Although there’s still half a month to go before the postseason, many sportswriters have already moved beyond the silly question of who will face whom in the playoffs and onto the much more serious inquiry of who deserves the upcoming postseason awards. Things are a bit tricky this year, especially in the AL, where the debate over the future MVP hinges on how people define valuable. Bill Simmons tackled the question in a recent piece and I tend to think he came up with the right formula.
For me, it comes down to one simple question. What one person, if he hadn’t been playing for a team, would have been the biggest loss over the course of the season? Clearly I’m a little biased but could anyone really imagine the Tigers where they are right now without Justin Verlander? It’s not just about Verlander’s individual success. It’s also the fact that he took an underachieving team, hefted them up on his shoulder and said, “Like it or not, we’re going to win and I’m going to show you how.” That’s not just value, that’s some straight-up Nietzschean will to power.
The case could be made for other players who at least have a shot at the award. And although we all know that pitching wins championships, a very real prejudice against pitchers exists when it comes to the MVP. But no matter how the rest of the season plays out, there’s no way the Tigers are leading the AL Central in mid-September without Justin Verlander. Show me another player who’s more valuable than that.
And the Final Rose Goes to…
“Nice guys don’t finish last. Nice guys just have to wait a little bit longer sometimes.”
In this all-Bachelor edition here at Setting the Mahmud, I’ve narrowed down who gets my lucky rose! No, not the MVP award — THAT’S NOT HOW WE DO THINGS AROUND HERE — we’re talking about my rose.
Stephen Strasburg wasn’t around enough this year, but he definitely gets an honorable mention, just because. Simmering optimism for next year, my friend. Also, no one should ever have to see what my face is doing right now.
Aramis Ramirez is usually my go-to old flame. That being said, I have an irrational dislike for how he runs the bases. (Sorry, Aramis. I never had the heart to tell you.) And now I’m looking for something a little more long term. I want to build a new life with someone special. I really can’t do a long distance relationship right now, and I’m not too confident Ramirez will be around much longer.
Buster Posey lost out early. It was no fault of his own (injury). BASTARD. I was rooting hard for him. He looked strong to start the season and was a returning champ from last year. Can’t hide the gimpy now though. There’s always next year!
Asdrubal Cabrera, the human highlight reel, would be a strong contender but this rose can go to only one…
Nyjer Efffin Morgan! MY GUY!! AKA, Tony Plush! Nobody does it better. What can I say?
Nyjer, my dear Nyjer, every moment you had on camera set my heart a flutter. THAT IS NOT WEIRD, PEOPLE. In fact, T-Sizzle could do odd things to me if he wanted.
I’m only mostly kidding.
Too strong. TOO GOOD.
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And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
Jeff, Allen and Johanna kick back on all the baseball drama comin’ down the stretch including STRASMAS!, Verlander’s MVP bid, Nyjer AHHHHHHH Morgan and several other topics sure to offend as much as entertain! The crew also gets a visit from AM 670 The Score’s very own Tim Baffoe, the one and only Ten Foot Midget!
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Recorded Saturday, September 3, 2011
Over the weekend, my brother-in-law and I had a deep discussion regarding what Major League records, streaks and milestones would never again be reached. We volleyed, dipped and parried, throwing out memorized stats and tangible history: Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hit streak. The 300 win plateu. 5000 career strikeouts. Pete Rose’s 4,256 hits.
On the surface, all of them seem insurmountable considering the modern game’s allegiance to softness, a result of the millions and millions and millions of dollars involved. We concluded that the game was going to evolve into something else, perhaps a realm where the magical achievements of the 20th century would never again be rivaled — that they simply couldn’t be, because the people and the philosophies and the technologies of the game had changed.
Considering what we know now about how the human body works, why would a team subject its star athlete to a 162 game season, every year, with no breaks and no rest periods at all? It just doesn’t make sense.
Which makes Cal Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive games played streak the holy grail of Major League records.
We consider the very real (and imminent) arrival of the Singularity era.
That’s right. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, consider Moore’s Law, which applies the exponential growth theory to the amount of transistors that can be aptly placed within an integrated circuit. The number doubles rather quickly (every two years or so), which is why 50 years ago the most basic of computers took up an entire wing of a building to do simple calculations and the iPhone or Droid you have in your pocket is able to take dictation, guide you from your home to the ballpark via GPS and give you the answers to any question at any time at speeds you never even dreamed possible (cue the Google Oracle music).
According to leading scientists, engineers and futurists, we are soon going to reach a point (within the next 30 – 50 years) where nanotechnology will be as common as laptops are today — that tiny yet powerful computers the size of blood cells will be programmed to reverse engineer the effects of aging, to fight off disease, to, in effect, provide superhuman powers.
Imagine having Albert Pujols, in the prime of his career, forever… or, at least for 40-50 solid years. Imagine Justin Verlander striking out 500 hitters each season with his 145 mph fastball. Imagine Carlos Zambrano murdering his entire —
Okay, so the Singularity era will also present some pretty controversial issues, like creating artificial intelligence that is able to out think us, which will blend the lines between what is real and what is not to the point where we could be opened up to an entirely new dimension, an entirely new worldview and/or perspective (like an ant suddenly realizing and being able to understand that there’s an entire world that exists above him).
