This Scheduling Is Bogus, Man

Baseball players spend the entire season playing in strings of consecutive games with little rest. Then, when they get to the postseason, they get pampered. Needless to say, for a trip that takes less than 2 hours (assuming both teams spend the night in the ballpark), the players require a rest day of travel for their suddenly puny bodies.

Of course, the longer things get drawn out, the more attention MLB gets, which means dollar dollar bills y’all.

Dollar Shirt

The New Uniform of MLB Employees

I have an equally ambitious plan for the remaining WS games. Understandably, the next two games will be played at CBP to even things out. Then…

Game 5 – November 26th. 5pm ET. PNC Park, Pittsburgh. Everyone can be thankful that for once this quite nice ballpark will get to host a World Series Game for the first and possibly only time in it’s existence (at least the Nats and Royals try to form good teams).

PNC Park

Just one game, guys! I promise I won't let you down!

Get your food coma on at the ballpark! Move over NFL, baseball has bigger games to display.

Game 6 – December 25th. 5pm ET. Citifield, NY. Christmas present for the Mets…kind of. It will be a welcome discount on Yankee concessions and ticket prices. Also the beer is important. Apparently Yankee Stadium has a “Beers of the World” stand that sells Heineken, Beck’s, Stella, and other unimpressive mass-produced brews. If you’re uber-retarded you can pay $9 for PBR.

PBR Sucks

Don't call me stingy, that's a $27 Christmas present.

Meanwhile over at Citifield there is one concession stand that has a better selection than all of Yankee Stadium, not to mention the other micro brews you can find at other concessions. Note: I hear CBP has a damn fine selection of brews also.

Game 7 – December 31st. 11pm ET. The Vacant Lot next to the house I grew up in, Long Island. This’ll be an interesting one considering the fact that it’s not entirely a ballpark. Lighting may play a heavy role since it’ll mainly come from those dull orange streetlights. I recommend using neon green tennis balls (from experience) and pro ballplayers should be able to rocket those things at least a neighborhood or two away. The pitcher’s mound is actually lower than the rest of the field since a house used to exist there, so that may make things…awesome? Second base will have to share time with traffic on the street, but since it will be around midnight there won’t be too many vehicles futzing with Jeter’s fielding. I’m pretty sure there will be no stealing of second, so this’ll be a righty-heavy pitching game. The outfield will be across the street on the neighbor’s downhill front lawn. There are actually a lot fewer trees and bushes there, so instead of a miniature forest it is now a playable obstacle course. Get your tickets now, since seating is practically non-existent. BYOB.

Photo Booth

The Photographer's Booth

Additionally, all games are mandatory. None of this first-to-four-wins nancy-boy business.

In the news, briefly

Our colleagues in the world of sports journalism have turned in two fine pieces worth noting here:

  • Kudos to ESPN’s Jim Caple for hitting the streets to find those rare Yankee fans who have legitimate feelings of championship drought.
  • On the other side of the coin, The Onion’s sports section continues its strong coverage with a timely piece on the Phils own championship drought.

Post-Season Howard

From the Mildly Interesting Stats Department:

The last few NL MVP races have induced many discussions of Ryan Howard vs. Albert Pujols.  Regular season numbers pretty much decide the issue in Albert’s favor.  But playoff numbers are interesting:

  • Howard’s career line: .279 / .376 / .586 (AVG/OBP/SLG)
  • Howard’s playoff career, through yesterday: .300 / .408 / .590
  • Numbers-wise: 27 games, 100 AB (plus 18 BB), 17 R, 6 HR, 25 RBI

Pujols has played in almost twice as many playoff games:

  • Pujols’ career line: .334 / .427 / .628 (seriously…)
  • Pujols’ playoff career: .322 / .431 / .578
  • Numbers-wise: 56 games, 199 AB (36 BB), 39 R, 13 HR, 36 RBI

Get me to August and then let me loose

The point?  No grand one, but a couple snack-sized observations.  Albert’s video-game-like regular season numbers mean that his tidy playoff 1.009 OPS is actually lower than his regular season numbers.  Howard, by comparison, has thus far batted above his regular season numbers.  In half the games, he has two-thirds as many RBI as Pujols.

The MVP is not decided by post-season performance, but if Howard keeps this up, he may win over a few more people in the debate over which elite NL first basemen you want on your team.

Yankee Nation: “Oh Shit.”

