Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The View Through The Nolan Ryan Jowl-Cam

David Roth: Before this World Series is over, I really hope we can find out what Tony La Russa could've said over the phone to Derek Lilliquist that would've sounded like "Marc Zep-chinski." There is really nothing that sounds like that, except maybe for some long-simmered Ukrainian hoof-and-potato stew

David Raposa: Wait, he was asking for Rzep and got Lynn? I'm not sure there are enough wine coolers west of the Mississippi for TLR to plausibly mush-mouth "Jason Motte" into "Lance Lynn."

David Roth: I think he wanted Motte to pitch to Napoli? Or I'm assuming as much, because you'd have to be a fraudulent Seagrams-7-cured Just For Men box-model of a hunch-humping goofus to let a lefty—or anyone but his best reliever—face Mike "Va Fa" Napoli in the most important moment of the World Series to that point. So I'm sure that it was probably just a bad connection is all. Because La Russa doesn't dye his hair and his hunches are more certain than what you and I call "facts."

David Raposa: Right. Nothing a highly skilled phone technician and some Q-Tips can't fix.

David Roth: Have you enjoyed this World Series? I have enjoyed it.

David Raposa: I have, especially when (dead horse alert) I remember that I can put Fox on mute.

David Roth: Can you still hear McCarver talking about bunts when your TV is on mute? I can. I also hear McCarver talking about batting average right before I go to sleep. I think I should probably call my doctor about that.

David Raposa: I think my tinnitus makes McCarver's belabored ramblings sound like a dog whistle to me. Which means that a Fox World Series broadcast and "Loveless" sound about the same to me, but I deal.

David Roth: Once I decided to start thinking of Tim McCarver as my dad, he got easier to take.

David Raposa: I did like hearing Buck go up on his call of Pujols' third homer.

David Roth: Yeah, he had some moments in the blowout when he was astonishingly lifelike.

David Raposa: It was like watching Jimmy Fallon lose his shit during a Debbie Downer skit.

David Roth: In the sense that someone you think is bullshit was suddenly acting human?

David Raposa: Something like that, but in a less flattering sense. I think the Cardinals connection—which you've mentioned in previous Yaks—is the reason Joe's been rising to the occasion. Even if Excitable Joe is still barely above emotional sea level.

David Roth: The thing I think I dislike most about the Series is how FOX it has been. Just how tacky and promotional and branded-out and leveraged everything is. The Jennie-O Turkey Burger Pitching Changes. The Ron Washington Slo-Mo Dance Cam brought to you by Monster Energy Drink. The Nolan Ryan Jowl Cam, brought to you by Citterio guanciale and Jim Beam Red Stag.

I do like the seamless transitions, following the final out, from Ken Rosenthal's post-game interview with the star of the game to the Chevy Truck Nutz Post-Game Show featuring Ken Rosenthal's post-game interviews with other key players.

David Raposa: I do like the seamless transitions, following the final out, from Ken Rosenthal's post-game interview with the star of the game to the Chevy Truck Nutz Post-Game Show featuring Ken Rosenthal's post-game interviews with other key players. And Eric Karros' angry coif.

David Roth: That's a Hemi transmission transition. It's an American Classic. /"Like A Rock" by Bob Seger plays.

David Raposa: I'm just glad Stephen Lang refuses to do in-crowd cameos.

David Roth: They need to get more "Terra Nova" in the broadcast. In the same way I Stockholm Syndrome-d myself into liking "Franklin and Bash" during the NBA Playoffs, I think I now want to find out how someone can commit murder by dinosaur. So more of that, for sure.

David Raposa: Have Jason O'Mara and a T-Rex double-team "God Bless America"?

David Roth: Just have a T-Rex announce half an inning. With Derek Holland doing his Harry Caray voice as the play-by-play guy.

David Raposa: Was it Holland that aped Wash after Game 4? About Wash saying he could stay in if he begged for it?

David Roth: Yup. I did see their long, emphatic conversation on the mound. I can't really help liking Washington. I am mostly sure he's a lousy manager. Napoli hitting eighth makes me very sure.

David Raposa: But it worked! Just like he planned it! The eight-hole is second clean-up! Why do you think La Russa would bat Woody Williams there?

David Roth: This is a good point. But all my objections in re: Wash are overwhelmed by his weird String Cheese Incident jam-band dances and the sense that he treats his players like men. So I'll file batting the hottest hitter on earth (and presumably "Terra Nova") eighth under "wheels within wheels within wheels." Except I suspect all of those wheels are covered in fudge. And they're triangular.

