Is the hype to be believed? Could the Nationals actually contend this year?
Could they actually contend? Hmm… does watching a pitcher’s duel strike me with uncontainable bonerjamz? HELL to the YES, my friend! There are 159 games left in the season, and the Nats could win ’em all!
Or not. Still, this is not your embarrassing Expo leftover Natinal squad of old; rather, this is a team with bona fide pitching, timely bats and a revered sage at the helm! Do you think Davey Johnson thinks they can contend? I’d bet my 1986 eight-ball wrapper collection he does.
And why not? Without Howard and Utley for a good stretch, the Phillies find themselves offensively challenged. The Braves, still salty from their epic fail of 2011, certainly don’t have all the answers. I’m not convinced the Marlins are really any better than they were before they decided to blind us with ugly and the Mets are the Mets (though don’t sleep on them either, as a .500 season is not entirely out of the question).
The truth is, the NL East isn’t as predictable as it used to be. And the addition of another wild card team makes it possible to hope a little longer.
But the number one reason why the Natinals have a legitimate shot at competing for a playoff spot this year is… The ONE.
Okay, wrong ONE. But believe me, to Stephen Strasburg, there is no spoon. Also taking the red pill this year are Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, Ross Detwiler and (presumably) John Lannan. That’s one helluva starting rotation+.
When Bryce Harper eventually finds his way into the rabbit hole, there will be even MORE reason to respect the potential of the Washington Nationals (not to mention a tomfoolery fodder spike for Deadspin).
Would I put big money on the Nats now? Maybe not. Would I put money on them to be a cellar dweller? Absolutely not. This team could find its identity and they could do it as soon as now. They could be the ’11 D’backs or the ’08 Rays.
Better yet, they could be the 2012 Nationals. (see what I did there?)
Hate me ‘cuz I love Stephen Strasburg as if he were one of my own, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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A bunch of teams are clustered right around .500 and above and no division is even close to being set at this point. Does this mean baseball is starting to reach parity?
IT’S A TRAP!
It’s not real.
The truth is, the same old teams are still atop the same old divisions. The Yankees. The Red Sox. The Phillies. Okay, so the Mets and Dodgers may be out, but it’s not their faults! They can blame poor ownership and mishandled funds!!!
I know that a quick glance at the standings may confuse the casual onlooker, that one could be easily misguided by the way the teams stack up. But let’s face it: the NL and AL Centrals have been crapshoots for a decade, the NL West has been a contest in mediocrity for a long time. The Angels’ dominance of the AL West was only usurped last year and in 2011 they have put themselves back in contention.
This is not parity. This is, like our US American social ladder, a classic case of 99% of the wealth being in the hands of 1% of the population and everyone else is left to fend for himself. The effect resembles something like parity. But it ain’t.
I really believe that the Mitchell Report and its subsequent juicy fallout has forced teams to go back to what always works: good pitching. With good pitching, you might have a decent shot at accumulating wins. The Giants are a perfect example of a team that gets by on minimal offense and middle-of-the-pack payroll. It’s not the stuff of dynasties… but when it works, it works, and that’s what teams are doing.
The Pirates are winning because of pitching (they can’t hit). The Braves are winning because of pitching (they have a hard time scoring too). The Diamondbacks could always hit, but this year they have… PITCHING.
Great pitching is the best defense against great hitting. I didn’t write that. Baseball wrote that.
When the Orioles and Blue Jays can compete in their own division… when the Nationals have a shot at the big boys in the NL East… that’s when I’ll consider parity’s existence.
But right now that seems like something that could only be found in a galaxy far, far away.
Hate me. Fine. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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Give up yet?
Let’s see, there’s Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Avery and…
You betchya! Move over, Petey, ‘cuz Joe Blanton is about to take his seat on the ultimate bench of irrelevancy!!!
Indeed, as the shock from Ruben Amaro’s impressively aggressive move to recapture the services of Cliff Lee finally wears off, we are all bound to feel the wrath of that stellar Phillies rotation — a rotation that will make National League stomachs churn as violently as a half digested Taco Bell 7-layer burrito after an all-night college kegger where you went home with a chick named Mo.
And then there’s Joe Blanton.
