Clap Clap ClapClapClap: 20 Things I’d Like to See in the MLB This Year
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on April 2, 2008
For old time’s sake: The Good Dr. still does not wish to appear to believe himself any sort of expert on matters athletic, therefore he acknowledges that his opinions on the matter continue to be self-indulgent and often largely suspect, unlike with all other matters, on which his word is final.
Predictions are boring, and I’m terrible at them even when I do know what I’m talking about. But, y’know, we do have a baseball season going, and that’s a pretty cool thing, so let’s do some wishful thinking.
1. Priority #1 for this season: The Phillies finishing ahead of the Braves in the East. Not expecting to beat the Mets, not even necessarily expecting to get into the playoffs (though odds aren’t terirble), but this is a must. Not that I can really claim any sort of grudge-based animosity against them (or any team, for that matter), but all this recent insider prognosticating about the Braves actually being the team to beat in the NL just fucks with my common sense.
2. Priority #2 for this season: The Rockies finishing ahead of the Diamondbacks in the West. I’m definitely still on the hook for these guys since I got swept up in Rocktober ’07, and I’d really hate for all those assholes claiming it was a total fluke (not that it really wasn’t, but still) to be proven right. And the D’backs have to prove that they have at least one player capable of hitting over .300, or hitting 35 home runs, or at least growing some interesting facial hair, before I consider them as anything but the most boring team in baseball.
3. Or, if the Diamondbacks really want to earn my interest, let’s see this Micah Owings guy become the first legitimately two-way player in…how long? If he did, would you be able to draft him twice in fantasy leagues?
4. The Tigers actually scoring some runs. I’ve never really had the pleasure of following a team deigned a Murderer’s Row, and the descriptions of the Tigers’ O-9 (and mostly workmanlike pitching staff) had me salivating at the thought of Baseball’s equivalent of the Golden State Warriors. But, uh, scoring four runs combined in two games against the Royals…not the most auspicious of beginnings for a supposedly 1000-run lineup. I guess Golden State lost their first six, though…
5. The Orioles showing signs of progress. I was raised a Baltimore fan, and there’s definitely still some residual affection when I see that Orange and Black. I’d like to be able to keep some rooting interest in seeing them play without it being like watching Heat games on TNT.
6. Joe Borowski leading the AL in saves for the second straight season, thus forcing the retirement of the “save” statistic altogether.
7. Steve Levy making some variation on the statement “What Ezra Koenig is to Vampire Weekend, [Josh Hamilton] is to the [Texas Rangers].”
8. A continuation on the rollercoaster ride that is sure to be having Eric Gagne on my fantasy team, the Ottawa Obfuscators. So far–27.00 ERA, 4.00 WHIP…and a 1-0 record! Hey, if his $10 million contract turns out to be a bust (NO!) at least he can always find work as a Seth Rogen stand-in in Knocked Up 2: Knocked Upper.
9. The San Fransisco Giants winning at least 75 games. Not because I particularly care about their fortunes (aside from Aaron Rowand, who I’d like to see continue to flourish), but because in the heat of the moment, I made a $20 bet with IITS friend Andrew Weber that they would. Did I mention that I’m not very good at predicting things? Whatever, I’m a sucker for teams who put on Guitar Hero tournaments.
10. Speaking of Guitar Hero, who else is excited for the possibilites of Joel Zumaya graduating to Rock Band?
11. Seeing either the Nationals or the A’s function as Baseball’s equivalent of the Trailblazers–a young team with no stars exceeding expectations and logic to end up over .500 (but not far enough over .500 to screw up the post-season eco-system).
12. A Frank Caliendo-free post-season. Those still-recurring ads with him as G.W.B. have me waking up in a cold sweat.
13. The burgeoning Rays-Yankees bad blood continuing to fester, until a surprisingly race for the AL Wild Card spot between the two (which the Yankees of course end up winning) gives credence to the idea that the two teams are worth being compared qualitatively. As long as there are no new developments in Boston, in five – ten years…could we have a replacement doiminant AL East rivalry?
14. The Cubs finishing outside the post-season. If not for the series drought, why should we even care about this team at all?
15. Speaking of The Cubs, though, I just want one moment–just one–where an MLB announcer forgets about the league’s international pact to pronounce Kosuke Fukudome’s name “foo-koo-doh-may” and says it the way it’s (probably) actually pronounced, “fuck-you-doh-may.” C’mon guys, who are you kidding? The 12-year-olds are gonna catch on sooner or later.
16. Big years for Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Matthews, Jr. and Richie Sexson. YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
17. The Pirates rolling the dice and signing Barry Bonds to a Glavine-esque one-year homecoming contract. They have what to lose, exactly?
18. Scott Olsen discovering religion and suddenly turning into one of the dominant aces in the NL. The Rockies wondering on how they missed out on such a “high character” player.
19. Kyle Kendrick getting his revenge on Brett Myers. And I don’t mean something like “ha-ha, I changed the presets on your car radio.” I’m talking motherfucking REVENGE. I mean tricking him into eating an energy bar laced with salvia 20 minutes before taking the mound. I mean getting him blackout drunk at a strip club and sending pictures to his wife. I mean faking a kidnapping and ransom of a close relative, complete with bloody appendages and the like. In my mind, nothing short of a felony would be too strong a response to what big bad Myers did to poor little Kyle. Wait, is fake-kidnapping a felony?
20. The Red Sox either winning the World Series, or falling far, ar out of playoff contention. Anything else would be woefully uninteresting.