David Raposa: Oh God—I saw a Golden Corral commercial offering future heart attack recipients a chocolate fountain for dessert.

David Roth: Me too. I did NOT appreciate the eroticizing of the fountain. That is gross enough without some non-union Isaac Hayes guy ad-libbing over it. Also everyone needs to stop fucking sticking strawberries in that thing. Just wait for the plumber/FEMA to arrive and let them handle the situation. Don't be a hero.

David Raposa: Yeah, I'm hoping it's one fudge spigot per table, because if that shit's communal, the travel and FX budgets for Contagion II just got cut by 75%.

David Roth: They should shoot it at Golden Corral. Albert Pyun directs, Tom Sizemore shows up for 15 minutes to cash a check.

David Raposa: If you squint at this IMDB page the right way, Pyun already made his disease epic.

David Roth: Scott Paulin is Officer Brick Bardo! Al Pyun does not belong in this chat, but this is my favorite movie cast of all time, by the way. Nas and Sizemore have some nice scenes together.

David Raposa: I missed Nas! Which is bound to happen when you're sandwiched between Jaime Pressly and 1/3rd of TLC.

David Roth: And when you're playing a character named Art "Fuzzy" Rice.

David Raposa: That's Detective Rice to you, scumbag.

David Roth: My point is that Golden Corral did well to hire Pyun to direct the commercials—I'm just going to keep on pretending they did, if you're cool with it.

David Roth: So I'm belatedly getting caught up on the Michael Young-love going on in the Lamestream Sports Media. Gregg Doyel, who is what would happen if hemorrhoids could type and really lacked perspective, has weighed in. And even he couldn't bring himself to troll all the way on it.

David Raposa: I believe he does mention Moneyball, though, so it looks like he was going for a quality-over-quantity kind of trolling. Yes, Gregg, it's a book that prevents people from truly appreciating a perfectly average and nondescript infielder. And never mind the guy's multiple (and vociferous) trade demands. Because how dare he move over during the back end of his career to make room for a more athletic rookie and/or a much better 3B.


David Raposa: I hate it when the MSM makes me hate a player that's really not deserving of any hate.

David Roth: Me too. He's totally decent in the way he's totally decent. That is as a guy who hits singles and doubles and never walks and fields poorly. That he bitches regularly inna passive-aggressive macho stylee is the most Jeterian aspect he's got. Jeter's underminer-y quotes are way underappreciated. "I think it's cool that Brett's so great about hitting ninth. I feel like that sort of attitude is so rare these days, and could really help him prolong his career."

David Raposa: "I'm Alex's biggest fan. I brag on him so much that my teammates are sick of me talking about him." That's supposedly an actual quote, though you know he added that extra special Edge to it.

David Roth: The guy has one.

David Raposa: We should look into getting kickbacks from Ford, given how many times we've talked about the Edge. (I will NASCAR the shit out of these chats.)

David Roth: I am covered in decals as I write this. Smithfield Ham Co. is going to buy me a place in Virginia, if Johnsonville doesn't make me a better offer. Monetize the pork-talk, comrade.

David Raposa: You're saving up for that Rocky IV robot, right?

Can you deal with seeing Nolan Ryan and George W. Bush high-five if the Rangers win the World Series? I am already steeling myself for it.

David Roth: It'll talk with Jon Miller's voice, but yeah.

David Raposa: So: I don't think we've talked enough about Mike Napoli. Who deserves all the good press in the world. And an ownership share of the Rangers. And the option to turn down any Bush family cookout invites. Even though I'm still pissed because of what he made me to do my fantasy team.

David Roth: What was that, exactly? Feel bad about cutting him and keeping Jeff Mathis? I WILL NEVER GET TIRED OF THAT. Mike Scioscia opts for the frankly un-tangible intangibles over the guy who does not totally suck at defense and hits homers.

David Raposa: To quote ESPN: "Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Tuesday that personality conflicts with catcher Mike Napoli had nothing to do with the January trade that cost the Angels one of the most powerful hitters in the American League and saddled them with the onerous contract of Vernon Wells."

David Raposa: And from Scioscia hisself, after he dismisses the personality-conflict claims: "Mike had to work on stuff that didn't come naturally to him, more so than other catchers who maybe do it more naturally." Well, maybe when the guy hits like a first baseman, you put up with the growing pains and give the guy some burn.

David Raposa: "We played him a lot more than Texas has this year over his career with us." Translate this bit of Scioscia-ism for me.

David Roth: "I am a stubbornly retrograde mortadella in stirrup socks." I hope that helped.

