With legitimate superstars like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw anchoring the team, it was only a matter of whether or not off-the-field issues would cause a disturbance. Now that there aren’t any, they’re free to do their thang, and as long as that includes Andre Ethier knocking in everyone in front of him and stellar performances from castaways like Chris Capuano and the longtime hookin’ lefty, Ted Lilly, then it really is their division to lose. Kemp is currently on the 15 day DL and they’re still mowing through the opposition.
To me, the Nats aren’t a suprise either. I think the consensus among learned baseball folk was that they were going to be good soon, it was just a matter of how soon. With Michael Morse sidelined due to injury and an anemic offense through the first several weeks of the season, it seemed like they had some time before they’d be that team to beat; but pitching wins championships and their pitching has been as impressive as the St. Louis Cardinals’ travel day attire.
The real surprise — the real head-shaker du jour — is the cartoon bird in Baltimore bringing a moribund and aloof baseball club back to serious life. Last year saw them get off to a good start, and I thought they might really be making a move back to the Oriole Way, but their youthful inexperience eventually backfired, ending in a bucket of Showalterian scowls.
But consider the performances of Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom, Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, Darren O’Day and even Kevin Gregg — yes, KEVIN GREGG — and you’ll see that it’s easier to win ballgames when your bullpen doesn’t come in and yack up the place. For those of you who follow the Birds, you know that a yackin’ bullpen has been as much a staple of the beltway as corrupt politicians screwing their constituents. Yeah, well, not everything can change.
Just as excited as I am about the Orioles’ resurgence, I’m equally as revved about the Toronto Blue Jays, yet another AL East team that just won’t back down. They’re hitting everything. They are pitching with authority. And their Canadian poster-boy is keen on taking on the silliness that is MLB umpiring, one batting helmet at a time.
Also, there’s this:
Ah… to be 8 years old and Canadian… no suprise there.
Hate me if you want, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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“Yeah, maybe he [Brad Lidge] is not having a stellar season but after what he did last year, the guy deserves a little bit of a break… He’s not really any sort of appropriate object for scorn.”
— Allen Krause
Uh oh. Dear readers, there he goes again.
Indeed, with the above statement, my always venomous and sometimes sneaky colleague across the aisle, Mr. Allen Krause, not only managed to embarrass himself with more tired slandering, but he also succeeded in alienating his entire base: people who love the game of baseball.
Believe me, those people in Philadelphia ain’t too happy about the lackluster performances of one Brad Lidge.
And with a Major League leading 8 blown saves this season, who would be?
Lidge should not be an object for scorn, Mr. Krause? Let me tell you something. Your recent absence from my watchful eye and the overall sanctity of RSBS‘ loyal readers has caused you to forget the most important fact of them all: this is US America!!!
And US America is not some sicko socialist regime where everyone can expect to be treated equally regardless of class. This is not some soft ego-massaging utopia where the Kevin Greggs and Brad Lidges of the world are as praiseworthy as the Mariano Riveras and Joe Nathans. No, this is not some machinated system of social stability, Mr. Krause. This is not some communal crackpot of communist theory. This is not some lewd egalitarian fantasyland where everyone should expect to be taken care of if they get sick and need health care… don’t you know how hard it is for doctors to live their lives with just one Bentley in the garage rather than three!?!
If you can’t succeed on your own, you deserve to be punished!
Whether we’re talking about Brad Lidge or Kevin Gregg or Jesus himself… it doesn’t matter: if you suck, prepare for your roast.
‘Cuz that’s just how life is when you’re free.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m fluent in sarcasm and smarmy as hell, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Besides Chinatown flea markets and the out-of-this-world chili at Ramova Grill, the best part about living on the Southside of Chicago is having the White Sox play in my own backyard.
Because as a Cardinals fan far removed from my old Busch Stadium stomping grounds, I know I can always find good, learned, baseball-lovin’ folk at New Comiskey (only newbies and yuppies call it The Cell — so I’m told).
And on Monday night, Southsiders came out to the park in droves. It was hot. It was humid. The rain was coming down hard. But Mark Buehrle was on the mound and it’s no secret that White Sox fans love them some Mark Buehrle. Over 36,000 people came out to see him duel the Royals’ Brian Bannister… yes, 36,000! On a Monday night. With an hour long rain delayed start. Against the Royals.
Now that, dear readers, is some serious dedication.
Perhaps the influx of fans was due to the high hopes of a pitcher’s duel.
Well, we didn’t get it.
