Jim Leyland Wants To Know Your Intentions

by David Roth and David Raposa

David Roth: Sorry to be late. But I wanted to watch the end of the Mets game, and K-Rod’s post-save Jesus-Thank has gotten so elaborate and time-consuming. The game ended almost 10 minutes ago.

David Raposa: Yeah, I turned the channel after he brought out the crown of sunflower seeds.

David Roth: Any savior worth worshipping would’ve appreciated it, though. The God I believe in really would appreciate Rodriguez laying out the money to hire the Blue Angels for that flyover.

David Raposa: It’s too bad there aren’t more Scientologists in MLB. I’d love to see the tats and semaphore they’d employ to give L. Ron some love.

David Roth: I’m sure Juliette Lewis is recruiting Casey Blake really aggressively. “You know all those pop-outs and oblique strains?” she’s leering at him over the phone. “Yeah, those are all blowed-up aliens inside your body messing with you.” Which I’m sure he already suspected.

David Raposa: Thetans would be a great way to explain Bruce Bochy’s love of the bunt.

David Roth: Maybe David Miscavige could buy the Dodgers?

David Raposa: Not after McCourt made this week’s payroll!

David Roth: Okay, well after McCourt doesn’t make the next payroll, then. Elaborate hazings for the bullpen at a secret High Desert ranch couldn’t really hurt their performance, right? Put some E-meters in the dugout. Beck takes over as manager.

David Raposa: I’ve heard great things about Giovanni Ribisi’s gyroball.

David Roth: A paunch-faced Jason Lee and a spookily blissed out Anne Archer take over as first and third base coaches. It’s like Major League, but with far flatter affects and more acronyms and the GM has to live on a boat and there are the elaborate secret-ranch hazing rituals. Otherwise it’s exactly like Major League.

David Raposa: I shudder to think what Roger Christiansen would do with the cardboard stand-up of Stripper Xenu. Besides Dutch-angle the hell out of every frame it’s in, that is.

David Roth: On a not very different note, I have not seen a baseball player look sadder or more gaunt or more like the sickly kid from “The Simpsons” than Jason Bay has during his time with the Mets. I feel like he should start coming up to bat to really sad songs.

David Raposa: But how many sad Barenaked Ladies songs are there? (Canada!)

David Roth: I find them all terribly sad.

David Raposa: We should stop with the shameful regional bias. I don’t want Awl Nation to accuse us of Red Sox/Mets favoritism.

David Roth: Merely because those are the only teams we talk about? Oh, they’re bigger than that.

David Raposa: That said: holy shit that Dice-K what a maroon etc. Actual headline: “Dice-K like a bad Toyota.”

David Raposa: “Jason Bay like a rat-infested Tim Horton’s.”

David Roth: “Luis Castillo like a bodega that sells dented cans of Hormel Chili for $2.35.” This isn’t so difficult. “Todd Coffey like a room-temperature beer keg that is somehow sentient enough to be having a terrible day.”

David Raposa: “Dan Uggla like the yeast-ridden cooch of a middle-aged Hooter’s waitress.” If only The National were around now. Frank Deford would be paying us mad money.

David Roth: “John Lackey like a Frankenstein-headed golem that can’t throw in the 90s anymore.” It just comes right out!

David Raposa: You crazy for that one, Lupica!

David Roth: These guys are all proof that every free agent should throw an absurd contract demand like that out there first, just to see. If it’s Bill Bavasi or Sabean or someone on the other end of the phone, you could wind up very rich.

David Raposa: I think the Jayson Werth contract was achieved using your methodology.

David Roth: “We are asking for 33 years and $411 million. Totally straight-faced, by the way.”

David Raposa: Exorbitant number + hollow, ridiculous threat to sign elsewhere = 30 year olds signing for $120 million

David Raposa: “If we don’t get that figure, my client has a 10-picture development deal with Paramount, including a starring role in the B’Wana Beast franchise.”

David Roth: “B’wana Beast has the ability to communicate with animals. He also has the ability to merge two animals together to form a Chimera or (how he puts it) he merges the best of two different things to create an unstoppable force.” Cast Travis Hafner in that shit.

David Roth: Budget instantly spirals out of control. Renny Harlin distances himself from the project, etc.

David Raposa: PROJECT DONKEY would take on a whole new meaning. Neil Gaiman just had a writing boner. Or, if you prefer, inspiration in his pants.

David Roth: I don’t prefer any of that.

David Raposa: So! Did you hear the good news about Jose Bautista? He’s still clean, for the time being!

David Roth: So he actually just became the best hitter in baseball after being a .230–12–31 guy for most of a decade?

David Roth: I remember writing fantasy updates for him when I had this job at MLB.com. It was not easy then.

David Raposa: Back when Pittsburgh was screwing him over with their scurvy-like development programs? Al Martin’s wives wept!

David Roth: Career high-point for me, writing stuff like “Depending on how many at-bats Brandon Moss gets going forward, Bautista could be worth adding in sadder NL-only leagues.”

