So, it looks like we’ll watch the playoffs from the sidelines this year
since both of our teams decided to nosedive in the second half. Which
teams’ failure is the most discouraging, though, the Tigers or the
A clever move from my sinister and oft pejorative colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, inserting himself into the Filibuster box by stuffing it with this one question, over and over and over again. I guess some part of Mr. Krause is looking for sympathy in the wake of yet another disappointing season in Detroit; because anyone with any sort of baseball awareness knows that the greater discouragement between these two teams most assuredly belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Hell, up to a few weeks ago we were all buzzing about how the Cards could just mail it in for the NL Central title. How could they not?!? A team anchored by two of the best pitchers in the game (Wainwright, Carpenter), flanked by serious ROY candidate Jaime Garcia, a solid Jake Westbrook… and I haven’t even gotten to the offense centered around Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday… a team like this… it screams playoffs.
So how is it that they are dead?
Lack of motivation. Sense of entitlement. Clubhouse squabbling. Streakiness. The absence of a clear, dominating, team leader.
Really, that’s what it comes down to.
Meanwhile, the 2010 edition of the Tigers never had a chance to begin with. Outside of Justin Verlander (who struggled early on), their pitching was a complete mess (Dontrelle Willis anyone?). They started two rookies in Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore… and at the very last minute they signed a less-than-stellar Johnny Damon to… well, to do what, I don’t really know. His non-impact did the talking. Or not. Depending on how you look at it.
So, Mr. Krause, of course the Cardinals’ 2010 fail remains more epic (as the kids iz sayin’) than your disastrous Detroit Tigers, who are apt to see Jimmy Leyland walk away after the season, so that he can spend more quality time smoking… and… smoking.
But not all hope is lost for the RSBS universe. The Rays and Rangers look like fun teams to root for in the postseason, and let us not forget… Mr. Krause still has a horse in this race:
Hate me ‘cuz I got people who can extract sensitive information, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****
Something on your mind? Want to see Jeff and Al sweat (separately, not together, eww)? Think you got a real stumper? Send us your Filibuster question(s) by commenting or emailing them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
***Pics of Mr. Krause declaring his love for Albert Pujols & Co. also welcome. I have a hunch…
And for Dave Winfield, a man who was drafted by three different professional teams in three different sports, such an aspiration never seemed too lofty.
“People would say ‘yeah, yeah, yeah.’ But the thing was: I found something I loved. And I was pretty good at it. Next thing you know I was drafted. Four years later, my dream came true.”
In the minds of today’s youth, such dreams continue to be commonplace, which is why Dave speaks with us from the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA, where his partnership with Ask.com and Susan G. Komen for the Cure continues its tireless campaign of awareness, action and prevention.
“I just think back to when my brother and I were playing baseball at this age, if we would’ve had the opportunity to play on these beautifully manicured fields against kids from around the world, this would’ve been the highlight of our lives.”
Luckily for Dave, his highlights came later in life, in the way of 7 Gold Gloves, 12 All-Star selections, a World Series ring and a spot in baseball’s coveted Hall of Fame. But the kids in Williamsport still have plenty to look forward to:
“I know how much they love it. And they’re excited about it and how they’ll remember this experience the rest of their lives.”
There’s no doubt about that. And one needn’t look only to the Little League World Series to find such enthusiasm. Just head out to your local youth ball field and watch how regimented, how jovial, how respectfully the game is played, even on a small level. It is with that in mind that Dave recalls one of his more cherished little league memories:
“We used to take infield practice that was flawless. That was our goal, to take these flawless infield practices before the game and it would set the tone and intimidate the opposition. We were good.”
In fact, back then, growing up in Minnesota following the Twins, Dave’s focus was on defense.
“There were many players on that team but the one I really liked was Zoilo Versalles. He was a shortstop. And his glove was what I’ll never forget. I followed those guys. Harmon Killebrew. Tony Oliva. Guys like that. We used to imitate all of them.”
Kids will always imitate their heroes. They will always dream big; always envision themselves in the spotlight. But with only 30 teams and set 25-man rosters, the reality is that only 750 Major Leaguers can exist at any one time. So Dave’s advice to kids with Big League aspirations is “to get their education. Do well in school. Be versatile.”
“Enjoy the sport. Go hard. We’ll give you every tool and every opportunity to succeed. Just know that there are other things in life too.”
Of course, not every kid can grow up to be Dave Winfield. But every kid can grow up to be like Dave Winfield — to do things the right way, to respect that which demands respect and work hard to make a difference.
If every little leaguer can live up to those ideals, then the future is as bright as their dreams are big.
Written by Jeffery Lung
Special thanks to Zack Nobinger for arranging the interview.
For more information on Dave Winfield’s thoughts on the progression of little league baseball, check out his book Dropping the Ball.
Click *HERE* to read Jeff’s interview with Ozzie Smith.
Click *HERE* to read Jeff’s first interview with Dave Winfield.
to read Jeff’s interview with Ken Griffey, Sr.
(Top image courtesy of Essence.com)
(Bottom image courtesy of Tim Shaffer/Reuters)
And so in this Podcast…
Jeff and Johanna welcome a paragon of baseball intelligentsia, Mr. Paul Lebowitz — the one and only Prince of New York! If you aren’t already reading the Prince’s daily column *here* or *here* then you probably should get on that. Like, right away. Or else. And if that ain’t enough, you can certainly follow him on Twitter too. To be honest, the man is too ruthless and too unfettered for you to not be paying attention to him… so the RSBS crew made sure to get him at his best. Among the titillating
topics of discussion: Jason Bay’s UZR, men left on base (LOB), Keith Hernandez’s hunches, BRAINS!!!!… the Lou Piniella Mailbag and much, much more!
to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
thanks to Keith Carmack — our engineer, director, editor and
all-around sound guru. His Undercast podcast is the bomb shizzy, by the way. It’s available on iTunes and is posted regularly at Undercard Films.
