Tag: MLB

[Business Day One] The Pavano Grudge


Sports fandom is filled with hatred. If you love a team enough, you hate that team’s rival. Really, truly hate. Irrationally hate. Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins fans hate each other and have for a long while. Ohio State and Michigan fans hate each other because of how intertwined their storied histories are. India and Pakistan cricket fans hated each other… due mainly to decades of horrific war. Such is the way of sport, really. We give ourselves so willingly and so fully to our club that anything that attemps to defame or diminish it becomes the target of our burning rage.

I consider this a price. Fandom isn’t free. You need to invest a lot in it – money, time, love, and hate. Only when you are fully invested in this way can you truly experience the impossible highs and devastating lows that sport was created to evoke. I do my best to keep this in mind when I discuss my intense hatred of Carl Pavano.

Carl Pavano, the Yankees’ 4 year, $40 million dollar mistake, just pitched in (and won) his first Major League game in over a year. And I couldn’t be more disgusted. I hate Pavano. I hate him as much as I hate Manny Ramirez. I hate his attitude (poor), his health (awful), and what he represents (the blind spending of the early 2000s Yankees). He is a great weight hanging around the neck of the organization – a reminder to the owners and the fans that mistakes like him have given us nearly a decade without a championship. I wish I could direct some of this hatred outward, away from my Yankees, but I can’t. Everything that is wrong with how that team did business is encapsulated in one man, fairly or unfairly.

In my mind, Carl Pavano has been worse for the Yankees playoff chances than any other player on any other team. Accordingly, I have a Pavano Grudge. And I know I’m not the only one.

If there can be a lesson taken out of this, I suppose it would be that it is alright to hate something in sports. We’re all imperfect humans, and our body gives off a lot of hate. So we might as well direct it at something harmless, like a wretched, consistently injured jerk. Like Carl Pavano.

[Business Day One] Know Your All Stars – NL


In last week’s Business Day one column, I did you all the great service of introducing some of the lesser known American League All Stars to the blog reading public.  And this week, as promised, I’ll do the same with the National League.  Apparently, AAAA Baseball has stars too!

We’re all fairly familiar with the suddenly ageless Chipper Jones and ocassionally creepy looking Alfonso Soriano, but there are quite a few players that are separated from the public by a thirty foot high wall of apathy.  Let’s take a look at a few.

-Astros first baseman Lance Berkman coined his own nickname: The Big Puma.  This replaced his old nickname, which was Fat Elvis.

-Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez is, according to his own website, “an incredible father,” has Denzel Washington as his favorite actor and a Lamborghini Murcielago as his fifth favorite car.  Really, just fifth?

-If you want to get to Ashland, Kentucky, you may need to drive on Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb.  Or, more specifically, a highway named in his honor.

-Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is involved with Affliction Clothing, a fashion designer out of California that apparently outfits the scariest and deadliest looking men on Earth.  Not tough enough?  Well, he’s also called the Hebrew Hammer by at least one guy.

-Other Brewers outfield Corey Hart is apparently quite an accomplished singer in his spare time, releasing the famous pop hit “Sunglasses at Night” back in the 1980s.  He’s sinced toured the world and… wait… different Corey Hart?  Hmmm.  Well this is awkward.

-Ok, I’ll get it right this time.  Dodgers catcher Brian Wilson was widely regarded as the creative force behind the Beach Boys and… SON OF A… sorry.

Happy All Starring, everybody!

[Business Day One] Know Your All Stars – AL

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There’s a term I use when discussing baseball called The Fantasy Fandom Factor.  The basic premise is that there is a multi-tiered hierarchy of Major League ballplayers: (1) The Guys You Know and Love Because They’re On Your Team, (2) The Guys You Know and Perhaps Love Because They’re Really Good, and (3) The Guys You Know Merely Because You Play Fantasy Baseball.  As recently as fifteen years ago (before fantasy took over the national consciousness), even diehard MLB fans had no idea who anyone outside of the top players were outside of their home team’s division.  But now, these diehards have a vested interest in knowing who everyone is; it helps them win their fantasy leagues and garner the nerd-cred that comes with it.

Unfortunately, this gives rise to a new problem.  Fans know who these Category Three players are, but only insofar as their names, teams and stats.  They don’t know who they really are, deep down, below their slugging percentage.  Are they nice folks?  Do they have kids?  Where are they from?  Have they nailed Madonna?  As I was perusing the MLB All Star Game rosters, I realized there are a lot of Category Three folks that got the nod this year.  And since I’m in the business of helping you, the readers, I’m going to give you all a crash course on the roster so you can adequately wow your friends at your rockin’ All Star Game party.  We’ll start with the American League Roster, and maybe if you’re lucky I’ll do the NL next week.

AL Roster – Category 1 and 2:  Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis (being called the Greek God of Walks in a major book will bump you from a 3 to a 1), Manny Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, David Ortiz, Mariano Rivera, Scott Kazmir, Grady Sizemore, J.D. Drew (no one forgets a battery storm).

Category 3 Player Fun Facts:

-Angels Pitcher Ervin Santana was originally named Johan Santana, but changed his name when the other Johan Santana started demolishing baseball with the most unfair change-up in history.  He changed his name to Ervin because it sounded cool to him.

-Diminutive Red Sox Second Baseman Dustin Pedroia can be an emergency catcher in the case of some gruesome Jason Varitek-Kevin Cash collision during warm-up laps.

-Rangers Second Baseman Ian Kinsler, like Pedroia, went to Arizona State for a little while.  When not crisping in the sun, he enjoys a spirited round of golf.  Which involves more crisping in the sun.  In related news, someone should buy him sunscreen.

-Royals Pitcher Joakim Soria has the greatest active baseball nickname: The Mexicutioner.  Unfortunately, only the 20 people that live in Kansas City know it.

-Rangers Centerfielder Josh Hamilton battled drugs and alcohol for years before willing himself to go clean.  Even now, he is racked by dreadful dreams or his dark time.  When not clobbering baseballs, he goes on the road as a public speaker.

-Rays Catcher Dioner Navarro, who I’m making a pitch to be called The Venezuelmageddonator, is one of the best young catchers in the game.  That’s some feat, considering that fate has been absurdly cruel to his family this decade.

Go, baseball fans.  Armed with this knowledge, please look at these players are more than simply on-base machines for your fantasy team.  They are your All Stars, so enjoy them for who they are and what they do!

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