Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BASEBALL PREVIEWS: the Western Division of the American League

There's only four teams in this division, and two of them have never even made the World Series. So why do we care? Well, why do you love your step-brother? Oh. You don't? You're a horrible person.

1. Emanations of a Divine Being Sent to do their Bidding

Sometime after the All-Star break the Angels, struggling, lethargic, and morose, will come across a unique nugget of information: star outfielder Vladimir Guerrero is not 34, as he revealed in a spring training interview - when he was thought to be 33 - but is, in fact, 395. He was born in 1614 to elderly parents in what is now the Dominican Republic. Upon releasing him to the Gods of the sea because they were too feeble to care for him, he landed in Florida where he was cared for by Seminole Indians. When he was 14, he stumbled upon the Fountain of Youth. He told no one. 383 years later he will use this knowledge to repair Ervin Santana's elbow and John Lackey's forearm. Gary Matthews Jr., however, will be told to go suck one. Side note: when he first met new closer Brian Fuentes in camp, Guerrero looked at the awkward-looking, acne-riddled lefty and said "Oye, tu tambien?" Fuentes had no idea what the fuck was going on.

Record: 93-68
Will beat the Yankees even though they have no business doing so, then get swept by the Red Sox

Favorite song: Meatloaf's cover of "Wind Beneath My Wings"
Favorite movie: Dogma

2. Calisthenics and Exercise Personified by a Giant, Slow, Fat Mammal

At some point during the year forest fires will rage in California, and Jack Cust will be prohibited from batting anywhere in the state. The power and frequency of his swings and misses only serves to empower the flames. Fans will bring signs pleading for A's manager Bob Geren to sit the slugger for the sake of the citizens. He will comply, for 1) he shows compassion and empathy, two signs of a great and wonderful man, and 2) Jack Cust sucks.

Meanwhile, new addition Matt Holliday will kick the living shit out of Justin Duchscherer in RBI Baseball in the clubhouse. Orlando Cabrera will sit and watch but never be invited to play. Eventually, he'll start watching Season 2 of "Entourage."

Record: 82-80

Favorite song: "Pimp the Ho" by Too $hort
Favorite movie: Operation Dumbo Drop

3. Badge-wearing Enforcers with Lonestar State-wide Jurisdiction

In late August, when the Rangers' playoff hopes have once again been beat into the Texas dirt, Jarrod Saltalamacchia will team with American composer Salvatore Macchia to start "Salt a la Macchia," a spice store specializing in salt shaped like musical instruments. For some reason the didgeridoo will be the most popular. Fellow catcher Taylor Teagarden will offer his services for a cafe in the back, but will be rebuked. Nobody puts salt in tea.

Record: 77-85

Favorite song: "No, Not Now" by Hot Hot Heat
Favorite movie: Blazing Saddles

4. Steerers of Ships Once in the Air, Now on the Sea, None of Which Go Anywhere

You know that one episode of Itchy & Scratchy where Itchy sawed off the Space Needle and the tip of it landed in Scratchy's eye? And he ran around with it comically sticking straight up, like a circus performer balancing something on their chin? Yeah, that'll be this year. Only more painful, and occurring more often.

Record: 69-93

Favorite song: "Nothing to Say" by Soundgarden
Favorite movie: Winless in Seattle ... and Oakland, and Chicago, and New York, and Cleveland, and Boston, and Kansas City, and ... No, Wait, We Can Win Some in Kansas City

Thursday, March 26, 2009

BASEBALL PREVIEWS: the Eastern Division of the American League

1) The Yankees of the ever-powerful New York City-State: Once C.C. Sabathia finds a Big and Tall store close to the stadium, he will hit his midseason stride. I mean, he's gotta be more comfortable in his academic and judicial robes, capes and moo-moos than the constraining pinstripes. Following his lead, AJ Burnett will take to Bajas-- even in the summer. Gotta stay comfy. With a new Steinbrenner in place, the world is the Yanks oyster-- Johnny Damon will wear his own beard, Mark Texeira will dress in super-cool denim suits and bring his attache case to the field with him at all times. Robinson Cano will rock Cross-Colours gear (fresh!), and upon his return, Alex Rodriguez will be super casual in his all-cotton Hanes undershirts. Look who they've got their Hanes on now! In a show of excellence, Xavier Nady isn't even going to wear a glove until he involved in a trade to the Padres for Jake Peavy somehow. All this comfort will pay off to the delight of the new class of Yankee fans-- finally comfortable in their own skin as well. What a wonderful world. The World Series, much deserved, awaits!