But if we could see Albert in a Cardinals uni forever, tallying up as many career homeruns as there are trips around the sun and never getting hurt, I think all that sci-fi apocalypse shizz will be worth it.
So I retract my idea that some records will never be broken and confess: THEY ARE ALL GOING TO BE BROKEN. Believe it.
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
“Wait a minute! I’m having a thought. Oh, yes. I’m gonna have a thought. It’s coming… it’s gone.”
The only way I watch another CUUBBBBS game this season is if Wizzo the Wizard and his magic cards are involved (I’d go back in time and volunteer for the Vietnam War as well, because TIME MACHINES ARE REAL). Thank you, Jim Hendry, for giving Kosuke Fukudome $48 million so you could trade him for two prospects who will never see a Major League roster to save $750 thousand. You’re something else, Jim, you really are. But… there’s so much more to check out so all is GUUUDDDDD.
Justin Verlander has me in hysterics on a regular basis. He brings some must-see damn baseball every week. 100 mph fastballs being thrown in the 8th inning are… the password is…
How in the hell is he doing that? That’s some Nolan Ryan territory.
The human highlight reel that is Asdrubal Cabrera is doing NASTAYY things out there too. No balls get by him. Nothing. He’s playing that infield like a fine fiddle. Imagine the range of Ozzie Smith but with power. NASTAYYYYYY.
Also, the new team I’ve adopted (The White Sox) still provide daily drama. The constant pillow fighting (and maybe a little pillow biting) between Kenny and the Blizzard of Oz have been fantastic! Plus, pitching coach, Don Cooper, sounds like Buddy Hackett, who should have had a much bigger role in Herbie. (Best sidekick/mechanic ever. He also makes a serious cappuccino.)
And I have Pirates fever!!! I am actively rooting for them to win the Central. They got my old pal Derrek Lee! Ol Pittsburgh hasn’t won a Super Bowl in like… a year, so they NEED THIS. All that aside, I like the Pirates being decent. It’s refreshing. Kinda like running through the woods with nothing on but pink panties and a little mayonnaise.
Also, I keep watching HBO’s documentary on Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit. It was good but not great. I pretty much just fast forward to the parts with Minka Kelly. The password is…
And just one more thing: go back and watch Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy. The movie kinda got killed at the time for some weak acting and plot holes but that’s garbage. Danny Elfman’s score and Stephen Sondheim’s original songs combine to make it a great movie, despite everything else. And Madonna? The password is… wait for it… wait… wait…
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I’m proud to be from Michigan. We’ve got four of the five Great Lakes and really, how great is Lake Ontario anyway? Without Michigan, you don’t get Kid Rock or Ted Nugent and how many other states let you show people where you live just by holding up a hand?
However, I’m not always proud of Michigan. Sure, it’s a great state but there are some issues. You know, like the fact that half of Detroit is functionally illiterate. Seriously, half. Even Togo does better than that.
Some of our other citizens don’t fare much better either. You could call it a blond thing, you could call it a Michigan thing. All I know is that it doesn’t say anything good about us.
There are two things that give me hope, though. First is the fact that we still have Justin Verlander and that’s like money in the bank. The second thing? Actually, it’s the hand thing. Come on, that’s pretty cool.
So, it looks like we’ll watch the playoffs from the sidelines this year
since both of our teams decided to nosedive in the second half. Which
teams’ failure is the most discouraging, though, the Tigers or the
A clever move from my sinister and oft pejorative colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, inserting himself into the Filibuster box by stuffing it with this one question, over and over and over again. I guess some part of Mr. Krause is looking for sympathy in the wake of yet another disappointing season in Detroit; because anyone with any sort of baseball awareness knows that the greater discouragement between these two teams most assuredly belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Hell, up to a few weeks ago we were all buzzing about how the Cards could just mail it in for the NL Central title. How could they not?!? A team anchored by two of the best pitchers in the game (Wainwright, Carpenter), flanked by serious ROY candidate Jaime Garcia, a solid Jake Westbrook… and I haven’t even gotten to the offense centered around Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday… a team like this… it screams playoffs.
So how is it that they are dead?
Lack of motivation. Sense of entitlement. Clubhouse squabbling. Streakiness. The absence of a clear, dominating, team leader.
Really, that’s what it comes down to.
Meanwhile, the 2010 edition of the Tigers never had a chance to begin with. Outside of Justin Verlander (who struggled early on), their pitching was a complete mess (Dontrelle Willis anyone?). They started two rookies in Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore… and at the very last minute they signed a less-than-stellar Johnny Damon to… well, to do what, I don’t really know. His non-impact did the talking. Or not. Depending on how you look at it.
So, Mr. Krause, of course the Cardinals’ 2010 fail remains more epic (as the kids iz sayin’) than your disastrous Detroit Tigers, who are apt to see Jimmy Leyland walk away after the season, so that he can spend more quality time smoking… and… smoking.
But not all hope is lost for the RSBS universe. The Rays and Rangers look like fun teams to root for in the postseason, and let us not forget… Mr. Krause still has a horse in this race:
Hate me ‘cuz I got people who can extract sensitive information, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****
Something on your mind? Want to see Jeff and Al sweat (separately, not together, eww)? Think you got a real stumper? Send us your Filibuster question(s) by commenting or emailing them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
***Pics of Mr. Krause declaring his love for Albert Pujols & Co. also welcome. I have a hunch…