Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Danville, Kentucky -
The following is a guest post by my nephew Max Hart. I do not endorse the NHL, Minnesota, or any associated liberalism.
Austin, Minnesota - While silver-spooned nerds and coddled millennials watched a big market basketball team from the West coast buy their way past the gritty Oklahoma City Thunder into the NBA finals, blue collar America had a huge victory that none of the liberal sports media will talk about: The Pittsburgh Penguins crushing 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Nate Silver and other casual sports fans might explain that the Penguins only won the game by a single goal. If any of these spreadsheet gazers took the time to go to the 18th Avenue Applebee’s, eat their beer cheese pretzels and mozzarella sticks, and actually WATCH the game, they would all be humming a different tune.
City-slickers might have time during the day to shirk off any of the little work they have at their cushy office job and stare at nonsense spreadsheets about efficiency, CARMELO, and other stats that ignore the intangibles and have a worse predictive track record than my friend Chuck’s 3-legged Rottweiler. These phonies have never learned the value of hard work that a 13 hour shift at the Hormel factory in Spam Town, USA instills in even the most stubborn of mules. For us blue collar folks, nothing is more satisfying than watching a bunch of working class individuals representing the industrious city of Pittsburgh watch their team wear down and outplay the pansy “Sharks” from San Jose in one of the grittiest, most physical, and raw sports that exists. This is more than a simple game; this series represents the struggles between working America and the liberal yuppies of the Left Coast.
The greatest country in the world is on the brink of being schlonged by Hillary “NAFTA” Clinton. Even though Donald Trump could fit all of Hillary Clinton’s work experience through his eye with little to no discomfort, liberal news outlets are incorrectly painting Donny as the “inexperienced” candidate. And folks, I’m sure basketball fans believe that MSNBC can predict no wrong. I mean, with the Golden State Warriors winning games in the laziest way possible, it’s no wonder that so many of my coworkers feel like there is no longer an incentive to pack 20 cans of spam in 1 minute (a record long held by local legend Chip “Badger” Baxter). But behind the scenes, true Americans everywhere are rallying behind Donald Trump and another unlikely hero: the mighty Penguins from Pittsburgh. It’s simple folks. Obama’s master plan to destroy manufacturing in the United States has failed. This joke of a president thought that it would be a good idea to outsource our jobs to China as part of the disastrous TPP. It’s no surprise that the same president would think it wise to outsource good hockey to California. Folks, I’m going to be very frank here: the last time there was enough snow in California to actually play hockey without fancy trust-fund ice rinks, Uncle Will hadn’t yet thrown his legendary no-no. Obama throwing his weight behind San Jose hockey exposes that the radical left would rather see a team named after a fish, which couldn’t even survive on the ice, take down everyone’s favorite ice-dwelling flightless birds. This is only one of many examples of BRObama’s laughable idealism.
Now many fair-whether sports fans might be thinking “isn’t hockey just a bunch of toothless Canadians figure skating and running into each other?” If these losers watched even a single game, they would know that the American work ethic is the defining characteristic of the sport. Case in point: Nick Bonino. This guy is a proven winner. Growing up in the great state of Connecticut, Bonino lead Farmington High School to a state championship in a very competitive winter-sports state. The Boston University Terriers didn’t recruit this guy for just for his 91 points in 24 games, but rather they recruited him because he showed grit and a will to win. These intangible factors proved successful yet again, when he led his terriers to a come-from behind national championship victory with a game tying goal with only 17.4 seconds remaining. The terriers have a history of producing winners, such as Mike Eruzione, the Team Captain of the 1980 Gold Medal Olympic team and the scorer of the goal that sent the Soviet Union spiraling into collapse faster than a Wade Davis fastball. But unlike Mike, who was mostly focused on defeating foreign enemies, Bonino has made it his mission to fight the domestic evils of socialism. Bonino scored a beautiful goal against Joe Thornton and the other Canadian immigrants and beneficiaries of NAFTA who “represent” the city of San Jose. I may be editorializing too much, folks, but I personally think that Nick Bonino would be an excellent Vice Presidential nominee for Donald J. Trump. Together, Nick and Donny have made it their mission to save America, one victory at a time. It’s time that hockey be recognized for exactly what it is: America’s chance to win again.
