And now, 1,597 posts.
Red State Blue State was born out of the fiery email exchanges between Messieurs Krause and Lung during the 2006 World Series — a World Series that saw Jeff’s Redbirds trounce Allen’s Tigers (although until his dying breath Mr. Krause will blame the pitching fielding errors over an inept offense for Detroit’s shortcoming — one that would not be their last, obviously).
Over the last five years, we have enjoyed all of the benefits of writing a hit MLBlog. Jeff got to interview Ken Griffey, Sr., Dave Winfield and his boyhood idol, Ozzie Smith. He also went to the 2009 All Star Game and reported on that experience. Hell, last year he even went to the World Series! — twice — and then popped champagne as his boys brought it all home. Allen, well, he drew particular pride from the fact that RSBS ended up getting banned by the censors in Saudi Arabia.
But it wasn’t just about the sports. Although RSBS started life as a baseball blog, the second and equally important pillar, was a shared enjoyment of the drama and often maddening inconsistencies with the American political system. We found a way to combine sports and politics with literary bindings, and from that we engaged in quite a few intellectual debates that strung our worlds together. The highlight of Jeff’s political revelations had to be his Libertarian coming out party — the one that Mr. Krause so dutifully lampooned.
For Allen, the Post-Partisan Playoff Preview presented an opportunity to truly combine postseason baseball and postseason politics into an orgy of prognostication. Sure, the only time he may have truly gotten it right was in 2008’s initial edition but he still made a valiant effort in the close but not quite there predictions of 2011 and 2010. Allen’s political evolution may have been less dramatic than Jeff’s as he stayed continuously true to his blue state roots but this led to a moment he’ll never forget, being there for the inauguration of Barack Obama.
However, probably our finest RSBS achievements have to do with a little ditty by David Archuletta and the underground hip-hop sensation, Jesus Hates the Cubs.
Today is a day different from all the rest. Today we publish our last post. It is not without sadness that we do this, but, like many others experience in life, the time has come for us to move on.
If you would like to follow Allen’s post-RSBS exploits, visit him at his new blog, The Nomadic Revue, where he will continue to provide political commentary as well as entertainment and restaurant reviews.
And if you would like to follow Jeff’s sensational running career (and all the creative introspection born from that), then check out The Run Factory.
More than anything, we want to thank YOU, dear reader. Thank you for joining us on our journey. Thank you for all your comments, all your emails, all your Twitter love.
Thank you all very, very much.
Jeff and Allen
It was the hardest physical challenge I’ve put myself through yet. At times I was ecstatic, at others, on the verge of insanity, and everything in between.
Not wanting to further overuse the “life is a marthon” metaphor, I did a quick search of the interwebs to find a connection between ultramarathoning and baseball, and, to my surprise, I found out that Miami Marlins president, David Samson, completed at 52.4 ultramarathon on April 27, 2012, as a fundraiser for the workers who built the new park. Over $550,000 was raised and dontated to over 10 different charities.
WHY DID I NOT KNOW THIS?
Why was this not reported by anyone? Why was this not on MLB Tonight? Why was this not front page news?
Running a marathon is hard. Running 50 miles is beyond hard. And now that I know how it feels myself, I can’t help but tip my cap to David Samson and the struggle he went through on behalf of his employees.
Now, if only he could get Ozzie Guillen to shut his trap.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
– – –
If you’d like to know more about my race experience, check out my running blog, The Run Factory, where I’ll post a detailed race report within the next day or so.
On Sunday I finished the Houston Marathon in 3 hours, 15 minutes and 19 seconds — a new personal best. And though it’s been more than 48 hours since I finished the race, not a minute has gone by where I haven’t found complete satisfaction in having accomplished the task. In fact, I don’t think I’ll stop reliving that race for a long, long time.
During my flight home to Chicago, I randomly ran into some fellow Cardinals fans friends of mine from waaaaay back. Odd as it is to bump into old friends in an unexpected place, I was quite happy with the brevity at which our conversation turned to the baseball glories of 2011, of Game 6 in particular, and how we kept our respective neighbors up that night, how our heart rates have never dipped and soared to such extreme levels. Reliving that game and that series at 30,000 feet was a pleasant testament to history.
