And now, 1,597 posts.
Red State Blue State was born out of the fiery email exchanges between Messieurs Krause and Lung during the 2006 World Series — a World Series that saw Jeff’s Redbirds trounce Allen’s Tigers (although until his dying breath Mr. Krause will blame the pitching fielding errors over an inept offense for Detroit’s shortcoming — one that would not be their last, obviously).
Over the last five years, we have enjoyed all of the benefits of writing a hit MLBlog. Jeff got to interview Ken Griffey, Sr., Dave Winfield and his boyhood idol, Ozzie Smith. He also went to the 2009 All Star Game and reported on that experience. Hell, last year he even went to the World Series! — twice — and then popped champagne as his boys brought it all home. Allen, well, he drew particular pride from the fact that RSBS ended up getting banned by the censors in Saudi Arabia.
But it wasn’t just about the sports. Although RSBS started life as a baseball blog, the second and equally important pillar, was a shared enjoyment of the drama and often maddening inconsistencies with the American political system. We found a way to combine sports and politics with literary bindings, and from that we engaged in quite a few intellectual debates that strung our worlds together. The highlight of Jeff’s political revelations had to be his Libertarian coming out party — the one that Mr. Krause so dutifully lampooned.
For Allen, the Post-Partisan Playoff Preview presented an opportunity to truly combine postseason baseball and postseason politics into an orgy of prognostication. Sure, the only time he may have truly gotten it right was in 2008’s initial edition but he still made a valiant effort in the close but not quite there predictions of 2011 and 2010. Allen’s political evolution may have been less dramatic than Jeff’s as he stayed continuously true to his blue state roots but this led to a moment he’ll never forget, being there for the inauguration of Barack Obama.
However, probably our finest RSBS achievements have to do with a little ditty by David Archuletta and the underground hip-hop sensation, Jesus Hates the Cubs.
Today is a day different from all the rest. Today we publish our last post. It is not without sadness that we do this, but, like many others experience in life, the time has come for us to move on.
If you would like to follow Allen’s post-RSBS exploits, visit him at his new blog, The Nomadic Revue, where he will continue to provide political commentary as well as entertainment and restaurant reviews.
And if you would like to follow Jeff’s sensational running career (and all the creative introspection born from that), then check out The Run Factory.
More than anything, we want to thank YOU, dear reader. Thank you for joining us on our journey. Thank you for all your comments, all your emails, all your Twitter love.
Thank you all very, very much.
Jeff and Allen
It’s all good, dear readers, because it’s a NEW year with NEW goals and NEW impossibilities just WAITING to be made possible. So shake off that nasty hangover, nevermind that public health clinic visit you’re gonna have to make after who you took home last night and rejoice from atop the world!
Of course, if you’re a Cardinals fan like me, you can also rejoice from the top of the baseball world (that’s the only one that matters by the way) knowing that you can walk around with your chest sticking out for at least another 10 months or so. During our short break, I realized that finding a quick rebound lover would help me forget the unequivocal pain brought on by the loss of one Albert Pujols. Enter: CARLOS BELTRAN.
From Cardinal killer to Met scapegoat to hot stove spice, Mr. Beltran slips inside an already potent lineup for the repeat hunting 2012 squad. In fact, by getting Waino back and projecting a one through five order of Furcal, Beltran, Berkman, Holliday and Freese, I can’t help but git jiggy with the disco lights pulsating in my bathroom (don’t ask).
And as if that wasn’t enough excitement to start the new year, how about the fact that my fellow US Americans in Iowa seem to be ready for real change to our corporate-petting-taxpayer-blood-sucking government!?!? FINALLY, Dr. Paul is getting some love from voters, which has forced the left-leaning media to start several Bachmann-esque smear campaigns. This is what happens when the financially elite (who run the political machine) get worried about seeing their empire crumble.
But don’t worry. Dr. Paul will bring them down. Enough with the wars. Enough with corporate greed. Enough with buying things we can’t afford and wasting BILLIONS on pointless endeavors like the war on drugs. It’s time to start over and that means no more empty Obama promises from the left and no more delusion-pandering from the right.
Ahh yes. Pondering such possibilities make me feel just like I did watching D. Freese gork one over Nellie Cruz’s head.
GO CRAZY, FOLKS! GO CRAZY!
This is gonna be one helluva year.
