My morose and oft despondent colleague, Mr. Krause, recently addressed our mutual passion for the sport of long distance running, and in doing so, alluded to the fact that such passionate loyalty requires a certain tolerance for pain.
Indeed, running begets pain. But said pain often calluses the soul, prepares it for the ultimate fight — whether physical or mental — and breeds a certain unparalleled toughness that can guide one through any hardship. This I know.
Pain is a binding precursor to ecstasy. Without it, we wouldn’t know a good thing if it hit us in the face… which, would be ironic in this case, because — depending on what the object hitting us in the face is — that could possibly hurt.
But I digress.
Perhaps the following irony deficient examples will help better illustrate my point:
(aka Nipple Abrasions — minor yet aggravatingly debilitating)
Congratulations, Washington Nationals, on signing Alfonso Soriano 2.0! No, seriously, I really am happy for you. I mean, y’all have had some painfully troublesome moments in your six year history… y’know, like, sucking and all. Then Strasburg went down… Dunn got away… and now you dole out $18 million a year for SEVEN YEARS to your division rival’s 32 year-old third fiddle. Um… okay. The bad news is: you got screwed. The good news is: it’ll be over in seven years. By then you will be so learned, so deteriorated, so callused by anguish that every little victory will seem colossal. Maybe you’ll even smile. Maybe.
(aka Plantar Fasciitis — excruciatingly biting, often chronic)
Eight years of Dubya. A war in Afghanistan. A war in Iraq. The continued waste of an asinine war on drugs, on poverty, on progression in general. The complete upheaval of congress from one extreme to another, to another, then back to where it started again. We don’t have healthcare, we do have healthcare, we don’t have healthcare. We’ve no jobs. Our farmers are forced to grow crap crops to make corn syrup which is then injected into all your food so that you are prone to overeat, become obese, get diabetes and die. Yeah. That’s some real pain right there; makes Canada sound like the Playboy Mansion. Ms. Teen South Carolina, you with me?
The Pittsburgh Pirates
(aka Hitting the Wall or “Bonking” — worst case scenario your body loses the ability to function due to depleted glycogen stores)
Two words: Matt Diaz. Wow. Just… wow. Dear readers, when signing Matt Diaz is a big deal, you know your team is in trouble. In the Pirates’ case, they’ve been in trouble since 1992, they show zero signs of improvement, and life is just gonna get more and more painful for the handful of baseball fans left in Pittsburgh.
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
My advice? Go Steelers!
Hate me ‘cuz I bring da pain, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Every year about this time a magical transformation takes place. Normally sane people go stark, raving mad as they cheer their favorites to the finish. The coolness in the air mirrors the coolness in neighbors’ stares as some new item of support gets unfurled in the yard. Promises get made only to be broken soon thereafter. And that’s just in the world of politics.
We are truly a blessed country because every fall we not only get the insanity of the baseball playoffs, we also get the truly mind-numbing inanity of the November elections. But this year is extra special because in addition to the antics of Democrats and Republicans, we also get the often unbelievable but usually entertaining shenanigans of the Tea Party.
Over here at RSBS we’ve made a tradition of putting together our annual playoff preview and this year is no exception. But each edition needs a theme and this year, in honor of our Teabagger friends, the theme just kind of put itself out there. Let’s get to it.
Like the NL, green tea has pomp, circumstance and history. The Chinese have been drinking the stuff since Europeans were letting blood to cure sickness and avoiding baths in the belief that water would kill you. Although it may have never gone away in the Asian world, the green stuff has experienced quite a renaissance in the West with the discovery of all it’s anti-oxidant properties. Likewise, with the NL finally in the driver’s seat after winning home field advantage at the All-Star game, you have to think they’re feeling a little renaissance of their own is due. But renaissance in what flavor?
Starting in the east (naturally, since we are talking about tea), we have the two-time defending league champion Phillies, the Japanese green tea of our preview. It’s classic, you know it and you know you’re probably going to see it again. Not only that, it just makes sense. Seriously, how would your bento box taste without the tea accompaniment? It belongs.
Meanwhile, the Lipton green tea of the NL, Atlanta’s own Braves, somehow found a way to get Bobby Cox back into the playoffs. Sure, it may not have been your first choice but it will get the job done. However, it’s also only going to get you so far. More on that later.
In the heartland, the Reds find representation in the classic Gunpowder variety of green tea. No one is quite sure how the tea got its name, maybe because it’s rolled into little pellets, maybe because it expands explosively when it hits the water. But there’s one big problem here. The way you know the quality is from the size of the balls. Smaller balls, better quality. Dusty Baker and his team aren’t exactly known for their small balls. Do you remember that brawl with the Cardinals? The Reds, their balls are a little too big.