David Roth: That job was bleak. Staying up until 3am writing about what Ryan Langerhans’s 2-for-4, 1 RBI game meant.

“Epic ketchup-packet collection” = he left to do grip work on Napoleon Dynamite, didn’t he?

David Raposa: When you frame the job like that, the arbitrary hot / cold rankings I see in fantasy babble make so much more sense.

David Raposa: “Despite Pujols’ 15 HRs this month, and his career-long track record of excellence, who can say if he’ll be able to maintain this pace?”

David Roth: The best thing about the gig, mostly, was the MLB.com offices. They’re in Chelsea Market, and are just full of amazing random bobbleheads. (Actual bobbleheads, that’s not some euphemism for the people who worked there)

David Roth: I worked from this cubicle that was all Royals stuff — the Royals team producer worked from home, had this epic ketchup-packet collection, and Brian McRae and Mark Gubicza bobbleheads.

David Raposa: “Epic ketchup-packet collection” = he left to do grip work on Napoleon Dynamite, didn’t he?

David Roth: The best bobblehead in there was for Bill James. It looked like a bobblehead for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Which is a really good idea, but which is also unsettling at like 2 a.m. Having a bearded figurine of an autocrat nodding at you on your way to the bathroom.

David Raposa: At least Bobble-Bill approved of your #1.

David Roth: I had to do the tweeting on nights when I worked, and they were basically coded cries for help at the end.

David Roth: “Big night for Clint Barmes, 3-for-4 with 2RBIs. I think I might be dying IRL. #Rockies”

David Raposa: So, this is about that time that the hot-shit prospects actually get brought up because of those goofy arbitration rules.

David Roth: Super Two deadline. The most wonderful time of the year? The Royals being all “fuck it, we’re calling everyone up” is kind of inspiring. I guess you want to get your top prospects into the same locker room as Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera as soon as possible. Frenchy shares tips on lengthening your swing and charming beat writers.

David Raposa: “See, kids, this is what we want you to NOT be.”

David Roth: Cabrera talks a lot about eating right.

David Raposa: Melky would definitely share his recipe for scrapple paella with Moose & Crow (no Boris Badenov).

Scrapple paella is being served someplace in the US right now, I promise… Probably by a very serious chef. Some guy with a fork tattooed on his neck who makes a big deal about not serving vegetarians.

David Roth: Scrapple paella is being served someplace in the US right now, I promise.

David Raposa: It’s the new American Chop Suey.

David Roth: Probably by a very serious chef. Some guy with a fork tattooed on his neck who makes a big deal about not serving vegetarians.

David Roth: You’ve seen the video of him picking something off his bat and eating it during his days with the Braves?

David Raposa: Leaving the emerald green grass and azure blue skies of Yankee Stadium totally fucked that young man up.

David Roth: It could’ve been a shard of barbecue blown over from the stands?

David Raposa: I saw a YouTuber claim Melky likes to chew on pine tar. And to be fair, I’ve been known to spray some Pledge on my morning bagel. I like lemon.

David Roth: You get 6000% of your daily recommended vitamin C with just two spritzes.

David Raposa: And my tongue would be dust-free!

David Raposa: Honestly, I kinda wish someone would call us out for our parochialism. “You don’t talk about Hank Conger at all!”

David Roth: I know we only talk about teams reachable by Amtrak Acela, but what’s funny about that is that I talk about Hank Conger all the time. Like to the point where it has impacted my marriage.

David Roth: My wife’s like “one more thing about how he should be playing ahead of Jeff Mathis and I’m leaving this restaurant.” And then I just sit there for a jittery minute, say something about how it’s ridiculous that Jeff Mathis EVEN GETS AT-BATS AT ALL, and chase her down the block.

David Raposa: Is your wife’s maiden name Scioscia, by any chance?

David Roth: Oh man. Meeting Mike Scioscia when you go home to meet your significant other’s parents. Broccoli rabe hanging out of both sides of his mouth.

David Raposa: Those plate-blocking skills probably come in handy. Like when you try to leave after he breaks out his jock strap collection.

David Roth: “I wore this one between 1982 and 1991.” Tom Niedenfuer keeps calling on the cell, with “California Love” as the ring tone.

David Roth: I think Jim Leyland would be the best-case scenario dad in a MLB manager meet-the-parents situation. Doesn’t say much, maybe reads a Clive Cussler book at dinner. Afterwards he invites you out for a smoke and asks some really old-fashioned questions about “your intentions.”

David Raposa: Just give him a highball and some space, and he’s totally copacetic.

David Roth: Rob Roys and Merits. I imagine his house looking like the set from Ordinary People. Deep shag rugs, lots of dim glass lighting fixtures.

David Raposa: Young Andy Van Slyke sulking on the front stoop, hoping to play catch?

David Roth: Judd Hirsch is there for some reason, raiding the fridge.

David Raposa: Judd Hirsch is there for the experiential gravitas factor.

David Roth: And the nubby cardigans, but yes.

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.