Sunday, December 30, 2012

Here is the fucked up thing about the Blue Jays trading for R. A. Dickey and becoming betting favourites to win the World Series

yeah that's right a split card in a Topps Total set that is how Pete Walker does it
So, obviously none of this is remotely new or anything, but the Blue Jays trade some apparently totally solid/elite prospects -- never mind that one of them is a catcher who has had back and knee trouble before playing an MLB game, but whatever, I really don't know anything about prospects -- and come away with NL Cy Young-winner R. A. Dickey, and the thing that probably made me happiest from this whole insane off-season is that the Blue Jays decided to promote Pete Walker from bullpen coach to pitching coach. Why would I care about that in the least? Why would anybody, except for Pete Walker and his immediate family? I honestly have no idea, but it gave me a totally good feeling. Maybe it is because his signature enriches my 2003 score-keeping book? Or maybe it is appealing because despite the promise of the 2013 season, Pete Walker represents a tangible link to the true rock-bottom shittiness of my most intimate years with the Blue Jays, in the stands for hundreds of games of just the worst, awfulest shit you can imagine. Also: I see you John Gibbons. I see you bro.

KS

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA; or, Alex Anthopoulos Has Made A Trade

Anthopoulupagus
What can you even say, man, what can you even say? When the news of this Ironborn-reaving of a trade began to trickle out last night, Twitter was awesome, and not just because of the cackling of my bros; there was a broader cackling, too: Bruce Arthur suggested Jeffrey Loria be jailed; Jose Bautista shared his feeling that it was a good day to be a Blue Jay; and Buster Olney argued that MLB's worst fears about the Marlins had been realized, effectively killing Miami as a market for baseball. That is how you know your guy has really pulled something off that is legitimately historic in its proportion: when the other team isn't just looking bad for a couple years, but no longer viable as a major league franchise. Robert MacLeod's Globe and Mail headline this gave me a pretty nice feeling, too: "Blue Jays Plunder Marlins in Blockbuster Trade."

May I begin by recalling the last true Blue Jays blockbuster trade, in fact the only one they'd ever had until yesterday? Not the Vernon Wells deal, mighty though that was, and upon which I have reflected previously in these very pages, but the 1990 trade with the San Diego Padres that brought us Joe Carter, who would later hit a home run you have heard about, and Roberto Alomar, the greatest player we have ever had. At the time, I was like eleven, and with basically no knowledge of any west coast players on account of bedtimes, I was sure we had been robbed, because Fred McGriff had this cool upright stance and Tony Fernandez threw the ball sidearm. How wrong I was on that day! And so I know all too well that judgments made too soon after a big trade can be foolish. 

That said, this trade is ridiculous and I love it and Alex Anthopoulos is the greatest general manager ever and I want to kiss him on his face like all over it. So we got Jose Reyes, who is speedy and neat, Mark Buehrle, workhorse of workhorses, Josh Johnson, who was not awesome last year but who is without question a guy, and Emilio Bonifacio who is no less certainly a guy and in fact just the kind of guy I would like to have thank you, and all for Yunel Escobar who we hated he is the worst the middle-infield needs to be a queer-positive space, Adeiny Hechavarria who is probably going to be good, sure, Henderson Alvarez, of whom I am actually quite fond, and Jeff Mathis, who I don't understand why they extended last year anyway. Also prospects: I will not pretend to know anything about Justin Nicolo and Anthony DeSclafani other than that people who pay attention to prospects think they are good ones of those; I neither know nor care at the moment, if I may be perfectly frank with you on this matter. And oh yeah they are making us take John Buck back.

But this is just completely awesome. I have absolutely no reservations about any of this and I have serious doubts about anyone who does. If anybody goes like hrrrnnnn I don't know that's a lot of payroll to take on hrrrrrnnnnnn I suggest you stop listening to them immediately: Rogers are as rich as anybody who owns a sports team in North America (also Croesus), and they got the team and the building for a song, and nobody should care about baseball business stuff anyway because it's dumb and the worst and if you choose to sully baseball the greatest and weirdest game ever by talking and thinking and writing about it as though it is best viewed as a place to enjoy more capitalism because you don't get enough of that during regular business hours fuck you not because there is something pristine and pastoral that you shouldn't be sullying but because it is really boring to talk about those things you should be more interesting than that

In short, and in summation, I am exceedingly glad about this, mostly because of how we got all kinds of good players. 

Thank you for your time. 

KS

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Not Without My Butterfield

noooooooooooo
When all that silly business about John Farrell wrapped up, or so it appeared at the time, and dude left for Boston in exchange for a player who might actually be a league average second-basemen -- which I will totally take, thanks -- I could be fairly characterized as not giving the least hoot. Despite two years of rumours that he was the man the Red Sox wanted for the job, I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. There's a ton of stuff we'll never know about any manager, of course, but of the things we can actually see, what did John Farrell do so impressively that anyone should care one way or another whether or not he managed their baseball team? What was so exciting there? Was it the utterly misguided small-ball attempts that characterized his first year, or was it year two with the complete lack of accountability for repeatedly dumb base-running errors from young players that were so egregious that Omar Vizquel yeah that's right notorious clubhouse cancer and hotheaded troublemaker Omar Vizquel went public with his criticisms of the way young players were handled in the clubhouse? 

In short, I was perpetually mildly annoyed at John Farrell. Sort of like I was with Cito, I guess (though I was also very fond of Cito for the sake we call old time's). Mildly annoyed is the way you should be with pretty much every manager in baseball, probably, except for maybe Joe Madden and Terry Francona I guess. But even then, right? 

This was all before news came out today, though, that third-base coach and infield instructor Brian "Butters" Butterfield would be joining Farrell in Boston. And now I am devastated. Butters was awesome. He was the most ludicrously positive person I have ever heard interviewed in any context. He was a miracle worker with infielders. He had a cool nickname. 

Orlando Hudson, the O-Dog of Blue Jays seasons now long passed, credits Butters with turning him into a solid defensive second basemen, which he totally was at his admittedly short-lived best. Keith Law, asked about Butters on the Baseball Today podcast one time, was like, yeah, Butters is a phenomenal infield instructor, just look what he did with Orlando Hudson (all the while Eric Karabell seemed baffled as to who anyone was talking about when they said "Butters"). Back when I used to go to a ton of games, and they would announce the base coaches in the second inning, my wife would always be like, "WOOOOOOOO BUTTERS!" and then I would be like "lol" and then we would both be like "lol" and if anyone else was with us they'd be like "wtf" and we'd go "lol" again and carry on like that in internet acronyms for ages. 

So long, Butters. A lot of good times, man. I don't know.

KS

Friday, October 12, 2012

mathematically eliminated #7 the Oakland Athletics

It was such a magical glorious run for the A's, to not only fire up from nothing to challenge for the wild card, but to actually steal the AL West title on the last day of the season. They did not lead the division all year long until the very end of the last game. That is amazing. Then they drop the first two to Detroit and it looks like the magic was over. But no, the A's are cocksure assholes who looked at Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder's giant auras and said, "Fuck you Jobus, I do this for us," and they did it.
But then along comes Justin Verlander, who does what only he can do - shut a fucking team down for a complete game 4-hitter, on the road, like a boss. But those scrappy Athletics, who were supposed to be in some sort of pretend rebuilding process - which is what you are required to say the year after you trade away all your good players for a bunch of unknown dudes, had a great run, one that the poor tormented and cockteased fans of Oakland will long remember as the latest and greatest underdog moment of near glory. And as much as I dig the Tigers, I have to admit, it would've been pretty awesome to see an As/Os ALCS, not only for the double underdog factor, but also because of the beautiful uniform colors on display. Dark blue and white is so fucking boring, with pinstripes and old english Ds. Baseball doesn't need more of that. It needs more oranges and yellows and greens and craziness and magic. Alas, the magic came to an end, at least on the west coast.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

