Change and I don’t get along too well. I remember when the Cardinals introduced the Sunday home game alternate cap — the navy blue one with the red bill and the profiled bird. I couldn’t sleep for weeks.
WHY?!?! WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS!?!? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE REGULAR CAP!?!?!
Things are better now; but living in Chicago, I became quite used to the kind of daily drama inherent in a city where Ozzie Guillen is employed. Now, with him gone, life is just… boring? I mean, Adam Dunn is hitting. Jake Peavy is pitching. The Cell hasn’t caught on fire.
What fun is that?
I miss the good old days — the days when the city stopped for the Crosstown Rivalry, the Windy City Classic. I miss seeing Sweet Lou bump bellies with umpires, AJ Pierzynski gettin’ cold cocked by Michael Barrett, listening to drunk frat boys explain the infield fly rule to washed out bimbos while double-fisting $7 Old Styles.
Is nothing sacred anymore?!?!
Until I see Dale Sveum and Robin Ventura do a rap song about bad contracts, I’m gonna have to think not.
And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
Jeff, Allen, Johanna and Second City’s Mark Piebenga knock off the winter rust and gear up for what looks like a fantastically competitive 2011 season. Besides being racy, risque and borderline offensive (or, just plain offensive), the topics of discussion include but are not limited to the best orange juice of all time, Michael Young’s precarious situation, Major League collisions and much, much more… all to make you happy face!
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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
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*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. You can experience Keith’s wicked podcast and subsequent film projects at Undercard Films. Keith is a hot topic right now! Not only is he filming that cool baseball doc, but now he’s got some commercial gigs from the Undercast, AND he’s investing in fleshlights! Pay him a visit!
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Recorded Saturday, January 29, 2011
For those of you Cubbie-lovin’ pipedreamers out there who still believe in that wretched mantra of “this is our year” — a mantra disproved over and over and over again — then I got another nugget of fact to help bring you down from that dark cloud of praise.
Paul Sullivan, of the Chicago Tribune, writes:
When manager Lou Piniella spoke to [Alfonso] Soriano last week in Pittsburgh and told him he would be
giving him a few more days off, Soriano said he understood. But Soriano
was miffed when he learned his name wasn’t in the starting lineup
Wednesday after he had a pair of hits Tuesday night.
“That’s why I’m mad,” Soriano said. “If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn’t come today ready to play.”
Did he really say that? Let’s look again:
“If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn’t come today ready to play.”
Yep. He said it. And yes, this proves it: Alfonso Soriano is an idiot.
Call me loopy, but if I were making $17 million a year to show up, ready to play baseball every day, then you could bet your behind I would be ready to play baseball — every day. Starter or sub, leading off or in the eight-hole, you’re a goddamn professional baseball player, Alfonso Soriano. You’re living a dream. Okay, you’re living a nightmare, but still, it’s a dream and you should treat it as such.
Goats, black cats, Steve Bartman, decking Michael Barrett, Sori’s hop, Big Z’s hot head, Dempster’s celebratory broken toe, Zambrano vowing to lollygag, the defunct abomination that is Milton Bradley…
Is it any wonder that the Cubs continue to disappoint?
I know, I know. Even I am beginning to think my Cub-bashing agenda has become hackier than hack. Still, what has to be said has to be said because the pain is now inching into my personal life.
My nephew is almost one year old now. While his mother (my sister and devout Cardinal fan) tries the best she can, still, having a Cub fan as a father has already begun to affect him with serious, damaging, negative results.
Here’s what he looks like when his mom dresses him in Cardinals gear:
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
The escalating crybaby tantrums that so poignantly characterize the 2009 Chicago Cubs are about as interesting to me as reading People Magazine‘s cover story on Bristol Palin and her five-month old child. Still, I admit: they’re both fun to look at.
Carlos Zambrano lost his cool again? Ya don’t say. If he’s not cussing himself out on the mound he’s throwing at someone’s head or beating the crap out of Michael Barret or, like yesterday, bumping umpires, throwing balls into left field, or bashing that poor Gatorade machine in the dugout.
