Tagged: Dodgers

2011 BAPL Crystal Ball

crystal2.jpegHere’s your highly anticipated BAPL predictions for the 2011 season:

AL East
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.

AL Central
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.

AL West
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*

NL East
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.

NL Central
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.

NL West
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!

–Jonestein

Loyalties

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Folks at work often stop by and comment on all of the Texas Rangers/Dallas Stars junk cluttering up my cubicle.  They see my Houston Astros season schedule and probably think “Oh, that’s understandable, they’re a Texas team.” (I actually lived in Houston twice during my life, so my support of the Astros comes naturally…Summer of 1980 = AWESOME!)

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.

Cheers,

-Jonestein

About Face

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As many of you know, Michael Young, or as he’s affectionately called in certain Rangers fan circles “Face”, i.e. “Face of the Franchise”  has been making news in the baseballphere lately.  Bottom line: he wants out of Texas because his role appears to have been reduced with the off-season signings of Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli.

Problem is, nobody wants him, or should I say, nobody wants the remaining 3 years/$48 million dollar contract that’s attached to his aging 34 year old body and sub-zero UZR.

So two camps have formed here in Rangerdom, there’s the Casual Fan/Pandering Local Sports Columnist Camp who think Face has been jerked around and is owed something by the Rangers because of his tenure and his “sticking with them through the bad years” — then there’s the rest of us.

The Rest of Us Camp acknowledges that Face has been a good player and team leader for the Rangers the last ten years.  We also acknowledge that he’s “stuck with the team” because in 2007 he signed an lucrative 5 year/80 mil contract extension.  We then have the nerve to acknowledge the aforementioned sub zero UZR (-4.7 or -5.4, I forget), which means he’s a huge defensive liability (hence, the signing of Beltre).  THEN we acknowledge the fact that… oh, I think you get the picture (this is beginning to sound like a religion vs. science argument).

Face claims he’s been jerked around by the Rangers because they’ve repeatedly asked him to change positions over the years.  First, they asked him to move from 2B to shortstop in order to accommodate Alfonso Soriano after the A-Rod trade.  Then SS to 3B to accommodate the up and coming Elvis Andrus.  Now, they’ve asked him to move to DH/utility infielder to accommodate Adrian Beltre.  I guess I can see his point, because no team has ever asked someone to change positions. 

Oh, wait, yes they have.

Face, I like you, but shaadapp and play baseball.  Your gold glove days are behind you, dude,  accept it.

Ohthankgawd!

bbalgod.jpgFor 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!

Hells.  Yeah.

–Jonestein

Thankfully, I’m an Atheist: 1st Annual BAPL Tanky List

TurkeyBall.JPGActually, I don’t even like the word “Atheist”.  As I’m sure I’ve said before in one of my BAPL rants, the word is nothing more than a means for religious zealots to label and marginalize those who refuse to believe in Bronze Age fairy tales.  I don’t believe in leprechauns either, yet no one has ever bothered to call me an Aleprechaunist.

Anyway, just because I don’t believe in Santa Claus, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the relatively good life I’ve had, I just don’t pretend I’m indebted to some imaginary friend for my good fortune. 

I am, however, grateful to many of my fellow humans, certain institutions, and certain ideals, so, dear readers, I give you the 1st Annual BAPL Tanky List:

Jonestein, and all of us here at Baseball, Apple Pie, and Lobster, i.e., Jonestein, would like to thank the following for making life bearable:

1. America’s pastime, the great game of baseball – Yeah, I know, all of you hoity-toity Europeans, contrary to popular American revisionist history, the game was not invented in the US.  But as Dennis Miller once said to Chevy Chase re: SNL’s “Weekend Update”: “You may have given birth to it, but I raised it!”.   See, despite my on-again, off-again “relationship” with professional sports throughout my 44 years, I always comeback to baseball first.  I love going out to the ballpark, whether it’s Rangers Ballpark for MLB action, or LaGrave Field to watch the Fort Worth Cats.  Nothing beats a day/evening at the ol’ ballpark.