mathematically eliminated #8 the Cincinnati Reds

Perhaps it is the curse of Dusty Baker. Such a solid season for the Reds, and started so dominantly in the NLDS, winning both at San Fran, only to come home and drop three. And just like that, it's over. I will tell you this much, when it comes to playoff baseball you cannot fuck with solid pitching, and I would not want to fuck with Matt Cain/Tim Lincecum if the kid from Dazed & Confused gets his shit together again come post-season, as he may have been doing.
Well Cincinnati Reds, and forlorn people of Ohio who are always so quick to hope success is going to fall on your wretched foreheads once again, I am sorry, it is over. Perhaps you have built to have more magic next year, or perhaps this was your dream's apex, and Joey Votto will turn back into a pumpkin. Only time will tell. Unfortunately though, that is what you have on your calendar now - time.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

mathematically eliminated #9 the Texas Rangers

While on one hand I feel bad for the Texas Rangers for having crumbled just barely enough to have lost the AL West and then lose the wild card game, at the same time I don't care. They've had their run. It's always great to see Ron Washington walking like a chicken in the dugout, but whatever. Yu Darvish will have his chance to make others humble in postseason play. The real question is whether Josh Hamilton will be part of this any more.
Though it's also not a real question. Fuck the Rangers. They have weird font on their jerseys. Now I think we can all get behind the Orioles together as a whole to crush the evil entity that is the Yankees. And that's all that really matters in October baseball, right?

Friday, October 5, 2012

mathematically eliminated #10 the Atlanta Braves

So I get off of a shitty work day of a shitty work week and the baseball pre-game is on the amplified modulations of the radio. I check out a couple art openings, walk around the city a little, see a couple old friends, make a couple new ones, get home, tuck my children into the bed, chat with my wife about our individual and separate days, and then turn on the cyber box and the game is over. Haha, wild card game on an early Friday evening, you are so fucking wacky.
So nothing weird happened in this game at all, right?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tying a Bow on this Incredibly Shitty Blue Jays Season

my problem has never been with Henderson Alvarez 
As I write this current internet post that I am now currently writing, Brandon Morrow is slicing up the Minnesota Twins lineup in a way that should be pleasing but which brings me no real pleasure, because this season has been miserably, just horrendously awful and I have hated it. 

The last few weeks have been, on the field, anyway, pretty much passable, but the actual baseball took a backseat to the thing where borderline Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel (I probably wouldn't put him in but nobody is going to ask me and I have no problem with Vizquel and furthermore what kind of monster would) spoke publicly about how basically this team is bullshit: the dumb kids make the same dumb kid mistakes again and again because nobody straightens them out re: their dumb kid ways. Brett Lawrie, for instance, who we were only able to pick up because he had earned himself a reputation as an uncoachable hothead before even playing a major league inning, totally turned out to be an uncoachable hothead: not only has he not followed up on his legitimately amazing 2011, but he just made a ton of dumb aggro mistakes and then insisted they weren't dumb aggro mistakes when writers would ask thim about those dumb aggro mistakes. Running into outs in the name of hustle is some Raul Mondesi-level shit and as such I oppose it with Carlos Delgado-like dignified vehemence (still miss u bro hope u are well). 

Also everybody got hurt. That was another problem. Never before in my baseball-watching life, which is a pretty sizable chunk of my overall life-watching life, have I seen arms go down like they did this year for the Blue Jays, so, I mean, even if everything else went totally awesomely, this still would have been an utterly lost year without a rotation. But the shitty way(s) everything else went makes you forget, almost, that at the heart of this whole disaster was an historically awesome rash of injuries. But even before that, things had started to go south: Ricky Romero, who was terrible even early on in the year when he was winning, persisted in being terrible throughout all stages of this Blue Jays season but the wheels were well and truly off just before everybody else got hurt. And Jose Bautista, dear sweet Jose Bautista, who was totally getting it together until his wrist exploded in New York. Brutal.

So what did I enjoy this year, other than the dulcet tones of Jerry Howarth and Alan Ashby, both of whom I am enjoying a great deal even as we speak, friends? E5 turning into an absolute monster of a dude is the standout thing, I guess, what with the forty-two-dang home runs that I totally did not see coming. Darren Oliver, who I have always liked for some reason, had a tremendous year out of the pen despite being a million years old, so that was cool. Right now, the crowd in Toronto is giving Omar Vizquel a really nice ovation, and yeah, it's been neat having Vizquel around this year, sure, why not. He's neat. 


But beyond that, it has all been shit. Pretty much everybody has been hurt, fair-to-middling, or disappointing. The kids who came up have been OK but not thrilling. I don't even know, man. I haven't felt like this since 2004, when the Blue Jays followed the totally, totally fun 86-win 2003 season where Doc won the Cy Young and Carlos made a serious run at AL MVP with a 94-loss disaster, at which point management decided Toronto was a tiny provincial town with broke owners, and let Delgado walk without so much as an offer. It was fucked, and eight years later I can still totally see Carlos lingering on the field for a good long while before walking down the clubhouse steps for the last time and apparently I am not done having hard feelings towards J. P. Ricciardi for all of that because I am getting sort of worked up at the moment actually which is a sign that is time to wrap this up. 

In short, I have hated the 2012 Toronto Blue Jays baseball season, and the last couple months of it have been the least connected I have been to the game in years. Bring on the freaky deaky new play-ins and then a bunch of postseason games that keep me up to absurd hours of the night despite real-world commitments that are completely non-negotiable. I am totally ready for all of that to happen. Also next year Jose Bautista will hit a thousand home runs.

KS

mathematically eliminated #11 the Los Angeles Dodgers

The St. Louis Cardinals did what they could, by losing earlier in the evening, but the Dodgers could not overcome their lifelong rival in the Giants later last night. All the great hype of Magic Johnson becoming part-owner and the Dodgers buying up a bunch of broke down high value baseball cards amounted to not quite enough. So we do not have any playoff intrigue (too much so) going into this final day of baseball. Oddly enough it brings to mind how the extra playoff spot actually kills some of the postseason intrigue unique to baseball, as we're basically recreating the excitement of a play-in game, but in the process, lessening the chances of a play-in games, at least this year. I guess we'll eventually have a year where there is a play-in to get into the wild card play-in. Still, rather than that normal mid-week showdown to set the playoff stage, we're already sitting around like assholes waiting for Friday's games to happen. This, ultimately, is the biggest flaw in MLB postseason scheduling - a lot of sitting around waiting like an asshole, which gives one too much time to explore the other entertainment offerings of the modern American experience.
Still though, a postseason with the As and Os and Nats and a rebirth of the Reds plus all the teams we all love to hate like the Cardinals and Braves and Yankees... we are down to ten, and that'll be quickly chopped to 8 by Saturday morning, and then we'll begin the long, overly dramatic slow codeine drip of the playoffs. I, for one, have my half bottle of hydrocodone ready. I also downloaded like 8gb of DJ Screw tapes, so I'll probably put the game on mute and just watch it while vibing out to chopped and screwed gangsta rap. Baseball should look into incorporating that. You could have regionally appropriate beats behind the broadcasts. It'd at least make Atlanta more interesting, and Miami more annoying.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

mathematically eliminated #12 the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Somewhere towards the end of last season, Albert Pujols made that Sammy Sosa-like transition from baseball darling to evil cocksucker. So when he signed a majillion dollar deal to play for the Angels, it only made him seem worse. Thus the Angels season was a power struggle between Evil Asshole Under-performing Haha Stupid Angels and Young Kid Mike Trout Super Human Baseball Is Great memes. Personally, Mike Trout is too stereotypical a baseball player name for me not to assume he is a closet racist, rapes fat chicks for leisure on road trips, and is also a going to end up an evil asshole being he is young and malleable and under the tutelage of elder evil assholes of baseball like Pujols. Thus, the Angels not making the playoffs is really funny to me, like when the Red Sox or Yankees don't make it, just with a west coast flavor. Of course, you cannot make angry light of the Angels without mentioning how stupid the whole "Los Angelese Angels of Anaheim" thing is.
Also, Bobby Grich forever.