Look, I like fiery baseballers just as much as the next pretentious a-hole, but when is enough finally going to be enough for Zambrano? If I threw such a fit at my job you can be sure that I’d be in the unemployment line that same afternoon; and my job doesn’t affect 24 other millionaires in the clubhouse and a neighborhood so jaded, so disgusted, so unruly that its people would actually run a guy out of town, fearing for his life.
Big Z, Milton Bradley, Ted Lilly…
Cub fans, this is why you don’t win championships. The World Series crown is reserved for respectable men who handle adversity with poise and class, who lift each other up with their actions, not tear the team apart. One would think that having Lou Piniella — the skilled master of argumentative persuasion who perfected competitive bluster without hurting his team, himself or others — would teach these rascals how to go about being grown men.
But such logic always seems to get lost in Wrigleyville.
On July 19, 2004, after beaning Jim Edmonds twice for allegedly showboating on a homerun trot, Carlos had this to say: “This is not a baby’s game. This is a man’s game.”
Yet Carlos Zambrano (along with spoiled co-whiner Milton Bradley) remains one of the biggest babies in this “man’s game”. The last time I threw a fit like Zambrano I was ten years old and my father did to me what someone should have done to Carlos a long time ago: he spanked the holy bejeebies outta me.
Until someone does that, there is no team — just a bunch of selfish individuals looking to cause a scene, which will ultimately lead to yet another year of hopeless dreams on the Northside.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m callous, hate me ‘cuz I use big words, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Well, “they” were wrong about something. Guns N’ Roses have officially released “Chinese Democracy” but the People’s Republic of China is still, well, the People’s Republic of China. Nice work, Axl. “Chinese Democracy” did come along before Chinese democracy. Sometimes proving the other guys wrong is a victory in and of itself.
Sadly, my good friend Mr. Lung is no Axl Rose. Now, god love him, he sure tries and you would think from his tag line (“Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right”) that he is often right. But, that would make you just as wrong as the anonymous “they.” Simply saying something doesn’t make it true.
For instance, if you were to ask Mr. Lung about Lou Piniella winning the NL Manager of the Year award this year, he’d say something like, “And how is it that Lou Piniella received the Manager of the Year Award?” I know this because that is exactly what he did say earlier this month. Now, I didn’t address this somewhat egregious statement at the time but I feel it is only fair to do so now.
The fact of the matter is that Lou deserved that award. Yes, he had a great team given to him and yes, there were very high expectations. But he also proved his managerial chops in navigating a way through those high salaries and high-strung temperaments. He made a bold and at first maligned move by switching Kerry Wood to closer and it ended up paying off huge dividends. He found a way to work around Soriano’s injuries and even packed away Michael Barrett when it became obvious that he and Zambrano couldn’t be in the same clubhouse. For charting those waters while in the glare of the Chicago media alone I’d say he deserved the award, not to mention the best record in the NL and a second consecutive playoff berth.
So, Mr. Lung, I guess my advice to you is to leave the boasts and the idle threats to those who do them best. You, my friend, are no Hugo Chavez nor should you aspire to be.
Ever since the accident (see comments), I’ve been having difficulty focusing my thoughts; but don’t worry. I will still find a way to express them in a brilliant, informative manner as is always expected here at RSBS. I am many things, but a quitter without an opinion I am not.
Picture it: October 2008. The first round of the MLB playoffs are in full stride and not a Red Sox or Yankee is anywhere to be found. Yes. It could happen, folks. For the first time in recent memory, both the Yankees and the Red Sox may find themselves sitting out during the important games. The Rays and Angels look to be locks and it seems that the Twins and White Sox are in a tussle for the other two spots in the AL. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but it’s hard to dismiss the possibility. Think of the chaos, the madness, the tantrums that would follow. At least emergency rooms in the northeast would be more quiet than usual.
