Playing Sega Genesis With Manny Ramirez

by David Roth and David Raposa

David Roth: David Raposa, I think you pissed off Tony La Russa. He gets asked these sad I-am-really-on-deadline-right-now questions every day as part of his job. Shouldn’t he know how to answer these questions a little less… ulcerously?

David Raposa: Well, David Roth, I have to say that is some weaksauce ranting. He didn’t even mention Kurt Bevacqua. Granted, beat reporters are stuck asking that sort of “well duh” nonsense in order to file copy. But he’s just trying to rally the troops. Even the ones he can’t remember by name. “You think those Mendoza Lining clowns I field every day to hit behind the pitcher can’t drive in runs?”

David Roth: Admittedly, it’s striking how natural LaRussa’s hair color is now, though. I think he rocks Mubarak For Men for that sexagenarian-with-inky-mane look. Clyde Frazier all in the commercials like, “Pwned and dethroned!”

David Raposa: The next time the lady at Supercuts asks if I want something special done to my hair, I should just show her a pic of TLR. “But with extra zazz.”

David Roth: LaRussa’s got a “Suite Life of Zach and Cody” haircut, but I’m sure you could make it grown-man-and-fly, though. I obviously don’t like him, but to me what LaRussa has on other pantheon managers is that he’s the only one whose car keys Buzz Bissinger has tried to take after a scotch-y night at a Macaroni Grill in suburban Houston.

David Raposa: He also got fired by Hawk Harrelson. He got gone, I mean to say. Can of corn.

David Roth: PUT IT ON THE WHATEVER YES. Wait, Harrelson was the GM of the White Sox?

David Raposa: Oh, yeah — he had a banner year. “Harrelson also traded rookie Bobby Bonilla, later a six-time All-Star, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Jose DeLeon.”

David Roth: Too early to tell how that will work out. But yeah, I guess the point is that LaRussa should keep his Under Armour 4 Coaches wicking long-sleeve mock turtle on, because no one knows what is happening yet and no one is actually criticizing David Freese. Yet.

David Raposa: I think some Baseball Prospectus writer once suggested that no one should draw any conclusions about the way a season looks until at least the second or third week of the season. As a Red Sox fan and Rays bandwagoneer, I’d definitely appreciate any and all dopes adhering to that edict.

David Roth: Yeah, I was going to say.

David Raposa: Though, on the Rays tip, I did appreciate hearing for the 384,782th time that they’re not going to be good because they couldn’t afford to overpay Carl Crawford. cf. this blort by the wholly impartial Peter Golenbock.

David Roth: Isn’t Peter Golenbock the guy that wrote the never-released Mickey Mantle novel that had tons of threesome scenes?

David Raposa: I was going to ask you that! If any guy deserves the Zalman King treatment, it’s the Mick.

David Roth: Mad saxophones. (Also: that was Golenbock)

David Raposa: Tasteful yet erotic soft lighting.

David Roth: A gratuitously shirtless Phil Rizzuto.

David Raposa: Ken Singleton giggling behind a Japanese screen.

David Roth: I like the idea of Michael Kay in the David Duchovny narrator role. Am I allowed to admit to knowing that The Duch was in Red Shoe Diaries? Am I allowed to admit that because of Red Shoe Diaries, I spent a lot of my life thinking that sex only happened when people were surrounded by candles and gauzy drapes?

David Raposa: I thought sex was something that happened between two indistinct rainbow-colored blobs.

David Raposa: Anyway, my favorite part of Golenbock’s side-swipe is this: “Damon already is complaining about the turf, Manny sat because he was upset at being booed, and Evan Longoria has a hurt leg and will be out three weeks.” That’s two bits of conjecture, one misdiagnosis (unless his oblique moved to his leg), AND a buried lede! Which is to say: take away the best hitter on your favorite team, and see what happens!

David Roth: That’s some “please don’t listen to sports talk radio anymore, Dad” shit. I wonder why guys like that feel compelled to weigh in. If you’re not really following it, why bother?

David Raposa: He’s looking for some of that sweet Murray Chass not-a-blogger money.

David Roth: I was just thinking of Chass. That guy hates everything he writes about, yet won’t stop writing about it. He should take dance lessons or start substitute teaching. Pick the bits of chili out of his beard and go antiquing. But enough with the grumpenstein fake Mickey Sabbath routine and the Truth To Power bit about Mike Piazza’s alleged steroid backne.

David Raposa: It’s like watching over-the-hill ballplayers struggle into retirement, except the ballplayer actually TRIES.

David Roth: They’re men out of time, the new world of information scares them, etc. And that’s fine! There are Tea Parties out there to help with that. But if you don’t like or get the game anymore, then maybe write or think about something else?

David Raposa: Speaking of something else, maybe we should actually talk about what’s going on this season?

David Roth: Well, the Royals are winning, the Red Sox are all hitting .096, the Rays aren’t even wearing uniforms anymore and are just running around in corduroys and trying to catch fly balls with butterfly nets. Sending Ben Zobrist up to bat in shorts, Crocs and a Big Johnson Surfboards t-shirt.

David Raposa: I actually watched their first (& before Dice-K’s “effort” Monday, only) win this year, thanks to the cancer-curing magic of MLB Extra Innings from DirecTV (sponsorship TK)

David Roth: How was it? Did Kyle Farnsworth throw any karate kicks?

David Raposa: Well, Matt Thornton was quite Farnsworthy, in that “here’s a fastball, lemme know when it lands” kind of way.