mathematically eliminated #13 the Tampa Bay Rays

Rays and Angels were both eliminated last night, even though both won. But the A's winning their game put the end on the season. For the Rays, their status as unheralded spoiler amidst the AL East apple cart was upset when the Orioles decided to play baseball for the first time in fifteen years. It will be interesting to see how the Rays unfold over time, as they have this rep as a solidly built young team, but they still get little fan support in a somewhat shithole locale. I mean, don't get me wrong, St. Petersburg is a chill place, kind of small towny even, and there's some awesome used book stores near the stadium. But that part of Florida is a steamroll flattened vast expanse of clustery suburbanisms, and most environments like that are full of people who don't care shit about shit but themselves. How long can the Rays hold it together?
It should be noted that my homeboy Dylan aka The Necro Butcher aka that guy who got dollar bills stapled to him in The Wrestler movie and made Mickey Rourke have a heart attack, he is a huge baseball fan, and has adopted the Rays as his team. I cannot think of the Rays without thinking of outlaw juggalo wrestler stoner guys with wild beards who were born and bred in the hills of West Virginia. It is a shame that is not their entire fanbase, because then eventually they could draw in the hipster crowds as peripheral parts of this experience, and even work out great marketing deals with Pabst Blue Ribbon and fixed gear bicycle makers and shit like that. It also would probably position them well for a move to Brooklyn a few years down the road, should that become necessary. Or fuck man, half of the baseball fans in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area are actually New Yorkers anyways, you could probably split the season's home games between Brooklyn and St. Petersburg and do pretty fucking well still. Just some ideas, you know, in case the three hits this post gets are MLB marketing dudes with a desire to initiate a bold vision for the futures.

mathematically eliminated #14 the Chicago White Sox

And the crushing collapse of the White Sox is now complete, even though they won earlier in the night. The Tigers finishing off the Royals also finished off the White Sox 2012 season, and there is nothing to do but play their last two meaningless games on the road in Cleveland of all godforsaken places and wait to die.
Tonight actually the final four regular season eliminations could all happen but only the White Sox have gone down officially as of now. I had planned on mocking Obama's White Sox fandom but all the pics I found were kinda stupid, and also when you mock the Prez you run the risk of idiot people thinking that means you love you some Romney. Apparently we are so conditioned to an A or B mentality in America that we have given up even thinking there are grey scales. Perhaps that is why the 50 Shades of Grey book was foisted upon us all as a cultural thing, to force us to accept grey possibilities that involve horrible writing and shitty fetishes (though not literally "shitty" fetishes, as even in our morally decadent state, that's a no-no).
But seriously, fuck the White Sox. I am a Nats fan, but as a fan of awesomeness, there is no way on earth one could ever root against the combination of Prince Fielder and Miggy Cabrera. So fuck the White Sox.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

mathematically eliminated #15 the Milwaukee Brewers

With they loss today the Brewers are out of this shit. Prince Fielder is gone so they become a useless collection of useless fuckers to appease a white crowd. Ryan Braun is being hinted at a possible repeat as NL MVP. Let me just make this clear - fuck Ryan Braun, and fuck the Brewers. If there is any team whose history, uniforms, and star players reek of Aryanism, it is this team. I am glad they do not clutter up any postseason baseball with their innate ugliness.
Speaking of Fielder, I sometimes look forward to post-financial Apocalyptic America, because imagine the Tigers and Brewers teams fighting. And then imagine the city of Detroit fighting the city of Milwaukee, although I guess I shouldn't because I'm at first like, "Oh man, Detroit would kill them," but also Detroit is a dilapidated city and their wolve-human residents would have to ride in piecemeal old Ford cars like that Johnny Cash song where he stole one part a year, whereas Milwaukee would send tanks and shit into Michigan and probably broker some fucked up shady deal with Flint where the people of Flint stormed Detroit and there was massive rioting, and then Milwaukee tanks rolled in and just killed everybody and took over the city.
Of course Detroit, your stupid Robocop statue would do you no good then. But hey, you are still alive in this baseball season, have Prince Fielder's chunky monkey ass showing love, and Milwaukee is just riding out their last few games like a bunch of assholes. Makes me sad for Tony Plush though. I am always sad for Tony Plush though.

mathematically eliminated #16 the Arizona Diamondbacks

And though they still haven't even finished playing tonight, by virtue of the Cardinals beating the Nationals, that fake team from out west that doesn't really exist - the Arizona Diamondbacks - has been officially eliminated from postseason contention, and any possibility of winning a World Series this year.
That was I wrote on Friday night before the Diamondbacks game was even over, but then it started raining and my satellite internet went wonky. I only have satellite internet, there is no alternative other than dial-up. I live in a rural area, which is fine, fuck your cyber 4G shit which doesn't make sense to me. I raise animals and eat them and grow my facial hair as wild as a blackberry bush and if it scares you then so be it.
I had looked up pictures of giant diamondback snakes, being caught and killed, being milked for venom, being poisonous crazy beasts. It is odd, in the wild the poisonous dangers are fairly obvious - snakes with rattles or mushrooms with red caps. It is in this invisible cyber world where the dangers are hidden in plain sight, unseen yet fucking up our primordial beauty even more.
Of course all of this is why Michael Morse is my favorite player ever right now. He looks somewhat caveman-like and he is tapped into that primordial tradition, through a baseball sense. You should google that wacky pretend home run last night, as it was fairly amazing. I do not mean to give you a link because I am pretty much done with the internet for the day. I am playing a James Taylor record on actual record (Mud Slide Slim - a classic Sunday morning lounger), and am about to cut two acorn squashes and three carnival squashes in half and bake those fuckers in about a half of inch of water with apple cider vinegar, then scoop it all out and make a dope ass fall squash soup motherfuckers. Today will be chill as fuck.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

mathematically eliminated #17 the Philadelphia Phillies

Though they made a valiant yet ultimately useless late season run towards a watered down wild card spot, the hole the Phillies dug for themselves in the beginning was just too deep to overcome. Thus, with a simple 2 to 1 loss at the Miami garishness empty stadium of Escobar, on this 28th day of September of the standard western calendar, they are done for the year. Remember when their pitching staff was going to be the most ominously great thing ever in the history of professional team sports on the Earth? That has not worked out quite like they had thunk, no?
Anyways, in honor of the Phillies and their very special fan base, here are some google image search results for drunken Phillies fans...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

