!

The GOP

Between Mitt, Santorum and a bevy of derailed crazy trains, I can only shake my head as I watch the Republican party fall deeper and deeper into delirium.  If only our political leaders would take a page out of Aussie PM Bob Hawke’s book:

Now THAT, my friends, is a dear leader.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

How to Fix the Dodgers

All-around baseball good guy Joe Torre is stepping down from his MLB front office position to pursue his interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Dodgers.  While this is bad news (I think) for those of us who hoped he might take over for King Bud once the reign of terror is over at the end of the year, I have to think that a group headed by Torre is probably a great way to save this storied franchise.

Of course, there are alternatives.  And yep, you guessed it.  The RSBS interns are ready to report:

1.  Go back in time, don’t trade Kevin Brown and instead have him break Frank McCourt’s hand so it won’t wander onto a woman who isn’t his wife.

2.  Stop making it mandatory that Alyssa Milano wear clothes to the ballpark.  (Holy Jackie Robinson, I’ve been in love with Alyssa for 20 years now; she just gets better looking!!!)

3.  Trade Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman for superstar Chris Paul.  Oh.  Wait.

4.  Get a mascot!  I know just the one!

Or… if none of the above works…

How about signing Prince Fielder?  Seriously.  Make him some crazy offer like $30 million a year for 6 years or something.  Wouldn’t that make the Dodgers a nice, EXPENSIVE and attractive purchase?  And besides, it’s L.A.  Just use somebody else’s money.

Hate me.  FINE.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The Option of Silence

There are times when a team is inseparable from its broadcaster.  Think Jack Buck.  Ernie Harwell.  Phil Rizzuto.  Those golden voices had the rare ability to know when to shut up and when to comment, when to add something to the game and when to let the game be the game.

The truth is: baseball doesn’t need commentary.

Sure, it’s helpful at times and yes, I would be a liar if I didn’t admit getting a kick out of the “OUTTA HERE”s, the “JIMMY JACK”s and “OPPO TACO”s.  Baseball, at its root, is game of great sounds: PA announcers and bat cracks and balls slamming mitts.  But more often than not, I find myself at great odds with the voices who are currently mucking up my baseball game on television watching experiences.

The White Sox, in particular, harbor the most egregious of all audio-felons.  I mean, Hawk Harrelson’s commentary is almost entirely made up of stupid catchphrases that he donned eons ago.  And while they may have been cute back then, they are nothing short of annoying now.

Hawk is certainly not alone.  There are countless other offenders.  Michael Kay.  Rod Allen.  Bert Blyleven.  I have nothing against them, personally, but often the commentary they provide is as mindless as it is boring, and I would like the option to shut them up.

Because MUTE ain’t the answer.

I want to hear the ump’s calls.  I want to hear the beer guy in section 113.  I want to hear the crowd roar on a go-ahead RBI double.

Back in 2009, SNY — a station that, ironically, has one of the better broadcasting teams in baseball — experimented with something they called “The Silent Sixth”, where they did just that: they shut up.  Silence.  No talking.  But they cranked up the sound on the field mics and I can attest: it was a true thing of beauty.  Soon I found myself tuning into lots of Mets games come the sixth inning, enjoying the pure sounds of the game the way they were meant to be enjoyed before egocentric legacy hunters and no-limit-in-yer-face advertising began trashing the game (seriously, does every bullpen move have to be sponsored by Domino’s?).

In this era of technocracy, where I can watch every single baseball game on my television, my computer AND my phone, where I can choose which broadcast I want to listen to WHENEVER I want, one would think that providing the option for silence would not be asking too much.

Baseball titans (King Bud, Joe Torre, whoevs), do me a favor and git ‘er done.

And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 20: Utley’s Multiple Meniscuses… and Other Stuff

betty white and alf podcast photo.jpg

Click ME to Listen!!!

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!

Holla!

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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!

– – –

Recorded Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Filibuster

On The Heirloom (my blog), I pondered out loud about the potential
of an out gay/bi ballplayer in today’s game. Your thoughts?

