Timeout at the plate #7

Day 41

timeoutattheplate_copy.jpg

If I told you the top blog for most of 2008 would be run by a comedian/purveyor of Asian
redstate.pngart 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.”

jeff lung.jpgHe 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.

You have known Allen since your college years. What was your inspiration to go in on a blog with him and what was your hope for the blog?

 

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.

 
In my case, the William J. Fulbright Scholarship is a scholarship given to promote international research and study abroad for college graduates.  I won the award after graduating from Kalamazoo College in 2001.  I used the grant to conduct research on modern Daoist practice in Northern China, which culminated in a feature length documentary entitlted Daoism Burning.  

 
Outside of being a scholar I have seen you try your hand at being a funny man too. Is stand up comedy a passion of yours or is it something you pursue something more?
 
I have been performing in improvisation troupes for over 12 years now and just recently got started in the Chicago stand-up scene.  Yes.  It is a passion.  I absolutely love it and I am performing three to five times a week all over the city.  The sky is the limit in the stand-up world.  I am eager to see where it takes me.
What’s your favorite joke you’ve created?
 
Well, they are all my favorites because they are all mine!  I will say this: I grew up with six sisters.  I lived in China for four years.  I am a total baseball geek; so it is my belief that my best material comes from these experiences.  To see some of my work, check out my Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/jefferylungcomedy

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?

One cannot change the past.  Allen will forever be doomed to suffer that humiliation over and over and over again.  Indeed, I remind him of it often; and that victory will never get old… nor will our chops-busting friendship.
 
Finally, what would you and Allen like to accomplish for the rest of 2009 as Red State Blue State?
 
We plan to bring some very cool new features this season that will highlight our unique sense of creativity and stellar comedic balance.  We are working on them now, so make sure to stay tuned as we gear up for baseball in 2009!
 
 
Number 7 is a wrap. Check back in tomorrow to read about the second half of Red State Blue State and the diplomat who is the Yin to Jeff’s Yang.
 
If you liked Jeff’s photo and would like to see the creator you can visit the artist Constance K.
http://www.eyeshotcha.com

 

 

  


 

 

 

 



 

12 Comments

What a great interview on two of the most entertaining bloggers we have here! (Did that sound sincere? I can still feel the daggers in my back from them!) I love this series of articles that you do! Learning about our fellow bloggers helps us to understand everyone’s point of view a little better! Great work Tom!

Opps! That would be me commenting above! (Hate when I hit the wrong button!)

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Scholars and gentlemen indeed! I can imagine some of those arguments in 2006 got a little heated!
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

Xie xie, Tom (that’s thank you in Chinese! I thought it was fitting…). It was great to learn about half of my first blog crush! I always love the things you write Tom!
Emily
http://deconstructingthoughts.mlblogs.com/

Wo ye yao shuo yi ju “xie xie”, Tom! Thanks for making me (us) look good. If you can make Allen look good too then you are superhuman!
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

“Beat the Cubs”. There is not greater wisdom. Nice interview, Tom! Great to learn more about my fellow Cardinal!.
-Kathy
http://redbirdchatter.mlblogs.com

I’m getting really good at guessing who the next Timeout person is, based on your clues. :) Great interview, Tom. I can’t wait for RSBS entries during baseball season!!! They can only get better than now.
Jen
http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com

Love the piece, guys. Great job!
http://theburghblues.mlblogs.com/

Wow, that’s a great intereview! Good job to Tom and Jeff!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

Glad to know more about the man behind the Red State! Good job, Tom!

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Julia- You are breaking out the smack talk a lot!
Homer- A fly on the wall in ’06 would’ve been fun.
Emily- Thanks! Glad you got to read up on your blog crush : )
Jeff- Not superhuman but you guys are some interesting dudes so it’s not so hard of a writing task to see you guys looking good.
Kathy- I can see you putting that wisdom to good use : )
Jen- I’ll have to make my clues tougher to keep you on your toes.
Burgh blues- thanks for taking the time to drop in a read up.
Jane- Hope you tuned in to learn about the blue state as well!

-Tom
Kaybee- Glad you enjoyed it ; )

Awesome interview Tommy! I didn’t know that Jeff speaks fluent chinese… that is so cool! And what a cool scholarship to receive! On to Allen’s!
-Elizabeth
http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

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