mathematically eliminated #18 the Pittsburgh Pirates

Perhaps this will be the saddest elimination thus far this MLB season, as the Pirates were briefly our collective darling, having risen from the ashes of futility like a modern Phoenix (the bird, not the city), to make us love baseball in a special way. But let's be realistic - this is the second or third time the Pirates have done this in recent memory, and all those times have ended in the bitter taste of failure. Can we be content to dabble in success, and have these traditional teams who do not fit the alleged "large market" criteria to teeter at the periphery of relevance until we settle into the showdown of 8 or 10 of the same 10 or 12 teams? What if the Orioles do not make it as well, or are eliminated in the stupid wild card game playoff? Who will be our huckleberry then?
It is sad too because there are few teams with the bold artistic flourish of the Pirates. The bright yellow and black uniforms (traditional to Pittsburgh sports team, which in itself is a pretty cool thing for a city to do), the immensity of figures like LSD Dock Ellis or Playboy Cocaine Dave Parker or Kent Tekulve's wacky sidearm or Willie Stargell's quiet epicness or even the brilliantly legendary yet tragically short Robert Clemente, who was as much a pioneer for the black Hispanics who fill our 2012 rosters as Jackie Robinson was for regular American-Africans. (Man, "American-African" sounds so much more fucked up than "African-American" doesn't it? It is strange how our ears and mouths become accustomed to certain things.) The straight-sided caps, with the pimp stripes around the whole thing. Three Rivers Stadium itself, one of the best overhead blimp shots to be found in baseball history. The Pirates are a wacky and wild and wonderful team historically, and perfect for those crazed folks of western Pennsylvania.
But this is not a time that respects such craziness and wildling behaviors. This is not the age of American hallucinogenic exploration of self as in Dock Ellis, or proudly anti-authoritarian yet 1000% diligent and acceptable as in Dave Parker. This is a time of obedience and respect for nothing but the dollar, a forced worship for an abstract concept that is slowly losing its perceived value and never having had that much actual value to begin with. But the smoke and mirrors have gone into overdrive, and we shall be forced to believe in the exceptionalism of the almighty dollar, and baseball is nothing if not one of the most purely American artistic creations we have come up with as a culture, albeit now an international phenom. So the rule of the dollar means the teams that spend are the ones that succeed, so it is believed that until a team like the Pirates (or Orioles or Royals or Brewers) learns to spend, it will not sustain success. Or you must learn to maximize dollars, as in the sabermetric nerderies of Billy Beane and his philosophical disciples. But it is still based on dollars, not intuition, not magic.
Am I sad Pittsburgh is eliminated from this year's MLB post-seasonal possibilities? Sure, why not. But I am more saddened that the regional ways of Pittsburgh - a sort of cultured hillbilly people, full of Old World influences and New World dreams - has been eliminated. Not this year though, but somewhere along the way while none of us were looking. The ways of the Pittsburghs and the Baltimores and Oaklands and so on and so forth have been replaced by the false gentrification of our western society, which is actually taking the old flavors, sterilizing it "clean" and replacing it with new gaudy facades that look the same whether you are in a city here or one there. It is lifeless and robotic and predictable. That above all is the worst part - so predictable. I did not entertain wild notions of Andrew McCutcheon carrying the torch lit by Dock Ellis and Dave Parker into the October boxes on the 2012 calendar, because I knew better. Spirit like that has already been extinguished, and usually is bought out by piles of dollars, to go play in predictable ways in predictable places, so that nothing gets too wonky or off-kilter. We are not a place of wild spirit and shocking euphorias any more; we are a place of predictable facades and standard orders.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

mathematically eliminated #19 the San Diego Padres

The Padres had the day off yesterday (or perhaps they actually played in their camouflage uniforms and I couldn't see them) but they still were eliminated from wild card contetion, by virtue of the Cardinals win at Houston. I am a child of the '80s, so those swank doodoo brown uniforms with the super letters were always the greatest, thus these new-fangled modernist uniforms they wear fill me with hate. I understand keeping with the times, but if your old times are so stylish, why change? Fucking merchandising man, it feeds the sexual juices of that whore called capitalism. Only problem is that whore is old and withered and barren and uncaring and we are only left to sit here and watch her die a painful syphilitic death.
So goodbye Padres.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

mathematically eliminated #20 the Kansas City Royals

It has been fun doing this and thinking of teams on the brink of elimination. Last Tuesday, after losing the White Sox, the Royals were about to be forced out. They'd already been gone from wild card contention, but the AL Central is a land of midgets where anything can happen (which hopefully means the Tigers win it, but that is another story). But the Royals were facing mathematical elimination on Wednesday... but beat the Sox. Then they did it again on Thursday. The White Sox flew west to face the Angels and the Indians came to Kansas City, so with there being zero room for mistakes - the Royals had to win out their season, and White Sox lose it out - it seemed like it would happen quickly. But Friday night, both the Angels and Royals won. Then it happened again yesterday, and not only were the Royals still not mathematically eliminated, but the Tigers had moved into half a game of the White Sox. That meant they'd have to start losing too.
Today, in the first game of a doubleheader, the Tigers did exactly that. The Royals were still hanging tough. But then they got crushed by the Indians, 15 to 4, and the magic rally was over. The Royals are now mathematically eliminated from Major League Baseball 2012 World Championship contention. Still though, this scrappy bunch of shitheads outlasted a third of the MLB, solidly ensuring their position as middle class status, albeit very low middle class status. Perhaps this is a thing to build upon, perhaps it is a thing to forget. I am not one to say. Only time to can reveal such mysteries.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Toronto Blue Jays: Still Awful, But Dumber

that's actually one more game than he got
During their recent shitty home stand, the definitely shitty Toronto Blue Jays managed to eliminate the even shittier Boston Red Sox from playoff contention, which is, I guess, something, right? A few days later, the Blue Jays were themselves mathematically eliminated by the New York Yankees, who are loathsome, but for whom, on that day, Ichiro went seven for eight and had like four stolen bases and gave me feelings, a little, about the passage of time in the limited but non-trivial baseball sense. Anyway, all of that has been duly noted or mathematical elimination expert Raven Mack and I see no need to revisit that well-trod ground that sucks. 

Of course the most notable thing about the Blue Jays these days is not that they are out, because of course they are, but that they are apparently pretty soft on homophobic slurs written on eye-black by increasingly worthless shortstops. There is an argument that runs roughly that Spanish-speaking dudes use homophobic language on the reg so we shouldn't get too worked up about this, but I instead am of the opinion that Yunel Escobar is an idiot and should be driven into the sea.

KS 

mathematically eliminated #21 the New York Mets

Not only did the Mets get eliminated tonight, but they got spanked terribly hard by the Phillies, 16 to 1, at home in whatever it is that is not Shea Stadium. So it looked as though the Phillies were done for, and yet they make this late season run towards an extra watered-down wild card. Meanwhile, the Mets continue to be the Mets. And on the day somebody reminded me this baseball card existed...
Yes, I know that has nothing to do with the Mets, but what the fuck do I care? They are the Mets. No one cares, except for those weird dudes you hear on talk radio in the middle of the night when you are on a long drive and you are like, "Hey, I'll listen to AM radio," and all you pick up is 660 the Fan, and every guy that calls you imagine to look like that James Coco dude who used to act in the TVs - all short and balding and weird looking, like a puffalump but 1/4 Italian, and they live in an apartment smaller than most American people's kitchen, and they are sitting at a small table with the refrigerator like literally right over their shoulder, and there is an old TV on the opposite wall, and that is where they watch the Mets, drinking Diet Cokes like mad, and calling AM radio to further discuss the wild tangents that bounce around their little caged minds.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

mathematically eliminated #22 the Miami Marlins

Remember a long time ago when the Marlins opened up that new stadium with the crazy psychedelic motif and had all those big free agents who came in, and it was ushering a new age of baseball in south Florida, where people were gonna love baseball, and the Marlins were gonna be so fucking awesome it was going to knock the Phillies and to a lesser extent the Braves off the NL East throne? Remember that? Yeah, a couple months ago was pretty cool.
Already nobody cares, further proving that the "build it and they will come" fleecing of investors (whether taxpayer dollars or just stupid regular investors) is bullshit. Here is a simple catchy phrase for you to remember for the rest of your life in regards to getting people to point their eyeballs (and wallets) at things: If shit sucks, no one gives a fuck.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

mathematically eliminated #23 the Toronto Blue Jays

I will leave the sad specifics to my good pal KS, but by virtue of their loss in the first game of this doubleheader in the stupid Bronx, the Blue Jays were officially eliminated from playoff contention, and thus World Series contention. I am sorry Canadia. Tu eres maricon. Haha, not really. I mean, I don't know, you have a questionable relationship with Greenland at times, but I don't think it is anything serious or worth demeaning you over.
Also of note: fuck the Yankees.

mathematically eliminated #24 the Seattle Mariners

They are now done apparently. I am not even sure of who is on their team as I have an east coast bias, which is why I wear my right pant leg bunched up around my knee at work, and use my office stapler to staple motherfuckers in the head who look at me wrong at the water cooler. EAST SIDE!
Seriously though, forgive my ignorance, but did the Mariners still exist after they traded away Ichiro Suzuki? Or are they in the Pacific Coast League now? Does the Pacific Coast League still exist? I know Triple-A went from three leagues to two leagues at some point a few years back, but I don't know which one ceased to exist. I grew up an International League man personally, seeing the Richmond Braves play as a little leaguer. Back then it was easy to know who the minor league team was a minor league team for, because they had the same nickname. Nowadays, with hat merchandising, there's no fucking way to tell. I went to a game last year to see Bryce Harper play in Richmond and it was the Richmond Flying Squirrels vs. the Harrisburg Winterfells, and they were hyping up a big weekend series against the Charleston Baby Bo$$e$ with fireworks and some sort of bobblehead promotion. Ultimately, this just furthers my belief that over-marketing has essentially ruined the joy of Western civilization, and now we are just left to suffer the diminishing returns of what we have wrought, until death.

