Here’s your highly anticipated BAPL predictions for the 2011 season:
Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, Yankers, Orioles
– Unless the Baseball Gods cast another injury spell upon Boston, the Red Sox should easily conquer the mighty AL East. The Rays won’t suffer from their off-season roster exodus as much as everyone thinks, but will still fall short. Toronto will have a great year, but unfortunately, they live in AL East. The Yanks will take a hard fall this year and heads will roll in The Bronx. Buck will make the Orioles respectable, but the birds in this division would all be better off if they flew west.
White Sox, Twinkies(WC), Tigers, Royals, Injuns
– With the Red Sox taking the East, the Year of the Sock Drawer will continue in the Central with Ozzie leading the South-Siders to a narrow division title over the Twinks…it will probably come down to another last day/tie-breaker in September, but the White Sox will prevail and Minnesota will claim the AL Wild Card. The Tigers will hang in there, but ultimately fade by September. The Royals could probably win the division if they’d DFA 90% of their big league club and call up their loaded farm system. Cleveland is, well, Cleveland, though I’m looking forward to seeing a full season of Carlos Santana behind the plate.
Rangers, A’s, Los Anaheim, Mariners
– I’m probably being a homer by picking my Rangers here but honestly, after a miserable spring training, I’m not exactly brimming with confidence. As usual, the pitching sitch is not looking very promising. But I had my doubts last year and 2010 ended up being the most successful year in franchise history…they should take the West, but it won’t be easy…or pretty. If the Rangers don’t take it, then I’m pretty sure the Oaklanders will. The A’s pitching staff is top notch and they made some off-season improvements at the plate, so it’ll be close. Los Anaheim may surprise us all and just kick the living sh!t out of Texas and Oakland. They’ve got the starting pitching and a great skipper for sure, but lots o’ questions on offense and in the bullpen. Seattle is a great city (Mrs. Jonestein and I honeymooned there) and I hear Safeco is an awesome ballpark….they also have Ichiro and King Felix. *awkward silence*
Bravos, Phillies(WC), Fish, Natinals, Mets
R2C2 will be really good for the Phillies, but only good enough for the NL Wild Card, as the Braves surprise everyone by taking the East. Josh Johnson will win the NL Cy Young and the Fish will stay in it till the end, just coming up short. The Natinals will finally work their way out of the cellar, which will have a new tenant this year, the woeful New York Mets.
Reds, Brew Crew, Cards, ‘Stros, Cubbies, Pirates
This will be one of the tightest races in baseball, with the Reds prevailing over the Brew Crew and Red Birds late in September. The Astros will make another late season charge, but fizzle. The Cubs will stay out of the cellar only because it is perpetually occupied by the AAAA Pittsburgh Pirates, who will continue to audition Andrew McCutchen for his eventual ascension to a big league club.
Giants, Rocks, Padres, Dodgers, D-Backs
The defending champion Giants will once again claim the NL West, but have to scrap it out with the Rockies late in September. The Padres may challenge again, but I doubt it. The Dodgers ownership soap opera will continue to help stifle this otherwise decent club, and Arizona will continue to be a great place for Spring Training.
World Series: Phillies over Red Sox in 6
Happy Opening Day Eve!
Then they notice I also have a couple of Boston Red Sox trinkets adorning my geeky cubicle (geekible?), and more than once I’ve been schooled on this (apparently) unwritten rule:
“You can’t root for two teams in the same league!”
I’ve also seen this rule cited on many a baseball site, and I’ve never understood why it exists. I can only assume it is a result of narrow minded, absolute thinking, so I suppose I should explain my fandom rationale/methodology:
First of all, when push comes to shove, I am only a “fan” of one MLB team, and that team is the Texas Rangers. In other words, if someone has a gun to my head (this IS Texas) and tells me I have to choose one and only ONE team to root for, there is absolutely no hesitation in my response: “Whichever team Jessica Alba roots for…”. But seriously, I’m only a fan of the Rangers.
However, at a more meta-level, I’m a fan of baseball in general, so naturally, there’s a darn good chance that I’m going to follow and “support” other teams outside the realm of Rangerdom. The Astros are easily my NL team, because of proximity and my aforementioned tenures of residency in Houston. Do I follow them with the same fervor and attention I give the Rangers? No, but I always keep an eye on the goings-on down yonder. Sadly, those goings-on have not been pretty the last few years and I don’t see much hope on the horizon.
