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!
Rangers 7, Red Sox 3 (Sunday)
Red Sox 3, Rangers 1 (Saturday)
Yes, Jed Lowrie is a wuss.* I was thinking this exact thought yesterday as I sat up in the shade, approximately 5000 rows back from the BAPL VIP seats in the 103 degrees at Rangers Ballpark. I mean, COME ON, I was doing just fine with a water drenched bandanna wrapped around my neck, dooshy little mist fan a-blowin’, and six-pack of ice cold Ozarka in the ice chest….jeez.
I was also there for the 102 degree sweat-fest the night before, but was Jed Lowrie? Nooooo! He was all dehydrated or some lame excuse from the night before, a game that, yes, you guessed it, yours truly was also at, sweating away 10 lbs of salt and lard.
ANYway, Saturday’s loss to my numero two-o team, the Boston Red Sox, wasn’t that hard to swallow. Jon Lestah pitched a gem (as did Colby Lewis), and t’weren’t no one was gonna hit that Beantown Badas$ on Saturday night.
What WAS hard to swallow was 1) The Ranger’s bullpen letting the BoSox get two more runs in the ninth, and 2) Vladdy’s ill-timed attempt to steal during the rally in the bottom of the ninth. BAD Vladdy, BAD!
Sunday’s scorcher saw another great pitching duel between Dice-K and C.J. Wilson. I gotta hand it to Dice-K, he pitched one helluva game when I thought he’d wilt by the 4th in the oppressive rising sun of Arlington in August. Sunday was also a bit of a reversal from Saturday night’s duel. This time, it was the Ranger’s CJ Wilson who did the out-dueling, with the Sox bullpen folding in the late innings.
I left the ballpark yesterday sweaty, happy, and probably mildly strokey.
Speaking of strokey:
One of the few benefits of risking heat-stroke in an August day game is the rampant lack of clothing on display by the fairer sex patrons at Rangers Ballbark:
* Multiple tanky-top wearing, flat-tummied, well-to-adequately cleavaged SWILFs baking their sweaty selves in the oppressive heat whilst hosing themselves down with mist bottles and mist fans.
* Several scantily clad original ILFs, of the young motherly sort, distracting me from the proceedings on the field.
* LILF night at the ballpark. Several drunken, scantily-clad Latinas generously displayed their assets during Saturday night’s contest. Muy bueno!
* A traffic directing PILF, of the gun-toting, badge carrying variety to and fro the stadium Saturday night. I was tempted to start a ruckus at the cross-walk with some hapless Bostonians just so she’d have to take me down.
Speaking of Boston fans, while your “LET’S GO RED SOX!” chants get annoying, I’ll take you folks at the ballpark any day over the obnoxious New Yorkers.
* For the sarcasm/humor-impaired, I’m only kidding. I don’t blame Jed for sitting out the rest of The Scorcher Series. I love Nolan Ryan but his down-playing of the eff!ing Texas heat is ludicrous.
Rangers 10, Red Sox 9 (11)
Actual conversation in the bottom of the 11th at Rangers Ballpark last night:
(To the backdrop audio of Chuck Morgan, Rangers Ballpark PA announcer)
“Now pitching for Boston, number 49, Tim Wakefield…”
Me: “I’m making the call.”
Me: “Yep. Wakefield’s gonna serve up a nice, juicy knuckly-type meatball, and Nellie is going to park it in the left field seats.”
Buddy: “No wa…”
Josh Lewin (down in the booth) : “BALLGAME!!!”
Needless to say, it was an awesome freaking game.
* Tommy Hunter selected the hideous red unis. Deep inside, I was glad he got knocked around and out of the game for that very reason.
* Normally, I’m not a fan of alternate uniforms, but I do love the Sox’s Friday night road alternates, those of the Midnight Blue jerseys, gray pants and, imagine this, red socks.
Wide variety of FILF last night:
* A VERY attractive, slender JILF near the escalators on the way in…loves me some Japananese…
* BILF wearing a Pedroia jersey a few rows down. She apparently forgot to button the top couple of buttons, displaying a nice helping of Bostonian assets.
* Two YILFs near the BAPL VIP Seats, or upon closer inspection, probably should be classified as 10-to-20ILFS…I wisely directed the BAPL Oglescope elsewhere the rest of the game just to be safe.
* A DILF who almost stumbled in front of our car on the way out of the parking lot. No doubt she would be auditioning for the role of “Bobbing Mop-Head” in her boyfriend’s car shortly thereafter.
T’was an awesome night on all fronts last night, dear readers.
Nellie walkoff photo from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Last night was awesome. Then suck. Then awesome. And finally: SUCK.
I’m freakin exhausted.
Through 6 innings, I was in Ranger-nerd Nirvana, basking in the awesomeness of Cliff Lee, and what looked to be a Grade A a$s-whoopin of the Bronx Bombers. A “statement” was being made until…
I don’t even remember the details, other than a Jeetah lead-off triple in the 7th, a wild-pitch…or was it a passed ball? Dunno, but suddenly it was 6-4. Then we go to the eighth, and Frank “let’s make it interesting” Francisco gives up a moon-shot to Marcus Thames, and we’re suddenly at 6-5. Frankie lucks out, getting Austin Kearns to ground into a double play to end the inning.
After pitching two innings the previous night, Neftali Feliz was out-o-gas. In the blink of an eye, we were tied, then the Yanks were up 7-6.
Bottom 9, a glimmer of hope. Elvis leads off with a triple against Mo Rivera…was a repeat of the previous night’s theatrics on tap? SURELY it was, with Elvis on 3rd with NO OUTS and Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, and Vladdy on deck and being pumped up by the Mighty Mouse theme song echoing throughout the halls.
Well, no. Three weak-a$s outs later, yours truly was skulking out to the parking lot, listening to obnoxious Yankee fans tell us all how many rings they have.
Welcome back to 1999, Ranger fans.
…and here’s a link to other links from my other favorite Rangers site, Lone Star Ball.
* Yet another reason I love The Cliff…he once again selected the BAPL Uni of Choice – The Home Whites.
* Phil Rizzuto jersey siting – While I certainly have competitive fan disdain for the Bombers, I do respect their success and tradition. At the concession stand, an older fella was sporting a Phil Rizzuto jersey…I complimented said jersey much to the fella’s delight.
Welcome to the first sentence you’ve probably read in this post. Nice to see you again.
* Aside from the cutettite little freckled brunette in the sun dress about three rows down, the FILFage in and around the BAPL VIP Seats was lacking to say the least. Mostly because this intrepid reporter was surrounded by Yankee fans of the obnoxious male persuasion. A disappointing night on all fronts, dear readers, my apologies.
(Yes, I just made up the word “cutettite”)
The Bostons are in town this weekend, hopefully the results and FILF matter will be of much better quality and abundance.
Nellie photo from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.