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!
Nod to Booyakasha at Lone Star Ball for this awesome gif:
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!
“I feel like a spurned lover.” This is pretty much the consensus feeling in Rangerdom right now. Me, I’m not quite sure which stage o’ grief I’m in right now, probably irrational anger as I look at the picture to your right.
Despite all of the “fun” Cliff claims to have had here in his short tenure, despite the alleged friendships that were cultivated, in the end, it just feels like he’s told us “Sorry Texas Rangers, you just aren’t good enough.” This of course, makes me angry.
However, as I ride this roller coaster of fandom emotions today, at points I’m also finding myself a little relieved. Truth be told, I was never comfortable with the $$$ and contract lengths being thrown around, given Lee’s age. I figured we’d get at most, three really good years out of him before the inevitable decline.
Anyway, I’m sure as hell glad the Rangers aren’t in the NL East, that Philly starting four looks freaking incredible. Kudos to their Ninja GM for pulling off this last second swipe under everyone’s noses.
Oh, and on the bright-side, at least he isn’t a MF Yankee.
But I was there, and it was the greatest moment in my sports fandom life, period.
Two more demons of baseball futility were exorcised from Arlington last night, one more to go…and I will be there. I’ve waited over 30 freakin years for this, and as Nellie Cruz would say, “Es Tine!”
(Photo from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
I made it to all freakin 81 Rangers home games this year!
SUCK IT, BUCKET LIST!!!!
Of course, they lost 6-2 to Los Anaheim today, but it’s understandable, they pulled all of the starters in the sixth inning so, whatevs.
Funny thing was, the Halos got PISSED that we put our scrubs in so soon and had grand hoopla exits for the starters. Dan Haren threw behind Matt Treanor when he was sent in to pinch hit for Vladdy so Vladdy could get his ovationie goodness from the crowd. Then Haren was jawwing at the Rangers dugout trying to start more shat.
What a *&^%$* doosh.
Anyway, what a GREAT season. Playoff tix came in Friday, and I’m freaking jazzed as hell.
Cept I’m also pissed at TBS for scheduling the first two ALDS games in Tampa at 12:30PM and 1PM…ON A GOT-DAYUM WEEKDAY!!!
EFF YOU, TBS!!
Fantasy baseball has opened my eyes to many facets of baseball that I’ve never really payed attention to in the past. One phenomenon that has gotten my attention this year is what I’m dubbing “Big Contract-itis”, i.e. player signs big-money contract, player proceeds to have significant drop in performance.
Close to home in Arlington, we have witnessed this phenomenon with Rangers “ace”, Scott Feldman. He had a stellar 2009, got rewarded with a big contract in 2010 (big by Rangers standards), and has proceeded to look like hammered shiite so far this season.
Last night at the ballpark, I watched the Rangers hammer “King” Felix Hernandez…again. Felix is hardly his 2009 self and guess what? Big contract and long-term commitment from the Mariners at the beginning of the season.
While I realize we are only at the 1/3 mark of the season, I can’t help notice that big contract-itis seems to have afflicted others around the league: Ryan Howard, Jason Bay, Chone Figgins, and much to my fantasy baseball dismay, Joe Mauer.
So, BAPL Nation, I want to know what you think of this phenomenon:
1. If there is such a thing, is it a conscious thought process, or subconscious thought process?
2. Is Big Contract-itis a manifestation of the human tendency to get complacent when secure?
3. Or is it just too early in the season to be diagnosing this “disease”?
Lemee know what you think…
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.
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
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 Teal. However, 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
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
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
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
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:
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
(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.