Archives For Backyard Jewball

I have repeatedly taken heat from my fellow basketball fans for expressing my displeasure with the Oklahoma City Thunder. I find them boring, and this bothers people.

This bothers people because they wonder how I can describe a team with two players at the top of their positions (small forward Kevin Durant and point guard Russell Westbrook) as boring.

Well, boring is not an attempt to knock on their talent. I recognize that they posses two of the best players in the NBA and have surrounded them with other good players like the solid (and spectacularly bearded) James Harden, the tough play of Kendrick Perkins and the heir apparent to Dikembe Mutumbo’s throne as a shot-blocking African menance (complete with finger-wag) in Serge Ibaka.

These things all make for a great team, and I appreciate the Thunder in their talent and skill, but from an aesthetic point they’re boring.

And this is the fault of their two stars, Durant and Westbrook.

Durant, for all his talent, and scoring prowess isn’t so otherworldly special in any one aspect of the game to mesmerize on a nightly basis. He doesn’t have LeBron’s freakish strength, Kobe’s single minded gunner mentality, or Derick Rose’s insane drives to the rim.

He is above that. He is better than that. He is great at everything, so nothing stands out. There’s the saying that without evil, there would be no good. Well, that’s a rather pompous comparison to make, so I’d rather say Durant is like and Oreo that’s just creme.

Yeah it’s the best part, but it needs the cookie.

Durant isn’t flawed, so he isn’t interesting.

Ironically, Russell Westbrook’s flaws are what ruin the rest of the Thunder. Throughout the playoffs he’s seemed to suffer from a severe cause of ball-hoggedness.

Too many times a Thunder possession begins and ends without the ball every leaving Westbrook’s possession until he chucks up a shot. Watching him walk up the court, dribble and then launch a jumper is not entertaining.

And this isn’t the same problem that Kobe has, where he gets pissed off at his teammates because he’s frustrated with being so much better than them. And this isn’t Derick Rose dominating possession of the ball because he is clearly the best scoring option on the defensively minded Chicago Bulls.

No, this is the point guard who is supposed to be running the offense for the NBA’s leading scorer and one its best players in Kevin Durant.

Westbrook seems to be under the mistaken impression that the Thunder are his team, when in fact they are, or should be, Durant’s.

In the Thunder’s triple overtime game against the Grizzlies all of these points came to a head.

Despite truly having no allegiance to ether team, I never felt like I wanted the Thunder to win. The Grizzlies were getting by on manic plays, lucky one-handed threes by players named Greivis and another great game from (until this year) chronic underachiever Zach Randolph.

What the fuck is a Greivis?

The Thunder spent most of the game doing what they do until Russell Westbrook’s chronic brain farts led to him chucking up ill advised shots and seemingly freezing out Durant on offense. (Durant went 10 minutes without taking the shot in the second half)

The Thunder ultimately outlasted Memphis by giving the ball Durant, who in his boring, methodical way, nailed his shots and led them to victory.

All in all, I think Durant might looking to co-opt Tim Duncan’s nickname of Mr. Fundamentals, because everything I said about Durant can equally be applied to Duncan. Which shouldn’t bother Durant since Duncan is a four time champion and sure fire hall-of-famer.

Westbrook, on the other hand, might be due in for a reevaluation of his game is the Grizzlies upset the Thunder. It’s too early in his career to nail him down as pure gunner in the mold of Gilbert Arenas, but its not too early for those thoughts to come creeping in.

sad Durant/Westbrook

I love hockey, specifically the Boston Bruins.

I also love 30 Rock. I think Tina Fey pisses excellence and Alec Baldwin makes up for all the awfulness of the other Baldwins.

So when I see that 30 Rock has a new cartoon web short that involves the Bruins I couldn’t have been happier if Mrs. Fey hand delivered my copy of Bossypants to me.

To be honest, the short isn’t all that funny and what amazes me is that these toons are so poorly animated as to make the first season of South Park look like fucking Avatar.

Still, the line “By The Power of Robert Gordon Orr” is hilarious and I expect insane NESN announcer Jack Edwards to begin spouting this at any moment, presumably before he starts another rant liking the Bruins to the American Revolutionaries and their opponents as the evil British Redcoats.