Monday, September 17, 2012

mathematically eliminated #25 the Colorado Rockies

I know very little about the Rockies, other than they are the Rockies. They and the Diamondbacks are still in this grey area of my brain being neither of them existed on the baseball cards I hoarded as a youngster, thus they have no illustrated Diamond Kings at all, meaning they cannot be that great. But they are eliminated, having gotten ousted from mathematical contention for the lowered standard of MLB wild cards yesterday evening, while I was still watching football. We are left with 24 teams officially still standing a chance at winning the World Series this year.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

mathematically eliminated #26 the Boston Red Sox

Congratulations KS the only guy who reads this blog, your Toronto Blue Jays today put a stake through the heart of this horrid Boston Red Sox season. The illustrious return of the overhyped Bobby Valentine, Josh Beckett being a proud beer-drinker and chicken-eater who refused to let go of his ways, the last great heroes of when the Red Sox became champions and made a million drunken Bostoners feel like life was not worth complaining about briefly - all of it down the drain. The Red Sox have crashed back upon the surface of their multi-generational reality, and now have to figure out a way to make themselves relevant again, last place in a division they briefly had an arms-and-bats race of highest monetary proportion with the Yankees, now overshadowed by not only the Rays but also the Orioles. I mean, really the Orioles? Oh well, not much else to say as it's football season already and who really gives a fuck about baseball outside of the four or five important games you glance at the scoreboard for when there's actual American football to play?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

mathematically eliminated #27 the Minnesota Twins

Like I said earlier in the Indians post, both them and the Twins have been out of wild card contention for a hot minute already, but because the AL Central is lackluster, they still stood an outside longshot, mathematically speaking, at their division title. Until today for both. The Twins actually lost to division leader the Chicago White Sox, at home in Minnesota, which only added insult to the injury of having your season officially over from a winning the World Series perspective. So let us sum up the Minnesota Twins season. On defense, it was like this...















And then on offense, it went like this...















And that's their 2012, in a nutshell. All apologies to Kirby Puckett's glorious memory. (Didn't he die? Didn't also like to sex up chubby chicks? I hope so. On the second, not the first.)
The Red Sox flirted with elimination today, but a 9th inning rally means they will survive mathematically at least one more day. I'm sure Bobby Valentine is proud.

Friday, September 14, 2012

mathematically eliminated #28 the Cleveland Indians

And then there were 27. In the AL Central, both the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins have been already out of wild card contention for the better part of a week. But being the AL Central is the weakest division in baseball, they were still, technically, in the running to win their own division. For the Indians, that ended tonight, as Justin Verlander got all Justin Verlandery on them. A sad ending yet again for the Indians, who could be considered the Cubs of the American League, if they had people who gave a fuck. It wasn’t too long ago that the Indians were sort of in the same boat the Orioles were in, shockingly contending for a division title, only having sat a handful of games out of first at the end of July. But the Indians collapsed like the rust belt manufacturing base, and Indians fans everywhere will once again have to count on Major League, the first one, for their postseason highlights. Jobu needs a refill indeed.

mathematically eliminated #29 the Chicago Cubs

a better time in America, when a man could at least entertain the idea of taking his favorite goat to the ball game, being denied, and then curse the team for eternity; as a man who has known goats, I understand Jack Bales thinking

All you hear about is the wild card battles, and rightfully so, but as we enter the last few weeks of baseball, teams at the lower end of the W-L charts will start to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, perhaps as many as five this weekend alone. They will be whittled down to ten, and then to one. For the hapless Cubs, that happened this afternoon, even with a matinee victory. And to the Cubs credit, they teetered at the very edge of mathematical elimination for about a week. But finally, the games left were reduced enough to take them out of even wild dreams of magical comebacks. Not to their credit, the Theo Epstein era came in with a whimpering thud on the cellar of the NL Central. If not for the even stupider Astros, the Cubs would be last in their division, and last in baseball. And it couldn't have happened to a more deserving team. I am not sure what it is about this franchise, but it attracts a vile breed if thick glasses, scruff bearded, hipster doofuses. In fact, the younger demographics of their fanbase, which expands across the upper midwest like, well, like your average midwesterner's malnourished belly, are the hipster wretched of this American earth. In fact, large chunks of Chicago itself made me uncomfortable as I crawled through on a Boltbus, left to wander their gentrified streets for two days, looked down upon by those who would be dressed similarly and similarly scruffy, but with the smooth skins of affluence covering their bodies. These are white people - even the non-whites in large swaths of the city - but not my white people. They are the former vegans and microbrew aficionados and IT professionals of the emerging ruling middle class, those that the Obama ads speak at and the Romney ones dream of. They are not my people at all, and it is easy to feel. Lucky for me I wandered south, and ended up getting high as fuck with some Salvadorans somewhere along that outlaw blur between Chicago and Gary, Indiana, and a chunky flirtacious Latina woman sang her Mexican songs and would ramble at me where I only understood certain words, and her cursive tattoo peeked out from the frilly edges of her lowcut cream tank top, and they did not care about the Cubs. They did not care about that part of Chicago - it was foreign outside of work assignments. Not a one of them gave half a fuck about the Cubs either. So good night wretched Chicago Cubs. You were not even relevant enough to mock this year. Come back next year, and continue to judge those who would not be of smooth skin or smooth heritages or should befriend goats or Mexicans or black people who did not graduate from brick-and-ivy universities. Come back next year, and continue to be stymied for eternity.

The Mind of Mike

This week, the video of New York sports radio host, Mike Francesa, falling asleep during an interview on his show was the talk of the internet.  For most people, it was just an amusing video of some guy falling asleep during his job, but those of us who've hate-listened to Francesa for years, it was like a mass Baptism of new people to share our beliefs.  "Look at how terrible this guy is," we told the newcomers who came just to laugh at this person who would ordinarily be fired.  "This is what passes for sports radio in New York."  

When Francesa offered excuses and a complete non-apology two days later, nobody was surprised.  

Here is the whole story.  

Mike Francesa had never seen a more beautiful sunset. 

"It's uh pahfect bookend to da day," he thought to himself, recalling the way that he'd watched the suns first rays creep through his living room window that morning. At the time, he'd thought it was the silver lining to staying up all night to deal with his son's asthma, that if he couldn't get any sleep he could at least have this moment to himself. He'd run his hand over Jack's head as the boy rested in his lap, and as the rays crept through the window and along the floor, he'd felt like the luckiest man in the world.

Until that evening. 

Francesa took another sip from his Diet Coke and watched as the waning sun's light reflected as a million golden shards on the gentle waves of the Long Island Sound. "Pahfect." 

