Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way to Taco Bell...

I hope that everyone remembered to claim their free taco yesterday.

I greeted my co-workers with "Happy Free Taco Day!" [because I am a dork]. And a few of them humored me by going with me to Taco Bell to claim our loot. None of us particularly LIKE Taco Bell, a fact that they pointed out to me a few times, but I informed them that Jason Bartlett had worked very hard to steal free tacos for us, and by god, we are going to eat them. It's the principle of the matter. None of my coworkers care a lick about baseball, and know Jason Bartlett only in the context that he is the October hottie on my Twins wall calender. I credit them with being extremely good sports about the whole thing. (I'm also pretty sure they were skeptical about the whole free taco idea, right up until the tacos were actually in our hands.)

While waiting for our free tacos, a strange man informed me that I looked like Sarah Palin, to which my response was a look of horror and an emphatic "God forbid!" followed by "I buy my clothes off the rack."

After he walked away, a co-worker noted the irony by saying "Of all the people to say that to...."

Perhaps I will think about growing my bangs out.

Anyway, thank you Jason Bartlett, for winning everyone free tacos with your base-stealing prowess. They were delicious.

In other vaguely baseball-related news, I find this Guitar Hero World Tour ad entertaining enough to have watched it at least a dozen times so far.

A-Rod is totally the weak link, and I find it amazing how much I did NOT ever need to see him in his underwear.

In contrast, the ad also serves as just one more bit of evidence to support the Official Those Girls Theory that Michael Phelps should be legally prohibited from wearing pants.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Every Google Deserves an Answer: World Series Edition

I'm a firm believer that every possible question should be answered by Google.

And lord knows there are some weird-ass questions out there. Sometimes I get a kick out of looking to see what Google keywords bring people to this blog...and answering the questions. It's my way of helping Google out.

This is the World Series Edition.

The Rays are a fairly new phenomena on the National front, so I guess it makes sense that people seem to have lots of questions about them. So let's get right to it.

"Why Matt Garza spit so much?" [sic]
This, my friend, is an excellent question, and one we don't really know the answer to, for certain. Excessive saliva is a common symptom of many neurological disorders, but I think in Garza's case, it's probably just a bad habit he picked up in Little League--a cautionary tale for the parents out there.

I do find it interesting that SO many people are Googling this. There were a lot of variations including "Matt Garza gross spitting," "Garza spits too much," "Matt Garza spit," etc. I think it's safe to say that "Why does Garza spit so much?" is the new "What's on Swisher's face?"

"Did Jason Bartlett play for the Zephyrs baseball team?"

I say sadly, because he was playing minor league ball at the very same time when the New Orleans Zephyrs were my closest option for real baseball. He certainly would have made those games more interesting and visually appealing. Jason played all of his AA and up ball in the Twins' farm system.

Actually, there are quite a few personal-type questions about Jason Bartlett. Ladies....he's super cute and good at baseball, so I don't blame you a bit for wanting to Google that boy's brains out. But, he is married (which answers another half-dozen Google queries). Plus, us Twins fans saw him first. So...Chill.

"Pedroia Shirtless"
Hasn't everyone already seen this?

I guess not, because people continue Googling for it.

"Adam Rodriguez is not the type of man you'd kick out of bed."

OK, so this one is not actually a question. It is also not technically baseball-related in any way. But it IS a statement with which I absolutely concur, 100%.

It is also a very bizarre sentence to Google, so it deserves to be documented. (And it gave me an excuse to post another picture of Adam Rodriguez.)

"Joe Maddon Shirtless"
Sweet fancy Moses. I'm thinking/praying that there is only one person in the world Googling this. I'm a little disturbed that it brought them HERE. But, in the interest of making sure no one leaves this blog disappointed:

Now...whoever you are, I urge help.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rays and Phillies Head-to-Head

With the World Series finally here, I thought there's no time like the present to take a head-to-head look at the probable line-ups, and compare them based almost entirely on superficial and meaningless criteria. Because that's what I do.

I love the Rays, but I will try to be objective.

C: Dioner Navarro vs. Carlos Ruiz

Navarro's nickname is "Little Pudge."
Carlos Ruiz's middle name is "Joaquin" (as in, Joaquin Phoenix).
This would seem to be a HUGE advantage for the Phillies, but Navarro did once engage in fisticuffs with Matt Garza, which was very that evens things out.

Winner: Draw

1B: Carlos Pena vs. Ryan Howard

Carlos Pena is quite adorable. But so is Ryan Howard. And Howard has a slight advantage in the Good At Baseball area.

Winner: Howard, barely.

2B: Aki Iwamura vs. Chase Utley

Aki is from Japan. And you know what's big in Japan?
Chase Utley said the F-word on ESPN.
So, really, this particular match-up boils down to which I love more....robots, or swearing in prime-time.

Winner: Utley. I know, I'm surprised too.

SS: Jason Bartlett vs. Jimmy Rollins

Jimmy Rollins, you are fairly good at baseball, and I respect that. For that reason, I won't embarrass you with a comparison to Jason Bartlett.