David Raposa: Is he actually claiming that the Angels played Napoli more in his four-plus years with the team than the Rangers have in their one season with him? I'm all for higher math, but come on.

David Roth: That's baseball math. Count deez RBI, etc. Napoli isn't as good as he has been this season. Check out his BABIP. (Says the guy who gives himself a wedgie for typing that.)

David Raposa: Yeah, I've a feeling this is some career-year/change-of-scenery serendipity for Naps.

David Roth: Which is fine because he is still very good!

David Raposa: Exactly. Instead of being the best in the league, he'll be behind Brian McCann, a healthy Joe Mauer (if that ever happens again), and, um, young Jorge Posada?

David Roth: For all I know, Napoli is a terrible jerk with toxic gas who insists on listening to Savage Nation over the PA during batting practice. But if he isn't, Scioscia was small-minded about the thing and hurt the team. When will the plague of Italian-American Catcher on Italian-American Catcher Violence end? Someone needs to record a benefit song.

David Raposa: The Situation and Skrillex are on the case!

David Roth: Can you deal with seeing Nolan Ryan and George W. Bush high-five if the Rangers win the World Series? I am already steeling myself for it. I think I like it more than La Russa writing a book on Leadership And Genius with Bobby Knight and Buzz Bissinger if the Cards win.

David Raposa: Whatever—that "rooting for Bush vs. rooting for La Russa" stuff is nonsense.

David Roth: Oh, I don't know. To a certain extent, but also I don't like seeing George W. Bush on TV looking happy. It's just rude of him. He should just give everyone a few decades off from his face.

David Raposa: Sure, the guy might've resided over the collapse of the US economy and two unjustifiable wars, mismanaged one of the country's worst natural disasters, tried to legalize bigotry on a national level, and appointed at least one asshat to the Supreme Court…

David Roth: … but he does love his baseball.

David Raposa: Exactly? (God, don't make me root for the Cardinals.)

David Raposa: It's just a shame that Obama's a White Sox fan. Thinking of him getting down with some "cans of corn" and "he gones" is almost as disappointing as thinking of his presidency.

David Roth: Dinner parties with Bill Ayers and Hawk Harrelson. And Oney Guillen and Scott Podsednik. HOLD UP, I NEED TO WRITE A MOVIE.

David Raposa: So who's Sizemore playing? (Please say Reverend Wright.)

David Roth: Bobby "Fuzzy" Jenks?

David Raposa: Oh boy, I can see Luis Guzman waddling out to the mound to call for him, stretching his arms out as far as he can in super-slo-mo as the Requiem For A Dream theme kicks in.

David Roth: If we can get this movie out before Blockbuster goes out of business, we are going to be rich. Let's buy the Florida Marlins!

David Raposa: As if you need to be rich to do that.

David Roth co-writes the Wall Street Journal's Daily Fix, contributes to the sports blog Can't Stop the Bleeding and has his own little website. And he tweets!

David Raposa writes about music for Pitchfork and other places. He used to write about baseball for the blog formerly known as Yard Work. He occasionally blogs for himself, and he also tweets way too much.

Photo by Keith Allison.

23 Comments / Post A Comment

I think I now want to find out how someone can commit murder by dinosaur.

I think Zygi Wilf did that to the Vikings last year?

David Roth (#4,429)

@Clarence Rosario /Explosion sound (Very nice!)

ALBERT PYUN (#167,181)

Hey the 2 Davids – This is Albert Pyun and I love the commercials I make for my favorite restaurant on earth – The Golden Corral. We shot Ticker almost entirely in their restrooms. did you see the director's cut I releaseased earlier this year – YEOW…Thanks for the shout out and mentioning Brick Bardo! Keep up whatever it is you guys do.

Albert Pyun
facebook / albert pyun movies

jfruh (#713)

@ALBERT PYUN "Keep up whatever it is you guys do" = my new thing to say to everyone who I'm better than

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

To be fair, Frank Thomas was a South Sider for a long while, potentially fueling Obama's Sox pride, and rightfully so. Glad to see The Big Hurt doing some expert on-field work for MLB. All this from a Cubs fan (ultimate humblebrag?).

David R. (#391)

@whizz_dumb This is totally on me, but I see the Frank Thomas / Robin Ventura / Sammy Sosa "black Sox" teams of the early-to-late 90s as being a whole different franchise than the Kenny W / Ozzie Sox. Granted, I became a baseball fan during Thomas' cup of coffee w/ the Sox, so I have a soft spot for those guys. And if I dust enough at my mom's house, I'll probably find a VHS tape containing the final game of the Red Sox's 1990 season, which Boston (IIRC) needed to win in order to secure a playoff spot. (The final out was Ozzie Guillen hitting a looping fly ball to semi-shallow RRF off of Jeff Reardon that Tom Brunansky made a diving off-camera catch on.) (I feel like I bring this game up a lot, so sorry if y'all have heard me babble on this before.)

