Seriously. There is no guarantee. There is NEVER a guarantee (right, Red Sox?).
Whether you’re listening to the Worldwide Leader of Dopes or MLBN or that fat guy at the end of the bar who just won’t shut up, you’ve probably heard some variation of the following phrase regarding the AL Central:
Yeah, but the Tigers are the better team and they’re going to win the division.
Oh really? Then what are they been waiting for? Hockey season?!? It’s coming!!!
Sure the Tigers have been playing better baseball the second half, but the truth is, the White Sox have been playing championship-caliber baseball. And what is championship-caliber baseball? It’s winning in walk-off fashion even though you allowed the Mariners to come back from 5-run deficit in the top of the 9th. It’s getting gutsy performances out of nobodies like DeWayne Wise. It’s having your MVP catcher thrown out of the game only to have his backup, Tyler Flowers, be the hero. TWICE.
Verlander, Cabrera, Prince. Indeed, these are mighty names with infinite possibility.
But possibility is no match for performance. And as long as long as the White Sox keep getting more than the Tigers, then all those analysts and “experts” would do well to right their wordy ships and recognize the truth from potential.
Also, there is a White Sox fan holding a gun to my head as I write this.
And he asks that you don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Sports Illustrated‘s annual Fortune 50 list of the 50 highest-earning American athletes list is out and Major League Baseball is heavily represented. In fact, 36% of the athletes are baseballers — some better than others (looking at you, Barry Zito). And while I’m sad to see an star like Floyd Mayweather, Jr at the top, one who eschews real glory at the highest level for a comfortable place atop boxing mediocrity, I am glad that baseball players are makin’ that pay-puh. It makes me feel less suicidal when I pay $8 for a 16 oz beer.
Here’s a quick rundown of the highest paid American baseball players and their overall ranking among American athletes in parenthesis.
1. Alex Rodriguez (6)
Too bad for the Yankees A-Rod can’t be young and steroided like the good old days. His health is just going downhill from here.
2. Derek Jeter (9)
He can do no wrong. I would pay this man a bazillion dollars a year if I could. And since Albert left me, I have no problems admitting my 17-year Jeet man-crush.
3. Joe Mauer (12)
Really? 12th highest paid American athlete overall and third highest Major Leaguer? I would feel better about this if he could hit it over the Target Field fence once in a while.
4. Vernon Wells (17)
PSSSHH!!!! I just ruined my keyboard with a mouthful of coffee.
5. C.C. Sabathia (20)
Mo’ money, mo’ foooooooooooooooooood!
6. Mark Teixeira (21)
Nothing says $23 million a year like a YEEE-HAW JAW!
7. Prince Fielder (22)
I have a feeling if I make one more Prince Fielder fat joke then I’m going to be… eaten…
8. Adrian Gonzalez (25)
He may have lost his power stroke, but with $21 million a year I’m sure he’s strokin’ plenty of power.
9. Justin Verlander (28)
A man’s man, I would prefer to see Verlander at the very top of this list, or at the very least, have the opportunity to rifle a fastball at Mayweather’s head.
10. Cliff Lee (29)
Way to go, Phillies. You’re making Clifton Phifer look bad.
11. Ryan Howard (32)
While many of my Cardinal fan brethren choose to hate on Albert, I prefer to hate on Howard, the man who made signing Albert impossible.
12. Roy Halladay (35)
Way to go, Phillies. You bring in the best pitcher in baseball to get you over the hump then s*** the bed three years in a row.
13, 14, 15. Barry Zito, Carl Crawford, Albert Pujols (Tied for 36 overall)
One of these things is not like the other…
16. Josh Beckett (44)
Is it me or has he gained like 40 pounds since he was traded to the Red Sox?
17. Jake Peavy (45)
Up until this year, I thought dude was done. Yes, the crow I’ve been eating tastes bad.
18. A.J. Burnett (49)
Huh? How did A.J. get on this list? I’d like to know the same. He should’ve signed two contracts, one for each of his personalities. At least he’s been living up to it ever since his worst day ever.
Hate me ‘cuz I didn’t make the list, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!
Any predictions for the All-Star Game?
If you have a stomach strong enough to stand the neverending barrage of political headline craptitude, then you might already know that the Mitt Romney camp is eager to point out that Barack Obama ate dog as a child. Obviously, this is pretty important stuff. As the Republicans know, you are what you eat (is Astroglide edible?), and no doubt, Obama’s youthful ingestion of doggie treats certainly makes him unfit for a job as demanding as the presidency.
Which got me thinking about my favorite baseballers and what they eat. Sure, some probably go for too much hot dog and not enough arugula salad, but let us examine to make sure. The interns have graciously prepared some slides.