(More here.)

Ryan Braun reacting to his latest home run

Ryan Braun reacting to his latest home run

Just to be clear, these rankings will be a combination of the players previous performance and some projection on how they’ll continue to perform.

#1 Ryan Braun, LF, Milwaukee Brewers: Braun is completely destroying the world right now. I don’t know what to make of a .724 slugging percentage. He had a monster May and I don’t see any reason he will keep on hitting like this all year. By the way, he’s leading the NL in homers with 10 and has the best K/BB walk ratio of his career. If he keeps this up he could be in the MVP talks, especially if he’s able to push the Brewers into the playoffs. I said he had the potential to unseat Youkilis at number one and he has so far, we’ll see what next month brings.

#2 Kevin Youkilis, 3B, Boston Red Sox: Youk is off to a slow start…is something Red Sox fans keep saying for some reason. That batting average of .218 is a lot less ugly when its couple to a .392 on-base percentage and a .487 slugging percentage. Youk is fine, the average will climb in due time. Unfortunately for Youk, regardless of his stats, he’s still ugly as sin and NESN’s high def feed does him no favors. He looks like he should be in a biker gang, perhaps Hell’s Misshapen Heads or the Bags on Heads Angels.

#3 Ian Kinsler, 2B, Texas Rangers: His average is down and his power is up, which seems to be the pattern throughout his career. The good news is that he always walks, so the low average/high power Kinsler is actually a lot more useful than the high average version seen last season. He already has 5 homers compared to 9 last year. If he keeps it up all season the Rangers will be one of the few teams with a true power threat from their middle infield.

#4 Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets: The guy I forgot about at the start of season got off to a blazing start hitting .337/.414/.600. It’s still early, but he’s young enough that he could be starting his breakout season in his sophomore year. He’ll be someone to keep an eye to see if he starts slipping, but right now he’s one of the few bright spots on a dismal Mets season.

#5 Jason Marquis, SP, Washington Nationals: Off to a great start with Nats with a 3-0 record, 2.62 ERA and 24 strikeouts against just 5 walks. If he keeps this up, it’ll be his best season ever. He won’t, but it’d be nice for him to climb back to his previous career of a occasionally borderline All-Star player. Regardless, he’s providing quality innings on a team that has been starved for them in recent seasons.

#6 Sam Fuld, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: In my last post I said he could become a folk hero type player in Tampa, and that’s exactly what he has become. The legend of Sam Fuld grows with each passing day as he makes diving plays in the outfield and maintains his solid batting line of .289/.358/.433. His success is still surprising and his age makes me question how long he can keep it up. I’ve seen too many hot Aprils followed by months of struggles to fully commit to Fuld, but the ride will be nice however long it lasts.

#7 Danny Valencia, 3B, Minnesota Twins: The definition of struggling right now, hitting just .217/.294/.315. The only saving grace at the plate is his strikeout to walk ratio which is about 1 to 1, which indicates he isn’t totally lost up there. I’d expect him to rebound soon, but if his struggles continue the bench could be in his future.

#8 Craig Breslow, RP, Oakland Athletics: 4.00 ERA in 9 innings, still a solid part of the A’s league leading pitching staff, but isn’t striking many people out yet, something to keep an eye on going forward.

#9 John Grabow, RP, Chicago Cubs: 4.63 ERA in 11 innings with 8 strikeouts and 7 walks. He’s ERA doesn’t burn the eyes yet, but give it time and it’ll likely creep past 5.00.

#10 Scott Feldman, SP, Texas Rangers: Still out with a knee injury, still hasn’t pitched yet this season and I still almost put him ahead of Grabow.

#11 Ryan Kalish, OF, Boston Red Sox: He’s still in the minors and off to a slow start in Pawtucket, batting .236/.300/.309. I still expect him to see some time in Boston this season, but maybe I’ll be waiting until next year for my Kalish dreams to come true.

.289 .358 .433

Tim Thomas doing his best to look like the Duckman.