Winner: Bartlett.

3B: Evan Longoria vs. Pedro Feliz

Longoria is crazy-good at baseball, and pretty goshdarn adorable to boot.
Pedro Feliz turned down more money with the Giants to sign with the Phillies, because he apparently he has priorities besides $$$. Which is pretty hot.

Winner: I was tempted to call this a draw too, but Longoria wins in a photo-finish.

RF: Gabe Gross vs. Jayson Werth

Gabe Gross seems like a perfectly lovely person. Jayson Werth looks like he eats perfectly lovely people.

Winner: Gross.

CF: BJ Upton vs. Shane Victorino

Upton has really shone in the post-season, but I have to admit that I've developed a little thing for Shane Victorino recently. He's very entertaining. And the Flyin' Hawaiian is a pretty sweet nickname.

Winner: Victorino.

LF: Carl Crawford vs. Pat Burrell

Pat Burrell seems like a decent enough guy, but I believe it is literally impossible not to love Carl Crawford (as long as your name isn't Delmon Young).

Winner: Crawford.

Game 1 Starters
Scott Kazmir vs. Cole Hamels

Let's face it, they're both pretty awesome at baseball.
Cole Hamels has really great hair. Scott Kazmir has a great name, and I just like him better.

Winner: Kazmir.

Game 2 Starters
James Shields vs. Brett Myers

Brett Myers would probably fare better in this comparison if he were pitching game 3 in Philly instead. Honestly, I can't figure out why they're starting him in Tampa. His ERA is doubled when he pitches away. And he can hit. Maybe Charlie Manuel knows something we don't, but using him in Game 2 seems like a waste.
James Shields looks like a velociraptor when he checks the runner at 1B.

Winner: Shields.

Game 3 Starters
Matt Garza vs. Jamie Moyer

Matt Garza looks perpetually stoned and has a disgusting spitting habit. But, he used to be a Twin, and was BFF with Boof Bonser....which entitles him to 10,000 Super Extra Bonus Points.
Sorry, never had a chance.

Winner: Garza.

So, to summarize.....

Advantage: Rays

Who's Cheering for Philly?: An Exhaustive List

With the 2008 World Series right around the corner, you might be wondering "who, exactly, is actually cheering for the Phillies?"

It's a valid question. I didn't know the answer either, until I did a little research*.

So, here is my exhaustive list of the sorts of people who might be cheering for the Phillies:

  • Oakland fans who find a certain comfort-zone with the Phillies' take on the "Just stepped off the prison bus" style.
  • Eric Karabell
  • People who live in Philadelphia
  • The Phillies' mothers. (At least until they see how adorable Jason Bartlett is.)
  • Someone at my work, because they anonymously scrawled "Go Phillies" on a whiteboard. I wanted to take a picture to document it, but my workplace is shrouded in secrecy, so I'm pretty sure if I pulled out a camera, the security guard would tackle me. And I'm fragile.
  • Kevin Eubanks
  • Obsessive-compulsives who only like the color red.
  • My old college arch-nemesis, who moved to the East Coast and decided to jump on the Red Sox bandwagon when they started winning. Plus, she's evil. Like a demon.
  • Demons
  • Nick Swisher
  • The Yankees

And that's it. Everyone else should be cheering for the adorable-and-good-at-baseball Rays.

*And by "did a little research," I obviously mean "wasted time at work making things up in my head."

Monday, October 20, 2008

You're welcome, Tampa.

I've been M.I.A. lately due to being sickly. I had a pretty bad fever that lasted far longer than I was really comfortable with, amongst other symptoms. Anyway, I'm feeling much better now.

I did not let my illness keep me from watching games though. And actually, feverish delirium only intesifies my insane superstitiousness, apparently. On Saturday the Tampa newspaper endorsed John McCain, and then the Rays lost. I was conviced (still am) that these two events were NOT mere coincidence. Baseball players may be conservative, generally, but I'm pretty sure the Baseball Gods are NOT. So on Sunday, right before the first pitch, I dragged myself to the computer to make another donation to the Obama campaign, but this time, all the while I was filling out the form, I chanted "Go Rays Go...Go Rays Go..."

Then the Rays won.

This has done nothing but encourage my insanity, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Boof-Day victory.

I can think of no better way to celebrate Boof Bonser's birthday than watching his hometown team kick the crap out of the Red Sox.

And just like that, the Rays are just 5 more wins away from becoming "Your World Champion Tampa Bay Rays." Say it out-loud. Trust me. Do it. It's fun. It's even more fun if you really try to say it like a baseball announcer.

I work with a set of twins, (whom everyone refers to as "The Twins" which confuses me in conversations at least once a day) and they used to live in St. Petersburg, FL. They're not really into baseball, but they are cognizant enough of my obsession that recently they snagged a Sun Country Airlines magazine from their flight to Las Vegas for me because it had Joe Mauer on the cover. Anyway....the other day one of them (it's hard to say which one because of the identical twins thing) was looking at news headlines online and said "Wait a second....are the Rays good now?!"

