Wednesday, April 13, 2005
So, we’ve had about a week of baseball now, and I’m afraid it’s all a bit much. I spent all winter scraping the bottom of the dank baseball locker that is my soul for blog material (a whole entry on Justin Verlander that will probably be appreciated by exactly 0.32 obsessive Tigers fans! College football! The Detroit Lions, who have less online presence than the bloody Brewers! Jewish baseball players no one has ever heard of—John Grabow, you da man!), and now all of a sudden there’s so much to write about!
Back in December I would have written for days about some interesting little tidbit of Pirates news so long as it kept me going. Now there are not only Real Live Actual Baseball Games, there are Real Live Actual Baseball Games that involve teams I actually give an exploded bird carcass about.
Want to write about baseball? You no longer have to write about Ryan Klesko’s bulldog. You can write about the Red Sox or the Tigers. Not only that, there are (is? are? isare?) a variety of things you can write about for each team, and for each game! Want to gripe about the Red Sox starting pitching? Go for it! Feel like driving another stake through the vampiric heart of Bobby Higginson’s ‘career’? You can do this thing! But if you want to talk about how long we have to wait before we’re allowed to just hold Johnny Damon down and duct tape his mouth shut, or the contents of Magglio Ordonez’ latest used Kleenexes, you can do that too! There’s just so much!
But, my god, it’s not all Red Sox and Tigers and Yankees out there. There are other teams! More news, more things to write about! AL East! AL Central! Places where the pitchers have to use a bat! ‘Good’ bloggers are out there putting their chicken necks on the line, making season predictions. I can’t really do that, because I predict that the Detroit Tigers will win the World Series, the Boston Red Sox will win Emperors of the Universe, Dave Roberts will be named the new head of the UN, and A-Rod will leave just after the All-Star Break, have a sex change, and become a controversial but Olympic-caliber softball player. Bit of a struggle with objectivity, me.
So I’ll take a look at the league from a slightly different standpoint—the important, pressing questions we (by which I mean ‘I’, as in ‘I’m not a good enough blogger to justify referring to myself in the third person or first person plural yet’) have about each team this early into the season.
The Boston Red Sox. Can they repeat? More importantly, what effect will the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy exposure have on the team? Will Jason Varitek ever wear a pair of jeans that are not a) tapered, b) rolled at the cuffs, or c) otherwise hideously and disturbingly wrong? Am I the only one waiting for Manny Ramirez to discover colored hair dye? How long until someone makes Matt Clement break down sobbing in the lockerroom? Will Kevin Youkilis finally snap and start screaming at people, "I'm not Greek! I'm not Greek! And fuck the walks, I'ma be like Dougie and be a stud who hits bombs!" ? Mark Bellhorn: too mainstream to still be a cult hero?
The New York Yankees. Will Randy Johnson ever explode a bird again? If so, will it be, to pick a bird at random, little David Eckstein who bursts in a pouf of feathers? Which Yankee announcer will be the first to die of gastic distress while enumerating Tino Martinez’s infinite virtues? Is there a special team mechanic for tightening the bolts on Hideki Matsui when they get too loose? What will A-Rod’s name be after his sex change? Will he go for the obvious Alexandra, or will he take a more creative route? Mariano Rivera: pwn3d?
The Baltimore Orioles. Between Sammy’s corked bats and Palmeiro’s intimate dysfunction, are the Orioles going to be negatively effected by the lack of actual wood on their team this season? If we put slightly rotten and therefore pungent fruit in our backyards, like the bird books tell us, will Javy Lopez come visit? Is it possible to force BJ Surhoff into retirement by now, just for the sake of fairness? Can we officially declare Brian Roberts inferior to Dave Roberts for the rest of history yet? Orange: trendy in home decorating, but will it last?
The Toronto Blue Jays. Can we all agree that their new logo looks like a hockey logo? Is this because of their Canadianness? Did they make the change in an effort to gain some sad and disillusioned hockey fans? Am I still allowed to hate Scott Schoeneweis for vehemently denying his Jewish background? JP Ricciardi is a Massachusetts native and a believer in the Moneyball philosophy, just like Theo Epstein… how long before Shea Hillenbrand calls him ‘a little fag’? Ted Lilly: is he gone yet?
