Baseball, for the most part, takes place in the well-trodden hinterlands of the United States. Sure, much of the talent may come from various islands off the coast of Florida but ultimately they make their way through towns like Lansing, Peoria and Lehigh in hopes of being called up to Cincinnati, Kansas City or Pittsburgh. Being a baseball player often means getting an up close and personal lesson on US geography.
At the same time, many of these same fans who cheer for the Venezuelan or Dominican shortstop coming up with the team through the minors fail to see the irony in their universal distaste for immigrants and immigration. How do you think your Mexican pitching ace got here in the first place, shitforbrains? Sometimes it’s not so surprising when you consider the fanbase:
While these baseball migrants experience US geography firsthand and slowly learn more about their adopted country, many Americans willingly refuse to learn anything about the world around them. This is never more apparent than during the Olympic games.
The opening ceremony is a case in point with people scrambling for their atlases as soon as Albania and Algeria march in. It’s a little more disconcerting when even major US news sources can’t figure out the differences between the countries.
Luckily, though, the swimming, gymnastics and running are almost complete so there’s only one more week until we can go back to ignoring the world. Even more importantly, we can get back to fighting the menace of immigration. Well, unless it means picking up your new Japanese pitcher. Seriously, Texas, how do you think Yu Darvish got there?
It may not have been Strasmas, but according to the lunar calendar (and millions of Japanese people) April 9th proved to be an equally auspicious day, no matter what, because it was the very first Major League appearance by the highly touted (and valiantly unashamed to be naked) Yu Darvish.
Like you would expect, I made an evening of it. Here’s a play-by-play:
Still at work. I have looked at the clock every minute for the last thirty minutes, and will continue to do so for thirty more. I finish up the last of my TPS reports, turn them in to my boss and shriek when he yells “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS???”
At the gym. Working on my… nah, who am I kidding, every time I look at a hot chick working out next to me she has Yu Darvish’s face, which I find as distracting as I do disgusting. Going home now.
Dinner (sushi, of course) has been eaten. Feet are up. Beer is in hand. Let’s DO THIS! *Belch*
FSSW misses Darvish’s first pitch. Nice work, dingleberries. The biggest pitch of the year so far and you miss it. They come back from commercial break and the count is already 1-0 to Chone Figgins. AGGGHH!!! Then Darvish quickly walks him. Um… this is not how it’s supposed to go, guys.
After striking out Ackley on a NAAASTY breaking ball, Ichiro steps in. Japan loses its mind. Then Ichiro singles on a blooper to left and, already, I’m realizing Yu ain’t Strasburg (yet).
Now Justin Smoak is on first, bases are loaded with one out for Kyle Seager. Bases loaded? I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR NO BASES LOADED!!!
Two-run gapper to right and now I’m pissed. I could have been out on a date tonight! With a real, live woman! And I passed it up for this crap???!!! WTF are YU DOING!?!?!
Darvish makes Miguel Olivo look like Johnny Bench and I’m bored. More Daisuke, less Nomo. Not even close to Strasburg. He doesn’t even have a weird hitch in his delivery like all the Japanese greats do!
He just walked in a run. It’s 4-0. EFF THIS.
Seriously, I know this is a small sample size, but I ain’t impressed and I’m changing the channel… to watch Freese and Holliday and Molina (they all homer)… CHAMPIONS.
Hate me. I understand. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Once the game was over, it was evident he battled back and settled down. The offense helped him out and he recovered well, and even fooled some hitters. But the hoopla was a bit much for me for him not to deliver with jazz hands. Or maybe I’ve just been spoiled by so much great pitching the last couple years that I expect greatness every game. Either way, I’ll check in again next time. I just ain’t makin’ a night of it.
Chess is life.
I love pitching rivalries, matchups within divisions and the occasional interleague throwdown. That’s a giant piece of cake for me!!!
What pairing will be this year’s best? Let’s examine the possibilities, with Bobby Fischer setting the stage…
“I play honestly and I play to win. If I lose, I take my medicine.”