Hate me ‘cuz it’s the thing to do, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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.
As the enemy begins yet another chapter in its century-long battle against awful, I can’t help but reflect on the one-and-done tenure of Mr. Mike Quade. I will not question the hearty baseball acumen of the man; he’s been around this long, so he must know something. But a leader of men he is not.
For me, his ascendancy of idiocy became relevant when his unruly, wild and uncontainable club donned t-shirts at Wrigley during batting practice that said “F**k the Goat” in big red letters across the back. When later asked about the “goat”, Quade said he had never even heard of the curse of the billy goat, that to him, it was just a restaurant.
I was never able to determine whether his supreme stupidity was a) that he really hadn’t heard of it or b) that he had, and he was just stupid enough to think we would actually believe him.
Either way, STUPID.
I’m not saying leaders of men need to know everything there is to know about anything and everything, but they certainly do need to surround themselves with people who are informed on myriad subjects, and they must also have enough tact to know when they’re stepping into a great big pile of nast.
So if the sexual harassment charges against Herman Cain and his playfully flippant response to them haven’t deterred you from considering him as a presidential candidate, hopefully this video will:
This cannot happen, people. This man cannot be seriously considered for the presidency. The Republicans are in deep shizz. And they know it. It’s just too bad that the answer to their problems is right there, continuously ignored, continuously shut out.
It makes me very, very sad.
Hate me. Fine. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
The world moves faster now than it did just decade ago. In fact, while writing that last sentence, I lost two bets, texted a girl without using my fingers and imagined an elaborate Broadway staging of my favorite Bukowski quote.
So naturally, it would be easy to miss out on some important informational nuggets throughout the day. But do not fear. The RSBS interns have been hard at work to bring you these five things you NEED to know NOW:
1. Rick Perry Is Insane
You didn’t have to watch the *YAWN* GOP debate last night to know that. All you need to know is that he truly believes setting aside an entire day for his state leaders to focus on talking to their imaginary friend is an acceptable way of tackling Texas’ problems. Um… please, someone tell me that being “delusional” makes one unelectable in a general election???
2. MLB Playoff Changes Are a Comin’
If today was September 8, 2012, the Cardinals, Giants and Rays would all still be fighting like hobos for the last drop of playoff wine. Generally speaking, I don’t like change; but to be fair, this seems imminent and fitting. I give it my blessing. VOILA!
3. Mr. Krause’s Retort Is Weak
In his most recent attempt to derail my celebratory allegiance to Liberty, he wrote: “I don’t have time to go back and correct all of his logical and factual fallacies one by one,” which is Big Government Liberal speak for: “I don’t know how to slip that dude’s jab-jab-right hook-left cross combination so let me try and talk around it.” Just sayin’!
4. John Smoltz Is Awesome… At Everything
He was a bad@$$ mound maestro during his playing days. He also was/is one hell of a golfer — good enough to, at one point, even consider going pro. And after listening to him in the broadcast booth as the color commentator on an entire season’s worth of games, I gotta say: Smoltz is one hell of a broadcaster. With a Hall of Fame baseball acumen, superior poise and uncanny timing, he definitely warrants kicking Tim McCarver’s dusty rump aside.
5. The Astros Will Be Going to the American League
Don’t worry. No one will probably even notice.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
My friend Mr. Lung, while an excellent writer and a true baseball devotee, has the misfortune of often face-planting when his thoughts turn towards the political arena. Here’s an accurate representation of Jeff’s political discourse:
I say this because although Mr. Lung may have made one or two valid points in his original “coming-out as a Libertarian” post, his argument this past Friday mainly left me feeling embarrassed for him. I don’t have time to go back and correct all of his logical and factual fallacies one by one but there is one point that bears discussion.
Let’s take these two statements:
Tell that to the folks paying $4.25 for a gallon of gas, the people who can barely afford groceries, who are meanwhile raped for 20% of their income in taxes to fund programs they’ll never benefit from.
They hate us because of our longstanding foreign policy which is to invade, overthrow and then set up puppet governments and act as dictators to protect our interests in oil.
You don’t get it both ways, my friend. Despite what your new friends on the fringe of either party may tell you, avoiding foreign entanglements by drilling at home or investing in alternative fuels is not going to change the price you pay at the pump. Sure, over the course of a generation or two you can make those changes but in the short to medium term, your choice comes down to either securing fuel supplies in whatever clusterf**k part of the world they happen to come from or paying $6-8 a gallon like our friends in Europe.
