Opening Day saw some pretty spectacular bullpen meltdowns. But what
does it say about the game that teams have become so reliant on the
bullpen that relievers can pretty much make or break a season? Have
pitchers gotten soft?
*Breaks window, jumps from the second story, runs down the street screaming even though forgot pants*
Believe me, Mr. Jake, I am really trying to tackle this one without any bias, without any memory of Opening Day in the ‘Lou, without a mammoth-sized chip on my shoulder. But let’s be honest: in baseball, there isn’t much worse than watching your team dominate throughout a game, only to blow it all in the 9th when the win is on the line.
My Redbirds managed to do that on Opening Day. The Brewers did too (all credit goes to John Axford). The Mets ran into it last night with Jail-Rod’s shenanigans (Also, his unfettered desire to fight people proves that pitchers — at least this one — have not gotten “soft”… unless the pitcher’s name is Kyle Farnsworth). Hell, ask the 2010 Baltimore Orioles… they know all about losing games late considering they blew more games last year than Lil Kim did Bad Boys in the 90s.
But what does it say about the game that teams have become so reliant on the bullpen that relievers can pretty much make or break a season? Gee, I’m not sure it’s really come to that. The ’08 Cardinals were pretty awful, as I remember the bullpen yacking up over 25 games late… but, after giving it the old eye test, I’m not sure it’s really fair to say that the state of Major League bullpens is any different than it has been in years past. You either have a good one, a mediocre one, or a bad one.
And even when you have a bad one, that doesn’t necessarily spell gloom and doom for one’s team. 2009 Brad Lidge comes to mind; my pedestrian and oft frightened colleague, Mr. Krause probably could’ve done a better job on the hill than Lidge that season, but the Phillies still managed to grind their way to the World Series.
Unfortunately, these days, the role of a “closer” and “set-up man” and “7th inning guy” has been magnified because of money. The more money involved, the more pressure. The more pressure, the fewer who can actually deal with it.
In fact, for my money, there’s only one closer who is reliable every single day and that man’s name is Mariano Rivera. I think the Yankees could realistically state that their season might rely on Mo’s cutters; but then again, their set-up man saved 40+ last year. And, oh yeah, their all-star lineup doesn’t hurt either.
But for the other 29 teams, yeah, it could be a problem. But when your team is in flux — featuring an unsigned future Hall of Famer, a sidelined perennial Cy Young contender, and an All-Star outfielder absent because of an appendectomy — then you got more problems than you can actually stomach right now. The bullpen is just one of many.
Don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
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What’s black and blue and so p!ss drunk that it looks like a Philadelphia Flyers fan?
If you answered the Cubs/Whitesox Crosstown Classic, then you are absolutely correct, dear reader! Now, buy me a shot (and none of that buttery nipple nonsense; hit me with the Jameson)!
Verily, I love the Second City infighting. Cubs. White Sox. Northside. Southside. Rotten Governors. Presidents of the United States. Whether both teams are playoff bound (2008) or just treading water til next April (2010), it is no secret that this intracity rivalry brings out the best — ahem — worst in human nature.
And that includes making baseball managers think they can rap.
Don’t hate MC Sweet Lou and DJ Gui-licious… ‘cuz they’re right.
Why anyone gifted enough to become a Major League Baseball player would ever give it all up to pursue a priesthood that follows an entity as tangible as the tooth fairy is certainly a question I cannot answer.
Perhaps Grant Desme can.
Because after a promising minor league career in the Oakland A’s organization, Desme got a call from God (I hope it wasn’t a collect call ‘cuz gee whiz the sky is way high up and way far away!) and now he’s leaving baseball all together… to become a priest.
Yeah. Okay. Have fun with that, dude.
If you can, Mr. Desme, please hurry up and learn all there is to learn about the church so you can answer the questions this guy can’t:
First of all, Tupac did know he was gonna die. He also knew he was gonna die young. He said it many times. And it’s on the internet.
Secondly, being a black man does not automatically make you an authority on Tupac. I am white; but I know more about Tupac than I do about myself. So eat it, pal.
And finally, if you have watched “all the videos on Tupac” you would know that Tupac prophesied his own, early, tragic death… that he and Jesus are in the same category (both saviors to many, both prolific speakers, both attained mythic status), only we have more proof that Tupac rose from the dead than we do Jesus.
Grant Desme, you have a lot of work ahead of you in setting the story straight. Good luck, and hopefully we will all meet up at that great “gangsta party” in the sky.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
P.S. I really appreciate the idea of you all helping me find a woman to take out on a date. That is very kind of you; maybe I should help Allen find a boyfriend on the internet. It’s been a while since he’s dated a real nice guy, you know, so maybe I should help him out. I mean, that’s what friends are for.