Favorite Song: That "Keep Truckin'" song that the Grateful Dead did.
Favorite Movie: Ordinary People

2) The Rays of the fervently humid Tampa Bay walled complex: The lord is kind to David Price, allowing him three wishes this year. Being a young upstart, however, he squanders the wishes on "winning the wild-card," "not getting a hilarious pie-in-the-face," and "winning something important this year." Too bad, young one. You will learn. On a lesser note, Scott Kazmir will finally reveal his "Mets ForFuckingEver" tattoo that he got in the minors. It remains his second-biggest regret, behind his collection of of M.A.S.K. trading cards that he finally admits will never be worth anything.

Favorite Song: "Theme from Aladdin (I Can Show You the World) by Peabo Bryson and some trick"
Favorite Movie: Aladdin

3) The Orioles of the air-conditioned Baltimore crab castle: With a new extension in tow, Nick Markakis can finally get around to his favorite, favorite activity. Finding illegal aliens and hunting them for sport. After setting a record for three in one day, he is fined by the team for being late to a meeting. Furiously, he pulls out a buck knife, runs across the stadium and slices Peter Angelos' throat while screaming, "I DIDN'T WANT THIS WAR. YOU DID." The Orioles reverse all fines levied and go on a tear to finish above .500 for the first time since Jimmy Carter ruined our country by letting all those evil banks run amok. All of my Orioles previews have Peter Angelos dying, I think.

Favorite Song: "If You Want Blood" by ACDC (or the Mark Kozelek cover can suffice)
Favorite Movie: The one where Busey tries to hunt down Van Peebles 'cause he's black or gay or homeless or whatever

4) The Blue Jays of the friendly northern Toronto sex-compound: ROBOTS.
Favorite Song: "We are the Robots" by Kraftwerk
Favorite Movie: Short Circuit 2: Shorter Circuiter

5) The Red Stockings of the ramshackle hut that is Boston: Well, it comes down to this. Theo Epstein's gambles don't pay off and when they don't he tries the kookiest, craziest idea of them all: combining all of his injured pitchers into one super-pitcher. Brad-John Pensmoltakashaizolyo. Unfortunately, he's not good with the brain combination, and this supercreature immediately runs off of the mound and begins ripping muscles out of Mike Lowell and Jason Bay. Once he feasts on Pedroia and Jed Lowrie, he finds himself still hungry-- but one man stands in his way. Youk has climbed the monster and wrestled down the Citgo sign. In a wave adrenaline, he screams, "BACK TO HELL WITH YE, YE FILTH-RIDDEN MONGREL." After crushing the monster, the credits roll and the Red Sox forfeit the season.

Favorite Song: "Monster Mash" by whoever the hell wrote it.
Favorite Movie: Now filming: Youk v. Pensmoltakashaizolyo 2: The Reckoning-birds.

Oh, and my picking Boston to finish last is trying to make up for the fact that Phony picked his team to win the NL West last year.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BASEBALL PREVIEWS: The Western Division of the National League

Yes, folks, it's that time of year again. The taxes are due, the Asians are kicking everyone's ass and it's 42 degrees in New York. That can mean only one thing ... BASEBALL! Today your venerable blog starter and tall drink of water Phony Gwynn will take you on a tour of the NL West, a division so stocked with talent, so chock full of intrigue and grandeur, that everyone east of the Mississippi will forget it even exists 2 days after the season starts. Enjoy!

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Last year some idiot predicted that the Padres would win the West. We shot him, chopped him up and fed him to Andruw Jones.

Obviously Manny Ramirez is the engine that makes this team go. This year Manny makes a full attempt to remember everyone's name but will fail miserably when he calls Hong-Chih Kuo "Dong-Tee Crow," which means "enterprising nun rapist" in Korean. Funny, I thought that was a compliment. It gets even better, though, when Manny tells Eric Stults "I loved you in Killing Zoe, bro."

