The way our brains work, we attempt to apply a narrative or causality to events, even after the fact, to justify what happened and why it happened. We look for points where the momentum shifts and where all of a sudden something that was unthinkable becomes inevitable.
Baseball is full of these moments. Of course Jeff will tell you all about game 6 of this year’s World Series and no one will ever stop talking about the Bartman play in Chicago or Buckner’s famous muff. Teams didn’t win or lose on those plays but it changed the flow of the game and, in retrospect, we consider it to be the dramatic reversal in the narrative.
Politics follows a similar course. In the 2008 Democratic primary, Hilary was inevitable but then Obama won Iowa and the narrative shifted. Sure, the changes may be due more to organization or groundwork but we prefer the grand, sweeping narrative and we look for game-changing moments.
This week’s Republican debate in Michigan offered the new narrative of choice for the primary season: Perry’s final flub. For a campaign that had already hit a rough patch (polling behind Herman Cain? Seriously?), they needed a strong showing. Here’s what they got:
Granted, the last time a Texas governor became president, serious doubts surrounded his mental capacity. And some pundits even point out that Perry’s damage control may have helped humanize him for the voters. But if Perry does end up losing the nomination as now seems likely, the narrative will state that this moment was what nailed shut the coffin. That’s just how our brain’s work. And how Perry’s didn’t.
And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
For the first time EVER in RSBS Podcast history, Jeff, Allen and Johanna all meet IN THE SAME ROOM! That’s right, no phone lines, no Skype, just a microphone and three unfettered opinions overlapping and slip-slapping without pause. Among the topics of discussion are the Tigers, the Cardinals (it’s PLAYOFFS, duh!), an Ozzie Guillen-less Chicago, “blowing” it down the stretch, why you should see Catching Hell and much, much more!
Now getchyer beer and getcho happy on!
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Recorded Saturday, October 1, 2011
And so in this Podcast…
Jeff, Allen and Johanna vehemently compare and critique Croc-based lifestyles, which (surprisingly) include but are not limited to the many labels of Josh Hamilton (including those who are scantily clad), Derek Jeter’s inner Pete Rose, Jeff’s go-to-Gehrig impression, Ozzie Guillen’s mess-mouth and much, much more… all so you can at least laugh while you waste some valuable time!!! Go ahead, laugh it up, fuzzball!
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Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
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*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. Keith is involved in some impressive projects himself. Check out his work at Undercard Films. Seriously. Do it. Or I’ll have Prince Fielder sit on your face.
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Recorded Saturday, October 30, 2010
It has become obvious to me that baseball managers do not read this blog. How do I know this? Because how else can you explain the fact that Kyle Farnsworth STILL has a job?! Have I not made this clear? The dude is poison. The Cubs didn’t blow the 2003 NLCS because of Bartman. It was Farnsworth. He makes every team worse.
But, despite my multitude of cautions and unwavering admonitions, teams with hopes of making the postseason still go out and pick this guy up. His latest victim? The Braves. And there’s no way they can say they didn’t see it coming. Just scroll down through the article and, after reading about how he pitched this time, relive the magic of his previous outing with the Braves.
At least Farnsworth didn’t go crazy after the game like some other NL East relievers. Instead he just accepted it as another day at the park: “Can’t do anything about it. Just got to keep your head up and keep going.”
Really, Farnsy? Because I think you actually can do something about it. I think these GM’s could get their heads out of their a$$es and make a decision not to hire you anymore. They did it to Barry Bonds and he at least performed. I should probably keep it down, though. Even if the managers don’t read this, you might and I wouldn’t want to see you cry again.
Yesterday’s World Cup final reinforced a hypothesis I’ve been working on. The final game is always a let down. Yes, Spain did score a nice goal at the end of the overtime but the rest of the game was better avoided. And, in the interest of full disclosure, that’s exactly what I did.
Now, compare that with the previous day’s third place game or even either of the two semi-final games. The final game of a series just never lives up to it’s hype. Even when you think of your favorite World Series memories, usually those are from a game six or maybe an earlier game that helps extend the series. When it’s a final, teams are too careful and it’s the game and the fans who suffer.