A long time ago, in a popped culture far, far away (let’s call it the late ’90s), there was a “talented” young fella by the name of Ma$e tearing up the hip-hop scene with sub-par sleight of hand wit and a mouthful of mushy homonyms.
You may remember him (probably not) for bringing us this gem:
Broken glass everywhere
if it ain’t about the money, Puff, I just don’t care
I’m that Goodfella fly guy, sometimes wiseguys
Spend time in H-A-W-A-I-I
(Mase can you please stop smoking lah lah?)
Puff why try? I’m a thug, I’ma die high
I be out in Jersey, puffin Hershey
Brothers ain’t worthy to rock my derby
Though I’m never drugged, I’m the venom in the club
And now he’s just venom in our memory banks. But why? Let’s take a look:
Ma$e’s main talent was convincing people that he had talent. I believed it. Sean Combs believed it. The general public believed it. In fact, there was a time when you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing a Ma$e tune. Had he the vision to keep that reality in perspective, to join powers with the then still venerable Puff Daddy, we might be talking about Ma$e as a musical superpower right now!
But we’re not.
Because Ma$e went to Ma$e’s head and at his highest of high points, Ma$e left the one label that could make him an internationally hyped megastar. No one would take him on. He floundered. Then he disappeared all together. He decided to do something different…
…by becoming a preacher?
Yep. At least, that’s the story we got.
A few years (and lots of bounced checks) later, Ma$e came crying back to the rap game… hands open, knees scarred, willing to accept any deal he could get… anything… he was signed by SRC Records.
But the problem with SRC Records was this: they couldn’t release his music because Ma$e was still contractually obligated to — yep, you guessed it — Sean “Puff Daddy/P-Diddy” Combs.
The moral of the story?
Ma$e is an idiot.
Matt Holliday, you’re not far behind.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Since writing this, Matt Holliday has agreed to a 7 year deal with
the Cardinals for $120 million. That’s mo’ money, mo’ problems… but
probably worth it. Good for you, Matt!
Major League suits are set to invade US America‘s baseball-less Indianapolis this week… and they all have one singular goal: move that paper.
For those of you dear readers who respond better to visual metaphors, here’s one for ya: John Mozeliak (Ernie), Kermit (Peter Gammons), Cashman and Epstein (the Yip-Yips), and many more are all gittin’ down to ante up:
*Strong language may not be suitable for children unless your kids are related to Busta Rhymes in which case this type of language is as common around the house as naked women and blunts for breakfast*
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
This is exactly why I didn’t want to like Jay-Z’s new album, The Blueprint 3. As the resident Brett Favre of the rap game, Jay-Z has taunted us with his multiple “retirements”, all along gradually stepping away from his street-centric roots and engaging in the bling-bling-I-got-hoes-money-and-fame garbage that has destroyed my ability to find any entertainment value in modern hip-hop.
But Alicia Keys sucked me; and as much as I hate to admit it: Empire State of Mind is a killer track.
Still, there is one Jay-Z line that makes me cringe with disgust:
s*** I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can…”
Ever heard of a fella by the name of Babe Ruth? How about DiMaggio? Gehrig? Mantle? Mattingly? Jeter?
I know Jay-Z is a lot like me in that sometimes he says dumb s*** just to say it, to see what kind of reaction he gets, to be relevant, to stir up trouble.
But even I have limitations… and dissing some of the greatest players to ever play the game is certainly among them.
Shame on you, Jay-Z.
And unless you can find a way to put Alicia Keys on every song you ever do from now until the end of time, you won’t be getting my money ever again.
Hate me ‘cuz I gotz some street cred of my own, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Congratulations on winning the World Series, fellas. You kept me interested by keeping things interesting; you played great baseball all season long; you are champions of the universe. You deserve — and receive — my recognition.
But I still don’t like you.
And that’s a good thing. It’s good for me, good for you. It’s good for baseball in general.
I am human and humans hold grudges… even if they are stupid.
That’s right. 1996. Three terrible things happened to me in 1996: Tupac Shakur was murdered. The Yankees won the World Series for the first time since 1978. And MC Hammer went bankrupt.
I can only hope that this present calamity is not followed by two equally devastating events.
Luckily, it has coincided with at least one current positive from the baseball cosmos: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Vicente Padilla (species name vicenteticus padillicarpeus), shot himself in the leg earlier this week near his home in Nicaragua, lending even more credence to the “Padilla Once Shot Himself In the Face” theory of explaining why he is so goddamn ugly.
Life is about balance.
I like it that way.
Hate me ‘cuz I hit neanderthals below the belt, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Image at the top courtesy of Three Frames)