So how do I justify my support for the Red Sox? This just HAS to conflict with my Ranger fandom, right? Wrong, but I’ll get to the actual fandom rationale here in a sec. First, the obvious question: “Why the Red Sox?” Back in 2000, while on a bidness trip to Boston, I naturally took in a game at Fenway Park, and instantly fell in love with the place. The baseball atmosphere was incredible, so I’ve been a Red Sox supporter ever since. I even returned there back in October of 2009 (the atmosphere wasn’t near as exciting, but it was just a meaningless end-of-regular-season game against Cleveland).
Anyway, on to my fandom methodology, or how I avoid conflicting American League baseball loyalties:
1. Head-to-head. I always root for the Rangers when they play the Red Sox, unless the Rangers are so hopelessly out of the playoff picture and the head-to-head game is a “must win” for the Red Sox. Even then, I’m hesitant.
2. AL Wild Card Race. No brainer here. If the Rangers and Red Sox are neck-and-neck in the race for the AL Wild Card spot, then I’m full-throttle Rangers. No conflict here.
3. Someone in the AL East has to win the AL East. This is unavoidable. So I root for the Red Sox to win the AL East because I like ’em and they are not the MF Yankees. I see no harm in this.
4. Post-season Baseball. Until 2010, the words “Post-season” and “Rangers” hadn’t really been mentioned in the same sentence since the mid-to-late nineties, and I like to have someone to root for in the playoffs. The last ten years, the Red Sox have pretty much been there, so I’ve rooted for them.
So I guess you could say I’m a conditional supporter of the Red Sox, and while this still probably breaks the silly One Team Per League unwritten rule, ultimately, I don’t really give a shiite…I’ll root for whatever team I want to root for. :^P
I hope that clears things up.
For the first time in my baseball life, The Baseball Gods have bestowed upon yours truly a mercifully short off-season. Don’t get me wrong, hockey has done a very admirable job of sustaining me through The Bad Time the last coupla years, but brother, it just ain’t baseball.
Pitchers and Catchers, come hither, The Baseball Gods-Uh hath summoned thee!
Genesis. Redemption. Forgiveness. Those who dwell in Bronze Age fairy tales will no doubt claim these words to be of their realm, to which the BAPL Uniform Aesthetics Council and at least one portly comedian would exclaim, “Nay, Nay!”
No, dear readers, to the UAC, these three words, aesthetically speaking, are associated with one thing: the NL Central. That is, four of the six teams occupying the NL Central. You see, if it wasn’t for the late 70’s/early 80’s
incarnations of the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee
Brewers, and St. Louis Cardinals, the UAC might very well not exist.
members growing up in North Texas during this dark age of uniform
aesthetics already had to deal with the hideous powder blues of the Texas Rangers
(UAC team of choice). While mainly used as road uniforms, young future
council members still had to endure road game highlights during the
sports segment of the local news. The seeds of UAC genesis were being
Then came the 1979 World Series
between the Pittsburgh “We are Family” Pirates and the Baltimore
Orioles. Not only were young future council members subjected to the
retina annihilating yellow and black unis of the Pirates, they were forced to endure the alien-like, orangy-bronze skin of Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer. Nightmares were had. Beds were wet. Therapy was sought. It was traumatic, to say the least.
Then, the summer of 1980, when, at the tender age of 15, UAC founder
Jonestein was sentenced to a summer of hard labor at a wallpaper
warehouse in Houston for the heinous crime of being “little brother”.
What at first seemed like a merciful gesture from Judge Mom, i.e. a
giant package of Houston Astros tickets (lower level, 3rd base side,
between home plate and 3rd…they freakin rocked) for the summer,
proved to be an aesthetic nightmare for young Jonestein. A summer of
watching the “Rainbow Era” Astros aesthetic barbarism was capped
off with more of the same in the 1980 NLCS, with the added assault
of the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies powder blues.
