Ask Your Doctor About Benzinger's Disease

by David Roth and David Raposa

David Raposa: Hey, here’s an MLB reality-show pitch: “BEST SHAPE OF YOUR LIFE.” You get your Cabreras and your Jobas together at some exotic locale during the off-season, put them through their paces, get a Jillian Michaels knock-off to rip them a new one every time they smuggle in some Archway molasses cookies, etc.

David Roth: Hosted by Rich Garces and Summer Sanders.

David Roth: “They all eat hot dogs like Tic Tacs, but only one of these contestants will be able to report to Spring Training and say… ‘I’m in the best shape of my life.’”

David Raposa: CASH MONEY.

David Roth: License up those fake versions of Spoon songs that Bravo uses during “Top Chef,” get Kevin Kennedy and Mitch Williams in a studio with Andy Cohen and it’s on. The MLB Network needs more competitive reality shows. Right now it’s just that version of “Top Chef” hosted by Bengie Molina, and the bar is way too low on that.

David Roth: I don’t know if anyone has been eliminated yet. The last episode I saw, someone won $10k for making something called “Buffalo Drywall” and serving it with 18 ounces of blue-cheese dressing.

David Roth: Also, have you seen that very insane commercial for Jeremiah Weed Pre-Mixed Alcohol Drink Products? They’re running it during the NBA Playoffs and some baseball games, and it’s all shots of weightlifting, gators, goatees, arm-wrestling, tough-man contests, more gators, Oakleys and a giant burger. It’s sort of a Zima For Him, but narrowcasted at guys who watch “America’s Bitchingest Nut-Shots” on Spike. That’s your top sponsor for “Best Shape Of Your Life.” Jeremiah Weed Diet.

David Raposa: Haven’t seen it yet. I might’ve gotten caught in a T-Mobile Girl K-hole for about 45 minutes.

David Roth: That happens. I’m sure there are many .gifs of her awkward Rap Dancing on the Internet right now. I feel too badly/too much for her to look them up.

David Raposa: So, according to Maura Of The Internet (and the Village Voice!), Bobby Valentine is Tweeting! It seems to alternate between a sure-thumbed intern typing in full sentences, and Bobby V going HAM after dipping into Kruk’s super-secret flask.

David Roth: I miss Bobby and the good times we had. I’m reminded of him every time I see Al Leiter on the street. He looks like a more athletic Sean Hannity.

David Roth: I had a terrible track record, the years I had Mets multi-game ticket packages, of going to games started by Steve Trachsel. Which had the pulse-pounding pace of Terence Malick movies, but were four times as long. Or we got Zambrano’d, which was worse.

David Raposa: Oh no! You bore witness to the new-and-improved, after-ten-minutes-with-Rick-Peterson Victor Zee?

David Roth: I can still close my eyes and see him kind of toddling off the mound, looking like some thwarted guy from the deli.

David Raposa: I’m guessing you never took your future wife with you to these games. Since she actually married you.

David Roth: I put her through some stuff. Those times at Shea with my not-then-wife were the sort of things I’d be braggy-apologetic about if I wrote one of those Bourdain-style cool-guy memoirs. A man-moir.

David Roth: “Kate saw a lot of things she shouldn’t have had to see. Christ, the whole Chris Woodward shitshow. And I don’t feel good about it, all the times we went out and got Zambrano’d. Of course, I was calling it ‘getting Zammed’ back then, because I was a child — and just had to pretend it was normal. It wasn’t fair to her.”

David Raposa: How many times did you regale her with the misbegotten Kazmir-for-Zambrano deal?

David Roth: Until she fell in love.

David Raposa: So that’s what I’m doing wrong! Next date I go on, I’m totally whipping out the Jeff-Bagwell-for-Larry-Andersen sob stories. “If only Lou Gorman knew the kind of goatee Bagwell would be able to grow…”

David Roth: The fact that you’ll cry very naturally while telling it will help.

David Raposa: Combine that with my Phil Plantier and Kevin Morton angst, and I should just buy an engagement ring before I pick her up.

David Roth: I think I saw an ad for a Plantier Angst medication on TV yesterday. Ask your doctor if you start striking out a lot and develop a long, looping swing? I apparently suffer from Todd Benzinger’s Disease. Stiff joints, long face.

David Raposa: Yeah — pulling off the ball, hitting pop-ups to the pitcher, etc. It often gets misdiagnosed as Scott Cooper’s Lumbago.

David Roth: Apparently, Benzinger used to buy punk records at Newbury Comics in Boston? A friend told me this, and I guess I respect it. Like he’d go in and find a clerk and be like “What’s good? I like GG Allin.” Only not the very last part.

David Raposa: The truth about the 1988 Red Sox: their fortunes began to change after Benzinger cranked up “I Kill Everything I Fuck” following a mid-May loss. (And to think, I was gonna suggest we NOT talk about NY or Boston.)

David Roth: As long as you get to Boston by way of Hookset, NH’s feces-smeared bard, I think we’re good.