Which is to say I'm down w/ the Prez holding Alex Fernandez and Greg Hibbard (and El Grande Bruiso) close to his heart, as I kinda sorta did as well.

ALBERT PYUN (#167,181)

@Jftuh I wouldn't presume that what I do is any where near the level of the "whatever it is they do". I just really didn't know but its a fascinating conversation herein. I just like that they picked on Brick Bardo!

Albert Pyun

David Roth (#4,429)

@ALBERT PYUN Wow. So. If this is really Albert Pyun: it is awesome that you somehow found this and weighed in; long may you wave in every possible way, and also I would please like a DVD of the director's cut of Ticker, especially if it has a commentary track containing gossip about Norbert Weisser. And if this is someone pretending to be Albert Pyun… that is maybe even cooler. Either way, good times all around. Yakkin' About Baseball: We Make Wonder Here.

Hollye (#167,326)

Hairpinner/female/longtimeRangerfan here. I'm glad there's some Washington love going on, but I'm confused by the accusation that the guy can't manage. I don't think that flies when his team has gone to the World Series two years in a row after what (feels like) a lifetime slump. He makes some wacky in-game calls, but they seem to go hand in hand with all of the stuff that he does right, which leads to the teams success.

Glad you guys are enjoying the series! I'm just so so happy we're there. I'm sorry about George Bush. I'm bummed his face is around so much too, but then I think he seems like he's a great guy when he's just hanging out watching some baseball, and not running the free world.

And really? Don't hate on Michael Young. Just….don't.

David Roth (#4,429)

@Hollye I want to be clear: I love Wash and think he's awesome. He is also batting the hottest hitter on earth seventh or eighth. Results are results — and at the very least he's not a La Russa-n turd, which is not nothing — but it certainly seems like he could do a lot less to make things difficult, right?

Also, at the risk of asking too much — from my rootless cosmopolite east coast perspective, Young is a good-but-oversold guy. What is there to love?

Hollye (#167,326)

The heart of the issue is that for the years of Ranger impotency (their record during the Showalter years) and Ranger douche-ry (the steroids, the A-Rod debacle, the Tom Hicks trouble) Michael Young remained the one player, no aspect of, the team that Rangers fans could believe in. He is a natural second baseman and the team asked him (ill-fatedly – A. Soriano) to move positions, he was a manageable shortstop and the team asked him to moved positions (tragically – A. Rodriguez) and he was a poor third baseman, but through the years he has embodied a (slightly cheesy and non-quantifiable, granted) brand of baseball player that does what is asked of him and checked his ego and except his place (with the exception of the past off-season, when, perhaps understandably, he felt his value (as a second baseman) was being permanently thrown away) before his ability was truly gone. In Texas he will always be the Second Ranger (after Nolan). And that is because of many non-quantifiable qualities that you really can only appreciate if you tune in for 120 games a year, and wasted vast amounts of your life reading post-game recaps and post-game interviews, where it becomes clear how much he does to glue this team together.
As for his current value: he batted .338, with a .380 OBP this season while playing a super-utility role in our infield that left our team rested enough to be "hot" come September/October. And, to go back to our Wash conversation, if I may, it's important to point out that the Rangers were not the best team in the AL this year, by quite a bit, but they were ready to play when it really mattered (the managers job) and that is due in no small part to the fact that an injury prone team (because of the heat? I don't know) was very healthy at the end of a long season because they had a super-utility infielder who booked time at DH, 3B, 2B and 1B this season to give tired legs a rest. (Also, and I don't want to overstress this point, because I feel it may be purely conjecture, but it is well documented that Young spent a great deal of time talking with Derrick Holland this season about what a hitter is trying to do at the plate in an effort to help him be more effective on the mound. Cut to: game 3 of the WS . . . I don't know. Possibly an over-stretch, but, you know . . .)
Anyways, I guess my point is that, as an East Coast Transplant (from deep in the heart . . . ) I can't help but feel that Young is undersold throughout the MLB. The intangibles make the kind of player that Michael Young optimizes. And those intangibles are a hard sell on a nightly Sportscenter installment dominated by stories of Red Sox pitches and fried chicken.

