Tagged: MLB

Moonbases and Porn and Franchises, Oh My!

As electoral campaigns get rolling and as the candidates feel a need to distinguish themselves, the quotes become more and more interesting.  Sure, there is the obvious craziness of Newt Gingrich and his moonbases but that’s just a drop in the bucket.  You expect that sort of thing from a bipolar former Speaker of the House.

But what about Rick Santorum’s pledge to ban pornography in the United States?  Number one, anyone who feels this strongly about so many “vices” must have a real problem.  Has he even heard of Mark Foley or Ted Haggard?  Number two, the states that most support Santorum, the so-called “Red States” who revel in their religiosity, also happen to be the largest consumers of porn.  Are you really going to tell me that they’ll let Mr. Santorum take away their dirty little secret?

Finally, how would you even go about doing away with porn?  Are you going to start censoring the internet and blocking sites that you consider “morally reprehensible”?  The only place I’ve ever visited where they’ve been even moderately successful with this approach is Saudi Arabia.  I don’t exactly see that as a model for the US.  Besides, you’re going to have about as much luck banning porn in the US as MLB has had in banning PEDs from baseball.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and as long as boys and ballplayers are around, there will always be a will to access porn and PEDs.

Luckily it’s not just Mr. Santorum who’s divorced from reality.  In an effort to prove that he, too, is just a regular guy, Mitt Romney recently let us know that he loves sports just like us.  In fact, he has “good friends” who own NASCAR and NFL teams.  Now, I don’t know if Mr. Romney enjoys car racing or football but there’s a pretty major difference between enjoying sports and being friends with people who own the teams.  If you can’t make that distinction, you probably ought to go back and audit Running for Office 101.

I realize that I’m being pretty hard on the Republicans here.  But, since they’re the ones in the middle of a heated primary fight, they tend to also be the ones making the ridiculous statements.  I’m sure Obama will come out with some of his own once the general election gets underway but for now, he can just sit back and let the other side say what they want.  Sounds like a plan to me.  Moonbases and porn and franchises, oh my!

-A

A Very Graphic Graphic

If you ask most baseball players if it’s justified for a pitcher to hit them with a pitch, I’m going to guess they’ll most likely say no.  Likewise, if you ask most NFL receivers if it’s OK for a defender to spear them while they’re stretched out for a pass, they’ll probably say no.  In general, it’s pretty hard to imagine someone thinking that it’s all right for someone else to hit them.

Well, unless you’re a Jordanian woman:

Graph via The Economist

We’re a week late for International Women’s Day but that doesn’t mean the topic is no longer germane.  Remember, you probably wouldn’t purposely throw a ball at someone during a baseball or softball game so you probably shouldn’t be punching your wife or girlfriend either.

-A

Intangibility

If you were to build the ideal baseball player, you probably wouldn’t come up with Dustin Pedroia.  He’s too small and he just doesn’t look like how a ballplayer should look.  Likewise, you probably wouldn’t come up with CC Sabathia either.  Dude has a huge gut and looks like a whale.

Most likely, if you were constructing the ideal baseball player, you’d come up with someone like Kyle Farnsworth, all six-and-a-half worthless feet of him.  Of course, you’d also then be saddled with his contract and seemingly uncanny ability to melt down in important games.

So why is it that Farnsworth is an object of ridicule (at least here at RSBS) while Pedroia is a former MVP and Sabathia is one of the most consistently good pitchers in baseball?  Well, it’s the same reason that Jeremy Lin happened in the US of A and could never happen in China.  It’s the intangibles that make athletes great and if there’s one thing that we do well in America, it’s the intangibles.

You can have your Yao Mings and your Kyle Farnsworths.  Me, I’ll take my Cecil Fielders and David Wells.  And I bet you ten yuan I’ll win.

-A

Don’t Blame Braun

I feel a little sick to my stomach when I hear about someone getting off on a technicality.  Illegal search, improper handling, failure of the arresting officer to read the suspect their rights.  The list of possible screw-ups is endless.

But you know what’s even worse than seeing someone get off on a technicality?  Watching someone get convicted for a crime they truly didn’t commit.

I’ll be honest, just like all of you, I have no idea whether or not Ryan Braun is guilty.  He claims he’s innocent, MLB implies he’s guilty and the fan is left to wonder what the real story is.  But whether he’s an innocent charged with a crime he didn’t commit or a ne’er-do-well who got off on a technicality, the fact of the matter is that Braun has been cleared and this story never should have been in the press in the first place.  More than that, if Braun was guilty of using PEDs, MLB has no one to blame but itself for his exoneration.

The reason courts and commissions have procedures is so that at the end of the process, you can be absolutely sure that the person was dealt with fairly and deserved the consequences of their actions.  Even though it makes me sick when a criminal goes free because a DNA sample was mishandled, you can’t put that on the criminal.  It’s the fault of the lab or the officers who did the mishandling.