‘Cuz when Yuniesky Betancourt goes yard, you know the pitching ain’t so great.
Indeed, it was a back and forth battle throughout, until the Sox broke it open in the 7th inning and appeared to have the game in hand.
But Scott Linebrink seemed focused on tempting the Royals’ scouts, who seem to go after the poorest of performers. Yes, Linebrink’s Kyle Farnsworth impression was brilliantly played by blowing a 3 run lead in the 8th on a Mike Jacobs rocket launch over the right field wall.
Fade to black?
Not so fast. Alex Rios walked to start the bottom of the 8th. Scott Podsednik continued his 2005 renaissance with a go-ahead run-scoring double… and then later Ozzie Guillen brought in the Fat Man to seal the deal.
Sure, it was a great game and all… but the whole time I couldn’t take my eyes off the guy sitting in front of me:
Don’t hate ’em ‘cuz they’re right.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Kevin Gregg.
Just as the homerun he gave up to Albert Pujols during the 2005 NLCS finally falls back to earth, so too does Brad Lidge’s status as an elite Major League closer. Having notched his seventh blown save of the season (by giving up a game-tying single to bonafide bust Milton Bradley no less), Lidge forces us to ask the serious question:
Who in the world is going to be fooled by that low and away slider when you throw it on the first pitch?
And then, I gotta follow up by asking:
Who in the world is going to be fooled by that right-down-central fastball you are forced to throw after they don’t swing at the low and away slider early in the count?
There was a time (it was just last year actually) when Brad Lidge was one of the most feared pitchers in the league. Nowadays he’s looking more and more like Mitch Williams circa 1997 (or Kevin Gregg today — in both cases, it ain’t good).
Lidge lucked out in that his team won it in extras but that doesn’t change the fact that he gave Cardinal fans the type of heart attack once only attributable to prospective hunting trips led by Dick Cheney (no, that will never get old). The Phillies, this year, have proven over and over again that there ain’t no such thing as a sure thing and Lidge’s once-devastating slider is definitely not a sure thing.
You want a sure thing?
Bet on an MMA fight looking at least kinda gay.
Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Yesterday, my unequivocally nefarious and visually challenged colleague, Mr. Krause, finally posted his two-month late debt which required him to pose for the camera while proudly donning St. Louis Cardinals merchandise accentuated by a bright, broad smile across his face. Obviously, there is little doubt as to how disingenuous the smile was; but I must admit that even I was shocked at just how low Mr. Krause stooped to eschew what would be considered by everyone else in the world to be a rightly just punishment.
Here is the picture:
Sure. On the surface, everything seems in order… until we zoom in a little closer (thanks for the assist, Jonestein):
Hmm. Is that a photocopy of the regal S-T-L taped on your cap, Al? And what is that underneath the pasted cover-up? Is… is that… is that a Washington Nationals cap!?!?!?! (click *here* for reference to that same Natinals cap)
*Rich white people in the suburbs of Detroit whail in painful disgust.
Congratulations, Al, on not only embarrassing me and Cardinals fans worldwide, but for also abandoning your own people during a playoff race. Nice. Indeed, you are the Sarah Palin of baseball fandom!
But Allen’s experiment with the not-so-magical isn’t the only thing causing the masses to rub their eyes today. Note to all Major League managers not named Tony LaRussa: If Albert Pujols steps in with the bases loaded, for Lord’s sake walk the man! Last night, Jerry Manuel found out rather quickly what everyone else seems to already know when he decided to have Sean Green pitch to Albert, only to see Pujols launch yet another grand slam, which ultimately led the Cardinals to victory. For the record, in 2009, Albert is a disgustingly sick 7-9 with the bases loaded, including five (YES, FIVE!) grand slams. If you think you’ll get A.P. to swing at something stupid in that situation then you deserve to be beaten.
And while we’re on the subject of idiocy…
This photo has been dancing around the interwebs faster than Kevin Gregg can blow a 9th inning lead; but let me tell ya, just like Al’s photo above, this is all wrong. I’m not talking about the actual lampooning of our president as a joker — that’s all fair game as far as I’m concerned — what bothers me is that the word “SOCIALISM” appears below the Obama-as-Heath-Ledger-as-the-Joker image.
Come on now. Socialism? Look, the Joker was an anarchist. There was nothing social about the Joker at all. The closest he ever came to socialism was wanting to kill everyone for no reason other than to just kill everyone. So if you’re gonna roast the Prez then at least make sure you get your metaphors — visual and contextual — correct.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.