Time to ring in a new annual tradition around these parts, in which we say horrible, awful things about all the teams involved in the playoffs this year. Let's do this.
I used to love baseball when I was a kid. No lie. I used to watch games, and go through the Twins team stats in the paper each morning, trying to figure out what the acronyms meant. I studied box scores. I looked forward to the Star Tribune's "Player of the Day" box inside the sports section. I stayed up late to watch playoff games. I used to practice pitches by throwing a plastic pumpkin at the wall in the living room. I did all that gooey, sloppy, corny baseball kid shit.
I don't do any of that anymore. This is because I'm an adult, and baseball is strictly for kids and old people. There's a reason why kids are so drawn to baseball, and that is because being a kid is really, really, really fucking boring. I can't stress this enough. Being a kid is endlessly dull. I see it in my children's faces now. They're bored senseless five seconds after getting to the playground.
It makes sense, when you think about it. When you're a kid, you have endless amounts of free time. There's no work to occupy you. Hours seem to take years to pass by. You can't drink. You can't do drugs. You can't jack off or fuck other people. And you can't watch cool movies like Dark Knight because you're too stupid to understand them, or you're such a pussy that they scare you. You can't drive anywhere. You can't read cool books. You can't do JACK SHIT except run around and watch Nick Jr. It's a horrible, brutally boring existence.
This is where baseball comes in.
Baseball is perfect for children. It's on every day, so it fills up time during summer vacation. And every game takes fucking EONS. It's a boring sport designed specifically for people with boring lives, and kids fit that bill perfectly. Also, kids are stupid enough to believe that every baseball game HAS JUST A BIT OF MAGIC IN IT. That's the key to baseball's kiddie appeal. That incredibly stupid "magic" idea that Bob Costas will bust out from time to time. Kids eat that shit right up.
Anyway, once I grew older, I stopped giving a shit about baseball because I found other cool shit to be interested in. Playoff baseball is all right. But I dunno, whatever. I don't think this sport is anywhere near hateful and aggressive enough for my tastes, the way football so nakedly is. Yeah, people will tell you that Red Sox and Yankees fans hate each other. But secretly, you and I both know that Sox and Yankees fans enjoy retreating to the University Club each night to share cigars lit with hundred dollar bills and bask in their collective domination of the sport. They are secret lovers who desperately want to fuck in an enclosed space, and no one can tell me any different.
To give you an idea of what's wrong with baseball, I'm gonna direct you to this passage from Leitch's book, which is very good and you should buy it and you should read it except for this passage, which is gay:
Baseball brings out our better natures. Baseball makes us more neighborly. Baseball encourages us to be more kind. Baseball releases us from our solitary, misanthropic selves, the self-indulgence, the tunnel vision, the xenophobia. It allows us to share…
I'd transcribe the rest, but I'm still puking. Guhhhh. Who wants a sport that makes people nicer? (And I've been to Yankee Stadium. That passage is a LIE). This is the 21st century, the Golden Age of Hatred and Social Isolation. I need sports that let me HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE. FUCKING HATE. This is your problem, baseball. You make grown men get all weepy and annoying, instead of spiteful and angry.
Well, I'm not taking it lying down. I am here to fix these boring-as-shit MLB playoffs by injecting it with extreme doses of ignorance and general rancor. That's right! It's time to strap on our roastin' boots and get right to gettin' drunk and feelin' mean. Again, these observations have been made with as little knowledge and insight as humanly possible, for knowledge and insight are the sworn enemies of a good hate-on. I enlisted your help in hating all eight of these teams, and you didn't let me down. Let's dive in, shall we? IF YOU WANT BLOOD, YOU'VE GOT IT.
Atlanta Braves (91-71, NL Wild Card)
FUCK. YOU. Remember, this is the team that was given a national platform on TBS during the infancy of cable television. And not only did Ted Turner pimp them relentlessly, but their promos also had the balls to say that the Braves were "America's Team." This is a team that can't sell out a fucking playoff game, yet you and I are supposed to sit back and let TBS — the one network that somehow does a WORSE job of presenting televised baseball than FOX — try and tell you the Braves are baseball's answer to the Dallas Cowboys? That is fucking horrible. It's like Ted Turner was just asking you to despise them. Well, mission accomplished, you bison-eating child rapist.