Same goes for Braun.  This isn’t a story about him using PEDs.  No, this is a story about MLB screwing up a procedure that was set in place to assure fairness and impartiality inthe judgement.  MLB has no right to disagree with the arbitration panel’s findings.  If the organization had done their job correctly we’d either just now be finding out that Braun was a cheater or we’d have never heard anything at all.

I don’t like the Braun case.  Whether he juiced or not, this story taints him, taints MLB and taints the game.  However, instead of attacking Braun, the mob should be pointing their fingers at the only known guilty party, an organization that again and again fails to deal appropriately with the issues it faces.  Don’t blame Braun.  Blame Bud.

-A

__________________________

After a grueling off-season training regimen, the Filibuster comes back even bigger and badder then ever next Sunday.  Maybe you want to know what the RSBS crew thinks about divisional realignment.  Perhaps you’d like to make Allen see red by asking his feelings on pink team caps.  Or maybe you’re just wondering why asking Jeff the question “Boxers or briefs” leads him to respond “Depends.”  No matter what the query, send it to RSBSBlog@gmail.com and we’ll let you know what we think.

How the Play-in Will Play Out

I couldn’t be more excited that the NCAA seems to be extricating its head from its nether regions to finally consider instituting a college football playoff.  The only thing better than the thought of the classic matches to come is salivating over the classic matches that could have been.  Sure, I know that Michigan wouldn’t have had a chance against Florida in that 2006 matchup but most people thought Ohio State was going to plow the Gators under so you never know.  That’s the thing about football and a one-game playoff system.  It sucks when you’re on the losing end but it’s great when you win.

But baseball is different.  Sure, there’s a thrill to ending the season on a one-game intra-division playoff and some of those games have become instant classics.  However, despite being the baseball progressive half of the RSBS duo, I find myself wondering about the MLB expanded playoffs.  A play-in wildcard game?  Sure, it’s great for ratings.  And obviously it means a lot more than something like the NCAA basketball play-in game.  But I’m just not sold on it.

On the money side I get it.  A one-off play-in is bound to be a huge financial bonus.  Last year it would have meant keeping the Red Sox and their fans around for one extra game and MLB loves those ratings bonanzas.  But the beautiful thing about baseball is that its also about playing consistently.  You have to play well over a 162-game grind, which only gives you the chance to do it all again in grueling 5 and 7 game series.  The extended series in baseball are like life while football’s one-and-done playoff model feels more like the movies.

I’m sure I’ll come around.  MLB has finally taken care of the uneven league issue and and with even divisions, teams now have more incentive than ever before to win their division.  The play-in is great for strong divisions where a couple good teams trapped behind a spectacular team will finally get a chance to make the playoffs.  But, do we really need to have 3 NL East and 3 AL East teams in the playoffs every year, even if one of them falls out during the play-in?

-A

Feeling Less Than Equal

America has become an unequal place.  Yes, there’s the enforced salary cap equality of sports like football that has led to a more competitive game.  But in general, the haves and the have-nots of baseball more accurately reflect what’s really happening in our society.  Sure, money doesn’t always ensure that you’ll win it all but there’s a reason why the New York Yankees are the winningest team in MLB history while teams like Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Oakland and Denver have flourished in the NFL.

Inequality in sports is bad enough but the inequality between people matters even more.  What does it say about a country when a Congressional committee hearing on contraception has exactly zero female invitees?  I think it’s safe to say that even Kenny Powers respects women more than Darrell Issa.

Inequality also appears to be rearing its ugly head among the Republican presidential contenders, although at least one of them doesn’t necessarily see that as a bad thing.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that Santorum was trying to throw the race by saying the most patently offensive things possible.  And yet, he’s not only still in the running, he’s also somehow leading Mitt Romney in polling for upcoming important contests.  This continued surge of Santorum (…ahem) seems to prove not only that a portion of the country supports his worldview, it also shows us that quite a few Americans really are batshit insane.

Inequality tends to right itself eventually.  The conspicuous consumption of the 1920’s and the ensuing Depression led to a recalibration in the 30’s and 40’s.  Today, a similar series of events has left a recession that seems to tenaciously hold back growth outside of a fraction of the population, while a small-scale revolt against income equality has risen up in areas of the country.  Are we seeing another recalibration?  Me, I’d say there’s hope because there’s one place where we are all still equal.

-A

Mr. Lung, Superstar

I’m a day early but these things are rarely exact.  No one really knows for sure if Jesus was born 2,012 years ago, for instance.  But I can tell you for sure that Jeff was born 33 years ago as of tomorrow.  I just hope that Jeff doesn’t decide to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.  See, after disappearing for 30 years between his birth and the start of his ministry, Jesus managed to piss off the entire Roman Empire and the Jewish elite in three short years and get himself killed.

I don’t want to say the allusion is exact but for the past three years Jeff has been pissing off the MLB empire and the baseball elite (including getting kicked off Barry Zito’s Twitter feed).  So far there have been no threats against Jeff’s life but MLB is sneaky like that.

It’s a day early but happy birthday Mr. Lung.  And please, beware of crowds bearing palm fronds.  You know what happens a week later.

-A