I was reminded that you can never undo what’s been done.
And I’ll be reliving such glorious conquests for as long as I possibly can.
Hate me ‘cuz I ain’t never gonna stop gloating about the ’11 series, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Every December we like to take a look back at what happened during the year in RSBS. And with Christmas upon us and the annual RSBS holiday break about to take place, it’s that time of year again. Granted, there’s no way we could do this without all the hard work put in by the interns so I want to take this opportunity to personally thank them and ask them to keep up all the good work next year.
Now, before I get to the part you’re all waiting for, I want to take a moment to recognize a couple other people without whom this blog would be a much sadder place. The regulars probably know him best from his appearances on the podcast but for me, his occasional pieces really put into words what I wish I could express. In particular, this year I appreciated Mark Piebanga’s midseason post about Don Kelly. For me, it crystallized who the Tigers were at that point in the season.
Similarly, the brilliant ranting and raving of Johanna Mahmud always bring a mid-week smile to my face. Whether he’s once again lamenting the shortcomings of the Cubs via musical theatre allusions or cautiously hoping for change with the arrival of Theo Epstein, Jo hits the nail on the head as often as not in a way only he can. However, the edition of Setting the Mahmud that really did it for me was his takedown of the Red Sox in the key of Arthur. Nothing says b*tchslap quite like setting your role model loose on the AL underperformer of the year.
For the main event, though, I thought long and hard about the season my co-author had. I watched with amusement his two-part Libertarian “coming out” as he confessed his love for the still-feisty Ron Paul. I also applauded along with everyone else as Jeff completed his first marathon, and this from a guy who, two years ago, was out of breath after running a block.
But the real marathon was the baseball season and if you don’t believe me, just go back through the record. It started in April with Franklin’s blown saves and four months later, Jeff had all but given up on the Cards (and totally given up on the Rays). Just a few short weeks later, though, his dreams came true while attending his first World Series game and a few days later, that dream reached its apex as the Cardinals won the World Series. But as happy as he may have been in that moment, and all joking aside, I don’t think any of us could possibly understand how hard the Albert Pujols news hit him. Baseball, just like that marathon, has its extreme highs and lows. In 2011 we watched Jeff live them both.
Don’t forget our awesome Oakley Blender sunglasses give-away, made possible by our friends at Crown Royal! If you would like to win these sweet shades, all you gotta do is send us a picture showing why you are RSBS’ biggest fan. Email it to us at RSBSblog@gmail.com. The winner will be announced this Saturday, December 24th.
If you’re like me, then you must have been feeling pretty good on Wednesday after the Cardinals sneaked by the Brewers to take a 2-1 series lead in the NLCS. Hell, I wasn’t just feeling good. I was feeling FANCY!!!
Having gotten word that I would be attending Game Two of the World Series in St. Louis, I was also quite busy securing travel arrangements, making a shortlist of folks I’d have to brag to and trying to decide what exactly I was going to eat at the ballpark (there’s so much to choose from!).
And then the Brewers went and won NLCS Game Four.
DAMN YOU, BREWERS! DAMN YOU STRAIGHT TO HELL!
I ain’t havin’ this, y’all. It’s bad enough that we have to go back to Milwaukee now. But I will NOT let a 10-ton vegetarian take away my dreams of going to the World Series! Will not, CANNOT!
It’s time to unlock Steve Jones…
Sometimes my unbridled enthusiasm for all things baseball blinds me from realizing that the very people I am rooting, booing and screaming for are actual human beings — real folks with real problems, real desires, emotions and dreams. Taking a step back, getting to know who these baseball players really are on an individual level can be just as rewarding as watching them perform on the diamond.
And such is the case with St. Louis Cardinals reliever, Trever Miller.
I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to cursing Miller’s name on more than one occasion. While he’s ordinarily a pretty solid solid arm out of the bullpen, there have been times when he got himself in trouble, leaving me throwing things at the television, begging him to go back to Tampa.