Finally, out west we find the Giants, the Moroccan mint tea of the baseball world. It tastes good, there’s a lot to like but something’s a little off. Maybe it’s not strong enough, maybe there’s too much sugar but for whatever reason, it’s only good in small doses. That’s probably all right, though, since all we’re going to get from the Giants is a small dose when they exit during the first round.
Black tea found a home in the west but purists still sniff at its lack of tradition. Sure, it may have more caffeine, it may keep you going but where’s the ceremony? Now the fans of black tea will argue that theirs is still a noble tradition and despite their blends and flavors and addition of milk, the tea is still central. You’re not going to have any luck sliding that argument by the tea dogmatists, though.
Since black tea is a western thing, we’ll start out west with the preview as well. That means we dive straight into a steaming cup of Irish breakfast tea, also known as the Texas Rangers. Nolan Ryan owns the team and you don’t get much more Irish than that. However, in the land of black tea, the English reign supreme. Sorry, Nolan. It just wasn’t meant to be.
This leads us to Minnesota where the Twins find themselves represented by….wait a minute! That’s not tea. That’s herbal tea! C’mon guys. I can steep dirt in water and call it tea but everyone is going to know it’s just mud. Herbal tea is nice when you have a cold but it’s not “tea.” Hm, I guess that’s kind of fitting since the Twins are a “playoff team” but aren’t really a playoff team. Or at least won’t be for very long.
From here we find ourselves back east again with two very different teams. We start with the Rays, the Massala Chai of the baseball world. There are a lot of flavors going on there, it’s new, it’s hip. And it definitely works for awhile. The question is, when the chips are down and you have to pick just one, do you go for the spicy stuff or something proven?
And what could be more proven than the English breakfast tea that is the Yankees. Personally, I don’t like the stuff but a lot of people do. Not only that, it’s strong and it gets the job done. Sure, the tradition may not go as far back as the NL but when you can throw around names like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Yogi Berra, you got something going on.
So what happens next? Well, it’s pretty simple. We line them up and see who lasts the longest. I apologize to everyone who lives west of the Mississippi but when I read the leaves, their fortunes don’t look good. Texas, Minnesota, San Fran and Cincy all go down in the first round leaving us an east coast finale in both leagues. I’m sure this doesn’t bother the broadcasters who will be reading tea leaves of their own and I’m sure they’ll be even more happy when the Yankees and the Phillies emerge to once again do battle in the World Series.
So, it comes down to this. Japanese green tea vs. English breakfast tea. The fact of the matter is, anyplace else in the world the green tea wins hands down. But this is America and the Anglo-Saxons decided to let all their chips ride on black a couple hundred years ago. Good thing they did because the Yankees win again.
Whether it’s the crappiness of Old Style at a Cubs game or the deliciousness of Anchor Steam while watching the Giants, beer plays almost as integral a role in baseball as do the bat and ball. In fact, based on some of my experiences, maybe even a more integral role. It’s a lot easier to sit through an hour long rain delay when you have a 16 oz. beer in the cupholder in front of you.
Over here at RSBS, we believe in the power of beer. Sometimes it’s a Miller Lite while watching college football, sometimes it’s the more refined tastes that come out of Michigan’s own Bell’s Brewery. In honor of all the goodness that beer has brought to our lives, we present our own great moments in beer.
June 4, 1974
Of course any list that celebrates the great moments in beer on a baseball blog has to include Cleveland’s infamous 10 cent beer night. The plan was brilliant and the seats filled up. It’s just that you can afford to drink a lot of beer when it’s only 10 cents a cup. And when you’re a baseball fan, your team stinks and you’ve had a lot of beer, well, things can get a little out of hand. It may not exactly be a positive moment in the history of beer but it definitely counts as a great moment.
In the middle of the first Bush presidency, America needed a pick-me-up. Luckily, beer was there to provide the bootstraps and the pull. In case you don’t remember quite as vividly as my then 12-year old mind can still recall, 1991 was the year that Old Milwaukee introduced us to the Swedish Bikini Team. Ok, so they may not have actually been Swedish. And they may not have been an actual team. But that doesn’t make the moment any less memorable. Relive it again.
August 12, 2009
Sometimes when your team stinks and they’re getting pummeled once again, you feel the need to take things into your own hands. And who’s there when you’re looking for a sidekick? Why, it’s our old buddy beer. Sure, Cubs fans aren’t exactly known for being classy and this guy looks like a grade-A DB but it got the job done. I’m not condoning the act and I hope that karma took care of things but, I also bet Victorino thought twice the next time he went back for a fly ball in the Wrigley outfield.