That noise you hear is the collective Yankee fan base slapping themselves on the forehead.  After a serious beatdown of 6-1 in their own house, the Yankees are in for a series they didn’t think could be this hard.  The Phillies out pitched, out hit, out ran and all around out played the Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series.

If not for an ill-advised double play attempt by Jimmy Rollins in the 8th inning, Cliff Lee would’ve gotten a shutout.  As it stands…he’s the first pitcher ever to have no walks, 10 k’s and no earned runs while pitching a complete game in the World Series.  FIRST EVER.  Chase “somebody get a forklift to get my penis off this field” Utley also carved a little piece of history of his own, being only the second left handed hitter to go deep off a left handed pitcher in the World Series.  A hint…the other guy who did it has a candy bar named after him.


So what does this mean?  For the Phillies to win, this first game was crucial.  They’ve established the “split” they had to have in Yankee stadium, and set themselves up for a commanding 2-0 lead heading back to CBP.  For the Yankees, the cover of the NY Post says it all, “UT-OH”.  The Phils have cracked their ace, cracked their bullpen, and cracked their lineup (A-Rod 0-4, 3k’s) and cracked their spirits.  Maybe most satisfying of all, all the fucking asshole fake die-hard Yankee fans are back peddling just a little bit today, which is always funny to see.

Tonight is going to be an equally as intriguing matchup.  Pedro Martinez, once the punching bag that always punched back to Yankee fans (right, Zim?) will be toeing the rubber for the WFC.  AJ Burnett, one of the big three free agent purchases by the Yankees last off-season takes the hill for the Yanks.  I for one can’t wait.


Hey Everybody, the Yankees have a new tradition!

The New York Times has broken the news that the Yankees have a new tradition. Regardless of the definition of “tradition”, and blind to the fact that the coverage of this World Series is reaching inane heights, the New York Times goes on to describe this previously unknown “tradition” to its online audience that got bored 3 paragraphs into reading about a bombing in Pakistan.

This “new” tradition that is called, “pieing,” which the author is delighted is in the dictionary (“And yes, word fans, the Oxford English Dictionary recognizes the noun “pieing,” just as it recognizes the verb “to pie.” – was brought to the Yankees this year by some genius named AJ Burnett. It’s a “creamy slap in the face” that is employed when a teammate hits a walk-off. You can almost hear Jorge Posada sitting in the dug-out around a hastily crafted fire grunting, “Boom him in the face” while he leans on a tree-trunk that is used as a club. But, it doesn’t stop there. The catch is that it is shaving cream, not whip-cream, and now the Yankees are doing it, despite the fact that the article begrudgingly accepts that yes, several other teams have been doing it for years. But hey, it’s now happening in the House that Ruth Built Next to the House that Ruth Built, so already, it’s beyond mythic.

Below you will see a victim of “pieing.”


Notice the “reach-around” employed to make sure that he takes as much cream to the face as possible.

Jim Bouton, the foil for this article, doesn’t like it one bit.

“In my day, they had more creative ways to sort of celebrate,” said Mr. Bouton, 70. “Pieing would have been silly, kids’ stuff. We would put a live snake in a guy’s underwear. That is something that real men would do. This is silly stuff, you know what I mean? It’s kid stuff. The guys today, they’re inexperienced.”

Real men would stick reptiles down each other’s trousers. You can almost hear Mr. Bouton going on, “Back in my day we didn’t only pie the player, but their families too, in the middle of the night. Yessir, rounded them up and pied them into a ditch. These kids ain’t got no backbone.”

An expert weighs in:

“baseball historian John Thorn drew a distinction between what he considers pranks like snakes in underwear and rituals like postgame pieing — and, he added, the pie in the face is a new phenomenon, as these things go. “I don’t remember this happening 20 years ago,” he said. Pieing, he added, was a product of “the age of irony.”

Good thing he said something. Before I just assumed pieing was the product of vastly overpaid man-children who are treated like Mona Lisas. Now I can relegate all of that to “age of irony”, which also made “Rick Rolling” popular.

Conclusion: “pieing” is not new, nor a “tradition,” the Yankees are over covered, and the media is way too in love with those billion dollar boys in pinstripe blue. Like Mr. Thorn says: “It makes our heroic players seem like regular guys, and we like them to have 90 seconds of insipid postgame interview capped by the pricking of the gonfalon bubble.”

Prick those gonfalon bubbles, mates.

