What is this feeling? I can sense an anticipatory twitching about my person, like a half formed fetal twin attached to my nape, awakening from it’s mutant slumber. Oh that’s right… Baseball season is nigh. And as always there is much to look forward to. Topping my personal list is that the Padres will be watchable if not very good. Kris Bryant will debut. MLB.tv, my favorite product on this earth, is no longer running off a stupid plugin that doesn’t work, and they have enabled ballpark overlay as permanent feature. Plus, we can close our eyes tight and sing from the highest rooftops of our hearts “Matt Harvey is coming back!”
But each year also delivers unto us a bouquet of tantalizingly awful ass roses. The 2015 season is shaping up to be especially rife with the potential for carnage. Here is a rundown of the trainwrecks I am most excited about watching unfold this season.
TV Category: Kirk Gibson
Kirk Gibson is going to be a color analyst for the Tigers TV broadcasts this year. The only possible explanation for this miracle is that the executives at Fox Sports Detroit are trolling the world televised sports. More shocking still is that Gibson has been a TV broadcaster before.
I have documented what an ass clown Kirk Gibson is. But just to quickly recap. Kirk Gibson is an arrogant, ignorant brute. Koko the gorilla doing sign language in a picture-in-picture format as a color analyst makes 34% more sense than allowing Kirk Gibson back into the booth, and that’s not just from the perspective of analyzing the content the gorilla or Koko (zing!) would add to the telecast. I’m talking purely about the ability to smush thoughts out of one’s brain. Gibson appears to be on such a devastating amount of pain medication that he barely makes words. Watch that video. I’ll wait for you.
I think we both understand how that sample falls short of asserting the notion that this man belongs on television. I’m going to be watching a lot of Tigers games just for a dose of the lolz.
Stadium Category: Cubs Bleachers
The Cubs are doing everything right on the field but nothing right off it. Last year they added a stupid mascot and a renovation plan that looks like it was created in 1994 (rant here). This year they decided to wait until halfway through the offseason to start knocking down and rebuilding 5,500 bleacher seats, so they won’t be ready until May 11th at the earliest. Even a one week delay would mean the Cubs would play a full quarter of their scheduled home games with 2,000 season ticket holders out on their asses. Expect lots of angry fans, non-stop meaningless updates accompanied by cameras panning over scaffolding, and most of all: sad home run balls orphaned in the hard hat zone.
Stats Category: Dee Gordon
After Dee’s flukey All Star appearance in ’14 the Marlins proved they have not even the most cursory understanding of advanced statistics by leaping at the chance to acquire this most vile regression candidate. Dee was already an insufferably lucky slap hitter with below average defense when he made that fateful All Star team. But it’s what he did after the break that you, dear reader, should be sitting down for, preferably on a toilet, as the following sentence is not for the faint of sphincter. Dee Gordon walked only four times after the All-Star break. Four! That’s almost impossible to do. That’s 1.6% of the time. His BABIP also came crashing back down to earth for short stints after the break, so all told Dee was below average in the second half.
I really hope the Marlins ice their idiot cake and bat him leadoff.
Prospect Category: Maikel Franco
Much to the delight of the other 29 organizations, Ruben Amaro is still employed. As a result they have essentially stockpiled old newspapers so high there is just a path from the stained, threadbare futon to the crusty microwave and the horrifying toilet.
But best of all, because Cody Asche is a below average runner, fielder and hitter (damn, that’s all the things), Maikel Franco will likely be their starting third basemen. I have long felt he is tremendously overrated and now we should get definitive proof. Franco is a 22 year old who swings way too much, which results in him making a ton of bad contact, and he saw his ISO drop at both AA and AAA after temporarily impressing in the low minors. But because the Phillies have no idea what makes good baseball players, they are hyped about him. Let’s watch their hopeful smile morph into a twisted grimace of agony together!
Media Specatacle Category: Alex Rodriguez
Even Ruben Amaro knows that A-Rod is coming back. It’s been covered to a level beyond what is reasonable. But let me just say how excited I am to watch him try to play baseball. This guy is a 39 year old asshole whose body has been ruined by PED use, and he hasn’t played baseball in two years. But he doesn’t understand what that means.
He’s been alone for two years telling himself how great he still is. He says his mission is to come back and hit 109 home runs to overtake Bonds as the all time home run leader. He’s even been making the rounds, apologizing and in his head everyone is totally buying it.
When he gets back and everyone still hates his guts and he is helplessly swinging through 90-mph fastballs down the dick he isn’t going to understand why. He’s going to be awful, confused and frustrated. I can’t wait to see the look on his face. I can’t wait to see how long it takes before he realizes he needs to give up and go home. But best of all, once he does, he won’t. He’ll hang around all useless and depressing for two years because he can’t walk away from money and the Yankees won’t cut him. This is going to be delicious.
Last Straw Category: Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton is the shameless owner of the weakest mind in the game. Every year he comes up with more outrageous excuses for why he’s being an idiot. Let’s recap: Injuries, eyes are too blue, too many energy drinks, quit energy drinks, quit tobacco. Now he’s getting shoulder surgery to repair his AC joint. Despite knowing about the injury last September he and the organization waited until February to make a decision on what to do about it, because sometimes magic things can happen to your bones and cartilage right? Nope.
