Yakkin' About Baseball: The Opposite of Operation Shutdown

It's Opening Day, and we still don't really know what the hell is going on, really.
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Good effort, good effort.

Image via Bleacher Report

David Roth: It's our first Opening Day without Tony LaRussa since Tony LaRussa's Male Republican In Dorothy Hamill Wig haircut was actually in style. I just don't know what to do with myself. Do you have plans?

David Raposa: As mentioned in a previous Yak (which I will link to here) (no, wait, here), I will be attending the Red Sox season opener next Friday. So far, my only plans are to find a parking spot within the city limits before first pitch. If I accomplish that, which is by no means a given, everything else will be gravy.

David Raposa: Preferably BBQ-sauce infused pork-fish-turkey gravy. Poured atop some cheese and pizza-covered Cajun chicken tenders. With a side of three hot dogs.

David Roth: At the game? This might not be the right venue for an intervention, but I'm a little worried about you.

David Raposa: At the game, before the game, after the game. Essentially, I'm planning on having my heart dipped in batter and panko-crusted before I get back on the Mass Pike. Heidi Watney, your gag reflex will not be forgotten!

David Roth: Maybe "worried about you" isn't quite as accurate as, "Worried about you farting yourself into a coma while a bunch of guys in Daubach name-and-number t-shirts look on and yell stuff about A-Rod being gay."

David Raposa: What doesn't kill me just coats me in 11 different herbs and spices.

David Roth: How many times do we need to go over this—the Fenway spice mix is not a secret. It's the same Benzinger's Meat Rub you can buy at the Foodmaster in Somerville. The not-so-secret ingredients are onion powder, MSG, and "aged paprika." The secret ingredient is foul pop-ups.

David Roth: Not to ask you to give up your own secret ingredients, but can I ask about your methodology for determining different players' at-bat songs in your Buzzfeed piece on that topic? Are you so enlightened at this point that you can just look at, like, Lance Berkman and be like "Soulja Boy, 'Crank Dat,' NEXT."

David Raposa: Transcendence is easy, my son. The trick is to give every overweight player their own Action Bronson freestyle. "Fat Elvis, shittin' on his legacy/Fried peanut butter and banana, no lettuce, see?" Barney Rubble ain’t got nothin’ on me.

David Roth: It always bummed me out that there are only like five actual at-bat/reliever-entering-the-game songs in use at any time.

David Raposa: Chevelle's got that market cornered.

David Roth: I remember a few years ago everyone on the Yankees using "This Is Why I'm Hot" except for, like, Andy Pettitte. Who had Amy Grant's "Baby Baby," but requested that it be turned down so no one would dance.

David Raposa: His wife was embarrassing the other wives with her tight cabbage patch game. And her attempts to start “Go Jesus, you’re the savior” chants during “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”

David Roth: Show Andy the place in the bible where it's mentioned that dancing is okay, and he will be cool with it.

David Raposa: Galatians 15:6. "Thou shalt do the Mashed Potatoe. Thou shalt teach me how to Dougie. Thou shalt drop it liketh it were hot. Eth."

David Roth: I assume Jason Giambi had some Van Hagar thing, but I don't remember it. "Pound Cake" or whatever. "I get emotional listening to it, but in a good way. Hagar just gets me."

David Raposa: Yankee-era Giambi was strictly a Van Cherone jabroni.

David Roth: I don't even know what that vintage of Van Halen songs sound like. I assume just Eddie Van Halen spilling wine into his amp.

David Raposa: Van Cherone was like Train with some third-hand effects pedals and one too many Five Hour Energys.

David Roth: Just to make things a little less depressing: the Astros. Are they the biggest bummer? Because I think a case could be made for the Orioles and White Sox, too. The Orioles regulars just lost an exhibition game to a community college in Florida.

David Raposa: In terms of potential-versus-actual, I think the Orioles can claim that particular throne. It was only a few years ago that their farm system was projected to spit out the type of high-impact dudes that turned Tampa Bay around.

David Roth: Now their roster is like the 16th round of a fantasy draft laid end to end, with Matt Wieters hanging around. I still can't believe they really rolled snake eyes with all of those starters. Someone has to not be terrible.

David Raposa: They did hoodwink Bill Bavasi. It might be like beating the Washington Generals, but a win’s a win.

David Roth: Yeah, everyone gets to do that. I worked the old Your Imaginary Cousin Died In Namibia Please Give Me Your Bank Account Number So I Can Send You His Millions scam on him last week, then bought a boat. But I don't get how they flunked everything. The Tejada deal was not dumb. The Bedard deal you just mentioned was kind of great.

David Raposa: They did have that one Ed Wade-esque offseason where they signed a lot of questionable relievers to questionable contracts, though.

David Roth: Yes, definitely. Omar Minaya used to do that. I imagine him bringing Scott Schoeneweis to the Wilpon homestead like a dog bringing a dead bird home or something. "Look what I got you! You'll love it! It costs $16 million and you have to keep it for three years and has a tendency to elevate its fastball." Duquette I don't get at all, admittedly.

