Friday, March 29, 2013

A Soft Spot in My Heart for Triples and Astros and Oakland's Swings - Baseball Players as Game of Thrones Characters, Part Two

Welcome back to our Opening Weekend preview of both the 2013 baseball season, and the third season of Game of Thrones!  It was nice of Major League Baseball to realize that everyone would be glued to the GoT season premiere and act accordingly by programming a game featuring the Astros, wasn't it?  Without further ado, let's continue our comparison of Major League Baseball players to our favorite Westerosi inhabitants!  

Nelson Cruz is Khal Drogo

When you're featured in ESPN's The Body issue, there's a great deal of attention focused on your physical attributes, and Nelson Cruz, as told by Michael Young, has all of them.  
"Nelly goes about 6'3, 230 pounds and he's country strong.  We were in the weight room one day and some guys were benching 315 pounds.  Nelly walks in and says 'Let me hop in.'  And he just starting pushing 315 right away.  Without stretching.  As a warmup set."
I assume that the part of the story where he got an ingrown toenail and had to miss a quarter of the season was omitted, but the fact of the matter is, that when Cruz, like Drogo, is on the field, he's a game-changer and a destroyer of worlds, but the most seemingly minor of scratches can sideline him for weeks at a time.  Trust me, I've owned him in fantasy for the past four years and sometimes I can't help but think I want to smother him with a pillow.  Then he hits two homers and steals a base, and he's my moon and my stars again.  

 David Eckstein is Tyrion Lannister

Short, but winners all day y'all.  

Josh Hamilton is Bronn

There's nobody you'd rather have on your team, and there's nothing he'd rather have than that money.  

Scott Boras is Walder Frey

Nobody ever WANTS to do business with Scott Boras.  However, when one agent controls a majority of the best talent in baseball, when you're assembling a winning team, you need to go to him, hat in hand, and sell your soul.  That's the case with Robb Stark when the young king, eager to reach King's Landing to rip Joffrey's guts out and save his sisters, makes a deal with Frey to take on one of his little wiener kids as a squire, marry Arya to another of his wiener kids and, worst of all, marry himself to one of Frey's daughters that Walder deems suitable, all to cross a bridge.  

Much like teams that sign Boras' clients often find themselves with buyer's remorse in the sixth or seventh year of the deal, so too did Robb Stark regret making the deal when he fell in love, but as it all turned out, it was no big d.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays Season Is Probably Real Life

always remember to limber-up even if it is just baseball you will be playing
This year I have done maybe my best job of ignoring spring training ever, especially if you consider the extent to which the Toronto Blue Jays are actually totally interesting even to the non-partisan, and are entirely worth paying attention to, or as worth paying attention to as any baseball team is worth paying attention to in spring training (which, again, to me, is basically not at all ever). It occurs to me just now that perhaps my indifference to spring training is not entirely unrelated to my profound disinterest in prospects, in that spring training itself is largely a study of prospects, sure, but also in that spring training is pretty much the prospect of the season. Unless you are a regular season baseball player playing in a regular season baseball game I am sorry but my uncommonly burdensome and involving duties and responsibilities preclude the possibility of me being baseball interested in you in the slightest, for which, again, I apologize but this is how it must be for me and indeed for us both

But after Matt reminded me that holy shit baseball starts this weekend (also Game of Thrones, a subject in which I have attained expertise through arduous study that cut pretty directly into my Baseball Mogul time now that I reflect on the shape of my life and experiences over the last year), I went to the MLB site and looked at the probable starters for the first three Blue Jays games, and it was like, holy smokes, all that stuff that happened this winter totally actually totally happened, because it's gonna be R. A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, and then Josh Johnson (and well OK fine sure also J. A. Happ a little). But what the fuck, right? Like, obviously I was aware of everything that was going on as it was going on, but it is worth noting, I think, that this is real and everything. 

