Body’s Baseball Preview: The Washington Nationals

The fine folks here at Heading For The Exits were gracious enough to host my team-by-team baseball previews. Look for a new one every day from March 1st through March 30th. Last but not least, it’s the NL East. The final team we’ll cover is the only thing that anyone in D.C. can agree on.

Dear god, the eyes.
Cy Young Candidate / Fire-Fearing Bridge Guardian Stephen Strasburg Does His Thing

You remember that movie The New Guy, where the gawky, miserable teenager transfers schools after being expelled and serving time in prison and immediately attains rock star status amongst his classmates through a series of both planned and unplanned events? It has nothing to do with the Nats, I was just reminiscing about how fucking terrible that movie was.

For the Nationals, life atop the NL East appears to be the status quo. With two legitimate staff aces and Cy Young candidates heading the rotation, a deep, clutch bullpen (yes, yes, Drew Storen NLDS rage anger threaten his family with bandsaws), and top talent at just about every position on the field, only the Nats themselves can ruin their claim to the division. Last season ended on a sour note in the playoffs, but even reaching that stage was something of an accomplishment after finishing at or below .500 every year in their brief history. Considering they won 18 more games than 2011, 29 more than 2010 and 39 more than 2009, well, that steady amount of growth means something is going right. With the core of the team young and improving, D.C. could host a World Series game for the first time in 80 years.

Continue reading

Posted in MLB | Comments Off on Body’s Baseball Preview: The Washington Nationals

Body’s Baseball Preview: The Atlanta Braves

The fine folks here at Heading For The Exits were gracious enough to host my team-by-team baseball previews. Look for a new one every day from March 1st through March 30th. Last but not least, it’s the NL East. And now, put your completely objective hands together for my main sports obsession.

"Well, at least people will stop staring at my waistline."
“Well, at least people will stop staring at my waistline.”

My apologies if this isn’t quite as biting as some other pieces. I’ve been ragging on the Barves for so long now that the snark tank is almost empty, and the promise of potential success has me quite randy. Actually, if I might take this space to bitch about the new wildcard play-in rule that fucked over the Braves last year… no, no, I won’t do that either. Let’s talk about sex.

You see, when a man and a woman love each other very much, they do some nasty things to each other. 9 months later, a baby comes out. 26 years later, that baby spends the better part of 3 months annihilating NL hitters and steals my heart, only to shatter it in a wildcard play-in game against the Cardinals. And yet, and yet… I cannot stay away. I spend the better part of March resisting every urge to spend all of my auction draft money on him.

Kris Medlen, you are Body’s unreasonable sports crush of 2013. May God have mercy on your soul.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Body’s Baseball Preview: The Atlanta Braves

Body’s Baseball Preview: The Philadelphia Phillies

The fine folks here at Heading For The Exits were gracious enough to host my team-by-team baseball previews. Look for a new one every day from March 1st through March 30th. Last but not least, it’s the NL East. For shits and giggles, let’s briefly check in with a team who decided that relevance was so passé.

"I just realized the baseball looks like Geodude. This game is SAHWEET!"
“I just realized the baseball looks like Geodude. This game is SAHWEET!”

You guys remember when the Phillies had the rotation of the century? Here, it went something like this:

Continue reading

Posted in MLB | Comments Off on Body’s Baseball Preview: The Philadelphia Phillies

Body’s Baseball Preview: The New York Mets

The fine folks here at Heading For The Exits were gracious enough to host my team-by-team baseball previews. Look for a new one every day from March 1st through March 30th. Last but not least, it’s the NL East. Next up, we check in with the team that’s sitting outside Trump Tower banging on an empty paint can and begging for change.

Hey, you said all I had to do was keep the bench warm for you!
Hey, you said all I had to do was keep the bench warm for you!