David Raposa: He’s a cockeyed optimist, our Daniel. I bet The Duque picked Grady Sizemore in the second round of each of his last five fantasy drafts. Enjoy your freeze-dried Troy O’Leary, Baltimore!

David Roth: "Yeah, laugh now, fellas. All I have to say to you is: 2006. LOOK IT UP." Which is also kind of Omar of him. But every bad GM is bad in his own way, finally.

David Roth: I like to imagine that there are real aficionados out there. Total connoisseurs. "I was there. When Ned Colletti was giving two-year deals. To thirtysomething infielders coming off replacement-level seasons. I told him don't do it that way. You'll never make a dime."

David Raposa: I think Cam Bonifay's managerial career is a brilliant piece of camp, actually. I’m so happy he’s moved to France, where he's recognized as the wheeling and dealing auteur he really was.

David Roth: Legion d'honneur, I'm sure. Cahiers du Cinema voted a 96-minute projection of the transaction line from the Matt Morris deal as the fourth best film of the 2000s.

David Raposa: What'd be the baseball equivalent of The Day The Clown Cried?

David Roth: Operation Shutdown, Derek Bell. That was a pretty rich deal, for the time, and within weeks he was taking the field in like cross country skis, then sitting down and reading a magazine in the outfield. Easy pick for Bonifay's Criterion Collection.

David Raposa: Ain't It Cool News said: "The most amazing signing in Pittsburgh since Mike Benjamin!"

David Roth: "Pat Meares... extraordinary" — Keith Law. But there are like 175 words taken out in between, though, the last four of which are "organizational incompetence remains fucking."

David Raposa: I’m calling dibs on an @prospect_ebooks Twitter account. So do you want to make some ill-informed off-the-cuff predictions for this season? Our readers need something to laugh at, after all.

David Roth: Not really, but National League Rookie of the Year = Bryan LaHair. DROPS THE FUCKING MIC.

David Raposa: Friend of the Program Ian Cohen predicted that some late-naughts mixtape rapper would take up "Bryan LaHair" as an alias in the near future.

David Roth: I cannot get over that name. I don't want to. "Yeah, I guess it's French for 'The Hair.' Bryan just means Bryan."

David Raposa: Can I be a boring pragmatist and BOLDLY PREDICT that the Red Sox will be fine? Even though they might fall short of the playoffs again?

David Roth: Is there doubt about this?

David Raposa: Josh Beckett and Andrew Bailey do have owies. 100 losses or bust!

David Roth: My Sox fan friends are very worried about The Fourth Outfielder Situation. Which of course is all anyone can talk about these days. There was a special 90-minute Outside The Lines today about whether Ryan Sweeney "has what it takes."

David Raposa: Carl Crawford's the fourth OF. Why do you think he's getting paid all that money?

David Raposa: Bill Simmons: "I don't know .. Sweeney's OK, but he's no Kevin Romine. Maybe he's a Randy Kutcher type. He's gotta work on that facial hair."

David Roth: The Angels seem insanely good to me.

David Raposa: Cosign (ideally for some of that regional-sports-network money). Tangent: I also BOLDLY PREDICT that Giants fans are going to lose their shit because their GM hates having guys on his team that can hit a baseball.

David Roth: He loves having guys who can/do hit like 2010 Aaron Rowand on a team. Winning the World Series was the worst thing that ever happened to that organization.

David Roth: I mean, I'm sure it isn't. I bet it was fun and awesome. But now that guy is there for a long time.

David Raposa: Possibly the same with the White Sox. Flags might fly forever, but bad roster moves can linger for a while, too.

David Roth: And when Sabean trades for Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan on basically the same day and some underling is like "Dude, do you follow baseball that much or..." Sabean will just point to his ring finger.

David Roth: "Yeah, you're talking to the guy that claimed Cody Ross on waivers, okay? So remember who the fuck you're talking to." And then some hype-man he's got standing behind him—Sabean signed him away from Too $hort on a six-year, $44 million deal—is like "SABEAN ALL DAY IN YOUR MOUTH."

David Raposa: That move worked, too! Every dumbshit move Sabean made that year paid off. I would like Sabean a whole lot more if he had the Mouth of the South or Paul Bearer as his assistant GM.

David Roth: I'd settle for Professor Griff.

David Raposa: Can we just have a World Series between the NL West winner and the AL Central winner?

David Roth: They should play it in Gary, Indiana. In the rain, near a Hardees that's on fire.

David Raposa: Let me rephrase the question: do you think the winner of either the AL Central or NL West has a shot in hell of advancing a round in the playoffs?

David Roth: The Tigers seem pretty good? Unless... I don't know, is fielding still a thing? They got rid of that, right? Now it's just hitting and eating hoagies? If it's just hitting and eating hoagies, they're great.

David Raposa: I heard Bud's having that home-plate netting installed behind the infield dirt. Anything that makes it past the lip of the grass is automatically a double.

David Roth: Wiffle ball rules. He is finally listening to the fans.

David Roth: I had a summer job once that allowed me to play wiffle ball in an empty, high-ceilinged retail space that was laid out a lot like Fenway. Only with even more jagged empty pallets lying around. If we'd set netting up, we all would've gotten much less hurt.

