Besides Chinatown flea markets and the out-of-this-world chili at Ramova Grill, the best part about living on the Southside of Chicago is having the White Sox play in my own backyard.
Because as a Cardinals fan far removed from my old Busch Stadium stomping grounds, I know I can always find good, learned, baseball-lovin’ folk at New Comiskey (only newbies and yuppies call it The Cell — so I’m told).
And on Monday night, Southsiders came out to the park in droves. It was hot. It was humid. The rain was coming down hard. But Mark Buehrle was on the mound and it’s no secret that White Sox fans love them some Mark Buehrle. Over 36,000 people came out to see him duel the Royals’ Brian Bannister… yes, 36,000! On a Monday night. With an hour long rain delayed start. Against the Royals.
Now that, dear readers, is some serious dedication.
Perhaps the influx of fans was due to the high hopes of a pitcher’s duel.
Well, we didn’t get it.
‘Cuz when Yuniesky Betancourt goes yard, you know the pitching ain’t so great.
Indeed, it was a back and forth battle throughout, until the Sox broke it open in the 7th inning and appeared to have the game in hand.
But Scott Linebrink seemed focused on tempting the Royals’ scouts, who seem to go after the poorest of performers. Yes, Linebrink’s Kyle Farnsworth impression was brilliantly played by blowing a 3 run lead in the 8th on a Mike Jacobs rocket launch over the right field wall.
Fade to black?
Not so fast. Alex Rios walked to start the bottom of the 8th. Scott Podsednik continued his 2005 renaissance with a go-ahead run-scoring double… and then later Ozzie Guillen brought in the Fat Man to seal the deal.
Sure, it was a great game and all… but the whole time I couldn’t take my eyes off the guy sitting in front of me:
Don’t hate ’em ‘cuz they’re right.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Kevin Gregg.
“I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’, and I can prove it.”
— Ed “Butch” Panczko, ruthless Chicago gangster
It is the year 2009, dear readers, and I would think that by now, every single one of us has seen enough cop dramas on television to know that you never, ever, ever tell on yourself. You just don’t do it. Big Papi knows this. So does Roger Clemens. Why is it then that the Chicago White Sox — who reside not far from the famed warehouse district were body after lifeless body went to disappear forever — do not understand this golden rule of foul play?
First we watched as Bobby Jenks told the whole world that he purposely threw at Ian Kinsler — which netted him a $750 fine and a watchful eye from MLB brass — and now we have Ozzie Guillen himself blabbing to anyone who will listen that he’s out to bean anyone whom he suspects of throwing at his guys. What next? Kenny Williams owns up to jaywalking? Check.
Look, it’s one thing to protect your team and head-hunt in retaliation. Hell, in this game, it’s expected! But to openly admit that you are going to throw at people, to announce to everyone that you intend on hurting someone, to alert the league that you’re going to send a message… well, that is just plain irresponsible. And dumb.
Yep. Tell a story. Do the opposite. Leave ’em guessin’.
That, my friends, is the Chicago way.
Even political nimrod figurehead Rod Blagojevich knows this.
And he’s a Cubs fan.
What’s your excuse, White Sox?
Hate me ‘cuz I put it out there, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(*Ozzie Guillen’s grill image courtesy of Da Bronx Bombers)
Get ready world, the Second City is about to take second stage (duh, the Cardinals and Tigers are playing) as Ozzie Guillen and his White Sox make their annual vomit inducing trip to that sacred dump on the Northside, Wrigley Field. Emergency rooms from East Chicago to Oak Park, all the way up to Waukegan are expecting a full flow of the black and blued.
The only bad thing about this series is that it’s simply too short — and, for whatever lame reason (to curb unwanted drunken injuries perhaps?) the schedule puts chapter one of the 2009 Crosstown Classic on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday rather than stage the regular weekend raucous which often leads to… well, death. Insatiable bloodsuckers like myself will have to find another way…
Still, this will be a memorable occasion. Think Bob Probert with fangs versus Chris Chelios with brass knuckles, both of them drunk enough to do Phyllis Diller in a well lit room. To celebrate the awesome combination of equally bitter/mediocre clubs sharing this fine city, we would like to continue what has become an RSBS tradition, with the sacred presentation of the worst rap song ever made:
“Black and blue, daz wha you gonna be!”
“Oh, yeah? It’s the Crosstown Ri-val-ry!”
No ball game — no matter how poorly played or mismanaged or lackadaisical — could be more embarrassing than that.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*Remember, starting tonight, the Cardinals try to put an end to the blasphemy spewed by my Tiger-lovin’ colleague, Mr. Krause, and his incessant yet feeble attempts at revisionist history. You had your Denny McLain, Mr. Krause. We had our Wainwright. Get over it.
