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.
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.
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!
So I’m perusing the MLB page on ESPN.com and I run across this article:
…which is contrary to everything I was brought up to believe in the Teams-I’m-Supposed-to-Hate Department.
Naturally, this inspired me to write something, seeing as how it meshes two things I love:
1) “Hating” things.
2) Writing lists of things I hate.
Now, a quick disclaimer before I get the hate train a rollin’ – I don’t really “hate” anyone, at least in the watch-them-suffer-and-die meaning of the word. Yeah, I rail on religion and leftist politics and politicians, but I would never seriously do or wish harm on anyone (yeah, yeah, I’ve blustered about wishing a quick and expedient expiration for certain politicians and religilous figures, but that was just blowing off steam). Truth be known, I’m actually just a big cuddly teddy bear.
Anyway, when it comes to “hating” sports teams, it’s the fun, rival kind of hate. Yeah I may have some serious problems with some of the actions of certain teams and players, but there exists no true hate. So please don’t take it personally if your team shows up on my Hatedar, it’s all in good fandom fun.
Now that all of that preamble filler is on the table, here we go:
BAPL Top Hated MLB Teams
1. New York Yankees
From a fiscal, Capitalist, money-making mo-fo perspective, I love these guys. But they are the Yankees, and as I stated in a previous blog, I’m genetically predisposed to despise Yankees, given my southern roots. Also, from a fandom perspective, the Yanks are like that bully in school that always picked on you. Not only could he beat your a$s, no matter how hard you’d fight back, he also just happened to be a filthy rich bully who would beat your a$s then drive off in the BMW mommy and daddy bought for him.
2. Los Anaheim Angeles of Los Californias de Leftiste Coastas
They are the Yankees of the AL West with their deep pockets, always bullying my Rangers. Plus, they reside in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia. Plus, they can’t make up their mind what to call themselves. Plus, their uniforms are ugly. Plus, Vladimir Guerro is a…wait, he’s one of us now, never mind.
3. Washington Natinals
This is pure hate by proximity. I hate Washington D.C. and our bloated, overreaching, liberty snuffing federal government. The Nats, well, I liked ’em just fine when they were playing in front of the dozens of Expos fans back in Montreal.
(Side note: Needless to say, I’m f**king giddy that the Habs knocked out the Caps in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs! <Nelson> NYA-HA! </Nelson>)
4. Cincinnati Reds
I hate their colors and uniforms, otherwise, they barely even exist in my baseball world.
*Update 4/30/10* – I just signed Mike Leake to my fantasy team, so the Reds, for now, exist a little bit more in my baseball world. Mr. Leake could potentially help remove his team from this list if he starts getting me some lucrative points the rest of the season.
5. Toronto Blue Jays
I have no idea why I hate this team, other than their ugly-as-hell powder blue throwback unis.
6. Kansas City Royals
Back in the early 80’s, when they were in the AL West, the Royals were always knocking the Rangers out of contention and I’ve hated ’em ever since. Now I just hate them because they suck and they’re wasting Zack Greinke’s best years because of said suckitude.
7. Detroit Tigers
Because they have the Rangers number for some weird reason and they are Allen Krause’s favorite team. ;^)
8. Baltimore Orioles
Another aesthetically rooted hate. Their unis and team colors are hideous. Plus, seeing Jim Palmer’s alien-like bronze skin on TV during the ’79 World Series traumatized me as a kid.
9. Oakland A’s
Because when Los Anaheim isn’t hogging the AL West crowns, these guys are.
10. Florida Marlins/Arizona Diamondbacks/Colorado Rockies/Tampa Bay Rays
This is pure petty hate, I actually like all of these clubs, especially the Rays and Rockies. I’m just bitter that these recent (to 45 year old me) expansion teams have managed to come into the league and make it to the World Series whilst my Rangers haven’t even won a damn ALDS series. *grumble*
Happy Hate Day!
Image from here.
You’d think at the ripe age of 45, I would sense the red flags after hearing this statement. But alas, when it comes to the game of baseball, I’m still a 15 year old kid susceptible to temptation.
Yes, I’m talking about my latest new addiction, Fantasy Baseball. Not only did my baseball crack dealer get me hooked on one league, he managed to hook me on two, and let me tell ya something, dear readers, it is some kind of hella-addicting.
Not only that, it has changed the way I watch the game. It’s not unlike the first time I watched “The Wall” whilst stoned outta my gourd.
Suddenly, I give a crap what Brad Hawpe of the Rockies is doing at the plate, that Torii Hunter just grounded into a double play, or that Matt Cain just gave up a game-tying triple. Aaron Hill pulled a hammie? Oh crap! Now I have a reason to give a shiite about the Blue Jays and am forced to learn that the D-Backs second baseman has a girl’s name.
My fandom loyalties are also being tested and pulled in all directions. While watching Scott Feldman pitch at Rangers Ballpark this week, I found myself secretly rooting against him because he was one of my fantasy opponent’s starting pitchers. Then again, Feldman is one of MY starting pitchers in the other fantasy league! GAHHH!!! Worst of all, I have Mariano Rivera as one of my closers in both fantasy leagues, so I’m now actually rooting for the Yankees when Mo is in a save sitch!
My advice, “Just Say No” to fantasy baseball, it will take over your life.
(I’m kidding, it effing rocks!)
Now please excuse me while I go knock off a liquor store so I can make my dues in the pay league.
Cartoon from here.
I’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:
2. Mrs. J and I enjoying some first class ballpark food (really, it was awesome):
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:
5. The John Hancock big screen:
6. Jeff and I down by the field after the game:
7. A couple of me at the same spot:
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:
2. Jeff and I flashing our “gang signs”. We dubbed our street gang “The Blubs”:
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):
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:
2. Mrs. J and I at the Hahvahd subway stop:
3. Revenge of the Legal Seafood Lobster!:
4. Jeff and I at the aquarium:
5. And finally, Mrs. J and I at the aquarium:
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.