The Tensi… – oh, who am I kidding – Depression Mounts

Mets fan? Yes.
Watching the World Series? I suppose.
Is this the worst thing ever? Since ’96 and ’99? Quite possibly.

Do I appease my Long Island friends and ‘root’ for the Yanks or appease my blogmates and ‘root’ for the Phils. Theoretically I could root for the Mets, but that’s just insane (mostly all still injured).

sad mr met

Yanks: Payroll that dwarfs everything…including Ryan Howard’s desire for Subway Subs. The Steinbrenner family could buy me my own island…they would be jerks about it, but they could do it.
Phils: $8 mill less and they would be half of the Yanks. They play in Citizen’s Bank Park…nope, banks no longer have any money.
Winner: Yanks – They would overpay me despite the fact that I’m a scrawny white guy with poor vision. $200,000 a year would be pretty sweet.

Yanks: I went to the previous Yankee Stadium once. Hideki Irabu sucked and they lost 16-5. I don’t know what the new place is like besides ridiculously overpriced in all areas. I hear you have to pay for oxygen. Also, naming a stadium after your team is kind of boring; no identity is formed because you already know who plays there.
Phils: CBP. Nice place. Huge upgrade over the Vet. Cozy place. Great views from any seat. Affordable. Is this one obvious yet?
Winner: Phils – It’s a great park.

Yanks: Jeter – Herpes? A-Rod – Frosted Tips. Posada – He looks like a two-handled cup. Matsui – Ugliest thing since…Godzilla. Sabathia – Linebacker? The Rest – They’re all men.
Phils: Howard – Slimmed down…and besides his annoying affiliation with Jared this is very positive. Werth – Looks kind of like an alien. Utley – Ok, actually pretty hot. Feliz – Phils’ Matsui. Lidge – A man of Herodotus! Hamels – Needs a haircut. The Rest – I’m seriously not gay.
Winner: My girlfriend. I really do have one.

The Mets have more talent in their injured everywheres than both of these teams together….right?
Winner: Everybody loses. Except the World Series winner.

Yanks: I will go out on a limb here and say when you buy everything there isn’t much need for luck. And when several very obviously blown calls go your way over the course of several games…luck leaves the equation and you can start positing other theories.
Phils: Over the past two seasons the new Big Red Machine has managed to push through with no major injuries to any big player. Sure, some players have missed time, but no starting fielder not playing catcher has played less than 133 games. This season, Ibanez was the low at 134, but no one else played less than 155. In ’08 they had 4 starters with 30 or more starts. This season, the main reason they failed to hit that goal again was because they had to move healthy starters to bullpen duty for trade acquisitions. When Pedro is using the old “I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years” line (Mets fans know this one well) and it turns out to be true there is something afoot (the truth?). Perhaps there was some magic in those old red hats they wore.
Winner: Yanks. Who have also managed to remain eerily healthy. Matsui showed up for 142 games…and he looks like he’s 50…a real ugly 50.

Yanks: NYC…NYY…A-Rod…Jeter…that’s like a daily newspaper right there.
Phils: If a Phil does something it probably gets second status to a Yank scoop…unless you punch your wife in public. Although if Howard smashes Subway Jared’s face in then I will wholeheartedly root for the Phils.
Winner: Yanks – But this is a really stupid category to win.

Former Mets
Yanks: I was sad when the Mets traded Xavier Nady to the Pirates, but at least we got Oliver Perez. The Mets almost signed A-Rod, but some random agent (yes, Boras) convinced him to take more money instead of signing for the preferred team…Reyes softened that blow by missing large amounts of time because his hamstrings suck. Finally, the Mets, in a scouting move that was quite unlike them, snatched A.J. Burnett up in the 8th round of the ’95 draft. Before he could appear for them, Mets management made amends for actually picking a good pitcher and traded him to Florida in a deal where Leiter became a familiar face. Leiter, who won a WS with the Marlins in ’97 (against Lee and Sabathia’s former employers, the Indians), helped the Mets almost do that (against the Yanks), while Burnett, who never helped the Mets win anything, won a WS with the Marlins in ’03 (against the Yanks). Stupidly weird, right?
Phils: Well, there’s Pedro. Part of me hates him for all his failings as a Met and part of me wants him to do well because he was an absolutely brilliant pitcher (at least his first Met season wasn’t a washout). Chan Ho Park made one start for the Mets where he absolutely blew it. I saw that game. One game was enough for Park, but this past season they kept giving Redding and Parnell starts. Miguel Cairo, who isn’t on the WS roster, spent an unspectacular season with the Mets, sandwiched between two Yank seasons.
Winner: The Mets! It’s like we’re really there!