**Special shout-out to Tom Walsh from Rocky Mountain Way for taking the time to meet with me on Monday. Good times. Post to come.
***Oh, and a special thank you to Sammy Sosa for making this Crosstown Classic buzz with juicy revelations!
We begin (as we often do when it comes to failure) in our nation’s capitol where the former Montreal Expos put on an exposition all their own the other evening. I could explain the premise of the story but I think this one quote just about sums it up: “…if there’s one thing we all can agree upon, it’s that exploding hot dog buns are high comedy indeed.” How can you top that? Well, maybe by spelling the name of your own team incorrectly on your jersey. But seriously guys, please keep it coming.
However, the farcical comedy stylings of the Washington Nationals pale in comparison to the tragi-comedy of the Chicago White Sox. Sure, they play in a mediocre division so they’re never really going to be out of it but they took a beating and a half yesterday afternoon. It all started when the Twins plated 20 runs to the Sox’ one and just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, the always eloquent Ozzie Guillen’s managed to jinx the impending Jake Peavy trade. Let me refresh your memory. Following the loss Guillen said, “I hope Peavy didn’t watch the scoreboard today. He might say no.”
Well Ozzie, you sure nailed that one. Maybe Peavy watched the scoreboard and maybe he didn’t but either way, he won’t be suiting up in Chicago pinstripes anytime soon.
So that’s where we stand as May slowly draws to a close. But don’t worry, the Nationals are still out there and it’s only a matter of time before they manage to outdo themseleves once again. My guess? Teddy Roosevelt gets decapitated in the President’s Race on Kid’s Day at the ballpark. Once again ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 Washington Nationals!
–Thanks to SLK for the link to the Nats story.
Last year about this time I was already discussing the Tigers’ World Series victory parade and trying to figure out how I would attend. Turns out I may have been a little premature in my expectations. Luckily, I learned my lesson and will never again have expectations about the Tigers.
Or at least that’s what I thought until this article popped in my Yahoo today. What am I supposed to think when I read this:
Rick Knapp, the new pitching coach in Detroit, held up his hands. “We’re only 10 days into camp,” he protested. But his eyes shone. And the corners of his mouth couldn’t beat back the grin.
The last thing that anyone who roots for Detroit (the city or any of its teams) needs is hope. And that’s exactly what stories like this provide.
I prefer the “What strange disease did Joel Zumaya contract this offseason” type of story. That rings true. Even the “Fernando Rodney wrestled an alligator” story is acceptable because then you just kind of expect the worst. But all of these Miguel Cabrera looking relaxed and Dontrelle Willis actually hitting the strike zone stories have the opposite effect. They make you re-evaluate the lineup and wonder if maybe we do have a chance in an admittedly weak AL Central.
It’s kind of like the lead up to Obama’s inauguration. You keep telling yourself that he’s just a man and there’s no way he can right all the wrongs of the past eight years overnight. But you can’t help it. You hear the news. You see what’s happening. And you start to think, well, maybe it could happen.
No, not for me that kind of optimism. I’ll take my seat over here, firmly ensconced in the misanthrope camp. Rick Porcello looks good? So did Dontrelle. Cabrera is finally coming into his own? We thought the same of Renteria. With both Rodney and Zumaya healthy, the most heated battle is for the closer position? I’m sure Zumaya has a travel version of Guitar Hero with him.
See, I’ve been a fan of the Lions and Tigers for long enough to know better. So, how about you check in with me at the All-Star break and then we can chat about Porcello, Cabrera and Zumaya, ok? Until then, I’ll just be sitting here with my Ozzie Guillen voodoo doll, trying to figure out what crazy thing I can make him say next.
A lot of baseball action seems to be focused on the crotch. There isn’t a game that goes by without a shot of some infielder adjusting his cup and let’s be honest, it’s hard to blame them. I mean, it may be one of the most uncomfortable pieces of equipment ever made. But it’s also essential when balls are flying at you at speeds well over a hundred miles per hour. And even with that guard in place, it doesn’t mean that getting hit feels good. Speaking as a guy, I cringe anytime I see a video with a skateboarder doing the splits around a hand rail and I don’t like skateboarders.
However, there are different degrees of crotch related injuries. In the interest of public service RSBS brings you a guide to crotch injuries.
First Degree Crotch Related Injury
The first degree and the least fatal is seen demonstrated here by Alex Rodriguez for Ozzie Guillen. It is commonly referred to as “minor self-inflicted” or in more vulgar terminology as “digging a little too deep to kill those d@mn crabs.”
