Monday, May 15, 2006

On the DL

Sandro (The Author) has sustained broken bones in his wrist, hand, arm and labia. He is having trouble typing. Check back in a week for new articles from NaughtyBaseball.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

We Want BEER!!

If you’re from the Metropolitan New York area you know about the catastraphies that have hit the Yankee faithful a few years ago: Beer is no longer sold in the bleacher section. At first this would appear to be a good PR move. The bleacher creatures have been a thorn in the side of the Yankee front office for years. I remember back in 1995 when I was the tender age of eleven and the Yankees were playing the Orioles. It was my first time in the bleachers, and as I walked through the tunnel I could hear the cheers coming a mile away: “Brady (referring to then Orioles outfielder Brady Anderson) takes it up the ass-DOO-DAA! DOO-DAA! Brady takes it up the ass, O-the-DOO-DA day!!” The occasional, “shave your sideburns you ferry bitch!” would also be thrown in intermittently. The rest of the game was a blast: My friend’s mom left the stadium after the 2nd inning in fear and waited in the car, and I was left with my other eleven-year-old buddy alone. While we sipped beer, which was given to us by one of the two thousand drunks in the stands, I got to witness some “crazy ghetto fools slangin’ drugs” for the first time. Yes, my friends, the occasional crack smoking was permitted with a blind eye. The one time I saw security do anything was when a fight broke out in the first row—the two hooligans were apparently blocking the view of some of the spectators. Had the fight broken out a few rows back, security would have surely let it slide, which I know for a fact because two-innings later, a fight broke out two rows behind me and no one seemed to care. These were the good ol’ days in the lawless bleachers…

Ten years later…

I entered the bleachers last year to see the Yankees play the Royals. I heard of the no beer rule, and so, did what every other bleacher bum is now forced to do—walk across the street to one of the local bars and take shots of Jack Daniels so I can “keep a buzz on” for the next three hours. I, along with a couple buddies, however, immediately felt out of place when we entered the stadium. My friend stood up rudely and called Aaron Guile (the Royals right fielder) a fallacious piece of shit! He looked around the section for some laughs, but was, instead, greeted with parental, disapproving glances. The section was flooded with families who certainly didn’t want to hear some drunk yelling profanities at the ballplayers. There were some “bleacher creatures” still looming, but there was no unity. We sat there feeling drunk and awkward for the rest of the game.

I went to my first Yankee game of the year against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a couple of weeks ago. It was a fine game, and I wasn’t sitting in the bleachers. Sipping beer, I had to go to the bathroom in the sixth inning. As I unzipped, a guy came in the bathroom and said, “Securities after me! This is bullshit! Some kid was wearing a Red Sox hat and I ripped it off his head and threw it on the ground!” The crowded bathroom stood staring at this guy, who, even in New York, was impossible to ignore. Someone bravely yelled “Relax! Calm down buddy!” The man rebuttaled, “RELAX! HOW can I RELAX?! This is bullshit! Thirty years ago if a fan wore a Red Sox hat at a Yankees-Devil Rays game they would be shot! Shot in the fucking head!” It was at the end of this ridiculous statement, where everyone in the bathroom looked at each other and slowly left the bathroom.

The number of falsities in this man’s statement are endless. For one thing, the Devil Rays were created in 1998, and I don’t think shooting anybody thirty years ago was allowed. But the point of the story is this: Despite Yankee personnel’s best efforts to improve the “environment” of the stadium, they have only made it worse. Bleacher bums, instead of sticking to the crowded section in right field are now filtering throughout the stadium, even to the box seats, which they continuously cheer against. Not to mention that bleacher bum chants are funny, cheerful, and though not in great taste, are usually passable. I have never once heard someone say they want to kill anybody, or knock hats off an opposing team’s fans. While I cannot excuse the crazed bathroom fans reaction, I will say that without a home the bleacher creatures have started to lose their minds. Hatred has built up inside of them as a result of having to buy expensive seats, just to be able to buy expensive beer. And now they take their vengeance out on the wealthier sections.

So please Yankee stadium, give the bleacher bums back their home. Cut your losses, keep the rest of the stadium “orderly,” and let the bums be bums in the bleachers. Open up beer sales in the bleachers again, and then everyone will be happy. (Except Aaron Guile)

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Mysterious Wade Boggs

Wade Boggs had his number retired over the weekend—no, not in Boston or New York, but in Tampa Bay. Boggs had some illustrious years with the D-Rays. In 1998, he batted .280. In 1999, he played in 90 games and retired. Thus, Boggs had left a legacy on a franchise that no one would ever forget. Believe it or not, however, Boggs did play for two other organizations over the course of his career, establishing himself the alpha male in every single clubhouse.