Randy S.
Robbinsdale,
MN
http://heirloom.mlblogs.com
____________________________________

billy_bean.jpgThat’s a great question, Randy, especially in today’s climate of suspense surrounding “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and the California ballot initiative.  In the past few years we’ve seen a couple football players come out of the closet along with a basketball player or two.  Baseball, of course, has Billy Bean.  But the one thing that all of these guys have in common is that they didn’t come out until after their careers were over.  I think that says a lot about the continued repressive climate in professional sports.

However, I don’t think this really comes as a surprise.  Sports have the power to do good but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  When Jackie Robinson finally broke into the major leagues, the Civil War had been over for 80 years and the 13th Amendment had been around nearly as long.  But that didn’t mean baseball felt any need to allow black players into the league and it definitely didn’t mean the fans immediately accepted it.

The difference here is that skin color is something immediately apparent, something you can’t necessarily hide.  That made the conflict much more apparent as well.  But sexuality you can hide and many gay athletes choose to take that route because it’s simpler.  Why confront the issue and suffer the very real consequences when you can choose to step around it?

That’s one reason why baseball is still looking for its gay trailblazer, a guy who can step up and proudly say that he’s out before heading to the ballpark to do his job, ignoring the slurs and comments. 

But there’s another aspect to this that we need to remember.  Jackie wasn’t just any ballplayer.  He was an All-Star, a guy who played on a winning team and who was one of the leaders of that team.  If a Ryan Howard, an Albert Pujols or a Tim Lincecum were to come out and then continue to perform at the same level, it could have the same effect as Robinson.  But some ordinary Joe, a roleplayer who has to grind it out, sadly, that just doesn’t mean the same thing.

This is an important distinction.  The only reason that anyone still talks about Billy Bean is because of his coming out story.  He was an adequate ballplayer but that’s it.  Yes, Jackie was black but he also was the Rookie of the Year, won an MVP and was elected into the Hall of Fame.  He didn’t let himself be defined as a black ballplayer; he was a great ballplayer who happened to be black. 

In order to truly overcome the stigma of being gay, an out ballplayer would have to transcend his sexuality.  That’s the point when he truly becomes accepted and that’s the point when it becomes easier for other ballplayers to come out and join him.  But until that time, it’s going to be a difficult road.

Statistically, it’s nearly impossible that there are no gay or bi baseball players in the game today.  And like you pointed out in your post, when respected guys like Ken Griffey, Jr. and Joe Torre say they would welcome out ballplayers on their team, you would like to think that a change is coming.  But I’m afraid we still have a ways to go.

-A

A Non-Scientific Comparison

strayrod.JPG

With the talented Mr. Rodriguez back in the news again for his off the field exploits, it seems like a good time to once again explore his worth in baseball terms. You would think this is an open and shut case since, his love for testosterone fueled women aside, the man is obviously one of the most talented baseball players of our generation. But, I’m not convinced. Yes, his regular season achievements are legendary and there’s no doubt he’ll go into the Hall of Fame once he retires.

But, my question is, how does he stack up against a real hero, a man who inspired more than one town over the course of his career, a man who could have been mistaken for Magnum P.I.? Yes, that’s right. I want to match A-Rod up with Kirk Gibson and I have a sneaking suspicion that the man who enjoys smelling Derek Jeter’s used underwear will be found wanting.

Now, over the course of the regular season there’s no denying that A-Rod is the far superior player. His gaudy 44 home runs a year average and a lifetime .306 batting average beat the heck out of Gibby’s 25 and .268. But, something funny happens once you get beyond the 162nd game of the year. Let’s face it, getting into the playoffs doesn’t mean squat if you don’t show up and A-Rod’s complete lack of World Series appearances indicate exactly what he has meant to his team come playoff time.

gibson_kirk.jpgI’m not going to rehash all of A-Rod’s postseason shortcomings since many people with much greater baseball knowledge than myself have already done so. But, I do want to put his numbers next to Gibby’s for the sake of comparison. In 10 postseason series, Rodriguez has batted .279 which isn’t terrible. In fact, Gibson is only a couple points ahead at .282. But the number that really jumps out is how their teams fared. In the ten series in which A-Rod has played, his team has won only 3, all of them LDS’s. Gibson? Out of the five series he played in, his team won 4 and that includes two World Series. So, half the number of chances but one more victory. In fact, if you want to see how much he really meant to his team, remember that he only had ONE at bat in the ’88 World Series but we all know how that turned out.