McPizza. Right? Weighing 300 lbs. as a baseball player ain’t easy, but when you only pitch every once in a while and you eat crap like the above, then it’s easy as McPie.
Baby Ruth. Duh.
Nothing??!! Dude is about to disappear!
And finally (you probably knew this was coming)…
The known universe.
To be exact, this idea references a fascinatingly disturbing thought theorized by famed astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. One could look at it the way he explains — that an entire universe could be within each and every one of us. Or, you can think (like me), that dude doesn’t get that large unless he eats everything in the entire known universe.
Either way, don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Sunday was my first opportunity to get to the ballpark in 2012, so I grabbed a friend, put on some summery clothes and headed to Sox Park for Jackie Robinson Day!
I’ve seen some great baseball on Jackie Robinson Days past, all of which were pitchers duels (my drug of choice), but with a Rick Porcello v. Chris Sale matchup looming, I wasn’t expecting much. The pair would end up surprising me, but that wasn’t all:
- This was the FIRST April baseball game in Chicago I have ever attended where a hat, gloves and scarf were not needed. No joke. I was in a t-shirt. Sweating at times.
- Miggy can play D. I hung two stars on my scorecard for him, including a barehanded grab-and-throw that nailed a speedy Alexei Ramirez at first.
- I understand the importance of Jackie Robinson Day and all, but is it necessary that EVERY player and EVERY coach wears the same number 42? It is a scorecard junkie’s worst nightmare! Every time I looked up I had no idea who was doing what.
- And those ugly throwback ’72 Sunday home game red-pinstriped White Sox unis didn’t last past the 70s for a reason. They are HIDEOUS. Throw them out! Along with Alex Rios!
- It was a day game. Sure it was a bit overcast, but there was sunlight. Plenty of it. But that didn’t stop the White Sox personnel from turning ALL the stadium lights on like it was a night game! There was WAAAAY too much light. WASTED light! I know ‘Merica is a nation of excess, but good grief.
- Despite the new uniform, Prince Fielder is still fat.
Hate me ‘cuz I take tedious notes, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!
I loved Cecil Fielder. He may have been a crappy father but during a period when the “Bless You Boys” had become more of a curse than a prayer, he was a bright spot in an otherwise dull lineup. When his boy came up and then became a star with the Brewers, it was fun to watch but I had a hard time really getting into it because, well, he was a Brewer, not a Tiger. But that has all changed.
I don’t know what Prince will do in a Tigers’ uniform. I hope he’s going to be a monster in the tradition of his father but after the watching the White Sox live the Adam Dunn experience, it’s obvious that these things are far from certain. What I do know, though, is having a Fielder in Detroit just feels right. Welcome back, Prince. I hope that Comerica is a palace to you like Tigers’ Stadium was to your father.
Unless we’re talking about the cavernous anatomy of a female Kardashian, despite my best efforts, I still have not been able to pinpoint the location of a reachable and workable worm hole. Hadron Colliders the size of Prince Fielder’s appetite are also difficult to find these days. And let’s not even start talkin’ about the insane price of rocket fuel!
So how do I propose we travel back in time?
We open our eyes and take in the train wreck that is the Republican primary!
Want to live in a world where a woman’s reproductive rights don’t matter? Vote Republican!
Want to live in a world where your life is governed by an invisible sky daddy whose literary tome is as angry, erratic and suspect as a Manny Ramirez press conference? Vote Republican!
Want to live in a world where the ONE candidate who ACTUALLY MAKES SOME SENSE is so shunned that he doesn’t even have ONE person embedded in his campaign to report what is actually going on? Vote Republican!
We might not be able to travel back in time to stop the JFK assassination or Don Denkinger’s blindness during the ’85 Series, but as the above scenarios prove, we can go back about 100 years without much effort. Just know that, if we do, it may only be a matter of time before they may decide it is okay to own human beings and to kill others simply because they believe in a different fairytale.
Hate me. Whatevs. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
I love it when the old timers show up at spring training. Decked out in jerseys that don’t fit and pants that would be better off… well, off (and hopefully replaced by something baggy), seeing them throwing BP and shagging flies always gets me to smile.
So when I heard Kenny Rogers was in Tigers camp I quickly browsed the internets for proof. Though I was surprised to see Kenny has taken on the Prince Fielder diet (good grief, don’t ex-baseballers know about portion control???), I was pleased to see that he still has that gruff go-EFF-yerself demeanor.
Too bad I couldn’t find any recent pictures of his left hand. The last time I saw it, it was pissing me off.
I even searched the YouTubes to see if said hand was still up to its dirty tricks and this is what I found:
Bummer. Couldn’t get a good look. Still, the Jack Daniels is a nice touch, especially for a spring training camp that includes Miguel Cabrera.