2. Drunken “philosophy” and that wasted dude in the “Dublin Up” pub at Rangers Ballpark – Between innings at one of the Rangers/White Sox games this year, I was having a spittle-dodging discussion about the merits of the game with some drunk dude in a White Sox jersey, when this cogent gem somehow navigated it’s way around said dude’s drunken stupor: “Bayythheboll ith a chesst game withh asstletis..attleth…athleticism!.”  Fortunately, having already consumed several pints of Smithwick’s Irish Ale myself, I was able to perform the Spittle-to-English translation: “Baseball is a chess game with athleticism.”

Since I also love the game of Chess, and since I definitely love having intellectually snotty-sounding phrases to launch at Neanderthal “Baseball is boring!” NFL fans, this tidbit of snooty wisdom has become a permanent fixture in the BAPL Lexicon and in my personal arsenal of talk-down-to-you sanctimony.

3. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers –  As you probably know, the Red Sox are my numero-two-o team, for reasons explained in my bio and other BAPL posts.  But the Yankees and Dodgers?  Yes, despite my friendly fandom “hatred” of those two franchises, I appreciate the fact that they, along with the Boston’s, are popular enough to help fill the stands here in Arlington and in other “small market” cities.  Like ’em or hate ’em, they put butts in the seats.

4. Jeff Lung and Allen Krause, aka “Red State/Blue State” on MLBlogs – Not gonna lie, I have a serious “blog crush” going on RSBS.  Despite the fact that we are polar-freakin opposites on the political spectrum, I eagerly await each clever and witty post from these guys…they pretty much inspired me to start up this here blog.  So blame them, not me.

5. Joss Whedon – Even though “Dollhouse” is hardly up to Whedonesque standards, Joss did give us 7 years of Buffy, 5 years of Angel, and most of all,  the smothered-in-the-crib-by-FOX, best damn TV show ever: “Firefly”.

6. Aaron Burr – He was about 16 years too late, but who knows how much more Hamilton would have effed up the foundation of our constitutional republic if Burr hadn’t offed the Monarchist sh!thead in 1804.

7. Frederic Bastiat

8. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and many other prominent non-believers – These folks are leading charge against the mind-virus known as religion.

9. The Docs, Nurses, and Staff at Harris Methodist Southwest who saved my freakin life back in January – My older brother and a couple of my friends are giving me the Christian Snub because after they proudly took credit for my recovery via their “prayers”, I had to remind them that, while I definitely appreciated their thoughts and presence,  it was actually the skilled doctors and modern medicine that saved me from the demonic pneumonia possessing my body, not their insane conversations with thin air. 

10. My nephew, Neil, for NOT praying for me during last January’s ordeal –  Neil (3 yrs my junior), had the courage to say “no thanks” to the well-meaning, but still delusional mob of family and friends who tried to guilt him into the hospital chapel.  Instead, when it looked like I was a goner, he headed down to the pub and had a beer in my honor.  THAT, I respect.

11. My buddy “Kootz”, aka “Jeff” – Co-Rangers season ticket holder and best-bud for twenty-five years now.  Not to keep pity-baiting you with the “I almost died” thing, but Jeff was at the hospital every day during my month-long stay, and even sat and watched the Super Bowl with me in the ICU.  He’s truly the “Wilson” to my abrasive and tactless “House”. 

12. Did you really think I’d leave you off this list, Mrs. J? – Of course not…I saved the best for last.  Mostest of all, I’m thankful for Jacque, aka “Mrs. J”.  She’s my high school sweetheart, wife of 5+ years (we took a 20 year break from each other), love o’ my life, and “mother” to our brood of cats.  Life would be pretty fking awful without her.

Ok, this list is beginning to sound like a suicide note, so I’ll leave the tanky list at a dozen tankies.  Have a great Thanksgiving, no matter how you choose to celebrate it (or not, as the case may be).

Cheers,

Jonestein

Image shamelessly swiped from here.

BAPL ALCS/NLCS Predictions: Nothing to see here…

barbrady.jpegI’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.

Nailed it.

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.

:^)

–Jonestein

 

 

NFL: Enough with the Manufactured Nostalgia

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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.

alfred-e-obama-mad.jpgAnyway, 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.

(TMI?)

So please, NFL, spare us the smarmy, manufactured nostalgia.  Limit this nonsense to ONE week per season, preferably during the Cowboys bye week.

Cheers,

–Jonestein

 Photo from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Alfred E. Obama from here.