The final straw came during the 1982 World Series, or “Powder Bluetzkreig”,
as it is affectionately called in UAC circles, between the St. Louis
Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers. As if the sight of Pete Vukovich
wasn’t enough, the Brewers road PBs with their yellow trim were truly
horrid. (The image to your right doesn’t do them horrific justice).
This traumatic assault on the aesthetic senses made the founding of the
Redemption & Forgiveness
The BAPL UAC has come a long way since the Powder Blue Dark days of
Mordor. Frodo has since dropped the Evil Powder Blue Ring into the
bowels of Mount Doom and at last, the Four Batsmen of the Aesthetic
Apocalypse have managed to find some fashion sense. And while the
council will never forget, they most certainly do forgive:
1. Milwaukee Brewers
one of the UAC’s favorite set of uniforms. They sport the colors of
the national Libertarian Party and fit well around the belly of Brewers
portly first baseman Prince Fielder. And did we mention the beer?
Colors (Navy Blue, Gold, White): A+ (Strongest asset of Brewerwear)
Cap Insignia(s): A
Team Logo: A (We still likee)
Mascot: A+ (Makers of the council’s favorite beverage, can’t go wrong there.)
2. St. Louis Cardinals
Assuming you’ve read the previous prognostications this week, you might
be inclined to wonder how a team with red foundations manages to rate a
number two spot in the aesthetic standings. Simple. The boys from Saint Lou
actually do the color justice, not over using it on their traditional
home whites and away grays. Plus, they stick with the classics,
something that will almost always sway the aesthetic hearts of the UAC.
Colors (Cardinal Red, Navy Blue , White): A (Judicious use of the red, navy blue always a plus)
Cap Insignia(s): A
(Time honored and highly recognizable)
Team Logo: B+ (While the council generally isn’t fond of birdlike logos, this one flies)
Mascot: B (Of all
the bird mascots in baseball, we’re betting the Cardinal was the
beneficiary of Blue Jay and Oriole lunch money back in songbird grade school.)
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
how the Pirates unis have come along since 1979. The home whites and
away grays are hella-nice and almost make up for the eye-trauma caused
by the ’79 monstrosities. The first alternate violates UAC Code 86A – Sleeveless Jerseys Look Silly,
but the away alts with their black jerseys adorned with the Pittsburgh
“P” are nearly fangasm-worthy. The council also gives extra kudos to
the three major Pittsburgh teams for being consistent with their color
schemes. (With the exception of the Penguins powder blues…blech)
Colors (Black, gold, white): A (Black and gold, when used properly, look sharp.)
Cap Insignia(s): A
(Simple, looks nice)
Team Logo: D (Nah, we do not likee)
Mascot: C+ (Possibly the only team in the sports universe that it works for)
4. Chicago Cubs
Council members have never like the Cubs “C” logo, and can’t
come to a consensus as to why. Even back in the day when the council
would watch the Cubs on WGN whilst pretending to be home sick, the “C”
was not the slightest bit appealing. Otherwise, the cubbie unis look
great, especially the road grays.
Colors (Blue, Red, White): A (Lots o’ blue…beddy nice)
Cap Insignia(s): D
(Meh. Mentioned above)
Team Logo: D (Ditto)
Mascot: D- (Kind of wimpy. No, not kind of…is wimpy)
5. Houston Astros
While the council has forgiven the atrocities of the “Rainbow
Era”, this confusing “Red Brick” color utilized as a highlight color on
the home and aways, and predominately on the alternates, makes the
council think the color red and the color orange have been making incestuous whoopee,
with unsightly offspring consequences. The home pinstripes can stay,
as can the away grays, but the alternate love-children from the hellish
red/orange union must join the Rangers powder blues in the depths of
Colors (Black, Brick Red, Sand): F (Think we covered it)
Cap Insignia(s): A
(Looks great on the black cap)
Team Logo: C+ (Not awful.)
Mascot: B- (Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with the space programs associated with Houston, but with Astroturf…so we are told. )
6. Cincinnati Reds
Red. Reds. Alternate reds. Blech.
Colors (Red, White, Black): F (Again, red. Blech)
Cap Insignia(s): C
Team Logo: C (Meh.)
