Yakkin' About Baseball: Clogging The Scoreboard

On productive outs, unproductive investigations, and TJ Simers' ongoing search for someone to fight.
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David Roth: I stayed up until the end of the Mets’ 16-inning win in San Francisco earlier this week, for reasons I still don’t understand. Seagulls were kind of menacingly circling the field and flying at the camera by the end of the game. Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez were free-associating in the Mets booth. Like, “Seagulls. Rod Taylor. Don Baylor. Sterling Hitchcock’s The Birds. I feel like myself only when I’m dancing.” And then just audible flapping-glottis snoring for ninety seconds.

David Raposa: Pretty sure there’s a correlation between the pitch and timbre of Keith Hernandez’s frequent and hilariously audible sighs, and the increase in the number of seagulls over the course of that game. Or maybe the gulls heard about the Jeff Francouer signing, and wanted first dibs on the carrion scraps.

David Roth: I love what the Giants are doing and what they’re about. So much welp, so much possibly intentional trolling.

David Roth: Anyway, watching Brandon Crawford hit at 3:40am was not my most painful baseball experience since our last Yakkin’. I went to a baseball game with my father, which was obviously so embarrassing, GOD, DAD but also I got just a very serious sunburn. These were very good tickets, close enough to be reminded that even Dillon Gee's pitches move both more and more quickly than anything anyone we know could ever hit, but it honestly never occurred to me that we would be so exposed to the sun. I got a sad blogger sunburn -- little isolated paramecium-shaped islets of maroon skin on my arms -- and was reminded again of how weird it is to watch baseball games in expensive seats. There was a bar area inside, and tons of old dudes in there just drinking in the air conditioning and smoking those Stephen Dorff-io vape cigarettes. You don’t think about how many Long Island dads go for the Anthony Bourdain look until you’re confronted with it.

David Raposa: I hope you drank your beers with a full-extension pinky in between puffs on your toy coffin nail.

David Roth: Well, yeah, Mr. Met was watching. I didn't want to look stupid.

David Raposa: Speaking of looking stupid, which impending baseball Armageddon are you looking forward to the most: The mass suspension of baseball's finest, or the ramp-up of the PUIG FOR ALL-STAR campaign?

David Roth: I look forward to all Puig things the most. If there were just a MLB.TV webcame that showed him eating dagwoods in the locker room, I’d watch and marvel at his extension, use of turkey, et cetera. I just think it's wonderful that Puig is so awesome right now. I will still think that if he turns out to be Jeff Francoeur or Mike Jacobs, who were nearly this awesome for roughly this long. But I will be sort of sad if he is one of those dudes.

David Raposa: I can't recall seeing someone ever actually epitomize the "raw talent" cliche so superheroically. Granted, the only live Puig action I've seen is him trying to stretch an obvious no-doubt up-the-middle single into a double, and getting thrown out by 55 feet in the process. If he's giving outfield walls the Bo Jackson, or one-handing HRs to the Pacific while working a Shake Weight, I've been none the wiser.

David Roth: I have only seen him in highlights.

David Raposa: Maybe watching him live is like staring into the sun. It might not be safe.

David Roth: Twitter makes him sound amazing, both in the Getting Thrown Out By 55 Feet Way and in the Doing The Running Man Around The Bases After Hitting A Homer way. But I haven’t been verifying it, so I can only assume people are telling the truth when they tweet about him hitting a walk-off while wearing Jams, flip-flops and a Big Dogs t-shirt. I could never feel any way but positive about a player like that. Maybe if he wore multiple sets of batting gloves or something.

David Raposa: Ropey Analogy Alert! Puig : Dodger-era Manny :: Young Marlon Brando : Charlie Chaplin

David Roth: Puig : Manny Ramirez :: Young Marlon Anderson : Mark McLemore. THINK ABOUT IT.

David Raposa: As a wise man once said, GOT HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEM.

David Roth: I understand that people are into … WECALLITSHABBADOO ... excuse me, into Puig. But I think Josh Satin is the rookie baseball fans need to be checking for. An unassuming Jewish dude with assertive eyebrows. The hero we want AND the hero we deserve. Also, the only Major Leaguer onto which I can effectively project myself at the moment, because of the eyebrows and shared religious tradition.