Yu Darvish/King Felix!
“I like the moment when I break a man’s ego.”
Stephen Strasburg/Josh Johnson!
“Chess is war over the board. The object is to break your opponents mind.”
Jon Lester/C.C. Sabathia!
“Chess is a matter of delicate judgement. When when to punch and how to duck.”
Johnny Cueto??? Hmmm… Matt Garza??
My personal favorite pairing of all time — the one that really captivated me — is, of course, Bobby Fischer/Boris Spassky. Sometimes Bobby battled himself even! (Fast Eddy Felson and Minnesota Fats come in a close second).
Baseball can’t start soon enough.
Follow Johanna on Twitter!
Continuing with the end-of-year holiday tradition here at RSBS, it’s time to separate myself from my imaginary girlfriend (NSFW) and ask the interns to lock my office door so I can get down to the meaty reflection of what was the RSBS year 2011. Additionally, I must begin the sad, fiery purge of Albert Pujols memorabilia. For those of you who went to public schools, you know that maintaining a fire within a small, confined room may cause ill-fated side effects, so before I start to look like Bert the chimney sweep, let me get to it…
First of all, no year would be a good year without you, the dear RSBS reader. THANK YOU, for your readership. THANK YOU for your emails, your tweets, your comments, Facebook shares and FingerTagging! And THANK YOU for continuing to make writing about the baseball-politico world a treat for us every single day.
Like my riveting and oft rousing colleague, Mr. Krause, I too have been very impressed with our special correspondents. For me, nothing says sweet Miggy-I-Love-You quite like Mark Piebenga’s His Game Is Like Waves. It presented Miguel Cabrera in a new light — that of teacher, and, considering how much Mark has taught me about what life should be about, I continue to find its lesson fitting (and helpful!).
And though I often refer to Mr. Johanna Mahmud as “the man who introduced me to the glories of the Deftones” and “the guy who schooled me on the NBA and proved why I should be madly in love with Derek Rose”, I still have room to refer to him as “the guy who writes Setting the Mahmud“! Dude puts the “tit” in titillating with every piece. The last article he wrote was inspiring, if only because he found a way to get a naked Yu Darvish, an ugly sweater wearing
Johnny Matt Damon and a crying Paula Deen all in one place; but, like Al, I have to admit that there’s real brilliance in his Theo-fied Arthurisms. Still, I’m a sucker for equating dead people to the performances of Adam Dunn and Miguel Tejada. Good work, good sir.
Meanwhile, no year-end applause would be complete without a nod to my longtime friend and confidant, Mr. Allen Krause. Known for his cynical twists on the political establishment and undying love of all things Detroit Tigers, it has been a pleasure to write on his wing. Sometimes he’s so “on” that he finds literary genius in imagery. Indeed, that endearing Krausian wit is often highlighted by rational thought. Sometimes it points out the un-fact-checked obvious, other times it gets serious, with a real call for responsibility. And, just in case you think Mr. Krause’s Libertarian-bashing makes him a soulless, automated Obamatron, this reflective piece will convince you otherwise.
But when it comes to knockin’ ’em outta the interwebs park, I have to kowtow to the RSBS Presents series. The brainchild of Mr. Krause, RSBS Presents has enlightened us on the finer points of fandom and how to stay classy while reminding us that, ultimately, positivity has upside during times of turmoil. But the best of them all was learning how to score a Republican. And here I thought it involved finding Jesus and quoting Alex P. Keaton.
Happy Christmas, Merry Hanukkah and long live King Kwanzaa!
“Hello little man, boy, I heard a lot about you.”
The news is in the for MLB, and well, there is no news.
But Paula Deen got hit in tha damn head with a ham!!!
Wish I threw it.
But there is a ham fighter (and occasional nude male model) on the loose. The Rangers couldn’t keep C.J. Wilson but they sure ponied up to possibly sign Yu Darvish. After the Los Angels signed Alberta de la Pujols, Texas had to do something and they definitely went BIG.