At about five o'clock that morning he'd decided that, with his sleepless night, he was in no condition to go to work that day. "I ehned it," he'd rationalized, having worked a grueling Footfall Friday three days earlier, a Football Friday during which, he noted, he was also able to jam in about two hours on the collapsing Yankees. He'd followed that up with his first NFL Now of the season on Sunday, and pulled double duty, replaying every single angle of the controversial Mark Teixeira play for the benefit of those watching him on television. For those listening on the radio? "Whatevah," he'd told his producer, Ray. "Dey saw dah play. Everyone saw dat play. It was a disgrace." 

"Well, maybe some people weren't watching the game," Ray had said. 

"Whattaya talkin' about?" 

"Some people weren't watching the game. Some people don't like the Yankees. Maybe they were watching the Mets, or college football, or out with their families."

Mike had stared at Ray for what seemed like ten minutes.

"Whattaya talkin' abowt, Ray? What else are they gonna do? This is playawf baseball. What else is happening last night? Da Mets? Get outta here. Yah lawst." 

After that blow-up, he'd gone home for ten grueling hours of football, and just as he was settling down for bed, he heard Jack wheezing in his room.

"Poor kid," he thought to himself as he took another sip of Diet Coke and watched the waves.

He'd called out at seven that morning, but had been planning his day since he realized that sleep wasn't going to be available to him. He had decided to take the boat out on the sound. "Don't want to waste the beautiful Septembah weathah," he'd told his wife. "Don't have too many boat days left. Out dah it's like San Diego out dah."

It had been a beautiful summer for the boat, he recalled, having spent 75 of his 90 vacation days speeding along the sound and doing circles in the water around Jones Beach. Now it was coming to an end, and he knew that if the summer had to close, and he'd soon be stuck behind a microphone while the blizzards raged outside, that there was only one person he'd want to spend that remaining free time with

"Anothah beeh, Brandon?"

Brandon Inge had been lulled into a light doze by the bobbing of the boat, but at Mike's words, he stirred in his deck chair, his eyes flittering awake under the bill of his A's cap.

"No thanks, Mike," he said, holding up a half-full Shock Top with his good arm, his other arm in a sling from the shoulder operation he'd received earlier in September. "I'm good." 

"That's good," Mike said, as the waves sloshed against the bottom of his boat.  "Dis is nice, right?" 

"It's great, Mike, thanks for having me out."

"Yeah," said Mike. "Anytime." 

They let the silence hang between them until it was pierced by the roar of a passing speedboat. Mike fiddled with the cap of his Diet Coke bottle. 

"Hey, uh, Brandon..." Mike began.

"What's up, Mike?"  The Oakland third-baseman turned to face him. 

"Well, uh...this is a little hahd, but uh....I like you, Brandon."

Brandon smiled. "Hey, thanks Mike," he said. "I like you too. You were always nice to me whenever the Tigers were in town." 

"I like you a lawt."

Brandon laughed. "You too, Mike. Thanks."

"No, Brandon. You don't undahstand. I like you a lawt." 

The silence was deafening as the smile slowly retreated from Brandon's face. He took his cap off and ran his hand through his hair. 

"Oh, wow. To hear you say that, Mike, it's just....it's just like....finally, you know?" 

He sighed as he sat up straight to look at Mike. "Oh, Mike..." 

"Mike."

"MIKE!!" 

Ray's voice in his ear shocked Mike awake and as he looked around, the Long Island Sound and the golden sunset was replaced by the cold, sterile walls of WFAN's studio.

"Teixeira's absence is part of this, the Yankees have been a little affected by left-handed pitchers lately, and they're gonna face two of them in this series..."

Inge's voice was replaced by that of WFAN's Yankees beat reporter Sweeney Murti, and as Mike shook off the cobwebs, he glared through the glass at Ray who was staring in shock at his host.

"Where's Brandon," Mike mouthed at Ray, who only shook his head, uncomprehending. 
"What?" Ray mouthed.

"Brandon," Mike mouthed again. "Who're you..." 

 Then, it began to dawn on him. As reality overwrote his subconscious and the dream evaporated, Mike slumped down in his chair, resigned, and continued the interview. "Alright, we're talkin' to Sweeney obviously as we get ready ahhh for a trip to Boston and back, the weekend against Tampa..." 

**************************

His humiliating so-called apology over, Mike pushed the mic away with frustration and groaned as he stood up, forgetting that his earphones were still on. He could hear the techs in the next room snicker through the glass as his head was yanked downward. He pulled the earphones from his head in disgust and walked into the control room. 

"Twenty fawr yeahs on the aiyah and I gotta answer for 15 seconds," he bellowed as he pushed open the door. "I give dese people twenty fawr years of my life and I screw up once, and they pounce all over me. I can't believe those clowns. And you," he pointed at Ray, "How could you let me fall asleep on the aiyah? You keep it so warm in that studio, how could I not nod off? It's like an incubatah in theyah!" 

Ray stood rooted in place in the middle of the room, frozen as his hands hovered over the keyboard he was leaning over. His face grew hot as he realized that all of the techs were staring at him. He was dumbfounded as he looked at Mike, who was glaring at him from the doorway.

"I'm..." Ray's tongue was dry, and he swallowed hard. "I'm sorry Mike." 

"Yeah, youah sorry, I'm sorry, everyone's sorry," Mike said. "I'm sorry I let an amatah like you evah produce my show! It's a wondah I'm still numbah one! If you evah let that happen again, you're fiahed!" 

He waved his hand dismissively and began to waddle down the hall to the kitchen for a Diet Coke. Ray looked around, and all of the techs quickly buried themselves in their computer screens. Ray looked at Mike's back walking down the hall, and was suddenly aware of the heat in his face, and he clenched his fists and something inside him broke. 

"You're an idiot." 

He saw Mike freeze in the middle of the hallway, and as the radio host turned, Ray saw anger smolder in his eyes behind his glasses. 

"What'd you say tah me?" Mike growled. 

"I said you're an idiot," said Ray, who almost couldn't believe his own ears. He looked around the room and all of the techs were looking up from their computers, mouths agape. He saw one tech, Pete, give him almost an imperceptible nod. 

Yes. Do it. 

"You had a chance to make this whole thing go away and maybe even make yourself seem a little more human, and you blew it," said Ray, feeling bolder with every word out of his mouth. "You could have come on the air, had a little fun with it, shown a little humility and this whole thing would have been over. You could have joked around with Sweeney during your next interview that you had your coffee and were good to go, but no, that's not you." 

Mike's face began to redden. It almost looked like he was shaking. 

"Your job, for five hours a day, is to talk about sports. Wait, no. After all of the commercials, and the updates every 20 minutes, you spend roughly 25 minutes per hour talking about sports. It's one of the most easiest, most fun jobs that I can think of. Me and my buddies, we go out to the bar, and we talk about sports with each other for hours, for free. It's a job that millions of people would kill for, and you act like it's beneath you. Everything about your demeanor says that you can't possibly be a more miserable person. People wait for hours to get on the air with you, and they genuinely mean it when they say "Great show," or "Good to talk to you," and all you say is "Ok, go ahead." And then when they do go ahead and start to talk about what they waited for hours on hold to talk about, you cut them off after 10 seconds to make your own points."

Mike raised his hand, "I don't have tah listen to dis...." he went to wave and turn around but Ray's voice stopped him. 

"No, you listen," Ray said. "I'm not one of your callers, that you can just wave away, and not have to deal with. You were on the air making every excuse possible, and straight out lying to people, when all you had to say was, "Yeah, I fell asleep, so what?" You had the chance to make a small bit of your miserable existence likable and you blew it." 

Ray was almost preaching now, and the techs were hanging on every word, and, for once, Mike Francesa was at a loss for words. 

