Yakkin' About Baseball: The Biggest Noodle-Pile

Bad teams, bad choices, PF Chang's, that sort of thing.
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Give me your tired, your sucky, your literally Jed Lowrie. Literally give me Jed Lowrie.

Image via Flickr user Marianne O'Leary.

David Roth: So, what kind of message did you leave on Mike Napoli's voicemail after C.J. Wilson tweeted his phone number? I put on a thick Italian accent and was like "I-a hope-a you enjoy-a you unsustainable uptick in BABIP. Spicy meatball baba booey C.J. WILSON RULES."

David Raposa: I just whined about how his crap performance last April and May lead me to drop him and lose my fantasy baseball league.

David Roth: So, the usual.

David Raposa: Even more so. I got beeped off his voicemail at least three times. But I like your Chef Boyardee impression better.

David Roth: It was definitely the more bigoted. How depressing is it that as soon as some slugging catcher's phone number gets out there, 50,000 people— at the same time, presumably—call that number and are like "YOU ARE GAY BRO?"

David Raposa: Mike Scioscia's dialing finger must need some serious physical therapy.

David Roth: Scioscia was like "Yes, this is Jeff Mathis. I'm way better than you in ways only very smart people can understand and no one can measure. GOOD DAY."

David Raposa: "OK, Hatch, this time, I want you to do the Colonel Klink voice, and say, 'You know NUTTINK about blocking pitches unt zee dirt!'"

David Roth: I like the idea of Scioscia delegating. "I'm the leader of this clubhouse. Also, you do way better fart noises, Mickey."

David Raposa: That's what makes him such a great manager—knowing which guys on his staff are familiar with The Jerky Boys' discography. All that aside, I'm not so sure C.J. is truly walking the straight edge all too nimbly if he's telling a dude on the Twitter to call him and posting said dude's digits by mistake.

David Roth: CJ Wilson being straight edge was always the only thing I liked about him. But he doesn't seem to be my type of straight edge dude. In that he is into funny-car racing, and not Earth Crisis or whatever.

David Roth: It is also amazing to me that someone could both not drink and be into auto racing.

David Raposa: Maybe he's getting a contact high from the ethanol fumes?

David Roth: That's the buzz you get from American Energy. There is nothing like it, except for drugs and alcohol. Which are more effective.

David Roth: I liked the Angels when I was in college. The alternative was the Dodgers, and the Angels were kind of charming. But it's hard for me to get down with any team that goes on a Supermarket Sweep-style free agent spree.

David Raposa: When was your Angels period? Are we talking the Tim Salmon years?

David Roth: During the Erstad Empire.

David Raposa: Ah yes, the days when folks could say, "Garrett Anderson is the most underrated player in the AL," and the numbers actually sort of supported that claim.

David Roth: They were not yet very good, but they were pretty likable. Just a bunch of lumpy, weird character actor types. Troy Glaus was at his Glaus-iest, looking like a giant eight-year-old on third-grade picture day and hitting 670-foot homers. And the whole bullpen was like the cast of Short Cuts or something, just all these misfits and goofballs with very obvious defects. Troy Percival, bleeding espresso and seeming way too hyped up for his health. Ben Weber and his peerless Walter Sobchak imitation. The also had at least two Jewish guys in it, which made me happy. I keep trying to claim Ben Weber as one of ours, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't. Al Levine can't make that case. My parents go to adult enrichment classes with someone by that name.

David Raposa: Keep going; I'm still working on a line about Julianne Moore and Randy Bush.

David Roth: Shigetoshi Hasegawa smoking cigs between innings and such. They used to flash a graphic that said "Getting Shiggy With It" when he came into games, and play that one Will Smith song. You know, "Wild Wild West." They were kind of goofy even when they won the World Series, come to think.

David Raposa: When Adam Kennedy is your post-season power source, you know you've had a special year.

David Roth: Now, after they bought everybody, I just picture the team as Kanye West being bitchy to some furrier. "Yeah, when I said Latvian mink, I mean Latvian mink. What am I, speaking Dutch? I'm totally going to write an album about this."

David Raposa: Well, their new GM (Jerry DiPoto) is a card-carrying member of SABR going back to his playing days. As a dude that's too lazy to pony up the membership fee, I can't front on that.

David Roth: Didn't DiPoto do the Dan Haren trade as Arizona's interim GM, though? Playing the long game, there.

