Yakkin' About Baseball: Journeys Among The Basebros

Jason Giambi leads, Ian Kinsler is upset, Bartolo Colon eats a balloon animal, and so on.
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David Raposa: Maybe I’m old fashioned and expect overrated veterans to get their multi-million dollar deals sorted out before Christmas, but there seem to be a lot of surprising names on this list of available free agents

David Roth: I like the random Boras dudes in there. Although dude got Oliver Perez a second multi-year contract, so clearly he's doing something right. But Arizona... I don't know, I can't get past the likelihood that Kirk Gibson is going to hunt him like Hard Target. Or more like the one where Busey and Charles Dutton hunt Ice-T, since I imagine there'd be a lot of other D-Back types showing up being like "I brought my own ATV."

David Raposa: Taking a flyer on Oliver Perez’s continued efficacy as a reliever is truly the most dangerous game.

David Roth: I do wonder if Boras catered to Arizona's tastes with his Ollie binder, though. Camo cover and everything's in the GI Joe font.

David Raposa: Lots of crying eagles and truck nuts. Possibly some overwrought boilerplate about Perez actually changing his name from Peters because They Took Our Jobs.

David Raposa: I’d like to think Boras is the type of mensch that’d soothe his clients’ egos by recording fake GM voicemails. Though I bet Barry Zito’s wondering why Billy Beane suddenly sounds like Christopher Walken.

David Raposa: Also, there’s something wrong with the draft-pick compensation system when a guy like Ervin Santana is still available. Especially when a similarly (in)effective dude just got paid just a few short months ago.

David Roth: I do sort of feel bad for him and Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew. Though the idea of Stephen Drew taking the season off and getting really into molecular gastronomy or quilting is intriguing to me.

David Roth: The ideal scenario being that a call comes from the Yankees in a few weeks and he's like "I'm actually doing an internship on the line at Noma, so I won't be available at least until the end of moss/herring season."

David Raposa: Meanwhile, Ryan Langerhans is resigned to his fate, sitting on his couch in a slanket, eating some Tagalongs and super pissed-off about the treatment of women on "True Detective".

David Raposa: Of course, it's nice to see JOHAN getting another shot. Even if it's in a incentive-laden minor-league NRI kind of shot. And it's with the 3rd best team in baseball's toughest division.

David Roth: I would never bet against that dude. He's the coolest and I hope he comes back. I wish the Mets had given him that deal, but when you've got John Lannan AND Dice-K, you're PRETTY SET.

David Raposa: No doubt. As the saying goes, “Lannan and Dice-K, baserunner bukkake.”

David Roth: I like what the Mets are going for, though. Generally just prioritizing getting the most hilarious players available at every position. I think the only reason they haven't signed Stephen Drew is that they're either negotiating with Steve Jeltz or trying to pry Yuniesky Betancourt away from whatever Korean League team signed him.

David Raposa: It's kinda great that the faces of the 2014 Mets are Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon. Very Twins of them. "Here, baseball fans, have this photogenic and genial epitome of a ballplayer, and this well-worn Weeble of a staff ace."

David Roth: But I like that! Granderson seems like someone who will someday be a very popular and effective (and hands-on) four-term Senator. Barto looks like a weird clown whose trick is making balloon animals and then buttering and eating those balloon animals. I love both.

David Raposa: For his next trick, Bartolo Colon will make older Mets fans nostalgic for the days of Ineffective Sid Fernandez.

David Roth: Alderson's plan seems to be to get the most amusing pitchers available and just let them go. Barto, Dice-K, Jose Valverde, Rowdy Kyle Farnsworth. I was hoping Todd Coffey would get an invite. Show up in the best shape of his life.

David Raposa: Square? Pentagonal?

David Roth: Which is to say looking like Pruitt Taylor Vince with a fake beard. But yeah, any of those also work.

David Raposa: Oh, so you mean George Dzundza after a strawberry shake cleanse.

David Roth: The Mets also have a 31-year-old career minor leaguer who does a lot of goofy Vines and seems like the best shortstop in camp, if also exactly like a 31-year-old minor leaguer.