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Who will their owner throw out of his private bathroom next? Does this mean Brian Cashman’s bathroom coke parties will have to wait until homestands? Isn’t Aubrey Huff the name of a silent movie actress? If not, shouldn’t it be? Can we call Scott Kazmir ‘Kaz’, or will the Japanese contingent rise up in affronted rage? Alex Gonzalez: which one is this, and would anyone know if they were switched for a week in a wacky promotional move by Bud Selig?*
The Detroit Tigers. Will there be anything left of Pudge Rodriguez before the end of the year? Can we even call him Pudge anymore? How long until Dmitri Young actually kills an opposing catcher? What will Kyle Farnsworth do first, injure himself in a fight with an inanimate object or contract a lingering venereal disease from a groupie? Do the Detroit Tigers even have groupies? Will Brandon Inge grow a full beard in his next attempt to look slightly older? Jason Johnson: what will he do when insulin is banned under the new steroid guidelines?
The Minnesota Twins. With Lew Ford, Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones and Shannon Stewart all listed as outfielders, do the Twins have the best group of names in one fielding area in the league? Are Joe Mauer’s kneecaps going to fall off before or after July? Is Michael Cuddyer really as cuddly as his name would suggest (judging from his roster photo, yes to maybe)? How many more years can Johan Santana continue to be absolutely lovable even when he’s destroying your favorite team? Brad Radke: only player in the majors with ‘rad rad’ in his name?
The Chicago White Sox. How will El Duckie adjust to a life of nonYankeedom? Will it be easy for him to tone down his native evilness for the new, low-grade evilosity of the White Sox? What about AJ Pierzynski, how will his psychoses transfer? And does Carl Everett believe that the Black Sox scandal of 1919 was actually a hoax perpetrated by baseball in the 1970s? And with all this, how in the world does the Chicago GM claim that they have great team chemistry? Mark Buehrle: not really spelled how it sounds.
The Cleveland Indians. Will Indians fans stop wetting themselves about Grady Sizemore at some point in the near future? Is C.C. Sabathia just one great big strained muscle waiting to happen at this point? Was Jhonny Peralta really upset by that guy at the Tigers game on Saturday who kept screaming ‘Juh-HONNY!’ whenever he was up to bat? How risky is David Riske? Am I allowed to kill Aaron Boone yet? Please? Coco Crisp: sugar-frosted or not?
The Kansas City Royals. Is a starting rotation built around the insane but musically-inclined Jose Lima and the 21-year-old Zach Greinke the oddest starting rotation in baseball? Will Royals fans take full advantage of the awesome Mark Teahen sign-making opportunities afforded to them this season? Are there actually any Royals fans, and would they actually bother to make signs? How long have they been rebuilding now? Matt Stairs: 37 years old and the oldest guy on the entire roster? Oy.
The Seattle Mariners. What young pitcher will the Mariners ruin next? Given their track record, do they really deserve to have Felix Hernandez in their system? Will Ichiro start insisting that the name on his jersey be written ‘Ichiro!’ like it is on the weblogs? Is anyone else tickled that a guy named Richie Sexson is on a team named after people who use sextons? What the hell is up with the moose? Bret Boone: the less evil Boone, or just more inept?
The Oakland Athletics. Can Barry Zito and Rich Harden successfully carry on the tradition of Oakland pitching hotness by themselves, even with the loss of Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder**? And with the addition of Danny Haren to Barry Zito’s rotation, do the A’s have the most stoner-ish rotation in the league? Will Bobby Kielty finally take his pot of gold and his lucky charms and go live at the end of the rainbow? Will Nick Swisher be able to overcome his evil collegiate beginnings and have a good year? Who the fuck names their kid Huston Street? Kirk Saarloos: too many vowels, or just enough?
The Texas Rangers. So that’s where Pedro Astacio ended up, huh? Did Mark Teixeira ever know Jason Varitek or Nomar Garciaparra in college? And isn’t it great how his name looks like ‘Texas’ and he plays for Texas (yes, I know how it’s pronounced, shut up)? Is Kevin Mench really a mench? Can Adrian Gonzalez change his name to Alex so we can have another Alex Gonzalez in the league? Hank Blalock: I thought he was older, what gives?
The Rally Monkey Angels. Why not just go out and get the third Molina and complete the set? Doesn’t Lou Merloni’s name sound like it’s off of a 1930s roster or something? Does anyone else cringe when they see a headline on the Angels’ site that reads something like “Colon opens with ‘special moment’”? Did Jarrod Washburn have to wear OshKosh B’Gosh apparel when he attended college at Oshkosh? Can we all just agree to call them the Rally Monkey Angels until they decide on one city? Chone Figgins: come on, his name makes you giggle, doesn’t it?
I’ll do the National League next, so be on the lookout for that. In the meantime, contemplate these difficult questions. If you have any of the answers, or questions of your own, please, feel free to bring them to light in the comments. We're all about the serious, hard-hitting baseball discussion here at Blue Cats and Red Sox.
*I'm not sure what this would promote, other than more baseball players named Alex Gonzalez.
**Can't really say he's hot, what with his Spartanness and all. Gotta have some standards.