Just like a rainbow themed slap bracelet, this is gonna be loud, colorful and could quite possibly cause a ripple in your otherwise tame relationship.
The Iron Fist of King Bud’s Court
Troy Tulowitzki pisses off Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez subsequently beans Tulowitzki. Jimenez gets slammed with a 5-game suspension. And speaks:
“I can’t control what people say. People act like this is the first time that somebody got hit. It happens in the game. That’s part of the game. It’s always been part of the game.”
Ubaldo is right. We don’t know if it was on purpose. Beanballs happen all the time. We can assume it was intentional considering the circumstances, but we can’t be sure beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the beauty of the unwritten rules of baseball, a game where players police themselves and do what they gotta do to survive. But alas, there is no constitution in King Bud’s dictatorship. If these guys didn’t bank millions of dollars I’d expect an uprise.
If Only 4 Days Meant “Forever”
Pennsylvania Taliban leader, Rick Santorum, is taking 4 days off from his fledgeling (not to mention INSANE) republican primary campaign. Why? I dunno. Maybe he realizes a 4th grade life skills level isn’t enough to be in such a demanding position. Maybe he fears a widespread Santorum epidemic. Or maybe his invisible friend in the sky who hates women and gay people told him to. I don’t know. I only wish it were forever.
The Heat Is On!
Baseball is back to FULL THROTTLE, my friends, and that means no more dirt kickin’, no more gloomy day sobfests, no more Perfect Strangers marathons on sleepless nights (okay, maybe I can’t go that far, yet). But the truth is: baseball is back for a long, long time. So let’s live! To celebrate, Igive you the song I remember most from my youthful, endless summers at Busch II. Whenever I hear this song, I immediately picture an Ozzie to Tommy to Jack double-play.
This Wednesday officially kicks off the 2012 MLB season and even though I’ll probably be fast asleep while it unfolds in the Far East, I’m sure the Japanese will be plenty excited about watching two awful teams compete against one another, especially since there’s at least one Suzuki per nine.
On this side of the pond, we have much, MUCH more to look forward to. In fact, I might need a good tazing before the Cardinals open up in Miami, just so I’m forced to sit down!
Here are some of the things that have me baseball-tweaking:
The GOOD Blue Jays Uniforms Are Back!
Still mesmerized by the awful logo redesign and poor color scheme that killed Joe Carter’s Blue Jays look in 2003, I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the old logo back. And royal blue! No gray! Alongside the Cardinals, Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox, I gotta say the classic Jays uni is about as smart and sleek as baseball uniforms come.
Grant Balfour Finally Gets to Be a Closer!
The 34-year old Aussie has been quietly waiting in the wings of every team he’s been on and now, finally, the Oakland A’s are giving him a shot at the closer role. I still think closers are overrated, but I like to think that maybe, if Balfour performs well in his new role, he might finally get paid what he’s worth. His numbers are fantastic and most people don’t even know who he is. I’m afraid playing in Oakland won’t help his popularity, but maybe Billy Beane will throw him another peanut. (Also, if you’re wondering, yes, Balfour’s fastball does have an Australian accent.)
I love Bobby Valentine. For myriad reasons. He’s cocky. He’s loud. His feelings get hurt. He’s controversial. He pisses off players, coaches, umpires. And he’s a goddamn baseball genius. HOLLA!!!
Good grief. The dude is gonna be FIFTY this year. FIFTY YEARS OLD. And he’s still gettin’ guys out. I absolutely love that. I love him! How can you not?!?!
And finally… you probably knew this was coming but…
WE ARE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m loud, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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.
Dickensian Asylum, One Good Player, Bad Paper. Little to Make Me Excite.
The Cubs, for me, are pushing the human existence backwards and making hearts sad.
Another season is already bogging me down.
I was watching the Rockies kill/drub/maim the Cubs on Sunday (the same expansion team that has already been to a World Series, and, like the Marlins teams that have won two so far, also have exciting young talent despite playing in a small market) I couldn’t change the channel back to the NBA playoffs fast enough.
My beloved Bulls and D. Rose are the only things keeping me breathing.
With the Cubs, it’s not so much the bad baseball and the lack of power, but mostly just the fact that they’re boring and unsatisfying. I think I’d rather watch a touring band of angry flying Arabs and Mexicans on ice. Then you’d have something! Or just So Taguchi.
Starlin Castro might be the best player in Chicago, and some hope exists for that fact alone, but with all the bad contracts and old players getting older, I must face the music now: the Cubs can’t compete for baseball immortality by winning the World Series for at least another 2-4 YEARS. I guess that’s not the end of the world given the century mark came and went.
But, it still blows.
I had a birthday recently and time moves faster now. When I was 15 I thought I’d never be 25, but that happened. Then I knew I had forever til 30. Then… that happened.
The Cubs last had a real chance of winning it all three years ago. Swept by the Dodgers and feeling and hurting and poopooing and getting raped way too much like when they were swept the year before. Look, this isn’t 1500 words about how much pain I’ve endured in my life being a Cubs fan. This is about “I know they’re not great and won’t be for a while but please let them just. be. fun……”
They play station-to-station baseball, have very little power and carry a distinct lack of personality (the personality I get from Carlos Zambrano I don’t need so much). So in essence, they’re a slow team that can’t hit bombs and are extremely boring. On a daily basis. GUHHH…… HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??
The one thing to rely on (we thought) was decent starting pitching. Currently the Cubs have the least amount of quality starts in baseball.
For the love of god, if you’re going to suck, at least be fun! I mean be like fun bad!!?? Like when the Bears are bad you’ll at least have a good time watching Devin Hester returning kicks or Jay Cutler throwing it all over the field or Lovie Smith waking up once in a while to say something to our lesbian-looking offensive coordinator Michael Martz in a roller coaster train wreck loss. That can be fun!