Also, Bobby Cox is a fucking wife beater. I like how people play up his ejection record, as if it means he's super fiery and competitive and uses ejections to rally his team. No, no he got tossed a zillion times from games because he's a FUCK. Let's dredge up this old chestnut. The best part is when he got drunk!
According to the police report, the Coxes had been entertaining friends when Bobby spilled a drink on the carpet of their northwest Atlanta house and Pamela made a comment about it. The report said that after the guests left, Bobby, 53, "hit her in the face with his fist," pulled her hair and called her "a bitch." When they reached the house, the police reported, they heard arguing inside, where they found Bobby drunk and Pamela with the left side of her face swollen.
Real reasonable fellow right there.
MRS. COX: Dear, perhaps that spilled drink is an indicator you've had too much to drink.
BOBBY: (fucking fist to the jaw)
Asshole. And the Tomahawk Chop is worse than Parkinson's Disease.
More from reader Matt:
The city of Atlanta makes no fucking sense....streets just end, they have rotaries...who the fuck still has rotaries??...it's like a blind person on a drunk donkey designed the fucking place.
Cincinnati Reds (91-71, NL Central Champs)
This is where I again remind you that I went to summer camp with lots of kids who were from Cincinnati. Their favorite joke was the following, sung in a Sambo/Mammy blackface dialect:
BARBECUE, WATERMELON, CADILLAC CAR!
WE'RE NOT AS DUMB AS YOU THINK WE IS!
They told this joke often. Hey, why mess with perfection, am I right? YOU PEOPLE ARE RAYCESS.
I drove through Ohio once and thought I had died. No, really. As we were driving, I thought to myself, "Wait a second. I think I had a heart attack 50 miles ago and died while at the wheel. It's so obvious, given the wasteland surrounding me right now. This is clearly the In-Between, where I will stay for a predetermined period of eternity." That's what Ohio is. It's a zombified landscape, where everything has been left to fucking DIE.
I have no idea why anyone would cheer for the Cincinnati Reds, given that they foisted upon the world the following three people: Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Rob Dibble. I can't even begin to figure out which one of those men I dislike the most. I can just picture ol' Pete in the locker room back in the '70s, slapping Morgan on his inexplicably naked ass, right before heading out for a long night of betting at the track and banging his son's girlfriend.
And Dibble is somehow even worse. It's as if John Rocker had a twin brother who was just as much of a raging shithead, only he somehow managed to escape widespread public shunning. How did this man have a job in 2010? Shouldn't he have been forced to spend the rest of his life on some farm in West Virginia, milking chickens? I fucking hate Rob Dibble. More from readers about the Reds:
I go to school right outside of Cincinnati. I go to school with a lot of people from Cincinnati. I hate Cincinnati.
Johnny Fucking Cueto. Johnny Fucking Cueto kicked Jason LaRue in his head multiple times, effectively ending his 12-year career.
If you root for the Reds, you are rooting for that piece of shit to have more World Series rings than the following players also appearing in the playoffs:
…and a host of other better and less insanely bitchtastic kicking players. If you are not from the Ohio area and you do not boo Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds you are a bad baseball fan and you suck.
San Francisco Giants (92-70, NL West Champs)
The Giants are the favorite team of Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, who spent decades on the radio in New York talking about what a big Giants fan he was, when no one in the tri-state area gave a shit about the Giants. Chris Russo is a horrible person who was born without descended testicles, and listening to him speak is like listening to a Jack Russell terrier that has a fucking lisp.
I don't know anyone who gives a shit about the Giants except for the ever-dwindling number of old and dying people who like to tell you that Willie Mays was the greatest five-tool player of all time. Since Bonds left, this team is about as interesting as watching a dick go limp. I don't think there are any actual Giants fans in San Francisco, a very dirty and overrated and smelly town with horrendous weather. I think there are people who occasionally go to Giants games in between chastising you for not eating food that's been locally sourced. If the Giants go to the World Series, no one will fucking care. They even played Anaheim in a seven-game Series a while back, with Bonds, and people STILL didn't give a shit. And people out there want you to believe that the Giants have some awesome rivalry with the Dodgers or something. Again, no one gives a shit. East Coast Bias is 100 percent for real and utterly justified because no one in the Central and Eastern time zones cares about two teams playing at 10 p.m. for the right to be crowned the best team in a state full of whiny, squash blossom-eating dipshits.