David Raposa: Dude, Josh Hamilton is RIGHT THERE for all your projection needs. (At least, he will be as soon as he finishes turning that fly ball into a hilariously awkward triple.)

David Roth: Ha, I did that already. So have you seen him at all? Is he totally cooked? His stats were on some real Gary Matthews Jr. shit for months, although I guess he’s had a good couple weeks since we started dipping Skoal again or whatever.

David Raposa: I'll defer to the more level-headed experts, who seem to be saying he's just struggling, but that there's also no way in hell he'll ever hit like he did in Texas or justify that contract.

David Roth: There's something gratifying about teams transparently out to buy pennants not successfully doing so. But I have always kind of liked the Angels, who are kind of fundamentally like the Mets without mass-transit access or secretly broke Philip Roth characters as owners. I also like the idea of a lineup with Trout and Pujols and Hamilton in it, and it's a bummer that the last two already look kind of braised.

David Raposa: I guess the Angels really are the Yankees West now, with the aging veterans and the toxic contracts and the jackal-like press following ready to pounce at the slightest hiccup. Granted, if I had TJ Simers negging me like a Costco Triumph every day, I'd probably tank it on purpose.

David Roth: Simers walking around the clubhouse like “Who wants to fight me? Any of you buttlords want to fight me? Because that’d be immature of you and probably why you’ll never be champions.” Then he pockets some triscuits from the clubhouse spread and glares at everyone.

David Raposa: I think the numbers show that the real problem with the Anaheimgels (TM) is that they don't have any pitching. (Anaheimgels sounds like some ill-conceived Charlie XCX / Icona Pop spin-off, and I apologize in advance if that term gains any traction.)

David Roth: It gets real hard to pronounce in the middle.

David Raposa: AnaGOTHEEEEEEIMgels?

David Roth: So, there's no objective metric for this, but are they more ridiculous than the Dodgers?

David Raposa: There’s definitely a Battleship / John Carter of Mars kind of thing going on with the LA-area MLB franchises. I guess the front office that gives Taylor Kitsch a NRI invite to Spring Training next year wins?

David Roth: I would use him in a high-leverage situation more readily than Brandon League, and I’ve seen a decent amount of John Carter. It’s like him and a woman dressed like She-Ra, and every single other character is Jar-Jar Binks.

David Raposa: While we’re on the subject of ill-conceived boondoggles: Any theories on how this Biogenesis thing will shake out?

David Roth: Oh, I think it'll be fine, don't worry about it. I'm sure some minor league dudes will get suspended for 100 games for no reason. Which is how you know justice is being done. It got real quiet on that one, didn't it?

David Raposa: There was a bit of a flare-up in that story earlier this week, which I have to assume was the result of some PR flack the MLB office getting sick of that one Candy Crush Saga level with the expanding chocolate squares.

David Roth: I guess they might just pre-emptively suspend everyone after the All-Star break to send a message -- that message presumably being that Roger Goodell doesn’t have a monopoly on overdetermined and under-justified and later very embarrassing disciplinary actions.

David Roth: But mostly can't care about this shit. But it just feels unseemly that this is Bud getting on some sort of vengeance manhunt against Ryan Braun. And I still don't know that they've got enough to suspend anyone if they play by the rules.

David Raposa: I'll have to check the transcripts to see if I already whinged about this, but I'm pretty sure the Biogenesis thing reflects more poorly on the sports media complex than it does on baseball.

David Roth: It absolutely does, although Selig and the Barcalounger disciplinarians in the sport-pundit corps happen to be in lockstep on the urge to see SOMEONE get punished for SOMETHING. Times are tough, and we all agree that kicking A-Rod in the dick is what we need to get things going.

David Raposa: MLB's gonna continue to give itself titty twisters regarding PEDs until Selig either dies or becomes NBA commissioner. But I'm pretty sure I could count on two fingers the number of reporters or columnists that bothered to ask questions about MLB's shady tactics.

David Roth: There are some, but the story definitely seems to be centered on the famous people who maybe did something bad that double-maybe can be proved. Which makes sense, but ignores how dumb this all is. Everyone knows the way MLB has conducted this investigation is rotten.

