Timeout at the plate #7
If I told you the top blog for most of 2008 would be run by a comedian/purveyor of Asian
art and a diplomat you would probably never think they were baseball guys. But you would be dead wrong. Today’s and tomorrow’s Timeouts will feature Jeff and Allen fromRed State Blue State. Each guy will get his own Timeout because they are two separate entities that come together to make a must read blog.
Jeff Lung is a 30 year-old purveyor of Asian art, master of the Chinese language, comedian and oh yeah a die-hard Cardinals fan, and “don’t hate him ‘cuz he’s right.”
He is the guy living in Chicago who knows how to ruffle some feathers with his buddy Allen about his Tigers and everything else. The two create a chemistry that makes for some fun topics of discussion. Whether it be beautiful women, elected officials or even the hot topic of the day Jeff is responsible for doing his part to put his baseball knowledge into the mix and relating it to any story.
And don’t be surprised if you need to pull out a dictionary and pick up some great vocabulary when reading RSBS. My favorite word to date I never thought I would see in a baseball blog- nefarious. Brilliant, I say.
If you and Allen had to choose which side of the force you were (sith or jedi), which side would you be and do you think Allen would say the same?
Considering that Allen has long been a nefarious, sith-like pessimist, I would have to say I am the complete opposite. At the same time, I am not your prototypical Jedi. I am somewhat of a wandering rogue at peace with his perpetual displacement. Allen has to agree; I am always right.
Allen and I met during our freshman year at Kalamazoo College (1997). Kindred spirits that we were, it wasn’t long before we were talking baseball on a regular basis. We have both been all over the world in the last eleven and a half years and during that time baseball has continuously been a standard conversation thread.
The idea for a blog was born during the 2006 season and was based on the back-and-forth emails between Allen and I which vehemently argued the ins and outs of Major League Baseball and all its inherent topics of discussion. The argument lasted all the way until the World Series, when my team (the St. Louis Cardinals) mopped up his (the Detroit Tigers) in five lackluster games.
A year later, I happened to go back and read some of those emails from the ’06 season. Uncontrollable laughter ensued and I thought, “We have to do this in a public forum”.
Thus, Red State Blue State, a title representative of our respective teams’ colors as well as our feverish following of politics galore, was born.
You wrote a great blog talking about how your aunt and uncle were responsible for helping turn you into a Cardinal fan. Can you recall the greatest piece of advice they gave you on the game?
The most important thing they taught me was: “Beat the Cubs”
Between the Whitey Herzog and Tony LaRussa years, the Cardinals suffered through some pretty awful seasons where our star players carried names like Tewksbury, Brunansky and Pagnozzi — hardly household names today. The one thing that we could always look forward to as Cardinals fans was to at least beat the Cubs. And now, as the Cubs build a stronger ballclub whilst the Cardinals wallow in mediocrity, I can only hope to survive the season by seeing the Cardinals put forth their best efforts against the dreaded Cubbies.
Can you recall the fondest moment spent with them while watching baseball?
There have been many. When forced to narrow it down, I would say the phone call they made to me seconds after Adam Wainwright’s devastating curveball got Brandon Inge to strikeout and make us World Champions in 2006 was the fondest of them all. There is nothing quite like a bunch of grownups screaming like children, celebrating sweet victory.
What has been yours and Allen greatest accomplishment in writing Red State Blue State?
I think our greatest accomplishment has been just being ourselves. We are quirky intellectuals. We are not analysts. We write about the game and how it mirrors life, utilizing the headlines of the day in all avenues including politics. In our first year of existence, we have built a strong readership by writing quality pieces that challenge the mind (sometimes); we also managed to top the fan blog charts for 2008 which was pretty sweet.
Your bio mentions Fulbright Scholar. That’s a pretty high accomplishment. Please explain it for those who may not know what it is and what it has meant to you.
I’m sure it wasn’t funny for Allen to see his Tigers pitching fall apart in the Series versus the Cards. Does the tension amongst friends ever get to the point you pull out that little snippit to bust chops?