Monday, May 30, 2016
Danville, Kentucky - As the final days of the Carter administration came to a close, I pushed myself to finally be able to eat three taco 10 packs at taco bell for lunch. I knew I could do it. I had the dream. I had the ability. And I had the hope.
But I couldn't do it. As taco 24 became 25, something hit me. I was not going to be able to do it. Sure, I assumed if I gave myself another chance, I'd do it. So I did. Another 15 dollars at the local Mexican restaurant, and I had dreams of finishing my promise much as President elect Reagan had promised to free the hostages in Iran. President Reagan fulfilled his promise. I didn't fulfill mine.
The Thunder are like my dream of eating so many tacos, not able to happen. They get close. They lose in the finals. They lose in the Conference finals. They don't get close: They lose in the first round, and they lose without even making the playoffs. The Thunder cannot keep doing this.
Sometimes the hardest time to rebuild is when the house is still standing. But if you don't rebuild while the house is up, you can end up like the 76ers. That may be unfair, but Sam Preste's love of analytics has me worried the East Coast values embraced in Philly may come to the lovable tract of land the Thunder play in along I-35.
Durant cannot win a title. He's not LeBron. He's not Steph. He's not James Jones. Those guys are winners. Durant sadly has not been. He's a nice man. A good man, but not the man they need.
Westbrook should be given the chance. When a company fails for too long, it's C.E.O. should resign. At least that used to happen, until NAFTA allowed any C.E.O. to stay in power by off-setting his failures with lower wages through offshoring jobs to Canada. Westbrook needs to be the C.E.O. of the Thunder. He's won on the Olympic team, and he's gotten close as the #2 guy constantly. He could be the winner as the #1 guy.
Perhaps most importantly, Durant did nothing to stop the trade of James Harden. When I was a union boss, I didn't let our company sell our workers out. Durant let the Thunder sell James Harden. That alone was a fireable offense.
The time to let Durant walk is not easy. He's well-known and has a family. It won't be easy for him to lose his job. But winning isn't easy. Doing what's right is hard.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Danville, Kentucky -- Folks, I was never on the debate team in high school. I was too busy throwing no-hitters for the Danville High Admirals and spitting game with the local lasses. But I don't need a fancy debating pedigree to know that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have a chance to make history. The 1858 debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas (not to be confused with Stephen A. Smith) was ground breaking, and spawned an entire format of debate that high schoolers participate in to this day -- or so I'm told at these parent-teacher conferences that I try my hardest to mentally check out of. Donald and Bernie recently expressed interest in a debate, but Donald has inexplicably backed out. A debate between Donald Trump and Marxist underdog candidate Bernie Sanders would be just as impactful and world-changing as the Lincoln-Douglas debates of old, if only Donald can muster the courage to go through with it.
A high-profile debate against the new face of the democratic party offers a golden opportunity for Donald to define key narratives of the general election. Aside from being an epic clash of worldviews -- between Donald's America-first nationalism and Bernie's beggars-first moocherism -- Trump has a chance to cogently lay out the case for why America must be made great again, by debating against one of the big-spending Senators responsible for America's decline.
Donald is a fighter. He's never let fear get the best of him before, expect when he dodged the draft and pretended to be his own publicist. When Donald is faced with adversity, he confronts it head on, then makes the problem go away with his considerable financial resources. If he's not a coward, Donald must debate Bernie. And he must make these points:
#1 Attack Hillary
Bernie has tons of momentum heading into the California primary, having recently won crucial states like Oregon and West Virginia, home of the once proud miners whose lives have been decimated by Hillary and Obama's war on coal. Bernie keeps on winning primaries. You won't hear it from the Clinton-funded establishment media, but the delegate race is tightening by the hour as Bernie continues to forment a revolution against NAFTA and rich people. Once the results of the rigged Nevada primary are invalidated via judicial decree, Bernie will have a commanding delegate lead heading to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The super-delegate race is primed to flip in Bernie's favor as well. Bernie's opponent, crooked Hillary, will be indicted and imprisoned for emailing on the job any day now. Things are looking up for Bernie.