I’m going to simplify all of this for you. Government is a social contract in which the governed (including you and I) agree to give up a portion of their individual sovereignty for the good of the whole. There are different levels to which this premise can be taken from the socialism of the Nordic states to the relative autonomy of the European Union. Both extremes have their problems and both have their benefits.
In the US, we have eschewed the extremes and held to a longstanding tradition of slowly moving from one side of the equation to the other as necessary but never moving too far from the center. From FDR’s New Deal to Reagan’s supply-side economics, programs come and go as they are needed. It’s often painful, it’s occasionally embarrassing and it doesn’t always work. But you know what? If you don’t like it you can go out and vote for someone who promises change or even run for office yourself.
Many Americans prefer to lament the “broken” system, though, and sign up for whatever -ism fits their current worldview. It’s simple, it’s available and it allows them to refrain from accepting any personal responsibility. So tell me, my friend, how are you any different?
“One man’s balk is another man’s strikeout.”
–Mr. Allen Krause, August 30, 2011
Look, I don’t know what they put in that Big Government Liberal Kool-Aid, but whatever it is, it has some major psychotropic side effects, because in the game of baseball I know and love, a balk is a balk and a strikeout is a strikeout. The two are never interchangeable. NEVER.
But mistakes seem to be pretty common when it comes to the work of my opinionated and oft Yes We Can-chanting colleague, Mr. Allen Krause. In his gimpy and tired attempt to derail my Liberty-train party, he made several inaccurate claims whilst using pompous generalizations to try and hide the fact that our current two-party political system cares more about robbing you, ignoring you, and then guilting you into making it all seem okay with special buzzwords like “terror” and “patriotism” and “hope”.
Sorry. I learned my lesson when my vote went to Obama, my taxes went up, my savings account lost its value and my buddies are still off fighting stupid, pointless wars.
Let’s see exactly what Mr. Krause had to say:
“Ron Paul isn’t a libertarian. Ron Paul has a lot of libertarian positions but it’s like being vegetarian. Once you eat a piece of meat, you can’t really claim to be a vegetarian anymore.”
I assure you, Mr. Krause: Ron Paul is a libertarian. Just because he differs from his party line on some select issues doesn’t make him any less a representative of the movement as a whole. Just like I’m sure there are gay Republicans and gun-owning Democrats, it ain’t all ones and zeroes, sir. Don’t forget, your Detroit Tigers’ greatest player was a drunken racist womanizer. Does that mean you support drunken racist womanizing? (Don’t answer that).
Also, we are not talking about anarchy here. We are talking about limiting the federal government’s involvement in our lives, like the Constitution was meant to do. You do remember that little thing called the Constitution, right? You know Dr. Paul is an expert on the Constitution, right? You know that your big government is sh***ing all over the Constitution, right? Okay, just checking.
“Yes, the US bureaucracy is often unwieldy but it’s downright streamlined compared to most of our OECD friends.”
So, you’re saying that because there are countries still worse off than us that we shouldn’t complain about the terrible job ours is doing? Tell that to the dying middle class who are out of work because some big government bed-sharing CEO wants to make an extra $500K on top of his $3 million salary. Tell that to the folks paying $4.25 for a gallon of gas, the people who can barely afford groceries, who are meanwhile raped for 20% of their income in taxes to fund programs they’ll never benefit from. The system is broke. This system is BROKEN. Time to fix it.
“Paul would have us close up our borders but it’s foreign trade that allows us all to have televisions in our home and computers at work for a fraction of what they would otherwise cost.”
Your claim is simply not true. Not true at all. Dr. Paul’s fiscal propositions heavily support a free market economy. It’s sort of the bread and butter of the Libertarian economic plan. But you do have a point in that Dr. Paul would have us pull out of some of the international arenas where we are mostly seen as an unwanted nuisance. Why are we still in Iraq? Why are we still in Afghanistan? Why are we now focusing on Iran?!?!?
And don’t give me that terrorism mish-mash. You know why those countries hate us so much? They hate us because of our longstanding foreign policy which is to invade, overthrow and then set up puppet governments and act as dictators to protect our interests in oil. That’s why they want to kill us. Because we are interfering in their affairs and they don’t like it. Heck, I don’t blame them. If Canada invaded my home and forced me to watch hockey every day, I gather I’d be pretty willing to blow myself up to stop it too.