I do not envy Mets fans. Whereas the Marlins were busy embarrassing themselves on the field, the Mets have been doing a great job of it there as well as everywhere else. A good rule of thumb: unless your owner is Mark Cuban, you do not want their name appearing in the news, and even then, not next to a name like Bernie Madoff. Fred Wilpon might have been the next owner to have his MLB team seized right out from under him, and oh how glorious that would have been. At least the Dodgers had a good reason for theirs; shared ownership of the team involved with a messy divorce needed mediation from the league. But this? This would have been Wilpon losing the team because of being duped by a con artist. Unfortunately, it seems like that dramatic bullet was dodged, so for now, we just get to watch the team continue to pick up the pieces. Let’s watch, shall we?

Continue reading

Posted in MLB | Comments Off on Body’s Baseball Preview: The New York Mets

Body’s Baseball Preview: The Miami Marlins

The fine folks here at Heading For The Exits were gracious enough to host my team-by-team baseball previews. Look for a new one every day from March 1st through March 30th. Last but not least, it’s the NL East. Today’s team is the one with the gigantic, faded “Yard Sale” sign out front and the murder-suicide in the attic.

I promised myself I wouldn’t write 500 words about the Marlins… so here we go.

Continue reading

Posted in MLB | Comments Off on Body’s Baseball Preview: The Miami Marlins

Body’s Baseball Preview: The Milwaukee Brewers

The fine folks here at Heading For The Exits were gracious enough to host my team-by-team baseball previews. Look for a new one every day from March 1st through March 30th. We’re coming down the home stretch now, stopping in the NL Central. We’ll briefly check in with a team who just made the single greatest offseason acquisition in the history of baseball.

HE'SBACKHESBACKHE'SBACKHE'SBACKHESBACKHE'SBACKHE'SBACK
HE’SBACKHESBACKHE’SBACKHE’SBACKHESBACKHE’SBACKHE’SBACK

The big issue for the Brewers last year was bad luck. Mat Gamel was, frankly, a failure at first before tearing his ACL. Corey Hart finally found a home as his replacement on a squad that was tiring of his (lack of) range in the outfield but not before the season was well out of hand. The bullpen was an unmitigated disaster with formerly reliable closer John Axford blowing 9 saves and holding an ERA well over 5 through the end of August. Francisco Rodriguez, following several seasons of sub-3 ERA ball, similarly collapsed, turning in a significantly lowered K rate and an ERA over 4. By the time everything got sorted out, and they won an astounding 24 of their last 30, it was too late.

But now? Yuniesky Betancourt has arrived. The man, the myth, the legend, the savior of Brewers baseball has come back to thrill fans and win over new hearts after spending a year on vacation with the Royals and, briefly, the Phillies minor league system. Let’s ask the good folks on the internet what they think about Yuni.

“In 2008, he again walked only 3.0% of the time, the worst percentage in Major League Baseball.

“Yuniesky Betancourt is to baseball what Taylor Lautner is to acting.”

“That’s the Yuniesky Betancourt who might be the worst regular in baseball.”

“…those inclined to use only statistical ratings and analyses to judge players consider Yuniesky Betancourt the worst defensive shortstop in the free world.”

Wow… these are worse than the reviews for Liz & Dick.

Continue reading

Posted in MLB | 1 Comment

Body’s Baseball Preview: The Cincinnati Reds

The fine folks here at Heading For The Exits were gracious enough to host my team-by-team baseball previews. Look for a new one every day from March 1st through March 30th. We’re coming down the home stretch now, stopping in the NL Central. We’ll briefly check in with a team who would be well served to look up the word “regression” in the dictionary before the trade deadline.

Taking Chapman's closer role away? You better believe that's a paddlin'.
Taking Chapman’s closer role away? You better believe that’s a paddlin’.

The Cincinnati Reds are a team that basically exists on another planet for me. They had the second-best pitching staff in the MLB, though a distant second behind the Rays, with breakout performances by Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, and Aroldis Chapman, a Bronson Arroyo resurgence, and the steady presence of Mat Latos. Given all this, I honestly wouldn’t have placed their pitching staff in the top 10. I reckon I forgot to check my East Coast privilege last season at the door or something.