Imagine my horror. Finally over the disappointment of not being able to see Allison Stokke vault her majesty in the Olympic games, I found myself settling on Swedish hurdler Susanna Kallur to satisfy my propensity for body-gazing during female competitions. Yes. My mind was made up. She was going to be the one. And then she knocked down the very first hurdle, fell to the ground and didn’t finish the race, further proving my theory that the combination of beauty and athletic prowess is more rare than me having somewhere to go on a Saturday night.
Envision the face of Barack Obama’s Vice President. Is it male? Female? White? Black? (doubt it) Latino? (double-doubt it) In any case, we should know soon and I have a feeling it will be someone whom we never even thought of. (No, silly, it won’t be me. I’m too busy blogging and raising cain, but thanks for the thought).
Think about it. Wouldn’t that USA/China baseball spat have been more exciting and more newsworthy if some real punches had been thrown? Look, I get it. The Olympics is all about class and sportsmanship but this isn’t the floor exercise we’re talking about here: this is baseball. Our sport. Our way. And we fight. Robin Ventura, Nolan Ryan, Michael Barrett, A.J. Pierzynski… those guys would have tore heads off — they would’ve brought bloody pride to the Red, White and Blue. A knockdown at home plate, some bean balls here and there… jeesh. I was really disappointed.
See the world the way my colleague Allen Krause sees it and see a world that revolves around the wonders and blunders of one irksome Venezuela. Yes, dear readers, I ask the same question you do: What the hell is up with all of these Venezuela posts? This one and this one and this one… I understand that Venezuela is quickly rising the ranks to be the proverbial pebble in US America’s shoe, but come on… Mr. Krause is talking about the degrees of handsomeness between Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez and Ozzie Guillen. That’s crazy. That’s just plain crazy.
And you know it’s crazy. You know you’ve had enough. And you know there’s no reason to hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Earlier this week, Shawn Chacon physically attacked Astros’ GM Ed Wade, which ultimately led to his dismissal from the team. Does Chacon, or any other player guilty of similar actions, deserve a second chance?
This whole past week has been rife with comparisons to Latrell Sprewell and his antics of yesteryear. At this point, the general consensus seems to be that Chacon is a second-rate pitcher who got what he deserved. However, I’m not so sure.
Let me begin by saying that what Chacon did was barbaric and unforgivable. However, the same people who are decrying his actions have no problem with teammates beating on each other in the dugout or generally being buffoons. When Carlos Zambrano and Michael Barrett went at it in the Cubs dugout last summer, there was no real outcry. People were upset but the Cubs merely put Barrett on the trading block and managed to get rid of him. Problem solved.
The real problem here is not out of control baseball players (or for that matter, football or basketball players). The problem is that we have created a modern day gladiator class in professional sports but then we’re upset when they act like barbarians. Listen, what do you think is going to happen when you’re looking the other way while these guys are pumping steroids and HGH? Do you think that does good things to their bodies or their brains? If anything, we’re lucky no one has died (although I’m still not convinced that Barry Bonds’ head won’t full on explode one of these days). These athletes are expected to perform at a ridiculously high level of competition on a continuous basis so some sort of additive is necessary if they want to stay healthy. If you want them to perform so you can be entertained and so the owners can make money, you also accept the consequences.
And here’s where the events with Chacon come into play. He had not been performing as well as expected. He was being demoted to the bullpen. That meant that some action had to be taken. But when you’re dealing with someone’s livelihood at that level, you need to have some tact. So, when the GM presents the decision in a nasty way to a guy who already knows that things haven’t been going well, what does he expect is going to happen? Here’s my take on it: If you can’t relate to the player, leave the news to someone who can. It will probably result in a lot less bruises.
But this takes us to your actual question, does a player so indicted deserve a second chance. My answer is simple. Sports are entertainment, athletes are entertainers. If they can still entertain and you are comfortable with the possible consequences, bring ’em back. You’re going to run a risk and if you don’t think you can keep the person in line, don’t do it. But the owners and managers are just as at fault as the players and even the fans in creating this situation so it ultimately comes down to the economic question (as does everything in entertainment). So, do the math. If you thought a gladiator had a chance at killing the emperor, you left him out of the ring. If you think an athlete might kill his manager, leave him off the team. It’s as simple as that.