I don’t speak Farsi or Japanesy-Chinesey like Jeffy, but I’ve been all over this kid for a couple years and am eager to see him pitch in the Bigs. I finally have a Middle Eastern brother to watch!
Decision making while tired has happened many times whilst signing Asian ballplayers has been bad, (see Fukudome, Kosuke or K, Dice) but I think this cat has it going on. He’s extremely consistent statistically, has a powerful arm and my manometer is blasting! I will make a pilgrimage to Arlington to see him, which means I’ll probably have a woman shooting at me eventually. Everybody’s packing down there!
Anyway, this was early Xmas for me, (even though the Prince isn’t a Cub yet) so I got my reindeer sweater and I’m blastin this bomb.
“Jesus, that’s wet.”
Have a great whatever you do!
Follow Johanna on Twitter!
Okay, technically it was more of a catfight than a bidding war, but I guarantee you it was fierce. I was in college at the time, and I somehow duped two girls into believing I was A-list boyfriend material. A gnarly girlpocalypse ensued.
It was awesome.
Then there was also the time in middle school where, for a small fee of one US American dollar, I would open up my father’s Playboy collection for viewing, all in the name of health and sex education, of course.
But I’ve never been Yu Darvish-ed before. I mean, I’ve never had a bunch of folks throwing MAD MONEY at me just for the opportunity to negotiate a contract. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, but Nolan Ryan has never gone all in on my ass…ets. My assets. That’s what I meant to say.
Personally, I cannot WAIT to see Yu Darvish in action. I’ve been salivating at his proposed Major League entry since the ’09 WBC and now it looks like I may finally get my wish. Picture a 2012 season with an Adam Wainwright, a Stephen Strasburg AND a Yu Darvish!?!?!? Somebody douse me with Gatorade!
Meanwhile, if Yu’s people are any good, then they got their Newt Gingrich on before teams put in their final bids. You know it, I know it and the American people know it: no one sells access like the Grand Old Party.
Oh the Dems do it too.
Ron Paul. That is all.
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
As if facing Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic’s upcoming semifinals isn’t enough pressure on the already limping USA squad, once the laundry list of abominable possibilities finally settles in, we US Americans could be in big trouble.
Nevermind the impeccable team consciousness so calculated and so perfected by Team Japan during international competition. Nevermind Team Japan’s quiet gamesmanship deftly defining and defending their world-class status. Nevermind Dice-K and Darvish. There is much more to fear… for example:
Rape! Dear readers, Ted Bundy, Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant… these guys ain’t got nuthin’ on the Japanese. Don’t believe me? Know this: from December 1937 to February 1938, the Japanese raped an entire city! The then southern stronghold of China, Nanjing (aka Nanking), was completely decimated by the Japanese in a not-so-quiet storm of raging pillage quite akin to the stomping Chris Brown gave Rihanna not too long ago.
If that isn’t reason enough to fear the Japanese, how about this?
Not only do they combine situational hitting with speed, they are also known to make sure the opposite clubhouse spread is spiked with magic mushrooms, leaving the competition confused in a burst of beguiling blur.
Yet nothing should invoke more fear in the hearts of Americans than the Japanese group mind. To illustrate, here’s a clip of Team Japan’s batting practice:
They may not be a hit on Broadway (yet), but the Japanese sure do know how to rhythmically scare the bejesus out of any and all opponents willing to scrap.
US Americans, let us unite! Persevere! And conquer!
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
P.S. Dear readers, if you haven’t already, make sure you purchase the Prince of New York Paul Lebowitz’s 2009 Baseball Guide. You can get it *here* and you should get it soon. It is your one-stop shop for all things 2009 MLB and it has magical powers (and by “magical powers” I mean “table of contents”). Believe me, this dude knows what he’s talking about. He’s the clean, charming, polite version of Jose Canseco.
On the real.
(Ichiro blur photo courtesy of Donald Miralle/Getty Images)