 

Eastern Conference

Washington Capitals (1) Vs Tampa Bay Lightning: This should be a fun series. Both teams have explosive offensives that rely two of the biggest stars in the NHL in Alexander Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos. Neither team is known for its defensive prowess so a lot is expecting from their goalies, which is unfortunate because neither team has a Vezina winner in net. The Caps rely on a mix of young Russian goalies who have played well enough so far, but don’t have clear number one guy going forward. Tampa started the season with such terrible goaltending that the ancient Dwayne Roloson was considered an upgrade. Surprisingly, Roloson has surpassed even modest expectations and proved to be an unsung hero for the Lightning and is coming of a game 7 shutout of the Sidney Crosby-less Pittsburgh Penguins.

Prediction: Tampa Bay in 6.

 

Philadelphia Flyers (2) Vs Boston Bruins (3)

We here at Hipster Jew are admitted Bruins fans…with the exception of Lipsitz who is apparently a Flyers fan and we be severely punished for this discretion. However, I will try to be slightly less biased than Jack Edwards. This is possibly the most lopsided goaltending match-up in the history of the playoffs.  We…excuse me…the Bruins have a likely two time Vezina Trophy winner in Tim Thomas. Thomas, a man with an epic beard, who hunts freakin’ bears and is from Michigan….USA! USA! USA!

Philadelphia is the land that goaltending has forgot and hasn’t had a consistent guy in net since the days of crazy Ron Hextall. In the first round they used all three of their goalies, starting rookie Sergei Bobvrosky in Game 1 and 2 before being pulled for Brian Boucher who was replaced by Michael Leighton part way through game 5 and started game 6…where he gave up 3 goals on 8 shots before being replaced Boucher who won game 7 and will likely get the nod in game 1.

Unfortunately, the Flyers ability to win with crappy goaltending illustrates how talented the rest of their team is. They have better top end scoring and are just as deep as the Bruins and have a superior corp of defensemen.

So what will decide this game? Probably suspensions. Both teams play rough and have players who have been suspended in the past. The Bruins may even be started this series with Andrew Ference suspended. I fully expect someone to get tossed for a game and have that be the turning point in the series.

Prediction:Bruins in 7 with suspensions tied at one a piece.

 

Western Conference

Vancouver Canucks (1) Vs Nashville Predators (5)

Nobody is really rooting for either team in this series. You have Vancouver who is criminally overrated and features one of the NHL’s greatest chokers in goalie Roberto Luongo. They’re playing the Preds who are best known for the team that constantly screws me over when I take Sporcle quizzes.

I’d probably be rooting for the Preds to upset the Canucks because upsets from small market teams are always fun. But I also don’t really want to watch Nashville since the only players I can name on their team are Shea Weber and Pekke Rinne.

Vancouver is clearly the more talented team, but are known playoff chokers. However, I think they get past the Preds to choke in the next round…that way it’ll be much more painful for Luongo and company.

Prediction: Vancouver in 5

 

San Jose Sharks (2) Vs Detroit Red Wings (3)

I’ll acknowledge by bias right off the bat here: I love Joe Thornton. The Bruins never should have traded him and I think that trade is one of the worst in NHL history. Also, I kind of hate the Red Wings. They’re the Yankees/Duke of the NHL. They win all the time and we’re all tired of it. However, the Red Wings don’t have as many bandwagon fans by virtue of being in the least popular league of the four major sports. Also, they play in Detroit and it honestly feels cruel wishing anything bad on that city.

On the ice, this should be a fairly even series, but I’d give Detroit the advantage because of depth and experience, though the Sharks did beat them in 5 games last season, so a Sharks win wouldn’t be surprising, in fact I changed my mind. My gut says the Sharks are going to win this year and I want to be consistent with the fact that at some point I said the finals would be Bruis V. Sharks: The Battle for Joe Thornton’s Soul.

Prediction: Sharks in 6

 

Joe Thornton...he's so dreamy

Hipsters and NASCAR

The Coach —  04/27/2011 —  Comments

I have a dirty little secret to tell my Hipster Readers, many moons ago I was a diehard NASCAR fan. Its true. NASCAR was the first sport I loved, which of course, was one of my many things that made me an absurdly weird little kid growing up.

