Like any good book, the baseball season unfolds as a series of intriguing stories. Mike Trout. Bryce Harper. The Baltimore Orioles. The Boston sell-off. ROIDS!!! These are all striking plot lines that draw us in, forcing us to check Twitter and MLB Trade Rumors and MLB Tonight as often as Mr. Krause uses a 5-year old picture of me looking like a goof.
Yet, at the end of the season, after the World Champions have been crowned, the champagne has been drunk and Ozzie Guillen has said something unintelligible on live television, I firmly believe that the biggest story of the year could be the complete reversal of what up until a few weeks ago looked like a major headline grabber.
That’s right. I’m talking to you, Pittsburgh Pirates.
Not even International Talk Like A Pirate Day could save loyal baseball fans in the Steel City from wanting to bring back the brown paper bags from the last 19 years.
With the losses on Wednesday and Thursday, the Pirates find themselves back where they belong, with a losing record.
It’s sad, right? I guess. No. I know. It is sad. But for a realist like me, it was also predictable. The Pirates doing well would be a surprise. Seeing them sink back into loserdom is not.
Speaking of losers, you are not one today, my friend. In fact, you just won! What did you win? Well, I can’t leave you feeling so sad on a Friday… so here are 18 glorious minutes of bloopers from The Office.
The rottenness I’m talking about is the foul stench that emanates from a past-his-prime public relations disaster who seems to have eaten Tony Gwynn on his way to joining the Sugar Land Skeeters. That’s right, as if taking a page right out of Jose Canseco’s book of insanity, Mr. Clemens, the fallen idol of my youth, is now preparing to embarrass himself with what I can only assume is a Favrian attempt to prolong the inevitable Hall of Fame first ballot denial.
If Roger can get on a Big League roster, he’ll get another five years before being considered. And who knows, by then they might be banning people 50 games for NOT TAKING EFFING STEROIDS.
And happy Friday!
It’s Shark Week. But you knew that. What you might not know is how dire the level of stupid is that permeates our planet.
Which makes me ask: WHERE IS JAWS WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HIM?!?!
Why not show up in the Red Sox clubhouse? Talk about sharks in the water, my goodness. Isn’t it funny how a couple of World Series titles make us forget just how endearing the Red Sox used to be? Nowadays, The Nation seems more like an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Incessant and annoying bickering from privileged entitled millionaires ad nauseum. Before the season started, I was so excited Bobby Valentine was back in the manager’s seat because I knew he would bring drama to the league. This is NOT the drama I was looking for.
Nor was I looking for the Vice President of US America to be just as stupid as I’ve always thought he might be. Well, turns out he is. Joe Biden’s mouth seems to be about as large as Jaws’, yes, it’s just too bad he uses his for talking instead of devouring prey.
And while I realize Jaws tends to reside in the warm coastal waters off the North Atlantic, would it be too much to ask for him to swim down, out and around on up to the San Francisco Bay? There’s one fraudulent outfielder there who could use a good ass-chewin’.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m angry, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Usain Bolt is looking to try out with a British soccer team. What athlete that you’ve seen in the Olympics would you most like to see trying out for an American baseball team?
Santa Clara, CA
I can’t help but think Michael Phelps would look good in Yankee pinstripes. The man has 20 Olympic medals — hardware that would surely look good next to 27 World Series trophies. And let’s face it, the dude has earned the right to be as cocky and off-putting as he is. He might not have Derek Jeter’s golden little black book yet, but some time around the Captain and soon he too could be kissing mirrors of himself.
When it comes to actual physical strength though I might suggest Holley Mangold take up a spot in the American League as a DH. She wouldn’t have to actually do much running or having anyrefined skills other than swinging for the fences; and accounting for her already buoyant build, I don’t think we would have to worry about any Giambian steroid scandals.
Of course, no baseball league is complete without its lovable losers. And considering how much crying Jordyn Wieber did in the 30th Olympiad, I think she’d be a perfect fit for the Chicago Cubs.
But let’s not forget, when it comes to an Olympian I want on my baseball team, there is no one other than THE Usain Bolt.
Holy jerk chicken, that guy is a bonafide SUPERSTAR!!!
Have you EVER seen anything more exciting the last 4 years than watching that man run!?!?! Unbelievable! I’d want him in center field, catching everything in between the foul poles. At the plate, I’d have him try to walk as much as possible, just to mess with the opposing pitchers’ mind before taking off to fly around the bases. And look out if he actually hits a ball out of the infield, ‘cuz dude is gonna turn singles into doubles and doubles into inside-the-parkers!
Not only that, but Bolt is also insanely entertaining in the most endearing of ways — a happy-go-lucky clowner who can back it up with performance as opposed to the psychotic shenanigans of a WAY less talented Tony Plush.