"It is a wonder your show is still number one. You dole out information that's downright wrong and then backtrack when someone calls you on your bullshit. Even worse, you routinely throw everyone that you can under the bus! How many times have you berated one of your staff on the air for your own screw ups?" "It's a wonder we can still get any guests on the air with the way you treat them, as if they're there to feed YOU topics. We have Terry Collins on a weekly basis, or maybe I should say HAD. I'm not sure how eager he's going to be to come back on the show since you said he should kill himself!" 

"You're a joke, Mike. You're fat Skip Bayless with a horrible accent. You're the worst kind of troll, one who doesn't even realize what he is. More people listen to you because they hope you'll fuck up so they can mock you on Twitter, or put it on YouTube than because they value your opinion. You're a pompous ass, and maybe if you didn't act as if the entire city of New York owed you a giant favor for showering them with your wisdom for two hours a day, people wouldn't be so quick to, 'pounce all over you.'  You've even defended Scott Boras for fuck's sake!"

Ray went on for what seemed like hours, an endless litany of Francesa's faults, from the time he picked his teeth on tv and ate it, to his complete disdain and misunderstanding of technology. And as he went on, Francesa stood, stonefaced in the hallway, his face flushed red with anger, now actively quivering. 

"And do you know what your best show ever was, Mike? Do you want to know? It was the time you shut the fuck up for two minutes and just played songs about summertime. That was the greatest show you've ever done in 24 years." 

The room was silent. Ray blinked several times, still barely comprehending what he'd done. He looked at the techs who stared back at him with an equal mix of awe, shock and terror. He looked at Mike. The big radio host was trembling now, as he ran his hand through his hair, the first time he'd moved since Ray had started talking. He removed his glasses and ran his hand over his face and let out a sigh, and as he looked at his producer, Ray thought that he saw Mike's eyes welling up. He put his glasses back on, and as he stared at Ray, the techs, breathless, waited for his words.  Mike's heavy breathing was the only sound in the room until...

"Cool it down in that studio. I evah fall asleep in there again and yowah fiahed," Mike said, as he turned around and walked down the hall for his Diet Coke.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Catching Up With the Toronto Blue Jays, A Baseball Team That Sucks

uh oh
The Blue Jays have won four in a row, but it doesn't really feel that way. They dropped two out of three at home to the Orioles -- a team I have chosen not to believe in lest they overturn all that I have believed about run differential and all that flows from it since first reading Bill James so many years ago -- and the roof got stuck open and it rained on everybody (well, not everybody). The sweep in Boston that followed made for some excellent lazy afternoon radio, don't get me wrong, but man this season has been and continues to be a drag. 

I don't know man. I really don't know.

KS

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DC delirium starts to set in

When this season started I made some long-winded post about following the hopeful path to a .500 season for this promising Nationals team, which had never happened since they were cast onto us from the netherworld of Canadia. It seemed a reasonable expectation, and I am nothing if not a reasonable man.
Who could have foreseen what has transpired though? Baseball magic has incurred a complexity of baseball feelings around this Nats team that has gotten the nation caught up in it - whether it's Bryce Harper's wackiness or the Strasburg discussion or the random greatness of so many contributors out of nowhere. And yesterday, the Nats won the 82nd game of the season, guaranteeing their first plus-.500 season in DC. Also the Washington Post started carrying their magic number on the front page yesterday as well, meaning their magic number to guarantee a playoff berth, which even a month ago, even when it seemed probable, I could not really wrap my head around. They will literally most likely be playing in the playoffs, actual playoff games with the extra long drawn-out weird pseudo-psychology involved.
Honestly, this cast of characters, even without Strasburg, could not be a more glorious cast of characters to shine such limelight upon. I encourage you all to join me on this bandwagon once your favorite team has been pitifully eliminated. It will be glorious, as I am drunkenly believing in the magic of it all.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Blue Jays 2, Rays 0; Blue Jays 2, Rays 1; Rays 5, Blue Jays 4; Rays 9, Blue Jays 4: You Know What This Was Actually Pretty Neat

slid right into his butt, like right into it
Great starts from Carlos Villanueva and Brandon Morrow, back-to-back games ending with dudes thrown out at the plate, and tight, low-scoring affairs that could totally have gone either way, I mean, shoot, that sounds pretty awesome, does it not? And indeed it was! Were it not for Ricky Romero getting absolutely pasted beyond all recognition in the series finale on Sunday afternoon -- 1 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR -- this would have been nothing but good times, man, nothing at all. But yeah, the Romero start, his worst ever, and pretty much the worst you could ever possibly see, took a little bit of the shine off an otherwise excellent weekend of baseball, the Blue Jays series I have enjoyed most in a long time (because I kind of whiffed on the Yankees series, to be honest). 

I would like to point out, in case you had not noticed which is entirely possible, that E5 is now up to 37 HR, which is utterly ridiculous. Not that it would have made that much difference to the shape of the season or anything, but wouldn't it have been cool if Jose Bautista's wrist hadn't exploded and both these awesome dudes hit forty-plus dingers? Boy. Boy.

KS

Saturday, September 1, 2012

mathematically eliminated #30 the Houston Astros

The Astros escaped last night barely hanging onto a finite possibility of wild carddom, due to the Cardinals losing in D.C. Of course, the Astros lost at home to San Francisco, setting up tonight as not only do or die for them to not have them officially eliminated before the calendar flips to September. Of course, that did not go well as, even though the Cards helped the cause by getting crushed in DC, the Astros, of course, could not hold their own and were themselves beaten senseless at "home" 9-3 by the Cincinnati Reds. Thus the relevancy of their 2012 season is officially ended and over. In fact, the Astros are so completely relevant as an actual baseball team they are entering the literal minor league world of freak show attractions, potentially signing the 50-year-old Roger Clemens to pitch a couple of late season useless home starts and spike attendance, which would also postpone Clemens possible inclusion on the Hall of Fame ballot for another five years, potentially letting the "yo, all those dudes cheated, fuck them" mentality more time to sort of die down. Fucking baseball, man.
But let us remember these 2012 Houston Astros season as summed up by this sequence...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Orioles 6, Blue Jays 4; Orioles 8, Blue Jays 2; Sweet Cleansing Rain; Blue Jays 8, Yankees 7 (F/11); Yankees 2, Blue Jays 1; Blue Jays 8, Yankees 5: Aaaaaand Jose Bautista is Gone for the Year Now

this Ichiro thing is still nuts imo
Things in Baltimore went hideously: the Blue Jays dropped both of the games they actually got in, and Jose Bautista left in like the third inning of his second game back, and now he's done for the year with all kinds of wrist awfulness, which is a pretty big concern long term if you are inclined to worry about such things and I am very much so inclined yes. Then, mercifully, came the rains, postponing the third game and allowing them to just play a bunch of awesome old Tom Cheek calls on the radio, which was a welcome diversion from this current season which, it gives me no pleasure to say, has sucked. And so to New York, where Colby Rasmus ended his 0-for-eternity with a home run to win one in extras, Ricky Romero put in his best start in ages in a loss, and Yunel Escobar returned from paternity leave a monster, and there you go, two out of three from the Yankees, who actually haven't been great for the last six weeks or so actually. The AL East has been so weird this year: the Yankees are totally good but aren't playing that way; Baltimore is still way over .500 with a seriously negative run differential, which really isn't a thing that happens that often; Tampa is doing it with all pitching and no bats; and Boston just pulled off a Baseball Mogulesque salary dump of epic proportions, so ruined is their year. 

This totally would have been the year for the Blue Jays to do something if the roster had not, like, ulcerated. 