It was somewhat discouraging that the once most boss-like Ricky Romero got sent most thoroughly down, all the way to Dunedin, but man he was brutal last year so what else can you do? As everyone has already totally noted, this isn't really like Roy Halladay going all the way down to change his arm slot and return to the majors as one of the best pitchers of his generation, because Romero is not a kid anymore, and it's nothing major like that they're going to try to switch up with him; they would just like it if he could figure out how to not be awful at pitching, and I sympathize with that, because I got fairly tall fairly quickly when I was a kid and so could throw pretty hard relative to my age for a while there and spent a lot of time on the mound even though I pretty much walked people, hit them inadvertently (but savagely) on the inside of the back ankle, and, when there was no more room on the bases, served up arrow-straight 40-MPH horseshit that got jacked into the woods. Pitching is crazy hard and as much as one's heart goes out to any of these guys (and it does a little sometimes; let us not front, not here, not to each other) my heart goes out to dudes who just lose it out there and can never find it. It's sad to watch. 

So usually I would be gutted by that but who the hell cares really R. A. Dickey is gonna knuckleball people the fuck out in this the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays Championship Season! Everybody else in the A.L. East is totally dodgy! The Red Sox are such a shambles I heard they are lowering beer prices! There is no way the Orioles do anything at all like they managed last year! The Yankees are kind of shit now which means they will only win like 88 games instead of 90-something! The Rays are actually probably totally going to be good aren't they I just kind of remembered that now! And the A.L. West teams will have a crazy advantage for the wild card this year because they'll all be wailing on the Astros this year won't they! I am still excited though because Jose Bautista is going to hit like eighty home runs and also there are new guys! 

Yours in baseball and of course also feelings,


When You Play the Game of Baseballs, You Either Win or You Enter a Seemingly Interminable Rebuilding Phase (Part One)

A long time ago - it might have been months at this point - I noticed that the new season of Game of Thrones would be debuting on March 31.  

My first thought, (after "Thank GOD") was that it seemed like it would be around that time that baseball would be starting up again, and if history was any indication, that there might be the big Sunday Night kickoff game being played in Guam or the South of France or any other place that baseball might be looking to expand to.  

As it turns out, I was right, and so overjoyed was I to see that two of my favorite things would be returning in perfect tandem, I found no other way to celebrate this joy than to make arbitrary comparisons between the two.  So now, without further ado, I present Part One of our Opening Weekend series of baseball players as Game of Thrones characters!  

R.A. Dickey is Nymeria

This blog is something of an St. Dickey lovefest, and bound to become even moreso, since he leaves my favorite team to join KS's, where this beautiful creature will get all of the non-sporadic game write-up attention that he deserves.  I didn't even write anything when he won the Cy Young award, for heaven's sake.  

Anyway, he has to depart the Mets after doing the raddest thing ever for them, much like Nymeria had no choice but to leave Arya after doing the raddest thing ever.  Sure we would have loved to watch Dickey try to get another Cy Young in Queens, and seen Nymeria showered in the most luscious bones, but they both had to go for their own safety and well-being.  And much like Dickey's departure brought Mets fans hope for the future with Travis D'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard, so too did Nymeria's departure pay dividends way down the line.  

Shane Victorino is King Joffrey Baratheon, First of His Name

Not gonna lie, this entire article is nothing more than an excuse to put these two pictures together.  That being said, any adjective that you can use to describe Joffrey: cutthroat, ruthless, spoiled, entitled, inept, etc., you can apply twofold to Shane Victorino.  As Joffrey is completely unworthy to rule a kingdom, we are equally surprised that they keep letting Shane Victorino play baseball, considering just how bad he is at it.  Just peruse his resume and try to tell me he doesn't deserve to be slapped by Peter Dinklage once every season.  

Jeffrey Loria is Tywin Lannister

It's rumored, by some, that Twyin Lannister shits gold, and while that has been unconfirmed up until this point, there is no denying that he would do anything to advance his status, and the status of his family name.  When he sees the opportunity to turn a battle in his favor by adding the tribes of the Vale to his ranks, he barely blinks when he finds out that the cost will be to send his son to the front lines with them. 

When Loria opened Marlins Park, (mostly funded, as it turns out by Miami taxpayers whom Mayor Thomas Regaldo says were 'raped') he did so with a team assembled when he opened his giant coffers of gold from past firesales.  By mid-season, he had traded Hanley Ramirez, and by winter, most of the other talent was gone, including Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Emilio Bonafacio.  All Loria has left is his cursed, garish Harrenhal of a stadium, Giancarlo Stanton, and Placido Polanco hitting cleanup.  

Rod Barajas is Hodor


(Special thanks to Bill Hanstock for reminding me that it was Rod Barajas).