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?
In the continued spirit of making fun of year end articles proclaiming the Best and Worst of everything, I have created the Bizarro Clemente Award. The Roberto Clemente Award is annually handed out to baseball’s finest sportsman. Past Winners of the Roberto Clemente Award include such d-bags, cheaters, and weirdos as Steve Garvey, Pete Rose, and Sammy Sosa. The Bizarro Clemente is an opportunity to forego honoring somebody who we think is good, but might be a jerk. Instead honoring a player who we made out to be a jerk, but who is actually a decent guy.
Presenting the 1st Annual Bizarro Clemente Award
Let us not hold up what we already know is good. And let us not proliferate a culture that focuses attention on idiots. Carl Everett believes in demons, but not dinosaurs. Does he really deserve space in the public forum? No. Let us dig through some jerks to find the wrongly accused, and salvage a good…well, mediocre name.
People forget that Miguel Cabrera was caught driving drunk before the season began. He is not this year’s Bizarro recepient. This is because salvaged his reputation on his own, with a Triple Crown season and an American League Pennant.
On the other hand, Melky Cabrera tried, and failed, to fully salvage his image. His team disowned him, won the World Series without him. Dropping out of the NL Batting Title race after cheating and trying to cover it up with an elaborate internet charade was not enough to win him this finest of awarded thingies.
And as for the hotheaded Alfredo Aceves, he is on the Red Sox, so we don’t talk about him here.
And the Winner is…
This year I am proud to present the Bizarro Clemente award to Indians closer, Chris Perez. I don’t pay much attention to overblown sound bite pusher sites, but even I heard tell of Perez’ supposedly awful remarks about fans, the Indians organization and his teammates.
However, upon revisiting the tape available to me, his remarks seemed harmless. Once again the terms tirade and rant had been ejaculated across the empty, attention starved pages of so many traffic obsessed pseudo news sites, with nothing to back up the headline.
Chris Perez did what a player should be able to do. He told the fans not to boo a first place team at home. He told them to come to the park and show support for a franchise heading in the right direction. He pointed to the fact that the Tigers spend money and that the Indians don’t, which is why Detroit has been able to acquire talent and finish strong the last two seasons, while the Indians fade, their roster unaltered. And Perez never bashed his teammates. In fact, he said that he wanted to be in Cleveland. His reason: his teammates were good.
I am sure he will barf upon completion of this redemptive victory, I hope somebody quickly fetches him a glass of sparkling water. It is well deserved. While most of the country is so self unaware, they dismiss criticism of all kinds with their motto “haters gonna hate,” Perez has demonstrated to us a great lesson: When somebody tells you something you don’t want to hear, listen even more intently to what they are saying, and consider it carefully. Do not dismiss it.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Perez: Your 2012 Bizarro Clemente Award Winner!