David Raposa: He did! Those stat guys! So wily and conniving! By the by, I learned that tidbit about DiPoto on MLB Network's "Clubhouse Confidential", the best television show on television that doesn't feature Peter Dinklage. Can I tell the story about the time I saw Brian Kenny, during his ESPN days, trudging through Westfarms Mall with a serious case of bedhead and stubble?

David Roth: Surely.

David Raposa: Oh, I just did. That was the entire story.

David Roth: What is Westfarms Mall? Is it a posh Connecticut mall with a Bobby Flay Tartare Station? Or is it the sort of place that has a Sam Goody and a Panda Express with feral badgers running around in the food prep area? Both can be found in Connecticut, I know.

David Raposa: It's actually sorta both? Westfarms is a shopping and dining mecca nestled on the New Britain/West Hartford border, just a few miles (and about 45 minutes) from the World Wide Leader. Imagine a gussied up family-friendly mall, nice enough that you feel bad if your kids end up puking outside the Pottery Barn. No food court, but it does feature a Rainforest Cafe, a California Pizza Kitchen, and, for a little of that international flavor, PF Chang's!

David Roth: PFMFing Chang's. I'm still awaiting the legal ruling on whether it really was copyright infringement for me to open KMFDM Chang's at The Fashion Center in Paramus, New Jersey.

David Raposa: I hear their Juke Joint Jeze-Bell Pepper Chicken is der bombe.

David Roth: What is Rainforest Cafe like? I know it's a thing. Are there pumas? Do they just serve things you'd be able to find in an actual rain forest, like snake or weirdly sweet macadamia-crusted tilapia?

David Raposa: It's like Bugaboo Creek, south of the border, but with lizards and frogs instead of moose and beavers. Meaning it's got overpriced Friendly's-style fare and more animatronic bullshit than you can shake a rainstick at. Though I don't know if the frogs serenade you on the half-hour like the moose do at Bugaboo. I believe there's a toucan or mosquito that greets you near the entrance. (You're getting me to speak on shitty food franchises to keep me from blabbing about my man-stat crush on Kenny, aren't you?)

David Roth: Of course not, that's ridiculous. So do you not remember if it's an animatronic toucan or an animatronic mosquito, or is it that you can't tell if it's an animatronic toucan or an animatronic mosquito? It's like "Welcome neighbor! Did you know that the rain forest is home to millions of species of snakes, and that we accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover?"

David Raposa: Oh shit, it might be a frog!

David Roth: Finally, an opportunity to eat near "indigenous creatures."

David Raposa: "Indigenous? No - inDELICIOUS!"

David Roth: The image carousel for the menu: Brown Sampler Platter. Child With Oversized Frog. Allman Brothers Mushrooms/Giant Pink Cocktails. Noodle-pile with leafs. Meat flap on fried strips. White families. I'm sold.

David Raposa: And speaking of Brian Kenny…

David Roth: How do mozzarella sticks fit into this motif, is what I don't get.

David Raposa: …he seems to be the epitome of the "modern day" Stat Guy: someone knowledgeable enough to make with the acronyms and the advanced metrics, but personable enough to not come off like a guy in a lab coat with a Tesla coil fetish. For example, he's been covering the SABR Analytics Conference this week, talking with sabermetric pioneers and the like, and even offering a quick history on how it all started.

David Raposa: If you're worried that MLB Network is too open-minded, though, don't worry. They compensate for the "OMG STATS" orgy of "Clubhouse Confidential" with its lead in, "Intentional Talk". Chris Rose. Kevin Millar. Thirty minutes. Pure magic.

David Roth: See, I don't get this network. So you could make anything up. You could be like "Oh, there's a show called 'Grace Land', where Mark Grace shows up and landscapes peoples' yards." And I'd have no choice but to be like "Well, that sounds nice." Is there a program called "Orel Fixation" in which Orel Hershiser interviews the newsmakers you need to know about, on the issues that matter most?

David Roth: Also, Jesus Christ: Kevin Millar for thirty minutes. What do they talk about? Is Millar like "Chris, you an ass guy or a tits guy?" And Rose has to be like "You literally just asked me that like 90 seconds ago."

David Raposa: I've only caught bits where they make like "America's Funniest Home Videos" hosts. They're usually not even in the same room—they're filmed on TVs in an MLBN studio, or split-screen.

David Roth: Oh cool, for the dynamic effect of watching TV within your TV-watching experience.