Nonetheless, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, George Soros, George Clooney and the liberal-democratic Illuminati will never let Sanders be the democratic nominee. The democratic nomination has been signed, sealed, and delivered to Crooked Hillary. Donald must remember that he is not running against Bernie Sanders, and keep his eye on the prize. Bernie has been too afraid to attack Hillary for emailing on the job, but Donald must stay on the attack.
#2 Emphasize Common Ground
Bernie and Donald have alot in common. They're both great family men. They're both men of the people. Both of them despise President Obama and seek to reverse his signature accomplishments. They both want to protect American workers like me and my Uncle Bert. They're the only two politicians willing to speak the truth about the horrors of NAFTA, the back-stabbing trade deal that brought us shuttered factories and buffalo wing inflation. Donald needs to make sure these commonalities are not lost on his audience. Fortunately, Donald is at his best when everyone on the stage agrees with him, as evidenced by his stirring debate performances throughout the Republican primary. Being able to emphasize areas of agreement between himself and Bernie will help Trump peel away disaffected Bernie Bros from Hillary in the general election, ensuring a Trump sweep of rustbelt swing states like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
#3 Insult Bernie
OK, folks. Everyone knows Donald and Bernie have some stuff in common, like great hair and yuge stage presence. But Donald needs to assert dominance. Nobody is watching presidential debates to learn about issues. Folks want to see fireworks and beat-downs you can usually only find on professional wrestling. Donald needs to do what he does best: don't worry about explaining policy details or ideological differences, just insult and belittle your opponent. Make fun of Bernie for only getting divorced once; real men have usually had three or four wives by the time they're Bernie's age. Make fun of Bernie for being poor and driving a normal car instead of flying around in Trump Force One. Mock Bernie's wife for not being as hot as Melania. This is the stuff presidents are made of.
#4 Insult Loser Republicans
Donald needs to realize Crooked Hillary is not his only enemy. The Bush-Romney-Ryan GOP establishment axis are already planning to blindside Donald by supporting an independent RINO candidate to destroy the Republican party from within and stop Trump.
Donald needs to use the debate stage to preempt the traitorous treachery of the GOP establishment that is hell-bent on stopping him at all costs. That means insulting loser Republicans, even if they aren't on stage. Call John McCain a weenie. Call Jeb low-energy. Rattle off some one-liners about Lyin' Ted, Awkward Mitt, and Little Marco, even though they dropped out of the race months ago. Nerds have questioned the wisdom of Donald randomly attacking members of his own party. Folks, these worry-warts have never run a smash-hit campaign like Donald or written a masterpiece like Art of the Deal. Donald became the Republican nominee because folks love it when he attacks Republicans. Worry about uniting the party latter. In the meantime, let the zingers fly.Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate--an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 29, 2016
#5 Suggest A Trump-Sanders Ticket
Lyin' Ted and Kasich's futile attempt to team up and stop Trump was an abysmal failure, as was the #NeverTrump movement. But Donald has an opportunity to create a ticket that would be Crooked Hillary's worst nightmare: a Trump-Sanders duo that would sweep through the industrial Midwest en route to a historic victory. Such a ticket would divide the democratic party and doom Hillary, simultaneously saving America in the process.
A Trump-Sanders debate would be a massive cultural event. Normally you have to go to a New York deli to watch old bald men from Brooklyn and Queens yell at eachother. Only this argument isn't about Rye vs. Pumpernickel or Lox vs Pastrami; it's an argument about the fate of America itself.
Expect sky-high ratings. Expect wall-to-wall coverage. Expect me to get kicked out of Buffalo Wild Wings when the manager refuses to change the channel on one of their grotesquely large TVs to the Trump-Sanders debate, for fear of disrupting an ESPN-3 women's college softball game. Expect Crooked Hillary to quiver in fear. Expect the tradition of American political debates to be great again. Greater than ever before.