Boggs had 2098 hits with the Boston Red Sox, never dropping his on-base-percentage below .386, except for his “troubled” last year in Beantown, where it dropped to .353 in 1992. He also managed to squeeze in five batting titles during this time. Yet, throughout it all, Boggs always had something going on the side, besides baseball. It’s rumored that he once told a flight attendant that he would “kick her fat lips in,” if she didn’t serve him a final beer before the plane landed. In another incident in 1988, not of rumor, a woman named Margo Adams said she had been Boggs’ mistress for the past couple years, and tried to file a suit of $6/million dollars against the star slugger. Boggs settled out of court. What makes Boggs’ situation even more unsettling is that he admitted to being a “sex addict,” somehow believing this would excuse his adulterous crime in the eyes of the public. While I praise his audacity in speech, any terms learned from the Geraldo Rivera show should never be mistaken for fact or used in real life.

Besides sex, Boggs also loved chicken. As many people know, Boggs ate chicken before every game. What people may not know is that he woke up at the same time every day, took exactly 150 ground balls, took batting practice at 5:17 PM, ran sprints at 7:17 PM, and, most puzzlingly, wrote the Hebrew word “Chai,” meaning life, in the batter’s box before every at-bat. Boggs isn’t Jewish.

After establishing himself officially insane in 1992, Boggs decided that it was time to move on from Boston. But where to go? Naturally, Boggs chose to go to the Red Sox arch nemesis—the New York Yankees. This move proved wise after the Yanks won the 1996 World Series, finally giving Boggs a championship. We can all remember Boggs circling the stadium on a central park horse.

And then Boggs signed a contract with the Devil Rays in 1998 where he agreed to enter Cooperstown as a Devil Ray. This odd stipulation in his contract was eventually made illegal by the Hall of Fame committee, and Boggs was forced to enter as a Red Sock. Recently, in an interview with PTI, Boggs was asked if it was true: Did he really drink 64 beers on a cross-country plane ride? Boggs admitted it was a lot, but probably no where near 64. The answer was ambiguous enough for me to believe that Boggs did in fact complete the feat.

Boggs’ number 12 will now hang in the rafters of Tropicana Field—to some a Devil Ray, to others a Red Sock or Yankee, and to others, like myself, a psychopathic sex crazed drinking legend who was really fucking good at baseball.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Marlins in Vegas? Like it. Don’t Like It.

If the Florida Marlins were smart they would be packing their bags for Vegas next year, if Major League Baseball would let them. Sure, there are plenty of risks involving moving a franchise to Vegas: Gambling, prostitution, excessive drinking and drug use, but common, I couldn’t imagine anything better for this franchise. Who doesn’t want a fan base filled with coked-up and drunk tourists who don’t really give a shit about the team? Wait a minute…that’s right, they want to go to Vegas to change the way things are.

Why Vegas?

For one thing, a move would look good for such a young and talented franchise. The Marlins have rid themselves of old, excess baggage such as Paul Lo Duca, Carlos Delgado, and Mike Lowell, and can now start fresh—marketing a young franchise in a “juvenile” city. I know people of all ages go to Vegas, including kids, which still baffles me, but it is called the “adult playground” for a reason. Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez and Jason Vargas are young, talented players people enjoy watching, even tourists. This year the New York Mets have chosen an awful 1980's theme rap song,"our year, our time," as part of their 2006 marketing campaign. I could see it now: The Marlins entering the field to Madonna's "Like a Virgin." A match made in heaven.

Secondly, the team’s mascot could be any number of animate and inanimate objects ranging from a grimy 67-year-old hooker with no teeth, to a friendly Cowboy, or even a playing card, such as an Ace. Currently, the Dodgers have a farm team in Vegas called the 51's (after Area 51, apparently), which has your stereotypical pasty-white-giant-headed-black-eyed alien as their mascot. This is pretty lame, especially since this alien has baseball seams on its giant dome. My personal preference would be for The Jokers—comical, yet still intimidating.

