David Raposa: I know this is going to sound like a cliché, but I feel I should tell you, before we embark on our third year—our first arbitration-eligible season—of Yakkin' About Baseball, that I am in the best shape of my life right now. I don't care if my scale says I gained 25 pounds this weekend. Or that I'm eating a breakfast sandwich that has Boston Creme donuts as the bread.
David Roth: Feeling good, looking good. You added some new pitches, I read? Something slurvy. I watched a lot of tape of myself typing from last season, and have tweaked my arm slot a little. And I'm more or less pain free, unless I think about the sadness in Lucas Duda's forlorn stuffed animal eyes. Then the pain is almost unbearable.
David Raposa: I've gained 3 MPH on my underhand shineball…
David Roth: Gross, dude.
David Raposa: …I can almost get around on balls off the tee, and I can finally make it to first base in under 60 seconds. Milhouse can suck on some Sheets energy strips, because everything's coming up me!
David Roth: I was going to chat at you the other day when I saw what Scott Atchison looks like. I was going to be a little angry with you for not telling me, when the Mets signed him, that he looks like an exhausted character actor who'd get yelled at by Joan Allen in a Bourne sequel. Mostly I was going to ask which of your great-uncles he looks the most like.
David Raposa: Hopefully not the one that thought Mussolini was a bleeding-heart pansy.
David Roth: Do you have an uncle who'd demand Michael Madsen's badge and gun/call him a loose cannon in a late-night Showtime thriller? Because Scott Atchison looks like that uncle.
David Raposa: Yeah, his GIS results look very alarmed. Like he saw some month-old vegetable in the crisper giving birth to some Cthulhu-looking sporebeast.
David Roth: …and then dressed-down Michael Madsen for not investigating the sporebeast BY THE BOOK. "Dammit, Copperson"—that's the name of Madsen's character, Punch Copperson—"we need to follow procedure!"
David Raposa: I imagine he sported that startled/horrified look many times last season. Suffering through one of Bobby V's no-doubt scintillating pre-game pep talks will do that to a face.
David Raposa: "Guys, I think we all know we're not playing well, and I think we all know that the fans know we're not playing well, but I want you to know that I know that you are in fact the worst bunch of wrap-hating jagoffs I've ever had the displeasure of not managing. Lineup changes: Scotty Pods, you're batting clean-up. Ortiz, you're riding deez nuts. If anyone needs me, I'll be in my office, drooling on the scorecard."
David Roth: I miss that dude. I know that Kirk Gibson and his quest to overhaul the roster of the Diamondbacks until it resembles the cast of Predator—but with a more, ah, scrappy and team-oriented guy standing in for Carl Weathers, who maybe just isn't a great fit with the new clubhouse and approach—is going to be the Next Great Comedic Manager. I'm okay with that. But his whole vibe is so dour and coppish and un-fun and gunned-up. He comes off like some gun-nut dentist who starts talking about the Amero and "times when it's actually constitutional to fire on ATF agents" during a cleaning, when he knows you can only be like "ruhm glot shuh that's uctualluh innuh clon-stuh-too-shuh." Valentine was at least more funny than he was seething-with-barely-suppressed-and-extravagantly-well-armed-rage.
David Roth: What I'm saying is that I think he'll eventually be a really terrible member of Congress. Let's talk about something less depressing. Let's talk about the Mets.
David Raposa: I did happen to catch a Mets broadcast wherein the broadcast crew seemed very optimistic about all the bullpen options the team had in camp. Including one LaTroy "Proven Non-Closer" Hawkins.
David Roth: I like the bullpen! The rest of the team has issues. "The Mets outfield" is already starting to replace "…the Aristocrats" in certain tellings of that joke. But I think this year's bullpen garbage-picking makes a lot more sense than last year's. Also it seems somehow past time that LaTroy Hawkins was a Met.
David Raposa: So is the plan to go "Scapegoat By Committee," or is Terry Collins picking who gets nailed on the cross when?
David Roth: Oh, we've all agreed to blame Frank Francisco. Everyone got together at FanFest and we were all like "I don't know, man, he looks like a jerky Jadakiss and can't get anyone out, let's just go with that."
David Raposa: Give him the chair! And make sure it's bolted down so he doesn't chuck it!
David Roth: Too soon!
David Raposa: I guess it's worth noting that of all the Spring action I've seen so far, about 9 percent of it has been Mets. Clearly, I'm trying to start the year off on the foot that might already be in the grave.
David Roth: Yeah, I've watched a lot of Mets, but that's my choice/fault. They are mostly like different types of sad middle school kids. Duda's this hulking gentle giant who is on a LARP message board but doesn't LARP. All the unctuous middle infield candidates are treasurers of various clubs. Except Justin Turner, who has tried pot thanks to a burnout older brother. (Who is Kirk Nieuwenhuis?)
David Raposa: Is that supposed to be an existential koan? "If Kirk Nieuwenhuis falls in the outfield, will Mike Francesca attempt to pronounce his name in his next broadcast?"
David Roth: "No way is there a Kirk Niewenhuis. I'm not fawling for da Al Albuquerque thing again. Now here are my thoughts on tax policy and horse-racing for 40 brutal minutes."
David Raposa: "Clogged heart, closed eyes, can't lose."
David Roth: "Veal chop, two pounds of jack cheese, another veal chop." - Mike Francesa.
David Raposa: David Wright must be feeling like McConaughey in Dazed and Confused nowadays, except the prospect of everyone else staying the same age doesn't give him happy wood. Which might turn him into the Killer Joe McConaughey. (Here's hoping?)