Let’s leave those people alone, protect our sovereignty as the United States of America and uphold the values and declarations of the Constitution — a document that aimed to distance itself from the heavy-handed inbred monarchy that troubled the people with excessive taxation and an intolerance for individual liberty!
And now, please enjoy this woman getting hit in the face with a foul ball.
Full disclosure. When I read this title on Mr. Lung’s post last week, “Celebrate! It’s Mr. Lung’s Liberty Inspired Coming Out Party!” I wasn’t all that surprised. See, Jeff and I met in choir in college and then got to know each other better while doing theatre. The main difference between us was that Jeff is actually good at the singing, dancing and acting so when I read that headline, well, you can see where I’m going with this.
Then I read that the coming out was actually as a Libertarian and Ron Paul supporter. Jeff, I can support you liking dudes but supporting Ron Paul? I think it’s time for an intervention.
Here’s the problem. Ron Paul isn’t a libertarian. Ron Paul has a lot of libertarian positions but it’s like being vegetarian. Once you eat a piece of meat, you can’t really claim to be a vegetarian anymore. Similarly, once you say that the government should be able to regulate one area (in Paul’s case, abortion), you can’t really claim to be a libertarian anymore.
Honestly, I like Dr. Paul. I think that a lot of what he says makes sense and that if the Republican party believed the same way as him, they would regain much of their dynamism. That being said, there’s a lot of what he says that makes no sense at all. The elimination of fiat money. Abolishing the Fed. Getting rid of most the Executive branch departments. Yes, the US bureaucracy is often unwieldy but it’s downright streamlined compared to most of our OECD friends. Like it or not, that bureaucracy is what creates highways, ensures that people are treated equally and keeps us safe from those who want to do us harm.
More than that, we live in an era of globalism that has generally profited everyone. Paul would have us close up our borders but it’s foreign trade that allows us all to have televisions in our home and computers at work for a fraction of what they would otherwise cost. Closing up shop, leaving the United Nations and forsaking NATO would leave us vulnerable and insular, like the 19th century Japanese shogunate.
Let me turn back towards my friend, Mr. Lung, now. Jeff, I applaud you for your willingness to come out. I respect your courage at opening yourself up to the same kind of ridicule Dr. Paul has both deservedly and undeservedly endured. But if anyone should understand that the world doesn’t truly follow the black and white dictates of libertarianism, conservatism, liberalism or any other -ism, it’s a baseball fan like yourself. There are rules but the rules have to be interpreted and interpretation leads to shades of gray. One man’s balk is another man’s strikeout.
Enjoy being a libertarian. You’ll find yourself back here with the agnostics soon enough.
Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property — rights that people have naturally, before governments are created.
— David Boaz
ENOUGH! I’VE HAD IT! I’M COMING OUT!
That’s right, dear readers. For fear of becoming the political philosophy version of Mike Quade — a bumbling, stumbling, titan of passivism — I hereby do OFFICIALLY shed my clamorous cloak of association with the Democratic Party and declare my NEW allegiance to…
That’s right. I’m sick of the two-party volleyball match of blame whilst doing nothing to solve the problems. I’m tired of the false hope and broken (read: improbable) promises of the status quo. I will no longer tolerate the pompous stuffed statists sucking up 30% of my income… and, for what? To put my country in debt by the trillions? To send my brothers and sisters off to die in TWO wars that we shouldn’t even be fighting? No, sir. I won’t propagate that.
Recall how earlier in the week, while dissecting the train wreck of options present during the most recent Republican debate, I alluded to the fact that, indeed, despite all the loony tunes, there is another candidate I am willing to support. Well, you can bet yer sweet @$$ that man’s name is DR. RON PAUL, and that though he is thrown in with the evangelical pandering GOP, he is about as far from a “Republican” as a modern liberty-driven truthfinder can be.
He is my man going forward towards 2012 and beyond.
My friends, it is time for us to take back our liberties from the corporate thumbsucking suits in Washington disguised as our “representatives”. Let’s get out of Iraq. Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Let’s shut down the fed, pay our bills and STOP KILLING THE MIDDLE CLASS.
We Libertarians would be honored if you join us.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I”m right.