**Image by Annette T. (Thanks, Annette!) Check out her sweet@ss blog!
Recorded Saturday , June 12, 2010
You know how sometimes something seems like a good idea? Like when you walk the bases full to get to A-Rod and he launches a moon shot? And then you realize that it really never was a good idea?
Well, just in case you still aren’t following, here’s another example that might help drive it home:
Happy Saturday! And remember, just because something seems like a good idea, that doesn’t mean it is.
I grew up in a very Christian house and I remember being tickled pink whenever one of my sports heroes would thank god after a big win. Every Lions fan knew that Barry Sanders and JC were tight. One of my earliest baseball memories is Frank Tanana on TV thanking the big guy for helping him win the game that clinched the division and got the Tigers into the 1987 ALCS with the Twins.
But I started to wonder a few years ago: How come god plays favorites like that? I mean, why did he help out Tanana that afternoon but then totally leave the Tigers hanging out to dry in the actual playoffs? Were the Twins fans just praying harder?
Finally I realized that it has nothing to do with god at all. If Dave Dravecky and Orel Hershiser, two incredibly (some might say fanatically) devout Christians, pitched against each other, god didn’t magically flip a coin and decide which one of his children would win and which would lose. Either they made their pitches and got run support or they lost.
I guess my point is that I’d like to see us get beyond all of this. Tim Tebow didn’t win a national championship for Florida because Jesus came down and guided his passes. He won because he spent hours on the field and in the weight room preparing for those games. I’m guessing Tanana did the same thing. In fact, if there’s anything that should make you wonder about the possibility of divine intervention, consider David Wells. How that man can launch that girth out of bed every morning, much less throw a perfect game, is the only evidence of miracles that I’ve ever seen.
Technically it means very little. One game in the course of a 162 game season. But let’s face it. Opening Day is something else. It sets a tone. In 2008, when all the cognoscenti had picked the Tigers to go all the way, those of us who follow the team definitely felt a little hint of worry when they got thumped by the Royals on the first day. And if they could have won on Opening Day last year, that would have been enough to win them the Central and avoid an ill-fated playoff with the Twins.
For such an epic sport, a sport whose history goes back more than a century and whose season lasts more than half a year, baseball is a game of inches and moments. And that’s why we love it. It invokes the saga of multiple generations of both players and fans but allows us to live in the immediacy of a home run or a strikeout pitch.
Opening Day is baseball in miniature. Yes, it’s only one game and yes it doesn’t technically mean that much being only one 162nd of the of the season. But if you ask any of us sitting here watching our Opening Day starter take the mound if this game means something and you can bet your @$$ we’re all going to say yes.
Happy Opening Day and go Tigers!
One of the most peculiar realms of science is understanding what exactly goes on inside of a black hole (and no, folks, we ain’t talkin’ about the vile emitting from Milton Bradley’s mouth). Widely understood as a “deformation of spacetime caused by a very compact mass” — an area from which nothing can escape the immense gravitational pull of its center — black holes are like the underground club scene of the cosmos: all kinds of weird s*** can happen… and does!
To me, the most interesting aspect of a black hole lies at its very center, past the event horizon, down the rabbit hole, settling on an infinitesimal point known as the singularity. If you were unfortunate enough to be sucked into a black hole and lucky enough to survive the trip down its core, by the time you reached the singularity you would surely be a shredded mess, the result of being filleted by the strongest forces theorized by the human mind.
But boy would it be an exciting death!
The oddest thing about the singularity is that once we start working in and around that point, we realize that the laws of physics become completely erroneous and unnecessary. That’s right, dear readers, when you get to the singularity, Einstein’s theory of general relativity makes no sense at all.
And while black holes and their singularities may be intangible to us from our terrestrial vantage point, if you look around you today you will see all sorts of things that could cause one to think we may be close to such a singularity — a place where what we see is so shocking, so odd, so perplexing that it just doesn’t make sense…
The Good Guys Win: Joe Mauer
Twins fans were so afraid they would lose their hometown hero to the evil chops of the Yankees and the Yankees 2.0 that doomsday scenarios and flat-out decrees of apostasy had already been accepted as fact. But in the end, the Twins had to sign Joe — for the sake of their new stadium and for the sake of their fans. And they did, for a very reasonable price. Oh, and by the way, the Twins are not a small-market team, so this situation is getting even more black-holish by the minute!
Liberal US Americans Actually Accomplish Something
After eight long years of maddening sound bytes, phantom wars against phantom enemies for phantom purposes and an all-out assault on reason, the liberal majority in the House got together and passed a health care bill that might actually work. Oh yeah, sure, not everyone is happy about it and the most concerning aspect is how we’re going to pay for it; but, in my opinion, the sheer fact that you won’t be financially punished for being sick anymore indicates a huge step forward. And besides, since when do US Americans care about national debt? Here, in the great state of Illinois, for as long as I can remember, the political machine has been borrowing money from the FUTURE to pay for current projects. I hear that Illinois is rich in the future, so I’m gonna see if I can get in on that too. I need a Lamborghini.
Exciting News Out of Cincinnati Reds Camp
You have to go back quite a few years to find anything worth anticipating from the Reds in March, but this year is different. Under the wise hand of former Cardinal front office legend Walt Jocketty, Cincinnati signed Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman during the offseason, hoping he would live up to his international hype. And boy does he! Thought by many to be an ace-caliber pitcher going into this season, Reds fans have a whole lot to be excited about for a change… of course, that is… until Dusty Baker blows out his arm and ruins his career.
Hate me ‘cuz I test the limits of physics, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.