Now he won’t be ready until around May 1. But I’m sure he won’t use it as an excuse for why he just lazily flaps the bat through the zone regardless of what or where that pitch was, I mean he said so himself, there are no excuses this year.
Pitchers and catchers are reporting soon. Won’t you pop your corn, unfold your lawn chair and sit at the intersection of a broken stoplight with me?
I’ve been leaving reminders for Ruben Amaro Jr. on twitter since August. I took some time to compile my favorites. Come! Let us have a chuckle at a total spazatron.
Reminder to Ruben Amaro: “the signings” is not an adequate franchise roadmap. Please submit another draft by next Friday.
— MLB Hall of Misery (@mlbhallofmisery) February 6, 2015
Reminder to Ruben Amaro: writing directly on the computer screen doesn’t do anything… except ruin your computer.
— MLB Hall of Misery (@mlbhallofmisery) February 6, 2015
Reminder to Ruben Amaro: However you think it works… that’s not how it works.
— MLB Hall of Misery (@mlbhallofmisery) January 21, 2015
Reminder to Ruben Amaro: Just because Tomas has never played in the big leagues before doesn’t mean he’s never played baseball.
— MLB Hall of Misery (@mlbhallofmisery) November 20, 2014
Reminder to Ruben Amaro: keeping mustard in your desk drawer is not a life hack.
— MLB Hall of Misery (@mlbhallofmisery) November 15, 2014
Reminder to Ruben Amaro: Colin Cowherd is a guy on the radio, not your assistant GM on the phone.
— MLB Hall of Misery (@mlbhallofmisery) October 17, 2014
Reminder to Ruben Amaro: No you can’t apply for the DBacks job, you’re already a GM… Where?! Are you kidding?! Philadelphia, Ruben!
— MLB Hall of Misery (@mlbhallofmisery) September 11, 2014
Reminder to Ruben Amaro: straws work both ways. You don’t have to try to figure it out, just put it in your juice box and get out of here.
— MLB Hall of Misery (@mlbhallofmisery) September 3, 2014
Reminder for Ruben Amaro: The cone was for the dog. Why did you struggle so much to resist licking Buckley’s stitches?
— MLB Hall of Misery (@mlbhallofmisery) August 2, 2014
Reminder to Ruben Amaro: The interns are joking. YouTuber, a site that hosts videos of potatoes, doesn’t exist. Find other ways to not work.
— MLB Hall of Misery (@mlbhallofmisery) August 1, 2014
Reminder for Ruben Amaro: Rare steaks aren’t more expensive, it’s just referring to how they’re cooked.
— MLB Hall of Misery (@mlbhallofmisery) August 5, 2014
With the James Shields signing the Padres forfeited their first round pick. But it didn’t have to be this way. Having one of the 10 worst records in the league will gets you a protected pick. The Padres missed the cut by one win.
Had they lost one more game last season they would have finished tied with the Reds at 76 wins. The tiebreaker in this situation is the record from the previous year. The Reds won 90 games in 2013. I don’t think I have to tell you the Padres failed to top that. They would have had the number 11 overall pick (because the Astros failed to sign Brady Aiken last year) and could have signed James Shields without penalty.
But the hard taco shell filled with manure that was the 2014 Padres would not cooperate. By some shitty miracle the team managed to play better in the second half despite allowing Jeff Francoeur, Brooks Conrad, Abraham Almonte and Chris Nelson (a group of players I referred to as the Tanking Crew) to leave streaks on the roster, and despite allowing Alexi Amarista to lead the team in games played.
The faintest mirage that this team was in the hunt for the second Wild Card spot appeared on the horizon for a shimmering second, and that was too much for Bud Black. His hopeless days had made him too eager to see a change coming. He thought he did and never turned back.
When rosters expanded in September the team called up young players that should have gotten playing time regardless of performance. Jace Peterson and Rymer Liriano should have been allowed to take their lumps. But Bud was managing to win, even when it was crystal clear there was no way back into the race.
He tinkered. He played matchups and platoons and kept hot hitters in and chucked in defensive replacements at the ends of close games. His goals were his own. He was not acting in accordance with the needs of the organization. Nobody would have faulted him for letting the callups flail. He could have done it all under the guise of allowing young players to grow, allowing the front office a chance to evaluate those young players.
I know it sounds bad, but it’s okay to root for a negative result today if it helps your organization for years to come. It is also perfectly reasonable to be furious with a manager for trying to win meaningless games when those wins hurt the organization. It is even okay to blame him for the 1 win difference between a protected and unprotected first round pick.
The number 11 pick is worth about $28.8MM according to the Hardball Times. It can get you quality players like the Padres have drafted at number 13 overall the last two years. Players like our best prospect (Hunter Renfroe) and a chip valuable enough to land us Wil Myers (Trea Turner).
Luckily the 2015 Padres shouldn’t even be close to having a protected pick, but we’ve got our eye on you, Buddy, and we’re paying close attention to who gets drafted 11th in 2015. Their career is on you.