With legitimate superstars like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw anchoring the team, it was only a matter of whether or not off-the-field issues would cause a disturbance. Now that there aren’t any, they’re free to do their thang, and as long as that includes Andre Ethier knocking in everyone in front of him and stellar performances from castaways like Chris Capuano and the longtime hookin’ lefty, Ted Lilly, then it really is their division to lose. Kemp is currently on the 15 day DL and they’re still mowing through the opposition.
To me, the Nats aren’t a suprise either. I think the consensus among learned baseball folk was that they were going to be good soon, it was just a matter of how soon. With Michael Morse sidelined due to injury and an anemic offense through the first several weeks of the season, it seemed like they had some time before they’d be that team to beat; but pitching wins championships and their pitching has been as impressive as the St. Louis Cardinals’ travel day attire.
The real surprise — the real head-shaker du jour — is the cartoon bird in Baltimore bringing a moribund and aloof baseball club back to serious life. Last year saw them get off to a good start, and I thought they might really be making a move back to the Oriole Way, but their youthful inexperience eventually backfired, ending in a bucket of Showalterian scowls.
But consider the performances of Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom, Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, Darren O’Day and even Kevin Gregg — yes, KEVIN GREGG — and you’ll see that it’s easier to win ballgames when your bullpen doesn’t come in and yack up the place. For those of you who follow the Birds, you know that a yackin’ bullpen has been as much a staple of the beltway as corrupt politicians screwing their constituents. Yeah, well, not everything can change.
Just as excited as I am about the Orioles’ resurgence, I’m equally as revved about the Toronto Blue Jays, yet another AL East team that just won’t back down. They’re hitting everything. They are pitching with authority. And their Canadian poster-boy is keen on taking on the silliness that is MLB umpiring, one batting helmet at a time.
Also, there’s this:
Ah… to be 8 years old and Canadian… no suprise there.
Hate me if you want, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.
As a born and bred resident of South Carolina, there isn’t a whole lot
to get excited about when it comes to baseball. The Braves suck, the
Nats suck. Really, we’re pretty limited when it comes to our options.
But here’s my question. If our governor, Mark Sanford, were a baseball
team, which team would he be and why?
Be not afraid, for the South Carolinian MLB plight has not gone unnoticed during the ostensibly offensive tenure of RSBS. My sister lived there for a year and I remember her husband complaining that there wasn’t much of a buzz for the game at its highest level — that people got more excited about NCAA Gamecocks baseball than the Major League playoffs. Look, I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to follow the Braves or the Nationals, as it is obvious that neither team has the “game” nor the “co<k” (proverbial as it may be) to be a bonafide winner.
That’s just the truth.
But let us focus on the crux of your question, Francis, which seems to key in on our special talent of personifying baseball entities with tangible political failures. While this challenge may not seem as tantamount to society as our Modern Era All-Corrupt Baseball-Poltico Team, it certainly is as important in gauging the ever growing dissatisfaction of the masses and their subsequent loss of face. Especially in South Carolina — a red state that suffered the humiliation of a US American intent on saving the “education like such as South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and” exposed on national television — the tragedy of Mark Sanford must be discussed in terms of its baseball counterpart:
The Chicago Cubs.
But wait! How can I equate the Cubs with just another high profile politician caught in a sexy web of lies? It’s quite easy. Because like Mark Sanford, the Cubs are posers.
Sure, they’ve sorta passed for a wholesome bunch of merry go-gettin’ winners (save Zambrano, Bradley, Lilly, et al) the last couple of years, and they always look good on the surface — good enough to convince the analysts they’ll win it all and good enough to draw in a bunch of weekday party-goin’ drunkards from well-to-do families who are so eager to overpay for an underperforming product that they’ll even sacrifice their dignity… but in the end, let’s face it: a hundred and one years is a long friggin’ time.
To put it bluntly, both the Cubs and Mark Sanford indeed have that swashbuckling debonair, that charismatic sheen, that alluring promise of ultimate perfection. They get higher and higher… and as soon as they try to take it all the way to the top…
…they fall flat on their face.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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.