Is it obvious to everyone else just how fucking terrible the Giants are at an individual level? The knobgobblers at ESPN would have you believe the Giants have fucking beautiful locker room chemistry when in reality they're the douchiest, laziest fucks on the planet. It's like they all fucking agreed together to wear their uniforms as baggy as fucking possible in order to hide their hideous bitch-tits. I mean, seriously: Pablo Sandoval: fat fuck. Juan Uribe: fat fuck. It's absolutely insane that a major league baseball team has a 300-pound tit monster with frosted tips on his goatee playing shortstop.
The Crazy Crab was a mascot of the San Francisco Giants for the 1984 season. As opposed to other mascots, Crazy Crab was meant as an "anti-mascot", satirizing on the mascot craze that was going on at the time.
That is so fucking San Francisco: a goddamn hipster mascot.
Philadelphia Phillies (97-65, NL East Champs)
Nothing makes me angrier than an unimaginatively named team such as the Phillies. At least the Houston Texans have the excuse of being Texan, and therefore retarded. All I can think about when I hear about the Phillies is how gratingly stupid their name is, as if someone decided to name the Yankees the Yorkies. It's a nickname that was clearly bestowed upon them by the 3-year-old son of whoever first owned the team.
I've also had my fill of shrieking female Phillies fans who spend hours online telling the world how gosh darn cute they think Chase Utley is. FACT: Behind the Red Sox, the Phillies have the highest percentage of obnoxious female pink-hat-wearing fans. Be on the lookout for them this October. They're the ones who are piss-drunk on the street telling you they'd do anything to get in Cole Hamels's "on deck circle." Notice that none of these girls will ever tell you how cute Ryan Howard is. This is because Ryan Howard is big and black and big black men scare them TO DEATH.
Every Philadelphia Phillies player, coach, ballboy, usher, fan, or anyone who lives or has ever lived within 100 miles of Philadelphia should die. I mean a slow, tragic and painful death that involves a vise and blunt objects that were designed to stretch and tear human orifices.
I was at the Nationals-Phillies game at Nats Stadium on Tuesday. My friend and I were sitting next to a pack of ridiculous female Phillies fans (as you may know, Phillies fans typically outnumber Nationals fans when the Phillies come to town, it sucks). Anyways, the girl closest to us was actually pretty nice, but still had blinding love for the Phillies. She told us she specifically got a puppy that was born on Shane Victorino's birthday, and of course named it Shane. When Victorino got up to bat, a Nats fan in the row in front of us started taunting her about how much he sucked. She of course was defending him, calling him the greatest blah blah blah. Then Shane struck out, and she looked like she was about to burst into tears. That was a great moment.
Tampa Bay Rays (96-66, AL East Champs)
I am so aggressively indifferent towards the Rays that I can't even produce the vitriol needed for this preview. I think about the Rays, and all that comes to mind is a giant white void, free of any objects or even intangible thoughts. Just a wide expanse of nothingness that wipes out the color and soul of anything it comes into contact with.
The Rays are like a light you turn on to make creatures scatter. Their mere presence in a room is enough to make people scramble for the exits to find something, ANYTHING, more interesting. They engender mass indifference much in the way Jay Leno's humor does. They're just there, and whether or not they're there doesn't make a fucking lick of difference to anyone in the world. They could disappear tomorrow, and no one would notice except for three guppy fishermen who fled to the Gulf Coast area of Florida to escape paying child support.
If the Rays won the World Series, it would be akin to when the Bucs won the Super Bowl in 2002. Do you remember that? Of course not, because events that take place in Tampa are systemically filtered out of your memory as they occur. Tampa is the email spam of American cities.