KS

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tigers 5, Blue Jays 3; Tigers 3, Blue Jays 2; Tigers 3, Blue Jays 2 (F/11): Muck/Shit/Despair

brooms of woe
In the opening game of this fine series against the Tigers, poor, poor Ricky Romero issued bases-loaded walks in consecutive innings en route to losing his tenth-straight decision (you will recall that he was nearly as bad when he was winning). Game two ended yeah that's right ended with Omar Vizquel thrown out attempting to steal second in a tactical decision so egregiously dumb that it was singled out on the Baseball Today podcast, a fine institution but not one that goes out of its way to let you know what happened for all of the last-place teams the previous day, you know? What I am suggesting to you here is that the Blue Jays forced their hand at ESPN by ending a game so foolishly. Then, finally, today, after beautiful, sweet E5 put the Blue Jays out in front 2-0, it all melted away into nothing more than a 3-2 walkoff loss and a sweep. 

I like the Tigers; they are respected AL East foes of yore. I occurred to me the other day, with another disastrous game on the radio, that if the Toronto Blue Jays for some reason ceased to exist tomorrow in some kind of Twilight Zone-style occurrence, I would defy the century-old tradition of my homeland and turn to the Tigers, not the Red Sox, as the team I would watch and then get sad about. When the Detroit Tigers make the playoffs, they are the team I want to see come out of the AL, and thus the team I want to see win the World Series (because National League baseball is smug and I will not stand for it). I wish them every success. But holy cow I wanted the Blue Jays to win one of these, man, just one. Why should that matter at this stage of a pretty spectacularly lost season? I have no idea.

KS 

I guess I should offer my valuable insight into the Stephen Strasburg shutdown debate as well

So it seems to me the biggest argument against the Nats shutting down Strasburg is that, hey, this just might be their year. Forget the fact they very purposely built towards having a long run of their years, which was supposed to begin next season. So really, they’ve done their job better than expected, and are reaping the rewards. Now in most professional cases, the response would be, “Oh cool, you’re really good at what you’re doing. I think I shall trust your judgment on matters pertaining to these continuing endeavors. Great job, brocephus.”
Except this is the baseball, a game worshipped by armchair theoretical physicists with two external hard drives full of sortable spreadsheets chock stuffed with obscure yet important data. However, these amateur statisticians, for whatever reason, very commonly are seduced by the lustful ramblings of strange fairies from the deep dark woods where Babe Ruth’s home run bats were hand-hewned by magical elves who understand the ways of baseball far more than us normal men ever could. And these strange fairies whisper unto the ears of every baseball player, pundit, blogger, and traditional newspaper columnist, “How dare these Nationals of the Washington shut down Stephen K. Strasburg, for this could be their magical year,” and then they laugh a laughter that sounds like feral children raised by coyotes playing “squirrel hunt” together. And yeah, I guess it makes sense if you believe in magical nonsense and all that shit. And sure, even Tommy John, who one would illogically assume is the ultimate authority on Tommy John Surgery, said Strasburg should keep pitching. Except, of course, Tommy John is not actually a surgeon; he is Tommy John, the guy who first had his elbow re-manufactured from Estonian parts.
But here is the one thing that keeps coming up in my mind (other than the aforementioned “If the Nats have proven ahead of schedule they know what the fuck they’re doing, then why would you question what they’re doing?”), over and over, that I’d ask you to riddle me if you will…
If this truly is the Nats one and only chance and the great magical year for their entire franchise’s existence and city’s existence to be remembered by baseball forever, then why the fuck would it matter if Strasburg plays again or not? If this is their chosen year, by magic and the universe, what slight is put upon magic and the universe that would cause them to be like, “Oh wait, fuck these Nats,” if Strasburg sat out the rest of the magical, destiny-soaked ride they are enjoying? What the fuck?
The whole thing is so stupid because it assumes the team is just along for the ride, that there’s not a ton more swirling around this franchise than Strasburg alone. Sure, he is a major part of the story, and along with Bryce Harper, the youthful double-face of this franchise’s future, but still, come on.
Basically what I think I’m saying is shut the fuck up everybody. I do not need to know everybody on earth’s opinion of how much Stephen Strasburg should pitch or not pitch. And while I believe in magic far more than the 500-page file on Tommy John surgery statistics the Nats allegedly have somewhere as guidance on this matter, I also believe enough in magic, and can recognize how magical this season has been, that one dude is not going to fuck it up by being gone. Baseball is so stupid with it’s “don’t jinx the no-hitter” and eating spaghetti before away afternoon games and all that hooha. And celebrity conjecture posing as serious analysis on Stephen Strasburg’s bionic elbow has just really gotten on my fucking nerves.
Also, fuck Chipper Jones. There, I said it. He looks like an asshole, and just because an asshole gets old doing the same thing over and over does not mean he is no longer an asshole, or at least looks like one.
Also here are some other baseball-related things I want to say fuck you too as we enter this postseason 2012, the year of our Magical Fairy Elves blessing the Nationals into the playoffs first time ever I MEAN EVER:
- that bowtie chump on Fox baseball
- all five Sam Malone from Cheers wannabes that host the pre-game/post-game thing, whose names I never remember other than they all sound like a pack of date-raping Theta Chi members I’d fistfight with drunkenly on my drunken way home from hanging out at a real bar, not some chump ass frat party
- the Yankees always and forever, especially A-Rod but really all of them
- people who think Bartolo Colon is somehow not as awesome as he was last week
- Presidential Election commercials on TV during baseball which is already hard enough to follow for a whole game without giant “PLEASE TURN OFF THIS MACHINE AND MOVE TO NORWAY BEFORE AMERICA IS EVEN STUPIDER THAN IT ALREADY IS” ads in between every half-inning
- and a bunch of other things most likely

Monday, August 20, 2012

Blue Jays 3, Rangers 2; Rangers 2, Blue Jays 1; Rangers 11, Blue Jays 2: At Least We Still Don't Have Any of Our Guys

return to me my sweet
I think my favourite part of this series was when the Blue Jays totally wasted a great start by Carlos Villanueva on Saturday afternoon, totally failing to do anything despite loading the bases a couple of times late at which point dudes elected to just pop up on 3-1 pitches. That was tremendous. To me.

KS

Friday, August 17, 2012

Toronto 3, White Sox 2 (F/11); White Sox 3, Blue Jays 2; White Sox 9, Blue Jays 5; White Sox 7, Blue Jays 2: Somebody Make It Stop

some poor dude had a heart attack at this shitty ballgame 
Yeah aside from David Cooper's walk-off hit and a dude I didn't even know was on the roster striking out four in an inning, the rest of this series was nothing but nonsense.

KS

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Yankees 10, Blue Jays 4; Yankees 5, Blue Jays 2; Blue Jays 10, Yankees 7: If You Give J. A. Happ Ten Runs, You've Got A Chance

Carrie Underwood fuckin gunnin it
Yeah, so, if you stake J. A. Happ to a monstrous lead, he will only give up a dinger to Robinson Cano before getting the hook and the bullpen will try to blow it but fail and you will win. This is the only way for the Toronto Blue Jays to defeat the New York Yankees at this point, and it can only happen once a series, but I intend to enjoy it all the same, perhaps all the more. I am still pretty dang weirded about this whole Ichiro situation, which is getting no more normal seeming, but maybe by the end of the playoffs it will seem reasonable? I don't know. 

I don't know.

KS

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rays 3, Blue Jays 2; Rays 7, Blue Jays 1: Seriously I Don't Even Know Who These Guys Are

E5 takin' it back
Just some crazy fucking line ups these days, man. It's just a situation. At least Jose Bautista is ready to start hitting off a tee! But also Brett Lawrie is on the DL. And now the Yankees are in town. 

Revised 2012 prediction: the Toronto Blue Jays will lose one thousand games.

KS

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rays 4, Blue Jays 1: A Disappointing Return To A Reasonable Time Zone

 you don't see a lot of photos of a dude just routinely sliding back safely but I like this one
You know what, it occurs to me that it is possible that J. A. Happ is not the answer. Had that occurred to you? Oh OK, it totally had; I see. I am as pleased as anyone (and arguably also punch) to see Colby Rasmus ding a solo dinger but it was far too little on this night and so here we are. 

KS