Second Degree Crotch Related Injury
This type of injury is known as the “semi-major non self-inflicted” although it often has the potential to be even worse than the third category. This type of injury happens from time to time in baseball but usually only as a result of a collision or an errant throw. A football related demonstration is included here:
One of the more famous examples of this type of injury can be seen demonstrated by Wayne Rooney while playing for England’s soccer team. At about the 40 second mark you can see the act in all it’s glory:
Third Degree Crotch Related Injury
The final category is officially called the “major self-inflicted” but is commonly known as the “Dude, you are such a dumb@ss” injury. The previously mentioned skateboarding injuries fit into this category as do many rollerblading and “free-style walking” related injuries. However, the most recent and most famous of this type of injury came to us just a few days ago courtesy of “The Boss” himself. It may not have been a wardrobe malfunction and it may not have garnered a fine but I don’t think Mr. Springsteen is going to be making any babies in the near future:
Anyway, that wraps up this edition of RSBS Presents: Your Health. Let’s keep those privates protected.
Anything wrong with that? Not in my opinion. In a world full of greed, hate, debauchery and Cubs baseball, I find solace knowing that even the tireless spin-doctoring and smoke-screening of Rod Blagojevich eventually falls on the deaf ears of a nation distracted with the task of rebuilding itself.
Blago’s days as governor are as numbered as Joe Morgan is annoying; and soon, he will just be another political coelacanth — a footnote in the oppression and wasted tax-dollars of a people.
In my fervent bidding adieu, I refuse to let Blago’s self-indulgent, gloomy demise get me down. The older I get, the more I realize how little my brain can actually remember if not trained otherwise; thus, I find it best to replace negativity with post-partisan positivity. So it is, on this four degree Sunday afternoon, with a broken heart and three cups of coffee too many, that I find grace in the baseball-politico memories dearest to me.
Of course, there are always the Joe Carters, the Kirk Gibsons, the Ozzie Smiths… the inauguration of a new hope for my country… those are all givens. Today I focus on the obscure, the seemingly minute, the more poignant personal moments that help me to forget about what an awful place this earth can be sometimes. And so I begin…
Ozzie Guillen Goes to Bobby Jenks
A move he’s made several times, but never as interesting as it was during the 2005 post-season when Ozzie motioned for Jenks by extending his arms out sideways as if to say: “Bring in the fat fella.”
Talking to Carlos Lee Outside Wrigley Field
Having gone hitless against Ted Lilly that night, I was stunned to see a smiling Carlos Lee on the corner of Sheffield and Addison waiting to get on the Astros player’s bus. I approached him — all gargantuan 230 plus pounds of him — and flippantly asked: “Caballo, what happened?”
“Ball move too much, man.”
I’m still laughing at that one.
“Yes We Can” Viral Video
Sure, I admit I’m a sucker for inspirational acts of creativity… this one still gets me.
Brian Anderson’s Catch
Picture it, October 1, 2008… a one game playoff between the White Sox and Twins to crown the AL Central winner, and a Jim Thome homerun is all that separates the two when we reach the top of the ninth and two outs. A sharp flare streamlines to right center field, in comes Brian Anderson… instant party on the Southside.
Bill Clinton on Carroll Quigley, DNC 1992
As a young, impressionable, questioning 12 year-old, this quote pushed me in to politics… to stay.
Adam Wainwright’s Curveball
Whether it was striking out Carlos Beltran looking or Brandon Inge swinging, I’ve never seen a more devastating hook — ever.
Barack Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote Address
I thought a change was a comin’… didn’t know it was going to take so long, but it got me revved up nonetheless.
Yadier Molina Hitting .304 in 2008
After the rocket homerun he hit off Aaron Heilman to beat the Mets in the 2006 NLCS, Molina became my indisputable hero. To see him blossom into a true hitter in conjunction with his unrivaled defensive skills just makes me want to hug the guy any chance I get. Yadi, you out there, pal? Let’s hook that up.
Grandma Lois Talking Baseball
May she rest in peace, my beloved grandmother was talking Cardinals baseball like no other 84 year-old I knew. Before the 2004 season, she told me: “It’d be nice to see Edmonds and Rolen have really good years.” She died on April 20, 2004; Jimmy and Scott both put up career numbers and vied for the MVP. I know she’s still smiling about that one.
Post 9/11 Baseball in New York
I’d be hard pressed to find a more inspiring, more electric, more communal surge of patriotic energy and overall bipartisan goodwill towards all through the greatest game on earth than what took place in New York City that fall.
I still get goosebumps just thinking of it.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.