Oddly enough, THIS team got more hate mail than any other team. People are quite strident about just how much they don't give a shit about the Rays.
Florida is a fucking swamp that produces nothing but criminals and bastard children who will one day become criminals. The only good thing Florida does well is harvest cranky old family members that no one wants around anymore and kills them with heat stroke.
When the Rays win, on the Jumbotron they play a video of Johnny Drama yelling, "VICTORYYYYYYYY!!!!"
They do? That's awful.
I heard a story on Colin Cowherd last week. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were third on a list of potential cities to get a baseball expansion team. Cowherd, while working for a news station in Tampa at the time, was told by George Steinbrenner himself that he pushed the franchise through. His exact words to baseball were "you owe me." His family lived in Tampa and he wanted to see his Yankees play down there during the season.
So basically, the Rays exist so that one now-deceased Yankee fan living in the Tampa area could watch his team play a couple times a year without having to travel. Makes sense to me.
Minnesota Twins (94-68, AL Central Champs)
The Twins are the favorite team of my childhood, so I'm less qualified to hate them than the numerous people who wrote in. But I will say this: The emailer accusing Minnesotans of "distrusting" black people? TOTALLY DEAD ON. Minnesotans aren't racist so much as they're suspicious of anyone who does not have blond hair, blue eyes, a last name ending in "son," and a hearty bowl of Jello salad ready for their neighbors at all times.
I live near New Britain, CT, which is where the Twins have a AA club (The Rock Cats!) and I have a few friends that worked at the ballpark. I have heard from numerous people that when Joe Mauer played there he was exactly as nice and humble as everybody always says he is. So fuck him. I also heard once that Justin Morneau was a ravenous womanizer.
Twins fans are like the retarded, in-bred cousins of Packer fans. They're fat. They're pale. They distrust black people, with the inexplicable exception of Kirby Puckett (more on him later), and embrace scraptastic white queefs like Nick Punto.
I live in the Twin Cities and am subjected to Twins fans jerking themselves off on a daily basis. It's always the same shit. "Didja know Joe Mauer grew up in St. Paul? Have ya been to Target Field yet? What a gorgeous place! It's so great to have the boys out of the Metrodome! Wouldn't it be cool if our little team could beat those overpaid Yankees from the Big City? Have you heard that song by The Hold Steady? It's so neat Whatshisname Finn remembers where he came from!" Gah! These simpletons are too overcome with unjustified pride to realize they were screwed into paying for a stadium, most fans never went to a game before said stadium, and their team isn't nearly the underdog they like to think if they believe payroll is the barometer.
Again, all true. Take it from the world's most casual Twins fan, who hasn't seen a full Twins game since 1991 but still thinks Ron Gardenhire is baseball's answer to Andy Reid.
Texas Rangers (90-72, AL West Champs)
Reader Run it for Marty sent me this video, which deserves some kind of Academy Award for lameness:
Jeeeesus. This is what happens when you stick a ballpark in Arlington for retarded Texans to visit in between days at the Wet ‘N' Wild. You get this video, which is the kind of thing you'd picture if you're someone who a.) doesn't live in America, b.) has never visited America, c.) hates America, and d.) has a preconceived mental image of what Americans are like. This is the stereotype you'd have in your mind of our country: a bunch of cornfed imbeciles dancing around to a mass-produced shit hop single produced by will.i.am's non-union Texan equivalent.
I hate this team. It serves no purpose other than to be the fucking fluffer for the Cowboys before their preseason begins. It's a team filled with braindead, steakhead, born-again evangelical cuntslices. These are the kind of people who look at you funny for liking Chinese food. It's like someone took two dozen Chad Curtises and put them in the same place. Marty would also like to note:
The Rangers also have the "Antlers" by putting their thumbs to the side of their head. This represents a stolen base or any play made that required some sort of speed... hustle plays if you will.
How this team didn't find a way to employ David Eckstein, I'll never know.
I had a friend that worked in the hotel industry (he worked the front desk) around the time Nolan Ryan was putting a Double A team in our city.