Favorite song: "Mr. Brownstone" by Guns N' Roses
Favorite movie: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Record: 90-71
Out in Divisional Round

2. Arizona Diamondbacks

"This heat, it's a dry heat. One-hundred-five, 110 degrees. When you sweat you can hear it ooze out of your pores, fry once it hits the surface, and evaporate. Explode. You want to wear black in this town, you better be buried underground. Ever try to fight the sun? Put on boxing gloves, stare at the void, and go toe-to-toe with a star? I don't recommend it, friend. Like dancing with a walrus - it's different and interesting at first, but in the end, you're on the bottom looking up. You can tout Brandon Webb and Dan Haren around this town all you want, but a lack of offense is seriously offensive. Plus, there's a Bill Buckner on the team. Some roads should just be closed forever."

Favorite song: "In the Dirt" by the Phunk Junkeez
Favorite movie: Raising Arizona

Record: 87-75

3. San Francisco Giants

On May 18, 2009, the San Francisco Giants make history. There will be a press conference sparsely populated by the local media, but the blogs will glow and pulse with delight. Some will not believe it; for others, the mere thought if it will cause aneurysms so fierce they will bite through their own tongues and claw through their own flesh, down to the bone and sinew.

Humanity: destroyed. The Bay Area: awash in a red sea of flames. Western civilization: crumbled.

Due to an anemic offense, the Giants will sign Barry Bonds.

Oh, not that one. His MLB2K9 counterpart.

Despite not being able to swing a bat made of tangible matter in the physical realm, he still manages to out-hit Randy Winn.

Favorite song: "Hell in a Bucket" by the Grateful Dead
Favorite movie: Bullitt

Record: 80-82

4. San Diego Padres

Here's the most ringing endorsement I could ever possibly dream up for the MLB Network: I watched the Padres' edition of 30 Clubs in 30 Days, in which they: picked apart the Jake Peavy situation like a Thanksgiving turkey; trotted out every Jupiter-sized hole in the lineup; talked about how well Walkoff Walk favorite Kyle Blanks hits, then explained why there's no room for him on the big league roster; and ended the whole thing with both Joe Magrane and John Hart picking them to finish dead last. And guess what? I still looked forward to the season. That is some black fucking magic right there.

Record: 75-87

Favorite song: "On a Rope" by Rocket from the Crypt; "I'm Not Dead" by Buck-O-Nine (incidentally, what the offense - aside from Adrian Gonzalez - is worth)
Favorite movie: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

5. Colorado Rockies

Once there was a team that crawled out of the expansionary muck. The amoeba slowly grew fins, gills and a tail and swam around, content in its simple life. But soon it wanted more. So, many years later, it grew appendages and crawled out of the soup, soon scraping its knuckles on the ground, hunched over, breathing heavily. Finally, one glorious day well into the future, the team stood upright and rejoiced.

Then a hunter in red socks put a bullet in its head.

Evolution's a bitch, ya know.

Record: 74-88

Favorite song: "Broken Hearted Savior" by Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Favorite movie: Jesus Camp

Friday, March 20, 2009


Join me at 3:05 (not 2:45) on deadspin.com. I am liveblogging Pitt-E Tennessee State. Get some.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Outside the Aviary: "The Plan"

Listening to the blaring anger on the behalf of St. Mary's (whom I do sympathize with a tiny bit) on ESPN, I have a slight solution to our problem, here. The teams that wont play mid-majors at their school and the mid-majors that can't get neutral site games that are good enough to get in the big dance: a mid-season tournament that resembles an all-star game for college basketball teams.

Instead of forty different Christmas tourneys in Maui and etc. that usually prove next to nothing, let's consolidate all of them to a mid-season NIT. Schools can reject the invitation just like they can an invite to the NCAA tournament and the NIT postseason. If you don't like the idea of sixteen teams getting together in mid-season, don't go. BUT, if you are available and you think you could benefit your team at an away site against other good teams, then do it.

Sixteen teams, three days, equal parts mid-majors and power conferences. It can even be put together at the beginning of the season if the scheduling is too hard. Let's say the tournament goes after borderline teams in the power conferences: Arizona, Clemson, Auburn, etc. You know who the near-good teams in these conferences. Then you take the teams that struggle to get good games (ones that don't have ACC or PAC-10 help like a Davidson, Gonzaga and the like)-- St. Mary's, Utah State, Siena. This makes the Christmas holiday tremendous on a sports level-- NBA Christmas day, football in full swing, and a college basketball tourney in-season that has major implications for teams in March.

I'm sure there's problems with this, and it is an on-the-fly idea that won't work as far as scheduling. Also, arguing about what teams should get in is always fun. It's just that if the NCAA is really going to care about student-athletes, they have to give the smaller schools a chance to improve their out-of-conference schedules. That way, when they win or lose, at least they know they got a real shot. It's not so heartbreaking to get left off the list if you are provided with the means to get there.