David Raposa: That sounds like the sort of "basketball" Danger Room we set up in the back of the Taco Bell I once worked at, except with steam tables instead of pallets.

David Roth: What you want is something either sharp or dangerously hot. So if we agree on the Angels and the two Sinus Headache Divisions in each league, who else looks good to you this year?

David Raposa: I think Texas can still do its thing. The Rays are a personal fave, what with their spit-and-wish bullpen and Zobristian verve. I think the Nationals might surprise folks, especially if the Phillies don't find guys that can hit the ball.

David Roth: I also wonder about the Phillies, but the Nats do seem good. The Yankees, I guess, are very good. I keep forgetting that. Because I so enjoy not thinking about them.

David Raposa: Yeah, I don't want to mention the Yankees, just because old habits die hard. But they have guys that can do this thing pretty well. Even if their press corps is dead set on making Michael Pineda out to be the next Yankee double agent.

David Roth: Every time I even read the word "Yankees" I imagine a guy named Vin with a chin-strap beard barging into my room, spilling Coors on my stuff and demanding that I "count the rings."

David Roth: "Vin," I say, "you are pretty awful."

David Raposa: "Enter Sandman, bro. Enter Fucking Sandman." And then he starts air/mouth-guitaring the riff while thrusting his peek-a-boo crotch at your forehead.


David Raposa: “You can’t fuck with my Affliction game, bro!”

David Roth: Then he says "WINNERS ONLY" and vanishes in a cloud of Michael Kay lasagna burps.

David Raposa: Speaking of contenders, I should also mention both the Cardinals and Reds. The Cards, because they're the defending champs, and the Reds, because they might be good enough that Dusty Baker can't screw things up.

David Roth: I like the idea of the Reds doing well. I really like the idea of the Cardinals not doing well.

David Raposa: St. Louis might surprise, though, assuming Carpenter's good for 25-plus starts. And Beltran and Berkman don't fall prey to old injuries and recently rediscovered Twinkie stockpiles, respectively.

David Roth: Still a lot of LaRussan scrappers over there. All those scrappy, clean-shaven white slap-hitters apparently add up to World Series wins. I don't know that I want to live in that world, but the evidence is clear. Daniel Descalso is the most important player in the game.

David Roth: Hold on, phone's ringing, have to go be on ESPN's First Take arguing that point. Against Skip Bayless, who's arguing on behalf of Skip Schumacher.

David Raposa: (Give Jay Crawford my deepest sympathies.) It will be years before I think of the Cardinals without thinking of TLR's resplendent salt and pepper mullet.

David Roth: Will baseball be sadder without Tony LaRussa?

David Raposa: It will be less litigious. And no one's going to be able to finesse the dick-move pitching changes like he did.

David Roth: I assume he's still doing his thing in some giant air-conditioned house in Florida, giving dismissive answers and deploying withering sarcasm in imaginary press conferences. Being huffy/stern to a room full of Joe McEwing bobbleheads and stuffed animals.

David Raposa: He's actually got a job in the commissioner's office. You might've just described his cubicle.

David Roth: Lot of autographed uniform pants. "David Eckstein made those stains DON'T TOUCH IT YOU'LL RUIN IT."

David Raposa: I worked for a boss that served in the Marines. He had an actual flak jacket hanging on his coat rack, and hung a used shooting-range target behind his desk. I'd like to think TLR has that kind of antagonistic office feng-shui going.

David Roth: Lot of game-worns. Lot of bad vibes. A bottle of Cutty Sark with a double-size Ray Lankford scotch-coozy on it.

David Raposa: Now I’m seeing TLR as Brando in Apocalypse Now. "Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror."

David Raposa: "Horror" being his pet name for Colby Rasmus.

David Roth: Descalso skipping around like a coke-powered Dennis Hopper. "Are they going to say he was a KIND MAN? That he was a WISE MAN?"

David Raposa: Yadier Molina strutting around the locker room in aviator shades, wearing a GREINKE DON'T SURF t-shirt. Fuck, I think I just went over-budget.

David Roth: And then Stubby Clapp kills a capybara with a machete while a Doors song plays and we're done. Right?

David Raposa: Music's over, turn off the lights.

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Loved this (B A S E B A L L) but there are so many references I have to Infoseek.

Also, way to just murder my enthusiasm for the O's right before the season starts. They're going to show you, they'll show you ALL! [a sub-100-loss season, that is.] [[maybe.]]

I might change my tune if I find myself eyeing Brian Matusz or Chris Tillman on the fantasy waiver wire. My alliegances can be bought, is what I mean to say. Cash only, please.

Note to Roth: we need to talk shit about the Blue Jays next Yak, so we can complete our Hate On Birds trifecta.

Did you notice that you correctly predicted the teams making the WS? Well, not the teams, but the divisions from whence they came. Not quite as impressive as Gary Gramling the SI Kids writer, but pretty impressive all the same. Does Vegas offer this (picking WS teams by division) as a prop bet? Think of what you could have done with those dozens of dollars.

Hey, since you guys just lost your closer perhaps you'd be interested in a KEVIN GREGG?

There's way too much Pap in KEVIN GREGG for my tastes.