Chess is life.
I love pitching rivalries, matchups within divisions and the occasional interleague throwdown. That’s a giant piece of cake for me!!!
What pairing will be this year’s best? Let’s examine the possibilities, with Bobby Fischer setting the stage…
“I play honestly and I play to win. If I lose, I take my medicine.”
Yu Darvish/King Felix!
“I like the moment when I break a man’s ego.”
Stephen Strasburg/Josh Johnson!
“Chess is war over the board. The object is to break your opponents mind.”
Jon Lester/C.C. Sabathia!
“Chess is a matter of delicate judgement. When when to punch and how to duck.”
Johnny Cueto??? Hmmm… Matt Garza??
My personal favorite pairing of all time — the one that really captivated me — is, of course, Bobby Fischer/Boris Spassky. Sometimes Bobby battled himself even! (Fast Eddy Felson and Minnesota Fats come in a close second).
Baseball can’t start soon enough.
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I’ve lost my…
Rooster Cogburn, my John Mclane, my Jules Winnfield.
I lost Whitney this year AND my all-time favorite Cub, Aramis Ramirez. Armariezz. THAT’S WHAT I CALLED HIM. Didn’t call him A-RAM OR ARAMIS. I always called him Armariezz. THAT WAS HIS NAME. I wish Whitney and Aramis had things to sing together to the Brew Crew but she’s got better things to do now than hang out in MlilaAAAAuwaaakayyy…
Since I can’t hang with Armariezz anymore then I wanna hang with Adrien Brody, Andre 3 Million and Gael García Bernal from that Gillette commercial. That’s a bad@$$ club!
So much hipper than when they had Federer, Henri and Tiger. Can’t believe it happened.
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Sunday in the Park with George
I want children so I can play dodge ball with them or at the very least have them pose while I paint a mural of them getting eaten by large cats for my own amusement. But that’s not why I called…
In my favorite Mandy Patinkin musical he sings “I need to finish the hat” in the role of George Seurat. Or as Groucho famously said “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” Or as Josh Hamilton is probably saying “there are no bars in hospitals and that’s why people hate hospitals.”
I don’t know about the Cubs’ chances for 2012, but I do know I want a Sunday in the park with a friend. I want to think nice things as baseball approaches but sometimes you just don’t know what hell is coming. Sometimes I feel like Lisbeth of the Dragon Tattoo movies: I just get shot in the DAMN head when I think of the 162 Cubs games that are coming.
I don’t know if I’m finishing the hat or if Theo is.
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For the Love of the Game/Slaying the Dragon
I don’t know tidily snot.
For as much as I don’t know about stats, player history, and some of the marquee moments, I do have the love. Even with my rampant stupidity of baseball knowledge, I have the love.
When I’m not sitting with my friend Jeffy at a game or on his couch, him schooling me, I have the love.
It’s been said many times here at Setting the Mahmud that the NBA is my true sport, but even I admit: there is nothing like baseball. I reminded myself of this the other night while watching For the Love of the Game. The pain of Kevin Costner’s character is so real and true to life it’s uncanny. The pain of ending a career. The pain of romance gone bad. Pain of failed goals. But despite all that, you might still have a friend who believes in you, which summons the strength to get your mojo back.
These are trying times in Chicago. Both ball clubs will probably be bad this year. It’s January. It’s cold. Sometimes, like a ballplayer, you wish you could just be traded to another team, in another (warmer) city. But that’s not how life works. You have to take what you have and make it great. Baseball life can be like a swinging bass line or a blistering hot trumpet solo. We swing high and we swing low. Players leave, lovers leave, and sometimes you’ll get your heart broken. Being a fan can be turmoil.
And sometimes just maybe you’ll play life well enough to win it all. It’s a noble game. A pureness that wraps around you like a warm embrace holding you tight, one that doesn’t let go. It’s a timeless art that makes you feel like you’re wearing wings.
Beware of the darkness that lies in the cave of your life. Slay the dragon. It can make you feel weak. It can break you if you let it. It can make you feel like a sucker. Accept that pain is part of the process of baseball, part of LIFE.
And let’s heal together. The Cubs will be great someday. The White Sox will be great again too. It will be cathartic and it will be grand.
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Would you, MLB? Would you hurry up and tell me what to think about the Ryan Braun situation so I can properly compartmentalize my NL Central adversaries? I need to know if I should hate Ryan Braun or if I should just respectfully dislike him. And I need to know NOW.
When this story broke in early December, I immediately paused 30 Rock on the Netflix stream so I could specifically call my friend, Mr. Mahmud, and mutually gloat in the complete downfall or our fellow divisional foe. Ha ha ha, Prince is gone and now Braun is a fraud… fa la la la la… THE END.
Or so I thought.
I mean, this is the post-steroid era in baseball, right? You get caught with a dirty test, your name is mud. You’re a cheat. An A-Fraud for life.
Unless of course, you’re a likable, attractive white man who plays in a market tailored towards good, wholesome folk. At least, that’s how it seems.