Friday, May 27, 2016
With my income halved by a recent divorce, I was forced to sell my house and relocate to a dingy apartment in a student ghetto near Lexington. When Home Depot fired me in cruel fashion for drinking on the job and smelling like Hot Pockets, the true bleakness of my situation became apparent. Before long, the electric company shut off my power. Only then did I truly despair, persisting on a diet of unheated cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli. I remember those nights all too well; sitting alone in the cold darkness, with everything silent save the lonely clinking sound of my spoon against the greasy tin can.
As I ingested tin can after tin can of faux-Italian children's food, served as cold as the Kentucky Winter, I remembered everything I still had to be thankful for. I had a loving nephew, and a loyal Basset Hound. I found comfort in the knowledge that those who truly mattered to me would not judge me by my worst moments.
If only the Boston Red Sox had learned that basic life lesson: don't judge people when they're at their worst. Folks, it's hard to deny Clay Buchholz has been disappointing to the Sox this season. The 2-5 win/loss record doesn't lie. He's giving up dingers at an alarming rate; Clay Buchholz has bled home runs like my eyes bleed at the thought of giving into the new liberal trend of watching foreign soccer games. But let's not judge Clay when he's at his worst. He deserves the benefit of the doubt, being the longest tenured member of Boston's rotation, filled as it is with mercenaries like David Price and Rick Porcello.
Clay has served the Boston Red Sox well, and will continue to do so in the future. He was a core piece of the 2013 championship team, and remains vital to the team's championship hopes in 2016. Have the good (and not so good) people of New England forgotten the 3 playoff wins started by Clay during the team's magical 2013 playoff run, which culminated in a World Series victory? Clay hasn't. Clay once made the Boston Red Sox great. Clay is now working to Make America Great Again. Buchholz, one of the few baseball players (other than hero Curt Schilling) bold enough to speak their mind in the face of liberal PC-culture, is an unapologetic Donald Trump supporter. It's no surprise that a winner like Clay supports a winner like Donald. Moreover, Clay's willingness to buck the liberal consensus speaks to his integrity and character. How many guys in the Boston clubhouse have the guts to come out and say they like Trump? David Price -- who unlike Clay has never won a playoff game -- doesn't. David Price only cares about endearing himself to the Boston media, intimidated by playing in a big market for the first time ever.
@DAVIDprice24 David, it's better to be respected than to be loved.— The Will To Win (@TWTWsports) April 22, 2016
Clay doesn't care about being loved. He wants to be respected. He tells it like it is. The cold canned ravioli I ate in the Winter of '95 can never be undone, but thanks to people like Clay, President Trump may one day heal the wounds of NAFTA.
It is beyond foolish to move Buchholz to the bullpen or DFA him. He has shown flashes of his old self and just needs time to rediscover the art of pitching. The Red Sox will regret letting the inexperienced Eduardo Rodriguez into the rotation at the expense of playoff-proven veteran Clay Buchholz. They will similarly come to rue the knuckballer experiment as well. After all Clay Buchholz has done for Boston and for America, he deserves a spot in the rotation. Don't judge him by his worst, Boston.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Danville, Kentucky -- Arkansas is a down-to-earth, no nonsense kind of place. Folks root for their favorite team, the Razorbacks. They eat their favorite dish, Possum Pie. When corrupt politicians like the Clintons get caught in the act of conning the little guy, as they did in Whitewater-gate, the people of Arkansas demand accountability.
Drew Smyly -- a hardworking kid from Maumelle, Arkansas with a dream -- is a down-to-earth, no nonsense kind of pitcher. He doesn't light up the radar gun. He plies his trade with excellent location and crisp breaking pitches. When Smyly left his fellow hurlers, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, and Rick Porcello to start anew with the communist sympathizing Tampa Bay Rays, he was just a learner. Now, Drew is the master.
Since the blockbuster trade that brought David Price to the Detroit Tigers, Drew has the best ERA in the AL. His already impressive strikeout rate has climbed upward like my own credit card debt. Today, he'll square off against new Tigers pitching prospect Michael Fulmer. This isn't the first time Drew has faced his former team. Yet, the otherwise indomitable left-hander will nonetheless feel pangs in his heart as he revisits the team that give him his shot in the majors. He had some good times in the Olde English D. He got his first taste of the playoffs in the 2013, and also his first taste of the crushing bitterness of playoff elimination. He got to be the little brother and mentee of Cy Young winners like Verlander and Scherzer.