Forget soccer, Mr. Bolt, please come wear the birds on the bat.
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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But having immensely enjoyed the 30th Olympiad from London thus far, the truth is, I don’t miss it at all. In fact, if I want to watch the best baseball in the entire world, I just flip over to any of the 15 games being broadcast on my DirectTV Extra Innings package (do I get a credit for that plug?).
And really, that’s the only reason needed for not including baseball as an Olympic sport. Remember how excruciating it used to be watching Olympic basketball without the finest athletes in the world participating? And that’s in a sport lucky enough to have worldwide appeal. Sure, we US Americans love our baseball, but the truth is, outside of Japan and a few pockets of Canadian air, the rest of the world could care less.
In fact, unless you grow up around the game of baseball, it’s pretty darn impossible to learn the rules of the game. Believe me, during my four years in China, I tried like crazy to teach it to anyone who would listen. But after a few hours of mass confusion, people tended to pretend they had to be somewhere, anywhere, just to get away from the crazy white guy wielding a stick and three different leather gloves.
Honestly, a professional-less international baseball tournament would be a pretty boring affair. The World Baseball Classic already features the best of the best, and even that has proven to be an extremely hard sell.
What makes the Olympic games so appealing, to me, is that it really is a celebration of glory. The absolute greatest athletes in their respective sports, from LeBron James to Roger Federer, Mary Keitany to Usain Bolt and hundreds more in between, all come to the same place, and the world is watching.
Albert Pujols ain’t gonna show up. Neither is Derek Jeter nor any other Major League Baseballer. And even if they did, the world wouldn’t care.
IOC Chairman Jacque Rogge’s original statement to MLB columnist Mark Newman sums it up pretty well:
“To be on the Olympic program is an issue where you need universality as much as possible. You need to have a sport with a following, you need to have the best players and you need to be in strict compliance with WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). And these are the qualifications that have to be met. When you have all that, you have to win hearts. You can win the mind, but you still must win hearts.”
Oh yeah, then there’s that whole juicing thing…
Hate me ‘cuz I’m cool with the Olympics as is, just 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!
This might keep me from being one of the cool kids, but I’m not sweatin’ it because I’ve been there in the flesh, watched it on T.V. and the truth is: the Home Run Derby blows.
It’s boring. It’s fabricated. It’s full of… nothing happening.
It’s made for T.V., that’s for sure, but it’s not baseball. It takes one small, often over hyped aspect of the game and blows it up to the point where it’s just senseless action with little at stake. Sure, I admit Josh Hamilton’s Yankee Stadium display was something otherworldly, but c’mon, that was just one time it was interesting. It’s usually just a bunch of mindless yakking from Chris Berman (another over hyped blah) peppered with the occasional home run and a bevy of unclever insurance ads.
Me? I’ll be watching Le Tour in anticipation of the actual All Star Game (also known as “Better than Christmas” at my house). And yes, I understand the Tour de France (and the entire sport of professional cycling) has a bigger PED problem now than baseball has ever had, thus possibly “tainting” the experience for unseasoned cycling fans, but let me tell you: if any event warrants blood doping, it’d be Le Tour.
I do not advocate it, but I get it. These guys are KILLING themselves, over three weeks, every single day, and if it were up to me, they could inject new blood into their own veins as much as they wanted.
Endurance events get me fired up. That’s one of the reasons why I love baseball so much: it’s a GRIND. Every day. In harsh conditions. Moving forward. But in baseball you rarely see the agony on the players’ faces.
In Le Tour, the agony starts at the gun and doesn’t reach its apex until the finish line is crossed. I can appreciate that, and will, much more than listening to obnoxious Chris Berman catchphrases while guys hammer batting practice fastballs over the wall in Kansas City.
Hate me. It’s cool. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Roger Clemens is not guilty.
Can this be over now?
Of course it can’t. It never will. For now until the end of time we’ll still be talking about the steroid era and those who made it infamous. Clemens is just one of many.
Still, I think it is safe to say his role in the overall picture of the steroid era is a bit larger than the rest. He’s up there alongside Barry, considering his Hall of Fame credentials and repugnant personality.
Before any of this steroid silliness was known, I loved Roger Clemens. He was a beast on the mound — a Nolan Ryan/Bob Gibson throwback. Proud, nasty, BALLSY.
But the Mitchell Report tainted his reputation, whether guilty or not, and Roger then ruined it further himself by being an outspokenly whiny ass. I understand the potential frustration that could come from having a tarnished reputation, but there are ways to handle adversity with class and there are ways to handle it like a jerk.
Clemens took the jerk route.
And undoing what ya done ain’t easily done.