September 15, 2010
However, one of the greatest moments in the history of beer took place only recently and it didn’t happen on a baseball diamond. Just this month man took another step in the evolutionary process when he finally learned how to deep fry beer. Oh yes, you heard me right. A Texas chef finally perfected the process for deep frying beer and the results will be introduced sometime this month. I think we can all agree that having a beer to wash down a deep fried beer might just be the moment of perfection that causes the universe to fold up on itself. I’m willing to give it a try, though.
Welcome to October!
No longer exclusively tethered to the stage, the screen or the page, there is no doubt that life is full of drama — the sort that you weren’t ready for, the kind you embrace, even the type that makes you ill.
Nonuniform in appearance and uninterested in who or what it affects, drama can be as simple as that anxious feeling you get right before a big presentation or as complex as the collective mood among you and your fellow drivers during your morning commute.
Drama is everywhere. It infects everything. We love it. We hate it. We need it.
Take a look for yourself…
Ines Sainz and Her… Assets
Were members of the New York Jets out of line in their cat-calling towards Mexican reporter, Ines Sainz? Was Ms. Sainz perhaps inappropriately dressed for an NFL locker room? Is there more to this story that none of us knows about? Yes, yes, and yes? Probably… right? I dunno. Who cares? What is important is that a) we now know who Ines Sainz is and that she’s more than available via Google image search b) Jets fans have more to talk about than just how fat Rex Ryan is and c) I have another reason to post a B-side pic of someone not named Erin Andrews. Thank you, drama!
The AL East: Yankees – Rays Showdown
If this most recent series is any indication of what sort of playoff bliss we may be in for, well, paint me blue and call me “cubbie” ‘cuz I’m all in. Heart attacks galore, dear readers! From Sabathia v. Price, to Brignac bombs to Grandy’s catch to Jeter’s thespian act, this has been the most impressive, most entertaining, most dramatic regular season series between any two teams all season long! And, as a fan, I could care less about either club! Now that’s what I call drama!
Teabagging with Christine O’Donnell
If Joe Biden were dead he’d be rolling over in his grave. Heck, lots of people wish Karl Rove was dead (he’s not) and he’s already rolling over in his… er… wait. What I mean is this: Republican/Tea Party senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell from Delaware may seem like Sarah Palin 2.0, but that’s just because she’s good-looking, halfway likable and really dumb. Make no mistake: the Teabaggers are way more scary than their everyday conservative counterparts. Way more scary. For instance, O’Donnell once suggested to the MTV crowd that they refrain from masturbation. Uh… yeah. And judging from the fly hair and nails O’Donnell has in that circa 1996 video, I sure as hell hope she sees the irony in that. Anti-masturbation!?! Ha! Such a message EXPLODES with drama!!!
Hate me ‘cuz all the Teabaggers are doin’ it, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!
Too often we ignore tough questions and refuse to speculate on the “what ifs” we confront as a baseball loving community. You could make a strong case that this happened with the steroid scandal and it is inevitable that baseball will face other equally difficult problems in the future. Luckily, RSBS refuses to sit back and rest on our laurels. We will continue to push for consideration of all the too real issues facing the baseball community.
For instance, isn’t it time that we think about what would happen to baseball if the zombie apocalypse broke out? On a geo-political level, Daniel Drezner already addressed the topic and presented several different paradigms. Today, RSBS takes a look at possible MLB specific scenarios.
The Danny Boyle
As players continue to experiment with various PED’s and try to avoid detection by using previously unknown substances, we face a very real possibility of infection à la 28 Days Later. It doesn’t help our chances that baseball players are already genetic freaks with practically superhuman strength, speed and dexterity. In this scenario we have two avenues of salvation. First, we can hope that security reacts quickly and shuts down the stadium so the zombie baseball players don’t escape. Yes, this probably means several thousand dead fans before the problem can be, uh, eradicated but it’s a small price to pay to avoid the annihilation of all mankind. The second possibility is that zombification will affect the players’ brains to the point that they can be taken down easily with available weaponry like bats, t-shirt cannons and plastic knives.
The George Romero
The second scenario is a more classic zombie approach. If an infected fan were to enter the ballpark, the tight spaces, confined exits and various nooks and crannies present a zombie wonderland. Or house of horrors depending on whether you’re playing for the undead or Team Humanity. In this we’re once again lucky to have access to a veritable arsenal of zombie killing treasures and, as long as they remain uninfected, the services of trained head smashing machines like Jose Offerman. Let’s just hope it doesn’t start at Citizen’s Bank Park because Chase Utley’s batting average suggests he’ll be hitting more air than zombie heads.
Our final scenario draws on contemporary inspiration like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. Zombies are generally seen as terror-inducing eaters of brains. But recent popular culture reinterpretations have shown us that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. For instance, what if a zombie A-Rod stumbled across the mound while Dallas Braden was pitching? Or what if Manny Ramirez became a reanimated corpse? It might even lead to the new catchphrase, “That’s just Manny being a zombie.” Which would be funny because it was true. Sure, we’d have to keep an eye on the epidemic and make sure it didn’t spread. This might even lead to protests against the segregation of zombie baseball players in separate dressing rooms. But I think we can all agree that the comedic potential is definitely there.