I understand there are some strange circumstances regarding Mr. Braun’s positive performance enhancing drug test, specifically, that there aren’t any “performance enhancing drugs” present, but rather TWICE the normal testosterone levels, which would lead one to believe that such an oddity might be the result of treating a “personal medical problem” (how ’bout I just come out and say it: SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE).
My reaction to that is: okay, so what? If dude is TWICE the man everyone else is, of course that would effect his performance, right? And to say he didn’t know what he was being medicated with is no excuse. This is the 21st century. He has every doctor, nutritionist, trainer, coach, jedi master, etc. at his side to advise him on these issues. Don’t take this, Ryan, or else it will RUIN YOUR CAREER.
Then again, maybe Braun just gets a pass because he is a cool dude. People like him. He plays in a small market and he’s white. I guess that makes it all okay.
Either way, I want an answer and I want it now.
Hate me. I don’t care. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
From the bottom of our baseball-politico lovin’ hearts, we at RSBS would like to wish you all a very happy holiday season! As is tradition here, Mr. Krause, Mr. Mahmud and I will be taking a week off to reflect on the year, spend time with our respective families and enjoy a nice Christmas ale (or ten).
We’ll be back to business as usual on Jan. 1st.
Until then, be merry and be safe!
Congratulations to Kristen from This Is A Very Simple Game (a damn fine blog in its own right!) for winning the RSBS Biggest Fan Contest, sponsored by Crown Royal. Soon Kristen will be enjoying Albert Pujols in the bright SoCal sun with well protected eyes as she is going to receive a pair of sweet Oakley Blender Sunglasses. Hot dang!
And if that’s not hot enough, check out her winning entry below. Your taste buds will thank you!
Caramelized Red Onion State, Blue Cheese State, Bacon Lavosh!
This is a quick and dirty weeknight dinner that tastes gourmet and doubles nicely as a game day snack. But, since you can’t exactly tell how amazing this smells and tastes from the photo, here is the recipe. I get the impression that Johanna cooks but I don’t know if Jeff and Allen do, so the recipe is written for both the well stocked kitchen and the un-stocked kitchen:
Ingredients for 2 Lavosh:
- 5 slices of bacon (because, hello, Bacon? Is there any ingredient more charismatic?)
- 1 Red Onion, cut in half and sliced into thin rings
- 3 cloves fresh crushed garlic (or one teaspoon dried, if that’s what you have)
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil for cooking
- 2 pieces lavosh (whole wheat works well here too. If you don’t have access to lavosh, what the heck kind of Trader Joe’s do you have there in Chicago? 😉 And/or you can use pita, tortillas, or even pizza dough instead.)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Crumbled Blue Cheese (roughly 4 oz. which is to say, basically a palm full. I don’t really prescribe to the tyranny of traditional “standard” measurements unless I am baking or performing some other form of chemistry, LOL.) I like Trader Joe’s Salem Blue or Point Reyes Blue Cheese if I have it around, but any will work.
- Optional – 1/2 cup of _______ meat. I used leftover roast chicken the evening I took the photo because we roasted chicken-zilla earlier in the week and had it on hand. But diced deli meat works wonderfully too – turkey, roast beef or, if you’re feeling especially porcine inclined, ham or prosciutto (yum!).
- Salt and pepper to taste (sea salt and fresh ground pepper if you have it, no worries if you don’t)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cook the bacon until it is almost cooked to your preferred level of doneness, then set aside. Chop when cooled.
3. Heat the cooking fat (and use some of the bacon drippings for 1 tablespoon of the cooking fat , if you dare). Add the garlic (if you’re using fresh) and sauté for a few seconds before adding the onions.
4. Keep stirring the onions. Season with a little salt and pepper (and the dried garlic if you’re using dried) once the onions are coated in the oil. You want to almost fully caramelize the onions – sauté them, stirring from time to time, until they are browned slivers of completely limp, tasty oniony goo.
5. Put the lavosh on cookie sheets (or prep for a pizza stone if you have one and have time to heat it) and cover each of them in half of the mozzarella cheese in a thin layer stretching out to the edges.
6. Sprinkle each evenly with half of the bacon, cooked onions, blue cheese and extra meat (if you are using).
7. Dust both lightly with pepper.
8. Bake for roughly five minutes, turn and then five minutes more (much longer if you are using pizza dough), until the cheese is bubbly and golden in spots and the edges of the meat and lavosh are crisp and browning.
9. Cool slightly, slice and enjoy!
10. Serve with dark beer or red wine (ideally a good, rich Rhone style blend. Feel free to ask if you would enjoy any California-centric suggestions J).
– – –
YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM!!!
Special thanks go out to all those who submitted entries! We love you all. Now go make some lavosh and get krunk!