Las Vegas also has an estimated 569,838 locals, and if you include the entire Las Vegas Metropolitan area, 1.6 million people. Las Vegas’ rapidly growing population has surpassed cities who already have ball clubs such as Washington D.C., Denver, and Boston. It also has over 30 million tourists visiting Sin City each year. That’s a lot of fucking people to support a ball club.

Right now, the Marlins/Jokers have a terrible lease with Wayne “I’d do anything I can to fuck you over” Huizenga. Huizenga owns the stadium, and television rights to the Marlins/Jokers, essentially, stripping Marlins/Jokers current owner, Jeffrey Loria of any, and all profit. Huizenga’s stadium lease ends in 2010, but even if the Marlins/Jokers move to Vegas, or anywhere else for that matter, have to pay Huizenga anyway. Basically, the Jokers would have to produce a shit load of revenue to turn any sort of profit. And there’s really only one city in the world capable of turning nothing into something. After all, that’s what this city was founded on, a plot of desolate, isolated sand where people could do whatever they want. I.E., drink their faces off and bang loose women all for a friendly day’s wage.

So here’s the plan. Loria would need to sell half his club to one of the Major Vegas players: the MGM group, Wynn, Sands Entertainment who can afford to build a stadium, but not just any stadium, a monstrosity of unholy debauchery. The capacity of the stadium is unimportant, so I’d keep it low, somewhere around 30,000 people. Not only will this make the stadium appear hip, but won’t get in the way of the stadium’s real revenue making source, the giant baseball themed gambling hall and hotel. That’s right—blow this thing up, turn it into a spectacle. There’s an Italian, Middle Eastern, French, and even treasure themed casinos, but there’s no baseball one. I realize that a lot of the focus would be taken away from the team, yet, I don’t doubt that people will still watch the games and love their franchise. In fact, it would probably increase the team’s popularity. Maybe only 30,000 pay for a ticket to watch the game, but there’s still another 30,000 inside the “stadium” to soak in advertising. Stadium club seats could surround the outfield ala the Chicago Cubs fans who pay the Tribune company for their outfield apartment seats. Put the stadium just off the strip with free, and frequent, bus rides. It would be perfect.

Except for…

Among other things, this would cause turmoil between other baseball franchises that aren’t seeing any of the revenue generated from the casino and hotel. That’s why none of the profit from gambling could be used towards building the team in any way—players, advertising, etc. Instead, the team would have to build their club around the revenue generated from ticket, merchandize, and beverage and food sales, just like every team. Where I see this plan working is that the Casino/Hotel could attract people who may eventually become fans. It sticks with Vegas’ main themes. For instance, when the MGM grand hosts a Heavyweight Title Fight, not only is the grand arena bumping, but MGM as a whole. The event helps advertise the casino, and the casino helps advertise the event. The two feed off each other.

Why not?

Christ, it’s not like the above plan would ever actually fly. As much as it is among one of my dirtiest fantasies to think about shooting craps and drinking martinis between innings, and then screwing a prostitute during the seventh inning stretch legally (just kidding mom), I’m a realist, and this plan ain’t real.

Could you imagine the chaos that would ensue when the Royals come to town? Mike Sweeney leaving the Church of Latter Day Saints for a Thaiwanese hooker with a fat ass; Zach Greinke scavenging the city for a Brad Pitt look alike, and the rest of the team getting as drunk as humanly possible to forget that they play for the Royals.

I don’t think a move to Vegas would be a good idea because the only way I see it working is with the scenario I explained above (way above, section 1). Las Vegas is a city based on tourism. While it certainly has enough local fans to support a home team, a majority of that population is working strange and long hours for the city itself, and aren’t the ones the economy relies upon. Tourists would be the ones going to most of the games, and I don’t see many people skipping on Rain (below) to go see the Jokers play the Indians under normal circumstances in a normal stadium.

This is ultimately why it will never work in this city, and should stop being considered as a destination for the Marlins. Baseball is known as a game filled with integrity and pride. It is America’s national pastime and therefore, the league is frightened, for better or worse, to make a move like this to a city known for…well, what it’s known for. Look at how steroids have scared the league all ready. There’s only one way to go Vegas—and that’s hard. If you don’t go hard, you might as well not go at all.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Month of Baseball and The Future

What trends can be taken seriously after a month of baseball? Not many. Given the small sample size, it’s tough to see which ballplayers have officially “broken out;” if the ones who are slumping will continue to slump, or, better yet, whose suspensions are a sign of things to come. But this is half the reason I started a blog—to predict the future of ballplayer's throughout the mighty game of baseball. So here it goes...