Of course, this is assuming Blanton will even be a Philly once the 2011 season starts. If I were Ruben, I would do everything in my power to unload that salary, then it’d just be a matter of putting a body out on the mound every five days. If said body is able to pitch, that’s a plus. But really, four days out of five, the Phils are gonna be the hardest friggin’ team ON THE PLANET to beat.
Are you paying attention to all this Mr. Mozeliak?
Hate me. I don’t care. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
there’s a good chance we’ll have an all east coast World Series. Don’t
you get sick of watching the same teams over and over?
Achtung, dear readers! Once again, Larry presents us with a classic case of can’t-live-with-’em-can’t-live-without-em-itis — a taxing condition so prevalent that it has infected the hearts and minds of rural and metro US Americans left of the east coast for over a century!
Yankees, Red Sox, Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox… bla bla bla…
Yes, it’s annoying. I know. Except that this year it’s not Yankees, Red Sox, Yankees, Red Sox bla bla bla.
It’s the Rays! It’s the Braves! And no Red Sox!
what if the Yankees are in there? And the Phillies. Hell, the
Phillies are the best team in baseball right now. Post season
no-hitters? Crushing offense? Isn’t that what we want?
all biased pride aside, do you remember how many people were watching
the 2006 World Series that featured two historic midwestern teams? What
about the 2002 pairing of two California clubs? Or how about the
mostly-forgotten 1997 classic featuring your very own Tribe?
People (the same collective “people” who seem to think Armageddon
is “great film”) don’t remember, because people (the same “people” who
define NASCAR as an actual sport) don’t care; and people (yes, the same
“people” who consider McDonald’s to be authentic American cuisine) don’t
care, because no one has told them that they should care.
Which brings us to the main culprit: a centralized power of all-things media, also known as mind control, rooted in New York.
tecnocratic ways not yet fully understood, New York has convinced we
the people that if New York isn’t involved, then it’s not worth caring
about. So, naturally, our press reflects that.
No east coast clubs? Fine. No glitz. No pomp. Barely a modicum of circumstance.
Personally, I’m okay with that. Because such buzz, it breeds emotion. Gets people talking. Forces people to care.
And for a sport lovingly labeled as our national pastime — one that has
had plenty of public relations gaffes threaten its integrity over the
last few decades — caring about the game is all that really matters.
most non east coast elite, I have no love for the headline-hoggin’ high
profile teams that tend to bandwagon in October; but I know that their
existence is nothing but good for the game.
We need the Yankees. We need the Red Sox.
The post season needs the east coast elite.
Because US America needs an enemy.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****
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***Photographic evidence of Mr. Krause casting a Tea Party vote also welcome (it’s possible).
It has become obvious to me that baseball managers do not read this blog. How do I know this? Because how else can you explain the fact that Kyle Farnsworth STILL has a job?! Have I not made this clear? The dude is poison. The Cubs didn’t blow the 2003 NLCS because of Bartman. It was Farnsworth. He makes every team worse.
But, despite my multitude of cautions and unwavering admonitions, teams with hopes of making the postseason still go out and pick this guy up. His latest victim? The Braves. And there’s no way they can say they didn’t see it coming. Just scroll down through the article and, after reading about how he pitched this time, relive the magic of his previous outing with the Braves.
At least Farnsworth didn’t go crazy after the game like some other NL East relievers. Instead he just accepted it as another day at the park: “Can’t do anything about it. Just got to keep your head up and keep going.”
Really, Farnsy? Because I think you actually can do something about it. I think these GM’s could get their heads out of their a$$es and make a decision not to hire you anymore. They did it to Barry Bonds and he at least performed. I should probably keep it down, though. Even if the managers don’t read this, you might and I wouldn’t want to see you cry again.
Guys, the season is starting in a few days and I still haven’t seen an
honest to god prediction out of you yet. What do you think? Is there
anyone who can keep the Yankees from repeating?
We haven’t made any predictions yet? Oh yeah, I guess predicting that the Detroit Tigers will suck this year isn’t really a prediction, it’s just a known fact. Considering that it is that time of year when everyone is making some sort of bold statement as to who is gonna win and who isn’t, I think you’re right, Lee. It is time for RSBS to jump into the prognostication pool (that sounds like something one would find in Vegas) and so we do as only we at RSBS (I, Jeff, not Al ‘cuz he’s a slacker) know how.