It would have been normal in the south, but NASCAR didn’t have a big following in the Northeast despite having a top level track a few hours away in New Hampshire.

I haven’t been closely following NASCAR in the past decade. 2001 was the last season I truly followed, and yes I was a Dale Earnhardt fan, and his death probably had a lot to do with my gravitating away from the sport. But that’s a topic that probably involves some weird issues with death and how to handle that. I don’t want to deal with it.

Still, NASCAR draws me back in from time to time. I’ve watched the last 3 Daytona 500′s, mostly because they always occur around Valentine’s Day and I needed something to watch while stuffing my face with Chinese food.

Basically, I’m a self-hating, closeted NASCAR fan and I want to reconcile my forbidden love of a sport, which guzzles gas and is less racially diverse than hockey, with my hipster tendencies.

So I ask the question: Can a hipster like NASCAR?

Well, my initial reaction is no. No they can not. A search for
hipsters and NASCAR” doesn’t bring up much aside from this site which is about bicycle racing. This is not what I wanted.

I couldn’t even find a PBR sponsored race car, which was really disappointing.

Not NASCAR, but I did find this sweet PBR ride driven by none other than Dick Trickle.

However, I can see NASCAR digging into the hipster scene in an ironic way at some point. Some kids out there have to have grown up with NASCAR dads and at some point they’ll be in college and searching for bits of nostalgia to co-opt ironically. It’ll be like the resurgence of classic WWF material, something I covered earlier.

I’ve already started letting my NASCAR shirts out into public, often under the guise of “Its laundry day.” But soon I’ll be the coolest motherfucker in the bar rocking my Chevy Racing t-shirt or my Dover International Speedway shirt.

Here’s another secret, the best mustaches in all of sports are in NASCAR.

Now that's a mustache you can set your watch to.

Since the world recently found out that future NBA lottery pick Kemba Walker has read just one book in his life it seems like a good time to go over some of the best basketball books out there. Hopefully this list gets to Kemba and inspires him to give reading another shot and maybe learn some more about the sport he will soon be paid millions to play.

 

The Breaks of the Game: Might as well start with the best. David Halberstm’s chronicling of the 1979-1980 Portland Trailblazers is the gold standard for basketball books. The book tackles what was ultimately a trying season for the Blazers, especially for stars Bill Walton and Kermit Washington.

Walton was battling an injured foot before ultimately being traded to the Clippers and eventually suing Portland for their mishandling of his injuries. Bill Walton of course would go on to become the best sixth man of all time on a championship Celtic’s team and then become the third most unbearable NBA announcer after Dick Vitale and Tommy Heinsohn.

Kermit Washington was on the Blazers trying to resurrect a career that had been derailed by a fight with Rudy Tomjanovich where Washington’s fist destroyed Rudy’s face and nearly killed him. This is incident only takes up a small portion of the book, but is expanded on more thoroughly in a newer book by John Feinstein called “The Punch”, which is also very good, but not really essential NBA reading material.

 

Can I Keep My Jersey: Ah, the good old days of 2007 when Paul Shirley was everybody’s favorite NBA Hipster, blogging on ESPN about his life as a fringe NBA player as well as his thoughts on the hot bands of the day that I’ve never heard of. This is also before he wrote about Haiti and compared them to the local homeless person and told them wear condoms.

While Shirley may have revealed himself for an asshole, it doesn’t color his past efforts. His book is well written and full of many wry observations about the less glamorous life of the NBA 12th man or an American playing basketball somewhere in Serbia.

It also could be a bit of scared straight for the rest of the NBA draft class who might think twice about leaving college if they new the far off corners of the globe they might be plying their trade if they don’t make it as one of the 450 or so members of the NBA.

 

FreeDarko Presents The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History: I covered my love of the FreeDarko writers earlier this month when they decided to end their blog, so of course I’m going to make sure one of their books is on my list. Their NBA history book is set up like a text book, but the most colorful, funny, and gorgeously illustrated text book of all time. It’s not a comprehensive history book, it jumps and skips around, but much like your AP US book from high school, it hits on the important events and people and dooms the rest to be forgotten.