I explained that yes, through a magical metamorphisis (and a smart off-season trade with the Greatest and Best Looking Baseball Team in the Universe) the Rays are actually awesome this year. They were astounded, and explained "they were crap when we lived there."

I like it better this way.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Brandon Inge Effect

It seems like every post-season, there's one player about whom I get inexplicably obsessed with. I have dubbed this the "Brandon Inge Effect," for the completely unreasonable fascination I developed with him in '06. Last year it was Troy Tulowitzki (pretty much just because his name is both fun to say AND write).

This year, the winner is Phillies pitcher Brett Myers.

I honestly think that this newest baseball crush of mine was a season in the making. First off, there was the elaborate Spring Training Kyle Kendrick prank that Myers set in motion, and let's face it.....I do love a great evil mastermind. Then later in the season, Myers got sent down to pitch for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, which caused a lot of ESPN analysts and the ESPN Baseball Today podcast guys to say "Lehigh Valley IronPigs" a LOT. And every time someone says "Lehigh Valley IronPigs," I laugh.

But this past week's performance from Brett Myers was just the final straw. Pitchers who can hit earn triple extra bonus points in my universe. Going 3-for-3 in a playoff game was unreal.

And just like that, I'd be a lot less disappointed if the Phillies make the Series. But only if Brett Myers can pitch at he bats. It's fun to watch.

Granted, I'm not wild about Brett's personal issues, but the Brandon Inge Effect is not logical or rational. It just happens. I don't choose it.


I mean....Brandon Inge, for pete's sake.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

That's how I roll.

I think I'm more excited about the Rays/Sawx ALCS than I am about any potential World Series match-up. That's probably because:
a.) I don't give a flying rat's patoot about either NL team.
b.) the Rays/Sawx match-up gives us the highest likelihood of fisticuffs. I love those.

I'd rather see the Dodgers make the Series, only because it'll be fun to watch Joe Torre stick it to the non-playoff-making Yankees organization. Plus, I used to work with a guy who played for the Phillies and I didn't like him that much. For some reason, I hold the entire current Phillies organization responsible. It's totally irrational, I'm aware. That's how I roll, folks.

I have a feeling that a lot of the Twins off-season blogging is going to consist of me talking about funny things that happen, and then desperately trying to connect them to baseball in some convoluted manner. So I thought I'd get a headstart and practice with a little anecdote for the Rays.

I was at Bath & Body Works this weekend, and a little girl picked up an adorable stuffed sheep and showed her mom, saying "OK, Mom. How about buying this for me? The answer is either yes, or yes." Smart kid.

So...Rays, how about kicking the crap out of the Red Sox? The answer is either yes, or yes.

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Bummer about your Twins..."

This morning was the first time I was able to form coherent sentences about the Twins' fate. Previously, people (well-intentioned, I'm sure) would say things like "Bummer about your Twins," and the most I could muster up for a reply was a growly "Yeah," accompanied with a facial expression that very clearly conveyed "if you make me talk about this anymore, I will gouge your eyes out and eat them."

But this morning I was able to discuss the matter with my ever-tolerant mother, only beause it was within the scope of a conversation about the playoffs as a whole (and the fact that the '08 Brewers' experience seems to be awfully similar to the '06 Twins' experience). I explained my new theory that, in the spirit of things always working out for the best, the Universe had to make the Twins lose, because the Rays are a team of destiny. The Twins had to lose so that Twins fans, clearly the greatest fans in the world of baseball, would rally around the Rays instead. My theory was reinforced when I realized that Jason Bartlett is Mr. October on my 2008 Twins wall calendar (which is, for some reason, SO much less depressing than Torii Hunter July and Johan Santana August.....hey, it's a crappy calendar.) I take this as a wonderful omen for Barty and his Rays.

Another great omen for the Rays? Tonight's game. Heck yeah.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Is evisceration too much to ask for?

We might not be involved, but I think this post-season is way more interesting than last year. My post-season wishlist involves a Tampa/Milwaukee World Series to screw with FOX, whose executives are no doubt praying nightly for a Cubs/Red Sox match-up.

In the spirit of baseball cameraderie, I do have a little request of our little buddies, the Rays.

Dear Tampa Bay Rays,
Tomorrow is a big day for you, and here in Twins Territory, we're all very
proud of you and we're pulling for you to go all the way. In return for
our unwavering support this post-season, I do have one teeny-tiny favor
to ask of you. I would like you to annihilate the White Sox in historic
fashion. I would love for blood, tears, and drool to be involved. If
one or more Sox players has to change uniforms mid-game due to soiling themselves, I will give you bonus points AND cookies. Actually, now that I'm thinking about
it, is evisceration too much to ask for? Because that would be awesome. And it'd probably boost ratings. Win-win.

Not just a river in Egy.....ooh...bunnies!

I don't know about the rest of you, but this morning I am still resting comfortably in the "Denial" stage of my grief.

It's hard, because it involves avoiding the sports coverage of all major news entities, and 99% of the websites that I visit regularly. I'm managing though.

I will think about it later.