Tagged: Nationals

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

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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

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

2010 BAPL UAC Predictions – NL East

Yesterday, the BAPL Uniform Aesthetics Council issued the 1st in a 5.94 part series(1) of 2010 MLB prognostications, beginning with an evaluation of the AL East that may very well lead to an armed conflict between the United States and Toronto.

Despite the impending Canuckageddon, the council pulled an all-nighter, bravely marching forward to bring you today’s NL East aesthetic forecast:

Warning: The BAPL UAC has declared the NL East an official Uniform Aesthetic Disaster Zone.  All findings below were calculated using the EVE® (Eye Vomit Elimination) method developed by Dr. Dewey Summers of the BAPL Statistical Aesthetics & Neuroscience Institute.  For more information on this groundbreaking method, please visit http://www.bapl.net/SANI/Summers-Eve

1. Florida Marlins MLB_Uni_FLA.PNG
The fish nearly missed UADZ designation altogether due to the fact that their home and away unis only violate UAC Minor Infraction Code 9703 – Use of TealHowever, the major violation of UAC Section P, Article 303 – Mixing of Solids and Stripes in their alternates, coupled with the blinding orange and teal assault from the vast sea of empty seats at Scrabble Pro Stadium in 2009 has secured said fish federal aid funds under the Children’s UADZ Fund rider recently slipped in with President Obama’s health care reform bill.
All that to say, the Floridian unis were the least offensive in the aesthetically challenged NL East.  The pinstriped home unis are kind of stylish and slick, while the road grays conform to UAC locale naming requirements with the black hat/belt/socks combo offering an appealing contrast to the gray.

Colors (Black, Teal, Silver, White): C+  (Though a minor infraction, the teal cost ’em here.)
Cap Insignia(s): C  (Looks like a marlin getting squished by a giant “F”, no doubt the result of a crane accident during one of the numerous stadium renamings of Scrabble Pro Stadium. )
Team Logo: C (Meh,  Again with the teal.)
Mascot: B (Regionally relevant, might roll off the tongue better when they’re renamed the “Miami Marlins”.)

2. Philadelphia Phillies  MLB_Uni_PHI.PNG
While the Marlins alternates assured them federal funding and a place in the disaster zone, the slick looking, cream colored alternates from the City of Brotherly Shove kept them from bottom-three relegation in the gangly NL East.  The Philly alternates actually rate among the favorites of the UAC.  The well apportioned red on cream, mixed with the splash of blue on the cap make for pure UAC aesthetic delight.  The seizure-inducing home red pinstripes?  Not so much.  These red monstrosities actually drove one UAC member to watch hockey during the ’09 World Series…hockey, for God’s sake!

Colors (Red, White, Blue): B+  (Needless to say, too much of the red is utilized.)
Cap Insignia(s): C+ 
(Not terribly inspiring.)
Team Logo: B+ (We likee.)
Mascot: C (If it references a cheese steak sandwich, the council is prepared to reconsider this grade.)

3. New York Mets   MLB_Uni_NYM.PNG
The Blue/Orange color combination of New York’s “other” baseball team skates dangerously close to the prohibited and much UAC maligned combination of black and orange.  The common denominator in each being, of course, the color orange.  See, we here at the BAPL UAC see the color orange as the ugly, pasty skinned sister of the color red, so only in rare cases like the University of Texas Longhorns, is this gangly color even remotely accepted by the UAC.  In fact, UT orange gets a pass only because it is actually “burnt” orange, which means red’s ugly sister in Austin spent some time at the tanning salon.
Until recently, the UAC had actually come to terms with the blue/orange, based solely on the nostalgia appeal of it’s origins, i.e. the merging of the Brooklyn Dodger Blue and New York Giant Orange.

Then one summer in the UAC lounge, Pervus Moth, octogenarian janitor at BAPL headquarters in Fort Worth, was heard yelling “I don’t like that black on the Mets!”.  Several council members rushed into the lounge from the board room to discover a Mets/Phillies game playing on the HD 60 inch.  To their horror, the Mets were sporting their hideous black alternates…the council, was mortified.  An emergency UAC vote was held immediately, the Mets were deemed “aesthetically unfit”, and their nostalgia permit was revoked. 

Ironically, it was later discovered that Pervus the janitor was actually referring to Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, not the black alternate uniforms.  Mr. Moth was immediately ushered off by BAPL Security to UAC Area 42 for ethnic sensitivity training and subsequently transferred to a remote BAPL affiliate office in East Texas.

Colors (Blue, Orange, White & Black): D-  (You give an inch, they take a mile.)
Cap Insignia(s): C 
(Ugly New York step child.)
Team Logo: A (Not horrible.  Old NY skyline silhouette on a baseball, beddy nice, save for the orange.)
Mascot: B– (I guess “Metropolitan” is the New York equivalent of a Canadien. )

4. Atlanta Braves  MLB_Uni_ATL.PNG 
Remove the alternate red unis, and the Braves escape UAC condemnation.  Their home whites and road grays meet all UAC requirements for acceptable sports team attire.  The second alternates are tolerated, but the hideous reds induced too much eye-vomit during last night’s proceedings.  Tragic, indeed.

Colors (Navy blue, scarlet, white): A  (Looks great on the home unis)
Cap Insignia(s): A+ 
(Looks similar to the “Atheist Out” logo)
Team Logo: B (Politically incorrect, but that just earns it more praise from the council.)
Mascot: B (Same as above. )

5. Washington Nationals  MLB_Uni_DC.PNG
Full disclosure: the UAC despises Washington D.C..  It represents the center of bloated overreaching government power that insults the council’s libertarian sensibilities.  That being said, just about any sports team from D.C. is going to get trashed by the UAC, it doesn’t matter if their uniforms are plastered with naked pictures of Jessica Alba.  THAT being said, the team from D.C. and their red leanings (irony alert) in the uniform department score no points with the UAC, except maybe, just maybe the road grays, whose use of blue socks & caps saves them from total condemnation.

