Some of the names may have changed, but the bad contracts continue to pile up. The Chicago Cubs off-season moves have made the Cardinals a much better team than the Cardinals could have made themselves; and the Cards haven’t done… well, anything really.
But watching the Cubs destroy themselves is nothing new.
And when trying to reassert my anti-Cubs passion during the long winter, I got an early charge from this recent Marlon Byrd signing. Huzzah! Hey, Chicago, whadya say? The Cubs are gonna overpay for a centerfielder today!
And a right fielder (Fukudome)…and a left fielder (Soriano)…
Didn’t y’all learn anything about immediately signing a guy from Texas coming off a career year? Nah. Nevermind.
The Prince of New York paints a nice, self-destructive picture of the Cubs organization hinged on that Byrd deal; meanwhile, I’m beginning to believe Jim Hendry is employing the James Cameron school of thought by throwing a ton of money at something that is fundamentally underdeveloped, hoping it will be a hit (or be able to hit… a breaking ball, in particular, if you’re Alfonso Soriano).
The difference is: James Cameron threw a lot of money at some stuff that actually looks cool even if the story is sorta lacking. I mean, I didn’t love Avatar, but I was certainly entertained by it. One can’t say the same for what lines up to be another epic bust of a season for the sCrUBBIE dubbies.
And Jesus hates them.
Don’t hate me, ‘cuz I’m right.
As the holiday spirit settles in here at RSBS, we’re starting to get a little excited. In fact, there’s a really good chance that this is the year we get that Red Ryder BB gun we’ve been asking for since 1983. However, as we sit here staring at the gifts under the tree, we thought we could present you with a gift of our own. The interns did a bunch of work coming up with the list and now we just want you to enjoy it. So, enjoy!
The Santa Clause
Only a hardcore DB like Boras could appreciate the fine print of a contract that makes you take over Santa’s duties if you should happen to be instrumental in his demise. Hell, he probably wrote the contract. On the bright side, at least Scotty hasn’t taken over as Santa…..yet.
The Kansas City Royals
A Charlie Brown Christmas
A ragtag band of kids who are all castoffs from one place or another gather around a depressingly bare Christmas tree. If that doesn’t describe KC’s fortunes, I don’t know what does. And just wait until Greinke blows town.
It’s A Wonderful Life
So, how many times have you not made the playoffs in your career? And how many World Series rings have you won? Yeah, I’m pretty sure you could give George Bailey a run for it in the Wonderful Life department.
Tie: Scrooged and A Christmas Carol
However, he turns it off before the main characters have a change of heart. No room for sentimentality when there are small children and their parents who could be paying more for tickets and concessions. How much more? Get on that, Cratchett. And will you stop blubbering about your goddamn gimpy kid?
Miracle on 34th Street
Sometimes when Barry is falling asleep at night, he imagines the postal service delivering thousands of letters to him in a courtroom and the judge declaring him the real home run king. Wake up, Barry. You’re still just a lousy cheat.
So, there you have it. If you ever wondered what a professional baseball player does at this time of the year, you have your answer. As for us, we’ll be splitting a bowl of popcorn and hoping that oblong shaped box doesn’t somehow put our eye out.
You don’t have to be gay or openly support gay rights to feel a little chill at the news coming out of Uganda right now. For a country that is supposed to be one of the brighter spots in sub-Saharan Africa (excepting the still turbulent north), the recent news and continuing coverage of a law that, if passed, would be one of the the most draconian and repressive anti-gay laws in the world is particularly troubling. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, though, considering that the “developed” world hasn’t really made that much more progress.
Don’t believe me? Here’s an example. Raise your hand if you saw Sacha Baron Cohen’s film Bruno this past summer. Ok, now keep your hand up if you enjoyed it. Yeah, a lot of hands went down there, didn’t they? And why is that? Was it any less funny than Borat? Were the stunts any less ridiculous? Did he take advantage of people to a greater degree than he did in Borat? I’ll admit that some of the scenes were over the top. But honestly, there was nothing there that was nearly as offensive as most of what happened in Borat.
So, why didn’t people like the movie? Well, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it has a lot to do with being uncomfortable. It’s easy to laugh at xenophobia. It’s easy to laugh at a village simpleton who doesn’t understand the way things are done elsewhere. But the in-your-face sexuality of Bruno is discomfiting. The character doesn’t hide who he is and rather goes out of his way to flaunt it. Even those who consider themselves supportive of gay rights seemed to find themselves ejected from their comfort zones by Bruno’s portrayal of such extreme sexuality.
These same currents flow even deeper in the world of sports. Imagine for a second if Tiger Woods had admitted to having multiple affairs with men. At this point, despite his so-called indiscretions, he still has his marketing deals and no one is really considering cutting them, even if they probably will use the affairs to leverage the rates they pay. But if it had been 11 men? Or even 10 women and 1 man? He’d be out the door faster than a neo-Nazi at a Rufus Wainwright concert.
Within Major League Baseball, only two players have come out and both of them did it well after their careers had ended. They knew that there was just no way that who they were would be accepted. The article linked above notes one particular anecdote that gets right to the heart of the matter:
“In his recently published memoir, Going the Other Way, [Billy] Bean
(not the A’s GM) recounts how Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda constantly made homophobic
jokes, even as Lasorda’s gay son was dying from AIDS.”
The sad thing is, an openly gay baseball player, or even football or basketball player, could go a long way towards helping people become more comfortable with homosexuality. As support for gay marriage has grown in the US, the statistics show that much of that has to do with knowing someone who is gay. When that someone you know is the guy who plays second base for your team, well, that just might have an even bigger impact.
This isn’t going to change overnight. Intolerance is a deep-seated problem that takes generations to truly root out. But like it or not, in the same way that athletes are held up as examples and role-models all over the world, our country is also held up as an example all over the world. If we want to criticize Uganda for its inhumane law, we should probably take a look closer to home as well.
Although I hate to be the bucket of cold water on the porn ‘stache discussion that has been heating up our personal interweb for the past day, it felt necessary that I write a small tribute to the most recent passing amongst our ongoing rash of celebrity deaths. In fact, you could say that there might not even be a Red State Blue State without the contributions of this person because many of the decisions he made led directly to the epic divide that has come to define our country.
I consider it fair to say that the Vietnam conflict was a watershed event in US history and the domestic response to it created a fault line that still divides the red from the blue states. Each presidential election since that time has been a refighting of the battle and even much of the argument about Iraq recycled the same terminology used in discussions of Vietnam. And no one was more instrumental in creating those discussions, arguing those arguments and fighting those battles than Robert McNamara.
There’s no reason to go all that in depth because if you really want to get an idea of the man, there’s no better place to go than Errol Morris’ 2003 documentary, The Fog of War, where you can hear McNamara describe what happened in his own words. Nearing ninety at that point, McNamara’s lucidity and razor-sharp reasoning are almost stupefying. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that he ain’t no dummy.
So, despite the ambivalent feelings Mr. McNamara may inspire and despite his troubled legacy, we still salute him. He is at least as responsible for RSBS as Al Gore is for the internet.
June means two things: the heart of the blockbuster season in the nation’s movie theaters and interleague play in baseball. The big studios unleash their franchise players on a ravenous public while the American and National Leagues battle for supremacy. But, despite obvious cosmetic differences, the two things are not all that different.
By the time interleague play ends and the All-Star break rolls around, a lot of teams have already fallen out of contention. Does anyone really think that Cleveland is going to make a serious run at the pennant or that the Nationals are suddenly going to put it together and ride Stephen Strasburg into the World Series? Maybe they can play spoiler towards the end of the season but after you’ve passed interleague play, there’s not really much reason to watch them.
It’s kind of like the big blockbuster movies. Transformers II might not have much of a plot. Or a script. Or real acting. But it sure looks good on the big screen. Once it’s time has passed in the local cineplex, though, is there really any point to watching it? It’s not going to hang around for long. It’s there to make some money and get out.
And really that’s where we see the greatest similarity between the two. The money. Interleague play is a huge revenue generator for Major League Baseball. Mets and Yankees. Cubs and White Sox. Kansas City and…..well, maybe not KC. But there’s no doubt that MLB and the clubs are raking in the dough as a result of these matchups.
Just like the movie studios absolutely rake in the dough with their summer blockbusters. Sure, it costs a lot of money to make a new Spiderman movie but when it makes back twice as much as was spent, you can bet your *** they’re going to keep going back to the well on that one.
However, there’s one aspect of this whole thing that gives me some hope. Despite all the focus on the fanfare and hoopla surrounding the big releases and the marquee matchups, there are little things that slip through the cracks but go on to make all the difference. It can be a “My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding” that maneuvers around between the big boys and not only plays for awhile but also manages to make a lot of money and happily surprise people. Or it can be a so-so series that ends up having a much bigger impact later in the season. Do you really think that if the Yankees were to miss the playoffs by a game or two they won’t look back at that series with the Nationals and wonder what went wrong?
I guess that’s just one more reason why I love both baseball and movies. No matter how cynical I might become or how much I agonize over the state of the game or the state of the industry, there are always the little things that keep me coming back. Especially when it involves the Tigers.
The rumor mill abounds with talk of Brad Pitt and Demetri Martin
starring in the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film adaptation of Michael
Lewis’ Moneyball. Movie buff and baseball lover that you are, does this project even have a realistic chance of being good?
Every year movie studios sink millions of dollars into adaptations of books that received either critical or commercial acclaim. This year alone we’ve already seen Watchmen hit the big screen and Dan Brown’s prequel to The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, comes out in the next couple weeks. However, the one thing that most of these adaptations have in common is a plot, some sort of narrative device to push the story forward.
I enjoyed reading Moneyball. Michael Lewis, although I may not always agree with him, has a Malcolm Gladwell-ish quality about him in that he is able to present a quantitative side of a game that often goes unnoticed. But I have no idea how you turn that into a movie. It’s like Fast Food Nation. It’s an interesting book. It has interesting ideas. But a movie? No.
Now, the wild card here is the artistic team. I do love me some Brad Pitt and I find Demetri Martin amusing in small doses. Soderbergh obviously has legitimate directing bona fides. But how do you turn a book like Moneyball into a movie? I suppose you could have David Mamet rewrite the script and turn it into some profanity-laden, baseball-centric version of Glengarry Glen Ross but I don’t see that happening.
No, most likely they’ll strip all the baseball egg-head information from the story and make it into a movie about the unlikely but ultimately successful partnership between a former jock and an up and coming nerd. Throw in a little Brokeback for good measure and maybe they strike gold. But I doubt it. Let’s just say that this project is a little more Shelley Levene than it is Ricky Roma.
It’s finally a nice spring day in DC. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, the Canadian geese have taken over everything. Oh, and the Nationals are already six and a half games out of first place. That can only mean one thing. It must be April.
I love this time of year. There’s still hope for the Tigers and still hope for my fantasy baseball teams before the long slog toward September and mediocrity. It’s warm during the day but not so warm that it’s uncomfortable. The end of April is really one of the best times to be a baseball fan.
But this time of the year is also special for another reason. In the next few weeks, as the drama begins to build around the early season fortunes of various teams, drama also starts to build at movie theaters around the country as the first wave of blockbusters hit the screen.
But really, on a Friday afternoon like this it just feels good to sit back and reflect on making it through another winter (residents of southern California and other warm states are exempt from this contemplation). But, as we wait for all the inevitable drama about to unfold, it’s also a perfect opportunity to appreciate the drama inherent in life. Not sure what I’m talking about? This should help:
-Video via The Daily Dish