This book explains the who’s who of each NBA era and leaves with the general sense that you now understand the history of basketball from its beginnings to today much better than someone who hasn’t read this book. Basically what I’m saying is this: I know more about basketball then you.

 

The Book of Basketball: Bill Simmons is a bit of controversial figure among sports bloggers. He is often criticized for his overly elaborate theories, his Boston homerism (despite living in LA) and the increasing mentions of his wife and child that no one gives two shits about.

This is all jealously. We all want to be Bill Simmons.(Full disclosure, my copy of this book is autographed by Simmons, thanks to the Duckman)

Remember how I said FreeDarkos book wasn’t comprehensive? Well, its only 211 pages. Simmons book clocks in at 697…and its not comprehensive either, though it comes much closer. Simmons covers all eras about the NBA, but his thoughts on the early days of the sport aren’t particularly insightful or interesting.

However, this is the most comprehensive guide to the last 30 years of the NBA that has ever been written. His knowledge of the sport from the time he started watching it until today is possibly unmatched. Or at least unmatched in his willingness to deliver that knowledge in a way that’d both informative and interesting.

Yeah the book has problems, Simmons is obsessed with fucking footnotes in this thing for some reason, and while they’re often entertaining asides, they also frequently about shit no one cares about such as the 5th season of the Real World.

 

Eating the Dinosaur: This is my least favorite Chuck Klosterman book. And its not about sports. Or basketball. In fact its on this list for one essay “What We Talk About When We Talk About Ralph Sampson”, which is about basketball. The essay is nice meditation of the relationship between talent, effort, and failure, but that’s not why I mention it here.

I mention it because Ralph Sampson has become a haunting figure in my life. After I read this essay Sampson has repeatedly come up in my life. He comes up in other books I read, on TV, Twitter, everywhere. I know that, since I run in a basketball loving sphere of people, my exposure to basketball related things is much higher than most, but Ralph Sampson has a dominate presence in it that he never had on the court.

Ralph Sampson is just one of those people…

 

Hipsters and professional athletes may not always have the most in common, but one thing that they both seem to appreciate is some sweet facial hair. Particularly the mustache.

What better way to celebrate this bit of commonality than by talking about some of the brave athletes who dare to wear some upper lip hair.

Tim Thomas (Bruins, Goalie)

Tim Thomas grows a nice mustache

Tim Thomas might have the best mustache in the NHL right now, on top of being one of the NHL’s top goalies. You would think that his mustache combined with his flat top buzz cut would make him look like a cop. Instead, a bit of stubble and his continuous crazed look in his eyes make him look somewhere between a felon and your local everyday scum bag. And for that we love him.

Jason Giambi (Rockies, 1st base/Outfield)

Jason Giambi mustache is no longer, which is unfortunate. He currently sits on the bench in Colorado with a gray/black beard that is uneven and patchy and generally looks hungover. This is in quite the contrast of his time as a young player on the Oakland A’s where he didn’t look hung over even though he probably was. And of course, there’s his time with the Yankees which represent the sanitation of Giambi’s Oakland persona which was somewhere between a pro wrestler and a frat boy. The first thing to go when he got to the Yankees was his long hair and his stubble. Now clean shaven and boring, Giambi proceeded to get caught using steroids, enduring an absolutely terrible season and a half of baseball.

Then his mustache was grown. Now looking completely like your stereotypical patrol man, Giambi had made a stunning switch. He flipped from heel to face (to use the pro-wrestling terms) and became the clean cut veteran leader somehow. Honestly, mustachioed Giambi is like bizzarro young Giambi, but somehow that stache remains sweet despite its somewhat conservative implications that I randomly decided to ascribe it.


Brian Wilson (SF Giants, Closer)

Brian Wilson beard

This last one is going to be a negative because I the way I roll I don’t even have to stick to the topic of my headline. Really I just want to say “Fuck Brian Wilson.” I’m tired of hearing about his stupid beard. I’m sorry, but beards are not as cool as mustaches. And if you’re going to be a closer in the Bay Area with facial you have some mighty big follicles to fill.

