Tagged: Twins

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

mlb_blog_sig.JPG

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

As Stewie Griffin Would Say…

2010_RangersvsAngels_Game81.jpg
VICTORY IS MINE!!!!

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!!

–Jonestein

The Glass is Still Half Bankrupt

pessimism.jpg

I know, I’m supposed to be gushing with giddy optimism because the Rangers acquired Cliff Lee, but it just ain’t happenin’.  Yeah, there’s plenty of “gid”, Lee’s a bona fide bad a$s, probably the most legit ace the Rangers have had in eons, but I remain pessimistic for a number of reasons:

1. Brutal second-half schedule.
Starting with four at Boston, then a trip to that Rangers Hell known as Tigers Ballpark (I know, it’s known as something else, but I refuse to use dooshy corporate ballpark names).  Still have 14 games with Los Anaheim, as well as another series with Boston and the Yanks, not to mention road trips to Toronto, Tampa, Minnesooota, and I never thought I’d be weary of this one – a four game road trip to Baltimore.  Oh, and 43 of the remaining 74 games are on the road. 

2. Questionable pitching.
Even with the addition of His Leeness, this starting rotation is questionable at best.  Feldman just flat-out sucks, C.J. is meh, the jury is still out on Colby Lewis, as it is on Tommy Hunter.  The bullpen is warn out, though the Alexi Ogando call up and the acquisition of the inning-devouring Cliff Lee might ease the stress there.  Who the hell knows what we’ll get from Rich Harden when he returns, and I have a hunch that Derek Holland is done for the year.

3. Molina? Really?
I don’t know what the hell J.D. was thinking with this trade.  I thought the Treanor/Max Ramirez platoon behind the plate was working just fine.  It is downright painful to watch Molina labor around the base pads… this coming from a fat guy (me) who is getting really sick of the de-humanization of fat people in today’s society.  I might have been ok with JUST giving up Chris Ray for Molina, but wasting a good prospect like Michael Main?  This reeks of farm system mistakes from front offices past.  I’m told I’m wrong about this from baseball acquaintances seemingly more baseball sageier than I.  I hope they are right, cuz it looks to me like we just gave away a good prospect for a guy who looks like me running the bases.

I know I could probably itemize some more, but I’m already getting bored with this post.  It boils down to this: until this team makes it to, AT A MINIMUM, the ALCS, and AT LEAST puts up a hard-fought, go-to-seven-games fight, I will forever be a pessimist in the land of Rangerdom.

And please, don’t tell me to “just have faith”, “faith” is for…well, don’t get me started on that.

–Jonestein

Q: Big Contract-itis?

slacker.jpg 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…

–Jonestein

 

2010 BAPL UAC Predictions – AL Central

Previously, on Law & Order: Uniform Aesthetics Division

*doink-doink*

During Monday’s episode, the BAPL UAD investigated Powdah-Blew gang activity in the AL East.

Tuesday found the unit trolling the dangerous aesthetic ghetto of the NL East.

Today, BAPL investigators venture into the AL Central, home to the frozen tundra of Minnesota, the frozen ideological wastelands of Kansas/Missouri, the mean streets of Chicago, and the empty streets of Cleveland and Detroit:

1. Cleveland Indians  MLB_Uni_CLE.PNG
Aside from the hella bad-a$s NBA Cleveland Cavaliers and their soon to be get-the-hell-outta-this-miserable-city forward LeBron James, about the only thing Cleveland sports fandom has going for it is the BAPL UAC Approved®
unis of the otherwise pathetic Cleveland Indians baseball club.  The
home whites and away grays sport the perfectly proportioned combination
of navy blue and red.  The cream colored alternates induce immediate,
multiple aesthetic fangasms, as do the road alts and their liberal use
of UAC perennial favorite color Navy Blue.

Most of all, the UAC adores those gutsy caps sporting the ├╝ber-politically incorrect Indian with the sh!t-eatin’ grin on his face.  Every year during the off-season, the BAPL UAC charters a bus for a weekend casino run up to
Oklahoma.  Now, while no self-respecting UAC member would ever claim to be
an Indians fan, all UAC members enjoy donning said sh!t-eatin’ grin cap when entering the WinStar Casino of the Chickasaw Nation
Numerous council members have confirmed that the logo depiction is
incredibly accurate, based on numerous face-to-face encounters with
Chickasaw blackjack dealers.  Many a council member has noted the
increased intensity of the Chickasaw grin in proportion to council
member inebriation levels and subsequent hemorrhaging of Chickasaw
casino chips.

Colors (Navy Blue, Red, White): A+ (Great colors, wisely proportioned.)
Cap Insignia(s): A- (Very minor penalty for the use of the “C” and “I” alternate caps.  Sh!t-eatin’ grin Chickasaw should be the only cap in use.)
Team Logo: A+ (The cigar-puffing, blustering pale-face who conceived this Injun logo really knocked the moccasins off the reservation.)
Mascot: A+ 
(How this wonderful mascot has survived the modern-day political correctness  gestapo is beyond me.  Long live Chief Wahoo!)
  