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Simplistic campaigns to hunt down public enemies (like Kony 2012) are all the rage these days. When will you all be launching Selig 2012?
It is no secret that the authors of these pages hold no love for the staunch bureaucratic policies and seemingly never-ending reign of King Bud the Nosepicker. Indeed, we’ve ripped the man’s decisions in every which way and have even gone as far as to say that George W. Bush would make a perfect Commissioner in comparison (no joke here, we really do think Dubya would be perfect for the job). But to compare Bud Selig to the heartless, maniacal, baby-raping mass murderer Joseph Kony? Um… that’s a bit much.
But just a bit.
The good news is, people are getting educated on Kony’s crimes. And they’re doing something about it (unless *this* derails it). However, when it comes to the tyranny of King Bud, we already know about the bevy of shenanigans. There’s just nothing we can do about it.
If I may break from the usual ‘ol crotchety me for a moment, I would like to point out that, in my opinion, the overall state of our national pastime is as good now as it’s ever been. Seriously. If you turn your head from the silliness that is King Bud’s All-Star Game, and if make yourself forget about that whole Ryan Braun cheating thing, and pretend like the overall muscle bulge of the 90s and early aughts was caused by “supplements” that can easily be purchased at your local GNC, then you might conclude that, indeed, baseball’s vibe is very good right now.
The networks are fighting to get in on the expanded playoffs. Parity is slowly squeezing its way into all divisions. And the Pirates still suck!
More than that, people are still paying money to watch Adam Dunn play. Erin Andrews is still showing up in dugouts. And Tampa Bay seems to be in the playoff picture every year now, despite the fact that no one in Tampa Bay seems to care.
But most importantly of all, the St. Louis Cardinals are World Champs!
So for now, I can take a couple more years of bassackwards politickin’ from the usurping Milwaukee millionaire.
But I swear, Brad, if he reigns for more than two more years, you, me, Mr. Krause and the entire baseball universe are taking to the streets with Louisville Sluggers and Molotov cocktails (not to be confused with pet names for Kevin Millar).
Hate me. I don’t care. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
_ _ _
In an election year, it should be no surprise that we US Americans are being bombarded with a barrage of twisty little lies. Whether it’s the Obama camp’s magical math making unemployment numbers “plummet” or Rick Santorum and his imaginary friend pretending that the whole American Revolution and subsequent Constitution thingy isn’t really what it seems, we cannot escape the onslaught of fibbery.
But such fibbery is expected from the political lot. It is when such vitriol enters the baseball universe that I get extremely pissy.
“We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.”
— Ryan Braun
Um… no. You were able to get through this ‘cuz you’re a multi-millionaire with legit counsel and a Mark Fuhrman wannabe handling your bodily fluids under the direction of King Bud. Exoneration in this case does not equal innocence, Mr. Braun. It merely suggests there is reasonable doubt. You still got more testosterone in you than Kim Kardashian at the NBA All-Star Game. And it seems just as… icky.
“My loyalty is here (Texas). This is where I’ve been, this is where my family has been. I would love to be here.”
— Josh Hamilton
Now I don’t want to go picking on Josh Hamilton because he’s not very bright, but I do want to pick on him for spittin’ the same stupid lie as every other potential free agent baseballer lookin’ to get paid: ENOUGH ALREADY. “My loyalty is here”… pshh. PLEASE. Your loyalty is wherever they pay you the most. That’s how it works and we all know it. Your family is not going to have too much of a problem moving to a different city to chase that pay-puh. Determine who will give you the most money with the most years and that’s where you’ll go. To say anything different is a slap in the face of cold, hard fact. I’m an adult. I can handle the truth. Maybe.
“The guy (Alfonso Soriano) works his butt off all the time.”
— Dale Sveum, Cubs Manager
Okay, Dale. I’m gonna help you out with this one. YOU NEED SOME NEW GLASSES, BRO. See, I’ve been following Sori’s career since he was a young pup. And from New York to Texas to D.C. to the Chi, Alfonso Soriano is THE LAST PERSON ON THE PLANET I would say “works his butt off all the time.” ESPECIALLY while in Chicago. In fact, there is an entire faction of Cubs fans who want him crucified! They wouldn’t flinch an inch if Sori ceased manning left field tomorrow. Forever. For good. Why, Mr. Sveum? Because Alfonso Soriano is the absolute KING of lollygagging. His defense is atrocious and he is NOTORIOUS for gazing at might-be homeruns that are actually doubles that drop in for long singles because he doesn’t hustle out of the box.
If you’re here to fix the Cubs, Mr. Sveum, you might want to know what they’ve been used to the last 103 years: PAIN. SUFFERING. AGONIZING PAIN AND SUFFFFFFFFEEEEERRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING.
Hate me. Fine. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.