Though I cannot necessarily prove this theory in conventional form, as an honest human being with an affinity for disclosure, I assure you that I have good reason to believe both Republican juggernauts Ann “She-Devil” Coulter and Rush “Just Call Me Jabba” Limbaugh were hunched over their television sets last night vehemently rooting against Team USA, praying to their hypocritical conservative god that Team Puerto Rico would find a way to quell the dreams and aspirations of US Americans worldwide.
It didn’t work.
Jimmy Rollins and David Wright became the baseball versions of Barack Obama and Joe Biden — once bitter rivals who put aside their differences, bridged the gap and brought home a win when it mattered the most.
Get over it.
That goes for my colleague, Mr. Allen Krause as well. Because we all know that Mr. Krause would rather see Rollins and Wright duke out that “choke-fest” moniker on the field — the last man standing to be crowned the argument’s winner; but if we US Americans are really about anything, we are about coming together in times of need, when it matters most.
Unless you are a Republican, of course.
And though Obama has done a fine job of staying the course early on in his presidency, it appears he finally gave in and enlightened the snickering skeptics and delinquent ditto-heads by unintentionally posing as a Tusken Raider for the cameras:
This unfortunate photographic gaffe comes on the heels of an equally embarrassing egregious error regarding the double-talk surrounding those suspiciously infuriating AIG bonuses paid out to the very individuals responsible for schmucking the company’s total worth in the first place.
Are the Dems backpedaling on their original outcries?
Does this reflect poorly on the majority administration?
More harm than good, I would say.
Should we blindly follow the GOP sideshow leaders and trust that malcontent dissension is the social bonding agent of the future?
Rollins and Wright. Braun and Lilly. Jeter and Youk.
There is a time and place to battle it out, folks. But when enemy minds come through together in the clutch? That, my friends, is what makes the United States of America the greatest country on earth.
Ah… If only politics would mirror baseball.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Anything wrong with that? Not in my opinion. In a world full of greed, hate, debauchery and Cubs baseball, I find solace knowing that even the tireless spin-doctoring and smoke-screening of Rod Blagojevich eventually falls on the deaf ears of a nation distracted with the task of rebuilding itself.
Blago’s days as governor are as numbered as Joe Morgan is annoying; and soon, he will just be another political coelacanth — a footnote in the oppression and wasted tax-dollars of a people.
In my fervent bidding adieu, I refuse to let Blago’s self-indulgent, gloomy demise get me down. The older I get, the more I realize how little my brain can actually remember if not trained otherwise; thus, I find it best to replace negativity with post-partisan positivity. So it is, on this four degree Sunday afternoon, with a broken heart and three cups of coffee too many, that I find grace in the baseball-politico memories dearest to me.
Of course, there are always the Joe Carters, the Kirk Gibsons, the Ozzie Smiths… the inauguration of a new hope for my country… those are all givens. Today I focus on the obscure, the seemingly minute, the more poignant personal moments that help me to forget about what an awful place this earth can be sometimes. And so I begin…
Ozzie Guillen Goes to Bobby Jenks
A move he’s made several times, but never as interesting as it was during the 2005 post-season when Ozzie motioned for Jenks by extending his arms out sideways as if to say: “Bring in the fat fella.”
Talking to Carlos Lee Outside Wrigley Field
Having gone hitless against Ted Lilly that night, I was stunned to see a smiling Carlos Lee on the corner of Sheffield and Addison waiting to get on the Astros player’s bus. I approached him — all gargantuan 230 plus pounds of him — and flippantly asked: “Caballo, what happened?”
“Ball move too much, man.”
I’m still laughing at that one.
“Yes We Can” Viral Video
Sure, I admit I’m a sucker for inspirational acts of creativity… this one still gets me.
Brian Anderson’s Catch
Picture it, October 1, 2008… a one game playoff between the White Sox and Twins to crown the AL Central winner, and a Jim Thome homerun is all that separates the two when we reach the top of the ninth and two outs. A sharp flare streamlines to right center field, in comes Brian Anderson… instant party on the Southside.
Bill Clinton on Carroll Quigley, DNC 1992
As a young, impressionable, questioning 12 year-old, this quote pushed me in to politics… to stay.
Adam Wainwright’s Curveball
Whether it was striking out Carlos Beltran looking or Brandon Inge swinging, I’ve never seen a more devastating hook — ever.
Barack Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote Address
I thought a change was a comin’… didn’t know it was going to take so long, but it got me revved up nonetheless.