If you still aren’t convinced, think about a few of those games. While not a World Series, the Cubs-Marlins series in 2003 featured Bartman and a total breakdown by the Cubs but that disaster was what got the Marlins to a game 7 in which they destroyed the Cubs. Bill Buckner’s infamous boot happened in a game 6 as well. Sure, there have been game 7 heroics but it’s the early games that give us the memorable moments.
Sure, I’m going to keep on watching the finals. Missing a Superbowl or a World Series game 7 would just feel wrong. But, it’s the game 6 I’ll not so secretly be looking forward to.
What would a postseason be without umpiring controversies? Lucky for us, we don’t have to worry about it since the Yankees-Angels series has been a string of blown calls. I admit it, I do wear glasses. I have four eyes. I could probably use a stronger prescription. But even I could see that when Mike Napoli tagged Posada and Cano at third, neither one was touching the bag and time had not been called. I guess one of the perks of having the highest payroll in baseball is the umps knowing who pays their salary and calling the game according to that.
Now, to be fair, the Angels got straight up beat. Saying their thrashing was due to bad calls is like saying the Cubs missed the World Series because of Bartman. It just ain’t true. But, umpiring antics like these don’t make people feel any better about the Evil Empire’s stranglehold on baseball.
The thing of it is, the Yankees don’t really need
these blown calls to win at this point. It’s like a third world dictator who gets 99% of the vote
despite the fact that he’d win anyway because people are afraid to vote
against him. It’s not so much unfair as it is tragic.
When it comes down to it, we chalk it up to destiny when our teams win because of bad calls and blame conspiracy when the teams we don’t like use those same bad calls to succeed. It’s human nature, I guess. We ascribe patterns to things we don’t understand because that’s how our brains work. And since my brain doesn’t understand why the Yankees get to spend nearly twice as much as the closest team following them salarywise, I see conspiracy.
However, if the Tigers manage to make it this far next season with their proportionately overinflated payroll, you probably won’t hear me complaining if a couple bad calls go their way. I mean, it would be their destiny.
Photo by Getty Images
The world premier… of an RSBS original…
Produced, shot and edited by Theo Roll.
Directed by Jeffery Lung.
Starring James Tierney as Jesus.
Performed by Mauf Tauk.
Mauf Tauk is Jeff and Theo.
**Pass it on, folks. Let’s get the word out. Please send this link to everyone you know. We make this thing go viral and more RSBS baseball-related hilarity will certainly flourish.**
*Note: Kirk Gibson won the MVP in ’88, but it doesn’t rhyme and we’re cool like dat so get over it.
For those of you Cubbie-lovin’ pipedreamers out there who still believe in that wretched mantra of “this is our year” — a mantra disproved over and over and over again — then I got another nugget of fact to help bring you down from that dark cloud of praise.
Paul Sullivan, of the Chicago Tribune, writes:
When manager Lou Piniella spoke to [Alfonso] Soriano last week in Pittsburgh and told him he would be
giving him a few more days off, Soriano said he understood. But Soriano
was miffed when he learned his name wasn’t in the starting lineup
Wednesday after he had a pair of hits Tuesday night.
“That’s why I’m mad,” Soriano said. “If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn’t come today ready to play.”
Did he really say that? Let’s look again:
“If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn’t come today ready to play.”
Yep. He said it. And yes, this proves it: Alfonso Soriano is an idiot.
Call me loopy, but if I were making $17 million a year to show up, ready to play baseball every day, then you could bet your behind I would be ready to play baseball — every day. Starter or sub, leading off or in the eight-hole, you’re a goddamn professional baseball player, Alfonso Soriano. You’re living a dream. Okay, you’re living a nightmare, but still, it’s a dream and you should treat it as such.
Goats, black cats, Steve Bartman, decking Michael Barrett, Sori’s hop, Big Z’s hot head, Dempster’s celebratory broken toe, Zambrano vowing to lollygag, the defunct abomination that is Milton Bradley…
Is it any wonder that the Cubs continue to disappoint?
I know, I know. Even I am beginning to think my Cub-bashing agenda has become hackier than hack. Still, what has to be said has to be said because the pain is now inching into my personal life.
My nephew is almost one year old now. While his mother (my sister and devout Cardinal fan) tries the best she can, still, having a Cub fan as a father has already begun to affect him with serious, damaging, negative results.