Over here at RSBS we’re still hoping that the zombie apocalypse stays firmly rooted in the world of film and fiction. In our opinion, Woody Harrelson and Mr. Darcy are much more suited to zombie fighting than we are. But if the day of reckoning does come, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you were prepared. No, don’t thank us. It’s our job.
I would pay Albert Pujols the moon. I would pay Derek Jeter the sun. Roy Halladay my left — AHEM. Okay, you know what I mean. These aren’t Chicago Transit Authority workers who sit around in bunches and watch one guy change one light bulb while they all count how many more days til that fat pension check kicks in. Pujols, Jeter, Halladay… men like that… their services are incalculable.
On the contrary, inflation and greed have changed the dynamics of the world economy so much that I find it frighteningly appalling that certain people in certain positions are able to pull down the amount of scratch they do. Considering how so many US Americans (me) are just skating by, watching ye olde savings account disappear quicker than an Oriole lead in the 9th, I think it’s time we call some of these folks out.
Don’t get me wrong. I ain’t no hater. But soon you’ll agree… overcompensation can be a nagging pain for those of us on the opposite end of the money tree.
Sure, in the baseball world, $7 million a year is quite the bargain, especially for a perennial MVP candidate who can single-handedly carry a team for weeks at a time. Or is it? In the case of Hanley Ramirez, it’s probably less about overcompensation and more about breaking child labor laws. Yeah, you heard me right. ‘Cuz only whiny kids and spoiled brat beotches find themselves exempt from exerting maximum effort on the diamond. And at $7 million a year or $70 a year, when ya play baseball for a living, I expect you to hustle. Always.
Did you know that the strikingly beautiful oldest daughter of former Alaska governor and ultimate purveyor of Backwardism has signed a deal with a speakers bureau to make between $15,000 and $30,000 per speech. Uh… m’kay. So… uh… what’s she gonna speak about? Let’s see, what would make anything Bristol Palin has to say important to me (or anyone)? She’s the daughter of a famous politician. So what? I’m the son of an awesome MRI technologist. She got knocked up while in high school. So what? I was smart enough to wrap it up. Uh… she’s attractive. So what? Hello!?!? Where the hell is my $30K per speech contract?
Remember this guy?!? If you hear that Twilight Zone music sifting through your head, you are not alone, dear readers. I was able to catch the end (and most, er… exciting?) part of that Royals/Indians matchup last night… y’know, the one where Kerry Wood came in throwing 97 mph gas that the Royals — yes, the ROYALS — blasted all over the park. I don’t know about you, but if I’m paying someone $10.5 million a year — someone who always seems to be or is about to be injured — I would ask him to at least be as good as his replacement. Throw in the eminent departure of the most highly publicized free agent in the history of sports and yeah, I’d say it’s time to light that Cuyahoga on fire again, Cleveland. Yep. Let go and let that baby burn.
Hate me ‘cuz your girlfriend digs me, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Not content with being just the son of god or co-author of the best-selling book in history, Jesus has been on a rampage as of late. Whether showing up in professional athletes’ thank yous or inspiring American presidents into wasteful wars thousands of miles away from American shores, JC has moved up in the world from simple carpenter to internationally recognized architect.
In honor of Jesus’ (pronounced a la espagnol) spate of success, it only seemed fair that we honor him like we have honored other life changers. But how do you go about honoring a man with such an impressive resume? The hits are so well-known that repeating them just seems, well, repetitive.
So, we came up with another measure. Every best selling artist has a set of secondary works that, although impressive in their own right, never make quite the same splash as the ones set on repeat. However, maybe it’s time they get a little airplay of their own. To that end, RSBS would like to present Jesus’ greatest B-sides.
We’ve all heard the story about how Jesus gave someone the confidence or the extra push they needed to make it through something difficult. But what about the guy who wasn’t able to get that second wind and ended up flat on his face 2 miles short of the marathon finish line? Was it because Jesus tripped him? Turns out that Jesus really is always there and often responsible for the failures. In fact, we now have proof (although it is only available via an artist’s rendering of the occasion).
Just the Two of Us
There’s nothing wrong with having an imaginary friend. I had one named Paul when I was growing up. Sometimes that imaginary friend can be a big d!ck, though:
Jesus Hates the Cubs
No list would be complete without the modern day favorite and RSBS production, Jesus Hates the Cubs. And it’s extra funny because it’s true:
So, there you have it, a contemporary hit list of JC’s lesser known smashes. Keep ’em coming, big guy. You must have another Crusade in you at least.