Colors (Red, Navy Blue, Gold, White): A–  (No problem with the colors, just the overuse of the red)
Cap Insignia(s): F 
(Bland, like Victory Coffee)
Team Logo: C (Impotent, like Victory Gin)
Mascot: D- (Bland and politically correct)

Actual BAPL Predictions for the National League East as mandated by BAPL UAC32910:

NL East
1. Philadelphia Phillies (Bias alert: many Phillies scattered amongst UAC fantasy teams)
2. New York Mets (If healthy, otherwise 3rd or fourth)
3. Florida Marlins (Toss up between the Fish and the Injuns here)
4. Atlanta Braves (See above)
5. Washington Natinals (Might be some excitement if the Chosen One is called up)

Next up: the AL Central

–Jonestein

(1) In the interest of bandwidth conservation, the UAC is still debating on whether or not to include the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals in it’s 2010 prognostications, seeing as how it’s almost a given that these two relegation-worthy teams will finish in the cellar no matter what the prognostication method may be.

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.

Images swiped from team pages on Wikipedia.

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.

BAPL in Beantown, [Continued] – Fenway Pahk, Mr. Dooley’s, and Hahvahd; PLUS – BAPL Divisional Playoff  Predictions

FenwayPressbox.JPGI’ll spare you the remaining pics of my Fenway Park tour, like the ones posted yesterday, they were taken from my cell phone camera and the quality, well, ain’t.

Anyway, after the tour, my buddy and I hopped back on the subway, headed back to the hotel, and much to my surprise, the bag American Airlines so kindly lost for Mrs. J and I showed up at the concierge desk.  Good thing, because it contained 95% of our clothes, which included our Texas Rangers jerseys.  I was going to wear my Red Sox gear to the game, but Jeff, Mrs. J, and I decided to “represent” our boys by sporting our royal blue Texas Rangers jerseys and assorted hats.

(Note: The above/to-the-right pic was taken from our seats)

I was very surprised by the Fenway crowd, most congratulated us for our team’s better-than-expected 2009 season, however we did get several incredulous “Texas?!?” exclamations by passers-by, non of which sounded the least bit threatening, just fun, rivalry razzing.

Here are some pics from that incredible place called Fenway Park:

1. View of the field from our awesome seats:

FenwayMonster1.JPG

2. Mrs. J and I enjoying some first class ballpark food (really, it was awesome):

FenwayJnJ1.JPG

3. Mrs. J and I from the aisle next to our seats (also my new profile pic):

4. My buddy Jeff and I at the same spot:

FenwayMonsterJohnJeff1.JPG

5. The John Hancock big screen:

FenwayHancock.JPG

6. Jeff and I down by the field after the game:

FenwayFieldLvJohnJeff.JPG

7. A couple of me at the same spot:

FenwayFieldJohn.JPG

FenwayFieldLvJohn2.JPG

After the game, we went back to the hotel, changed clothes, and headed over to this great little pub called “Mr. Dooley’s”.  We landed at Mr. Dooley’s all three nights we were in Boston.  Here are some drunken pics:

1. Mrs. J and I, pre-sloshed:

DooleysJohnJac1.JPG

2. Jeff and I flashing our “gang signs”.  We dubbed our street gang “The Blubs”:

DooleysJohnJeffGang.JPG

3. Me, apparently trying to impersonate a rotund Tony Romo with hypertension, decked out in Red Sox gear.  I was several Smithwicks in by this point so I honestly don’t have a clue what the context of this pic was (but I’m pretty sure my pass was intercepted by the ghost of Michael Collins):

DooleysJohnSox2.JPG

I won’t bore you with the touristy details surrounding the remainder of the trip…I’ll just bore you with a few more pictures:

1. Jeff and I outside Mr. Dooley’s right before we left for the airport:

DooleysJohnJeff1.JPG
 

2. Mrs. J and I at the Hahvahd subway stop:

HarvardJohnJac.JPG

3. Revenge of the Legal Seafood Lobster!:

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4. Jeff and I at the aquarium:

AquariumJohnJeff1.JPG

5. And finally, Mrs. J and I at the aquarium:

AquariumJohnJac3.JPG

Needless to say, a good time was had by all.  Fenway was beyond awesome, Little Italy The North End was heaven (I could spend weeks there gorging myself on Italian food), and MAN, my feet are tired!

Thanks for the great time, Boston!

 

2009 Off-the-Cuff BAPL Divisional Playoff Predictions

1. ALDS – Red Sox/Angels

As much as I want my #2 Sox to win it all, I think the Angels just might take ’em this time.

BAPL Predic: Angels 3 games to 2, pulling out a heart-stopping win in Game 5

2. ALDS – Twinks/Yanks

Not to take anything away from the Twinks’ impressive AL Central Tiger-thump, but I’m pretty dang sure my Rangers would do a much better job of getting swept by the Yankees in this one.

BAPL Predic: Yankees 3 games to 0 in a yawner.

3. NLDS – Rocks/Phils

Gotta give the Rockies credit, they had an awesome second half run.  Too bad it’ll end here.

BAPL Predic: Phils 3 games to 1.

4. NLDS – Cards/Dodgers

His Albertness shall dominate.  Nuff said.

BAPL Predic: Cards 3 games to 2.

 

Cheers,

–Jonestein