Mascot: C (Meh)
Actual BAPL Predictions for the National League Central as mandated by BAPL UAC32910:
1. St. Louis Cardinals (Albert & Co. will reign supreme in the Central once more)
2. Chicago Cubs (The Cubs will fall short once more)
3. Milwaukee Brewers (At least the Brewers will look good being in third)
4. Cincinnati Reds (Fourth could just as easily go to the ‘Stros)
5. Houston Astros (Fifth could just as easily go to the Reds)
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (Home Sweet Home)
Next up: the NL West
Note: For those of you out
there that share the BAPL Uniform Aesthetics Council’s weird obsession
with uniform aesthetics, be sure to check out the Uni Watch site.
Old style uni images from the Dressed to the Nines uniform database.
Current uni Images swiped from team pages on Wikipedia.
Last night on Facebook I was whining about how I hate this time of the year. All the fake and compelled niceness, the Xmas Gift-Giving “Tax” inherent with marriage, blowhard Christians getting their panties in a wad about the perfectly valid abbreviation of Xmas (look it up you knowledge-averse idjits, you might learn something), and the frantic shopping mob street traffic that forces me to avoid Hulen Street in Foat Wuth from Black Friday to Xmas Day, virtually cutting off part of civilization from me in December. Most of all though, I loathe the fact that my regular TV watching schedule is in disarray until mid-to-late January because of this contrived, smarmy-a$s holiday. No new episodes of House, Big Bang Theory, Sons of Anarchy…just reruns and idiotic Xmas specials. Blech.
Mr. Lung over at RSBS suggested I relieve my TV doldrums by tuning into MLB Network to (presumably) enjoy this year’s “Hot Stove” festivities. I certainly appreciated the suggestion, but I had to remind him that my fandom resides here in the Land of Misfit Toys, a.k.a. Arlington, TX and the Texas Rangers. The “Hot Stove” here in Arlington is like watching Harry Potter and his spoiled cousin Dudley open presents at Christmas: Dudley always get the shiny red firetruck with the 1.93 ERA while Harry gets some worn out Sox and a frayed, one-eyed Teddy Bear with shoulder problems.
This year is no different. The same old preamble that always seems to accompany any Rangers acquisition is once again ringing through the halls of Rangerdom: “If [insert misfit toy here] can get/stay healthy, then…”. This year’s misfit toy acquisitions are Rich Harden and tentatively, Mike Lowell. If Harden can get/stay healthy, then he will most defiinitely be an upgrade over Kevin Millwood as our numero uno starter. If Mike Lowell’s thumb and hip are ok, then he’ll be that right-handed bat we so desperately need to bolster Josh Hamilton, assuming of course, Hamilton is able to get/stay healthy.
However, and, hopefully, the Ranger’s Gimp Express is on it’s final run and help is on the way in the form of prospective new owner Chuck Greenberg. He’s supposed to be a real “baseball guy” with (again, hopefully) deep pockets. The Greenberg ownership group also includes Nolan Ryan, who will stay on as President and keep the club moving in the right direction.
If this ownership change happens soon enough, perhaps we’ll be unwrapping shiny red firetrucks here in Arlington by opening day. If not, I’ll just kick the sh!t out of Harry Potter, steal his wand, and belt out a Redbirdus-Extractus spell, instantly swiping Pujols, Yadi, Carpenter, and Wainwright from Mr. Lung’s beloved Cardinals.
I’m not feeling terribly inspired or witty today, as I think I blew my snarck-wad in the last several posts, comments sections, and on Facebook…so you might want to take Officer Barbrady’s advice and “Move along, there’s nothing to see here”, this is probably going to be a boring post.
*waits for you to move along*
Ok, so how did the Magic BAPL Prediction Box® do in the ALDS and NLDS? Looks like I went 3-1, with an asterisk next to the “3”:
1. Los Anaheim in five over Boston.
Well, I got the “over” part right. Unfortunately, the Halos heroics were too much for my boys from Beantown, and there was no dramatic game five win, just an embarrasing three-game sweep in front of a stunned Beantown crowd. It seems Post-Season Papelbon is mortal afterall.
2. Yanks sweep Twinks.
Check. This was the easiest of the predictions, though the Twinks fell valiantly.