But it all came to an abrupt end one day, when he was traded mid-game to a franchise that was foreign and alien to him. When he takes the field at Comerica Park this evening, Drew will remember the emotions of that hot July afternoon almost two years ago:
Both on and off the field it was clear Smyly was emotional as he came to terms with the fact he'd been traded. While he's looking forward to this new part of his life, it's still a bittersweet moment. "Tampa is excited to have me, so I'm excited to be there. A team that wants you is always nice, but this is all I know, so it sucks leaving." [source: http://www.blessyouboys.com/2014/7/31/5957655/for-drew-smyly-and-austin-jackson-thursdays-trade-was-a-bittersweet]Would the Tigers take back that trade if they could? The win-now acquisition of David Price didn't net Pizza Mogul Mike Ilitch's long-desired World Series championship, but you could hardly blame Mr. Dombrowski for making the move. Nonetheless, Todd Andrew Smyly does not entertain such hindsight thinking. He's a man solely focused on missing bats and recording outs. He's a kid with a Cy Young award in his future, if he can get a gaudy win/loss record that matches his pedigree and work ethic. Drew's pitching mastery will continue against the Tigers today, in a simple yet brilliant manner that elite Arkansans like Crooked Hillary will never understand. The good people of Detroit will be understandably frustrated as a former-Tiger twirls a gem versus his former team, but all Drew can do is smile.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Danville, Kentucky -- Folks, few experiences are as magical as reuniting with a childhood friend. In 1999, the stars aligned for a chance meeting between myself and my childhood best friend, Rhett. Rhett and I go way back. As kids, we'd play stickball out in an old alley on weekends. As teenagers, we rose through the Danville baseball system together, eventually playing together in High School. Rhett was reliable both on and off the field. Rhett was the best 3rd baseman a pitcher like myself could ask for. I could rack up Ks by reaching back for 89 miles-per-hour in a pinch, but more often than not I trusted Rhett and my other teammates to convert batted balls into outs. Rhett dutifully manned the hot corner behind me for years, including during my no-hitter. When I encountered Rhett at an old Danville watering hole one day in the Winter of '99, I was dumbstruck. We talked for hours over watery beer and pretzel crumbs, about our life ventures that worked and the many more that didn't. Our lives had come full circle.
The World Series Champion Kansas City Royals™ have a chance to bring their story full circle by making a man from their past part of their future. Unfortunately for the good-natured, barbecue-loving people of the greater Kansas City area, the boys in blue have stumbled out of the gates in their journey to re-retake the crown. As of writing this, they are second to last in the American League in runs scored, only 3 runs ahead of the lowly Twins. The Royals starting pitching staff eats innings like I eat kale, hummus, and other liberal foods: not at all. The Royals starting pitchers have pitched the 3rd fewest innings in entire MLB, beating only the Twins and my pathetic Cincinnati Reds. They trail both the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox in the standings. Something needs to be done. Fortunately, there is a move the Royals can make to instantly fix these problems and boost their chances of appearing in their 3rd straight World Series.
Why the Royals Need Big Game James
The Royals need a man to anchor their rotation. They need a man to go deep into games to give the bullpen a rest and prevent the three-headed monster from blowing out their arms mid-season, Greg Holland-style. The Royals need James Shields. James taught the Royals how to win on their way to a World Series appearance in 2014. Now he can take them to winning post-graduate school. Big Game James has pitched more than 200 innings every year since 2007. In 2015, the only Royal pitcher to hit the 200 inning mark was Edinson Volquez. In the past, the Royals have had reliable innings eaters like Jeremy Guthrie, who pitched 200+ innings in 2013 and 2014. No such relief appears to be on the horizon in 2016. With playoff hero Chris Young and intriguing bounceback candidate Kris Medlen on the disabled list, the Royals need stability in their rotation. The Royals don't need the ace-level Shields of 2011-2014; the young Yordano Ventura and Ian Kennedy will eventually round into form to form a potent #1 and #2. Big James, a 10+ game winner every year since 2007, will be a stabilizing presence in both the clubhouse and on the diamond.