Here’s what he looks like when his mom dresses him in Cardinals gear:
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Everyone hates me! I don’t understand it. It’s like I’m the anti-Midas.
Instead of turning to gold, everything I touch turns to s**t. And now
they’re even booing me! I just want to be loved. What do I have to do
to be loved?
RSBS‘ dear readers know that I am always one for some good old japery, so I will ignore the fact that this question comes to us from a Hotmail address with the username LouBrockLover67 attached and assume that you, M. Bradley, were at one time a huge follower of the powerhouse Cardinal club of the mid to late 60s and just go with it. Of course, I am also secretly holding my breath that the Chicago Tribune gets word of this post and in digging through the RSBS archives publicizes the fact that I have called a certain M. Bradley a “whiny spoiled crybaby man-child” on more than at least twenty occasions. Hey, It worked for J-Rod and Raul Ibanez… ah… yes, a fettered blogger can dream; I suppose that is still legal and accepted (for now).
But, at this time, what causes my greatest concern is the notion that the Chicago Cubs are being hijacked by just one individual’s antics, gaffes and overall lack of production at the plate, which runs contrary to the the aged tradition of the Cubs’ losing woes being dependent on a complete team effort (or, more appropriately, the lack thereof).
Yes, M. Bradley, everything you touch does turn to s**t, but at least you have the good sense to throw it back into the stands — with only two outs. Look, they are going to boo you just like they boo Fukudome and Soriano and Lee, just like they booed Kyle Farnsworth and Jacque Jones and Keith Moreland before. Cub fans boo. That’s what they do. There ain’t no changing that.
Still, a less hostile playing environment at Wrigley could be had if you, M. Bradley follow these simple guidelines for success: a) hit over .230 b) bash a Gatorade cooler in the dugout with a bat and c) give back that $30 million and just play for the fun of it!
See? Now that was the easy part. Unfortunately, M. Bradley, since Northsiders have proven over the years that they are absolutely incapable of love (see Bartman, Sammy Sosa and Dusty Baker), I am afraid that you will just have to do without while patrolling the swirling winds of fickleness at Clark and Addison.
Beer. That is the only thing Cub fans love. Buy the right field bleacher bums a couple of rounds of beer with that fat, zero laden paycheck and you might just get the impression that you’re liked… sorta.
Until they sober up.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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The escalating crybaby tantrums that so poignantly characterize the 2009 Chicago Cubs are about as interesting to me as reading People Magazine‘s cover story on Bristol Palin and her five-month old child. Still, I admit: they’re both fun to look at.
Carlos Zambrano lost his cool again? Ya don’t say. If he’s not cussing himself out on the mound he’s throwing at someone’s head or beating the crap out of Michael Barret or, like yesterday, bumping umpires, throwing balls into left field, or bashing that poor Gatorade machine in the dugout.
Look, I like fiery baseballers just as much as the next pretentious a-hole, but when is enough finally going to be enough for Zambrano? If I threw such a fit at my job you can be sure that I’d be in the unemployment line that same afternoon; and my job doesn’t affect 24 other millionaires in the clubhouse and a neighborhood so jaded, so disgusted, so unruly that its people would actually run a guy out of town, fearing for his life.
Big Z, Milton Bradley, Ted Lilly…
Cub fans, this is why you don’t win championships. The World Series crown is reserved for respectable men who handle adversity with poise and class, who lift each other up with their actions, not tear the team apart. One would think that having Lou Piniella — the skilled master of argumentative persuasion who perfected competitive bluster without hurting his team, himself or others — would teach these rascals how to go about being grown men.
But such logic always seems to get lost in Wrigleyville.
On July 19, 2004, after beaning Jim Edmonds twice for allegedly showboating on a homerun trot, Carlos had this to say: “This is not a baby’s game. This is a man’s game.”
Yet Carlos Zambrano (along with spoiled co-whiner Milton Bradley) remains one of the biggest babies in this “man’s game”. The last time I threw a fit like Zambrano I was ten years old and my father did to me what someone should have done to Carlos a long time ago: he spanked the holy bejeebies outta me.
Until someone does that, there is no team — just a bunch of selfish individuals looking to cause a scene, which will ultimately lead to yet another year of hopeless dreams on the Northside.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m callous, hate me ‘cuz I use big words, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.