David Roth: Also I don't know who's really even into seeing vigilante justice in this anymore. Who is going to be like "mission accomplished" if A-Rod gets suspended? It's fucking 2013 A-Rod. Just give Jack Hannahan an atomic wedgie and you're doing more or less the same thing.

David Raposa: It's almost more about getting baseball out and posing in the public eye than righting some wrong. Which is taking the “all press is good press” truism to some absurd lengths.

David Roth: "Remember, users are losers." /suspends Double-A dude who's basically not in a union for having his name appear in the notebook of street pharmacist Sad Florida Tony Shalhoub.

David Raposa:If there's a scourge that MLB should really be addressing, it's stuff like the All-Star Game mattering, or combining an unbalanced schedule with year-long interleague. Or the Cardinals and Reds hanging around the Pirates. There’s your real enemy.

David Roth: The Pirates! America's team! The team that is maybe the most like America in some ways in terms of two solid decades of enervating malaise interrupted by periodic abjection. We're turning it around! You and me and Jordy Mercer and, like, a sad compromised attempt at comprehensive immigration reform.

David Raposa: It all hinges on providing an easy path to citizenship and making sure your pitching staff isn’t relying on a out-of-character performance by James McDonald. Granted, Pedro Alvarez is doing his best Hot Adam Dunn impression (again), so maybe anchor babies are real?

David Roth: It's more of a Travis Snider-based surge. A border surge. A border-of-replacement-level surge. (I want them to get Giancarlo Stanton so much. They’ve got the players to do it and could seriously win a World Series.)

David Raposa: I’d have to assume Loria would take a Gillooly to Stanton’s knees after the trade’s approved, but in theory, I’m all for it. Granted, it’s the eternal optimist in me that’s also expecting Clint Hurdle to temper my optimism and steer the team into a season-ending losing streak.

David Roth: "If everyone bunts, eventually you just tire the other team out. That's when it's time to put the hit and run on."

David Raposa: Bunting is like racking up a pitcher's pitch count, but for fielders. Pretty sure I heard Steve Sax say that recently.

David Raposa: Do you get upset when you hear former players spit out old-farty baseball platitudes? I mean capital-U upset, like you're Carlos Zambrano, and life is a Gatorade cooler. (By the way, "Life Is a Gatorade Cooler" is my favorite Tom Cochrane song.)

David Roth: "I want to give up a bunch of doubles and blame that inanimate object ALL NIGHT LONG."

David Roth: I wonder why they are so helpless not to maunder about productive outs and all that. I wonder if they mean it.

David Raposa: It's almost reflexive, like their body translates heartburn and middle-aged regret into "SCORING RUNS CLOGS THE SCOREBOARD.” If Keith Hernandez has a decidedly rich piece of cheesecake before a broadcast, you know he's going to talk about kids and their defensive positioning for 2-3 innings.

David Roth: I like Hernandez in coach mode, though. It's paternal and drunk and well-meaning. Also his own dad was a psychotic baseball father, so I assume he’s exorcising some demons by walking the children of Mets Nation through the importance of situational hitting in a more benign way.

David Raposa: Yeah, his heart's in the right place (meaning it's in a tailored fitted shirt & natty sport coat). All I’m asking for is some consistency. I'm fine with folks that offer up old-fart advice that dovetails with their playing career (cf. Steve Sax talking about bunting kinda makes sense). George Brett espousing wanton aggression at the plate, on the other hand...

David Roth: And I like the idea that sacrifice is generous and important and worthwhile. I think it is! It’s just weird to hear all these grump-o ATV-collector Republican types talk about it, when you know they also get revved up at the idea that some of their tax dollars goes to helping poor people get reduced-price pepper-jack at Piggly Wiggly.

David Raposa: I can understand the impulse: "I don't WANT to make an out, but if I do..." That said, I'm pretty sure the only players that ever knew where they were hitting the ball were Ichiro, Wade Boggs, Barry Bonds, and 1987 Matt Nokes.

David Roth: It’s too late to re-title this feature of ours Nokes Jokes. Right?

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