Thursday night’s brawl between the Rays and the Red Sox showcased, once
again, that baseball players just can’t fight very well. So, here’s the
question (in two parts): 1) What is the best baseball brawl you’ve ever
seen and 2) which 2 players would you most like to see duke it out?
While it’s true that baseball players tend to be awful at fighting on the field, there is no doubt that a bench-clearing brawl is one of the most exciting parts of the game. In every case there is some kind of ‘other’ energy at play as soon as a hitter decides to charge the mound and whether he lands a punch or not, most people would be lying if they said they didn’t enjoy watching that kind of drama unfold. The brawls tend to be explosions of emotions that have been built up over a long period of time: clubs with histories, beanball wars, personal vendettas, et al tend to set the stage for the best fights in the game, and I totally get off on seeing those frustrations blow up. The Prince of New York wrote a great post (*click here to read*) on the dueling psychologies of baseball brawl analysis and he’s absolutely correct in his conclusion that most people enjoy them (or get off on them like me) — even if they try to conceal it.
That being said, I have to admit that I often feel let down when a Coco Crisp or a James Shields wails and misses outright… or when an Iwamura throws a couple of sissy-punches that are more for show and less impacting. It’s like watching softcore pOrn on Cinemax: show me the real thing or I’m better off watching reruns of Full House.
The best baseball brawl I’ve ever seen?
I think we all know there is only one right answer to that question, so before I reveal what everyone already knows, let me make some honorable mentions:
Big Z v. Michael Barrett; Big Z v. Gatorade Cooler
Hands down, Carlos Zambrano is the most explosive personality in the game right now. An atomic fist fight waiting to happen, Big Z showed some real hutzpah last year when he decked his own catcher, Michael Barrett, in the face after an onfield dispute regarding pitch selection or whatever… who cares… this fight was awesome. Cardinal fans always love to see internal dissension in the home dugout at Wrigley, but what made it even more awesome was the jacked up face of Michael Barrett the next day. Of course, in the end, this fight was the catalyst that got Barrett out of Chicago, setting the stage for Rookie of the Year candidate Geovany Soto to make his breakthrough as the Cubs’ catcher. I’m hoping that Big Z can find a reason to hate Soto too, but I’m not putting any money on it.
What I am putting money on is that if Big Z gives up a go-ahead homerun to Matt Kemp late in an otherwise flawless pitching performance, not even the Gatorade cooler is safe. Don’t believe me? Check out the pounding Zambrano gave this poor, helpless, inanimate object.
Izzy Alcantara’s Foot v. Catcher’s Face
Besides having a really cool name, this Pawtucket minor leaguer will go down in history as one of the smartest basebrawlers of all time. To ensure that the catcher wouldn’t hold him back, he gave him a swift back kick to the face! What is sad about this fight is that when he finally reached the mound, he let everyone down by dancing around and ultimately getting mauled himself (*click here to watch*). Ah, such wasted potential.
Mike Sweeney v. Jeff Weaver
If ever there were two lameball pacifist fighters pitted against one another, these would be the two. This fight didn’t even have anything to do with pitch location; it was all about something Weaver said (allegedly) behind his glove. Sweeney didn’t like it and charged the mound while Weaver had his back to the plate. What does make this an awesome fight is that Weaver had no idea Sweeney was coming and by the time he turned around, it was too late. Much like Alcantara, Sweeney used a diversion tactic by first slinging his batting helmet at Weaver before taking him to the ground and landing a few solid body blows. Good times.