David R. (#391)

@Hollye I'm w/ my chat-mate regarding his assessment of Young. And when "intangibles" comes into play, it's probably time to shut down any potential discussion, as there's no way to properly have it out about so-and-so's worth when one side of the discussion is valuing something that, by definition, can't be valued.

But I'll stir the pot long enough to get this in. As for Young being a trooper, I can buy that to a point. However, as much as the royal We want tenure to matter (in all walks of life), sometimes you have to make room for the other guy, especially when someone else is paying your salary. This is especially true in Young's case, where you can make an easy case for every person he's moved for — Soriano, A-Rod, even Andrus, and especially Beltre — being much better than Young at that point in his career. (If anything, his willingness to make room puts him above Jeter in that regard, since DJ couldn't be bothered to take one for the team when A-Rod came a-callin'.)

He has value, there's no doubt. Every quality team — playoff-bound or otherwise — needs guys like Young to succeed. And I'm all for him getting his due props. It's great to have unsung in-the-trench types get the glory and the gold watch. I'm not, however, for the glue guys getting praise above and beyond their station. And for all Young's done for the franchise, he's currently, in my estimation, the Rangers' 6th best player (behind, in no particular order, Beltre, Napoli, Kinsler, Hamilton, and CJ Wilson). When Michael Young is your 6th best player, you have a damn good team. But he's A reason for Texas' success, not THE reason. And I can't willlingly swallow any argument that suggests otherwise.

Hollye (#167,326)

*accept his place. not except. brain moving faster than fingers. :)

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

So, you guys are sticking around to provide Hot Stove / winter ball coverage, right?

David R. (#391)

@dntsqzthchrmn Call your local cable or satellite provider, and tell them you want OWN in HD! Or something to that effect.

freetzy (#7,018)

From that Gregg Doyel article, he says old baseball people think Michael Young is a "potential Hall of Famer." If Michael Young gets in the Hall of Fame before Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, I swear to fucking God, people…

David Roth (#4,429)

@freetzy I don't even think that's true in re: The Old Baseball Guys. Doyel is slightly less ulcerous than usual in that piece, I think because even he maybe senses that it's an untenable idea. The Harold Baines comparison at the end is actually rather apt, I think, as regards the glacial receding from the idea that some round number of some counting stat or other confers greatness. I don't really give a shit about the Hall of Fame, but I think a commonsense metric for selection should be an extended year-to-year presence in Best Player At His Position/In Baseball conversations. Young, for all the good things Hollye points out about him (and for all those hits) has never been there. Trammell was that dude for at least five seasons.

Hollye (#167,326)

@freetzy I agree with David. it's hard with Young because you can't go "Oh he's the Rangers 2nd baseman," or "Oh he's the best slugger on the Rangers" At this point he does a lot of jobs and does them well but…i don't think a hall of famer that doth make.

I feel super "meh" about the hall of fame though. I tend to get more excited about players in the context of their team than a player's achievements on their own. Maybe this stems from being a child of the steroid baseball years?

Hollye (#167,326)

@David R I don't think I ever implied he was the sole reason for the Rangers' success, and if I did I certainly didn't mean to! I do think he is a key ingredient, and reflection of, what this team gets right. The argument I'm hearing is "that guy isn't as great as people make him out to be" which I think is a silly stance to take if you aren't willing to talk about the intangibles, which are as important as any single players numerical value. A big part of what makes a team a winning team are the right players in the right place at the right time. I also think it's important to acknowledge that he's been the de facto team captain for awhile now, a position he is put in because of how the players around him feel about him.

Hall of Famer? Probably not. A huge (and partly intangible misty-woo-woo) factor in this teams' success? Yep. I think those are two different things.

Look, Look At Me (#167,647)


My fam are ardent Michael Young people ("He my team!") and this is not a popular opinion amongst them:

We'd do just fine without MY. The Rangers are as good as they are because of excellent coaching and excellent scouting and above all the best GM in all baseball, not clubhouse leadership. Wash has enough intangible leadership for the whole team.

I'd love to have that $200 billion contract off the books and an A grade OPS at DH, rather than clutchiness or grittiness or leaderyness. We can have utility infielders for much cheaper.

Also batting Hamilton and Young at 3-4 at this point in the WS is exhibit A in questionable managing talent. Also the bunts! So many bunts! So many IBBs!

David R. (#391)

How about them Cardinals? (Seriously?)

David Roth (#4,429)

@David R. Wasn't watching, what happened? The Pan Am Games were on. (Also: SERIOUSLY?)

opinions galore (#13,766)

Can I watch the next World Series with you guys?

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