David Raposa: If he plays shortstop, he's probably already better than both of the players he's competing against.

David Roth: There is no compelling reason for them not to sign Stephen Drew. They are not even really giving reasons, which is almost to their credit. They're like "No, we like the scrawny-but-somehow-pudgy guy that we hate. We think he'll do great. So, him. It's definitely him but we have plenty of money to spend, the organization's in great health." And then a family of raccoons falls through the drop ceiling and Jeff Wilpon is like "a culture of achievement" and spills coffee down his pants.

David Raposa: Mets gonna Met. Though, fuck, if you're already footing the bill for four years of Granderson and two years of Colon, a one-year dip on Drew couldn’t hurt.

David Roth: Do two years! Then he can be the shortstop when they have the best young rotation in the game. I promise he is not blocking anyone, except the 31-year-old New Jersey guy with the Vines.

David Roth: I haven't gotten to see any really interesting Spring Training looks yet, sadly.

David Raposa: Other than seeing Fun Commissioner Brian McCann working that Yankee-mandated clean-shaven look, everything seems pretty tame on the grapefruit and cactus.

David Roth: Like, if Joba has dreads, I don't know that yet. I am imagining that it's so, though. Not the skinny Chief Keef braids, either. Although I like to imagine that Zack Greinke has those. I mean Joba has like thick knotty crunch-dreads. A small family of sparrows nested in the back.

David Raposa: Well, Joba is working on something on the facial hair front.

David Roth: Holy crap that second pic of Joba. It's like a child's drawing of Steve Balboni. A distracted child. Fucking magnificent. No words.

David Raposa: It's like he has Burt Reynolds' Playgirl spread tucked under his nose. So what would you choose for him? (Would it be too synergistic to have him sculpt his beard in the shape of Robocop?)

David Roth: Assuming that he's not going to keep on with his long-running Jon Polito imitation, I would say the Ted Nugent vandyke. Also has to wear a Sherlock Holmes hat instead of a Tigers hat. I don't know if that's mine to choose, but I'm choosing it.

David Roth: This is a tough one, though. Because a chin-strap beard just makes him look like a police sketch.

David Raposa: Yeah, a chinstrap is much too George Lucas-y.

David Roth: Joba might be the big leaguer who most resembles George Lucas. Which is a drag, because there used to be a bunch of people who did. I think Steve Bedrosian still goes to ComiCon every year and signs autographs "May the force be with you." Also why does he look like he's fighting back tears on that card?

David Raposa: That's his "Howard The Duck was a bad idea" face.

David Roth: Ugh, actually, I keep forgetting that 1986 Topps was the set where they made all the players watch Terms Of Endearment and then photographed them as they watched.

David Raposa: Meanwhile, 1986 Donruss featured A Portrait Of An Erubiel Durazo Enthusiast As A Young Man.

David Roth: It's in his eyes: "bunting is foolish."

David Roth: So, my sister and her husband have a terrifying headless Grady Sizemore bobblehead in their home. She told me that once their toddler just handed her Grady's disembodied (bobble-)head and smiled, which sounds really harrowing.

David Raposa: I hope they’re making sure he’s not talking to his finger or inflicting tendon-related injuries.

David Roth: The kid is great. He may have a mild case of the Shining, but he'll be an Indians fan, so it'll be harmless. He'll just be able to hear what Vinnie Pestano is thinking.

David Roth: I bring the Sizemore thing up because I want to frighten you, but also to see if you know anything about what his role might be with the Red Sox this year. He was one of my favorite players when he was right. Is he doing okay so far? Has he suffered a Detached Torso or Dual Kidney Subluxation yet?

David Raposa: Other than him playing his first game since the Bush administration, there's no news I can see, which is great news as far as Sizemore goes. If he can put up 400 PAs at 75% Prime Grady, I’ll be over the moon. Hell, if he gets shelved or released for non-medical reasons, he should still win Most Improved Player.

David Roth: This was shaping up to be a great year for weird comebacks, although every year sort of looks like that in February. Mark Mulder is already back on the MLBTV set, sadly.