David Roth: It's too early in the season for me to attempt the logical follow-up involving The Paperboy. I'm not ready yet. I know my body, and it's not ready to for an elaborate Nicole-Kidman-peeing-on-Zac-Efron-but-it's-about-Daniel-Murphy joke. Just typing that I felt a pop. This is not good.
David Raposa: Not to turn away from your Met monomania, is Kyle Lohse still the most prominent unsigned free agent? And is it because Scott Boras is asking for some sort of ownership share to be included in whatever contract Lohse signs?
David Roth: The most prominent unsigned free agent is Ryan Theriot, who I still feel could get a four-year, $30 million deal from the Diamondbacks if he passes Gibson's firearms test. But I feel bad for Lohse, to a certain extent. This compensation-trap thing happened to I think it was Juan Cruz not so long ago, but it was like 'oh, yeah, Juan Cruz.' But Lohse is not Juan Cruz! I assume he won't sign a one-year deal, if only because Boras would rather have Lohse sit out a year than take a below-market deal. But it is weird that he's without a team. I assume the Rangers will sign him eventually. Or the Spring juggernaut Royals.
David Raposa: Maybe he can get together with Derek Holland and re-enact Anchorman during rain delays.
David Roth: "Sex panther." "Sex panther." "Sex panther." "Very niiiiice."
David Raposa: I bet his Brick Tamland is impeccable.
David Roth: Then Nolan Ryan walks in and shames them both with a glance.
David Raposa: And starts quoting Swingers, because that's how Nolan rolls.
David Roth: MAN STYLE. The only thing Nolan Ryan is allowed to feel feelings about are ball-and-strike calls and Whataburger.
David Raposa: He's so money, he doesn't even know Jon Daniels traded away Michael Young.
David Raposa: Hottest competition for Top Unemployed Baseballer: Jose Valverde.
David Roth: Amazing that no one has taken a chance on a yam-shaped gesticulator with BP heat. Amazing that the aforementioned Mets, for instance, have not taken a chance on a yam-shaped gesticulator with BP heat.
David Raposa: Also K-Rod, in case you don't have a copy of Apocalypse Now handy.
David Roth: "What are you going to say about K-Rod, huh? That he was a KIND MAN? That he was a WISE MAN? Bull fucking shit man, he was just marginally better than LaTroy Hawkins! But when he dies, it dies…" Except it's not Dennis Hopper coke-jeering those words, it's Peter Gammons.
David Roth: I'd like to see K-Rod back with the Mets, for reasons I don't understand. All ex-Mets are somehow my friends for life, except The Few. You know them. Francoeur.
David Raposa: Glavine. Beltran, of course.
David Roth: Glavine for sure. Mike Glavine for double-sure. Beltran is the best forever. No anger there. That jerk BORDICK on the other hand.
David Raposa: I am shocked you weren't blaming Beltran for things that weren't his fault. I thought you were a Mets FAN.
David Roth: I suspect all the Beltran-blaming Mets fans in comments sections are an elaborate Adam Rubin false flag operation.
David Raposa: Or just run-of-the-mill racists. Which reminds me that I should finish up my movie script. It's about a hardcore Mets fan and his inability to move past that Adam Wainwright curveball. Think Big Fan, but with Nick DiPaolo instead of Patton Oswalt, and about 1000% more Todd Zeile.
David Roth: … and Nicholas Turturro as Capt. John Franco.
David Raposa: "Dammit, Copperson, I said ask questions first, THEN shoot! Turn in your badge and bike lock."
David Roth: You need to focus on your own sad team and leave mine alone. I am not at all sure the Red Sox will be bad. Neither am I sure they'll be good. I am sort of wondering what they're doing, but not with the offhand exasperation I felt last year.
David Raposa: I guess PECOTA has Boston at 84 wins and finishing third, which sounds about right in terms of wishful thinking. Assuming the 26 Marlins the Blue Jays acquired don't spontaneously combust, I can't see how they don't finish ahead of Boston. And while the Orioles are bound to regress, it's not like they shot the moon with a bunch of over-the-hill overpaid clean-shaven veterans decked out in pinstripes or something.
David Roth: The poor limping Yankees. Having Matt Stairs in for secret auditions. He shows up in Jams and flip-flops, looking like the Canadian Sammy Hagar, and then just hits bombs.
David Raposa: If you're calling Project Donkey the Amway Gary Cherone, we're about to cross the Van Rubicon.I guess my biggest issue with what Boston did this offseason is that it just proves I have no idea what market value is anymore. I guess some combination of Victorino's offense and defense and all-around affability makes him worth $13 million, but that just doesn't pass the smell test.
David Roth: Me either. Victorino seemed like a bad signing, although I am as a general rule opposed to Shane Victorino doing things besides co-hosting Wet N' Wild T-Shirt events on Daytona Beach with Ruthie from The Real World. I need him to be the Joe Francis character I imagine him to be, even though I know he isn't.
David Roth: But I know there are smart people working for the Sox so maybe not that bad? The rest of their moves mostly make sense. Ryan Dempster is a doofus, but actually pretty good. The bullpen makes a sort of sense even though it doesn't. I really don't see the O's being good again. I still see 75 wins every time I look at that roster.
David Raposa: That's because you're not paying attention to Manny Machado's 60-60 potential, or Jake Arietta's burgeoning Verlander-like dominance. Kudos to ESPN for listing 1B/3B/OF Chris Davis as a DH, though. The dude won them a game ON THE MOUND; show him some damn respect.
David Roth: Seriously. Did Brian Matusz do as much? (Seriously, I don't know if he did, and I forgot where to look.)
David Raposa: Clearly, we are already in midseason form.