Jeff & Al
Continuing with the end-of-year holiday tradition here at RSBS, it’s time to separate myself from my imaginary girlfriend (NSFW) and ask the interns to lock my office door so I can get down to the meaty reflection of what was the RSBS year 2011. Additionally, I must begin the sad, fiery purge of Albert Pujols memorabilia. For those of you who went to public schools, you know that maintaining a fire within a small, confined room may cause ill-fated side effects, so before I start to look like Bert the chimney sweep, let me get to it…
First of all, no year would be a good year without you, the dear RSBS reader. THANK YOU, for your readership. THANK YOU for your emails, your tweets, your comments, Facebook shares and FingerTagging! And THANK YOU for continuing to make writing about the baseball-politico world a treat for us every single day.
Like my riveting and oft rousing colleague, Mr. Krause, I too have been very impressed with our special correspondents. For me, nothing says sweet Miggy-I-Love-You quite like Mark Piebenga’s His Game Is Like Waves. It presented Miguel Cabrera in a new light — that of teacher, and, considering how much Mark has taught me about what life should be about, I continue to find its lesson fitting (and helpful!).
And though I often refer to Mr. Johanna Mahmud as “the man who introduced me to the glories of the Deftones” and “the guy who schooled me on the NBA and proved why I should be madly in love with Derek Rose”, I still have room to refer to him as “the guy who writes Setting the Mahmud“! Dude puts the “tit” in titillating with every piece. The last article he wrote was inspiring, if only because he found a way to get a naked Yu Darvish, an ugly sweater wearing
Johnny Matt Damon and a crying Paula Deen all in one place; but, like Al, I have to admit that there’s real brilliance in his Theo-fied Arthurisms. Still, I’m a sucker for equating dead people to the performances of Adam Dunn and Miguel Tejada. Good work, good sir.
Meanwhile, no year-end applause would be complete without a nod to my longtime friend and confidant, Mr. Allen Krause. Known for his cynical twists on the political establishment and undying love of all things Detroit Tigers, it has been a pleasure to write on his wing. Sometimes he’s so “on” that he finds literary genius in imagery. Indeed, that endearing Krausian wit is often highlighted by rational thought. Sometimes it points out the un-fact-checked obvious, other times it gets serious, with a real call for responsibility. And, just in case you think Mr. Krause’s Libertarian-bashing makes him a soulless, automated Obamatron, this reflective piece will convince you otherwise.
But when it comes to knockin’ ’em outta the interwebs park, I have to kowtow to the RSBS Presents series. The brainchild of Mr. Krause, RSBS Presents has enlightened us on the finer points of fandom and how to stay classy while reminding us that, ultimately, positivity has upside during times of turmoil. But the best of them all was learning how to score a Republican. And here I thought it involved finding Jesus and quoting Alex P. Keaton.
Happy Christmas, Merry Hanukkah and long live King Kwanzaa!
Every December we like to take a look back at what happened during the year in RSBS. And with Christmas upon us and the annual RSBS holiday break about to take place, it’s that time of year again. Granted, there’s no way we could do this without all the hard work put in by the interns so I want to take this opportunity to personally thank them and ask them to keep up all the good work next year.
Now, before I get to the part you’re all waiting for, I want to take a moment to recognize a couple other people without whom this blog would be a much sadder place. The regulars probably know him best from his appearances on the podcast but for me, his occasional pieces really put into words what I wish I could express. In particular, this year I appreciated Mark Piebanga’s midseason post about Don Kelly. For me, it crystallized who the Tigers were at that point in the season.
Similarly, the brilliant ranting and raving of Johanna Mahmud always bring a mid-week smile to my face. Whether he’s once again lamenting the shortcomings of the Cubs via musical theatre allusions or cautiously hoping for change with the arrival of Theo Epstein, Jo hits the nail on the head as often as not in a way only he can. However, the edition of Setting the Mahmud that really did it for me was his takedown of the Red Sox in the key of Arthur. Nothing says b*tchslap quite like setting your role model loose on the AL underperformer of the year.
For the main event, though, I thought long and hard about the season my co-author had. I watched with amusement his two-part Libertarian “coming out” as he confessed his love for the still-feisty Ron Paul. I also applauded along with everyone else as Jeff completed his first marathon, and this from a guy who, two years ago, was out of breath after running a block.
But the real marathon was the baseball season and if you don’t believe me, just go back through the record. It started in April with Franklin’s blown saves and four months later, Jeff had all but given up on the Cards (and totally given up on the Rays). Just a few short weeks later, though, his dreams came true while attending his first World Series game and a few days later, that dream reached its apex as the Cardinals won the World Series. But as happy as he may have been in that moment, and all joking aside, I don’t think any of us could possibly understand how hard the Albert Pujols news hit him. Baseball, just like that marathon, has its extreme highs and lows. In 2011 we watched Jeff live them both.
Don’t forget our awesome Oakley Blender sunglasses give-away, made possible by our friends at Crown Royal! If you would like to win these sweet shades, all you gotta do is send us a picture showing why you are RSBS’ biggest fan. Email it to us at RSBSblog@gmail.com. The winner will be announced this Saturday, December 24th.
“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!
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