Rollie Fingers Mustache

ROLLIE FINGERS 4 LIFE

Kevin Youkilis: Horrible Looking Muppet Monster and Nightmare Fuel

 

Every month or so during the baseball season I will be making a list of the best Jewish players in Major League Baseball. This will be called The MLB Chosen People Power Rankings, as you see in the headline.

Because I’m a lazy asshole and I didn’t think of the idea until last night, the first post, which is a pre-season post, is coming at you about a week into the season. Deal with it. I’d do this with basketball too, but I think you be tired of seeing the list go Ama’re, Omar Casspi and Jordan Farmer.

#1 Kevin Youkilis, 3B, Boston Red Sox: I suspect that the main fight will be over the top spot and debate over who is better, Youk, The Greek God Of Walks, or Ryan Braun, The Hebrew Hammer. I lean towards Youk for his superior on base percentage and his ability to play solid defense at both first and third while Braun can only bumble around in left field.

#2 Ryan Braun, LF, Milwaukee Brewers: I went over the reasons why Youk is better than Braun, but Braun can hit like a mofo. He does have Youks insane plate discipline, but few do. He’ll hit .300 and 30 homers and no one will complain about that. One advantage he does have over Youk is that he’s a good looking dude whereas Kevin Youkilis looks like a cross between a biker and some sort of horrible muppet.

#3 Ian Kinsler, 2B, Texas Rangers: I feel like this guy is incredibly underrated and he is coming of a bizarre pair of season where he managed to go from 31 homers to 9 and actually improve on offense and be named an All-Star. Swapping 21 homers for 55 points of on base percentage may not get you any girls (chicks dig the long ball) but avoiding outs is the key to baseball and I’d much rather have the guy with the .382 mark over the .327 mark regardless of anything else.

#4 Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets: I actually forgot about him on the first draft of this, so my apologies to Mr. Davis. Its not that I forgot he was Jewish, its more I forgot he was a player and I forgot who is on the Mets. He was a rookie last year and put up solid numbers, but his prodigious power numbers in the minors have a lot of people thinking he could make the leap to battle with Youk and Braun at the top of this list. He has an added bonus of playing for the Mets, which should boost his popularity even if he ends up as an Andy LaRoche type player.

#5 Danny Valencia, 3B, Minnesota Twins: Another solid rookie from last year who put up a nice line of .311/.351/.448 in 85 games. He only hit 7 homers, but if you get that over a full season he’ll hit like 12, which is at least not embarrassing. Still, the average is great and OBP solid. Twins fans are just happy that Nick Punto isn’t there. Jewish baseball fans should be happy that there are 5 Jewish starting positional players in the majors and they’re all good.

#6 Jason Marquis, SP, Washington Nationals: Imagine my surprise when I picked up my annual copy of Baseball Prospectus and read that Jason Marquis is slated for the Nats rotation. Injuries and playing for the horrid team Washington will knock you right of the map. He’s a solid innings eater when healthy, and he’s supposedly healthy…so yeah. He’s currently 5th all time in wins and strikeouts for Jewish major leaguers. Which really means Jewish kids have crappy arms. Where’s the next Koufax already?

#7 Craig Breslow, RP, Oakland Athletics: Why yes, the talent pool of Jewish baseball players is just deep enough to avoid having a lefthanded relief specialist in the top five. At least he’s a good one who sported ERA’s of 3.01 and 2.60 the last two years. Not to mention that his double degrees molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale make him the smartest man in all of baseball, if not all of professional sports.

#8 Scott Feldman, SP, Texas Rangers: He’s a starting pitcher, which is a plus, and he’s had exactly one good year (2009). He was terrible last year and everyone expects him to be terrible again this year. He’ll probably be bounced out of the rotation before long. Poor guy. You never know what could happen, the Rangers could smarten up and put Neftali Feliz in the rotation and put Feldman in the bullpen where he rediscovers he’s cut fastball and becomes the Jewish Mariano Rivera. One can dream…

#9 Ryan Kalish, OF, Boston Red Sox: Kalish has been compared frequently to another Jewish outfield from Red Sox history, the great Gabe Kapler. Kapler won the heart of Red Sox fans by not playing on Yom Kippur, hustling, posing half naked in a body building magazine and being in the outfield when the Sox won for the first time in 86 years. This is not fair to Ryan Kalish, who has no chance of recapturing that magic, but, unlike Kapler, he actually has a chance to be a solid player. He put up lines of .293/.409/.527 and .294/.359/.476 last year in AA and AAA before being called up to the majors. If he ever gets a chance a regular playing time he could be very good center fielder.