David Roth: He has apparently been terrible. He has presumably looked better being terrible than Ryan Franklin. Who has also looked terrible, but done so with that exceptionally pube-y face-mullet hanging off his chin.

David Raposa: Relievers need some of that Brian Wilson epic beardedness. Or maybe that Ben Weber epic shop-teacher gogglesness.

David Roth: BEN WEBER! The Walter Sobchak of the AL West. I loved that dude. That was back when the Angels had a bunch of relievers who could maybe have been Jewish. I was on board with that. Al Levine? I will ride for Al Levine.

David Raposa: Say what you will about small ball, Roth; at least it’s an ethos.

David Roth: Ben Weber was a toss-up. I’m pretty sure Max Weber was Jewish, but I’m pretty sure Chris Webber isn’t. It’s confusing. But Ben Weber could DEFINITELY get you a toe. To go back to the person other people actually know about, though, I’m kind of torn on Wilson.

David Raposa: Wilson’s transformation from God-loving sub-K-Rod spaz into MLB marketing beacon kinda sideswiped me.

David Roth: I like that he’s weird, in the abstract. I liked looking at that lustrous beard last year, a lot. But at the same time I am maybe tired of him making Chuck Norris jokes?

David Raposa: He’s making jokes? “Brian Wilson doesn’t cash checks; he checks cash?” That sort of shit?

David Roth: Yeah, more or less. There was an interview he did with Leno that was exactly as excruciating as you’d expect. Wilson being all “Roundhouse kicks. Beard.” And Leno being “Have you seen this current event? Have you heard about this current event? Would you believe Bieber Lohan Kardashian?”

David Raposa: So, as far as I know, baseball is selling to America: 1) Yankees, 2) Red Sox, 3) facial hair

David Raposa: When was the last time MLB actually marketed its stars well? Was that all PRE-STEROIDS, when the game was pure like Mormon children, and roly-poly pitchers threw 255 change-ups at Gary Disarcina look-alikes who flailed at such soft cheese like clay spooling out of a Play-Doh Fun Factory.

David Raposa: I may be misrepresenting that era. I know I’m doing the Rob Deers and Candy Maldonados of that era a grave disservice.

David Roth: They do themselves disservices. One of my formative baseball memories was being in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium when I was in middle school and this anthropomorphized pack of Merits/lady behind me loudly singing, “Rob Deer takes it up the ass, doo-dah doo-dah.” To the tune of Camptown Ladies, at the volume of a largish jet.

David Roth: Now those seats are like $35 and have no visual access to the field. The “bleacher seats” are now located 11 blocks from the stadium, in an Old Navy.

David Raposa: Well, I haven’t had the pleasure of being gobsmacked by New Yankee Stadium. But I like that the Yankees are currently cycling through every former Montreal Expos pitcher. It’s like the good old days, when they’d sign guys like Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano to uber-deals and then feign surprise when they pitched to their age or injury history.

David Raposa: Meanwhile, Oil Can Boyd’s all like, “What the FUCK, Cashman! I still bring the heat!”

David Roth: The Can is too real for the Yanks. We need more dudes who pitch in glasses. Not sport-glasses. I mean like Tom Henke CPA-model glasses. Strike you out, then help you fill out some paperwork on setting up an IRA.

David Raposa: Greg A. Harris!

David Roth: Harris is so compelling in Breaking Bad, though.

David Raposa: Should we talk about Manny? I feel that wonderful old-man-shoving goober deserves some sort of heartfelt semi-snarky chat sendoff. In my mind, as long as he doesn’t hire Antoine Walker to manage his finances, I’m sure he’ll be happy.

David Roth: I cannot imagine Manny spending very intelligently. But I also can’t imagine him spending that extravagantly. Like, I imagine that Andruw Jones lives in a house in which the floor is made entirely of functional iPads. Jason Giambi lives inside a giant Lamborghini and A-Rod’s place is all mirrors and marble. I just imagine Manny eating the same sandwich every day at least once, and then playing oldish video games. Guy plays Sonic The Hedgehog until all hours.

David Raposa: All he needs are some dick pills, some conditioner, and a ball and paddle. And Hot Pockets. The fact that baseball standard bearers are going to lose their shit over his Hall of Fame worthiness or legacy means exactly zip to him.

David Roth: He’s a Hall of Famer to me. I’m just going to induct someone new to the Hall in every one of these. Handsome Ron Kittle is getting in sometime in July. But Manny was transcendent, when he was transcendent. The drugs honestly don’t matter that much to me, because I think all this needs to be considered in context. There are guys who hit 500 homers in their careers who weren’t great enough to be Hall of Famers, and that’s fine, it’s not somehow a betrayal of The Founders or whatever. Voters should just be grown-ups about this, instead of being HGHercule Poirot and examining Jeff Bagwell’s baseball cards for telltale signs of jawline enlargement or whatever. And besides, Manny was so much fun when he was fun. It’s a game. I give points for that.

David Raposa: Cosigning all of the above, especially Manny’s fun factor. I don’t want to say that’s missing from “today’s” game, but it’s lacking. No offense to Brian Wilson, but his hirsute wackiness, and resulting fame, seems almost manufactured. Not quite to the level of “you should really check out Derek Jeter’s awesome new Ford-related website!” but perilously close.

David Roth: “Fords are like me in that they are high-quality and also wearing a Henley shirt and unthreatening jeans.”

David Raposa: “Now watch me dive for this slow-rolling grounder.”

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 via Flickr.