David Raposa: Yeah, I’m still bummed about that. It's rare for pitchers to make that kind of comeback successfully, though. Never mind one that was last effective 9 years ago, LITERALLY during the Bush Administration.

David Raposa: But that’s baseball for you. A ballplayer-looking ballplayer like Mulder turns to mush in the prime of his career, and a walking Mallomar like Bartolo Colon pitches into his 40s.

David Roth: It'd be good if rotations from the late '90s could just decide to get back together and tour again, like Afghan Whigs or whatever. Like if there was a second stage at All Tomorrow's Parties where you could just watch Jimmy Haynes and Steve Parris pitch.

David Raposa: It'd be even better if they could just replay their most notable seasons.

David Roth: "John Wasdin, performing 1993 IN ITS ENTIRETY"

David Raposa: “Man, I know Pedro’s 1999 was great and all, but I’ve seem him pitch that 17-K one-hitter 10 times already.”

David Roth: Ah man, Peak Pedro. The most fun baseball imaginable, and the most laughably over-the-top implausible pitches ever thrown. The year that Ubaldo was great, his pitches were just CGI ridiculous. But Clayton Kershaw is just good, and pitches well. The kids these days, there's no LOL factor.

David Raposa: Yeah, all the great pitchers nowadays seem more explicable. Like Kershaw, they’re spectacular in a fathomable fashion. I want to say Matt Harvey had a little Pedro in him last year, in that it was sometimes hard to reconcile the unbelievable stuff he was throwing with how… unspectacular and effortless he made it seem? But even that’s a stretch.

David Raposa: I think Aroldis Chapman might be the closest any pitcher can come to that "are you kidding me" factor.

David Roth: This is a thing that sort of makes me sad about baseball. The gradual decline in weirdness and convergence on a mean. It is important that there be weird things happening in baseball, I think. At least give me emotive fat relievers.

David Raposa: There will always be weird in baseball; it'll just be a different kind of weird. Every era will have their Pedro, and their Turk Wendell, and (hopefully) their Tony Plush. And hopefully, a lot less of this Ian Kinsler crap.

David Roth: The veteran Rangers beat writer who pronounced Kinsler the most self-involved player he'd ever covered was really saying something. I mean, that guy covered A-Rod AND Steve Buechele.

David Raposa: To be fair, if I could grow a mullet as buoyant as his, I’d be a raging asshole as well.

David Roth: I love that Kinsler was offended that he was asked to help the younger players. There is nothing more Contemporary American Hero than the capacity to be insulted by literally anything.

David Raposa: "Kinsler also didn't like that he found out about the Prince Fielder trade well before Daniels got around to telling him personally." Yeah, that sounds about right.

David Roth: "You're one of our best and best-paid players. Please help our young players become better for the good of the team." "BRO ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS? I worked too hard for this." /Storms off, muttering about taxes

David Raposa: So glad to see him realize his True Bro potential.

David Roth: Basebros are a rapidly evolving group. Kinsler is apparently the Natasha Henstridge-in-Species evolution of that.

David Raposa: I think almost every American-born baseball player goes through a Basebro phase: You tape 40s to your hand, you buy way too many power bracelets, you take a bat to the Gatorade cooler after every AB, you make inappropriate passes at your teammates’ girlfriends, etc. After a certain age, you have to rise above and stop punching walls.

David Roth: Unless you are a Giambi. Although even he's aged into a sort of weird bro-gravitas.

David Raposa: I’d buy that with Jason, but not Other Giambi. I'm sure Jeremy's hunkered down in his man cave, listening to Drowning Pool and buying Fleshlights as gag gifts. Meanwhile, Jason’s advising younger Indians to not grow scroatees and have a glass of water after every beer.

David Roth: "Kid, I don't want you going to Vegas without consulting me. Your success matters to this team, I don't want you dealing with the wrong club promoters. Say it back to me, Kipnis. I am not going to lose you like I lost Swisher."

David Raposa: And then Swisher hits Kipnis with a drive-by weapons-grade rat-tail and a glass-shattering “GOT HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEM.” Man, I missed baseball.


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