(subliminal messages start now)
Compared to its AL counterpart, this division isn’t quite the sexy beast it used to be. The team to beat is the Phillies; and while the Mets look to give a better effort than last year if healthy while the Braves and Marlins lurk behind with plenty of potential, I still don’t see how the Phillies can lose this division. Oh wait. Yes I can; his name is Brad Lidge.
Yet I think the Phils still win it. Ya can’t get much worse than Lidge was last year and they still won the league.
Come now, is there really any competition here? Yeah, sure the Brewers can bop with the best of them but have you seen their pitching staff? Exactly. The sCrUBS? Er…. no. The Astros? Stop playin’. The Pirates? The Pirates!?!? Ha! The only team in this division who might give the Cardinals a run is the Cincinnati Reds, and for that to happen Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto have to both deliver the goods like seasoned professionals (they’re not) and Aaron Harang would have to keep his ERA under 10 (he won’t)… not to mention the fact that Dusty Baker would have to not destroy someone’s arm (he will).
Cardinals. No question.
Hmm. This is an interesting division. My heart says San Fransisco but my heart also says I should be able to drink a fifth of scotch and still be able to dance the merengue with some amount of poise. In other words, my heart is a goddamn liar. There are too many question marks in the Dodgers young pitching staff that I can’t put my money on them. So I turn towards the Rockies — a team with balance, a team with Tulo, a team with purple pinstripes.
San Francisco joins as the Wild Card.
Yankees, Red Sox, Yankees, Red Sox… bla bla bla. Not this year, folks. Yankees, Rays, Yankees, Rays… and Brian Matusz. The Yankees are the best in baseball. Hard to argue against that. The 2010 Red Sox are not the Red Sox we’re used to seeing. They made a major mistake by not bringing back Jason Bay and they’re gonna suffer for it. The Rays… this is the year for them. It’s now or never. And just for fun, let it be known that Brian Matusz of the Baltimore Orioles is one hell of a pitching phenom and a reason to tune into their games every once in a while.
Yankees win without even trying.
Rays take the Wild Card.
With so much money going towards roster scrubs and the recently anointed singles-machine, Magglio Ordonez, the Tigers of 2010 will look more like the Tigers of 2003. Okay, maybe not that bad, but still, they ain’t goin’ anywhere. The Twins will be in the race, but I suspect they will be playing a lot of doubleheaders this year due to that new open air stadium; and their team is still built for turf. I don’t see them catching the White Sox, who in my opinion have the best starting five of any other team in the Majors. If Peavy stays healthy and Floyd and Danks kick it up a notch, I don’t see how they could be beat. Keep your eye on Gordon Beckham too. He’s gonna be a superstar.
Like its National League version, this division causes me fits. The Rangers are right on the cusp of doing something great; but then I look at their pitching staff and see a bunch of crooked numbers on the board against them. The A’s? Uh… no offense, but if you rely on Kurt Suzuki to produce all your offense, I cannot take you seriously. The Mariners look like they should be much improved; but I’m not drinking that kool-aid yet ‘cuz as of now, they haven’t done jack. And how can I possibly bet against a proven winner, a team that gets it done year after year after year?
The Angels win the West. Why? ‘Cuz they do everything right.
And they have a rally monkey.
Now when you put all these pretty teams together, choosing one over the other is no easy task. They’re all
yummy winners. They’re all well-proportioned hot. They’re all doable talented.
So what is one to do?
Personally, I like to fantasize about a world where they’re all in the same room, having fun and going at it with uncompromising competitive bite. But understanding how unrealistic that is, I guess I have no choice but to choose one.
And again, my lying, cheating, pipe-dreaming heart tells me that the Cardinals are better than the Yankees. Yet, I’m smart enough to know that saying as much is not only unrealistic, it’s just plain fantasy.
Still, one can dream, right?
Hate me ‘cuz I get ya all flustered, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****
Something on your mind? Want to see Jeff and Al sweat (separately, not
together, eww)? Think you got a real stumper? Send us your Filibuster
question(s) by commenting or emailing them to us at
***Unwanted Victoria Secret catalogues and bootleg copies of Predators also welcome.
(all images scraped from the interwebs)
Produced, shot and edited by Atonal Studios.
Special thanks to Theo Roll.
Very special thanks to Youppi, the vaguely effeminate mascot of the late great Montreal Expos for giving hope to French Canadians worldwide… okay, maybe not worldwide, but you get the idea.
(For best playback results, watch in High Quality)