Yakkin' About Baseball: Tanging the Untangibles

Matt Stairs is a super-assassin, Pat Mahomes biographies a tough sell, Josh Reddick wants to fight you.
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David Roth: If there's one complaint I get more often than any other about this series, it's that we don't talk enough about our fantasy baseball teams. "Tell me about your recent waiver moves!" the direct messages on Twitter implore. "How are things going with Michael Fiers, do you feel good about having picked him up?" David, we need to do something about this.

You'd be sad, too, if you were made in the bobblehead factory in the special economic zone.David Raposa: Surely. I also agree that we don't talk enough about this. No one even knows that David Wright—yes, the guy with the 900+ OPS—is killing "Mark Tumblro" right now. Keith Hernandez thinks it's because he's got an uppercut in his swing; I think it's because he can't stand to be imaginary teammates with Shane Victorino. Your thoughts?

David Roth: The Victorino thing is disturbing for me, so I can only imagine how David Wright is dealing with it. But it is definitely something, because his Jack Hannahan imitation is on smash right now. It's hard to know exactly how it happens, but the air has so gone out of the Mets. It's like everyone picked up a serious painkiller-and-wine habit at the same time. Plodding around all logy and grumpy and retaining water.

David Raposa: Mets cannot live on ridiculous two-out rallies alone. Instant karma's gonna get you a Lucas Duda demotion and a whole lot of Jason Bay's multi-million dollar Gary Matthews Jr. impression. Unless they somehow dump him on the Marlins for Heath Bell and John Buck?

David Roth: I loved that deal so much. It's like a baseball version of a white elephant party, but all the gifts give you pinkeye and cost $9 million.

David Raposa: The pinkeye would've complemented that Francis Bacon homer installation quite nicely, though.

David Roth: The Marlins sell-off is so corny and Marlins-y. They are such Miami cocaine nightclub rich-boy babies. "We gave it three months, it didn't work, let's give Austin Kearns 400 at-bats and go yacht shopping, then put on white linen clothes and get hands-y with our server in a nightclub called LAS DROGAS." It really is weird they can't seem to build a fan base.

David Raposa: I'm not sure I like a front office having the same lack of patience as a drive-time talk show caller. But it would've put Heath Bell back on the Mets, after all these years! Who says you can't go home again, after making millions of dollars and realizing all sorts of success in other locales?

David Raposa: I can't wait until 2022, when the Red Sox trade Kevin Romine IV and the rights to Jacoby Ellsbury's stem cell line for Jed Lowrie.

David Roth: If they signed Johnny Damon today to pinch-run, give teammates conditioner tips and hang out at local taverns, would people be mad?

David Raposa: Like Boston fans know how to hold a grudge! However, Jon Heyman is reporting that Johnny Damon is looking to sign a 10-year, $200 million dollar contract with the SNK Crushers.

David Roth: The Heath Bell homecoming parade would've been great. Heath on rollerblades, getting pushed down Flushing Main Street. Then everyone gets dumplings and goes home.

David Roth: Jason Bay is so very much the definition of sunk cost at this point. Also the definition of "Human Analogue to The Sickly Kid from The Simpsons" and "Old Rice Pudding, But Baseball." Heath Bell is at least pudgy and sort of quippy and likes to rollerblade.

David Raposa: Also, Heath could easily bounce back.

David Roth: He is still throwing in the 90s. And he looked good against the Mets, for whatever that's worth.

David Raposa: Exactly. If Jason Bay experienced any sort of bounce back, he'd have to go on the 7-day DL.

David Roth: Also the Mets have sadly never had a beefy feast-or-famine homer-hitting catcher.

David Raposa: Quote Ken Rosenthal on the non-trade: "[John] Buck, who is batting .168 with a .582 OPS, would have fulfilled the Mets' desire to add a catcher." Power up!

David Roth: "The catcher, who is awful, plays catcher."

David Roth: I think that's not fair to Buck, though. He isn't quite that awful, but also I didn't get a Dave Valle/Bobby Estalella of my own growing up, and that's part of why I've had such a hard time keeping a job. That and my attitude and hygiene. But I never saw a Met catcher hit 18 homers and bat .207, and that hurts.

David Raposa: As a part-time fan of a team employing one such hitter, I have to say that a little Saltalamacchia goes a long way. After the umpteenth six-runners-stranded golden sombrero, you'll be pining for the slaptastic ministrations of Josh Thole.

David Roth: The Red Sox traded for a minor league knuckleballer. I know that is not the biggest deal of the last couple weeks, but I liked it.

David Raposa: Any excuse to bring Doug Mirabelli back into the fold...

David Roth: I only wish he was named "Charlie," because I like when knuckleballers are named Charlie. Instead his name is Steven Wright. The scouting report I'm looking at says he talks really slowly and is very droll.

David Raposa: What's his perm game like?