So why am I predicting them to not repeat as division champions? Well, I don’t believe in Bailey or Arroyo. At all. I expect these guys to give quite a bit back in terms of performance this year. The bullpen is good, but it’s not sub-3 ERA good. If Jonathan Broxton becomes the lynchpin of the relief corps, expect a few games to end in very ugly fashion. On offense, I can see only modest gains over last year’s team, not enough to make up for the regression the pitching offers. All told, I see them giving up enough of a lead to make the Cards, Brewers, and Reds all possible champions in a photo finish.

Continue reading

Posted in MLB | Comments Off on Body’s Baseball Preview: The Cincinnati Reds

Body’s Baseball Preview: The St. Louis Cardinals

The fine folks here at Heading For The Exits were gracious enough to host my team-by-team baseball previews. Look for a new one every day from March 1st through March 30th. We’re coming down the home stretch now, stopping in the NL Central. We next check in with a team who is, in my entirely uninformed opinion, in for a very rude awakening.

Yadier Molina, above, collapses under the weight of expectation.

The 2012 Cardinals were a case study of changing luck. It started with the loss of the face of the team, Albert Pujols, in free agency to the Angels. Pujols, wounded that the Cardinals first offer was “only” a five year deal, later rejected a 10 year, $210 million contract offer and moved west. Lance Berkman and Chris Carpenter, two key components of their 2011 World Series run, were basically no-shows during the season due to injury. Jaime Garcia, a decent contributor in his own right, missed roughly a third of the season with a shoulder injury as well. Even with these high profile losses, the Cardinals were in the  bottom half of the league in terms of days lost to players on the DL. David Freese and Allen Craig, two consistently injured guys, stayed healthy all season and stabilized third and first base respectively with excellent offense. Homegrown pitchers Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly filled in admirably for the rotation, the former having a Cy Young caliber first half. All this contributed to 88 wins and a wild card spot, probably more than fans expected in April.

This year? The rotation is looking as strong as ever. Adam Wainwright, fresh off a live fire rehab season after Tommy John surgery, is pitching great and should have no hiccups this season. Lance Lynn has earned a rotation spot, and the Cards are looking for another step forward from him as the #3 starter. Rookie Shelby Miller, after only a single start last year, will plug in the back of the rotation, and expectations are high. The bullpen remains stocked with reliable talent from long relief to the closer. Though Jason Motte will start the season on the DL, Mitchell Boggs and Edward Mujica will handle late innings just fine. They just need to count on the offense holding up their end of the bargain.

Continue reading

Posted in MLB | Comments Off on Body’s Baseball Preview: The St. Louis Cardinals

Formula 1 Recap: The Day We Turned On Sebastian Vettel

I’d like to begin with a very simple life lesson: In the workplace, when your boss tells you to do something, you do it.

This seems like such a simple concept, yet some people absolutely refuse to accept it. Whether it’s because they think they know better or because the boss’s instructions don’t necessarily suit their own best interests, these people will defy direct orders and call their own shots instead. More often then not, this type of behavior results in a colossal fuck up and consequential termination. However, in very rare instances, an employer may be willing to overlook this type of behavior from their employee because of one major underlying fact – the employee is really fucking good at what they do.

Sebastian Vettel is that person.

Continue reading

Posted in Formula 1 | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Body’s Baseball Preview: The Chicago Cubs

The fine folks here at Heading For The Exits were gracious enough to host my team-by-team baseball previews. Look for a new one every day from March 1st through March 30th. We’re coming down the home stretch now, stopping in the NL Central. Today we look at a team whose fans have adjusted nicely to 100+ years of karma pissing in their Cheerios.

I had originally planned on offering this part of the piece up to an acquaintance who, as luck would have it, is actually a Cubs fan. Unfortunately, the promise of delicious tears shaped like Times New Roman characters, a veritable bowl of schadenfreude Alphabits, never arrived. I can only assume that an overwhelming sense of futility set in, and the words went uncomposed. I’ve faithfully reenacted lazily linked to a gif approximating the creative process here:

Continue reading

Posted in MLB | 3 Comments