Fortunately for the Royals, the San Diego Padres have a man who could fix Kansas City's run-scoring woes as well. Dayton Moore should inquire about proven slugger Matt Kemp, whose 29 RBIs so far in 2016 would lead the team were he to join the Royals (Salvador Perez has 21, while Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain have plated 20 runs each). The Royals need a man who can drive in leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar and clear the bases with extra base hits. Kemp, who has already hit 10 home runs this year, could provide power hitting from a corner outfield position, which the Royals have lacked so far in 2016. Moreover, Kemp would offer insurance at the Designated Hitter position in case Cuban bomber Kendrys Morales continues to struggle. Importantly for the Royals, trading for Matt Kemp would solve their DH dilemma for years to come, as he is signed through 2019. I personally think the Royals should make a move for Billy Butler, but landing Big Game James and perennial MVP candidate Matt Kemp in one deal is more enticing than the Aussie Chicken Tacos at Outback Steakhouse.
Everyone knows to get something, you have to give something. It's true of divorce settlements and also true of baseball. What could the Royals offer baseball genius A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres for James Shields and Matt Kemp? Unfortunately, the Royals don't have Wil Myers to offer this time around, although the Royals might inquire if Mr. Myers could be thrown into the deal as well. The Royals could start negotiations by offering Raul Mondesi; the Padres will need young power-hitting bats as they rebuild for the future, and Raul has shown he is determined to chug as much cold medicine as it takes to reach his dinger-blasting potential.
My own reunion with Rhett was not as magical as a potential Royals-Shields reunion would be. In 1972, Rhett left me awed by his ability to nimbly dance around the hot corner, converting hard-hit ground balls into outs. In 1999, he left me outraged and burning with jealousy when I discovered him dancing with my wife, singing romantic Barry Manilow songs together during a Karaoke night at Applebee's. I found myself crying into a plate of quesadillas and onions rings that night. But this sense of failure and inadequacy doesn't have to be the fate of the 2016 Kansas City Royals. If they pull the trigger to land Big Game James and Matt Kemp, the only rings they're likely to encounter will be of the championship variety.
|Shields & Kemp: the 2016 Royals saviors|
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
|credit: Fox Sports|
Indeed, the stars have aligned for a fortuitous pitching match-up, a showdown as unlikely as America's democratic experiment itself. Jordan Zimmermann will return to Washington D.C. -- the city named for the nation's first commander-in-chief that Mr. Hamilton served so loyally -- to pitch against Max Scherzer. Both pitchers will toe the rubber against their former teams. It is a duel between former teammates, more dramatic than Hamilton vs. Burr. I hold this truth to be self-evident: that all pitching matchups are not created equal.
The prospect of competing against the organizations that nurtured and raised them will arouse a host of mixed emotions in both Mr. Zimmermann and Mr. Scherzer.
Scherzer has bantered about his desire to compete against the Triple Crown-touting Miguel Cabrera, but internally feels apprehension. Nonetheless, Scherzer's anxieties will be tempered by the superhuman-slugging 6′ 2″, 23-year old native of Las Vegas that now sits in his corner.
Jordan is a more stoic man. In Auburndale, Wisconsin, boys are raised not to lose their cool or show emotion. If you get hurt, you dust yourself off, rub salt on your wounds and get back on the horse. To Jordan, pitching is just another job. As a child, Jordan worked from dusk till dawn on cold, northern farmlands. He approaches baseball with a similar stubborn Bulldog-like work ethic, but will nonetheless feel nostalgia upon returning to the beltway.
A time may come when the radical potential of American democracy is fulfilled via a Donald Trump presidency, but for now we'll have to settle for this game. America is a land where anything is possible. Where two franchise cornerstone pitchers can switch franchises and compete against each other. Where even mild-mannered utility infielders like Andrew Romine get to play hero once in a while. Where a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman can wind up on the ten-dollar bill. As fans of the Washington Nationals and Detroit Tigers converge to watch this serendipitous game just footsteps away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we should take time to appreciate the sheer splendor of America's centuries-old experiment with democracy and our national pastime.