David Roth: The Sox hired Charlie O'Brien and Pascual Perez as roving minor league hair instructors.

David Raposa: If he doesn't take the mound with the Soul-Glo jingle playing over the PA, I have to question why we even have minor league teams.

David Roth: Of the deadline moves, did anything actually move you? Everything seemed kind of par for the course to me.

David Raposa: I keep forgetting the Angels got Zach Greinke. Possibly because that happened well before the deadline. And also because of course the Angels traded for Zach Greinke.

David Roth: I will always kind of like the Angles. But of course they traded for Greinke, you're right.

David Raposa: I kinda like the Angels, though? In a welcome-your-overlords kind of fashion. They're the Yankees that don't have the mystique or aura or odious fan base. I don't doubt there are assholes in Los Angeles of Anaheim, but I seriously doubt the Rally Monkey would put up with this ludicrous display.

David Roth: It's hard to think of a better case for excrement-flinging. I remember watching the Angels in college, and they were janky and no one liked them. They're very much the Clippers to the Dodgers' Lakers. And even still, with their payroll, they're still that.

David Raposa: They're even doing the Dodger trick of gutting their farm system. Though getting a shut-down closer and number-one starter for two runty middle infielders is a bit better than giving up Carlos Santana for a poor man's BJ Surhoff.

David Roth: As long as they keep Mike Trout, they will be fine. The rest of the team could be Jeff Mathis, Geoff Mathis, "Jim Salmon" (Orange County's foremost Tim Salmon impersonator) and Maicer Izturis and Trout would still do the thing for them.

David Raposa: Pfft. Like guys with legitimate 30-30 potential that seem to know their way around the strike zone and just turned 21 and make veteran starters look like mop-up guys aren't a dime a dozen.

David Roth: I feel like the Kirk Nieuwenhuis comparisons really are accurate in this case, I agree.

David Raposa: It doesn't seem right that the Angels are fighting the A's and Orioles for a wildcard spot.

David Roth: I kind of like all those teams. But the Orioles are so frankly not good. I would love it if the Orioles could somehow make the playoffs. But I also don't know that I can live in that world.

David Raposa: I think I saw some analysis where the O's run differential (-55 as of this Yakking) is primarily due to some lopsided losses. But Buck Showalter has more than earned the honor of being the ultimate baseball bridesmaid, and I don't like there being a chance that this could change. Bob Brenly should always have more World Series victories than him.

David Roth: Elaborate gypsy curses. "I curse you... BOCHY."

David Raposa: I heard Stephen King's Thinner was originally supposed to be about Buck's run-in with a pissed-off fortune teller after the 1995 playoffs. Which is pretty remarkable for a novel published in the early '80s.

David Roth: Well, King's a visionary. So, besides the fact that he gets paid a lot and is hurt, what is it that Sox fans hate about Carl Crawford? Because he's been pretty Cal Crawford-y since he came back.

David Raposa: I shudder to think. At this point, Red Sox Nation could stand to refresh their tree of fandom with the blood of a few hundred Sullys.

David Roth: Thin the herd. Only the purest New Hampshire specimens survive.

David Raposa: Maybe it's because the Crawford contract is endemic of the follies of the Tito / Theo regime. And please note that I'm too lazy to bother scare-quoting the F word, because THEY WON TWO WORLD SERIES YOU CROSSEYED HUMPS. I think most Red Sox Nationals are too hung up on Josh Reddick to bother fretting about overpaid outfielders playing with an elbow that will require off-season surgery.

David Roth: Reddick has been great. He also looks TERRIBLE.

David Raposa: How you mean? Every time I've seen him play, it's right-center field homer this and third-base gundown that. Not to reuse a Tweet, but I think Reddick's contractually obligated to go deep every time broadcasters mention he was acquired from the Red Sox.

David Roth: Oh no, he's playing really well. But he looks like a guy trying to get in a fight at a Sevendust show.

David Raposa: His is the look of a young man that still has D-Generation X posters up on his wall. Obviously, the Red Sox organization was repressing his inner Giambi.

David Roth: Yeah, those notoriously restrictive Red Sox Don't Look Like A Total Boner rules.

David Raposa: Who could forget those notorious post-Millar "Croupier Up" seasons? I never want to see Dale Sveum in a cummerbund ever again.

David Raposa: TONIGHT'S LIVE BASEBALL UPDATE: I just saw a clip of Josh Reddick diving into first base to beat out a hit. Someone needs to get these A's a copy of Billy Beane's book. Of course, I'm referring to his New York Times bestseller, "Why The Fuck Are You Not Running Through The Bag, You Jamie-Lane-Looking Shitbox?" Written with Susan Slusser, despite her strong misgivings.