3. Phils 3 games to 1 over the Rox.
4. Cardinals 3 games to 2 over the Dodgers.
Not so much. Not sure that Matt Holliday’s flubolla made any difference in this one as the Cardinals decided to do their best impersonation of the September 2009 Texas Rangers. I really thought the Cardinal bats would overpower the Dodger pitching. Looks like this prediction fell victim to an old adage. Worst of all: Padilla. Blech.
Now, onward and forward to the ALCS and NLCS, slightly tainted because I’m a day late and the Phils beat Los Angeles of Los Angeles last night:
1. ALCS – Yanks over the Angels in Six.
I actually WANT the Angels to win because I would love to see a LAA-LALA World Series…and I actually WANT the Angels to win the World Series because it would be a huge, symbolic middle finger to all of the AL West bashers out there. But alas, as much as it pains me to say this, I think the Yanks are the “real deal” this year. The Halos will give em one helluva fight, but the Evil Empire will prevail.
2. NLCS – Dodgers over Phils in Seven.
I’ll at least get half of my desired World Series, and MLB, FOX, and anyone who benefits from good television ratings will get their full WS wish as the Dodgers prevail in an epic dogfight(I can’t believe I’m starting to use the word “epic” all of the time. I sound like my 17 yr old nephew…EVERYTHING is “Epic”…lol). The Phils, like the Angels, will not go down easily and shall fight valiantly to the bitter end.
Not that my predictions matter, as I think any combination will give us a great World Series this year.
Ok, that’s it. Told you it would be boring.
Yes, dear readers, now that the “Los Angeles” Angels of Anaheim, California have succeeded in sweeping my #2 team, the “Boston” Red Sox of Boston, Taxachucetts, and thus, sweeping my MLB enthusiam out the door until next spring, it’s time for another heart-warming episode of “Jonestein B!tches About Petty Things Completely Out of His Control”, and yes, another exacerbatingly long opening sentence wrought with comma abuse, typos, and diction ineptness, all brought to you by the Texas State Board of Education, where evolution is Just a Theory® and The Bible is the only science text book God’s Children® will ever need.
In today’s episode, we discuss the insipid practice of shilling NFL merchandise under the pretense of “nostalgia“, otherwise known as the “Throwback Game”.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the libertarian, free market economics guy in me (insert tasteless joke here) is all for making money, but there is just something disingenuous at work here that leaves a bad taste in my mouth(I’m just lobbing these over the plate, eh?) and this, once again, “manufactured nostalgia” is just one of the many off-putting things that have made me a marginal NFL fan over the years.
Yeah, yeah, I know, MLB does it’s share of Fake Nostalgia Games, as well as it’s Racism-Guilt Baiting Games, but like any blogger worth his salt, I choose to ignore that fact and continue to wax sanctimoniously, not missing a beat.
Anyway, much like the awarding of the now meaningless Nobel Peace Prize and it’s manufactured prestige to our President, Saint Hopenchange, these “throwback” games are just grandiose marketing schemes designed to sell us a bunch of crap we don’t need: more “authentic”/replica jerseys, t-shirts, and socialized medicine that we can’t pay for and haven’t really thought through.
And of course, there’s the putrid aesthetics. Take those gawd-awful throwbacks sported by the Denver Broncos yesterday. Those things were hideous back when they were hideous. I’m certainly no fashion maven, but what kind of bush-league, embarrasment of an organization would subject their players to the ridicule inherent with sporting yellow and brown uniforms?
Not only did I want to go all Oedipus(sans the mom-porking) over those hideous Broncos throwbacks, I had to endure yet another game watching Brady & Co. wear their bland throwbacks, you know, the ones with the Smiling, Patriotic Reach-Around Guy on the helmet? Blech.
Then there was my beloved heroes, the Dallas Cowboys, decked out in their circa 1960 blue and white abominations, playing “The Game That Never Was” with the Kansas City Chefs/Dallas Texans. Yeah, I got a warm fuzzy, harkening back to those days in 1960 I remember so fondly, floating around in Dad’s gnads, waiting for that call up to Big Leagues. Thing is, those unis were hideous back then too, so much that the paisley-like former incarnation of myself could even sense it down at Double A.
So please, NFL, spare us the smarmy, manufactured nostalgia. Limit this nonsense to ONE week per season, preferably during the Cowboys bye week.