Predictions to come, people.

Friday, March 13, 2009

An Open Letter to Jay Cutler

Dear Jay,

Shut the fuck up. Quit whining like that kid in 6th period Gym who couldn't climb the rope.* Rub some Vagisil on that rampaging rectal rotunda of yours and start leading this aimless fucking franchise.

Were the Broncos duplicitous? Surely. Could they have handled it better? Of course. Do they have the right to wave your chubby ass around like a fucking 1987 Dale Sveum Topps looking to dupe some retard into a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie? You bet your backside they do. It's a business. They pay you. They will gut you like a rainbow trout if they so choose.

Look, they're trying to fix this team. They've made some free-agent signings. Attempted to overhaul that gaping maw of a defense.

You're a legit player. You know it. They know it. Everyone knows it. Whose jersey is best represented in the stands at Invesco? Yours. I sat next to a live, walking cliche in the Meadowlands, and the moron couldn't stop screaming your name.

I bought a goddamn shirt that says "JC Saves" and has you in a prayer position.

Grow up. Get over it.

Be a man and take this team to somewhere other than a .500 record and front-row seats in January.

Make that shirt mean "games" and "seasons" rather than "tempestuous hissy fits for the offseason."

*I couldn't climb the rope, but I never bitched about it. Instead, I kicked everyone's ass at ring toss.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Ask BoL: The End is Truly the Beginning

Dear BoL: Stephon Marbury is the picture of all this is godless and wrong with the earth. fuck the celtics.

Ryan D. (cavs fan)

Ryan: Technicaly, this is not a question, but off I go anyway. I took a good, hard look at myself in the philosophical mirror yesterday and asked myself, truly, what I thought of Stephon Marbury in Celtics duds. Know what I thought? Nothing. Nothing at all. It's not that I can't muster up feelings for the dude-- positive or negative-- it's just that any team that hands themselves over to the will and wont of a championship must forever stare into the face of the void and have the void stare back. The only way for Eddie House to reamin a two-guard in the second unit was to have a ballhandler that was, apparently, not Gabe Pruitt.

Philosophically, Stephon Marbury is everything my dad hates-- the skills of a brilliant madman with the tattoos and resumes of a high-school gang member hanging out near a rec center. Sure, the requisite whitebred response is immediately, "Shit, man. That guy's an asshole." I've even said it in my day. But weeks ago, i said, while sober, that I'd be happy to have Marbury on the roster. Why? Becuase, at best, he is a Steve Blake kind of problem-solver off of the bench. If Rondo is the creative master of the first unit, then Marbury is the cordial host of an after-party-- dancing with all comers without making any mistakes as to who is with whom.

At worst, he is a failed experiment that is benched in the playoffs (see Cassell, Sam in LA) and the Celtics lose a few bucks and MAYBE a night's sleep. That's it. This isn't a trade for Jason Kidd two years removed from the finals, or getting an old, expensive Shaq on the fastest team alive. This isn't MJ coming back either. It's a backup point-guard on a roster of forwards and two-guards. How can this hurt? Sure, my dad is pissed, but I'm sure that if the Celtics get to the Finals, I'll be regaled with "Marbury really shook off his demons, didn't he?"

The purest form of basketball is still played with wonton disregard to who passes to whom or what happened in the timeouts. Deliver the ball to the right people to make shots. Period. Marbury can do that, becuase the people around him won't deal with failure. Except maybe Glen Davis. Am I selling my basketball soul? I say, quite the opposite. Steph's fall from grace was well documented, and now, Celts-willing, his first gainful steps will be too. His countenance may never overshadow his legacy, but it will add to the remarkable story that many can't seem to want to stop hearing.

I'll listen, Steph. I will. And I, for one, think it will be worth it.

It's a Live Blog. For No Reason. I'll Probably Break Something Or Cry at the End

It's a Thursday night, I've got a glass full of scotch, and the Nuggets are on the tube. It's Brandon Roy, a chalk outline of Greg Oden and Melo's salty tears battling for the top spot in the Northwest Division.

10:48 - K-Mart is hurt, so it's Johan Petro in the starting lineup. Why not Renaldo Balkman? I don't fucking know, either.

10:51 - Joel Godzilla swishes two free throws. Seems like that can't bode too well for the Nuggies.