Yadier Molina Hitting .304 in 2008
After the rocket homerun he hit off Aaron Heilman to beat the Mets in the 2006 NLCS, Molina became my indisputable hero. To see him blossom into a true hitter in conjunction with his unrivaled defensive skills just makes me want to hug the guy any chance I get. Yadi, you out there, pal? Let’s hook that up.
Grandma Lois Talking Baseball
May she rest in peace, my beloved grandmother was talking Cardinals baseball like no other 84 year-old I knew. Before the 2004 season, she told me: “It’d be nice to see Edmonds and Rolen have really good years.” She died on April 20, 2004; Jimmy and Scott both put up career numbers and vied for the MVP. I know she’s still smiling about that one.
Post 9/11 Baseball in New York
I’d be hard pressed to find a more inspiring, more electric, more communal surge of patriotic energy and overall bipartisan goodwill towards all through the greatest game on earth than what took place in New York City that fall.
I still get goosebumps just thinking of it.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Nothing says autumn like a good old heated political firestorm coupled with a stretch battle for a final spot in the MLB playoffs. Right now, it’s all gettin’ really good. So, dear readers, let us not forget to let it all sink in (the arguments, the media gaffes, the low blows) and really enjoy what we have going on here.
And more importantly, let us not forget to honor our heroes.
When I think of John McCain, the first thing that comes to mind is: HERO. You can’t be a prisoner-of-war survivor and not be a hero. Having spent the first 18 years of my life in a sequestered Illinois river-town also known as the armpit of the mighty Mississippi, I like to think that I understand what it means to be imprisoned by the enemy without any of the amenities I have come to enjoy in my adulthood. Because of that, my hat will always go off to Senator McCain… for his loyalty, his passion and his love of country.
But I can’t help but think about how he came to be a POW in the first place: while flying his plane over Hanoi he was shot down by the Viet Cong. In other words, he failed his mission. Now, I’m not trying to belittle his accomplishments in uniform — not at all — but what I am trying to say is that this hero persona that the GOP is clinging to with all their might is really exposing the fact that Senator McCain has already proven his ability to ‘fail’.
It’s sort of like me saying: “Well, sir, at least I didn’t get your daughter pregnant.” And he replies: “That’s because you’ve been doing it in the ^ss.”
Okay, well, maybe it’s not quite like that but I think you understand my point.
So today I’d like us to shift focus from one hero — the one who’s heroics have been thoroughly documented and vetted and celebrated and characterized and relied upon and written about — to one who very few people recognize at all: Yadier Molina.
Quite possibly the most talented of all the Molina brother catchers, young St. Louis Cardinal Yadier gets very little credit for his mounting heroics. My man-crush for Yadi began the very first time I saw him rifle a ball to second base. Blessed with a pure cannon of an arm, I soon learned that potential base-stealers would be smart to shorten their leadoffs from first as well; because no one guns ’em out at first better, with more accuracy or more surprise than good ‘ol Number 4.
As a matter of principle, I tend not to purchase MLB jerseys with a player’s name and number on the back for fear that his tenure may not outlast the jersey’s wearability; but when Yadi singlehandedly sent the Cardinals to the World Series in 2006 by jacking that 9th inning homer off Aaron Heilman, I couldn’t help myself. I went out and bought his jersey the next day.
Yadier became my hero.
He still is. Not only has Molina’s defense gotten consistently better and devastatingly fearsome over his four and a half years in the big leagues, but he has suddenly found a live offensive stroke to go along with it. He hits for average and almost never strikes out, making him one tough total package on both sides of the field.
And that toughness has never been more apparent than it was last night when Molina was absolutely railroaded, steamrolled and body slammed by Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly in a collision at the plate. Molina is a catcher. Getting clocked is a part of his job. But I’m pretty sure most of us average joes would’ve had a hard time getting up from that, or take getting plowed by a pitcher with such grace, let alone continue the game, taking at-bats, calling pitches. I was amazed he made it through four innings.
I’d probably still be lying on the ground right now if that were me.
Which is reason enough to prove that I, dear readers, am not a hero. Sung or unsung, left or right, red or blue, I’m just that guy you love to hate…
…because you’re always allowed to hate me; but you can’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.