Hate me. It’s all good. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Image courtesy of Brad Galli)
The run up to summer blockbuster season is a lot like baseball’s offseason. Lots of rumors, lots of movement and everyone talking about who’s going to do what and who will be the winners and losers. Expectations mount as we get closer to the start of the season, as we start seeing all the previews that look great. With both baseball and movies, though, it’s hard to tell what you’re really going to get until opening day.
Not that this will stop me from drooling in anticipation. I mean, come on. The Tigers have Cabrera and Prince at the corners! Sure, that’s an exponentially compounded defensive liability but the prospects at the plate are simply mouthwatering. Kind of like the Alien prequel, Prometheus:[youtube http://youtu.be/NIBiimdaj3A]
And if that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, how about a little brilliance in advertising:[youtube http://youtu.be/S7YK2uKxil8]
Summer 2012. Was there a better time to be alive?
RSBS Special Correspondent and Wikipiebenga Creator, Mark “Pie” Piebenga reports:
As soon as Victor Martinez went down, I thought, “well, season’s over.”  But then the Tigers won the Fielder sweepstakes (at a cost that boggles the mind: apparently Little Caesar’s is a pretty lucrative organization. Everybody reading this please buy a five dollar Hot N Ready so they can pay the Prince. And here is my obligatory admission that the back end of that contract is going to be a total nightmare). A season that looked suddenly suspect just as suddenly became the most exciting spring I can remember.
If they can keep healthy, and get production anywhere close to last year from Delmon Young, Alex Avila, and Brennan Boesch’s first half, and get consistent quality from Messrs. Verlander, Fister, Scherzer, and Porcello (not to mention the newly Dotel-ified bullpen), it augers Another Very Interesting Year To Be A Tigers Fan.
There are still some big question marks. It’s looking like a platoon of Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago at second, which doesn’t do us a ton of favors at the plate. With the diminished defensive range and crInge worthy batting of the once-exceptional Brandon Inge, the Miguel Cabrera return-to-third experiment will be interesting and hopefully not embarrassing. Danny Worth and Don Kelly will probably spot start there as well. Finally, can Austin Jackson achieve leadoff effectiveness even approaching two years ago?
For the last seven years or so I’ve approached the start of the season with same kind of a nervous ambivalence. The most positive outlook I’ve had could be described as ‘cautious optimism,’ which I feel now. It’s a very strange feeling to see the Tigers as the projected favorite to win the A.L. Central (hell, until last year, we hadn’t done it since 1987. Didn’t even do it in ’84.) The Tigers have been good lately, but as a typically suspicious and superstitious fan, I’m always nervous. In ’06 they got in the playoffs as a wildcard. When they forced the 163rd game with the Twinkies in ’09, I never had the feeling that we were a legit contending team. Last year they didn’t really seem to have any implicit dominance until rifling off that twelve game winning streak in September. (My father and I credit ourselves for that, having seen live their last loss before the streak started at a blinding hot day game Sept 1st, when the Royals came to Detroit.)
Speaking of which, I am very nervous about the Kansas City Royals. They were rated the 11th best team in the league in the ESPN prospects power rankings (I don’t know if this is a remotely useful metric, but Buster Olney seems like a smart guy). At the game with my dad September First we were sitting along the third base line, and during a lull in the game Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas was shooting the bull with the umpire and throwing the ball around. He was basically standing in the coache’s box, well behind third and in foul territory, and dude scooped up lazy grounder that came his way. Barely breaking eye-contact with the ump, he made a throw off his back foot that looked casual as hell, but judging by the angry snap of the leather Eric Hosmer’s glove at first, it could’ve been shot from a rifle. The lineup is getting spooky over there.
It’s foolish to make predictions about what’s going to happen, and we’re still forty four days till opening. Naturally when things don’t go your way for a couple of decades, you begin to doubt that anything good is going to happen. But the Tigs lately have provided all one can demand of any team, and that’s meaningful baseball in August and September. It will be really interesting to see what this team does in the face of injuries, statistical regression, and the rigors of the season.
 I can be a little dramatic.
 Verlander’s remarkable season was well documented. While he was hardly under the radar, I think a brief digression on Alex Avila is in order here. He had a .389 OBP (10th highest in baseball), an .895 OPS (8th in the AL), and hit .295. All while catching 133 games, and ranking top five among AL catchers in most defensive categories (e.g., tied for 1st with 40 runners caught stealing). And one of my least/most favorite things was the sheer number of times he got hit by deflections. I know catchers get hit all the time, but honestly I can’t remember seeing anything like his 2011 season behind the plate. (for example, check out sparks flying off his mask, and him getting hit in the neck.)