The hotel where he was a frequent guest always bent over backwards for Nolan Ryan because let's face it, Corpus Christi is awful and we don't get any real celebrities (we're known for Selena and that's about it). One day my friend decided to pretend like he had no idea who Nolan Ryan was. Mr. Ryan checked in and this is what the conversation sounded like:
Nolan Ryan: I'm here to check in.
Front Desk: Your name sir?
Nolan Ryan: *getting pissed* Nolan Ryan!?
Front Desk: Which one is the last name sir?
Nolan Ryan: *enraged* RYAN!! NOLAN RYAN!!!
Front Desk: Thank you sir, and what are you in town for?
Nolan Ryan: I'M NOLAN GODDAMN RYAN SON, NOLAN RYAN!!
Front Desk: From the Dairy Queen commercials??
New York Yankees (95-67, AL Wild Card)
I grew up in that very small stretch of time when the Yankees weren't terribly good. This was right before 1996, when they kicked off their stretch of dominance that has lasted until today and shows no signs of abating. And I tell you that I grew up in this time period because that is same bullshit excuse every fuckface Yankee fan my age will give you for being a Yankees fan. "Well, they weren't good when I was a kid!" Of course not. They were just a poor little team that also happened to be the most storied franchise in the history of North American sport. YOU POOR CHILD. I'M SO SORRY THAT FIVE RINGS WILL NEVER MAKE UP FOR THE FACT THAT DONNIE BASEBALL NEVER GOT ONE FOR HIMSELF.
There are many reasons to despise the Yankees, of course. I hate their fans. I hate the fact that they swindled a city out of a billion dollars to build a stadium that is an exact replica of the previous, shitty stadium they just had. I hate that the city was stupid enough to go along with it. I hate that, after George Steinbrenner died, I was told a zillion times, "Well, you didn't have to like him. But you had to RESPECT him." No, I don't. I don't have to respect that decaying bag of rotting bones at all. George Steinbrenner was a criminal and a fucking asshole. Even worse, he made it so that Yankees fans are now PROUD to be assholes, even prouder than before. It's as if the stands at Yankee Stadium are filled with a bunch of little tiny Steinbrenners, all of whom feel permitted to be as bombastic and knee-jerk as that dead fuck. THAT is the legacy Steinbrenner will leave.
I hate the phrase "True Yankee," even when used derisively by people who do not like the Yankees. I hate the security guards at the Stadium, who all deserve to be stabbed to death. I hate that this team acted like it rebuilt the Twin Towers after 9/11 while simultaneously forcing fans to throw out water at the gate in a bullshit security measure so that they'd have to pay $7 for a bottle of Dasani inside the park. I hate "God Bless America," which is a shitty song and makes New Yorkers look like brain-dead Texans every time they're forced to stand up and sing it. I hate the 4 train, which is fucking AGONY to ride.
Most of all, I hate that this organization acts as if it's the soul of a city when, personality-wise, it has NOTHING in common with the New York I know. The New York I know has shitloads of personality. It's a brilliant place where anyone is free to try and make it, free to leave if they fail, and always encouraged to have a good time in between. The Yankees, on the other hand, are bunch of personality-free, militaristic fuckwads who are NEVER fun. Ever. They have nothing to do with what makes New York awesome, and the fact that they think they do is a fucking joke.
And I hate Billy Crystal. Does that cover it? No? Here's more:
You guys think Cincinnati is a shithole? Have any of you Deadspin people ever been to Cincinnati lately? At least Cincinnati tries to be a nice city. You go to the Bronx, and you think you're in some Third World hellhole where you could get the clap just by looking at the hookers.
I went to Yankee Stadium (the real one) a few years back when the Tigers were in town.
We sat in the bleachers and if you know the stadium, the bleachers were one deck, and then where the good seats start, the upper deck just sort of hangs there up next to the bleachers. This game reaffirmed everything I ever thought about Yankees' fans. At some point late in the game, a little girl, maybe 10 or 12 years old stood at the edge of the upper deck, looking down on all the poor people sitting on the benches. Slowly but surely, a chant grows to deafening proportions: "Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump!"
Sounds about right. Go to fucking Hell, Yankees. And welcome to the playoffs.