Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Talkin' Baseball

Today we kick off the start of Major League post-season action. It is no secret that baseball was put on the back burner over the last month and half in the Fish Family lair. Take the worst injury filled season imaginable for the Red Sox, combine it with John Lackey or as I like to call him: John Lacks-the-ability-to-pitch-with-any-kind-of-consistency-or-even-well-for-that-matter, throw it in a bowl and mix it with a team known as ‘Who?’ (Seattle Mariners), one can begin to see why this was so. I could sit here and list a dozen other things which ate up my baseball time, but really I did not want to inflict so much emotional pain on myself. Just like every man in America when their sports team is in the tank, I put in a bottle, buried it deep down inside and pretended like it never existed. The Sox brought a little too much marital drama in to the equation this season. If I was sitting in front of the TV watching a game, The Boss would be in the other room reading—or whatever it is women do during sports—and 10 minutes later, a knock-down drag-out would always be eminent. Let me paint it for you.

Begin scene:
Fish Family Lair living room, perched from her comfy-cozy couch spot, wrapped snuggly in a silky soft blanket, sits The Boss. Bellowing from the other room and echoing throughout the lair comes a:

“What the hell!!?”

The Boss, slightly miffed from the uproar, glances up from her subjugate, but only staleness silence remains. She returns he gaze back down. Minutes later the stillness is again broken in disgust by a perfectly conducted ¾ time:

“Ooooohhhh mmyyy goooshhh.”

A scowl emerges from the ground of The Boss’s brow. Her gawk, laser-locked on the empty doorjamb leading in to the room playing the game. Like a panther stalking its prey, The Boss waits in icy silence for the predictability of the situation to unfold:


Wuh-la, like clockwork The feline springs from her hunting position and like lighting, our predator fills the emptiness that once occupied the entrance. Hissing and adding particular emphasis the first word of her sentence:

“We do not say that in our house.”

In the stillness, a contest of who can give the other person the better glare ensues. The Boss has perfected Latigra, Ferrari and Blue Steel of “the condescending squint”. I am no match for it. Defeated, my only weapon is indifference:

“I’m not sorry.”

The Boss unleashes Magnum. I’m crippled. Sadness washes across my face. Mom Boss kicks in:

“Lackey is pitching tonight. Isn’t he.”

The question is stated, not asked. Like a 4-year old who fell off his bike, my lower lip pouts; I sniffle, nod my head in acceptance and bury my body into her warming hug.
End scene.

This would happen 90% of the time. Ok, so it wouldn't always happen that way, but I'm a writer and gotta juice it up a bit. It could be worse. Other teams had it way worse.

I could be just a Mariners fan and walk around dumbfounded like some SWAT team member threw a flash bang in to the Seattle Mariners dugout. Seriously, can anybody translate what is happening there? Did the team move to Japan? Who is on the team besides Ichiro and Felix, who is the manager, who was in charge trading Lee for… who? Like I said earlier, the Seattle Mariners = Who? Literally, I don’t know what is going on here. Nobody else does either. If somebody says they do, they are clearly not talking about baseball, but actual mariners (as in fisherman) from Seattle. I would have a better chance of giving you 50% of the names of the guys who catch and throw fish in Pike Place Market, than I could telling you who plays at Safeco. Is the Moose still the team Mascot?

The only thing I can wrap my head around which has a marginal relationship to the Mariners should be more infuriating, but it isn’t. As you know I do not just like the Mariners. I like the Red Sox too. It makes this thing, how do I put it... difficult(?) to explain. Wanna know the thing? That thing, is Adrian Beltre.


We hate him.

Playing in the final year of his contract for the LA Dodgers in 2004, Adrian Beltre hit 48 homeruns, drove in 121 runs, notched a 1.017 OPS, and did all of this while carrying a tasty .334 batting average. Yeah buddy. Got to love steroids.

Seattle outbid everybody else and gave this guy a 5-year $65 million dollar contract in the off season. Yeah buddy. Got to love those top-of-the-line steroids!

During that same off-season, and after Beltre put his ink on the paper of that contract, the steroid bubble popped. Apparently, you are not supposed to take steroids and play baseball professionally and if you do or have been, you could now get in a lot of trouble as opposed to having everybody in your organization—as well as fans—look the other way.

Needless to say, somebody stopped taking his juice and the M’s were able to reap whatever the opposite of benefits are. Adrian Beltre’s best season in a Mariners uniform came in in 2007. Hang on to your britches for these whopper stats.

Homeruns? Just 26.
RBIs? 99 (Ok, so that is where it ought to be).
OPS? It was mediocre at best, ringing in at .801. A monster upgrade for .793 from the year before and .716 the year before that one.
And what was his batting average? The best it ever would be those five years he sucked the life out of Seattle baseball: .276. Yeah buddy. The website was created because of him.


In the movie Easy A (which when it first started, I was second guessing my decision, but it recovered and I enjoyed it) there is a scene where Olive (Emma Stone) is talking to her parents (Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson—perfectly casted) about getting detention for calling a girl an inappropriate word starting with the letter ‘T’. They don’t know what word could get you detention starting with the letter ‘T’, so they say ‘T’ over and over and over again to decipher it. It’s pretty funny.

AB was so forgettable in Seattle, when Red Sox fans found out they signed Adrian Beltre in the 2009 offseason they did the same thing. Andrian Beltre. Adrian Beltre. Adrian… Beltre. AdrianBeltreadrianbeltreadrianbelte.…….. A simple Google search and you got: ADRIAN BELTRE??!! 9 MILLION DOLLARS?! WHAT THE HELL?! NOOOOOOOOOO! Now that 2010 has come and gone all of that jive talk is water under the bridge baby. For those playing along at home, here are his 2010 numbers:

Homeruns? 28 (12th in AL). Nothing great, but better than any season in the 206.
RBIs? 102 (10th in AL). Better than any season in the PAC-NOR.
OPS? .918 (5th in AL). Better than any season in the city north of the Deuce Nickel Tre.
And what was his batting average? Just a snappy .321 folks. (4th in AL)

Yeah buddy.


One of my most cherished movies growing up was Disney’s Sword in the Stone. I cannot tell you how many times I watched that. There is a scene where Merlin gets so upset, his body boils over with rage, he stiffens up like a board and screams, “TAKE ME BURMUDA!” Then his body shoots off like a rocket. This move with henceforth be known as: The Merlin. Every Mariner fan reading Beltre’s 2010 stats just did The Merlin, but because they are Mariners fans instead of jettisoning off to sandy beaches and cold smoothies, their heads exploded.


Divisional Series Picks:

SAN FRAN over ATLANTA in a sweep
TEXAS and TAMBA goes five and I’m going to now flip a coin to make my pick on the victor. TEXAS wins
MINNESOTA over NEW YORK because Steinbrenner sold his soul to the Devil to make the Yankees what they are today, and that deal is now done

League Championship Series Picks:


World Series Pick:

TEXAS over SAN FRAN in six. Tim Lincecum pitches the hell out of series, but nobody else shows up.

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