Chris Shelton is not a superstar. He doesn’t look like a superstar, act like a superstar, and although he hit like one in April, is nothing more than “solid.” His OPS currently sits at 1.187 with 10 home runs. Shelton will not make it to 30 home runs. He will end the year with roughly a .280/.360/.480 line, while being an atrocious defender at first base. Enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame Sloth.

Albert Pujols isn’t Barry Bonds circa 2000-2004. Despite all the talk about walking Pujols every time he comes to the plate, I agree with most managers who choose to pitch to him. Don’t get me wrong, Pujols is really fucking good, and had a monstrous April. He has even established himself as the best hitter in baseball. I’m just saying he’s not Barry Bonds. From 2000-2004, Bonds’ lowest on base percentage was .440 and highest was .609. His slugging percentage sat between .749 and .863. Currently, Pujols’ numbers are Bonds-esque. His April line is: .346/.509/.914, but remember, this is only one month. Pujols will probably repeat as MVP and end the year with a line similar to last years, something around .340/.440/.650. Pujols is also in a much deeper lineup including Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds. Who was Bonds’ right hand man? Sure, Jeff Kent for a couple years, but after that—Pedro Feliz and Lance Niekro. It might be a blessing in disguise if Pujols’ numbers quiet down a bit, if he does too well, I’m sure there’d be steroid rumors circulating.

Make no mistake about it: Delmon Young is the next Albert Belle with speed. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus made this comparison in an article a week ago, and I immediately wrote him an e-mail praising him. In case you didn’t know, Delmon Young “flipped”/threw a bat at an umpire in a minor league game last week. Delmon is the consensus number one prospect in the game. He’s an outfielder with a plus bat, plus arm, plus speed, basically, he’s good at everything, except PR. Albert Belle, a stud outfielder in the 1990’s with a short temper himself, had similar “anger” problems. Though Belle’s minor league antics aren’t really comparable to Young’s, he’s got some good major league ones. In 1991, Belle threw a ball at a fan from fifteen feet away, bruising the fan’s chest. And now I’m just going to list the other incidents: In the 1995 World Series Belle swears/threatens at commentator Hannah Storm; Chased five teenagers in a car for egging his house; Blew off an event with hitting legend Ted Williams, and delivered a forearm shiver to then Milwaukee second baseman Fernando Vina in 1996. Besides all this, Belle was a really good baseball player, and anyone would be a fool, despite all the off the field issues, not to want him on their team. Delmon’s got a lot to live up to, but it’s looking promising. I can only hope Delmon Young reaches the Majors along side Elijah Dukes and a fleet of penitentiary guards to protect the fans, managers, other players, player wives, and batboys.

Omar Vizquel is batting .375. Maybe he took my advice and started juicing…hmm, only in my most wildest of dreams. “Slick” fielding Vizquel is garbo, and will start to play like garbo (see picture below) in the near future.

The Cincinatti Reds are 17-8, the Colorado Rockies are 15-10, and the Yankees and Red Sox are only three games over .500. The Reds had similar success in 2004. Through May of that year, they compiled a record of 30-21. They ended the year with 76 wins. The magic of Aaron Harang, Brandon Claussen, Eric Milton, and Bronson Arroyo can only take you so far. Not to mention—David Weathers is their closer, and already has 8 saves. If Weathers leads the NL in saves by the end of the year, I will be along side Darren Daulton officially claiming the world is coming to an end. As for the Rockies, they are playing out of their shoes and above their heads. Beating up on the likes of the Diamondbacks, Padres, Phillies and Marlins in April, they’ll come back to earth in May. Their schedule includes Atlanta, Houston for six, the Dodgers for six, St. Louis and Toronto. There is no need to get into details with the Yankees and Red Sox. The Yankees will trade for a DH (Craig Wilson courtesy Jason Phillips), and a mediocre starter (Jamie Moyer) who will play better than they have in their entire careers and propel the Yanks into first place ala Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small in 2005. The Red Sox are still good, not Papelbon dominating April good, but for every Papelbon there is a Manny Ramirez slugging .448. Manny will pick it up enough for the Sox to take the AL wild card lead.

By the way, incase you were lucky enough to get off work today because of the immigrant strike, like myself, you can start the party early—Yanks @ Sox 7:05 PM EST.