Being the Yankees
Yanks: …are the Yankees.
Phils: …are not a bunch of overpaid tax-evading twits.
Winner: The Bush White House. Spending tons of money with repeated letdowns and the very occasional success…who else does this?

Yanks have the money, Phils have the park, I have a girlfriend, Everybody can suck it, Yanks are slightly mysteriously luckier than the Phils, Everybody wants to read about Yankee players waggling their dicks at assorted women, The Mets had players that are now former Mets, 2000-2008 was a letdown.

Final Winner: Barack Obama! Is there anything he can’t do!

Who I Will Root For: Being a Mets fan I have to remain true to my roots. The NHL’s NY Islanders will help me stay in the losing groove.

Thank God for the New York Times

By now, most people following the buildup to Game One tomorrow night have seen the NY Post’s front page this morning (and no, I’m not talking about this one). Was the “Victorino in a skirt” thing funny? A bit. Not one of the Post’s better headlines in my humble opinion, but not every NY Post headline can feature A-Rod being exposed as a juicer, A-Rod cheating on his wife, A-Rod getting ripped by his ex-manager, A-Rod making out with himself, or the Mets choking.

Shane Victorino could probably use the motivation, anyway. Wait, what? You mean this guy?

Maybe this was

a bad idea.

Too late. Shit.

But I digress. The point is it’s the NY Post and you can’t take them too seriously. After all, they’re not the New York Times. The New York Times publishes Serious and Insightful pieces, like this one on Jeter. It’s funny – I thought being totally oblivious to basic facts about the World Series made you an idiot. Turns out, it means you’re focused! If only Chase Utley wereas clueless as to whom HE was starting against in Game Two. No wonder the Phillies are going to get swept. Keep up the good reporting, New York Times. A few more articles on Captain Jetes and his inability to tell time/tie his own shoelaces and we might just forgive you for your complete and utter abandonment of journalistic responsibility in the leadup to the Iraq War.

Also, this just in:

What’s that, espn? Aces are important?

ESPN’s position as vanguard of in-depth baseball analysis continues with their latest gem: a top-10 list of players who are important in this upcoming World Series.

Baseball’s tea leaves being more subtle and multilayered than other professional sports, ESPN did not leave this important piece of prophecy to one writer. No, this gem of a post was composed by “many of ESPN’s baseball writers, analysts and contributors.”  Some of the key points:

  • Important player #1: Cliff Lee.  Reason: “Lee is the Phillies’ Game 1 starter; he would also likely start Game 5.”
  • Important player #2: CC Sabathia.  Reason: “Sabathia will start Game 1 for the Yankees and could start Games 4 and 7 if Joe Girardi chooses to [start him].”

Other important players ESPN wants the world to keep an eye on: Alex Rodriguez!  Ryan Howard!  And wait, Mariano Rivera!?!?

Thank you, ESPN, for reminding us that the most important players in this World Series are the best players on each team, particularly the ones who will play the most.  We had not considered this.

Perhaps ESPN is trying to educate those people who will confused the World Series with the World Series of Poker, and want to know who the Phil Iveys and Phil Hellmuths are.  Covering the top end so thoroughly, I thought I’d identify the bottom 5 least-important players to this World Series.   Note that the World Series rosters have not been released yet, but ESPN didn’t wait for them, so neither are we.

All Swings Considered asked many of its baseball writers, analysts and contributors who were on gchat at the moment to rank the players. Here are the results:

  1. Jerry Hairston Jr, bench, Yankees.  Why is he not important? He probably won’t play, unless Girardi decides to play him (<– analysis!).
  2. Francisco Cervelli, C, Yankees.  Why is he not important? He’s the third catcher on the roster, probably.  And Girardi wouldn’t even use #2 catcher Jose Molina if Burnett wasn’t such a head case and baseball didn’t have its One Catching Molina Per Postseason Series rule.
  3. Mike Harkey, bullpen coach, Yankees.  Why is he not important? If at all possible, the Yankees will use only Mariano Rivera out of the bullpen.  Rivera does not need a bullpen coach.  If the Yankees are forced to use other relievers, Mike Harkey is not going to help.  Which brings us to:
  4. The Rest of the Yankees bullpen.  Why are they not important? The Yankees spent $1.073 billion dollars on 9 players, and none of them pitch in the bullpen.
  5. The Easter Bunny.  Why is he not important? Baseball prostituting itself to television contracts, combined with bad weather, mean there is only a 15% chance that the World Series lasts until next Easter.