David Raposa: Long live the new flesh. And by "new flesh," I do mean "tits."

David Roth: Transition! Are you worried about the Kansas City Royals? Like about something terrible happening to all of their knees and elbows simultaneously?

David Raposa: I'm only worried about the players they have under contract. That aren't Jeff Francouer.

David Roth: I always enjoy imagining ways they could contend. And then something happens and like five of them get into some sort of helicopter accident.

David Raposa: I was about to say that the AL Central is up for grabs, given the cromulence of the Twins and White Sox, and the Royals' semi-burgeoning relevance. But then I remembered that the Tigers have some dudes. Even if some of said dudes are not flashing the leather.

David Roth: Flashing some face. Poor Miguel Cabrera.

David Raposa: "He really has an EYE for the ball!" - someone that's not me.

David Raposa: Where the hell are the hungry journos with questionable ethics chasing down Brandon Inge quotes on this thing? The dude flaps his gums when he's hitting like Al Leiter, but he's keeping mum when he actually has something to work with?

David Roth: I saw Inge playing second base the other day. The Tigers are really working on something, defensively. In the game I saw, every defensive player was wearing a chest protector and standing behind a batting practice screen.

David Raposa: Jim Leyland must be kicking back some next-level highballs. Was Dr. James Andrews there as well, scalpel in hand? Dousing guys with iodine as they took the field?

David Roth: I like the Tigers model, honestly. Very fantasy baseball.

David Raposa: And imagine what's going to happen when Victor Martinez comes back next year! Miggy at short? Prince catching? Inge joining the rotation?

David Roth: Are they going to be our funniest team this year? I think the Astros will certainly have the weirdest box scores. Like it'll look like a lineup from a video game without an MLB license. Lots of "Player Shortstop, SS 0-for-4."

David Raposa: They definitely have a line-up optimized for negative hit totals. Wandy Rodriguez is doubling up on the B12 shots since Brad Mills told him he'll be hitting clean-up.

David Roth: So what is that team? Wandy, Livan Hernandez, Bud Norris... Who else is in their rotation? Ross Douthat? Randy Quaid? Is Brett Myers still there?

David Raposa: He's their closer!

David Roth: Ah, good, he seems like a cool guy and I'm really happy he's still making millions. That leaves room in the rotation for, um, Mark Portugal or John Cornyn or whoever else they’ve got.

David Raposa: Aside from the aforementioned folks—Lee still getting paid! By the pound!—I see lots of AAAA types (Joe Thurston, Cust, Justin Ruggiano) and a CF named Shuck. Also, a lot of mistaken identity candidates: Juan Abreu, David Carpenter, Paul Clemens, Xavier Pujols, Fernando Lincecum. According to their most recent box score, there is a chance that you could see future Detroit Tiger Jack Cust in the outfield.

David Roth: I hope Cust makes the team. If only because I think it's cool how he got Fleetwood Mac back together to record a version of "Tusk" in which they say "Cust" instead. That's dedication. If he can get Stevie Nicks into the studio with everyone else, he should at least be able to hold down his end of a platoon.

David Raposa: "Don't say you won't walk me!"

David Roth: And out comes the marching band.

David Raposa: Where are the part-time baseball musicians that are into '70s singer/songwriter auteurs? I like Pearl Jam as much as the next alt.rock survivor, but I would kill to see Lucas Duda hold court on Randy Newman, or have Mark Melancon use Judee Sill as his entrance music.

David Raposa: "On his off days, Rick Porcello likes to unwind with his collection of vintage Moogs and his Brian Eno cover band, 'Shut The Fuck Up, Bono.'"

David Roth: I get the sense that Joe Maddon keeps trying to get various Rays to listen to Harry Nilsson or something. And they're all like "You mean Drowning Pool?"

David Raposa: I would love if Maddon did with CDs what Phil Jackson did with books. "Evan, you're pulling off the offspeed stuff, and way out in front on fastballs. You should listen to Bitte Orca. Stillness IS the move."

David Roth: "Kyle Farnsworth, I think it's time someone introduced you to Van Dyke Parks."

David Raposa: How have we gone this long without mentioning the return of Andy Pettitte! I want recordings of Suzyn Waldman losing her shit after getting a text with the news while at Pinkberry. "Oh my goodness gracious! Yes, I want Gummi Bears and sprinkles!"

David Roth: Oh, I didn't bring it up because I don't want to talk about it.


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