For that I am ashamed. And sorry. After all, it is just a game… and the game is there to help us deflect attention from our real world obstacles. Let us never forget that.
Trever Miller is a runner. I found this out recently as he was featured in the March 2011 issue of Runner’s World; and his story is as heartbreaking as it is empowering. As the article reports, Miller began running in the offseason as a way to stay fit, but it soon became a passion. And once he began taking his daughter, Grace, who suffers from a rare chromosomal disorder that has left her paralyzed and mute, on his regular runs by pushing her in a special stroller that weighs 100 pounds, he found that running offered he and his daughter a communal joy that couldn’t be found anywhere else.
As a runner myself, I can relate to that indescribable high that is experienced through the sport. But I will never know the obstacles, the pains, the seemingly insurmountable adversity that Miller and his family have endured in recent years.
Trever Miller is no longer just a baseball player for a team that I love; he’s a guy who loves to run, just like me, a man who has found ways to stay positive despite debilitating setbacks, and he’s a father whose love for his child knows no limit.
He’s a goddamn hero.
That’s what he is.
And for that, I tip my cap.
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.
Both my co-blogger and I are fond of running. It’s a great way to stay in shape and clear your mind at the end of a long day or even longer week. But it has its dangers:
Running, despite it’s bloody nipples and shin splints, is generally safe. If you want to get really serious about injuries, just look at football, basketball and hockey. I winced this past Sunday as Austin Collie took a cheap shot to the head and felt a little sick as the play was reviewed multiple times while he was strapped down and carted off the field. That’s no joke.
In fact, it really seems that baseball has the least amount of catastrophic injuries when it comes to major sports. Sure, pitchers undergo an unenviable amount of wear and tear but when injuries arise, it’s usually the result of chronic, repetitive motion as opposed to some sort of instantaneous blowout like you see in football or hockey.
Obviously much of this lack of catastrophic injury comes from the fact that there is very little person to person contact in baseball. When players collide, it’s usually an accident. Or the Mets attempting to play the outfield. Football and other sports demand a level of violence that baseball just doesn’t approach.
Maybe this also explains baseball’s unfortunate drop in popularity. What used to be our national pastime has not only fallen behind NASCAR in viewership, it has also become a sport where we rarely compete for the top place. Sure, we’ll always play in the World Baseball Classic but that’s mainly because so few countries can even field teams. Clearly we can’t compete at the same level as the Japanese, the Dominicans or even our own territory, Puerto Rico.
Maybe it says more about us as a country, though, that we prefer sports ruled by mindlessness and brutishness to sports like baseball and running where the mental aspect is almost as important as being able to physically perform. Or maybe it just illustrates how we feel about bloody nipples.
While spending the past weekend in San Francisco, one thing stuck out for its incongruity. A city that claims to be a bastion of liberalism and the protector of all thought left of center really should do more to practice what it preaches. Sure, there are lots of homeless people and the denizens of the city leave them alone in true liberal fashion. But why is the public transit system subpar at best? And are you really saving electricity when you leave your low-wattage bulbs on all day long?
Don’t get me wrong, San Francisco is a beautiful city. I was lucky enough to run a half marathon that took me down the Embarcadero, across the Golden Gate Bridge and up the Presidio. And it was amazing. I also made it to AT&T Park and watched as Barry Zito proceeded to ruin my fantasy scoring for the week. But staring from behind home plate at the line of trees peering over the top of the left field wall, I couldn’t help but wonder how people that pride themselves on eating local also support the importation of palm trees, a species that is in no way native to the area. Sure, like Zito’s sweeping hook they’re beautiful but the upkeep probably costs as much as his contract.
I have an idea for you, San Francisco. Let’s return the palm trees to Los Angeles because even though they aren’t native there, either, at least the fakeness fits. Let’s get a train system with more than two stops in the city so it’s actually worthwhile. And let’s turn off the lights when we leave. I’ll be back in a couple years and I expect results.
Thanks to L for the idea