Honorable mention: Kenji Johjima, Lynn Cheney, Roosevelt’s Face On Mount Rushmore.

Don’t Tread on Philly

Don't Tread on Philly

A common flag in colonial America. Go Phillief! (image by Eric Nielsen)

A Philadelphia Phillies versus New York Yankees World Series creates a lot of rivalry hype. We’ve heard talk about “Cheese-cake vs. Cheese-steak”, a “statue of liberty vs. the liberty bell,” “Wall St. vs. Broad St.” etc. Implicit in all of this naming is a class-war between New York and Philadelphia, where the Yankees represent money and glitz, while Philadelphia represents stagnation and grit. Obviously, this can’t only be about baseball – it’s a war between cities whose fans border each other (see this particularly dichotomous article from the Associated Press: Cheesecake versus Cheesesteak). The author, the famous Jim Litke, goes as far to make this about New Jersey:

“To most of the nation, this year’s World Series sounds like a lot of work just to find out where New Jersey’s loyalty really lies.”

As an avid New Jersey partionist, I find this level of rhetoric a bit myopic.

This is about more than the current Philadelphia versus the present New York. No, it’s much deeper than that.

This is about the roots of AMERICA.

On July 1st, 1776, as the Continental Congress sat in PHILADELPHIA, they pondered if they should declare independence, forever severing themselves from the crusty teat of jolly ol’ England. By the next day, most states had been won over, all except NEW YORK, which postponed their vote while the other twelve voted for the United States of America, and thus, freedom.

But NOT voting for the Declaration of Independence wasn’t enough for NEW YORK. During the Revolutionary War, Washington found himself withdrawing from the island, while the British forces took over their Tory stronghold.

My selectively edited paragraph from a Wikipedia article proves the treachery of New York, a harbinger of the baseball team to come: “New York City and Long Island (the British military and political base of operations in North America from 1776 to 1783) had a large concentration of Loyalists…” “Loyalists tended to be older, more likely merchants and wealthier” “Loyalist civilians… harassed… the Patriots.” And finally, perhaps a last straw in this historic rivalry: “Two Philadelphia residents were executed…”

You’d think that once the war was over, New York would recognize its historic blunder and support the fledgling democracy. Again, like a high school student at midnight, I will allow Wikipedia to do my talking for me:

After the evacuation of the British, New York, then the nation’s second largest city, was briefly the capital of the United States of America, with Congress meeting in Federal Hall starting in 1785. However, the city’s and state’s status within the new union under the United States Constitution written in 1787 was under question when the Governor George Clinton proved reluctant to submit state power to a strong national government, and was opposed to ratification. Some New York City businessmen proposed New York City secession as an alternative to join the union separately, but Alexander Hamilton and others argued persuasively in the Federalist Papers published in city newspapers for state ratification, which after much dispute finally passed in 1788.

As if it wasn’t enough to oppose the Declaration of Independence, New York also had to try to sink the Constitution. In 1790, one year into Washington’s presidency, and perhaps the nation’s first off-season free agency signing, the first president left “The Big Apple” by carriage in the middle of the night.

Philadelphia was again the nation’s capital.

So, when you think of Wednesday’s World Series rivalry, think not of “NJ turnpike’s” and “Amtrak” series. Think of the birth of this great country, and how New York did all it could to stifle it.

This is the series of Ben Franklin (and Ryan Howard) vs. Nobody.

ryan howard ben franklin edit

Ryan Howard (2006 Most Valuable Player) and Ben Franklin (1776 Most Valuable Patriot) - (image by Eric Nielsen)

ESPN analysts take the coward’s way out

espn predictions

The only guy taking the Phillies is the fantasy guy from Philly? if this were the Spanish Civil War, Stark and Crasnick would be lined up against a wall and shot.

In any event, I’m looking forward to comparing this screenshot to the end result. These predictions have a convenient habit of disappearing from the homepage when things don’t work out according to plan.

ozziecanseco says: Phillies in 7.