#10 John Grabow, RP, Chicago Cubs: Grabow is like a terrible version of Breslow. He’s another lefty relief specialist, but he can’t get lefties out. Or righties. Given his ERA of 7.36 he would likely have trouble getting someone with no hands at all out. On top of that he went Stanford versus Yale. And nobody has ever called him the smartest man in baseball.

#11 Sam Fuld, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: A 29 year old with 146 at bats in the majors. At 5’10 he’s also very small. He’s also very versatile and plays hard, which really adds up to him being more of a fan favorite than a solid baseball player. Still he did hit .299/.409/.412 in 115 at bats for the Cubs in 2009. So there’s a chance he helps out Tampa and becomes something more than the gritty fan favorite on the end of the bench who you never want to play more than 25 games.

 

Ryan Braun is a dream boat.

 

Dear Red Sox Nation,

You guys need to calm the fuck down. An 0-4 start is nothing to get suicidal over. (or ovah, if you prefer).

Tito Francona’s head doesn’t need to be served on a platter, though it might need to be examined since he panicked like a true Bostonian after two losses and batted Carl Crawford seventh.

I’m calling for a collective chilling out of Red Sox Nation. You need to relax. Stop listening to the Dropkick Murphys and try something a little more laid back.

Baseball is not football, the aggressiveness and the collective hand wringing over four games (2.4% of the season) is not the sign of a people who have things in perspective.

I hope you will look to your fearless president, the honorable Gerald “Rem Dawg” Remy and think positive. How does a record of 158-4 sound?

Also, I’m not sure if you guys are aware, but after two Sox victories in the World Series, one NBA championship for the Celtics and 3 Superbowl wins for the Patriots that your entire supply of goodwill and sympathy are gone. There are also 161 million other reasons why you are not the lovable underdogs of 2004.

So take your lumps and STFU.

Sincerly,

The Coach.

 

PS Kudos on maintaining that stache for 30+ years.

Wade Boggs is such a Hipster.

Baseball season is finally here. Or regrettably here. Or indifferently here. It really depends on how you feel about the thing.

I’m not trying to force anybody into excitement on this blog, its not like we’re in communist Russia…although baseball does have The Reds…

But regardless if you like baseball, you’re going to have to know something about it. Chances are you are friends with a baseball fan and you might as well understand what they’re talking about. Besides, becoming a baseball fan will help you bond with your father who, if you’re reading this blog, has probably disowned you.

The first step in being a baseball fan is not to understand the subtle beauty of a 5-4-3 double play, or even to understand what that is; its picking a favorite team.The easiest way to do this is to find out what team is closest to you and cheer for it. This is called “rooting for the home team” and it’s so important in baseball that they wrote a song about it.

This is also a stupid idea. Its not a very informed or democratic decision. Like I said earlier, this is not communist Russia.

The next most common way to pick a team is to go with whoever you liked as a kid. All kids like baseball because it’s a great way to fill up a summer when you have absolutely nothing to do, so everyone probably had a favorite team as a kid.

This isn’t a terrible idea, because you’ll have the nostalgia factor, but it’ll also make you a bitter old asshole because things aren’t the way they were when you were a kid. Which for you is probably about 10 years ago and I guess you’re upset that they got rid of steroids and no one hits 60 homers anymore.

Sorry.

Really the best way is to make an informed decision about a team and choose it regardless of the location. It’s the internet age, come on son.

To make things quick, I’ve made a short guide to each team, specifically tailored to the HJ audience:

Arizona Diamondbacks: I’ve got nothing. Boring team with ugly uniforms and jerseys that say D’Backs on them, which is awfully close to D-Bag. In short, don’t be a D-Back fan.

Atlanta Braves: Solid on-field team marred by the fact that they’re in Atlanta. Really no reason to be a Braves fan unless you love Coca-Cola.
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