2.
Minnesota Twins MLB_Uni_MIN.PNG
The
only problem the council could find with the Twinks uniforms were that
of the alternate sleeveless jersey, a clear violation of UAC Code 86A – Sleeveless Jerseys Look Silly.  Otherwise, all 2010 Twinkie uniforms were found pleasant to the eye, especially that of Joe Mauer, 2009 AL MVP who, coincidentally, anchors the UAC Chair’s fantasy baseball team, and not RSBS Co-Chair Jeff Lung’s fantasy team.

Colors (Navy Blue, Red, White): A+ (Like the Injuns, great colors, wisely proportioned.)
Cap Insignia(s): B- (The council likes the Too Cold” insignia, but finds the “M” insignia unnecessary.)
Team Logo: B (Nicely designed and recognizable, but not fangasm-worthy)
Mascot: C+ 
(Regionally relevant, but falls into that “let’s not offend anyone” category of the “Mets”, “Nationals”, and “Expos”, all of which, the council finds extremely offensive.)
  

3. Detroit Tigers MLB_Uni_DET.PNG
The
council has always been impressed that the Detroiters, like the Yanks
of New York, opt for the simple yet classic home whites and away grays,
rather than a plethora of non-traditional alternates that do nothing
but over-commercialize the great game.

The council is especially
fond of the home whites and the Old English “D” that adorns them. 
While lacking the majesty and mystique of the Yanks “NY”, the
Detroiters emblem symbolizes the tough, blue-collar grit of the
rust-belt unions, the very unions that, coincidentally, helped destroy the
economy of said rust belt.  Perhaps, like General Motors, the Tigers can be bailed out with coerced tax payer money and become a
quasi-socialist organization run by President Hopenchange. Picture the image of Tigers skipper Jim Leyland sharing a smoke with PBO in the Tigers dugout…someone give Leroy Neiman a call immediately.

The
Tigers had a firm grasp on first place in the UAC standings throughout
the off-season and up until the last day of voting, when one
persnickety council member noted that the use of the color orange on
the navy away caps could easily be misconstrued as the UAC condemned
combination of orange and black.  This forced a tie-breaker vote the
next day resulting in a disappointing finish for Les Tigres behind the
tundra-dwellers of Minneapolis/St. Paul.   Detroit may never recover.

Colors (Navy Blue, White, Orange): B- (The orange cost them dearly)
Cap Insignia(s): A- (Perfection denied via red’s ugly sister.)
Team Logo: A+ (Classic)
Mascot: B- 
(Has become rather trite in the world of mascots.)

4. Chicago White Sox MLB_Uni_CWS.PNG
Of
course, we all know that President Hopenchange would never bail out the
Detroit Tigers…hell, the man is self-respecting White Sox Fan
Anyway, many a heated debate was had over the unis of the south-side
dwellers of the windy city.  The home pinstripes were found to be
rock-solid, sleek and generally appealing.  The only fault found with
the road grays was the stripe adorning the bottom half of the uni…the
council is still deliberating on the exact nature of this aesthetic
quandary.

The alternates, of course, clearly violate UAC Section P, Article 303 – Mixing of Solids and Stripes
But what sealed the fate of the Chicagoans 4th place rating was a 3/4
majority appeal for retroactive reparations for the aesthetic crimes
committed by the club during the late 70’s/early 80’s “baggy uni” phase.  Reparations will begin to be phased out at the beginning of the 2020 season.

Colors (Black, Silver, White): B+ (Nothing flashy, very meat & potatoes.  The council is a fan of meat and potatoes.)
Cap Insignia(s): A (Simple, stylish)
Team Logo: A (Ditto)
Mascot: B 
(Like “Red Sox”, the ears of UAC members do not hear “socks”, we hear “play ball”)
 

5. Kansas City Royals
MLB_Uni_KC.PNG
Any hope the Royals ever had of escaping the cellar in the UAC
standings are and will forever be dashed by the hideous, inexcusable
aesthetic assault that is their powder blue alternates.  The council
also weeps that the talent of Zack Grienke is not only being wasted in
the fandom wasteland of Kansas City, but that they have the nerve to
dress Herr Grienke up in such humiliating attire.  No wonder he has a social anxiety disorder.  A thousand curses
upon this franchise!  What’s that?  “Get in line”?

Colors (Royal Blue, Powder Blue, White): D(Lose the powder blue.)
Cap Insignia(s): B (Not awe-inspiring, but not awful either)
Team Logo: C (Meh)
Mascot: C+ 
(I seem to recall that this has some regional significance, but since
this is the Royals, I just don’t see the upside of Googling the answer.)

Actual BAPL Predictions for the American League Central as mandated by BAPL UAC32910:

AL Central
1. Minnesota Twins  (See Mauer bias above)
2. Chicago White Sox  (Possible wild card in the works)
3. Detroit Tigers (More mediocrity in the works)
4. Cleveland Indians  (Possibly a fierce battle for the cellar with KC in the works)
5. Kansas City Royals  (More pathetic Grienke wasting in the works)

Next up: the NL Central

–Jonestein

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.