Good times aside, these fights are equally catatonic in comparison to the greatest basebrawl of all time:
Nolan Ryan v. Robin “Sissy-pants” Ventura
There’s nothing quite like making a mannish dash for the mound to fight someone who is old enough to be your father and then getting put in a headlock only to have your skull, nose, jaw pounded on by the strikeout king. I can’t say enough about how bad*ss the Ryan Express was in this matchup and I highly doubt anyone will ever come close to equaling his solidly aggressive performance — ever. This fight is as unlikely to be surpassed as is Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hit streak. It just ain’t gonna happen.
But there are some fellas I’d like to see go up against one another in the near future. Albert Pujols is only one bad pitch away from knocking the snot out of Brandon Backe. As their ongoing series of differences escalates, I believe Backe realizes more and more that he has absolutely no chance against an angry A.P., but if anything, Backe has already proven to the world that he’s not exactly Fulbright quality. I eagerly await his date with number 5’s right hook.
But the potential ironclad matchup I deem most notable, most exciting, most entertaining would be: Milton Bradley v. Carlos Zambrano. Both of these guys are nuts! and suffer from extreme anger management issues. No one, no thing is safe when these two are on the field and that includes first base coaches, pitching hands and the aforementioned sufferings of that poor, helpless Gatorade cooler in L.A.
I’d give my left (ahem) to see Big Z pitch Bradley inside and just see what happens. If there is a god…
…but just in case there isn’t, we’ll always have the mysteriously entertaining rituals of Ko
rean baseball brawls:
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right…
Does Ozzie Guillen get a little nutso sometimes and say things he probably shouldn’t?
Does Ozzie Guillen need to be quarantined from the press after a tough loss (or three)?
But let me tell ya, folks, a world without Ozzie Guillen is just unfathomable. For Southsiders like myself, a Guillen quote is as close a reminder of home as Connie’s Pizza or Ramova’s Grill or a drive-by shooting. And believe me, as much as I am oft to disagree with the psychology of Ozzie’s wild rants, I must admit to finding them oddly soothing and curiously pleasant.
There is definitely something to be said for being in the spotlight and not giving two s**ts what anyone else says or thinks about you, what you say and the way you go about your job. I admire that.
And I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that Ozzie’s tirades didn’t make me laugh. I only wish my boss was as understanding as Kenny Williams (click *here* for Tribune article). Imagine if I came in to work tomorrow and said: “What? Our summer catalogue isn’t finished yet? Susie Q didn’t set the templates? What? She used that friggin’ Trajan font again for the Chinese neolithic pottery section!?! What do you mean John Doe didn’t translate the bronze inscriptions from running script to seal script!?! I expect the boss-man to do [bleep] something Tuesday, and if we don’t do [bleep] anything Tuesday, there are going to be a lot of [bleep]
changes in this Asian art gallery! The book gallery too! [Bleep] [Bleep] [Bleep] heads will roll!”
On Chicago Cub Rich Hill:
“Who is Hill? That piece of [bleep] who pitched? Michael [Barrett]
realized he was wrong [in punching Pierzynski]. Michael realized he
“But that little [bleep] Hill, he should be in Triple-A. He is going to
make Dusty Baker get fired. Shut up, you just got here in the big
leagues. When you make a comment like that, it was a cheap shot. You
don’t know the game.”
On Jay Mariotti:
“He’s a garbage.He’s always been a garbage.And he will die a garbage.”
On whether his children were involved in the Cubs/Sox brawl in May 2006:
“If my kids were on the field, [they were] going to get [their rear
end] kicked. What’s Ozzie [Jr.] going to do? Eat
somebody. My other one is 20 pounds and the other one is only 14.
“One is a baby, one is too little, another one, the only thing he can do is eat somebody or drink somebody.”
And if that isn’t enough folks, check out this Youtube post featuring a love-filled conversation between AM 670 The Score’s Mike North and Ozzie himself last year. While you listen/watch, realize that sure, Ozzie can be awful but he could always be worse. I mean, he could be Bill O’Reilly or god forbid Howard Dean. In any case, when reviewing this material, you can hate me, you can hate Ozzie, but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right: the world needs Ozzie Guillen and his lunacy.