David Roth: We could talk about how the Los Angeles Dodgers were the only team with an ownership group obnoxious enough to make a Bud Selig-led takeover a clear improvement? I feel like in a country that didn’t have some serious wealth-worshipping issues, the McCourts of Chavez Ravine would be on samizdat pamphlets distributed at effigy-heavy rallies.

David Raposa: You’d think Dodger fans would be working the printing presses solely for his approving the Casey-Blake-for-Carlos-Santana trade. The fact that Clan McCourt is as dipshitty with money as they are with the talent just seems to make too much sense. And it helps that they’re total class acts.

David Roth: He looks like a version of Andrew Breitbart that got left in a tanning booth too long, and every single thing I’ve ever read about him or his wife has been more ridiculous than the last. Which is amazing because the “sending Jayson Werth to a crystal healer” thing was like two years ago.

David Raposa: So, about a month until he enters the GOP presidential race?

David Roth: Considering that the Mets seem more fucked financially, it’s hard to escape the sense that Bud just cut him off because McCourt is a jerk. I saw Jeff rocking one of those “Tell Me Off For $1” signs on 43rd and Broadway the other day. And I think they just agreed to rename the team Pepsi Max The New Zero Calorie Soda From Pepsi for the series against the Nationals.

David Raposa: I know what will cheer you up: let’s talk about Jeff Francouer instead! I’m kinda back around towards appreciating him in a Tommy Wiseau kind of way.

David Roth: Because they both have weird French-y names and shouldn’t be playing in a big league outfield?

David Raposa: Because of the inevitable cycle of press he inspires every year.



David Roth: I guess he’s really good at making beat writers think he’s interested in their fantasy teams or something. Because the guys from the tabloids last year were like “If the Mets trade Francoeur I swear I will fucking come to your house and I don’t even know what I might do.”

David Roth: Frenchy should get “Watch me throw this ball as far as I can” tattooed on his arm. (I read recently about Raul Mondesi having a gun tattooed on his throwing arm, although I don’t know how or why I was reading about Raul Mondesi “recently.”)

David Raposa: I hope Mondesi had a big ceiling fan tattooed beneath that.

David Raposa: Anyway, that’s the beauty of April baseball — the hope that things can change, that clowns like Jeff F. can learn new tricks, that professional fourth outfielder Sam Fuld can get press in the New York Times!

David Roth: If the awards went out tomorrow, I guess Frenchy gets the MVP and AJ Burnett gets the Cy Young in the AL?

David Raposa: And the Royals and Indians would be in the playoffs.

David Roth: Luke Scott gets the Roberto Clemente Award because it took three weeks for a story in which he does something racist and behaves shamefully to make it into the popular press.

David Raposa: The Baltimore Oriole who really puts the “dick” in “Dickensian aspects.”

David Roth: I am on-board with the Orioles being good, I think that’s great. But that team is like Fox and Friends around the middle of the order.

David Raposa: What other trickle-down dipsticks do the O’s have? Is Vladdy donating funds to Haley Barbour’s war chest?

David Roth: Well, Adam Jones got real ignorant on taxes a while back, but I think he’s hitting eighth now.

David Roth: So I’m just gong to pretend that Mark Reynolds often insists on rounding the bases in a patriotic, Michelle Bachmann-endorsed “Where’s The Real Birth Certificate” Hoveround scooter that flies a tiny Gadsden flag.

David Raposa: When he swings his bat, a Toby Keith song plays out of the knob.

David Roth: He’s donating his entire salary this year to The Joe Arpaio Legacy Project.

David Raposa: I’m guessing most MLBers are like Luke, except they know enough to not yip about it. Or they wait until they have enough tenure for folks to just shrug it off, like Schilling’s John McCain campaigning, or John Smoltz hating that gay people can fall in love.

David Roth: Boy, Schilling looks great these days! Have you seen him on ESPN? He looks like what Jeff Daniels would look like if he were cast as a nocturnal 15-year-old Warcraft addict.

David Raposa: Even better than during the good old days? The baby that a Unit/Schilling union would create could stop time.

David Roth: Stop time and then put a Calvin Pissing sticker on it.

David Raposa: I haven’t yet seen him mouth breathe on the WWL, no. Is he classing up the joint inna Limbaugh stylee?

David Roth: Skin the color of curdled milk. Ill-fitting clothes and odd goatee. Utter certainty about the importance of throwing strikes and the injustice of a progressive income tax.

David Raposa: It is a shock, too, given how much of a hardbody he was during his EverQuest days. You could bounce a dollar off of his abs, and it’d depreciate in value.

David Roth: He was on the cover of Men’s Fitness: Call of Duty Enthusiast edition three months in a row.

David Raposa: Hey, I just saw the Roadhouse Tea commercial!

David Raposa: I want to arm wrestle for oversized burgers now.

David Roth: And I want to punch an alligator with a motorcycle. It’s too bad that you can only buy that beverage at GNC and Bass Pro Shops.

David Raposa: Can’t wait for Manny to come back and get banned for drinking it.

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, from Flickr.