10:55 - The Blazers finally miss their first shot. Former Nugget Steve Blake, who looks like a GoldenEye character, misses a three.

10:58 - J.R. Smith follows a Nene miss with a monster jam, then gets a T for taunting. Look, JR, we love you, man. Now calm the fuck down. (Roy misses the FT, proving that the ball don't lie).

Also, my girlfriend just started telling me a story about Cadbury eggs, and I ignored her, and now she's pissed at me. I just tried to apologize, and she's still mad. What goes on in a woman's head? I bet it's like a Rube Goldberg sketch: boyfriend says/does something, the boot kicks over the ball, which rolls down the ramp, turning the lever, rotating the fan blade, lighting the match next to the pool of gasoline.

11:05 - Chauncey has a three-on-one, and ends up trying a finger roll and commits a charge. I saw the dish to Melo for the ensuing dunk in my mind, and it made me pee a little.

11:14 - The Birdman throws down a dunk, gets fouled, and hits the free one to put the Nugs up 31-18. Portland has no energy, which means they'll lead by 2 at the break.

11:31 - Travis Outlaw gives Nene a sick crossover move at the top of the key and nails a jumper. Where's Bo Outlaw when you need him?

11:38 - 3 straight Denver turnovers, a Roy-Aldridge monster alley-oop, and the inevitable lapse begins ... oh, wait, Rudy Fernandez just hit a 3, 46-35 Nuggets.

11:49 - Brandon Roy loses the ball at the foul line, gathers himself, then hits the jumper. J.R. Smith comes right back and drains a 40-footer at the buzzer to put the Nugs up 53-44. A 16-pt cushion got Ginzu'd down to to 9, but it was a solid first half.

12:03 - More scotch. Charles says he feels sorry for Mark Cuban, and Kenny Smith calls Cuban 'Slumdog Billionaire.' Kenny rarely makes me laugh out loud, but that was pretty fucking good.

12:12 - The Blazers come out firing, the Nuggets come out cold and bumbling, and it's a two-point game. I AM NOSTRADAMUS.

12:18 - Nene with an up-and-under and then a jumper, and the lead is back to 6. They say the NBA is a league of runs, and I ask, why not more toilet paper endorsements?

12:25 - Melo leaks out for a second straight time, and again finishes with a lay-in, this time with the foul. The Nuggets could be a solid defensive team, if they wanted to. (See: recent Lakers game; see again: yes, the Lakers were tired, on the second night of a back-to-back, bite me, etc.) They may not be big, but they're all quick and athletic and can be extremely active when they want to. Also, the guards rebound very well.

12:30 - Birdman blocks Rudy's shot right off his mug and out of bounds, then combs his hair. Man, let that dude smoke all the hillbilly crack he wants. He's fun as shit. (Update: Aldridge subsequently posterizes Andersen and lets him know he was not happy with his preening. Point taken.)

12:34 - Linas Kleiza hits a 3 and the Nugs finish 75% of the game up 81-70. Can they actually assert their dominance and step on a fucking throat? Or will they continue to take bad, quick shots, fail to rotate and close out, and let the lead dwindle? Oh, you know the damn answer. Quit being so coy. Dirty girl.

12:39 - They show a graphic of the Nuggets' fourth quarters in the last few weeks, and it's not good. More minuses than a nuclear town's pregnancy tests.

12:40 - I immediately regret writing that last sentence.

12:41 - It's time for a Greg Oden joke. Greg Oden is so old... (How old is he?) Greg Oden is so old, there are no current records for his date of birth.

12:48 - Roy steps up and takes a charge from Nene, who looked like he was horny and going to Carnaval. If you don't like Brandon Roy, you don't like basketball and I don't fucking like you. Take your fancy sweater and leave my apartment.

12:53 - Kevin Harlan is a charter member of the "Doesn't Look Like He Sounds" club. He sounds fat, doesn't he? Or at least pleasantly portly? Yes, he does. But he's not.

1:08 - Dahntay Jones misses a 10-foot baseline jumper. He's the only shooting guard in the NBA who can't shoot.

1:10 - Jason Hart just hit a midrange jumper for the Nuggets. I have no fucking clue who Jason Hart is.

1:13 - Nuggets put it away late as the Blazers succumb to tired legs and 5,280 106-90. It was a good night. I could've drank more scotch, but I didn't. I have a job. RESPONSIBILITIES.

Like drinking more scotch and looking up boobs. GO NUGGETS!