So, here’s what I’ll say. Yes, A-Rod is the better overall player. But, if I’m a manager going into the postseason or really any important game, there’s only one of these two men that I would want on my team: The mustachioed, anti A-Rod himself.

-A

 

H.R. & HRs: We Can Do Better

stop hand.jpgWhen Joe Torre, one of the untouchable paragons of class, is getting slammed for allegedly revealing all the Evil Empire‘s dirty secrets in a book that no one has had the chance to even read yet, I think it’s a pretty clear sign that we’ve run out of things to talk about this off-season.  Manny being Manny being unsigned is now as interesting a story as Bea Arthur is sexy.  The Varitek saga in Boston is teetering on the pathetic.  And when the Rangers look to be the best bet for unreliable dark horse Ben Sheets, does anyone really care anymore?

Zzzzzzzzzzz

How about a new MLB Network drinking game?  It may not be that ramshackle of japery that we created back during the post-season/presidential debate, but it sure will sauce your inhibitions quicker than Rush Limbaugh will make you want to commit suicide.

It’s simple.  Tune in to the Hot Stove Show and anytime Harold Reynolds leads the panel in a symphony of phrases uncomfortably coated by the word “guy”, take a drink.  You’ll be hammered ten minutes in to the program. 

Believe me. 

harold reynolds.jpgLook, I have nothing personal against Harold Reynolds and his self-serving ramblings.  He seems like a genuinely nice man and most of the time I actually get something out of his demonstrations on the diamond; but I sometimes feel dumb listening to his emphatic, annoyingly frequent use of the word “guy”.  Let me paraphrase a sample, dear reader — a hypothetical spew based on several weeks of actually listening to the man:

A guy like Manny… Manny Ramirez is a guy who just doesn’t change a team, he changes a division.  Guys see a guy like Manny in the clubhouse and then guys are suddenly seeing changes.  He’s a guy who has the ability to go out there and be that guy that all the other guys are honing in on — a guy who can beat you every time he takes the field.  And guys on the other side, guys on your side, those guys see that too.  Makes them want to go out there and be more competitive guys, guys that get things done.  You see guys change, not just guys on the team, but guys throughout the division.

I wish I were exaggerating.

H.R.’s inability to find a synonym for “guy” probably wouldn’t bother me so much if he didn’t subliminally infect the rest of the cast with his lecherous verbal disease.  Broadcasting newbies Barry Larkin and Al Leiter have picked up on it, and the ensuing cacophony is near deafening.

But, I keep watching… ‘cuz I love the MLB Network.  I can’t stop watching it.  So I might have a problem.

As much as I love it, there is one block of MLB Network programing that baffles me like a Spaceman eephus pitch.

ryan howard homerun derby trophy.jpgWhoever thought it would be a good idea to rerun old homerun derbies during a prime-time slot deserves to have John Kruk sit on his face during the two hours they’re being aired.  The homerun derby?  Really?  I’m supposed to get excited about watching a bunch of superstars hit lollygaggin’ Jamie Moyer fastballs from two, three, four years ago while Chris Berman entertains himself ad nauseum with his cutesy cleverness?  I didn’t care about the homerun derby the first time; why would I care now?

And even if you do enjoy the homerun derby (when it actually happens each July), do you really get excited about watching it again?  Save Josh Hamilton’s gargantuan effort of 2008 — a contest which he ultimately lost — is there really anything titillating in any homerun derby that makes you say: “Yeah!  Can’t wait to put aside two hours to watch that again!”

MLB Productions has done a fine job of producing edgy, dramatic, quality programs that explore the deep history and colorful characters of the game.  I haven’t been disappointed with one of their productions yet.  So I am both baffled and bored by the network’s decision to rerun past derbies instead of wowing us with original content.  Seems like they’re missing a big opportunity there.

The good news is: if I play the H.R. drinking game, I won’t be conscious enough to watch the derby reruns anyway.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy