Move over, Keith, there’s a new number 17 in town and he’s got everyone going so LINsane that those all-night disco-caine parties from ’86 look like an afternoon tea. That’s right, folks. Just when you thought you might finally be over that Tim Tebow hangover, in walks the first EVER American born Chinese to play in the NBA. And boy can he play!
(If you don’t know who Jeremy Lin is by now, then it’s time to OPEN YOUR EYES)
Don’t worry, I’m not gonna go into some long philosophical diatribe on how Lin’s soft swishing three serves as the perfect metaphor for a hard-working, faith-based US American populous because, as you might already know, THAT’S CRAZY TALK.
What I am going to do is urge you to jump on board the LINvincible Train so you’re not all alone out there on Planet Boring. Besides overusing the same lame LIN puns, the LINvincible Train also features dramatic spin-moves and celebrity bandwagoneers… like the Colorado Rockies’ Jeremy Guthrie!
It’s amazing what getting out of Baltimore can do for a pitcher’s offseason creativity.
G’head, Jeremy! Yer doin’ it right!
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
The Super Bowl serves as an excellent signpost for the “we’re almost there” point of the MLB offseason. Once the big game is over, I know it’s only a matter of days before pitchers and catchers report to spring training and some real baseball action presents itself. This is a good thing, particularly this year, because I am running out of episodes of Glee (don’t judge) and Breaking Bad to watch, and the Bulls don’t play every single day.
I wish they did!
In fact, this year, the NBA has done a fine job of keeping my attention. After a 10 year hiatus, all it took for me to care about the league again was a universal villain in the Miami Scheme Team paired with a plethora of explosive, young talent (Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, etc.). It still doesn’t compare to the sensational grind of 162, but the kind of drama that creeps out of this modern NBA is as close to the old World Wrestling Federation as one can find in any legitimate league.
And, of course, there’s always this:
I know it’s Hydrox cookies in place of Oreos, but until the Oreo season gets started again, the Hyrdox highlights are taming my appetite for excitement.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Only a few weeks remain before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, which means we’re that much closer to the 2012 baseball season beginning with the St. Louis Cardinals reigning as CHAMPIONS OF THE UNIVERSE!!!
Hot dog! What more could a Fredbird fanatic like myself ask for on his birthday?
How about a decent bullpen?
And there it is: a beautiful, beautiful bullpen! Fernando Salas, Lance Lynn, Scrabble. And Motte to close?!?! Wow!
I have to go back many years (at the height of Izzy-mania to be exact) to remember going into spring training sans a bullpen worry (or nightmare). Having a closer whose calling card is missing bats is just the exclamation point!!!
And now for something completely different:
To say I have resentments over Major League Baseball’s long-standing tradition of being completely out of touch with its fans is like saying I’m not worried about the future of the Republican party: IT’S EXTREMELY UNDERSTATED!!!
After all, we the FANS are what make professional baseball work. WE are the ones who pay $30 for a nosebleed, who dish out $8.50 for a crappy beer. WE are the ones who have to see therapists when our favorite superstars go wherever the money takes them and WE are the ones who, despite what happens in the offseason, can’t wait to get back to the ballpark and throw our hard earned money around. So when we get dissed by the governing hands of the sport we love so much, IT HURTS.
The NBA set up its own network in 1999. The NFL perfected the craft in 2003. And the NHL (yes, that’s the one where they play hockey) started its own network in 2007.
It wasn’t until 2009 — a good TEN YEARS after the NBA set the precedent — that MLB finally gave the fans the opportunity to experience baseballgasms 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I can hardly remember life before MLBN, and I don’t want to.
But there has been something missing in its programming. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the lineup of shows they’ve been rolling out. Brian Kenny’s new Clubhouse Confidential is fantastic. Prime 9 is a classic. And nothing beats MLB Tonight. Yet the very nature of baseball fandom — getting lost in the numbers playground and tooling around for hours — seems to open itself up to a… TRIVIA SHOW!
Enter Matt Vasgersian and Baseball IQ, which premiered on the Network last night. Vasgersian’s cool. Baseball trivia is cool. How can this possibly not be a kick @$$ show?
Quite easily actually. Rather than having real fans as contestants — y’know, the type of Joe Plumber uberdork (me?) who will argue and bet stats in a bar ’til the beast looks beautiful — they instead use MLB employees:
“It will be a 32-person bracket with one participant representing MLB.com, each of the 30 clubs and the National Baseball Hall of Fame — featuring everyone from front-office personnel to equipment managers to scoreboard operators and museum curators.”
Um… (channel Eddie Murphy Delirious voice) dat’s not iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
MLB employees?!?!?!? Would you watch Jeopardy if the contestants were limited to the authors of the Encyclopedia Britannica?!?!?!
Okay, so the “prize” money is donated to charity. Whoop-dee-doo. If I wanted to watch a charity event I’d go to a golf course. Or a walk-a-thon.
The MLB Network had a great opportunity to connect with its fans — the very people who keep the Network going — by allowing everyday folks who live/eat/breathe baseball but don’t get paid for it to shine.
Instead, they produced the equivalent of an Alfonso Soriano swing at a ball in the dirt, low and away.
Don’t hate me. ‘Cuz you know I’m right.
January is a difficult month for me. Gone are the holidays that distracted me from my baseball-less existence. The cold and dark days serve only as a reminder that the 162 game grind is still far away. And key free agents still don’t have a home!
I enjoy football. I really do. Nothing gets me through the winter quite like watching grown men beat the hell out of each other over an oblong pigskin. But three of the four playoff games this past weekend were over before the fourth quarter even started!
And yes, Derek Rose and the Chicago Bulls certainly know how to take me HIGH-UH; but on Saturday night — when I really needed them to get me through the weekend — the game was over before the second half.
THERE IS NO CLOCK IN BASEBALL.
And where there is no clock, there is only the potential for glory. In baseball, there is no garbage time.
Hate me. Fine. 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!
8. Subjected Myself to Amy Grant’s Greatest Hits
7. More Beer
5. NBA Network
4. Dissected a Battery, Smoked What I Found, Had a Conversation with a Fern
3. Murder (Not Telling… HINT: Involved a Smurf)
1. This Video… Over and Over and Over Again…
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.