The Cubs were terrible ten years ago but Sammy Sosa at least was exalting the baseball gods with soaring rips into the bleachers completely unaided by anabolic substances of any kind. Seriously. This is true. He told me. When Kerry wood pitched, grown men wept, women went into early labor, George Bush liked black people, and I thought Creed had potential as a legitimate artistic talent. Dusty Baker gave verbose speeches of the utmost linguistic integrity, dripping with so much backwoods gibberish that I hung on his every word and swooned with how a man so simple could speak so eloquently…
“It’s called hitting, and it ain’t called walking. Do you ever see the top 10 walking? You see top 10 batting average. A lot of those top 10 do walk.”
“When you first come up, you want to get some hits”
“Peoples have been trying to bring me down. That’s OK, that’s how it is. Actually, that makes me stronger. It’s OK. What are you going to say when I kick somebody’s butt?”
When I first moved to Chicago, going to Wrigley was a cathartic experience. Finally, I could go to games whenever I wanted, which was something I remember dreaming of when I was just a pup watching with Grandpa every Saturday on WGN with Stone and Harry. After watching the game with Grandpa, I would immediately run outside to field tennis balls off the concrete stairs, pretending I was Shawon Dunston.
I don’t have great memories of Wrigley anymore. Just heartache and a wanton desire for greatness. The fond memories I have of the Cubs are really just afternoons hangin with Grandpa. That’s what I miss.
Now it’s just pain.
And again, I’d see a priest but I’m still good looking enough that he might try to do odd things to me.
The Cubs may lose this season but for the love of god…. give me excite!!
So what are you guys looking forward to the most this season?
I don’t know what to do with 2011. First off, it’s a prime number. Ok, I’m not completely sure on that and I don’t really feel like doing the math to check but I feel pretty safe in saying that it’s prime. Prime numbers just generally give me the creeps so I’m feeling a little unsettled.
In other arenas, 2011 is shaping up to be kind of blah. Sure, Jeter will probably get his 3,000th hit and that’s pretty impressive. But, the best case scenario only moves him up into the top 20 all time, which, although an exemplary accomplishment, still leaves him well south of Pete Rose.
As far as overall baseball records go, Mariano Rivera could surpass Trevor Hoffman’s still warm saves record but if I can be perfectly blunt, who cares? Again, yes, it’s impressive but when you trot out of the bullpen two or three times a week to get a couple outs, you’re not exactly the heart and soul of the team. Closers are like field-goal kickers. People know who you are and you have an important role on the team but no one really cares until you blow one.
So what does that leave? There are no meaningful elections this year so that’s not an option. Strasburg is going to miss the season so the game’s newest and greatest draw isn’t even going to be on the field. Sure, I’m hoping the Tigers will make a good run this season but that’s just one team. So what is there to look forward to?
I guess I’m looking forward to baseball without the bulls–t. Sure, stories will come up and issues will be invented as the season moves on but at this point, it’s just 30 teams trying to make it to and win the World Series. Ok, 29 because I’m pretty sure we can go ahead and count out the Pirates. But the fact remains, at this point, a few days before the season begins, everyone has the same record and no one knows who might be this year’s 2006 Tigers, 2007 Rockies or 2010 Rangers. Who knows, they might even push it a step further and actually win the thing like the 2010 Giants.
So that’s what I’m looking forward to. No labor issues, no steroid scandals, no imperfectly-called perfect games. Just baseball. Throw in a little sunshine and some beer and I think we got ourselves a winner.
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And so in this Podcast…
The hot stove is so hot that we had to add more fuel to the sizzlin’ fire! Jeff, Allen and Johanna are joined by Second City’s Mark Piebenga and Red Sox loyalist Troy Jagodowski to get down and dirty on all the offseason drama. Discussion topics include but are not limited to: what Theo Epstein was smokin’ when he re-signed Varitek, the end of Troy Tulowitski, the continued morphing of the Hall of Fame, the A-Gon deal and much, much more… all to make you laugh that milk right through your nose!
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Recorded Saturday, December 4, 2010
Billboards in New York City touted his valiant arrival. Buzzing baseball elite charged that he would revolutionize the Mets. Everyday fans scurried to find a suitable nickname for their new best player they’d never heard of.
It was the Spring of 2004 and if you asked me to speak some Japanese, even I probably would’ve said: Matsui-san. Kazuo Matsui-san.
Because I, too, joined the hype.
But why? Why was the baseball world so enamored with an import player whom no one knew anything about? Why did we allow his persona to be so pumped up with pomp, such expectation, sight unseen?
Indeed, Ichiro Suzuki changed the landscape of Major League Baseball — allowing for the mysteriously effective small-ball game to reinject itself into the big boppin’ steroidfest it had become. His mannerisms, his character, his magnetism — on and off the field — were a throwback to the baseball heroes of old. Marveled by his talent, we the US American public accepted and celebrated Ichiro for resurrecting respect in a league where little remained.
So I get it. I understand why we started to get excited about the Japanese baseball contention.
But, the fact is: for every Ichiro Suzuki there’s a Kosuke Fukudome, a So Taguchi, or worse, a Kaz Matsui. For every Hideo Nomo, a Kei Igawa, Hideki Irabu, Daisuke Matsuzaka.
And while it makes a good headline that the A’s and Twins are going out and bidding top dollar for the rights — yes, just the rights — to negotiate with Hisashi Iwakuma and Tsuyoshi Nishioka respectively, I still can’t help but feel sorry for the failure both are being set up for in the future.
American, Dominican, Venezuelan, Canadian, Japanese… there’s only one Ichiro.
And as proved by Kazuo Matsui’s silent saunter back home this offseason, expecting anything but is a guarantee for disappointment.
Hate me. Whatevs. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.