David Roth: I haven't really liked any of Billy Beane's books since The Beane Identity. I just didn't buy Matt Stairs as a globe-trotting super-assassin. He explained all the ways in which Stairs was easy to underestimate as a superspy. But the parkour stuff was way harder to imagine than the frequent bacon breaks.

David Roth: Are you already trying to figure out which team you'll adopt for the postseason? I'm still hoping the Mets can Play Meaningful Games In August, but I'm trying to look ahead. The National League is a wasteland, although I'm pulling for the Pirates.

David Raposa: It might seem hypocrtical of me, given the guff I've spit out re: their play this year, but I am also officially all aboard the Pirates bandwagon.

David Roth: I think it'll be hilarious when people tell their kids, decades hence, "I was at one of the games the Pirates won in that series. Just too much Jeff Karstens and Pedro Alvarez." It would take a lot for me to hate the Pirates, after their two-decade struggle with Pat Meares Disease. I also really loved Karstens as the "these snozzberries taste like snozzberries" guy from Super Troopers.

David Roth: I would also take a bus to Pittsburgh to watch them play a game in those terrible-mazing yellow pie-plate hats and pullover poly-uniforms. "Everyone is going to be dressed like a bottle of French's mustard for the rest of the year. Just seems like the right thing to do."

David Raposa: The perfect postseason for me would have A.J. Burnett in it and the Yankees out of it. But since that second part's not going to happen, I'll settle for some We Are Family 2.0 action.

David Roth: The Yankees are too good. I have not watched them since Ichiro came to town. Is he still quietly the least productive and coolest and most Buddha-nature corner outfielder in baseball?

David Raposa: He just had the most pathetic hitting streak in the world halted yesterday. He got a hit in every game he played in post-trade. ONE hit in every game.

David Roth: A lusty .225.

David Raposa: The kind of lust that requires at least three claw-foot tubs and a palette of Five Hour Energy. And while we probably need hours and hours of energy at this point, I can't stop the Yak until I at least mention the trailer to the upcoming Clint Eastwood movie. You WILL hear Dirty Harry say something along the lines of, "A computer can't measure a player's heart."

David Roth: The buzz for Joe Morgan's The Untangibles is getting overwhelming. Who plays David Justice?

David Raposa: In a casting coup, Tony Siragusa.

David Roth: I like most things involving Amy Adams, and some baseball movies. But I especially like them when they take a side in the SABR warz. I wish the lesson that Hollywood took from Moneyball had been that women love all movies involving Chad Bradford. They might finally buy my script about a bunch of old Mets relievers who have to defend us from aliens or ghosts or alien-ghosts. As it is, I can't even sell this Pat Mahomes biography. And there are so many great stories in it. He almost pitched for the Blue Jays!

David Raposa: The suspense! The excitement! The exchange rates! After this pitch, I'm ready to donate a whole quarter to your upcoming Kicstarter campaign.

David Roth: Oh lord, the B-R similarity scores for Mahomes: Tanyon Sturtze/John Wasdin/Chad Durbin/Todd Van Poppel/Brian "The Anchor" Williams.

David Raposa: Where's Brian Rose on that list?

David Roth: Somehow not on there. Christ, I should NOT have looked at John Wasdin's Baseball Reference page.

David Raposa: Quick! Switch to Pedro's page!

David Roth: Too late, it doesn't work anymore. Computer just gave up three doubles and a homer. Oh shit Rick Astley video is now playing.

David Raposa: Hit ALT-F4! Reboot! Unplug it! Call the CDC!

David Roth: I tried, and my phone is just playing a call of Lee Stevens hitting a 650-foot homer off Wasdin in 1999. This is bad. I need to pour vinegar on everything and burn some stuff.

David Raposa: I'll send you a "Daisy Bell" MP3, just in case.

David Roth: I can feel it.

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Oh wow, I had John Buck on my fantasy team and man was he bad.

Dear lord, I'm that guy, huh? No need to get up, I'll show myself out

Is the title of your script STARSHIP LOOPERS?

Man, that is good. +200,000 and also yes it now is.

That is easily the most forlorn-looking bobblehead I have ever seen. I'm guessing you jostle it and the head just bobs down and swings side-to-side slowly.

I was really struck by that. It has a kind of weirdly artisanal look about it up close. The Edgardo Alfonzo bobblehead I got recently was made in a sad factory in China (or at least in China, and I inferred the rest) and is cross-eyed and his head doesn't move. This one has kind of a melancholy Jan Svankmejer vibe to it. I assume you could tell it was Joel Hanrahan, given the poor facial hair and melancholic mien.

Tremendous Yak! I forgot all about Heath Bell's Rollerblades! Steven Wright joke! Hope your computer's okay!

I am not in the passing-up-Steven-Wright-jokes business. I'm not in any business at all, really. That's why I have my computer hanging out on a clothesline now. I've got like 64 ounces of white vinegar in there, but I'm sure it'll be fine.